Black pigmentation on the nose and eye rims is preferred, with only some pink allowed. Despite its name, the Staffordshire Terrier was first bred in the nineteenth century in Birmingham, West Midlands, rather than in the English county of Staffordshire where it was then later bred. The color conformation is quite varied, but solid black or any degree of merle is considered a cosmetic fault, and a blue color is a disqualification by the NKC Breed Standard. The breed was first recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1886. It is a spaniel type dog that is closely related to the English Cocker Spaniel; the two breeds diverged during the 20th century due to differing breed standards in America and the UK.
Standard or Performance types are generally more athletic with longer muzzles and a more square head. A height of about 18 to 19 inches (46 to 48 cm) at shoulders for the male and 17 to 18 inches (43 to 46 cm) for the female is to be considered preferable. They are capable of jumping in excess of 7 feet (2.1 m) vertical due to the dense muscle build of the breed. The American Staffordshire Terrier should give the impression of great strength for his size, a well put-together dog, muscular, but agile and graceful, keenly alive to his surroundings. They were eventually successful; a litter produced in 1981 provided the foundation stock of the breed.