The “Staffie” is sometimes mistaken for its cousin, the Pit Bull, and is very popular in the U.K., where ownership of the latter breed is controlled. It is a phenomenally strong, powerful dog for its size, seemingly comprised entirely of muscle. It is, however, considered a loving breed.
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier can be an imposing dog with its strong, muscular body, intense stare, and powerful stance. Many are interested in the breed because it looks like a tough dog but are surprised to learn that the Stafford is a sensitive and loving companion who enjoys playing more than being tough. He sees life as a joyful adventure and lives it to the fullest.
Fans love the Staffordshire Bull Terrier for his small to medium size, short, easy-care coat, and dynamic yet gentle personality. With his short, broad head and muscular body, he resembles the other bull breeds such as American Staffordshire Terriers and American Pit Bull Terriers, but he is a breed unto himself with distinct physical characteristics that set him apart, including size and ear shape.
Nicknamed the nanny dog, the Stafford is prized for his patience with and love of children, although it goes without saying that no dog should ever be left alone with young children or expected to double as a baby-sitter. He is not always so friendly toward dogs he doesn’t know however, a remnant of his origin as a fighting breed, which required him to be aggressive toward other dogs yet gentle with human handlers.
- When you look at a Stafford, you see a small but powerful dog with a smooth coat in solid red, fawn, white, black, blue or brindle. He has a short head with a broad skull set on a short, muscular neck, prominent cheek muscles, a black nose, round dark eyes, and rose or half-pricked ears. At the other end is an undocked tail that resembles an old-fashioned pump handle.
- Because he may be aggressive toward unknown dogs, a Stafford should never be walked off leash.
- Staffords are highly intelligent, but they are also freethinkers who like to do things their own way. They need firm, patient, consistent training.
- Staffordshire Bull Terriers are energetic dogs who need a vigorous walk or play session daily.
- Staffords shed little, although they may have a heavy shed once a year. They require weekly brushing to remove dead hair and keep their coat shiny.
- The Stafford needs early socialization, especially if you want him to be friendly toward other animals.
- Like all terriers, Staffords are diggers. Reinforce the bottom of fences with concrete or chicken wire so they can’t dig beneath them.
- Staffordshire Bull Terriers can do well in apartments if they are properly exercised, but ideal living quarters include a fenced yard where they can play.
- Staffordshire Bull Terriers do not handle heat very well and need to be monitored on hot days to ensure that they don’t overheat.
- Staffords love children, but despite their nickname of “nanny dog,” they should not double as a baby-sitter. Always supervise interactions between children and dogs.
- If properly socialized and raised with them, Staffordshire Bull Terriers can do well with other dogs and animals. It is important to understand that some Staffordshire Bull
- Staffordshire Bull Terriers have a strong prey drive which will send them after small animals around your neighborhood including cats.
- Staffordshire Bull Terriers have a high pain threshold and can become injured without any outward sign, such as whining.
- Staffordshire Bull Terriers are protective of family members, but they are not too concerned about property. They are more likely to welcome burglars than to guard the silver.
- The Staffordshire Bull Terrier’s popularity has increased steadily over the past decade. He has moved up from 94th place in American Kennel Club registrations to 74th.
- The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is the fifth most popular breed in the U.K.
- The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a restricted or banned breed in many cities and the number of cities restricting the breed is rising. It is important to research your city’s dog by-laws to avoid the unnecessary seizure and destruction of your dog.
- Staffordshire Bull Terriers are extremely mouthy as puppies and can be destructive if not closely supervised.