considering American Staffordshire Terrier adoption...advice please!

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  1. #1 Jan 30, 2010
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2010
    Hi all, I am looking into adopting an American Staffordshire Terrier from a rescue shelter. However, I have a few questions before I fill out the application...I'm planning on calling the center as well, but I figured you guys could help me out, too!

    I'm 21, which is the minimum adoption age. Will they be less likely to consider me since I am quite young?
    I am a full-time graduate student, but I usually have no more than one 3-hour class per day (sometimes at night). I also work part time, but usually no more than 15 hours/week. I am at my apartment the rest of the time. My apartment is one floor of a 3 story house; it is not tiny but it is not huge either (I would say an average size for an apartment). My landlord is really laid-back, so I don't think he would have a problem with me having a dog (he's already let us have a cat)...I'm planning on asking soon.

    I live with 2 roommates and one of them has a cat in our apartment (also a rescue). She takes the cat to her parents' house every now and then, where they have a dog (a chocolate lab, I believe). My roommate says that the cat sometimes attacks the dog (nothing serious, just "get away from me" attacks), but they haven't really had time to bond since they live apart. The cat, Frankee, is no more than 8 pounds...I think she was starving when my roommate adopted her.

    So I guess my main concern is, will this be enough space for this kind of dog? The foster home that is taking care of him at present says that he is very relaxed and loves to snuggle; he currently lives with 7 foster cats and gets along fine. I would take him out daily for a long walk/jog and to the local dog parks. How does this breed fare in the snow? However, I have noticed 4 or 5 other pitbulls in the area...would that be a problem while I'm walking him?

    Given that I live in the middle of currently snowed in Massachusetts, he would live inside. I have no problem with him roaming the apartment or jumping on the furniture. In less than 6 months (after I graduate), I will be moving back home to southern California. My house there is larger and there is a back yard and lots of doggie parks around! I have 3 cats at my California home, but they are all very laid back and super relaxed. I adopted them all separately but they have gotten along just fine and are the best of friends.

    The adoption site says that they will send someone to see my home. I am a bit worried about this since I live in low-income housing since I am a student. My apartment isn't in shambles, but I wouldn't exactly call it luxurious. However, I have more than enough money to pay for good food, toys, and any vet expenses or other expenses necessary. I just don't want the rescue representative to think that I won't be able to afford taking care of this dog given the condition of my 50 year old apartment.

    Also, this will be my very first dog. I have only had cats before this. But I am definitely willing to put in the time and energy necessary! I am a great "mom" to my cats and take really great care of them.

    Any comments, opinions, or suggestions would be much appreciated. This particular dog has been sent back to the rescue shelter twice already since his adopters haven't been able to properly care for him. He's been in the shelter for nearly 2 years. I really want to give him a good forever home, but I want to make absolutely certain that I am able to do so before I fill out an application. I want him to have a happy and long life as part of the family!

    Thank you in advance!
  2. If 21 is the minimum adoption age, there is no reason why they should think that is "too young". Talk to your landlord before you apply, because AmStaffs are a "pit bull"-like breed, some landlords do not allow renters to have them (due to insurance rates and generally misconceptions about the breed).
    AmStaffs do have short haired coats, so cold weather can bother them a little bit. This can be fixed by providing them with a doggie coat/sweater on long walks.
    Also, talk to the adoption rep when they get to your home and explain your situation. While I do think they should know that you will be moving, keep in mind that they may not adopt to you because of that.

    On a side note (just to play devil's advocate): why not just wait until you get to California to adopt a dog?

    Best of luck and I'm sure you will be a great dog owner (wherever you choose to adopt from).
  3. #3 Feb 1, 2010
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2010
    I'm gonna be honest as I own an amstaff, and I know all to well what they're like. Please don't think I'm being rude but I'm just gonna lay it on out for you. There are major red flags that the rescue is going to see and you'll most likely be denied adoption.

    1. You rent and your landlord is unaware of your intention of adopting a dog. Amstaffs are usually classified as a dangerous dog breed and usually require insurance premiums to go up. Your landlord may not be willing to pay a higher premium so you maybe out of luck.

    2. You have no experience with amstaffs. They are not like other dogs. Yes they're snuggley and sweet with humans, but they don't always like cats and other dogs. And guess what, that's normal for the breed. They're also very strong willed, determined, and very, VERY hard headed. I would suggest you volunteer at a shelter or rescue to get some experience dealing with amstaffs.

    3. Most rescues these days for pit bulls and amstaffs require a fenced-in backyard or kennel. Reason why is they can be escape artists, and they don't want these dogs they put so much love and attention into winding up back in another shelter or bad situation because they ran away.

    Another thing you haven't mentioned which is important because you have cats; is the dog cat friendly? This is very important because the dog will be around many cats and you want to keep everyone safe.

    I also noticed you want this dog to be a mostly outside dog in good weather. That's also a no-no and the rescue will find this unacceptable as well. They do terribly when they're left outside alone. They're a human oriented dog. This has been bred into them for centuries. They have a strong drive to be with their humans and do terribly and become very destructive when left to their own devices.

    But hey, give it a shot. You never know, but don't be surprised if they say this won't work for an amstaff, or if they say things need to be changed in the home in order to be considered.

    Best of luck!
    chessmont likes this.
  4. Are you also currently abreast of any BSL laws in your area as well as CA? Since your moving soon I would highly recommend you research any laws and carefully adhere to them or you may risk fines or depending on the area your dog could be seized and euthanized.
    chessmont likes this.
  5. Thank you for your reply! I was looking for an honest answer, as I don't want any dog to be miserable in my home!
    I've done quite a bit of research in the past few days and I've decided not to go with an amstaff (for several of the reasons you mentioned). I don't have any experience with dogs, and I don't think I'm quite ready for one yet.
    (btw I didn't mean that I would leave the dog outside by himself...I just meant that he could go in/out as he pleased.)

    Anyway, I did go down to my local shelter (where there are a TON of amstaffs! At least 6/12!). I wanted to go meet some of the dogs in person and to find out if they were cat friendly. I ended up taking home a Chihuahua. Just a little different than an amstaff lol. :biggrin:
    He is doing great so far...currently zonked out on my bed. The cat hissed at him and tried to swipe at him...but he just sat there and stared, no barking or growling. He is a really good boy!
    chessmont likes this.
  6. Congrats on your new dog! Sounds like he'll fit in great with your home.
    chessmont likes this.
  7. Good luck with your new dog! Post pics when you get a chance.
    chessmont likes this.
  8. Aw, good for you for understanding your limits and adopting a Chihuahua instead. They're the most common in shelters now ABOVE the pit bull breeds. (damn Paris Hilton!)
    Enjoy your new buddy!
    chessmont likes this.