Staffordshire Bull Terrier: dog breed appearance, character, training, care, health


The Staffordshire bull terrier dog breed has among its characteristics that it is a very strong, active and muscular dog. It is a pet with a brave, loyal and affectionate character. At Petlifey, we explain everything about the Staffordshire bull terrier.


Character of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier breed

The staffie, which is how this breed is affectionately known, is characterized by its fearless, courageous, trustworthy, intelligent and tenacious character. In addition, thanks to its good temperament, it is very affectionate, especially with children.

The persevering, bold, fast, energetic and fierce behaviour for which this animal was originally selected has turned into a spirited, playful, affable and somewhat quarrelsome personality.

All these qualities have made the Staffordshire bull terrier a great fame and popularity in a large number of countries. The behaviour of this pet can be summed up in one sentence: “A comical and affable spirit under a fierce appearance.”

And it is that this dog is characterized by doing everything at a very high pace, regardless of whether it is playing, working or even resting, something that sometimes seems incapable of doing.

The staffie is a very brave animal but endowed with great humour and a sense of humour that makes it a real clown.

It is a race closely linked to man and that shows great affection towards all the people around them. Although it can be used as a guard dog, the truth is that it does not usually show aggressive tendencies towards strangers, whom it receives rather as potential friends.

Therefore, more than for the defence of property, its use is as a watchdog or warning dog. Notices if someone outside the house approaches, even though they have no intention of stopping them.

It is important to note that, despite its origin and its past, the Staffordshire bull terrier is not an aggressive dog at all and there are not usually cases of aggression to people to a greater extent than with any other breed.

However, since the end of the 20th century, the breed has seen how its name has been included on many occasions within the list of breeds considered dangerous according to the laws of different countries. Despite the fact that in all this time data on episodes that justify said inclusion have not been provided.

For this reason, the different clubs of the breed around the world and their international associations work tirelessly so that the virtues of this dog are known far from any type of prejudice caused by its physical characteristics and by a history that it has nothing since do with the current Staffordshire bull terrier.

How do you behave with children?

For many experts, the staffie is one of the ideal breeds to live with children, whom they accompany on all their adventures and whom they adore. Although it is convenient that the relationship between one and the other is always supervised by a responsible adult.

It is also convenient to educate the smallest of the house that a dog is a living being and not a “giant stuffed animal”. So they must learn to respect the animal and its space.

How do you relate to other pets?

This canine pet usually has a correct behaviour with other dogs and even with animals of different species that belong to the family and to which it has become accustomed since it is a puppy.

On the other hand, with other dogs that it knows less, it tends to be quarrelsome, combative and sometimes aggressive.

Something that can only be controlled if you have a master with enough experience and ability to impose its leadership in a blunt way.

Is it suitable for apartment living?

The Staffordshire bull terrier adapts quite well to any type of life. It is happy whether it lives in a flat in the city centre or in a big house with a garden.

In fact, it almost prefers to always live indoors than to do it outdoors, since it needs continuous contact with its family, and if it is left outside or alone for long periods of time, it can develop behaviours totally alien to its character.

Another advantage of its possession is that it is not a noisy dog, apart from its tendency to snore when it sleeps, so it does not usually cause problems with the neighbours. It only uses its bark when playing or to answer another dog.


Behaviour of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier

  • Energy: high level. It does not stand still, it is a very active animal that needs to practice sports and outdoor activities.
  • Temperament: it is active, spirited, tenacious, fearless, vigorous and courageous. It does everything at a blazing pace and can be fully trusted. It is also affectionate, personable, and playful.
  • Adaptability: Live well anywhere. It loves life at home, in constant contact with its family. It is not barking or loud.
  • Sociability: Affectionate with the family, it is not aggressive but warns of the presence of strangers. If it is educated well it tolerates other animals, but if it does not know them it is threatening, quarrelsome and combative.
  • Health: Shows a certain tendency to suffer from eye conditions, hip or elbow dysplasia and to suffer from gas.
  • Longevity: a Live an average of between 12 and 15 years.
  • Utility: versatile. Good watchdog and companion dog, it also competes well in agility and flyball .
  • Use: company and guard.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier Characteristics

If we talk about the general appearance and characteristics of the Staffordshire bull terrier, the first thing that stands out is its very muscular, athletic and strong appearance. This, together with its powerful jaw, makes it have an image of fierceness.

But despite this scary physiognomy, at the same time it is a very agile, active dog with a balanced body. It is a very brave dog, even intrepid, tenacious, very affectionate and loyal.

Let’s take a closer look at the physical characteristics of the Staffordshire bull terrier :

How is the Staffordshire bull terrier breed physically?

It is a dog with a medium-sized body, with a height at the withers of about 39 cm for males and about 37 cm for females.

It has a strong and solid constitution and a great muscular development. Its head is generally short, it has a wide and deep skull, with a marked stop. The muzzle, which is also short, ends in a black nose and houses powerful jaws.

The eyes are medium in size, round and dark in color, with a dark outline, they are positioned so that they look straight ahead.

The ears are set high, take the shape of a rose or appear semi-erect. They are not large or very heavy and today it is not customary to cut them.

Their feet are strong and of medium size, and they are endowed with thick foot pads. In the specimens whose coat has a single color, the nails are black.

The tail is set low, is of medium length and gradually tapers towards the end. The dog carries it down quite a bit, a little curved at the tip, but without twisting it too much.

As for its coat, the hair is smooth and short, and it is well glued to the skin. It comes in red, fawn, white, black or blue. It is also possible that any of these are combined with white .

Let’s take a closer look at the Staffordshire bull terrier and the breed standard:

Staffordshire Bull Terrier breed standard

  • General appearance: muscular, active and agile, it is a balanced and very strong dog for its size.
  • Origin: United Kingdom.
  • Size: medium.
  • Height at the withers: between 37 and 41 cm for males and between 35 and 38 cm for females.
  • Weight: between 12 and 17 kg for males and between 11 and 16 kg for females.
  • Body: the lumbar region is short.
  • Head: it is short.
  • Skull: it is wide and deep.
  • Snout: short.
  • Nose: it is black.
  • Eyes: medium-sized, round and set looking straight ahead, they are dark in color. The eye contour is also dark.
  • Ears: they are not large or heavy and are rose-shaped or semi-erect.
  • Nose-frontal depression (stop): well marked.
  • Jaws: the jaws are powerful, with well developed teeth and a regular and complete scissor bite. The lips are crisp and well attached.
  • Neck: It is rather short, muscular, with a sharp contour, gradually widening towards the shoulders.
  • Chest: seen from the front is broad and deep; muscular and well defined, with arched ribs.
  • Back: the top line is well leveled.
  • Forelimbs: strong, straight bones, set well apart. Shoulders are well sloped back. Elbows with no laxity. Regarding the forearms and arms, the metacarpals do not show signs of weakness.
  • Hind limbs: very muscular, seen from behind they are parallel. The knees are well angled.
  • Feet: front feet that turn out a little. Strong, medium-sized, and have thick foot pads and black nails, especially single-colored specimens.
  • Tail: set low and also low, it is of moderate length and gradually tapers towards the tip. A little curved, does not curl much.
  • Color:  the specimens can be of a single color, in red, fawn, white, black or blue, or combine any of these with white. Some specimens are brindle, with or without white hairs.
  • Hair: straight, short and close to the skin, it is red, fawn, white, black or blue, or white in combination with any of these colors.
  • Movement: with free, vigorous and agile movement, the animal advances without much apparent effort. The limbs move parallel, and it is the hind limbs that provide the strong thrust.
  • FCI Classification: FCI No. 76. Group 3 – Terriers. Section 3 – Bull-type Terriers.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier Puppies

If you are looking for information on this breed, it may be because you are considering the adoption or purchase of a Staffordshire Bull Terrier puppy. In that case, there are a number of aspects and considerations that you should take into account.

Adoption is an excellent option. But if you decide to buy, it is especially important to always turn to professional and responsible Staffordshire bull terrier breeders when choosing a puppy.The puppies of this breed are very playful, funny and very active. So you should keep an eye on them so that they “don’t get into trouble” or have some small accident.

To prevent it from becoming a fearful dog, you have to start socializing from a young age. Under the supervision of the veterinarian, the puppy should experience being in different places, meeting other dogs and hearing all kinds of sounds (cars, people, etc.).

Extremely active, the staffie needs a lot of exercise, even from an early age. But you must apply common sense and not force the muscles, joints and skeleton of the little puppy.

You must also provide it with a diet of the highest quality to guarantee its proper development and growth. There are special foods for puppies on the market.


Staffordshire Bull Terrier Education and Training

As for how to train a Staffordshire bull terriersocialization work is essential, which must be started by the breeder within a few weeks of birth. The definitive owner must continue steadily once the puppy arrives in its new home.

Being so effusive and impulsive, with a way of moving, breathing, panting and making noise that can be threatening to those who do not know him, it is imperative that the education of this dog is done firmly and consistently .Its mouth and its extraordinary strength make them a potential destroyer of everything in its path, especially if it is bored.

That is why it is convenient to provide them with toys and objects with which it can vent its vigour, in addition to providing them with all the necessary exercise.

It is very important to insist that it take long walks on a leash to try to curb its tendency to walk quickly and ahead of its master.

If it is managed to advance at the same pace and in parallel e.g. of its owner (or a little behind), it makes them understand that who is on the leash is who and who must be obeyed.

Instead, if it is allowed to walk on the leash, this attitude becomes a hobby and, given its extraordinary strength compared to its size, in the long run makes the animal very difficult to handle.

The Staffordshire bull terrier is especially happy when it lives with an active family, which likes to practice sports and exercise outdoors, with a program of varied activities in which the dog will always want to be the first to participate.

Intelligent, active and tireless, this dog loves to exercise. It enjoys activity and variety, and its dedication in carrying out any job or task is so great that it can do it without restraint or measure. Even to the point of injuring himself from its excess of passion.

Perhaps its only weak point is its poor ability to swim, which somewhat limits its usability. But, in any case, you can see specimens of the breed competing at a high level in activities such as agility, flyball or sports obedience.

Despite its excellent temperament, the truth is that this is not a suitable breed for any owner, since it must be able to impose its authority on the dog.

In fact, this is how all members of the house should proceed. The specimens of this breed must be set limits and must be respected by them at all times. If this is not done, they become stubborn dogs and very difficult to handle .

Thus, its training, whose main objective is to make them understand where it lives and what its place is within the family, has to start at a very early age, in order to be able to do it constantly and gradually .

A dog that assumes well its place and the role it plays within the family, immediately learns to recognize others as superiors and its owner as the leader of the pack, and in this way daily coexistence becomes much easier.


Staffordshire Bull Terrier diet

We must ensure that the staffie maintains a correct weight and does not fall into obesity thanks to an adequate exercise program and a balanced diet that provides enough energy for the tremendous energy it has.

The diet of a Staffordshire bull terrier must include an adequate proportion of proteins of animal origin capable of maintaining the muscles and energy of this canine athlete.

Nor should we forget the contribution of abundant quality fats (omega 3 and omega 6), especially important in a dog with a body fat ratio as low as this one.

Fortunately, the main brands of dog food offer us feed or kibbles specially designed for this type of dog breed. You can buy dog ​​food of this type in specialized stores, or conveniently online.


Staffordshire Bull Terrier health and diseases

In principle, the Staffordshire bull terrier is a fairly healthy breed, although it has a certain propensity to suffer some typical diseases of relative importance.

  • Eye conditions (which can be prevented with relative ease if only those specimens that are free of them are used for reproduction).
  • Open palate  ( cleft lip ) in some puppies (due to the special shape of their head and the extraordinary width of their mouth).
  • Hip dysplasia.
  • Elbow dysplasia .
  • Gases (something not serious but annoying, especially if a small space is shared with him).

The Staffie is a dog with a good life expectancy. It can live between 12 and 14 years as a general rule, so it is an acceptable longevity. Although there have been cases of pets that have lived a few more years.

On the other hand, it is not an animal that tolerates extreme climates too well . Due to its short and simple coat and its lean body, with little amount of body fat, it suffers from both intense heat and cold .

In addition, due to its brachycephalic constitution, it has a certain tendency to suffer from heat strokes, so it is not advisable to force it to exercise on the hottest days and hours.

As always, the veterinarian should be in charge of supervising and monitoring its correct growth and development, and in general the dog’s state of health.

In principle, it is enough to carry out routine visits to complete the usual vaccination and deworming programs (internal and external).

In addition to performing periodic checks on the eyes, mouth and ears, the most sensitive and delicate areas of any dog.


Specific care of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Regarding the maintenance and how to care for a Staffordshire bull terrier, being a rustic breed, its coat is very easy to maintain and it takes very little time to groom.

Just give it an occasional brushing using a natural horsehair brush or suede to bring out the natural shine of the hair.

Regarding how often the Staffie has to be bathed, it is sufficient to subject it to a good bath when the specimen is very dirty, in that case using a shampoo that does not alter the quality or texture of the coat.

Due to its easy maintenance but above all thanks to its charisma and dedication, this dog immediately becomes an object of adoration by its family and it is difficult that those who share some time of their life with a specimen of the breed can already spend without them.


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