The American Staffordshire terrier is a medium-sized, short-coated American dog breed. In the early part of the twentieth century the breed gained social stature and was accepted by the American Kennel Club as the American Staffordshire Terrier in 1936. The name was changed to reflect difference from the Staffordshire Bull Terrier of England.
The early ancestors of this breed come from England, where applications included farm use, guarding, dog fighting, and companionship. Until the first part of the 19th century, the Bulldog was bred in England for the purpose of baiting bulls. Bulldogs pictured as late as 1870 resemble contemporary American Staffordshire Terriers to a greater degree than present-day Bulldogs. Some writers contend it was the White English Terrier, Fox Terrier, or the Black and Tan Terrier that was crossed with the Bulldog to develop the Staffordshire Terrier; all three breeds shared many traits, the greatest differences being in color, aggressiveness, and spirit. The cross of Bulldog and Terrier was called by several names, including Bull-and-Terrier Dog, Half and Half, and Pit Dog or Pit Bull terrier. Later, it assumed the name of Staffordshire Bull Terrier in England. These dogs began to find their way into America as early as 1870, where they became known as the Pit Dog and Pit Bull Terrier, then the American Bull Terrier, and still later as the Yankee Terrier.
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