Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Fondly referred to as a Staffy, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a courageous small dog breed that started his life as a fighter and has become a lover of families all over the world.
Origin & History
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier was developed in England by crossing the Bulldog with the Manchester Terrier. He was created in the early 19th century to be a people-friendly small competitor in the fighting ring.
In 1835, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier Club was formed in England that was responsible for writing the breed standard.
A similarly named club was founded in America in 1974. A Staffy named Tinkinswood Imperial was the first to be registered by the American Kennel Club which officially recognised the breed in 1975.
The Stafford has a strong muscular body. He has a short broad head and resembles breeds like American Staffordshire Terrier and American Pit Bull Terrier.
The shape of his ears and size distinguishes him from other bull breeds. He has dark eyes, a stocky frame, strong jaws, a short muzzle and distinct cheek muscles.
This dog breed has a short smooth coat that lies close to his skin. It comes in the following colours:
- Red and white
- Fawn and white
- Black and white
- Blue and white
- Brindle with white
Size & Weight
A mature Staffy measures 14 to 16 inches (35 to 41cm) tall and weighs between 24 and 38 pounds (10 and 17kg).
Character & Abilities
Despite his imposing physical features, the Staffy is patient and loving to children so much so that he has been nicknamed the nanny dog.
It is however important to supervise when the dog is with young children. He may accidentally knock them down as they play together.
All children should be taught how to relate to the dog. They should not bite or pull any parts of his body. He should not be disturbed when he is sleeping or eating.
The Stafford is enthusiastic, courageous, curious and adventurous. He is alert and attentive even when he seems to be taking a nap. He will let you know when visitors approach.
This person loving breed is trustworthy and protective of his family. He is least concerned about protecting property in the home and is more invested in the people.
Though he looks tough with his intense stare and powerful stance, the Stafford is a sensitive and gentle dog that loves life. His one goal in life is to spend time with his human companions, no matter the activity.
Because of his breeding, the Staffy might be aggressive towards other dogs. It is important to keep him on his leash when outside.
Even though this breed can be socialised to get along with other pets, he has a strong prey drive and can be aggressive. Some Staffordshire dogs are better off in a single pet home.
Exercise & Nutrition Needs
The Staffy is an energetic and athletic dog. He needs a vigorous walk and playtime every day. He makes an excellent jogging companion.
The recommended daily amount of high-quality dog food is 2 to 3 cups, split into two meals. How much an adult Stafford eats depends on his age, size, body type, metabolism and level of activity.
Maintain an appropriate feeding schedule and avoid spoiling your Staffy with dog treats and table scraps. Adequate exercise and management of meals will ensure the dog doesn’t gain excess weight and all the problems related to it.
The Staffy’s short coat lies close to the skin and sheds annually with minimal hair loss. It is easy to brush the dirt off the coat and it dries fast after a bath.
This breed has little doggy odour and doesn’t need frequent bathing. Weekly brushing can remove any dead or loose fur.
After any outdoor adventures, it is important to examine the Stafford’s body during grooming to check for any bruises or injuries. This is because this breed has a high pain tolerance and will not communicate any discomfort he is experiencing.
Trainability & Intelligence
The Stafford is highly intelligent but stubborn. He excels in activities like obedience, flyball and agility and can be trained to be a therapy dog.
For a Stafford to be a well-rounded dog, he needs early socialisation. Training should be loving, firm and consistent. He should not be adopted by timid or novice dog owners.
Living Conditions & Adaptability
This dog breed loves plenty of attention and doesn’t like to be left alone. He cannot live outside the home and can suffer from separation anxiety when left alone for prolonged periods.
The Stafford enjoys being comfortable. He will join his family on the bed or couch whenever possible.
During puppyhood, this breed is mouthy and loves to chew. He should be provided with hardy dog toys to reduce the likelihood of him damaging shoes or other household items.
Like other terriers, the Staffy likes to dig. He might even dig himself out of a fenced yard. To prevent this, it is recommended to reinforce the fence with concrete or chicken wire.
Health & Life Expectancy
Generally a healthy breed, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier might suffer health concerns like:
- Luxating patella
- Canine hip dysplasia
- Elbow dysplasia
- Skin allergies
- Demodectic mange
- L-2 Hydroxyglutaric Aciduria (metabolic disorder)
- Juvenile cataracts
- Mass cell tumours
- Inverted canines
- Tibial Crest Avulsion
This dog does not tolerate heat. He should be kept well hydrated and monitored to make sure he doesn’t suffer heatstroke.
The Stafford has a life expectancy of 12 to 14 years.
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is an excellent dog and a favourite breed for experienced dog parents. He is loyal, affectionate, playful and protective of his family. He may look like a toughie but is truly a softie.
Before adopting a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, confirm if any laws restrict the ownership of bull breeds in your area.
Our team at All The Small Dog Breeds is devoted to ensuring dogs get connected to responsible owners who can provide healthy and happy lives.
No two dogs are the same. We have put together small dog breed descriptions that are detailed and informative to help new and experienced dog parents to identify a breed that suits their needs.