Despite his fierce appearance and brawling past, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is renowned for his gentle, docile, and fun-loving personality. Though he still has the bravery and feistiness, this fight has now been transformed into a true-blue devoted companion that will engage in snuggles rather than fights. Often dubbed as the nanny dog, he’s also intensely loving of his children, now acting as kids’ adorable canine playmate and guardian.
Origins of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier
We can never tackle the Staffordshire Bull Terrier’s history without mentioning historical comrades, such as the American Staffordshire Terrier, the Bull Terrier, and the American Pit Bull Terrier, as all these breeds have the same backstory starting in the early 1800s.
As the blood sports of bull and bear-baiting were outlawed, a new sport emerged in the form of dogfighting, performed as an underground activity, and hidden in illegal pits, away from the eyes of the law. In this barbarous sport, dogs were pitted against each other in gladiator-type battles. Bulldogs, who became “jobless” after the bull-baiting ban, were then crossed with the agile and tenacious Terriers.
The resulting dog was small and fast like the terrier yet boasts the bulldog’s powerful jaw, making it a perfect and exciting dog to have in the fighting ring. Outside the arena, the ‘Stafford’ was raised in smaller, crowded conditions with large families, in which he was ingrained with his pleasant demeanor towards people, regardless of class and age.
In 1835, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier Club was established in England, while the first Staffordshire Bull reached North America in the 1880s. However, it was only in 1975 the American Kennel Club granted full recognition of the breed.
Today, the Staffy, as he’s fondly called, is one of the best breeds that enlivens the description “man’s best friend.” Thanks to the hundreds of years of responsible breeding, this former brawler has turned into a warmhearted family companion.
Characteristics of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Height: 14-16 inches
Weight: 28-38 pounds (male), 24-34 pounds (female)
Life Expectancy: 12-14 years
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a powerful, muscular, and stocky dog. Despite being famously short, he is brimming with energy and incredibly agile. His head is short and broad, with prominent cheek muscles and stubby foreface. Further features include dark, round, medium-sized eyes, a black nose, and half-erect, medium-sized ears. Meanwhile, his coat is short, smooth, and close-fitting to the skin. Though his coloring comes in varied colors, he is usually dual-colored with white or brindle as the common secondary color.
From a feisty fighter to a loving family member, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier embodies what it is to be a people dog. He is a surprising sweetheart, extremely gentle and loving, far from the beast the majority still view him as.
He’s very affectionate, overly fond of his people, especially with kids, earning him the reputation of being a “nanny dog.” However, he can sometimes be unaware of his strength, which means proper training is required. If guided properly, he’d be happy to play and bond with little humans and protect them unconditionally.
Though very good-natured with people close to him, the Staffy may be quite problematic with other dogs as his fighting instincts may manifest. Not to worry, as with proper guidance and socialization from his human, he knows how to interact with other pets and live with them harmoniously.
Fun-loving and boisterous, the Staffy can also be a source of entertainment. He might be smaller compared to other dogs, yet he has a big personality. While not a prolific barker, he is definitely vocal but in different forms. He’d bring the fun with his unique snores, groans, grunts, and snorts. He can even sing, often called a yodel, that will unfailingly bring smiles to his families’ faces.
Caring for the Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Caring for the Staffordshire Bull Terrier’s coat is low maintenance. Weekly brushing can suffice in keeping his coat free from dirt and debris and keep its tip-top condition. His coat is also almost dirt and odor-resistant. However, he sheds fairly. Bathing him every month or so to keep loose hair manageable. Then, wipe him using a soft towel to maintain his coat’s shininess and keep him attractive.
Other parts of the grooming upkeep involve primary care. Trim his nails every three to four weeks. Examine and wipe clean his ears weekly from wax buildup or debris to prevent any infections. It is also advisable to develop an oral care routine to avoid tartar buildup and gum disease. So, make sure to brush his teeth weekly using vet-approved toothpaste and toothbrush to promote his oral health.
The Staffy is pretty energetic and will require 1.5 to 2.25 high-quality dog food, partitioned into two meals daily. The amount of food varies depending on your dog’s age, metabolism, and activity level. See to it not to overfeed him as it can result in obesity alongside other consequent health conditions.
Make sure that he gets ample time to roam around and play to keep him fit. A good walk or romp in a dog park is usually enough to keep him physically satisfied and prevent him from channeling his energy into bumping off your furniture at home. Nevertheless, the Staffy is generally easy-going at home as long as his energy requirements are met.
Highly adaptable, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier can almost live in any home, be it an apartment, urban living, or in a country setting. Just make sure that he is not left alone for extended periods outside, especially during summer. He’s more tolerant of colder weather than hotter ones.
In terms of health, the Staffy is generally healthy with only a short list of inheritable conditions affecting the breeds. Some health concerns to watch out for includes heart disorders, cataracts, hip dysplasia, and knee issues. Dealing with reputable breeders or adopting from a reliable organization can help ensure you get a healthy Staffy pup that can be your long-time adorable and devoted canine pal.