Colors and markings are some of the most defining characteristics of a purebred dog, so much so that the American Kennel Club (AKC) maintains a comprehensive list of all the known coats each breed can have. That is because the color of your dog is not just a part of their unique aesthetic. It’s a glimpse into their genetic history. Whether you have a red brindle bulldog, a white Weimaraner, or a blue merle border collie, there is a story behind that beautiful coat.
The American Staffordshire terrier, also known as the Amstaff or Staffy, has a wide variety of different coats. Eighteen, according to the AKC. You might find a litter of American Staffordshire puppies with colors ranging from black brindle and fawn sable to liver, seal brown, and much more. Today, however, we’re going to focus on the blue-coated Staffie.
While the type of dog coloring that is considered “blue” may actually be more of a silver-gray, it still makes for a gorgeous coat that some dog lovers consider the most desirable of them all. If you have a blue Staffy or you’re considering bringing one home, consider this your ultimate guide to this beautiful color variation of a wonderful dog breed! Here we’re going to look at the blue-coated Amstaff, the breed’s history, some of its health concerns, color variations, and more.
Learning About the American Staffordshire Terrier
The American Staffordshire terrier breed has its roots back in 19th-century England, where breeders crossed the bulldog and terrier to create the bull and terrier. This tough and intelligent breed was intentionally created for dogfighting, a popular ( very unfortunate) pastime during that period. Bloodlines don’t necessarily dictate a dog’s personality, though. A well-trained American Staffy makes for a loving, affectionate family pet.
Amstaffs are considered a medium-sized breed, with the average male growing to about 18 or 19 inches tall and weighing around 55 to 70 pounds. The average female grows roughly 17 or 18 inches tall and weighs between 40 to 55 pounds. They have an above-average life expectancy of about 12-16 years.
Training this breed requires dedication and hard work, as they tend to have higher than usual energy levels and need plenty of socialization so that they can become comfortable around strangers and other dogs. They may be pretty affectionate and good-natured, but without learning how to interact with others from a young age, the Amstaff (and just about any other dog breed) has the potential to develop issues with aggression.
Staffies are a short coat breed, so grooming them is quite easy. Weekly brushing and wipe down can help keep their coat looking shiny and beautiful, and proper nutrition can keep it looking healthy. That generally means about 20-30 calories per pound a day of food, including meat, vegetables, grains, and fruits.
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History of the American Staffy
The Amstaff is one of the more misunderstood and stigmatized dog breeds around, and that’s mainly because of their genetic connection to fighting dogs. They descend from the bull and terrier breeds created in England in the early-to-mid 1800s for the express purposes of participating in blood sports. Breeders back then did, in fact, select for aggression, but only against dogs and other animals, as a bull and terrier that attacked its owner or other people would not make for a good fighting dog.
The bull and terrier eventually split into the bull terrier and the Staffordshire bull terrier before emigrating to America with their English and Irish owners and evolving into the American pit bull terrier and the American Staffordshire terrier. While both of these American breeds are solid and intimidating looking, they often make for better family pets than watchdogs or guard dogs, as their breeding made them good-natured and loyal when interacting with their humans.
The American Kennel Club officially recognized the American Staffordshire terrier as a breed in 1936. They describe Staffies as “keenly aware of their surroundings, game for anything, and lovable ‘personality dogs’ around the house.”
Health Issues That the Amstaff Might Be Prone To
Whenever you adopt a dog, you should be aware of the particular health problems that their specific breed is known to have. Each breed has its list of common issues that they are more likely to experience than others. Knowing that list before you bring home a puppy is a great way to help either prevent those issues, catch them early, or prepare yourself for the possibility of them.
One of the leading causes of death in Staffies is heart disease. The good news is that this is because the breed has an above-average lifespan, and the heart issues come mainly from aging. However, problems like heart murmurs can also contribute to an untimely death in Staffies, so be sure to have them see the vet for regular checkups to catch these kinds of issues early on.
Skin allergies are another common issue in Amstaffs. Known as “atopy,” this issue usually begins anywhere from ages one to three and can make your pup frequently scratch, rub their face, lick their paws, and get an unusual amount of ear infections. If you notice your Staffy doing this, not to worry, there are various treatment options.
Some other genetic predispositions for the American Staffordshire terrier are cerebellar ataxia and hip dysplasia. The first is a neurological condition that affects coordination. This issue is progressive and can result in the need for euthanasia. The second is a joint issue that can result in arthritis in the hips as your pup continues to age. Dysplasia may result in a need for surgery.
American Kennel Club Ties
The American Kennel Club (AKC) is a non-profit organization that serves as the country’s largest purebred dog registry. It has been around since 1884 and currently contains 197 dog breeds, the American Staffordshire terrier having been among them since 1936.
The United Kennel Club (UKC) is a for-profit purebred dog registry created to emphasize the working ability and intelligence of particular bloodlines when defining them than the organization believes other registries tend to. You will find the Staffordshire bull terrier registered under the UKC, but you won’t find the American Staffordshire terrier. However, this is not because the breed is not recognized. They were recognized in 1898 as the American pit bull terrier long before the Amstaff name was created.
The Different Color Variations of the Amstaff Breed
When it comes to coloring and markings, the coat of the American Staffordshire terrier can vary widely. They can be black and tan, pure white, blue brindle, red, fawn, sable, seal, and much more. Each color variation comes with a set of markings that the pup can potentially have, and every one of them is truly beautiful.
Let’s look at the different color variations found in the Amstaff breed, including the incredible blue American Staffordshire terrier. We’ll go over how each of these colorings appears in Staffy puppies and some of the different patterns and coat variations each can have.
Black Staffordshire Terriers
Black Staffies have a deep, solid black basic coat free of any red or brown tones, often with near-black eyes to match. A true black Amstaff will have no other shading present, as well as no tips, simply a jet black coat. They can, however, have white markings on their chest and paws.
A black coat with incomplete genetic dominance will appear mostly black, but upon closer inspection or in different lighting, it will have those red or brown tones mentioned above. That is known as a seal, or seal brown, coloring.
Staffies can also have a black brindle coloring. Brindle is a coat coloring that’s a bit like tiger stripes, with streaks of color darker than the basic coloring spread throughout the coat. Brindle is relatively common in this breed and can appear in a variety of colors.
Red Staffordshire Terriers
Red Amstaffs can be particularly beautiful, with intensely colored coats anywhere from a dark brown-red to an orange-red. A true red will have a coat where each hair is one color and will have dark brown eyes. The masking (the hair on the muzzle and the face and ears on occasion) on a red Staffy will be black, and they can often be found with white markings.
You can find red brindle American Staffordshire terriers, as well. The combination of the intense red base and the tiger-striped brindle makes for a striking coat, particularly when white markings contrast the other colors present.
There are also red sable Amstaffs. Sable is a color pattern in which the hair grows darker from base to tip. You can commonly find this beautiful coloring in breeds like collies and German shepherds, but you can also find it in certain Staffies.
Tan Staffordshire Terriers
You most likely won’t find any totally tan Staffies, but you will find several color variations that include tan points. Tan points are certain areas of the body that will be colored tan regardless of the color of the base coat. This can be above the eyes, on the cheeks, on the front of the neck, on the sides of the nose, on the chest, the legs, the paws, or at the end of the tail. Both black and blue Amstaffs can have some tan spots.
The Blue American Staffordshire Terrier
We’ve covered nearly all the eighteen different American Staffordshire terrier dog colorings recognized by the AKC. Let’s take a look at perhaps the most beautiful of them all: Blue. The actual coloring of a blue coat is more of a gray in reality, but there is a certain bluish hue to it, particularly in the darker blue coats. These dogs often have a blue nose, as well.
Blue Staffies also come in brindle and with tan points. If your doggy winds up having any of the blue coloring variations, you won’t just have an excellent watchdog and family pet. You’ll have one of the best-looking dogs the breed has to offer.
How Does the Blue American Staffordshire Terrier Get Its Blue Color?
The way your doggy got a blue coat was a simple matter of genetics. Blue coats exist in Staffords, and many other purebreds, as the recessive gene for a light black coat. Your Staffy’s parents don’t need to show a blue coat, but they both must have this recessive gene.
Almost all bull and terrier breed descendants have a blue coloring variation, including the Staffordshire bull terrier. Various other dog breeds have it as well. There are even dogs, such as the blue lacy, that are primarily blue-coated. Although they may come in other color variations, each one of these dogs has the blue coat gene.
Now you know all you need to know about your blue American Staffordshire terrier. We wish you luck in raising your pup! Not only are these dogs incredibly beautiful when they are well-trained, but they can also be beloved family pets that are affectionate, loving, loyal, and brave.