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What Owners Should Know About the American Staffordshire Terrier

Even though they may look fierce, and they are distantly related to the often-maligned American pit bull, the American Staffordshire is an intellect, friendly dog suited to be family pets. There has been controversy surrounding Amstaffs, as they are often referred to, but they are not considered “restricted” pets by the government. Like most pure breeds, Amstaffs have their share of idiosyncrasies and medical issues owners should be aware of when adopting these dogs.

Amstaff Temperament

The American Staffordshire bull terrier, is generally a playful dog. They do well around children and are affectionate and crave their owner’s attention, even when strangers are present. However, they are very protective and usually do not like strange dogs, often showing their dislike by being aggressive toward them.

Physical Appearance

The Amstaff is a well-built, muscular dog who can look fierce, but is most often a gentle giant. They have large bone structures, are heavy due to their size and muscular build, and have larger heads. Since they have a lower centre of gravity, they can remain balanced when jumping and are very agile when running, playing, or dodging opponents.

Their coat requires little maintenance since it is short and sleek and the fur grows close to their bodies. Regularly brushing or combing their fur will keep it clean, so they don’t require baths as often as dogs with longer fur. The main health issues Amstaffs have are caused by their larger bone structure and are common in many breeds of their size.

Health Problems

The average lifespan of an American Staffordshire terrier is about 12 to 14 years. Like most dogs, they have certain genetic conditions they are susceptible to, such as juvenile cataracts, hip and elbow dysplasia, and allergies. Fortunately, if your Amstaff has any of these conditions, you can get help paying for treatments by purchasing American Staffordshire pet insurance.

Depending on the pet policy you choose, the insurance carrier will cover necessary surgeries to correct issues with hip or elbow dysplasia, patellar subluxations or knee dislocations, and treatments for allergies. Skin allergies can cause their skin to itch, which leads to scratching and, sometimes, secondary infections. Juvenile cataracts can impair their vision, and while they may not get worse, they sometimes require surgery to keep dogs from going blind.

Along with helping pet owners pay for surgeries, pet insurance policies also cover vaccinations, emergency services, and boarding if you need to be away from your pet. They will also cover time in the kennel during their recovery from surgery, so in case they need to be watched for a day or two, the costs will be covered and you will only be responsible for a co-payment. It is easier to ensure your dog, no matter what breed, is taken care of when you have a pet insurance policy.

Since the American Staffordshire is often mistaken for the American pit bull, you should have them registered and have their papers close at hand to identify him or her if questions ever arise about their identity.

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