Breed Type

Terrier

History

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is an English breed of dog that was originally bred as a game fighter in the early 1800's. The modern day Staffordshire Bull Terrier with its courage, perseverance, high intelligence and strong affection for its friends and human family has been the result.  

Description

Whilst the Staffordshire bull terrier shares its ancestry with the Bull Terrier, the American Pit Bull Terrier and the American Staffordshire Terrier, there are major differences that make them distinct breeds.

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a compact package with a broad head and very prominent cheek muscles. The ears are small and rose or half prick in shape. The mouth is wide with a clean scissor-like bite and the lips show no looseness. The neck is strong and well muscled, tapering to shoulders placed on squarely spaced forelimbs. Their rib cage is well defined and the last rib of their cage should be visible. They are tucked up in their loins with well muscled hind-quarters. Their tail is medium length and is generally carried quite low. It is erect when the dog is alert and is rarely still! The overall impression is of a strong, active, athletic dog with a lively and intelligent personality.

The most common colors are black, brindle, red/fawn - often with white. Blue is rare but acceptable. Lliver colored or black and tan dogs also occur rarely but are considered an unacceptable color for showing or breeding. However these dogs will still make wonderful pets. They may also be white or pied (60% white with color patches).

Size

Average height (at withers) for both sexes is 14-16 inches/36-41 cm. Weight varies from 25-38pounds/11-17kg in the dog and 23-35 pounds/10-16kg in the bitch.  

Coat

The Staffordshire coat is smooth, short and easy to care for. However the short coat does mean they are susceptible to weather extremes - they do feel the heat and cold! 

Temperament

Pit Bulls and Bull Terriers are often implicated in incidences of dog aggression towards people. The Staffordshire Bull Terrier however, is well known for being people friendly and having an exuberant response to gestures of friendship from strangers. Although very devoted to their families, this love of people means Staffords DO NOT make good watchdogs. The Staffordshire Bull Terrier that is properly socialised will live in harmony with other dogs and pets. They are also a breed that can be trusted with children. Staffords are comfort loving and expect to be part of the family. They crave attention and love to play games. They are very physical dogs and adore physical contact with their owners - whether it's a friendly wrestling match or a cuddle at night while watching TV. Training is essential to set limits so the young Stafford learns what behaviour is acceptable and what it not.

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier history explains their extraordinary courage, tenacity and high intelligence. Add a reliable and stable personality and a strong love of people and you have a wonderfully devoted and versatile companion dog. The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a dog that lives life to the fullest and will demand you do so as well! Their strong sense of humour and zest for life is guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

Longevity

10-16years

Health

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a naturally healthy and robust breed. They require little maintenance beyond general dog care. 

Possible Genetic Disorders

There are only a few hereditary health disorders you need to be aware of as a potential Stafford owner. These are: L-2-HGA (a rare but serious neurological disease), Hereditary Cataracts and Persistent Hyperplastic Primary Vitreous (hereditary eye problems) and Hip Dysplasia (a bone problem affecting the hip joints). All of these problems can be screened for by reputable breeders. 

Best Suited

  • For people with time to devote to daily walks, play sessions and cuddles!
  • For experienced dog owners. The Staffords high intelligence combined with occasional stubbornness means they can be a challenge. This breed needs firm, experienced handling and training

Worst Suited

  • These dogs are a full time commitment. If you are away from home for long periods and unable to devote time to your dog when you are home each night, this breed is not for you.
  • Not recommended as guard dogs!

Recommended Reading  

Getting to Know Staffords: A Guide to Choosing and Owning a Staffordshire Bull Terrier by Rae Joy Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Getting to Know Staffords