While the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, or Staffy for short, may look like a tough guy, underneath his exterior, he is known for his affectionate nature and trustworthiness. This breed is amazingly adaptable to changing environments and can handle a change in owners because of its love of humans.
And while this…
It is a great dog with a long history of being an excellent companion dog; it is the subject of breed-specific legislation regarding the banning of American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, or ‘Bully mixes,’ and Terriers simply because, in our opinion, bad OWNERS exploit these dogs and other breeds like them.
This is why we wanted to take a moment and discuss the Staffordshire Bull Terrier dog breed so that even if you’re not necessarily interested in adopting one of these incredible dogs, you’ll have a better understanding of what they are like when appropriately raised.
Perhaps have a better understanding of why they can become dangerous as pets with the wrong owner, which is why we always recommend evaluating who owns the “Staffy” before you discriminate because if the owner is a kind and loving person, chances are their Staffy will be kind and caring as well.
So, without further ado, let’s dive right in!
Staffordshire Bull Terrier Fast Facts
Country of Origin: England
Original Purpose: Ratting, dog fighting
Weight: 26 to 40 pounds
Height: 13 to 16 inches at the withers
Dog Breed Classification: Terrier group
Life Span: 12 to 14 years
Origin of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier has a long history dating back to at least the 15th Century. Unfortunately, this history includes him being used for a variety of unpleasant jobs, including the harassment of a bull by a dog, called bull-baiting which was not only a popular entertainment but a way to tenderize the meat of a bull. This is why even today, these dogs are often referred to as “Bulldogs” even though this practice has long been outlawed. And while the act of “bull baiting” is undoubtedly cruel to all its participants, there is one thing that no one can deny, which is that the Staffordshire Bull Terrier was good at it!
And why not?
After all, this is essentially what these guys were bred for and was why early “creators” of this breed chose to crossbreed large, fierce bulldogs of the early 15th century with miniature tenacious terriers of the time. And in the West Midlands of England, this crossbreeding brought about what is now known as The Staffordshire Bull Terrier. In Staffordshire, these dogs were popular with coal miners and other working men who would have dog fights.
Due to the resulting…
Association with fighting this breed took some time before it was recognized, even though dog fighting had been outlawed in 1835. A century later, England’s Kennel Club (finally) recognized this dog breed, known to be fighting dogs, and in 1975 the American Kennel Club (AKC) recognized the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
Temperament and Personality
Despite this negative bit of history, these dogs love the human race and are even crazier about children. The Staffy is a dog with high intelligence, tenacity, and determined courage. This, coupled with his fondness and attachment to people, means that, in the right home, he can be a great family dog.
Staffords (both puppies and adults) are generally friendly with people and are not timid or snappy. This attitude does not carry over to other dogs (and cats) because they were bred for so long to be dog-fighters. It is possible, though, if the Staffy has been socialized since puppyhood, they may be friendly to other dogs, but generally, you shouldn’t assume this to be the case.
Stafford’s are also…
Known to have a “Joie de Vivre” (Joy of living) and tends to be full of enthusiasm and energy for an adventure. This is why it is essential to have the Staffy confined to a yard with a solid fence when they are outdoors. Otherwise, they can get themselves into trouble and potentially get hurt.
Due to the Staffordshire’s…
Adoration of people, he will work to protect them from harm from others. With this sense of love for people, they will not have much concern if a thief enters and takes their property. Thus, there are better guard dogs than this breed. Overall though, they are decent enough watchdogs, and their appearance tends to be enough to scare off most people with evil intent.
Now there are a few…
Things you should know about these guys. First, since the Stafford has prominent cheek muscles and powerful jaws (a breed standard), it does love to chew, so tough toys are needed to give your dog an alternative to your possessions. (Also, be prepared to replace the toys quite frequently.)
In its native Britain, the Stafford is known as the ‘children’s nursemaid.’ His fondness for children can make him a wonderful playmate for them. (Of course, a dog should never be left alone with a child as a babysitter.) You must remember to supervise your Staffy with toddlers because of their sturdy bodies and energy; they can accidentally tip over the little ones if they get too excited. Regardless though, this dog will be a wonderful friend to your child.
No matter what, your Stafford is going to want to be with you at all times. So, don’t get this dog if you don’t want him helping in the kitchen or garage, riding in the car with you, or curling up on the sofa while you read. This dog loves anything athletic, like hikes and walks, and because of his athleticism, he is well-suited for rallies, agility, and most dog sports.
Staffordshire Bull Terrier Training
You should start training your Staffy puppy the day you bring them home, even if they are only eight weeks old. (When the dog is six months old, it will be very headstrong, and training will be pretty tricky.) Working with a trainer who understands the mindset of a Bully breed of dog would be most helpful.
With your Stafford, you need to consider their stubborn, sensitive exuberant personality when you are training them. It would be best to remain patient but persistent and firm to get your dog trained properly. Remember never to be harsh or mean, whether it be physically or verbally.
Potential Health Concerns
While all dogs are predisposed to inheriting specific diseases, you must find one who has bred to minimize the risks if you decide to get your Staffy from a breeder. Overall, Staffordshire Bull Terriers are a relatively healthy breed, but there are some health issues that have been seen, including;
- Elbow Dysplasia,
- Hip Dysplasia,
- Juvenile Cataracts,
- Patellar Luxation,
- Allergies (treatment with steroids).
There is also…
A metabolic disorder called L-2-Hydroxyglutaric Aciduria (L-2-HGA), where the enzyme that breaks down the hydroxybutyric acid that accumulates in the spinal fluid and plasma is missing. The symptoms of L-2-HGA include tremors, seizures, and developmental issues. A DNA test can be done to check for carriers of this disease, and any reputable breeder will have the written documents of this test being done on the parents.
You should also…
Request that your breeder provide written documentation from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) or the University of Pennsylvania (Penn Hip) that states that the parent’s hips were free of dysplasia. In addition, breeders should have the eyes tested, on the Staffy pups, in the last year showing that they are free from inherited (juvenile) cataracts, and will have a Canine Eye Registration Form (CERF) that they can provide you with as well.
- Hip Dysplasia: $1800-$6500
- Cataracts: $1250-$1750
- Ligament Injury: $1250-$3500
- Topical Corticosteroids: $50-$150 (every three months)
- Prednisone: $20-$50 (monthly)
And while many of these conditions may not be life-threatening, they can become quite expensive, particularly if they become recurring issues. This is why we here at IndulgeYourPet also recommend that any new pet owner take a moment and see what it might cost for you to purchase a pet insurance policy for your new animal.
Now will a pet insurance policy be suitable for everyone?
No, probably not. But until you fully understand what these policies “will” and “won’t” cover and how much these pet insurance policies cost, how will you know if one might be right for you?
For more information on who we feel currently offers the “best” pet insurance policies out there, we would encourage you to check out our Best Pet Insurance Policies article.