Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier Dog Breed: Pictures, Colors, Bark, Characteristics, and Diet

The Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier, otherwise known as the Irish Staff or Irish Staffie, is a medium-to-large-sized breed of dog.

They’re not recognized as a breed in their own right in any major Kennel Club worldwide, and they are not the breed for everyone, but for the right family, they can make a great addition. 

A leashed Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier
The Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier – Image source

The average Irish Staffy is 17 to 24 inches (43.2 to 61 cm) tall and weighs 55 to 77 lbs (24.9 to 34.9 kg).

They’re born in litters of 6 to 8 puppies and grow to reach their full adult size by 12 to 18 months old.

They have broad, muscular bodies with large, blocky heads and small flopped ears.

Their short, soft, and shiny coats come in various colors including black, white, fawn, blue, brindle, and red. 

The Irish Staffy is loyal, protective, loving, and fearless.

They have an average lifespan of 10 to 16 years with good care, including a high-quality, well-balanced diet, exercise of 1 to 1.5 hours per day, mental stimulation, and companionship.

Irish Staffies also have a bite force of 235 PSI and a loud bark that is usually directed at wild animals such as rabbits and birds. 

Keep reading for everything you need to know about the breed.

Table of Contents

What is an Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier?

A blue Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Meet King Koba, a blue Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier – Image source

The Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier is an Irish variety of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, which is a bull-baiting breed with vermin hunting ancestry, including the Old English Bulldog and the now-extinct Terrier breed.

They were developed in Ireland for dog-fighting due to their strength and fearlessness, and are closely related to the other Bull Terrier breeds.

It’s not known which breeds were mixed with the regular Staffy dog to create the Irish variety, but their existence has been debated by many. 

They look very similar to the Pit Bull Terrier, which is banned in several countries in Europe.

So, some say that the “Irish Staffie” is just what owners in such countries call their Pit Bulls to circumnavigate breed-specific legislation.

However, the Irish Staffie does have distinctive differences from the Pit Bull. They are taller and leaner.

They were added to the updated list of banned dogs in the UK according to the UK’s Dangerous Dogs Act of 1991.

They’re still legal to own in many other countries, including the United States.

Why are They Called Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier Dogs?

A fawn Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Meet Hugo-James, a fawn Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier – Image source

The Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier is named after their origins.

They are an Irish variety of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, a British breed of dog from the English county of Staffordshire.

While they were bred in England, they were further developed in Ireland.

Where Did the Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier Come From?

As mentioned, the Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier comes from England but was developed in Ireland.

Although, it’s never been officially stated which part of the country the breed was developed in. 

When Did the Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier Originate?

An Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier on all fours
King Koba, the Irish Staffie, is ready for some outdoor fun – Image source

The Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier was developed for dogfighting in the early 1800s.

They were later kept as family pets when such blood sports were outlawed under the UK’s Humane Act in 1835. 

How Many Irish Staffordshire Bull Terriers are There in the World?

In the year 2000, author Shaun Barker claimed that there were only 372 purebred and registered Irish Staffords in the worldin his book Staffordshire Bull Terriers – English & Irish.

We can assume that they are still a rare breed today due to their status as “dangerous” dogs in certain parts of the world.

What are the Characteristics of Irish Staffordshire Bull Terriers?

A smiling Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Mac, an Irish Staffie, wants to play outside – Image source

Whilst every dog is different and their personalities can vary, different breeds tend to have certain characteristics.

Let’s take a look at the common characteristics of the Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

  • Active: Irish Staffies are an energetic breed that needs a lot of exercise to stay in shape. 
  • Playful: They also need daily mental stimulation to prevent boredom. 
  • Loving: The Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier forms close and affectionate relationships with its family members. 
  • Loyal: The breed is devotedly loyal and thrives on companionship.
  • Protective: They are also incredibly protective of their homes and families.
  • Fearless: The Irish Staffy is known for its courage and will never back down to a threat. 
  • Stubborn: They’re extremely independently minded and need strong, experienced trainers in their early years. 
  • Aggressive: Without thorough training and socialization, Irish Staffies can be aggressive towards others, hence why they’re banned in the United Kingdom. 
Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier Characteristics Rating 
Relation with Family 5
Good with Children 4
Friendly with Strangers 3
Friendly with Other Dogs 2
Easy to Train 3
Energy Level 4
Barking Level 4
Mental Stimulation Needs 4

What Does an Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier Look Like?

An Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier sitting outdoors
Emil, an Irish Staffie, had a day full of activities with his hooman – Image source

The Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier has a broad, muscular body with a large, blocky head and small floppy ears.

Their short, smooth, shiny coats come in various colors including black, white, blue, fawn, brindle, and red.

What is the Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier’s leg structure?

The Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier was modified to be taller and slimmer than the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

They still have a wide stance and a strong, muscular build, but their legs are a little longer and leaner than their canine cousins. 

How big is the Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier?

The Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier is 17 to 24 inches (43.2 to 61 cm).

They need to live in medium-large homes, ideally with an outdoor space. Smaller homes and apartments are doable, provided they receive the right care.

If you’re planning on crate training your Irish Staffie, you’ll need a 38” crate.

Irish Staffy Physical Features Male Female
Height  17 to 24 inches
(43.2 to 61 cm) 
17 to 24 inches
(43.2 to 61 cm) 
Weight 55 to 77 lbs
(24.9 to 34.9 kg) 
55 to 77 lbs
(24.9 to 34.9 kg) 

How long does an Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier dog grow?

Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier are medium-to-large breeds. That means puppies may take around 12 to 18 months to become fully grown.

They reach adolescence at 6 months old, sexual maturity at 9 months old, and full mental maturity between 18 months and 2 years of age. 

What is the average weight of Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier dogs?

The average Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier weighs 55 to 77 lbs (24.9 to 34.9 kg).

Their exact weight will depend on their size and activity level, but you need to make sure that you keep your Irish Staffy at a healthy weight, as they are prone to joint problems. 

What is the Average Life Expectancy of Irish Staffordshire Bull Terriers?

The average lifespan of an Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier is 10 – 16 years. This breed is generally healthy, but like all breeds, they are susceptible to certain health conditions.

Some of the most common health problems seen in Irish Staffordshires include hip and elbow dysplasia, allergies, and thyroid disorders.

Also, because of their short coats, they are more prone to skin infections.

Responsible dog ownership, including regular vet check-ups and a nutritious diet, will help ensure a long and healthy life for your Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

What Coat Type Do Irish Staffordshire Bull Terriers Have? 

An Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier puppy
Kilo, an Irish Staffie puppy, flaunts his coat – Image source

Irish Staffordshire Bull Terriers have short, smooth, coats that lie close to the skin.

They don’t gather dirt and are pretty low maintenance to look after, requiring a brush session once a week to remove loose fur and the occasional bath to keep it clean.

What is the Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier dog’s coat like?

The Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier’s coat is smooth and soft to touch. When brushing and bathing the fur, you should use a firm pin or bristle brush and all-natural dog shampoo.

How long is the Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier’s coat?

The Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier’s coat is very short in length. Because it is so short, it should not ever require trimming unless for a medical reason. 

What’s the coat density of the Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier?

The Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier’s coat is not very thick nor dense.

In the sparsest areas, particularly in white-colored coats, they may require some sunscreen to protect their skin in hot weather.

Do Irish Staffordshire Bull Terriers shed much?

Irish Staffordshire Bull Terriers shed moderately all year around. They shed seasonally. At this time, they blow their coats to make room for a more seasonally appropriate one. 

Can Irish Staffordshire Bull Terriers Live in Hot Weather?

The Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier is sensitive to both hot and cold weather. They shouldn’t be exerted in the heat and may need to wear a coat in the extreme cold.

As mentioned above, they may also need to wear sunscreen on sunny days. In both hot and cold weather, Irish Staffies need constant access to shelter and fresh water. 

What Colors and Markings Do Irish Staffordshire Bull Terriers Have?

A smiling Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier
A smiley Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier – Image source

The Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier comes in a variety of colors including black, white, blue, red, fawn, and brindle.

Most darker-colored Irish Staffies have white markings on the face, neck, chests, and paws, while white Irish Staffs can be solid-colored but often have dark markings on their heads.

Are Irish Staffordshire Bull Terriers Good Family Dogs?

An Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier looking up
King Koba, the Irish Staffie, begs for more cuddles – Image source

Irish Staffordshire Bull Terriers are not the ideal dogs for most families.

They need more training and socialization than the average dog, as well as lots of companionship and stimulation to ensure good behavior.

However, for the right family, they can make great, loyal, fun family pets. 

Irish Staffy Temperament Rating 
Adaptability 3
Friendliness 3
Mouthiness 3
Playfulness 4
Family-Oriented 5
Stranger Tolerance 3

Are Irish Staffordshire Bull Terriers good with other dogs?

Irish Staffordshire Bull Terriers have a reputation for being aggressive towards other dogs, especially towards those of the same sex.

However, with help from an experienced, dedicated trainer, they can be even-tempered, friendly dogs. 

Are Irish Staffordshire Bull Terriers friendly with other people?

Irish Staffordshire Bull Terriers are friendly and affectionate to their human family members and those that they know well, but they can take time to warm to new people they find suspicious. 

Can Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier dogs get along well with strangers?

The Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier can be reserved with new people until they get to know them, but they shouldn’t be unfriendly towards strangers for no reason if they’re properly trained. 

How do Irish Staffordshire Bull Terriers get along with young children?

The Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier can be even-tempered with children, especially when socialized together from a young age, but they may not be well-suited to life with young, small children.

All children should be taught how to interact with their dogs safely and respectfully to prevent accidents.

Can Irish Staffordshire Bull Terriers Adapt Easily?

An Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier puppy walking
An Irish Staffie puppy playing in a yard – Image source

Irish Staffordshire Terriers are not particularly adaptable dogs.

While they can live in apartments as long as they get proper exercise, Irish Staffies should live in medium-large-sized homes, preferably with a backyard, and they can become bored very easily. 

Are Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier Dogs Aggressive?

Irish Staffordshire Bull Terriers have a reputation for being aggressive.

They were bred for blood sports and, without thorough socialization, they can react defensively to people and dogs that pose a threat to them and their families. 

Are Irish Staffordshire Bull Terriers Dangerous?

It is illegal to own an Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier in the United Kingdom as they are classed as “dangerous dogs”.

These dogs with a reputation for aggression were one of the most recent dogs to be added to their list of banned breeds. 

Do Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier Dogs Bite?

A blue Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier puppy
Creed, an Irish Staffie puppy, is teething – Image source

Irish Staffordshire Bull Terriers have a bite force of 235 PSI.

They may bite as adults if they are provoked, mishandled, bored, or poorly trained, and they will definitely bite as puppies when they are teething, although this is nothing to worry about. 

Are Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier Dogs Protective?

Irish Staffordshire Terriers are very protective of their homes and their loved ones.

They will alert their owners to any disturbances within the home and they will never back down to a threat. 

Are Irish Staffordshire Bull Terriers Affectionate?

Irish Staffordshire Bull Terriers are very affectionate with their loved ones.

They thrive on companionship and love to spend quality time with their owners; playing, walking, and cuddling up on the sofa. 

Are Irish Staffordshire Bull Terriers Loyal?

An Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier wearing a costume
An Irish Staffie checking if his hooman is alright – Image source

Irish Staffordshire Terriers are incredibly loyal dogs. Their families are the centers of their worlds and can’t handle too much time alone.

In fact, they are prone to separation anxiety without proper training and close companionship. 

Do Irish Staffordshire Bull Terriers Like to Cuddle?

Every dog is different, but the Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier tends to be very cuddly with their loved ones.

However, they don’t always take kindly to people that they don’t know well invading their space. 

Does the Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier Love Freedom?

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier has a potential for wanderlust, meaning that they are more likely to try to escape from their backyards or wander off on their walks than other breeds. 

Are Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier Dogs Easy to Train?

A white Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Logan, a white Irish Sfaffie, trains every day – Image source

Irish Staffordshire Bull Terriers are bright but very stubborn. They need thorough, consistent training starting from an early age, preferably with an experienced owner.

Their sessions should be simple, concise, and rewarding. Areas of focus should include obedience training, separation training, and socialization. 

How Smart is the Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier?

The Irish Staffordshire Terrier is an intelligent breed. They train quite well.

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is classed as having average intelligence in professor Stanley Corren’s The Intelligence of Dogs, 1994. So, we can assume that the Irish Staffy is not far behind. 

Can Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier dogs be used as working dogs?

The Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier was bred for blood sports and has never been used for work purposes historically, but they can make good family watchdogs or guard dogs with thorough training. 

There isn’t enough data to say whether they can work well in any kind of industry because they are largely unrecognized. 

Do Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier Dogs Bark a Lot?

A brindle Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Brynn, an Irish Staffie, is always smiling, not barking – Image source

Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier Dogs are not known to be a particularly barky breed.

However, like all dogs, they may bark for various reasons, such as to greet someone, to warn of danger, or to express excitement or fear. 

If an Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier Dog is barking excessively, it may be indicative of an underlying issue, such as anxiety or boredom.

If you’re concerned about your dog’s barking, it’s best to consult with a veterinarian or professional dog trainer to find out the root cause of the problem and how best to address it. 

How does an Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier bark?

The Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier has a loud bark.

The exact hertz and decibel level of their voice has not been recorded, but it is as loud and thunderous as the other Bull Terrier breeds. 

Do Irish Staffordshire Bull Terriers Have High Energy Levels?

Irish Staffordshire Bull Terriers are high-energy dogs.

They need a lot of exercise and mentally stimulating play every day to avoid boredom and under-stimulation, which can lead to anxiety and extremely destructive behavior towards themselves and the home. 

Are Irish Staffordshire Bull Terriers Active?

An Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier at a park
King Koba, the Irish Staffie, loves keeping an active lifestyle – Image source

The Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier needs between 1 to 1.5 hours of exercise per day.

Ideally, this should be split into at least two sessions. They enjoy walking, jogging, as well as playing fetch and tug-of-war. 

Are Irish Staffordshire Bull Terriers Playful?

Irish Staffordshire Bull Terriers are extremely playful and love to play games that exercise their natural instincts and engage their brains.

We’ve listed some games, toys, and activities that the breed is known to enjoy. 

  • Fetch
  • Spring poles
  • Tug-of-war
  • Hide and seek
  • Treasure hunt
  • Treat dispensers
  • Sensory toys

Does the Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier Drool a Lot?

The Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier is not a heavy drooler, but any dog can drool around food, and they are no exception!

However, excessive drooling in the breed can be a sign of stress, allergies, or another health problem.

What Does the Family Life of an Irish Staffy Look Like?

The family life of an Irish Staffy consists of long walks, intense play sessions, and lots of love and affection.

They do well with active, adventurous families that can commit to such a high-energy dog and they are not well-suited to first-time owners

With dedicated training, they can be sociable dogs that get on well with others, especially with children. 

What is the Average Cost of an Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier Puppy?

The average cost of an Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier puppy is around $500 to $1000.

This price can vary depending on a number of factors, such as the breeder’s location, the litter’s size, and the pup’s individual markings.

Some breeders may also charge additional fees for vaccinations, deworming, and microchipping. 

If you’re interested in purchasing an Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier puppy, be sure to do your research and find a reputable breeder.

You should also be prepared to pay for any necessary medical care, such as spaying or neutering, as well as ongoing costs like food, toys, and grooming supplies. 

With proper care and training, an Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier can make a loyal and loving companion.

What Kind of Food Should Irish Staffies Eat?

An Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier sitting indoors
An Irish Staffie waiting for some treatos – Image source

Irish Staffies are strong, active dogs that require a diet between 2 to 3 cups of food per day that will support their energy levels and muscle development.

The best food for Irish Staffies is high in protein and healthy fats, as this will help to maintain their lean muscle mass and stamina. 

It is also important to choose a food that is rich in antioxidants, as this will help to protect their immune system.

While there are many commercially available foods that meet these criteria, it’s always best to consult with a veterinarian before making any decisions about your dog’s diet.

What are the Best Dog Foods for Irish Staffordshire Bull Terriers?

We have made a list of the very best commercial dog foods for Irish Staffordshire Bull Terriers based on the criteria mentioned above. Here are our top five product picks for the breed!

For Irish Staffy puppies:

For adult Irish Staffies:

What Other Dog Breeds Look Like the Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier?

An American Bulldog standing on the grass
The American Bulldog, an Irish Staffie look-alike

The Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier has a distinctive look and stocky build that is extremely similar to the other Bull Terrier breeds, as listed below, but there are also some other breeds that you could mistake them for.

The Verdict: Should You Get an Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier?

Getting an Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier is not a decision that you should make lightly.

They need thorough training from an experienced trainer and devoted owners that can give them the daily care that they need. 

So, if you are looking for a low-maintenance, docile breed of dog that is guaranteed to get along with everybody, you might be better off with a Bulldog.

However, if you want an energetic, strong-minded protector with a soft side, you couldn’t ask for a more loyal friend. 

Do you own an Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier? Tell us what you love about them in the comments down below.

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