Amstaff breed history and origin
American Staffordshire Terriers have been known for over three centuries. English bulldogs were courageous, fearless, strong and hardy. Modern amstaffs have retained these qualities.
Amstaff breed background
In the distant Middle Ages, the British were entertained by “gladiatorial battles” of animals - dog-hunting bulls, bears, wild boars, and even tigers and monkeys. The mastiffs and bulldogs that were used initially lacked lightness and agility in the battle. They often died under the hooves, horns or fangs of the enemy.
The owners were looking for a way to improve their "combat vehicle, for which they were selected in the direction of reducing size and increasing mobility, while maintaining fighting qualities. Crossing a bulldog with a terrier in the early 19th century. gave birth to the breed "bul-end-terrier", which combined the strength of the bulldog with the aggressiveness and speed of the terrier.
After the English parliament banned bullfights in 1835, the breed reoriented to fighting with its own kind. This required dogs other psychophysical qualities, which led to further "terrierization" of the breed. To determine the breed, the names were also used: Staffordshire Terrier, Pit Dog, Pit Bull Terrier. Over time, the common name “Staffordshire Bull Terrier” became firmly established in England, as we know it today.
Amstaff breed development
The 19th century was cruel. The fighting spread to the USA, Canada, Mexico. And influenced further breeding work.A special role in the formation of the breed was played by the Americans.
After the American Civil War (1861-1865), a stream of British migrants rushed into America. It is believed that they brought fighting dogs with them, which contributed to the revival of fierce fun (at that time in England dog fighting was already strictly prohibited). Bull-and-terriers were crossed with other breeds, selecting from the offspring the most promising in combat terms. At different times they were called differently: pit dogs, pit bull terriers, and later - American bull terriers and Yankee terriers.
The United Kennel Club (UKC), created in 1898 in Michigan, continued to bet on the fighting qualities of the breed and developed a breed called the pit bull terrier (as it was mainly called at that time). In addition, the dogs took on another job: guarding houses and farms, hunting wolves and coyotes. In this regard, farmers selected larger individuals in the litter.
But not all dog breeders were fond of fighting and hunting. For some, participation in exhibitions was important, in connection with which the standard began to be developed and more attention was paid to the exterior. The result was a dog similar to a pit bull terrier, but not always used as a fighting one. They were called Staffordshire Terriers. In 1936, the breed was recognized as the "Staffordshire Terrier" by the American Kennel Club (AKC), the main American organization in the world breeding of purebred dogs.
Around the same time, the first Club of Staffordshire Terriers was created.And already in 1941, the American Staffordshire was chosen the "Dog of the Year." Two camps of breeders were formed: the first cultivated fighting qualities (and registered American pit bull terriers), while the others recognized American staffordshires without recognizing pit bull terriers.
In 1971, the International Canine Federation (FCI) recognized the Amstaffs, FCI standard No. 286 was approved on May 26, 1971.
And in 1972, the American Kennel Club revised the name of the Staffordshire Terrier in favor of the American Staffordshire Terrier. This was done in order to emphasize the difference from the British relative, who once remained in the historical homeland - the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
Today, these breeds are often confused not only by name, but also by appearance. Although the amstaff is higher at the withers (about 8 cm) and 5 kilograms heavier than the British counterpart. This is due to the addiction of American breeders to larger and longer-legged dogs.
Amstaffs and modernity
Representatives of the breed began to get into our penates in the late 80s of the 20th century. The first dogs were imported from Austria, Germany, Yugoslavia and the USA. Then the popularity of these dogs began to grow rapidly.
The increased demand has led to the fact that many dogs have begun to breed, which completely do not meet the standards, including those with a very unstable psyche. The ignorance of many owners and the dishonesty of the breeders also played a role. As a result, the sad fame of the "killer dogs" entrenched to the Amstaffs.
This is unfair - they do not differ in ferocity, especially in relation to people. Selection long ago in many respects “killed” in them fighting qualities. As a rule, aggression is shown only by those representatives of the breed who were specifically trained in this. And this is already - entirely on the conscience of the owners.