Let's talk Staffordshire Bull Terriers

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier will keep you on your toes with their sprightliness. The breed thrives with confident pet owners who can meet their energetic demands. Intelligent and loving, this small but mighty canine has a family tree with gladiator genes - they’re one generation down from the cross-bred Bull and Terrier. Rest assured that responsible breeding has transformed the Staffordshire Bull Terrier into a loyal companion, who is very good with children once trained. Just one look at that affable face and wagging tail tells you all you need to know.

Official name: Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Other names: Staffy

Origins: United Kingdom

Black and white portrait of a sitting Staffordshire Bull Terrier
 Drooling tendencies

Medium

Warm weather? Very low
 Shedding level
Suited to apartment living?  Medium
 Energy Level (high, low, medium)* Medium Family Pet?* 
Very high
 Compatibility with other pets Very low
Can stay alone?*

 * We advise against leaving pets alone for long stretches. Companionship can prevent emotional distress and destructive behaviour. Speak to your veterinarian for recommendations.

Every pet is different, even within a breed; this snapshot of this breed specifics should be taken as an indication.
 
For a happy healthy and well-behaved pet, we recommend educating and socializing your pet as well as covering their basic welfare needs (and their social and behavioral needs).
 
Pets should never be left unsupervised with a child.
 
Contact your breeder or veterinarian for further advice.
 
All domestic pets are sociable and prefer company.  However, they can be taught to cope with solitude from an early age.  Seek the advice of your veterinarian or trainer to help you do this.

 
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Illustration of a Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Male
36 - 41 cm Height
13 - 17 kg Weight
Female
36 - 41 cm Height
11 - 15 kg Weight

 

 Baby age  Birth to 2 months
 Puppy age  2 to 12 months
 Adult age  1 to 7 years
 Mature age  7 to 10 years
 Senior age  10 years upwards

Black Staffordshire Bull Terrier standing on a rock

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Get to know the Staffordshire Bull Terrier

All you need to know about the breed

There’s never a dull moment with a Staffordshire Bull Terrier. He’s a people-person above all so will enjoy coming with you on a long walk, chilling out with you on the sofa or helping you run errands in town. The sociable temperament of a Staffordshire Bull Terrier means there’s no wiggle room for leaving them to entertain themselves.

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier handles apartment life just fine, so long as they’re getting enough time outdoors. This breed will thrive as part of an outdoorsy family and daily exercise - running, hiking, walking, chasing a ball - is essential to satisfy their high energy levels. They are whip smart with a slight tendency to be stubborn. This requires a confident owner who will accept them for the free-spirits that they are, while also showing patience, creativity, and consistency in bringing them to heel.

While the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a fan of people, they have a strong prey drive so do not tend to get along with other dogs and relish the opportunity to chase after small animals. The out-of-the-house solution is pretty simple - keep them on a leash when out for a walk.

You will be magnificently rewarded for the time and effort put into training a Staffordshire Bull Terrier - they’re loyal, friendly dogs who appreciate snuggling up with you, wherever you are. Yes, even this breed hits the snooze button from time to time.

Close-up of a Staffordshire Bull Terrier with its tongue out

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2 facts about Staffordshire Bull Terriers

1. Ice, Ice Baby

When the temperatures rise, it is best for the Staffordshire Bull Terrier to stay in the shade - like most Brits. Keep an eye on them during hot months, to prevent overheating, and save daily exercise sessions for cool mornings and/or evenings.

2. Chewed Up

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier has a strong jaw that needs to be kept busy while indoors - otherwise they’ll sink their teeth into the furniture. It’s not something they grow out of as they leave their puppy days behind but this extracurricular activity is a great way to keep their jaw in good shape. Be sure to pick chew toys that will support their overall oral health.

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History of the breed

While the breed’s lineage can be traced back as far back as the 15th century, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier has a relatively brief canine history.

The heritage of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, along with the American Staffordshire Terrier, feeds into the misconception that they’re an aggressive breed. Their ancestor, the Bulldog, was unfortunately bred for illicit sports, where gamblers would gather to place illegal bets on dog fights, all in the name of entertainment. A wholly unethical practice - it was often a fight to the death - that is thankfully filed away in the history archives. However, this fight club past has been hard for the Staffordshire Bull Terrier to shake off and it has been a long journey for the breed to be officially recognised.

In 1835, the first Staffordshire Bull Terrier Club was formed in the UK. By the mid 19th century, the breed had evolved thanks to the careful attention of Birmingham local, James Hinks. But it wasn’t until 1975 that the breed was given breed recognition by the American Kennel Club.

Who would have thought, with such brawler roots, that the Staffordshire Bull Terrier would go on to become the dictionary definition of “man’s best friend”?

Black and white portrait of a Staffordshire Bull Terrier lying down

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From head to tail

Physical characteristics of Staffordshire Bull Terriers

1. Ears

Ears are either half-pricked or rose-shaped.

2. Head

Broad head with visible cheek muscles and a black nose.

3. Body

Muscular body with prominent ribs.

4. Coat

The coat is smooth and short-haired.

5. Tail

Tail sits low and narrows out at the tip.

Close-up side view of a Staffordshire Bull Terrier looking to the right

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Things to look out for

From specific breed traits to a general health overview, here are some interesting facts about your Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Staffordshire Bull Terrier stood on grass looking to the left

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Caring for your Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Grooming, training and exercise tips

This handsome canine is low-key when it comes to grooming. Brush your Staffordshire Bull Terrier’s coat once a week to keep it glossy. The occasional bath will guarantee extra shine (and draw admiring glances). Have we mentioned? This particular breed requires daily exercise in cooler temperatures. To keep your Staffordshire Bull Terrier in good health, invite them on a bike ride or a jog, or play chase with them in the garden. Training your Staffordshire Bull Terrier once you’ve welcomed them into your home is vital - they are easily bored, which can lead to destructive behaviour. On the flip-side, their intelligence makes them quick learners and they respond well to discipline, which results in a protective companion who likes to have good, clean fun - that’s fun with a capital “F”.

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All about Staffordshire Bull Terriers

Due to their brawler roots, people often assume the breed to be dangerous but this is not the case. The breeding evolution of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier makes them one of the most affectionate dogs out there. While no animal should be treated as a babysitter, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is gentle enough with children - after some training - to have earned the nickname of “nanny dog” in its home country.

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier prefers long-term commitment over a casual fling. With a life expectancy of 12-14 years, help them to enjoy life for as long as possible with a healthy diet, consistent exercise and regular vet check-ups. There’s plenty of time for you to create wonderful memories together.

Other breeds that might interest you.

Sources

1 - Veterinary Centers of America https://vcahospitals.com/ 

2 - Royal Canin Dog Encyclopaedia. Ed 2010 and 2020

3 - Banfield Pet Hospital https://www.banfield.com/

4 - Royal Canin BHN Product Book

5 - American Kennel Club https://www.akc.org/