Breed GroupThe Terrier Breed group
Life Span12 – 14 years
Height14 to 16 inches
Weight24 to 38 pounds
Best ForA variety of families

Staffordshire Bull Terrier Breed Guide

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Staffordshire Bull Terrier Overview

Dog Breed:
Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Breed Group:
The Terrier Breed group
A compact muscular dog, with a heart of gold. Brave, intelligent and reliable
14 to 16 inches
24 to 38 pounds
Life Span:
12 – 14 years
Coat Colors:
Red, fawn, white, black or blue colors are available. Brindle varieties are also possible. Some dogs will have white patches as part of their coloration.
Area of Origin:
Originally bred as fighting dogs in England, this breed comes from a region called the ‘black country’ which encompasses Staffordshire and North Birmingham.
Best For:
A variety of families and situations, this dog can be flexible. It in England this dog is known as ‘the nanny dog’ because it is typically good around children.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier Characteristics

Good for First-Time Owners
Good with Children
Easy to Train
Exercise Requirements
Ease of Grooming
Amount of Shedding
Amount of Drooling
Tendency to Bark

About The Staffordshire Bull Terrier

  • A people-oriented family dog

  • Strong jaws mean they can be destructive chewers

  • Muscular and stocky, with moderate exercise requirements

The Staffordshire Bull terrier (‘Staffie’) is known for being a good companion and very people orientated. They are usually good with children and can make great family pets. Thanks to breeding over the years, this is a far cry from his fighting days of old.

This breed is stocky and muscular, with great enthusiasm for play. They require moderate levels of exercise and will benefit from living somewhere with a garden to be able to exercise in between their walks.

They are very sociable and do best when in the company of people. Some dogs can develop separation anxiety when left alone for long periods, and their muscular jaws mean they can be destructive chewers! Provide them with plenty of tough toys to play with and work on training them to be comfortable in their own company for short periods.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier Breed History

  • Bred in the ‘Black Country’ of the UK

  • Originally bred for blood sports

  • Recently voted as ‘Britain’s Top Dog’

Compared to some breeds of dog the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is relatively new, being developed in England in the 1800s. They originate from a region called ‘the black country’ which encompasses Staffordshire and North Birmingham. The breed was originally a cross of the bulldog and the Old English terrier. It was designed to combine the tenacious characteristics and large jaw of a traditional fighting dog, with a nippier and feistier terrier.

Staffies were bred for dogfighting, a popular working-class activity in 19th century England. Bloodsports were banned in this country in 1835, so traditional bull-baiting with bulldogs went by the way but dogfighting continued under the radar, often being held in people’s basements. Bets would be placed on a dog’s performance, pitting them against other fighting dogs or even against bags of rats. Thankfully this practice died out following the Protection of Animals Act 1911, and the breed has evolved over the years into a much-loved family pet.

The Staffordshire bull terrier wasn’t recognized by the UK kennel club until 1935. Recognition by the American Kennel club was even later, in 1974, as they didn’t want to be seen to encourage pitbull-type breeds or dogfighting. In America, a taller and heavier version has since been bred, called the American Staffordshire terrier, or AmStaff.

Staffordshire bull terriers are seen in the show rings, often being shown in their traditional broad leather collars with brass decoration. Many of these collars have the Stafford knot displayed on them which is a symbol used in the county of Staffordshire, England, from where this breed originates.

In the UK in January 2019, Staffordshire Bull Terriers were voted number one in a television program titled ‘Britain’s Top Dog’. Sadly though, rehoming centers are often full of Staffordshire bull terriers in the UK. Many dogs are bought as status symbols with the aim of encouraging aggressive tendencies, but many owners find they are not able to care for their dog’s needs. Many rescue staffies are very sweet and good-natured animals and want to be given a second chance with a loving home.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier Size & Weight

  • Medium-sized breed 14 to 16 inches tall at the withers

  • A well-muscled breed with a large chest and narrower hips

  • Weighs 24lb (10kg) to 38lb (17kg)

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is muscular and stocky, with a broad head and muscular jaws. They are considered a medium-sized breed of dog, usually standing around 14 to 16 inches tall from foot to withers. This medium-sized breed weighs on average 24 to 34 pounds in females and 28 to 38 pounds in males.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier Personality & Temperament

  • Known as the ‘nanny dog’ for their companionship for children

  • High prey drive

  • Strong chewing instinct needs proper redirecting

Staffordshire bull terriers are known for being sweet-natured and are very happy having sofa cuddles with their owner. They are nicknamed ‘the nanny dog’ in England for being a patient companion and playmate to many children. As with all dogs though, you should still supervise any interactions and make sure that children know how to play safely with them.

Staffies are also known for their humorous snorting noises and snuffling, especially when eating, and can be quite a communicative breed. They enjoy being the centre of attention and can often be found surrounded by adoring family members.

Although this dog is usually very gentle with people, they can have a high prey drive due to their fighting past. This may mean that you should take care around other any pets, particularly small furry ones. You should ensure your training focuses on your dog’s recall such that you can call him back easily if you need to. You will also need to make sure your staffie is well socialized from an early age, so that he is used to a variety of situations and other animals, helping him to grow into a well-adjusted dog.

The breed is quite energetic and will require regular exercise, with some off-lead time, as well as play in the garden. If your dog isn’t well stimulated, then he could become destructive. Staffordshire bull terriers have large muscular jaws (a sign of their fighting past), so may chew out of frustration. Training classes and agility may help with this too, as well as using appropriate toys or puzzle feeders to keep him entertained.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier Health & Grooming

  • Low-maintenance grooming needs

  • Choose a puppy with health-tested parents

  • Skin conditions are common in the breed

The Staffordshire bull terrier is low maintenance and requires little grooming due to his short fur. They will shed, however, so there will still be dog hairs around your home, but they tend to be less obtrusive than some other breeds. Occasional brushing can help remove any loose hairs and keep their coat in good condition. Staffies will only need bathing occasionally, mainly if they get particularly muddy or dirty.

Most pedigree dogs have certain health complaints that they are prone to. There are a few conditions that Staffordshire bull terriers are particularly susceptible to as a breed. These include L-2-hydroxyglutaric aciduria (a disorder that affects the nervous system), and the following eye conditions – juvenile cataracts, persistent hyperplastic primary vitreous (PHPV), and posterior polar subcapsular cataracts (PPSC). You should ideally choose a puppy that has been bred from dogs that have had tests and examinations for these conditions. This will lower the chance of your puppy inheriting any problems (though it is no guarantee).

This breed can also commonly experience other health conditions, including skin allergies, Demodex mite infections, and certain types of tumours (including mast cell tumours). As with many breeds of dog, hip dysplasia can be an issue too, whereby the ball and socket joint doesn’t develop as it should creating rubbing, pain, and arthritic change.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier Training

  • Eager to please, so fairly easy to train

  • Use reward-based training techniques

  • Staffies should have plenty of socialisation

Staffordshire Bull terriers are quite intelligent and can be easily trained in the right hands. They will do best with lots of positive reward-based training and praise. They are very people orientated and usually eager to please, though at times can be stubborn, so consistency is key.

Owners should consider puppy training classes to socialize their Staffordshire bull terrier from an early age. Exposing them to a variety of other dogs and people will help reduce the chances of any aggression to unfamiliar circumstances in the future. Training classes will also help them with basic obedience such as recall and walking to heel. Staffies may enjoy other classes as well such as agility or even flyball, as a way of burning off energy. The mental stimulation will also help keep any frustrations at bay and help you to have a content dog.

Being very people orientated, Staffordshire Bull Terriers can suffer from separation anxiety. Part of their training regime should be geared around getting them used to being alone for short periods. Start from an early age, building it up gradually so that they can be comfortable being left on occasions when you need to pop out.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier Exercise Requirements

  • Eager to please, so fairly easy to train

  • Use reward-based training techniques

  • Staffies should have plenty of socialisation

This breed requires a moderate amount of exercise, at least an hour a day. They enjoy running around and active play. Staffordshire bull terriers are very playful and will also enjoy games in the garden to help wear them out in addition to their daily walks.

These dogs also enjoy chewing and can be escape artists. Make sure you have a staffie-proof garden, with secure fencing that they can’t jump. They also need plenty of tough dog toys for chewing, but you should remember that their jaws are built for powerful chewing, and choose toys accordingly. Consider puzzle feeders to help with mental stimulation and reduce destructive tendencies.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier Diet & Feeding

  • Prone to obesity – calculate calorie requirements carefully

  • Choose a complete and balanced dog food

  • Use puzzle feeders to provide mental stimulation

Make sure you feed your staffie a good quality complete dog food that is appropriate for their age. This will ensure they are getting the right balance of nutrients for their life stage (either puppy, adult, or senior food). Give treats in moderation this breed can be prone to obesity if their diet and exercise aren’t well-managed. Try and save them to use as training rewards.

As with all breeds of dog, make sure fresh water is always available.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier Rescue Groups

You will find that many rescue centers in the UK have Staffordshire Bull Terriers that need rehoming. This is because they are a very popular breed, but also often sadly bought by inexperienced owners who then find that they can’t care for their needs. So contacting your local rescue center may be a good starting point, but some rescues cater more specifically for staffies including the following on this list –

Staffordshire Bull Terrier Rescue

Staffie Rescue

Dogs Trust

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