Acquired: Rescue / shelter organization
Training: Previous owner
Posted January 25, 2015
Spike was an awesome dog. The American Staffordshire breed is a similar bloodline to the Pit Bull, with the breeds having split somewhere along the line. This breed is strong, muscular and compact. You can find many stories of Staffordshire Terriers coming to the rescue of children in danger from people and from other dogs, and even holding the "offender dog" down until help arrives. I find this trait to be inherent to the breed.
Many are intimidated by the look of these dogs due to the stigma associated with the Pit Bull, plus they are incredibly muscular and strong. Along with this demeanor, though, comes a loving, cuddly and loyal animal.
Cons? My experience was that my boy went through some separation anxiety while I was at work. They will do anything to feel close to you in your absence. Spike dug a hole in my mattress and climbed in! Oops. He also chewed one of each of my shoes, though I feel this is more related to him being a puppy than a Staffordshire. He was a very high energy and excitable dog. These breeds, like many non-toy breeds, need to have a task. For a muscle dog like this, plenty of opportunities to run, and even pull things, help to get the energy out.
They are smart and quick to learn, also being eager to please. I never hesitated to leave Spike alone with my baby sister who was in preschool at the time. He also played regularly with my mom's dog who lived with us, with no issue.
The key in training is calm-submissive. Be clear, and follow through. Don't repeat the dog's name or the command a hundred times; say it once, then make it happen. Feel in charge. Dogs are happy to be lower on the totem pole as long as they trust you as their alpha!