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Breed Series

Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Staffordshire Bull Terriers are wonderful family-friendly dogs. They may look intimidating, but they have hearts of gold! Staffordshire Bull Terriers, or more affectionately called “staffies,” can be playful, stubborn, courageous, protective, and so much more.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier History

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier descends from the bulldog and the Manchester Terrier. They were bred in the 1800s to be fighting dogs because they have both the strong jaws of a bulldog and the stubborn tenacity of the terrier. Even though dog fighting was outlawed in the 1830s, they continued to be used in underground fighting. 

Over time, Staffordshire Bull Terriers have become slightly taller and heavier. They have also lost their aggression, instead channeling it to become family protectors. They are no longer the scary dogfighting champions of yesteryears and instead have become fun-loving dogs ready to play or just rest at home – all that matters is that your dog is with you!

Staffordshire Bull Terrier Appearance

Staffordshire Bull Terriers are small to medium-sized dogs. They can stand between 14 inches to 16 inches and weigh between 24 to 38 pounds, though males tend to be slightly taller and heavier. 

Their short, smooth coat can be any number of colors: blue, black, white, fawn, and red. They can also be brindled, so there is a great range of looks in the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. Because they have a short, broad head with a muscular body, your Staffordshire Bull Terrier may be mistaken for a pit bull, but you can tell the difference, most notably in their size and ears. 

Staffordshire Bull Terrier Personality

Staffordshire Bull Terriers love people, and they are great protective animals, perfect for families with children. Just remember that they can be stubborn dogs, though you could also call them courageous, tough, and curious, ready to adventure and explore! Evenly matched with its sometimes stubborn temperament is a calm, obedient and fun-loving dog just waiting to relax on the couch with you.

You will want to make sure to socialize your Staffordshire Bull Terrier at an early age to make sure that they are comfortable around other dogs and people. The more you can expose them to, the better behaved your dog will be. They are highly attuned to their surroundings, so you will always know when guests, squirrels, and other animals make a surprise appearance!

They are not barkers though, but that doesn’t mean your Staffordshire Bull Terrier will be perfectly quiet. Instead, they can be vocal in other ways to get your attention! Your Staffordshire Bull Terrier will snort, groan, grunt, and snore - they can even sing, which some compare to a yodel. These sounds help them communicate with you, so be sure to listen.

Overall, Staffordshire Bull Terriers are playful dogs with a mild disposition. They will protect you and your family but are prone to prey instincts. 

Staffordshire Bull Terrier Exercise Requirements

Staffordshire Bull Terriers should have at 1-2 hours of exercise daily, which could be spread throughout several walks or other types of playtime. They are intelligent, so you will want to take care to play with them. You can also get puzzle games for independent play. If your dog is not properly exercised, they may start to dig and become destructive, so they must be active. If you want to let your Staffordshire Bull Terrier free run, make sure it is a properly fenced-in area. If not, they will always find a way to get out to get their prey!

Staffordshire Bull Terrier Training and Care

Staffordshire Bull Terriers need plenty of socialization and human contact, so you will want to make sure that you have ample time to spend with your dog. Because they were initially bred to be dogfighters, they have a strong prey drive. Staffie’s should only be walked off-leash when fully trained, as they may fall victim to their prey drive and give chase.

Staffordshire Bull Terriers are highly intelligent dogs that can learn very quickly, but they can be stubborn! Be consistent, firm, and very patient with your Staffordshire Bull Terrier. Reward their behaviors rather than punish them, as they can be impulsive. If your dog is bored, they may become destructive.

How much your Staffordshire Bull Terrier should be eating depends on their size and how active they are. Typically, it’s best to feed them two meals per day, with a total consumption of between 1 and 5/8 to 2 and 1/4 cups of high-quality dog food. Staffordshire Bull Terriers can become overweight without proper exercise, so keep an eye on their food consumption and adjust as needed. Your dog should always have access to fresh water.

Staffordshire Bull Terriers can be prone to bloat, so you will want to make sure that they eat and drink at least an hour after exercise to help prevent this. 

Staffordshire Bull Terrier Health

Staffordshire Bull Terriers are healthy stout breeds that typically live between 12 and 14 years, but they can be prone to hereditary diseases. These can include: 

  • Canine Hip Dysplasia (CHD), which can cause your dog to become lame or develop arthritis when they get older. This is because the thighbone does not fit into the hip joint properly.
  • Elbow Dysplasia, which impacts the growth rate of elbow bones that can lead your dog to become lame. 
  • Patellar Luxation, which is when the thighbone, kneecap, and calf aren't properly aligned. The rubbing can lead to arthritis. 
  • Cataracts, which can cause blindness in dogs aged 3 or older. 
  • Skin allergies or mange, which can be patches of itchy, red, and scaly skin that have no hair. These can also become infected.

If you are going through a breeder, you can ask for heath tests to see what conditions your Staffordshire Bull Terrier may develop. The AKC recommends the L2HGA DNA test, hereditary cataracts DNA test, and getting an Ophthalmologist Evaluation. These will not be available if you are adopting a Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier Grooming

Because the Staffordshire Bull Terrier has a short coat, they don’t need much grooming. They shed annually. Still, you will want to brush them weekly. This will help to remove any loose hair or any loose dirt your dog may have picked up while out and about.

They do not require frequent bathing, just as needed. Keep in mind that you will want to trim your Staffordshire Bull Terrier’s nails at least once a month, if not more. If your dog’s nails get too long, they can be painful. A good sign that you need to trim their nails is if you hear the nails clicking on the ground.

Additionally, you will want to clean your Staffordshire Bull Terrier's ears regularly. It's easy to do, simply get a cotton ball and a cleanser and wipe. You will want to get the outer edge of the ear canal and make sure that you don't go too deep. You should go no deeper than your knuckle to prevent harming your dog’s ears. Because of their ear shape and how they hang, earwax and debris can build up without regular cleaning. This can lead to ear infections. If you notice any redness, inflammation, or other dirt, you may need to go see a vet. 

Lastly, you will want to brush your Staffordshire Bull Terrier's teeth about two or three times per week. This will help your dog's breath smell great, prevent tartar build-up and remove any bacteria that may cause infection.