Staffordshire Bull Terrier (Stafford, Staffordshire)

Country of origin:
Great Britain
Height (cm):
Weight (kg):
Life span (years):
red, fawn, white, black, blue, or any one of these colours with white; any shade of brindle or of brindle with white
Hair length:
Recognized by:
FCI code:
Good with kids:
Pros Cons
  • good watchdog
  • bold
  • loves children
  • great ratter
  • stubborn
  • needs a great amount of exercises
  • need a dominant owner

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is an extremely powerful, tenacious and determined fighting dog, which was developed in England in the XIX century. Despite its rather nasty reputation the modern variety of this dog is known for its stable temperament and human-friendliness. The breed makes a wonderful pet as well as a family guardian in the hands of an authoritative, experienced master.

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a successor of English fighting dogs that were widely used in pit fighting in the second half of the XIX century. The dog fighting gained incredible popularity in England when in 1835 the British Parliament outlawed two favourite entertainments of Englishmen namely bear baiting and bull baiting. This kind of sport was practiced particularly widely in London and Staffordshire. In early years two types of dogs were universally acknowledged to be most suitable for fighting in pits: canine-aggressive, tenacious terriers and athletic, more massive bulldogs. However the terrier was too small in size to make the necessary impression in a ring and the bulldog was sometimes reluctant to fight to death with other dogs. Staffordshire breeders managed to produce the dog, which was deprived of any drawbacks by crossing above-mentioned breeds. This dog was named the Staffordshire Bull Terrier and it differed from the Bull Terrier by having more Bulldog blood in its lineage.

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier was renowned for its exceptional bravery, persistence and power but despite its fierceness in the ring it was also treated as a reliable and loyal companion dog. The breed had fanciers among English nobility as well as among commoners. It also worked as a highly effective ratter’s and badger’s exterminator. By the 30s of the XX century the dog fighting had been declared illegal in England. Nonetheless this cruel entertainment went underground where it’s still organised on the regular basis both in America and the Great Britain. And the Staffordshire Bull Terrier remains very popular in the role of a fighting dog. However, thanks to its friendliness towards people the breed gradually evolved as a decent family dog and a highly successful show dog.

The Kennel Club (England) recognized the breed in 1935. The first Staffordshire Bull Terrier was brought to the United States after the Second World War. Over the years the breed acquired world-wide following with well-developed clubs in many countries. It was recognised by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1975. Nowadays this dog enjoys the life of a companion animal and competes at the highest level at various dogs’ sports.

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier’ temperament largely depends on up-bringing and training, which it have to receive since a very early age. The prominent characteristic of this breed is so called gameness, which is a mixture of persistence, dedication, extreme concentration on a goal and pain tolerance. This is the part of the reason why this dog is perceived as hazardous and aggressive and why it should be extensively trained and socialised.

In spite of all above-mentioned characteristics the Staffordshire Bull Terrier constantly seeks for company and attention of human it loves. Majority of specimens is unbelievingly tender with all family members and likes to shower them with its love. Surprisingly enough but the breed is very affectionate with children and it willingly joins their games. Moreover this dog usually puts up with very rough play without showing even a glimpse of complaint.

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier isn’t predisposed to human aggression with some sad exceptions to this rules. Some ill-intended breeders purposefully created lines of this breed with such an undesirable trait. However such dogs are rarely pure-blooded because they are commonly invented by crossing the original dog with the American Bulldog or the Rottweiler. The breed will be a quite useless guardian of your property and it would rather warmly welcome an intruder than apply to force. At the same time it sacrifices its life for the sake of its family if something or someone endangers it. The Staffordshire Bull Terrier can be trained into a reasonable watchdog.

As a fighting dog the Staffordshire Bull Terrier usually manifests hyper-aggressiveness towards other dogs. Actually majority of specimens will accept some individual dogs with which they have been brought up since a very early age. Some dogs though will never be able to live in peace and harmony with other canine. The breed possesses average prey drive and it’s generally okay with other pets with which it’s familiar.

Health Problems
The most common problems for the breed include:

• cataracts;
• canine hip dysplasia;
• elbow dysplasia;
• demodectic mange;
• brachycephalic syndrome;
• flatulency;
• heat intolerance;
• skin allergies;
• patellar luxation.

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier needs very moderate amount of grooming. Its smooth coat requires nothing more than an occasional brushing. The owner should trim the dog’s nails probably every two months and regularly clean its ears and teeth. The amount of shedding varies from specimen to specimen but in general the breed is an average shedder.

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a clever and quick-witted dog, which can be trained with rather reasonable efforts. In most cases it’s very eager to oblige and in the hands of an experienced trainer it learns quickly and enthusiastically. This dog participates with a resounding success in agility and obedience competitions. Nevertheless it possesses a certain amount of stubbornness and sometimes the dog reveals it to the world by refusing to follow your orders.

Productivity of training the Staffordshire Bull Terrier mostly depends on the personality of a handler, who should become an unshakable leader for this dog. There is a wrong common belief that the breed performs best if handled with proper harshness. Actually it responds a way better if it’s trained with reward-based techniques.

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a very capable athlete and needs rather considerable amount of exercise to remain in a healthy and satisfied condition. The dog should be taken on a daily walk of at least an hour long but it would be happy to have a regular chance to run unrestrained in a roomy yard with a securely high fence. Be mindful that the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is an infamous escape artist and can easily surmount a two-meter fence either by climbing or by digging underneath it. The breed will become a willing and tireless participant of such common dog’s games as fetch or flyball.

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier, which doesn’t get enough intensive physical exercise, will probably demonstrate some unwelcomed behavioural patterns like destructiveness, over excitability, hyperactivity and unmanageable animal aggressiveness.