Is the Staffordshire Bull Terrier the Dog for You?
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is powerful muscular medium sized dog and one of my favourite breeds. Known by those who own them as loving, loyal dogs, they easily steal hearts. But are they right for you? Check out these quick facts to find out!
Most know that this breed of dog was originally a fighting dog. Developed in England in the 19th century, it was one of the bull and terrier breeds used for fighting. The Staffie, as the breed is commonly called, was developed by crossing bulldogs with terriers, like most fighting breeds, to create a game tenacious fighter. The breed is named after Staffordshire, England, where dog fighting by the miners was very popular. Once the breed was no longer used for fighting, it was bred for temperament to transform it into a household companion.
Due to their fighting past, Staffies have great super friendly nature towards humans but some can show aggression to other animals including cats and dogs. Most people would expect a fighting breed to be aggressive, but toward humans this can’t be further from the truth. As most dogs from the fighting breeds were selected to be friendly toward humans because when the owner was near them during a fight or caring for the dog after a fight, the owners didn’t want to get bitten. So, they selected the calmest most friendly dogs for breeding. Of course, modern day breeders must continue selecting the calmest friendliest dogs to continue these traits.
Because of their background and terrier genes, they do have a strong prey drive. This is something prospective owners should keep in mind. Prey drives must be trained correctly, or they can become a source of behavioral issues including reactivity chasing and biting. Because Staffs can have a lot of prey drive, socialization with other dogs from young is key to creating a Staffordshire Bull Terrier that is comfortable as a family pet.
As a guard dog they don’t do well because they are so friendly. My Staffy was famous in our area and he would escape and go visit all his dog friends and come home when he was done. He would always stop for a pat with anyone he met in the streets. And that reminds me not only are Staffies super friendly they tend to escape and get picked up by strangers a lot more than other breeds. So very secure housing is necessary if you want to keep your Staffie at home.
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier definitely received the terrier energy level. This is no couch-potato bulldog (though they do love cuddling on the couch after a good play session!). Staffies have a high energy level and do best in a home where they get some type of daily exercise. That can be a walk, a jog, or a rousing game of fetch. Like most high energy breeds, if you don’t give them an outlet, they will find one on their own…like chewing your couch to pieces.
Being a medium, high-energy dog, a Staffie is going to be happiest in a home with a backyard. Having a space where you can make sure she gets exercise every day will help her be less destructive. That being said, if you are sure to give yours plenty of exercise (preferably before you leave for work each day, so she is tired while you are gone), many settle into city life just fine.
Common Health Problems
Definitely not as prone to health problems as their cousins the English Bulldog, Staffordshire Bull Terriers are fairly healthy as breeds go. Like most breed dogs, they are prone to hip and elbow dysplasia as well as patellar luxation. Eye issues also run in this breed, including juvenile cataracts. These are things that responsible breeders screen for, which is why it’s important to buy your puppy from a reputable breeder. Otherwise, you could be faced with large vet bills as these issues often require surgery.
Another issue Staffies are very prone to are allergies. Both environmental and food related allergies seem to plague the breed. Both are usually genetic, so it doesn’t hurt to ask the breeder if there are any known allergies in the lines. Dogs with blue or white coat seem to be much more effected by skin allergies than tans, reds, brindles and blacks. I would myself avoid the blues and whites as not only do they get allergies more often they also are prone to skin cancer more due to lack of pigmentation. By the way we have helped many itchy Staffies with our grain free food and the ones that don’t itch also look great on the Chicken Lamb and Fish grain free formula.
Staffordshire Bull Terriers are an intelligent breed with an eager to please attitude making them very easy to train. Staffies are seen in competition rings – obedience, rally, agility – and also used for therapy and service animal work. They respond quickly and learn easily, making them a fun partner for most activities. Just remember they have that inner prey drive, which will need to be trained correctly. Also, they are very strong for their size and can be quite energetic greeters, so manners such as leash training are equally important.
We recommend feeding your Staffordshire Bull Terrier our All life Stage Chicken, Lamb & Fish formula from puppy to adult. And giving raw meaty bones twice a week. They will look and feel amazing feeding this way.