Dogs from ancient times were bred and brought up for different purposes. The process of cross-breeding was and is commonly used to get the best qualities of both breeds. The Staffordshire bull terrier is an example of such a process that transfers genetic and behavioral traits of parent breeds to their offspring. In the Staffordshire Bull Terriers case, this results from breeding a Bulldog and Terrier. This breeding was initially done to bring a new dog breed that had enough power and skills to hunt yet still remained a suitable human companion.
As a result, the breed acquired the terrier’s strong skill of chasing down prey and, in most cases, kept the willful, docile, friendly, and gregarious nature of the bulldog. These dogs are capable learners and would be suitable for hunting as well as being great family pets.
Table of Contents
- What Are Staffordshire Bull Terriers, And What Do They Look Like?
- Origin And History Of The Staffordshire Bull Terriers
- Staffordshire Bull Terrier Temperament
- Activity Requirements For The Staffordshire Bull Terrier
- The Trainability Of Staffordshire Bull Terrier:
- Staffordshire Bull Terrier Shedding And Grooming Requirements
- Are Staffordshire Bull Terriers The Same As Pit Bulls?
- Where Do You Find Staffordshire Bull Terrier Breeders?
- Can You Find Staffordshire Bull Terriers In Rescue Centers?
- What Health Problems Do Staffordshire Bull Terriers Have?
What Are Staffordshire Bull Terriers, And What Do They Look Like?
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a medium-sized dog breed. They have a smooth, short-haired coat on a muscular body and are considered Pit Bull type dogs. The breed has different color coats, with a common theme being that there will be some areas of white shading regardless of coat color.
They have great power and hunting skills. They are strong-willed dogs. If used for hunting, they stay task-focused.
Staffordshire Bull Terriers are considered a healthier breed. These dogs have muscular bodies with heights ranging from 36 to 41 cm. (14.2″ to 16.2″). Their size may be small, but they can beat even larger dog breeds in activities.
As active dogs, they rarely get fat, with the typical adult weight ranging from 13 to 17 kg (28 to 37.5 lbs) for males and 11 to 15.4 kg (24 to 34 lbs) for females.
Origin And History Of The Staffordshire Bull Terriers
Before the 19 century, people in England loved blood games.
Setting dogs on wild and domestic animals was a very common sport involving gambling and later these blood sports also included dog fights. Dogs for this sport were required to be strong and aggressive.
Hence, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier was bred to also excel in these barbaric sports.
Originally bulls and terriers were bred for gameness character, i.e., to participate in games. They were aggressive and fought till the last.
Later on, when the British government introduced animal welfare laws in around 1835, these games were banned, and the dogs were adopted for hunting purposes. People also value in keeping dogs of this breed as watchdogs.
Staffordshire Bull Terrier Temperament
The temperament of dogs varies from breed to breed. This is an essential factor in deciding whether a dog can be a good family dog or not. Family dogs must have a gentle and kind attitude towards people and other animals. While a hunting dog must be active and aggressive.
The personality of Staffordshire Bull Terrier:
Staffordshire Bull Terriers are a sturdy dog breed. They look very similar to American Staffordshire and Pit Bull Terrier. However, they are much tougher than other dogs. Unlike most dog breeds, these dogs are active and always want to play instead of sitting in the corner.
Since their early days, these dogs have undergone so many behavioral changes. They are now not as aggressive as their ancestors were. They love to be around you when you watch TV, read a newspaper, or go for a walk. They sometimes even try to get into your lap when you’re sitting on the sofa.
Are Staffordshire bull terriers an aggressive breed?
However, Staffordshire Bull Terriers can be very aggressive to other dogs and animals. If they have grown up between other dogs and animals, they will consider them family members. They are overall good for families if they are introduced to everyone from when they are young. Otherwise, some caution needs to be placed until they are fully aware of who is part of the family.
Are Staffordshire Bull Terriers loyal?
They are definitely loyal and loving. Due to their devotion, they are considered good watchdogs. They are very protective and will attack anything approaching the family. This defensive behavior can be dangerous if not properly socialized and trained.
Are Staffordshire Bull Terriers good family dogs?
Staffordshire Bull Terriers are devoted to their owner. They love to be around people who include them in the family. They behave like a family member. Their gentle and intelligent behavior towards their own family makes them safe to live with.
However, if you have kids and other animals in the house, it is better to adopt a puppy than to adopt a senior Staffordshire Bull Terrier unless they have been properly trained.
Behavioral traits of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Staffordshire Bull Terriers need training for proper socialization to learn canine manners. Otherwise, their aggressive behavior towards other dogs can be dangerous. They will take no time to attack if they think a dog is challenging them.
If they are free in the home or in the garden, their favorite activity is chasing and killing birds, rats, cats, and squirrels, so leash training, fence training, and behavioral training from a young age are a must.
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier breed is famous for its strong jaws and loves to chew whatever they find. Their habit of chewing things is common in puppyhood. Hence to keep your furniture, shoes, and other items safe, you need to spread plenty of bones for the energetic and strong Staffordshire Bull Terrier puppy.
Activity Requirements For The Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Staffordshire Bull Terriers are an active and happy living breed. To keep their fitness and mental happiness, they require daily physical activities. They are not like apartment dogs that you can keep in a corner.
They need daily walks and playtime to keep their muscular body tuned and in great condition. Their favorite games include chasing balls, hide and seek, and running behind birds and animals. The latter needs to be controlled closely.
They can chase the ball as long as you can keep throwing. They will ask to play even when you are tired.
They are both active and intelligent. You can even polish their mind by enrolling your Staffordshire Bull Terrier in organized activities like agility or flyball. As long as you provide them with sufficient daily exercise and playtime, your living arrangements should not preclude you from owning this breed.
The Trainability Of Staffordshire Bull Terrier:
Staffordshire Bull Terriers are tough to train. It takes time and patience to make them do what you want. They are stubborn and willful. If they get into chase mode, they are likely to stop listening.
So if you have a Staffordshire Bull Terrier puppy to train, be patient and take your time.
Training them through punishment like electric shock can bring dangerous consequences and reinforce their aggressive behavior. You need to go with positive reinforcement. You need to have expertise in dog training to teach them.
As they are highly energetic, senior dog trainers believe a walk or a good game before training is pretty helpful to keep them focused.
Staffordshire Bull Terrier Shedding And Grooming Requirements
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a clean breed of dog. Being short-haired, their shiny and healthy coat won’t shed much if placed on a healthy diet. Unlike dogs with thick fur coats, these dogs don’t suffer from skin diseases caused by flies and other insects.
Their shedding usually occurs seasonally, and therefore there shouldn’t be much hair shedding daily. Brushing them regularly will help keep their coats shiny.
Excessive shedding in this breed is an indicator of health problems. The cause could be dehydration, skin problems, or improper diet. A visit to your local vet will aid in finding a solution to many health problems.
Grooming your Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Staffordshire Bull Terriers don’t need regular cutting and expensive shampoos and oil for a better shiny coat like dogs with long hair. Their short hair makes grooming easy.
However, they require an occasional bath and regular brushing to keep clean, especially if they’ve had the liberty of exploring the outdoors by themselves.
Are Staffordshire Bull Terriers The Same As Pit Bulls?
The Pit Bull is a description of dogs bred as a result of cross-breeding between Bulldogs and Terriers. According to that, Staffordshire Bull Terriers can be called Pit Bulls. Meanwhile, these dogs are similar to American Staffordshire Terriers in appearance and share some behavioral traits. These dogs also share similarities with American Bulldogs.
Staffordshire Bull Terrier vs American Staffordshire Terrier (AmStaff)
Many people don’t distinguish between the Staffordshire Bull Terrier and American Staffordshire Terrier. Most will know them as Pit Bulls. However, these are classified as separate breeds, and they do have slightly different appearances.
American Staffordshire Terriers are commonly known as AmStaff. Due to some genetic modification, the American Staffordshire Terrier got a bulkier appearance and bigger head. As far as temperament and behavior go, both breeds are relatively similar.
Where Do You Find Staffordshire Bull Terrier Breeders?
Staffordshire Bull Terriers and the AmStaff are bred worldwide. You can now even buy them online. In fact, we’ve even found an Australian site with a page dedicated to selling the blue staffy, one of the most popular coat colours of Staffordshire Bull Terriers in Australia.
As discussed earlier, it should be no surprise that the Staffordshire Bull Terrier puppies are brave, tenacious, and stubborn. Along with being gentle, playful, and clever, which makes their care and upbringing easier.
Buying from a reputable breeder is a must, if only for the sake of animal welfare. Always check credentials, and although you can “buy” them online. Picking them up yourself and talking to the breeder before making the final payment is a must.
You will pay a higher amount for a purebred puppy from a reputable breeder. But this also means the puppy should be coming from healthier parents and has had the appropriate treatment. A price well worth paying if you are after the purebred version.
Can You Find Staffordshire Bull Terriers In Rescue Centers?
Rescue centers are run to rehome dogs that are unwanted by their owners for various reasons. Some dogs are given to the rescue center by owners who have truly loved their pets. Life circumstances have meant they are unable to care for them. Some dogs end up in the center due to abuse or neglect.
Re homing a dog from a rescue center may be a cheaper option initially than purchasing one from a breeder, but it comes with some risks.
You won’t always know the reason before bringing them into your home.
With the above in mind, it’s worth noting that if this particular breed has had an abusive past, they may display aggression. Re homing a dog is a great way to give them a better life, but you must be prepared to be patient and retrain them to regain trust if they have been abused.
Around the world, there are rescue centers specifically for the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
For those living in the UK, Here are some examples:
- North Eastern Staffordshire Bull Terrier Rescue in County Durham England
- Northern Ireland Staffordshire Bull Terrier Rescue in County Down Northern Ireland
- Scottish Staffordshire Bull Terrier Rescue present in Scotland
- South Eastern Counties Staffordshire Bull Terrier Rescue present in Sth. East of England
What Health Problems Do Staffordshire Bull Terriers Have?
The breed is generally healthy, yet some common genetic health issues exist. So knowing your puppy’s breeding history could be very useful.
Hip dysplasia is commonly found in medium and large-breed dogs and is passed from parents to their offspring. Victims of this disease go through extreme pain. Initially, this disease causes swelling, pain, stiffness, and limping, resulting in arthritis. Arthritis is a condition that causes inflammation in the joints resulting in pain.
If parents have Hip dysplasia, symptoms in puppies will start to appear between 5 to 6 months of age.
Common symptoms of Hip dysplasia in Staffordshire Bull Terriers are:
- The dog will run with hind legs moving together
- One or both legs will be stiff
- The dog will be found lying most of the time because getting up becomes painful
- The dog will not show interest in any the physical activity
Is a condition of the eye in which the whole or part of the lens becomes opaque. It is a genetic disease; however, it can be caused by sugar diabetes. Opacity due to disease of up to 30% percent is not recognizable. If it reaches 60%, the dog’s eyesight will degrade and prevent clear sight, while 100% will make the dog blind.
Other diseases that Staffordshire Bull Terriers may be prone to
Along with the above hereditary diseases, other ailments that could affect them include:
- Congenital deafness
- Follicular dysplasia
- Pituitary-dependent hyperadrenocorticism
- Cystine urolithiasis
As can be seen from the above information, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a loyal and loving dog to its close family and companions. It is suitable for owners who can provide an environment to exercise and play daily.
Their loyalty can make them protective, and without the proper training may lead to unnecessary aggression. Getting a puppy is recommended for those who are not experienced with the breed or have young children or other animals in the house. Patience and positive reinforcement when training is a must for all who own them.