In the past, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier was used for brawling. This makes them incredibly courageous and tenacious, even today. However, careful breeding has made these puppies into companion animals.
They are much milder and playful today than they were in yesteryear. Still, they aren’t the best companion dogs for everyone.
Keep reading to find out if these adorable canines are a good fit for your household.
Where did the Staffordshire Bull Terrier originate?
This canine has been known by many names throughout history. They’ve been the Bull-and-Terrier, Patched Fighting Terrier, the Staffordshire Pit-dog, and the Brindle Bull.
Their name varied depending on the region and time period.
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is related to other “bull type” dog breeds, like the Bull Terrier and American Staffordshire Terrier.
All of these breeds have a similar origin story and are likely related to Mastiff-like breeds of the past.
In the early 19th century, blood sports were very popular in England. Some of this involved bull-baiting and similar dog sports. Tenacious dogs were bred for these affairs.
It is with these dogs that the Staffordshire Bull Terrier got its name. The first of all these dogs was the Bulldog, but other “sub” breeds were developed as well.
In 1835, these events were outlawed. However, underground betting still happened. Usually, dogs were put against each other or smaller animals.
To make the dogs more agile for dog fighting, Bulldogs were bred with terriers.
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is likely a mix between an Old English Bulldog and a Black and Tan Terrier. The Manchester Terrier was probably also used.
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier was one such breed that was created this way. It’s fighting days are long over, though.
Eventually, special breeding programs turned this canine into a playful companion – instead of the fierce fighting dog he once was.
From the Staffordshire Bull Terrier later came the American Staffordshire Terrier.
This breed was developed in America in the 1880s. It is a bit heavier set, though it is sometimes mistaken as the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognizes this dog, which currently rates as number 80 in popularity out of all 196 breeds they recognize. They have a complete breed standard for the Staffordshire Terrier.
Are Staffordshire Terriers the same as Pit Bulls?
A Pit Bull really isn’t a breed of dog. It is a word used to describe a family of dogs. It is used to describe all dogs that were bred from bulldogs and terriers in the United States.
In the UK, it is used as an abbreviation for the American Pit Bull Terrier breed.
The term wasn’t first used until 1927, while the Staffordshire Terrier is much older than this. Truthfully, the term “Pit Bull” is linked more to misinformation about these two breeds than anything.
Whether or not the Staffordshire Terrier counts as a Pit Bull depends on your location and how specific you’re trying to be.
What does a Staffordshire Bull Terrier look like?
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a stocky and muscular dog. They are surprisingly strong for their size.
A lot of their strength comes from their very broad chest and stoat stance. Their shoulders are extremely muscular and well-built. They have big-bones, especially in their limbs.
Their tail is carried low and is about medium-length. This tail should not curl at all; it is typically rather straight.
Their ears are not cropped, but they do fold down slightly at the tips. Their feet aren’t particularly big or small. They have very pronounced cheek muscles.
Their eyes are not blue, though they may be this coloration when they are puppies. Dark is preferable, but their eyes may also bear some relation to the dog’s coat coloration. They are usually round and medium-sized.
How big is a Staffordshire Bull Terrier?
Male Staffordshire Bull Terriers can weigh anywhere from 29 to 37 lbs or 13 to 17 kg. Females are significantly smaller and not as stocky. This makes them about 24 to 34 lbs or 11 to 15 kg.
Both genders usually stand 14 to 16 inches or 36 to 41 cm at the shoulder.
This dog is considered to be small to medium. If you base it on the height of the dog alone, it is usually a smaller dog.
However, it’s stocky nature makes it weigh as much as a medium-sized dog. It just depends on how you look at it.
What type of coat do Staffordshire Bull Terriers have?
These dogs have short and smooth coats. Their coats do not need to be trimmed or de-whiskered. Their fur is extremely short and sits very close to their skin.
Their coat color can come in many different shades and varieties. Red, fawn, white, blue, and black is all common.
Any of these colors can be mixed with white. Any shade of brindle is also acceptable, as is brindle with any white coloration.
Black-and-tan and liver colors can disqualify the dog in the show ring, so they are much less common.
Temperament: Are Staffies good family dogs?
Despite their history as a fighting dog, these dogs have changed a lot over the last one hundred years. Much of their aggression has been bred out.
When raised correctly, they can be very friendly and playful. They develop close bonds with children, making them popular family dogs.
They are extremely loyal. Their temperament is also extremely stable, so you pretty much always know what you’re getting. They can be extremely energetic, so some exercise is required.
However, even with moderate amounts of exercise, this canine is going to be energetic and will run to meet anyone at the door.
Their affection level is very high. They love to cuddle and eat up all the attention they can get.
They do perfectly fine when inside apartments and smaller houses – as long as you exercise them appropriately and daily.
Are Staffordshire Terriers an aggressive breed?
This dog is usually very friendly and accepting of other dogs – not aggressive in the least. They are one of the friendliest dogs around, especially when they are raised correctly.
They are not a dangerous dog by any means.
Often, these dogs are even friendly with strangers and other animals. They usually do very well with dogs and most family pets. Their hunting instincts are minimal, so they can often be trained to get along with cats.
These dogs are extremely courageous and fearless, though. If a larger dog is aggressive towards them, they will fight back.
For this reason, it is best to keep them away from dogs that are known to be aggressive. They will not back down from a fight. They are best kept away from strange dogs for this reason.
They do perfectly fine getting along with friendly dogs and puppies, though.
Staffies tend to be quite noisy, especially when other people are around. They will bark at people who come up to the door or walk by.
Once the person is inside your house, they will probably continue to bark at them until they calm down.
They can be a bit exuberant and over-zealous. Luckily, this trait does tend to calm down with age. Some people love it, while others quickly get annoyed by just how excited these dogs get.
How to take care of your Staffordshire Bull Terrier
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is not necessarily a high-maintenance breed. They do require quite a bit of exercise, but only minimal grooming.
Training them can be a bit difficult when compared to other breeds, but it is absolutely doable.
They do fine in most climates as long as they aren’t left in the elements too long. They were not bred to withstand extreme temperatures, so they will need appropriate shelter.
Unless you move in a very extreme climate, though, you shouldn’t worry about this dog being unable to stand the weather.
Exercising your Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Before adopting this breed, it is essential that you understand just how energetic they are. These dogs are extremely hyperactive. They love to run around whenever they can.
They are extremely playful, which is one trait that makes them very fitting for many families. If your children want a dog to play with, this may be a suitable option for them.
These dogs need at least an hour of moderate to intense physical activity a day.
This can be done very easily in the form of two walks, as long as you keep the pace a bit brisk. They have a lot of stamina and are extremely active.
Despite their energetic nature, they also like to cuddle after they’ve had their exercise. For this reason, they are a bit milder after they have been exercised.
We generally recommend exercising them in the morning so that they spend the rest of the day in a generally calm state.
These dogs love to play. You can get some of their exercise in by simply playing with them in a fenced-in yard. They love to fetch and are smart enough for some more complicated games as well.
Either way, these dogs need a lot of daily exercise, so they do best with a physically active family.
Grooming: Do Staffordshire Bull Terrier Dogs shed?
Yes, these dogs shed a moderate amount. They don’t shed as much as some dogs, but they also cannot be described as hypoallergenic. Overall, their grooming needs are very minimal.
They have very short fur, so they do not usually need to be trimmed. In fact, trimming these dogs is not recommended at all, as their coat may not grow back correctly the next time.
You will need to brush them a few times a week to remove any excess hair and dirt from their coat. Brushing is an easy way to keep your dogs clean – not just remove any hair they are shedding.
More intense grooming should be done every month or two. They will need their ears and feet are taken care of, as well as their eyes.
During this grooming session, you should check their eyes for any potential debris or other problems. Their ears may need to be cleaned as well.
This isn’t always the case, but some dogs do get debris and wax stuck in their ear, which can cause infection. You should always clean the ear as far as you can see, but not further.
These canines require a bath regularly. They do not have a self-cleaning coat, so they will develop a doggy smell if you do not bathe them regularly.
Once every month or every other month is usually plenty, though – unless these canines get particularly dirty in between baths.
Your Staffordshire Bull Terrier may or may not have sensitive skin. This isn’t a huge problem in this breed, but it does happen.
Either way, you should choose a hypo-allergenic shampoo that is quite gentle. This will eliminate the possibility of the canine having a reaction to the shampoo, which can cause severe itching and similar issues.
Like all dogs, they will need their nails trimmed as well. They are not super fast-growing, so once a month is likely enough for most dogs. Other canines can likely go even longer between trimmings.
Because these dogs are so energetic, they tend to get dirty a lot. Running around in mud is absolutely one of their favorite things to do.
This may require you to give them more baths than you normally would. This can dry out their skin, so you may want to consider getting a hydrating spray to use in between baths. This is basically like lotion for dogs.
Feeding: How much should a Staffordshire Bull Terrier eat in a day?
For most of these dogs, one to two cups a day is appropriate. These dogs will overeat, so it is important to portion their food out. They do not do well with free-feeding.
The exact amount of food your dog needs will depend on their weight, which is largely determined by their gender. Females will need closer to one cup, while makes will need closer to two.
There are no special dietary requirements these dogs need, even as puppies. Any high-quality dog food or puppy food should be just fine.
It is not necessary to choose grain-free food unless your dog is allergic to gluten. You will also need to stay away from any other foods your pet is allergic to.
Dogs develop allergies over time, so they will likely have no allergies when you first adopt them. New allergies may develop, though.
The easiest way to prevent this is to switch your dog’s food regularly. Dogs become allergic to certain proteins after eating them for a long time. Switching up their diet can help.
What health problems do Staffies have?
Like all canines, Staffies are prone to a few different health conditions. Luckily, most of these are not very serious in the least. Overall, these are robust and healthy dogs.
They are prone to canine hip dysplasia. This occurs when the ball at the top of a dog’s leg does not fit correctly into the hip itself. This makes them rub together, which causes the joint to deteriorate.
The easiest way to avoid this problem is proper nutrition when the dog is a puppy.
Staffies also carry a gene that can cause cataracts. It is a recessive gene, so both parents need to have the gene from the puppies to be affected. In these cases, the dog will usually go blind in 2-4 years if they are not treated.
PHPV or Persistent Hyperplastic Primary Vitreous is another genetic eye condition that can commonly affect these dogs. This eye condition can cause discomfort for the puppy, but it is not progressive.
PPSC is another eye condition Staffies have been reported to develop, but it is much rarer.
Staffies may develop canine follicular dysplasia. This is a cosmetic condition that makes a section of their coat not grow hair or thin.
This does not cause any pain or discomfort for the dog, though they may need sunscreen on their bald patch.
L-2-Hydroxyglutaric Aciduria is sadly quite common with Staffies as well. It is a neurometabolic condition that is also genetic. It can cause tremors and seizures, particularly during exercise or excitement.
There is no cure for this disease. Depending on the severity, the dog may need to be euthanized.
Some dogs only have minor symptoms, though, and can go on to live comfortable lives.
Below is a list of less common health problems these dogs may be prone to:
- Elbow dysplasia
- Patellar luxation
- Skin allergies
- Demodectic mange
- Mast cell tumors
- Gas problems
Health testing can be done for many of these problems. When adopting a puppy, ensure that the breeder did proper testing on each parent dog before the breedings.
Each parent should have their hips and elbows tested for dysplasia.
You should also ask to see genetic tests for L2 HGA and hereditary cataracts. Proper health testing is the only way to prevent these problems, so it is paramount.
These dogs have a life expectancy of about 12-14 years. This lifespan is about average for their size.
How much do Staffordshire Bull Terrier puppies cost?
The average cost for a Staffie is around $1500. This is considerably higher than some dogs, but that is largely because this breed is rarer.
Furthermore, they require quite a bit of health testing, which pushes up the price further.
If the dog is from a show line, then you can expect them to cost even more. For a puppy that is descended from champion dogs, $2000 and up is the expected price.
You may be able to purchase a puppy cheaper from a pet store or puppy farm. However, we do not recommend this. Most puppy farms do not health test two dogs before breeding them together.
Furthermore, their living conditions may be extremely poor. Pet stores source their puppies from puppy meals.
You also need to consider the costs of owning a Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
While these are healthy dogs, you will need to pay for routine care and should likely have an emergency fund for severe health problems that prop up as well.
Here is a short guide to purchasing a Staffordshire Bull Terrier. They can be a bit rarer in the states, though they are absolutely available:
Staffordshire Bull Terrier Breeders
There are about 20 Staffordshire Bull Terrier breeders in the United States. While these dogs aren’t extremely popular, they are popular enough for them to be decently available.
If you’re willing to wait, you can likely find one of these dogs to bring home.
The Dyna Staffs are one such popular breeder. The breed champion dogs, so they are a bit more expensive.
Wild Blue Staffords also breed Staffordshire Bull Terriers in the Dallas area of Texas. They are a small hobby breeder, but they are quite popular in the area.
Staffordshire Bull Terrier Rescue
Instead of purchasing a puppy from a breeder, you may want to consider rescuing an adult dog from a rescue. Many of these rescues do not have puppies.
Instead, most of their dogs are around two years old or older. They typically receive the dogs from owners who could no longer care for them or from abusive situations.
For most rescue situations, your best bet is to try the Staffordshire Bull Terrier rescue. They work across the United States and usually have quite a few dogs available. You can stay updated with their Facebook page.
Staffordshire Bull Terrier vs. American Staffordshire Terrier
These two canines have names that look fairly similar to each other. For this reason, they are often mistaken as the same dog. But, they are very different breeds that are suitable to different families.
The American Staffordshire Terrier is a descendent from the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
Firstly, the American Staffordshire Terrier is a bit larger than the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. They have other physical differences.
They’re both built rather stocky and are decently intelligent. Both are designed to be companion dogs and get along well with children.
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is known as “the nanny dog”. They are extremely good with children and are not guard dogs in the least.
The American Staffordshire Terrier is also decently good with children, but they can be a bit more serious. However, we really wouldn’t call them a “guard dog” either.
Curious about Staffordshire Bull Terrier mixes?
There are countless mixed breeds out there that come from a Staffordshire Bull Terrier parent. Some of them may be a good choice for your family.
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier Labrador Retriever mix is one such dog. This dog is extremely friendly with friends and strangers alike.
They are quite intelligent, but not so intelligent that they’ll outsmart their owners. They enjoy people-pleasing and are extremely easy to train for this reason.
Plus, they are also a very suitable canine for families due to their overall friendliness.
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier Boxer mix is another similar mixed breed. They are very friendly and quite easy to train.
They can be extremely active, however. They need a lot of exercise and time, so you should only adopt one if you have plenty of free time on your hands.
Who Should get a Staffordshire Bull Terrier?
Staffordshire Bull Terriers are extremely friendly companion dogs. They get along very well with children, making them perfect family dogs.
They are a bit energetic and have a high energy level, so they need plenty of playtime and lots of walks. They are pretty easy to train, though they may not always listen to you in the heat of the moment.
They are some of the best family dogs, so we typically recommend them for families.
Further Reading: Similar Breeds to the Staffordshire Bull Terrier
- Bull Terrier
- Miniature Bull Terrier
- American Bulldog