Staffordshire Bull Terrier

History

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier, or Staffy, was first developed in England in the early 1800's. The Bull Terrier was crossed with the Black and Tan Terrier to produce a small dog with strong jaws. Bull baiting was not practical in towns and cities, so rat pits began to open up and became a popular sport amongst the working classes. Staffies were quick and nimble and drew huge gatherings to these events. By the time that dog fights were banned, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier had become a loyal pet which continues today.

Behaviour

The Staffy is a people dog and loves to be around the family. They earned the nick name 'Nanny dog' due to their love of children and are very protective, yet gentle. Being around people is what pleases them, so being left alone for too long isn't an option. They will nuzzle, lick and welcome you and are generally good with strangers visiting your home. As long as they get attention they are happy. They are playful, yet docile and are responsive to their owners wishes. Reasonably easy to train, Staffies need early socialisation to avoid aggression towards strange dogs. It is rarely the one to start a fight, but is tenacious and fearless when it's needs to be. A long walk, game of ball and a cuddle on the sofa with produce a dog that will be loyal to the end. He will want to sleep on your bed, sofa or lap at all times. They have quite a high energy level, so need a daily walk, off lead if recall is ok, they rarely run away as they want to be around you. They do have a high prey drive and will chase small animals. Staffordshire Bull Terriers make good watch dogs and only bark when they need to. Their appearance can put people off breaking in, even though any burglar would probably receive a warm welcome with lots of licks and fuss.

In recent years they have had a bad press due to fighting with other dogs and attacking people. The breed rarely bites people, but due to the popularity of the breed numbers are higher as there are so many Staffies. The breed is not to blame, the owner is. These dogs are affectionate to the extreme, loyal, kind and deserve a place in a family home. Many are found in rescue centres in the UK and just need some affection to produce the most rewarding dog you will ever have.

With short fur, they only need an occasional brush to keep them looking good. Staffies can't swim very well. Health wise, they don't have any major concerns, apart from Canine Hip Dysplasia, which rarely causes problems for the dog affected.

Temperament

Staffordshire Bull Terriers have an energetic and companionable temperament. They love human interaction and are very affectionate. With very lean muscualr physiques it is no surprise that these dogs need exercise. This is best in the form of a brisk daily walk and a decent play session. Staffies can be unpredictable with other dogs so it is particularly important to socialise them early and as often as possible.

Health Problems

Health problems that may affect Staffordshire Bull Terriers include progressive retinal atrophy (PRA: degeneration of the retina which can lead to blindness), canine hip dysplasia (CHD), elbow dysplasia, luxating patella (dislocation of the knee cap), epilepsy, heart disease, deafness (particularly in those with a lot of white on their head), allergies and breathing difficulties.

Breed Details

  • Status: Common
  • Life Expectancy: 12 - 14 years
  • Weight: 11 - 17 kg
  • Height: 17 - 19"
  • Rare: No
  • Coat: Short
  • Grooming Requirements: Once a week
  • Town or Country: Either
  • Minimum Home Size: Small House
  • Minimum Garden Size: Small to Medium Garden
  • Breed Type: Pest Control Dog
  • Size: Medium
  • Energy Level: Medium
  • Exercise Required: Up to 1 hour

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