Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Other names: Nanny dog, Staffie, Bull terrier du Staffordshire

Staffordshire Bull Terrier

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a compact, muscular, medium-sized dog. Used as a fighting dog in the past, he has preserved a fearless temperament that endows him with remarkable courage. Often mistaken for his close cousin, the Amstaff, the Kennel Club Staffie possesses several traits that make the breed unique in its own right and is not subject to the 1999 law addressing so-called ‘dangerous’ dogs.

Key facts about the Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Life expectancy :

7

19

12

14

Temperament :

Affectionate Playful

Size :

Origins and history

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier was born in the 19th century from a cross between the Bulldog and several different Terriers (White Terrier, Manchester Terrier). Developed in Staffordshire, England, the Staffie was originally used in bull fights. Very widespread in the States since the inter-war period, he has since gained some appreciation throughout Europe. The breed was officially recognised in 1935.

Physical characteristics of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier

    Adult size

    Female : Between 14 and 16 in

    Male : Between 14 and 16 in

    Weight

    Female : Between 24 and 33 lb

    Male : Between 26 and 37 lb

    Coat colour

    Black
    White
    Red

    Type of coat

    Short

    Eye colour

    Brown

    Description

    He appears as proportionately built, giving the impression of immense strength given his size. The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is muscular, molossian-type dog- active, nimble, brave and tenacious. The head is short, deep, with a wide skull. The masseters are very pronounced; the stop is well-defined. The muzzle is short, and the nose should alway be black. The eyes are round and medium-sized, they are set in a straight manner, casting the gaze directly ahead. The ears can be semi-upright or rose-shaped: they should neither be large nor heavy. The frame is compact, with the upper part following a straight line, a deep and low-reaching chest, and barrel-shaped ribs. The limbs are perfectly straight; the hind feet are slightly crooked. The tail, of medium size, is carried low: large at its base, it tapers down towards the tip without curling over, and is shaped in the same form as a water pump handle.

    Good to know

    With regards to classifications, only the Staffordshire Bull Terriers lacking Kennel Club papers are assigned the Category 1 group, established by the January 1999 law that addresses so-called ‘dangerous’ dog. It is therefore of utmost importance to only resort to professional breeds when considering the adoption of a Staffordshire Bull Terriers, which will be the only ones capable of ensuring a ‘pure blood’ certificate that will render the dog exempt for the above-mentioned, unjust category.

    Temperament

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      Affectionate

      The Staffie, as he is commonly known, is very gentle and affectionate towards his family. He is extremely devoted to his owners and enjoys spending time with children in particular (which must of course be supervised).

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      Playful

      Lively and tenacious, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier loves to play but can sometimes have trouble reining his excitement in. Playtime must therefore be supervised and initiated by the owners only, so as not to get overwhelmed by this little fireball’s overflowing energy.

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      Calm

      Particularly fearless and animate, tranquility is not part of the Staffie’s natural predispositions. In addition to being quite beefy, he is a real live wire that requires much attention and time to unlock his full potential.

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      Intelligent

      If professionally bred, the Staffie is quite even-tempered by nature and can be rather docile despite his somewhat stubborn side- the latter actually being proof of his intelligence. It is often those dogs that can snake their way out of a command that are the smartest. 

      Indeed, the intelligence of a dog should not only be gauged through his propensity to learn, but rather his capacity to reflect, adapt, react and take initiative. In these terms, this small bull-type dog certainly is remarkable.

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      Hunter

      This dog was by no means originally conceived for hunting, even if the most unscrupulous of owners used this ancient fighting dog for poaching, most notably at a time when dog fights were banned. 

      Some hunters do equip themselves with a Staffordshire’s presence during hunting expeditions, but this remains a marginal occurence in the hunting milieu.

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      Fearful / wary of strangers

      Very open towards humans, the Staffie almost never shies away from contact, even with a stranger. Playful, friendly and excitable, he loves to interact with everyone.

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      Independent

      The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a very gentle, even-tempered dog. He admires his master unconditionally, and would love nothing more than to spend all of his days in the latter’s arms. In this sense, he is by no means a reserved dog- sooner clingy, in fact.

      Behaviour of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier

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        Tolerates solitude

        This dog’s devotion to his owner makes him very sensitive to solitude. He does not like being isolated or excluded from his family and the owners’ absences are often a source of a lot of anxiety for him. 

        This is why the Staffie pup must start being exposed to his owners’ departures as early as possible, and in a gradual and positive manner (by integrating occupational toys, snacks, bones to gnaw on, etc.).

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        Easy to train / obedience

        This dog can prove to be obedient if he has been trained in a precocious, firm, positive and coherent manner. It goes without saying that brutality can in no shape or form be part of this process, as a show of violence on the handler’s side will only serve to stimulate this former fighting dog’s aggressivity, and could possibly traumatise him. 

        He is very enthusiastic and keen on pleasing his owner, especially when the training process involves games. These sessions help consolidate the Staffie’s discipline on the one hand, while it also serves to strengthen the master-dog bond on the other.

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        Barking

        The Staffordshire Bull Terrier can indeed be quite ‘yappy’, especially when he feels he is not getting as much attention from his owners as he deserves. You should by no means give into his whims, or he might develop an excessive habit of communicating in this way.

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        Tendency to run away

        There is no reason why this beefy and dynamic dog would flee the family nest if all of his needs are being met, physical exercise included. Only when not walked enough outside, or not sufficiently physically stimulated, will the Staffie bring himself to running away. 

        A Stafford’s escape would be symptomatic of some gross shortcoming in how he is being handled, since it is almost unimaginable for him to leave his family’s side on account of how attached he is to them.

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