КОММЕНТАРИИ STCA СТАНДАРТА АКС
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Temperament: The first and most important impression
should be the dog’s temperament. No matter what the dog looks
like, it cannot be a proper Am Staff without the proper
temperament. The official standard is spare and is often faulted
for not giving enough information to the student of the breed.
However, the words used are beautifully descriptive of the
"Keenly alive to his surroundings" describes a lively
intelligent disposition that watches what is going on around him
and misses nothing. Further, he not only watches, but interacts
– he is quite aware of and very responsive to his surroundings.
He is ready for whatever comes his way – in all the best sense
of this term.
" his courage is proverbial" : Proverbial, according the
Webster’s dictionary is defined as follows: The embodiment or
representation of some quality. The byword for it. A commonplace
truth. A common reference for some quality. This is perfectly
apt to describe the correct temperament of this breed. They are
nothing if not courageous. This courage is inherent in their
history. These dogs have faced death in all its forms, and have
long ago had fear bred down. They should appear supremely
confident in all situations. NO excuses can be made for a
specimen that lacks this quality. Courage has no similarity to
aggressiveness, which often masks insecurity. The ideal Am Staff
should not display aggression toward other animals or humans.
They should only appear confident and interested, prepared to
deal with and take part in whatever situation develops. Many
legends have grown surrounding this breed’s courage.
The Ideal specimen must always display courage and confidence
to a marked degree. Absolutely no consideration should be given
to an exhibit that lacks this quality.
Although not specifically addressed by the standard, this breed
has been long domesticated, as a farmer’s and family dog, and
even with the early fighting background, should absolutely never
appear aggressive toward humans. They are not a guarding breed
by nature, and trust most people to be their friends, confident
in these relationships. They develop strong bonds with humans
and are eager to please them – thanks to their working
background. They are not solitary dog, preferring the company of
humans. They are not subservient of fawning, but confident and
friendly in dealings with humans.
The ideal specimen must always appear confident and friendly
with humans. Absolutely no consideration should be given to an
exhibit that appears aggressive, threatening, or shy toward
humans. These are completely incorrect for the breed and are
"should give the impression of great strength
for his size"
This is a medium sized dog, not a large one, but should be
possessed of great strength- FOR HIS SIZE. This does not mean
that he should be large- or heavy, just that his strength should
be great for the size he is.
"He is a "well put-together , muscular, but
agile and graceful"
The proper specimen will appear balanced in all ways, showing
muscular development, but not at the expense of agility. He must
appear graceful as well as agile. This is totally descriptive of
a "normally" built dog, without excess or exaggeration in any
way. He is a balance of power and agility. He must display both.
Any specimen which is exaggerated to appear so muscular as to no
longer display agility and grace is no longer balanced. This
balance extends to the ration of his bone size and general body
weight. He must never be exaggerated. The balance of power and
agility must always be kept in mind.
"he should be stocky, not long-legged or racy
This references the leg length of the dog in relation to this
body type. He is not a racing dog with long legs and a light
body, but due to his strength of body, he is a stocky one. He
should be stocky, that is, solid and sturdy, but must have
enough leg to still maintain the required agility and grace. He
is not ever a short legged dog.
As an analogy, this dog is a (tri-athlete) (or decathlete)
rather than a (body-builder) or (power weight lifter). He must
still retain the ability to perform a variety of physical
challenges, rather that just show raw strength. This breed’s
history created an animal with a balance of power, agility,
total courage, and the intelligence to use it. The balance of
power and agility inherent in the breed must be always kept in
"Head: Medium length, deep through,
broad skull, very pronounced cheek muscles, distinct stop"
the head should appear to be the correct size for the dog’s
body. It is not overly large, no is it small. It is of medium
length- balanced with the dog’s medium sized body. The muzzle
should appear to be about on half the total length of the head.
The head is deep through, from the top down to the jaws. The
depth in not achieved by a bulging forehead, but by deep strong
jaws. The dog’s mandible should be well developed far back to
the skull. His skull is broad across, with a well defined stop
and distinct eyebrows. The head should not be exaggerated
The description of medium length must be maintained. If the
skull is too broad, the head will appear short in length, which
is incorrect. The head is deep through, for strength, but the
depth should extend to the lower jaw, not be achieved by an over
deep stop with no lower jaw strength.
The cheek muscles are very pronounced. The planes of the
forehead and muzzle should be parallel when viewed from the
side. There should be no tendency for a down face, dish face, or
frog face. In males, the muscle padding on the top skull may
make the plane rise slightly, ( in the bitches a lesser degree)
but is still should not differ greatly from the plane of the
The shape of the top skull should show the underlying bone
structure, not be so overly padded with flesh or muscles to
totally mask it, and appear lumpy. The most prominent muscle
development of the head should be the cheeks, which should be
pronounced. The head should appear clean, with no loose skin. A
slight quizzical wrinkling of the forehead when the ears are
lifted should be the only wrinkles found anywhere on the head.
The angle of light over the bitch's face shows off very clearly
the beautiful bony structure of the American Staffordshire
Terrier head- The prominent ridge below the eye, the bulging
cheek muscle, the abrupt fall of muzzle below eye. Note the
tight skin over the bones of the face, with the exception of the
quizzical wrinkles on the forehead. She has nice close fitting
lips and a muzzle that is only slightly light in the lower jaw.
Her eyes are quite dark, even in very direct sunlight, pigment
is very dark, eyes are well shaped and set correctly in the
Ears: "ears are set high. Cropped or uncropped,
the later preferred. Uncropped ears should be short and held
half prick or rose. Full drop to be penalized."
Ears are set high on the skull and are relatively short. The
standard plainly says cropped or uncropped and the later
preferred. Uncropped ears of good size and set should be given
more consideration than cropped ears. The proper carriage is
half prick or rose, with no preference mentioned. Full drop is
to be penalized, but fully erect ears although possible, are not
mentioned to be penalized. Full drop, or hound ears are not the
same as low set ears and would seldom be seen. Cropped ears
should be of medium length and should still display where they
are set on the head, preferably high. Poorly cropped ears are a
cosmetic faulty only , and have nothing to do with the
construction of the dog. However they are shaped when cropped,
uncropped is always preferred, and clearly stated by the
standard- and consideration should given for them.
Eyes: "Dark and round, low down in skull and set
far apart. No pink eyelids"
Dark eyes are essential to the proper expression. Light eyes are
mentioned under "faults". Eye color should be brown, and as dark
a shade as possible. The eyes are normal dog eyes, appearing
fairly round, but not totally. They are not thin almond or
triangular in appearance, but are set low down in the skull and
deep. They should never protrude or bulge. They are of medium
size, neither too small (piggy) nor over large. The expression
is very direct looking keen, confident, intelligent, courageous,
never fearful or evasive.
"No pink eyelids" refers to the inner part of the eyelid.
Although the author of the standard was not perfectly clear in
this regard, he stated later that he meant thigh eye rims,
without pink mucous membrane showing. We feel this to be a valid
interpretation of this point. No haws showing or loose rims. If
you choose to also consider this to mean fully pigmented eye
rims rater that pink ones, please treat pink eye rims as a
Muzzle: "medium length, rounded
on upper side to fall away abruptly below eyes. Jaws well
The proper muzzle is of medium length, neigh short nor long, but
approximately one half the length of the head. It is rounded and
fairly broad on the top, falling away abruptly below the eyes.
It should be heavy enough to provide good attachment for the
upper jaw teeth, but not filled like a fox terrier or bull
terrier. It is narrower than the back skull and cheeks, and
wedges toward the nose, but the wedge is truncated, and the end
of the muzzle is still blunt. Jaws well defined, not hidden by
padding flesh. A strong and deep underjaw, with a strong visible
chin. The lips are close and even, with no looseness or thick
padding. The muzzle is without extra flesh and definitely not
Dentition: "Upper teeth to meet
tightly outside lower teeth in front"
The full compliment of canine teeth, well developed, and large
should be engaged in a well-fitting scissors bite. As this was a
breed developed to use its mouth in its work, missing teeth
should be considered a fault, although not listed in the brief
listing of faults in the standard. The more teeth missing, the
great the fault. Undershot or overshot mouths are both
specifically listed as faults. When checking teeth for fit, the
proper interleaving of the side teeth should also be considered,
not just the small incisors across the front.
Nose: "definitely black"
Before AKC registration there were registered American Pit Bull
Terriers with red noses. These dogs came from different root
stock and had a different appearance- including liver
coloration. The intention here was to prevent them from entering
the AKC breeding pool of American Staffordshire Terriers. The
nose should be black- not red or pink. We now know that it is
genetically impossible for a blue dog to have a black nose. Yet
there were blue Am Staffs then, as now, and they were shown and
finished championships. The nose should appear darkest charcoal
on dogs with blue dilute coloration. Forgiveness can be made for
dark charcoal on this color, but the darker the better. The nose
should still appear as black to the observer. A Dudley nose
(flesh colored) is listed as a fault. For dogs without dilute
coloration, the nose to be correct must appear as written-
Neck: "heavy, slightly arched,
tapering from shoulders to back of skull. No looseness of skin.
The neck should be heavy, slightly arched at the crest, tapering
from heaviest at shoulders to lighter at back of skull. No
looseness of skin at the throat. Again, medium length is called
for. A short neck will spoil the proportions of an otherwise
good dog. (An overly long neck, or a long, thin neck would also
be wrong, but are seldom seen).
Shoulders: "strong and muscular
with blades wide and sloping"
Strong and muscular shoulders that show good width and slope
indicate a dog with moderate to good angulations, rather than a
steep terrier front assembly. The upper arm should have god
length, so that the legs do not appear put on too far forward on
the body. Although muscular, the shoulders should not appear
loaded or lumpy, and should be approximately as wide as the rear
when viewed from above. The dog’s neck should be set high on
fairly well angulated shoulders, to permit an alert head
carriage, not stuck on the front of overly straight shoulders.
Back: "Fairly short. Slight
sloping from withers to rump with gentle short slope at rum to
base of tail. Loins slightly tucked."
This is not a square dog. This is not a short backed dog. The
standard says fairly short back – which indicates a moderately
short back. The topline is not level, rather it slopes slightly
from the withers to the rump (croup) and then shows a "gentle
short slope from the rump to the base of tail." This is also not
a steep croup – but a gentle short slope. The loins are slightly
Body: "Well-sprung ribs, deep in
rear. All ribs close together"
The dog should show well-sprung ribs, that continue back to the
loins without tightening up. Viewed from above, the ribs, loins,
and hips should show an "hourglass" shape, with a definite
narrowing at the loins and more width at the ribs and hips. The
ribs are not barrel shaped, nor are they slab-sided. Viewed from
the front, the ribs should describe an oval with the longest
distance from the top to bottom, not from side to side. The
lower line of the dog’s body should show good depth, with the
brisket dropping approximately to the elbows or slightly below.
The deep in rear ribs should continue back from the brisket to
from a good cage for the heart and lungs.
"forelegs set rather wide apart to permit
chest development. Chest deep and broad"
The standard calls for the forelegs to be set "rather" wide
apart, rather, according to the dictionary, means "to a certain
extent, somewhat, to a degree". The legs therefore should be
moderately wide apart, not as wide as possible. As a rule of
thumb, the shoulders and forelegs should be about the same width
as the rear, when viewed from above. The dog should never look
larger in the front than in the rear, but both ends should be in
balance. The width of the chest has a direct bearing on the
total agility and ease of movement of the dog. There should be
good chest development, with strong muscle attachment, but not
overdone for the sake of being the "widest". The area of the
chest between the forelegs should be rounded with muscle below
the sternum. No hollow, concave or shallow look. The muscles of
the lower chest should round and flow smoothly into the brisket.
The sternum should not appear prominent or boney.
Tail: "Short in comparison to
size, low set, tapering to a fine point; not curled or held over
back. Not docked."
The tail is set low on the rump after a "gentle short slope" as
described under "Back". It should not reach pat the hocks, and
may be somewhat shorter. IT is traditionally described as an
old-fashioned pump handle in carriage. It should not be curled
or held over the back. The pump handle is gently "S" curved. A
slightly straighter tail, held in the correct low position
should not be faulted. Many dogs carry their tails higher when
excited, but the tail should be low set, and not be held about
the level of the back.
"tail too long or badly carried",
is listed under faults. A too long tail is one extending past
the hock, and a badly carried tail would be one either curled or
held over the back, as described in the standard.
A tail held between the dog’s hind legs should be considered a
sign of improper temperament. The ideal specimen must always
display courage and confidence to a marked degree. Absolutely no
consideration should be given to an exhibit that lacks this
"The front legs should be straight, large or
round bones, pastern upright. No resemblance of bend in front."
The front legs should be straight, falling from elbows set close
to the ribs. The bones should be of good size, never appearing
spindly. Again, as to size, a balance must be met to provide for
agility. The legs should not appear overly heavy boned, either.
The pastern is upright and strong. This does not necessarily
mean a terrier front. There can and should be a slight slope to
the pastern, but it is basically upright in appearance. No
weakness to the pasterns. The reference to no bend in front ins
made to specifically forbid a fiddle or bulldog front, where the
legs are actually crooked and toe out at the end of curved
pasterns. The feet point forward, not in or out.
"Feet of moderate size, well-arched and
Feet that appear too large, or small, or too flat probably are.
As a good rule of thumb, the feet should not be particularly
larger or smaller than the dog’s leg bones. No splayed toes.
“Hindquarters well muscled, let down at hocks
turning neither in nor out."
The hindquarters show well developed muscles at the buttocks,
and upper and lower thigh. The upper thigh particularly, should
be well developed on the inside, between the legs. The hocks are
well let down, and parallel to each other, turning neither in
nor out. There should be no suggestion of cow-hocks, bow-legs or
stifles turning out.
The stifle should show good angulation, and be set low. The
stifle and hocks should both have good bend, but the bones of
the lower thigh are not particularly long. The hind legs, when
hocks are perpendicular to the ground, should not be set very
far behind the dog’s buttocks and should appear of moderate
length. The angulation of the shoulders and hips should be in
"Gait must be springy but without roll or pace"
This is the only reference to movement that the standard makes,
and has become an area that is poorly understood. However, since
this is a rather "normally" structured moderate dog, it should
show "normal" dog movement. In other words, the dog should move
like and athlete. At slower speeds, his footfalls will tend to
be farter apart, and as speed increases, his feet will tend to
converge toward a centerline under his body. This is the only
way the dog could move as the standard describes, without
rolling his body. He should trot, not pace. He should show
moderately good reach, and his rear legs should drive him
powerfully. His well-arched feet, moderate angulation, powerful
muscles, and generally good physical condition should provide
him with a springy gait. All normal dog movement criteria should
apply. He should not paddle, toe out, cross, weave, ect. The
front and hind feet should strike approximately the same
distance apart, leaving tracks in two lines, rather than 3 or 4.
The reference to springy gait denotes not only athleticism, but
a state of mind. The dog should appear light on its feet, and
ready for whatever happens. It should never plod, or move in a
listless or dull way.
"short, close, stiff to the touch and glossy.
Color- any color, solid, parti, or patched is permissible, but
all white, more than 80 percent white, black and tan and liver
not to be encouraged"
Color is another area that confuses some who read this standard.
The standard clearly states: "Any color, solid, parti, or
patched is permissible". This is a breed that comes in a great
variety of colors and markings. All are clearly permissible –
period. In the original draft of the standard, this section read
simply that sentence. However, when returned approved by the
AKC, the rest of the above had been added. At the time, the club
chose to accept the version that AKC approved. As a historical
note, the author of the standard though that "all white, more
that 80 percent white not to be encouraged" was added at the
request of the Bull Terrier Club of America, which was worried
that there would be recognition problems between the two breeds.
The "black and tan and liver not to be encouraged" is worded
exactly like the original English version of the Staffordshire
Bull Terrier standard that was written about the same time in
England. Whatever the reason for the last part, this is a breed
that does come in all colors, and all are acceptable. No color
appears in the list of faults. The wording of "not to be
encouraged" is not very strong and color should not be
detrimental to an otherwise good specimen. At the most, it is
only a cosmetic consideration, and has very little to do with
the conformation or temperament of the dog in question- both of
which are much more important.
"Height and with should be in proportion. A
height of about 18 to 19 inches at the shoulders for the male
and 17 to 18 inches for the female is to be considered
The historical dog the standard was written to describe averaged
approximately 18 to 19 inches and 48 to 60 lbs., with bitches 17
to 18 inches, and 42-55 lbs. This is approximately the
proportions that should be considered preferable. There will
always be some variation in sizes and weights, but many of
today’s dogs are indeed larger than intended by the original
standard. Unfortunately, the weigh and bone size has increased
even faster than height, resulting in specimens that have a
completely skewed weight to height ratio. This increase in size
is encouraged by judges who wrongly reward dogs based on larger
size/greater weight equation better specimen. This is not the
proper way to judge this breed. All other considerations
being equal, the moderate sized dog should be preferred, and the
sizes given above should be considered preferable as stated in
the standard. The dog of moderate size is a balance between
power and agility. To increase the weight decreases agility to
the detriment of this balance.
"Faults to be penalized are Dudley nose, light
or pink eyes, tail to long or badly carried, undershot or
A Dudley nose is an unpigmented flesh colored nose. Light eyes
are eyes other than dark brown. Pink eyes would be like and
albino ( not generally seen). Tail length reaching below the
hocks would be too long. Badly carried would be a tail carried
too high about the level of the back, curved over the back,
curled, or carried tucked under the belly. Undershot or overshot
mouths – upper teeth not meeting closely in front of the lower
Any deviation from the standard should be considered faulty. The
degree of fault would depend upon the degree of deviation.
Although not specifically mentioned as a fault by the standard,
an improper temperament is the most undesirable quality
possible, and should never be rewarded. The ideal specimen must
always display courage and confidence to a marked degree.
Absolutely no consideration should be give to an exhibit that
lacks this quality. No consideration should be give to an
exhibit that appears aggressive, threatening, or shy towards
humans. These are completely incorrect for the breed and are
In addition, a dog whose physical characteristics or lack of
soundness make him unsuitable according to the general
description should not be considered for placement. In general,
proper temperament is the most important quality, followed by
proper physical structure, and the soundness that must accompany
Such faults as light eyes, long tail, improper nose color, less
favored coat color are considered rather cosmetic in nature, and
do not interfere with the animal’s suitability for work.
Although these qualities are the only ones listed under faults,
they should not carry as much weight as the proper temperament
and structure of the breed – essential qualities that are well
describe in the standard.
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