Many people who choose to add an American Staffordshire Terrier to their household are very pleased with the dog and claim that it is an amazing, unique companion. They claim the Amstaff is a loyal, affectionate, intelligent, protective dog that is wonderful with children. While there are quite a number of pleased Amstaff owners, there are a number of others that are not happy with the breed. Some have owned Amstaffs themselves, while others have merely come into contact with these controversial dogs, but all agree that there are many negative aspects to the breed; extremely careful thought should be put into the decision of adding an Amstaff to the family.
Unfortunately for the breed, there have been quite a few individuals who both in the past and recently have taken to breeding animal aggression into the Amstaff line. These dogs were once used for such bloody sports as bull and bear baiting and dog fighting and aggression towards other animals was seen as a necessity. Though all responsible breeders have vigorously bred out animal aggression from their lines, puppies bought in pet shops or from unknown breeders may still display animal aggression. Anyone considering an Amstaff MUST go to a reputable breeder and MUST dedicate a great deal of time to training and socializing their dog to avoid animal aggression. Indeed, a great deal of socialization is one of the key aspects of bringing up a well-adjusted Amstaff. They were bred as guard dogs and so tend to be wary of strangers; they need to be shown that not everyone is a threat.
This breed is also very active and powerful and they are extremely intelligent as well. Because of these qualities, you must be able to dedicate the time to exercising them and keeping them mentally stimulated with interesting activities. It is highly recommended that you take them on outdoors excursions, like hiking, or, preferably, you have them participate in organized canine events such as agility, weight-pulling or something like Schutzhund. If your Amstaff gets bored, you could be in for disastrous consequences; they will bark and they will especially chew, through anything. Amstaffs have been known to be able to chew threw drywall, rip couches completely apart and dig up entire yards. Even when they're not bored and are simply playing, things have a tendency of falling and breaking, due to the bounciness and great size of this breed.
The terrier in the Amstaff has gifted the breed with quite a stubborn streak; though extremely obedient if trained with a firm hand, the Amstaff can be a problem for the first time dog owner who doesn't know how to show the dog who's boss. The most unfortunate complaint regarding the Amstaff comes from its perceived reputation. This dog is considered a fighting pit bull even though they weren't originally bred for this purpose nor are reputable breeders breeding for this purpose now. This reputation leads to quite a number of legal liabilities for Amstaff owners. Homeowner's insurance policies may have problems with you owning an Amstaff, while you may not be able to own one in certain areas, due to bans. If you choose to get an Amstaff, be ready for your neighbors to think of suing you the moment any thing even remotely questionable occurs.