Hal Roach's "Our Gang" comedies, later known as The Little Rascals filmed in the 1920s and 1930s feature the famous Pete the Pup, who was originally played by Pal the Wonder Dog; the original dog had a natural black incomplete ring around one eye, while later dogs would have a complete ring drawn on by a make-up artist. After Pal passed away, one of his offspring was used in the series; this dog's name was Lucenay's Peter and was actually dual registered with the AKC and the UKC as an American Staffordshire Terrier and an American Pit Bull Terrier. Lucenay's Peter was the most famous dog to play Pete the pup, though other dogs were also used for the role.
American Staffordshire Terriers seem to have been popular during the 1920s and 1930s. A few starred in films with the famous silent actor Roscoe Arbuckle. These pictures include Buzzin Around, in 1933 and Dynamite Doggie in 1925.
American Staffordshire Terriers have made other on-screen appearances. One was in Bubble Boy, directed by Blair Hayes in 2001, while another was included in an easter egg (hidden message) in the DVD release of the horror movie Cabin Fever.
There are numerous urban myths concerning American Staffordshire Terriers. One is that their jaws can lock onto victims and must be forcibly pried open. This is not true.
There is a huge debate raging over whether there should be breed specific legislation prohibiting the breeding and owning of pit bull type breeds, including the American Staffordshire Terrier. Much of the debate favoring the legislation is based on conclusions drawn from sketchy data.
While the Amstaff ancestors were occasionally used for dog fighting, this is not the main reason why the dog was bred. Also, reputable breeders have been very careful in breeding out aggression from this dog.
The American Staffordshire Terrier and the Pit Bull Terrier, though they are recognized as separate breeds, are quite similar and share many of the same ancestors. The American Staffordshire was bred entirely in America to distance this dog from the bloodline of fighting dogs; Pit Bull Terriers were used in dog fights until more recently than the Amstaff.
In some municipalities, it is legal for an animal control officer to remove a pit bull type dog, including an Amstaff, from its owner to euthanize it, even if that specific dog did not participate in any dog attack and has never shown any aggressive tendencies. Many pit bull type puppies, born in shelters, are immediately euthanized.
There is no such breed as a Pit Bull; American Staffordshire Terriers, along with many other breeds, are considered Pit Bulls or Pit Bull Type dogs or breeds.
The American Staffordshire Terrier actually ranks higher in temperament evaluation than a number of other breed traditionally considered gentle, according to the American Temperament Test Society.