Acquired: Rescue / shelter organization
Posted October 28, 2015
American Staffordshires (Am Staffs), like all "bully" breeds, are incredibly resilient.
Rico, whose DNA test confirmed he is 100% Am Staff (save for a mixed breed great-grandparent), is an incredibly loving dog, despite having a rough life early on. Originally found as an underweight stray, Rico will now stop at nothing to smother humans in sloppy dog kisses. He even once jumped from a moving car when he spotted his original rescuer, and tackled her with dog smooches.
Am Staffs are extremely easy to train and motivate. Kibble, treats, cheese, or even just "good dog" is sufficient for training. They do have a tendency to be lazy, though, so short training sessions are preferred. Despite being athletic dogs, some Am Staffs can't be bothered to exert the energy. Rico, for instance, loves car rides but prefers to be lifted into the car (all 80 lbs of him).
From a maintenance standpoint, Rico requires minimal care. He is healthy, a light shedder, and only barks at the mailman. He is great with small animals. When we fostered him, he allowed our 30 lb beagle mix to boss him around, tug on his ears, nip his nose, etc. He was extremely submissive and never had any interest in correcting her, though easily could have.
Rico, as most pits are, is fantastic with children. We recently transferred him to his forever home, which has a 6 year old boy. He was so attentive to the boy, and clearly enjoyed being hugged and played with. By the time we left the adoption, the boy already had Rico sitting, shaking, and lying down!
My biggest qualm with Am Staffs is that they often don't realize their size or strength, and can often become so excited that they are a nuisance in the house. Rico was known for bounding across the house and jumping in our laps, often knocking over everything in his way.
Overall, I would recommend an Am Staff to anyone who enjoys large, goofy, family dogs and aren't intimidated by the bad rap pit bulls unfairly have received.