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Meet the Staffador: the staffy cross labrador

Black staffordshire dog advice
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What do you get when you cross a Staffordshire bull terrier and a labrador? A Staffador of course! So let's take a closer look at the Staffy cross Labrador.

By Ashley Murphy

The Labrador and the Staffordshire terrier

The Labrador and the Staffordshire terrier are two of the UK's most popular breeds. Both breeds have a long history that stretches back hundreds of years. Labradors were being used as working dogs as far back as the 16th century, while the Staffy earned his keep as a hunting dog and a guard dog during the 1800s.

Physically characteristics of the Staffy cross labrador

Given the features of both parent breeds, a Staffy cross will be a medium-sized dog with broad, powerful shoulders. Depending on which characteristics they inherit, their coats will be short and neat like the staffy, or it might be longer and silkier like many labradors.

Do they need much grooming?

It depends. Neither one of the parent breeds have particularly long coats, but Staffadors that follow the Labrador line will need a bit more care and attention. A quick daily brush and a monthly trim will keep them looking fresh.

Crossbreeds who are more influenced by the Staffy line will be very low maintenance. Their short coats won't need grooming very often, although it's still a good idea to check them on a regular basis. Staffordshire bull terriers are well known for suffering from skin problems. Keeping an eye on their coats will help prevent any infections.

Personality of this crossbreed

Both breeds in this crossbreed are playful, energetic, and very friendly. Unsurprising, a staffy labrador mix is a great dog for families with small children. Given their sprightly natures, they will need plenty of exercise and stimulation.

The Staffy labrador cross is also really easy to train. Both parent breeds are highly intelligent animals, and any staff/labrador is likely to pick things up very quickly.

Common health problems

Any crossbreed can inherit the same health issues as either parent. For example, Staffys suffer from skin problems. This is because of the short, coarse coats, and any crossbreeds with the same fur are at risk of developing skin problems and secondary infections. Another common issue in Staffys is cataracts. Unlike most dogs, this tends to develop during their first few years

Common issues in Labradors include obesity, ear infections, and heart disease.

Both breeds are prone to joint problems like luxating patella (a dislocated kneecap) and hip dysplasia, a genetic deformity of the hip joint. This means any labrador/staffy mix will be particularly susceptible to these conditions. Symptoms include:

  • Decreased activity.
  • Decreased range of motion.
  • Difficulty or reluctance rising, jumping, running, or climbing stairs.
  • Lameness in the hind end.
  • Looseness in the joint.
  • Narrow stance.
  • Swaying, “bunny hopping” gait.

All of these require medical attention. Staffadors usually live between 10-16 years.

The cost of owning a Staffador

Staffadors are a medium-sized dog so they won't need too much feeding. The exact amounts will vary from dog to dog, but two meals a day should keep them satisfied. Try feeding them once in the morning, and once again around early evening time. Like all dogs, a diet high in protein and complex carbohydrate is the best option. Due to their susceptibility to joint and hip problems, it might be worth supplementing the diet with fish oils, glucosamine and chondroitin; these help keep joints and bones healthy. Depending on what foods you go for, the monthly feeding costs could be between £15-£35. Some of their potential health problems can be very expensive to treat so you might want to look into pet insurance.

Some providers offer cover from as little as £2.99 a month, although prices will vary depending on your individual circumstances.

Benefits and challenges of owning a Staffador

Benefits:

  • Medium-sized
  • Great with children
  • Easy to train
  • Inexpensive to own

Challenges:

  • Prone to overeating
  • Can be boisterous
  • Susceptible to medical issues which can be expensive to treat.

It's always important to choose a dog that matches your lifestyle. You might think Rottweilers look pretty cool, but what if you live in a small one bedroom flat on the top floor of a skyscraper? Not a good combo. That being said, if you're looking for a relatively low-maintenance dog that's great with kids, then a Staffador might the right choice for you. All you’ll need to do is feed them the right foods, encourage positive behaviours from an early age, and make sure they get plenty of exercise.