Staffie (-ology)

In the hands of a loving and dedicated owner, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a wonderful pet.

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier was developed in the region of Staffordshire, England, in the nineteenth century from crosses between Bulldogs and various local terriers that were similar to the Manchester Terrier. Developed for the then-popular sport of bull baiting, the breed’s popularity waned as interest in the sport fortunately waned. Then, in the twentieth century, interest in the breed grew again, especially in the United States, and it returned to the show ring in 1935.

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is not a dog for every family, but in the hands of an experienced owner it can be a wonderful pet.

The dog with a big personality

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier does everything full throttle: play, work and love. It is extremely courageous, obedient and affectionate with a great sense of humour. The breed’s reputation with children is second to none – adored and adoring within its family circle. It is usually good with other pets in the household but needs a strong pack leader to be in charge.

A Staffie needs to be well socialised when young as it can be combative with other dogs. This breed is intelligent, persistent and active but generally not good swimmers. As puppies, they are prone to chewing, so make sure you give them plenty of safe and very strong chew toys.

Training and strong leadership is vitally important if you want to own a Staffie. Without this, they will become stubborn and hard to handle. Staffies can be trained for agility and competitive obedience as they love a challenge and variety. Due to their boldness, owners need to protect them from injuring themselves. Fearless and curious, they’re liable to jump off a high surface.

Health

Staffordshire Bull Terriers can weigh from 11 to 17 kilograms, with females weighing between 10 and 16 kilograms. They can be prone to cataracts, HC and PHPV (eye complaints), although through screening of both parents this can be avoided. Hip dysplasia is occasionally seen. They can also be prone to mast cell tumours and puppies are susceptible to having an elongated soft palate. Like all the bully type breeds, Staffordshire Bull Terriers often have gas problems. A Staffie’s lifespan is between 10 and 16 years.

Living with a Staffie

If sufficiently exercised, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier will do okay in an apartment or townhouse. It’s important to note that this breed possesses tremendous stamina and must have plenty of exercise, which has to include a daily walk or jog.

The smooth, shorthaired coat is easy to groom. All you need to do is brush daily and bathe or dry shampoo as necessary.  

Is a Staffie the breed for you?

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 that enjoys playing more than being tough. He sees life as a joyful adventure and lives it to the fullest. Companionable, amiable, docile and generally responsive to its owner’s wishes, its love of a good game is rivalled only by its need for human companionship.

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