Staffordshire Bull Terrier Dogs
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier AKA Staffie, Staffy, Staff, or SBT is one of the most popular dogs in the UK and is renowned for his love of people especially children. Although originally bred for dog fighting hundreds of years ago, nowadays with the proper socialisation and training a Staffie is the perfect family pet.
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Loving nothing more than spending time with his family, they are a sensitive breed and do not do well left outside or spending long periods on their own as this can lead to destructive behaviour (they love a good chew).
Loyal, gentle and loving with humans they can however, be dog aggressive and shouldn't be allowed to roam freely, while they might not instigate a fight they are tenacious and can do serious damage to other, especially smaller dogs. Whether you are looking for Staffiue puppies for sale or even better adopting a Staffy from a rescue shelter you can be sure you will get a lifetime of love.
Staffordshire Bull Terrier (AKA The Staffy)
Staffies are happy go lucky dogs, their wide faces give them a permanent smile that is hard to resist, they adore us and are very eager to please making them relatively easy to train, a trait that has unfortunately been taken advantage of by some unscrupulous owners leading to them being much maligned.
How many people cross the road when they see a young man with a ferocious looking dog kitted out with large studded collar? (Most likely not a pure-bred Staffie) They might look formidable but are really, big softies and make terrible guard dogs more likely to trip a burglar up waiting for a belly rub than bite them.
They do well as therapy dogs and the RSPCA have recently set up a partnership with the police to rehome unwanted dogs for police work, with an increasing number of success stories.
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a medium sized, incredibly muscular dog, females can be between 33- 38cm (13-15") at the shoulders with males slightly bigger at 36-41cm (14-16") This is the accepted breed standard, but you can get longer legged Staffordshire Bull terriers sometimes called Old Tyme Terriers which are an Irish strain of the breed and while they also make great pets they are not recognised by the Kennel Club.
Staffies love their grub and unfortunately, many can end up a bit chubby but their optimum weight is 13 - 17kg (28-37lbs) for males and 11 - 16kg (24-35lbs) for the ladies.
Staffies come in a variety of colours including white, black, brindle, fawn, red, liver, blue and a mixture of white with any of these. If you are thinking of showing your SBT undesirable colours are black and tan or black and liver. Their coats are short. smooth and lie close to the skin.
The average lifespan of a Staffordshire Bull Terrier is 12-14 years but it is not unusual to see them living longer with some reaching the ripe old age of 17 or 18.
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a pocket powerhouse, stocky, agile and muscular.The body should be compact with a level top-line and defined muscular tone, the chest deep and wide, forelegs set wide apart straight with strong pasterns and feet turning out slightly.
The head is short almost triangular in shape, with broad skull, wide pronounced cheekbones, tight mouth with strong underjaw.
Ears should be rose (half dropped and folded back slightly) and eyes should be round and set straight ahead.Hindquarters should be well defined with legs being parallel when viewed from the front. The tail should be low set, medium length and taper to a point.
A Staffy's coat should be smooth and lie flat against the skin it can be a variety of colours. Blue has become increasingly popular resulting in an increase of blue Staffordshire bull terrier puppies for sale.
This shade is in fact caused by a recessive gene, both parents must be carriers to produce blue Staffy pups and it is the only colouring of the breed where a lighter eye colour is accepted by the Kennel Club.
Originating in England hundreds of years ago, when blood-sports were an extremely popular pastime, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier has a violent and chequered past. Bulldogs were used to bait bulls, bears and other animals in the 17th century.
In fact, at one point it was illegal to sell bull meat unless the animal had been terrorized by a pack of dogs as it was believed to tenderise the meat, a practice that still continues to this day in Korea where they do the same with dog meat maintaining fear releases hormones that make the meat taste better, this is totally inhumane and as Gandhi was quoted
"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated."
After the amendment to the Animal Cruelty Act in 1835 these practices were outlawed in the UK. However, dog-fighting became even more popular as it was easier to keep secret. Bulldogs were often crossed with terriers because of their tenacity, speed and agility. These dogs looked very different from the breed we are familiar with today as the quest to produce the perfect fighting dog continued.
Over the years, they developed into various bully breeds both here and abroad such as the Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Bull Terrier and the American Pit Bull Terrier. In fact, most countries have their own version of Bull Terrier. Breeding with native fighting dogs like the Cane Corso and the Pakistani Mastiff has produced a wide range of Bull Terrier type breeds across the world.
It was the potters of Staffordshire that took the breed further, producing a heavily-muscled agile fighting dog and so the Staffordshire Bull Terrier was born. The potters were extremely poor often with large families and it is believed these early breeders killed every dog that showed aggression to humans especially children this completely eradicated human aggressive traits within the breed, so much so it was a common site to see a badly injured fighting dog returning home in prams alongside newborn babies. This gave them the name "Nanny Dog".
A hundred years after the Animal Cruelty act the Staffordshire was finally recognised by the Kennel Club as a breed in its own right. It was rare for a breed to be recognised without an official club so a few months later a group of enthusiasts got together at the "Cross Guns" Inn Cradley Heath. One of this group was the owner of "Jim the Dandy" from whom it is said the first breed standard was derived another was the owner of "Cross Guns Johnson" who went on to win best in breed at Crufts in 1936.
Staffies were adored family pets at this time making the news for all the right reasons. One of the most famous Staffies of all time is Sgt Stubby.
An American Staffordshire Bull Terrier, this amazing dog served in the trenches of France during World War 1, participating in 4 offensives and 17 battles. He survived numerous injuries and was the only dog promoted to Sergeant through combat. A true hero he was given a gold medal for service to his country in 1921 and is still remembered today as being one of the bravest dogs ever.
Another brave Staffie who become famous the world over is Sui. She belonged to the the late Steve Irwin who described her as "the love of his life" For 16 years she was by his side as he wrestled with crocodiles, captured snakes or swam with water monitor lizards while making his wildlife documentaries.
Nowadays Staffies are one of the most popular breeds in the UK and unfortunately the one most often found in rescue shelters.
Watch this video to see our special relationship with the breed over the years:
In recent years, the Staffy has gained a bad reputation mainly down to the way it looks, (It bears a remarkable similarity to many more aggressive breeds) This is due entirely to irresponsible ownership and cross-breeding with more aggressive breeds. In fact, Staffies come 22nd in reported dog bites in the UK and the majority of these incidents are crosses. A pure-bred SBT makes the perfect family pet and is one of only 2 breeds from nearly two hundred, the Kennel Club state are totally reliable with children.
Owning a Staffordshire Bull Terrier will bring a smile to your face every day. They are full of joy and are never happier than when they are by your side. Staffies are fearless, bold, courageous and affectionate, they love to play although games of tug of war should be avoided as they are a dominant breed and losing (which you will) can make you seem weak. They have strong powerful jaws and need tough toys to chew on otherwise your furniture will suffer.
A confident dog they take everything in their stride giving them great patience with rowdy children. They treat every day as an adventure and love it when they share adventures with their family whether it is a road trip, hiking through the countryside or lounging around watching a movie.
Staffie V Other Bulldog Breeds
Easily distinguishable from the Staffie the British Bulldog also has a bloody past, Like the SBT he is affectionate, great with kids, loves his food and doesn't make a great guard dog. However, there the similarities end.
A British Bulldog will cost 3-4 times as much as Staffordshire Bull Terrier to buy and more to insure. They don't live as long and have many more health problems than a Staffie. They also must deliver any puppies by caesarian section because of the size of their heads.
They don't need as much exercise and can be quite lazy. A Bulldog is much more dignified than the fun-loving Staffie and can be stubborn making them quite difficult to train.
American Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Many people confuse the 2 but the American Staffordshire Bull Terrier or Am Staff is a very different kettle of fish from its cousin. Larger ranging between 17-19 inches at the shoulder and weighing 45-70 pounds they are strong powerful dogs.
He has an athletic build stocky, but not as deep-chested as a staff and the head shape is also slightly different, the Staffy's being more triangular.
Both these breeds need regular exercise and consistent training. The Am Staff is a much better guard dog than the Staffy and will protect his family fiercely.
Originating from and looking much like, the now extinct old English Bulldog, the American Bulldog is a large dog. They stand around 20-28 inches at the shoulder and can weigh anything from 60-120 lbs.
They are an all-purpose working dog and unlike some of the other Bully types can live either indoors or outside.
They are extremely protective and make excellent guard dogs unlike the Staffie. They require extensive training and a lot of exercise to prevent boredom. Like the Staffy their coats are easy to maintain and come in a variety of colours but like the English Bulldog they also drool and slobber.
Prices vary massively for this breed depending on pedigree you can pay up to £2,000 for Johnson lines and you can also pick up ones that have become too much for their owners and crosses for as little as £300-£400.
When Bulldogs started to be cross-bred with terriers to produce fighting dogs, variations appeared and became distinct breeds in their own right, but the Bull Terrier and the Staffy are arguably the most similar in characteristics if not appearance.
The most obvious difference between the 2 is the head, Bull Terriers having their distinctive square shape which some experts believe comes from introducing collie or greyhound into the breed back in the day.
Larger than the Staffie, Bull Terriers are extremely stubborn and will test boundaries so, like all the Bully-types need a confident owner. They are also the most boisterous of the Bully-breeds and can play very rough if allowed.
They get bored easily and this can lead to exuberant jumping, chasing their tail and other serious beharioural issues. A Bull Terrier will cost a lot more than a Staffy to purchase, the vet bills will probably be a lot higher and some lines can be nervous and more aggressive than Staffies.
American Pit Bull Terrier
Banned in the UK, ABPTs actually come from the same ancestors as the Staffie. These Bulldog-Terrier crosses travelled to America in the 19th century where they were crossed to become the dog we know today. The key word being crossed. Staffies in this country had human aggression bred out of them while their American counterparts had more aggressive lines introduced to produce the ultimate fighting dog.
Larger than the average Staffie in the UK the ABPT has the same fun-loving, people-orientated character and is keen to please. They look tough (especially with cropped ears) and similar to Staffies in this country they have been exploited and this loyal, affectionate working dog has become a weapon or status symbol for unscrupulous types leading to a bad reputation with many countries banning the breed.
It should be noted that the term Pit Bull refers to a type of dog and can include The American Pit Bull Terrier, Staffie, Americian Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Bulldog or crosses that look like any of them which has resulted in a lot of confusion when dog attacks have been reported.
Buying a puppy
If you are thinking of getting a Staffordshire Bull Terrier puppy you will be spoilt for choice and will see "Staffy puppies for sale" everywhere from social media, classified ads to cards in the local corner shop.
However, it is essential to find a reputable breeder if you want a healthy, pure-bred Staffie with all the lovely characteristics of the breed. With so many of this breed in rescue shelters it is important you consider these factors, before bringing a Staffie puppy into your home
- Are you prepared to make a long-term commitment? - Many Staffies live for up to 14 years
- Do you have the knowledge and experience to gain the respect of your new four-legged friend? - Staffies can be headstrong and are a powerful dog
- Are the whole family on board with getting a SBT?• Is someone at home most of the time? - Staffies love people and don't like being alone for long periods
- Is your' home a comfortable, secure environment for a puppy?
- Have you taken into account the cost of neutering, micro-chipping, vaccinations etc?
- Have you thoroughly researched the breed? Staffies should be owned by someone who understands them
If you answered yes to these questions then you are ready to become a Staffy parent, a big responsibility, but well worth it.
Click here to find a list of Staffordshire Bull Terrier breeders you can trust
You can expect to pay between £300-£600 for a Staffy.
You will find blue Staffie puppies for sale at the top end of this range, perhaps costing a little more.
So, you have found a local breeder, the next thing you need to do is visit the litter, this is essential so you can see how the puppies have been brought up and evaluate the parents. A responsible breeder will be happy to answer any questions you have and discuss health issues, temperament, etc.
Questions to ask include:
- Have the puppies or parents had any health problems?
- Do they have the relevant health screening certificates?
- How many puppies are/were in the litter?
- Have the puppies been treated for worms?
- Will the puppies have their first vaccination and/or be microchipped before rehoming
- Does the breeder offer back up advice and interest in the pup's progress?
Much of this is common sense and if you have any doubts or feel uneasy about anything during your visit, walk away.
Of course, you may prefer to adopt a Staffy puppy or an older dog (definitely worth considering) in which case you will literally have hundreds to choose from depending on where you live.
There are more Staffies and Staffy crosses in dog shelters and rescues across the UK than other breed all waiting for their forever home. Check with the local dog charity or one of the many breed specific Staffie rescues. Whichever option you choose once you bring your new best-friend home you will need to decide on a name, some popular names for Staffies include:
Does a Staffie need much training?
Staffordshire Bull Terriers are highly intelligent and eager to please which means they are relatively easy to train if you know what you are doing and a handful if you don't.They can be stubborn, are easily distracted and don't always see the point of doing what they are told.
It is essential to start training and socialising your puppy from the moment you bring him home and to be 100% consistent.Staffies respond well to positive re-enforcement but as this usually consists of some form of bribery it is not always the best way to train the dominant breeds.
You need to be firm too.Yes, your pooch may come when called if you are holding a piece of sausage but is a sausage as tempting as chasing next door's kitty probably not!A strong-willed dog needs to respect you and obey your commands without question whatever the distraction.
He needs to understand you are the leader, he might be your best friend but he is not your equal and treating him as such is a recipe for disaster.
A balanced approach of both positive and respect training is the best way to ensure a well-behaved adult Obedience classes are a great start as they will teach your pup to behave around other dogs and give you the skills and confidence required to take training a Staffy to the next level.
A Staffy's coat requires minimum attention to keep it looking in tip-top shape a daily rub-down and weekly brush should be sufficient. Some Staffies are susceptible to skin allergies so may need bathed with a medicated shampoo and it is essential to treat for fleas regularly as they can also cause serious skin problems.
Grooming can be very therapeutic for a dog and is an excellent time to check for soreness or injury. It also gives you the opportunity to clean ears, teeth and eyes which are all important for a healthy Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
Staffies are highly energetic, boisterous dogs especially when young and require 1-2 hours of exercise a day. They also appreciate mental stimulation 20 minutes solving a problem can equate to 90 minutes running around so it is a good idea to give them puzzle toys.
Staffies do well at agility and flyball which are fun ways to spend time with your four-legged friend and further build that special bond between dog and owner.
The great thing about Staffordshire Bull Terriers is they are adaptable and while some are happy jogging for miles and hiking with their owners, others, as long as they get sufficient walks to keep them healthy will quite happily spend their time chilling on the sofa. They important thing is they are with you and that's what makes them happy.
Feeding a Staffie
Staffies love their grub and will eat almost anything so it pays to be vigilant when they are puppies as they love to chew. They can also be greedy dogs so it is important that you monitor their weight and don't overdo treats.
When you bring a puppy home the breeder should supply a feeding guide and if you make changes to their diet it is essential to do this slowly to prevent upset stomachs. Puppies should be fed small regular meals gradually reducing this to 1-2 meals a day when fully grown.
Most Staffies are happy with dry food, but it is entirely personal preference and your pet will be happy with a raw diet or a mixture of wet and biscuits. For more information about dog food click here.
The amount you feed an adult Staffordshire Bull Terrier depends on their activity most dog food has guidelines on the packaging but if you feel Fido is becoming chubby cut back a little.
Staffies are a healthy breed although they are classed as category 2 by the Kennel Club. These are dogs which have visible features that, when exaggerated by irresponsible breeders may cause future health issues within the breed. At present, there are a few genetic problems that can affect Staffordshire Bull Terriers including:
SBT Temperament- Are Staffies good with children?
Renowned as one of the most loyal and loving breeds the Staffie has been a family companion for hundreds of years. They have a big personality in a relatively small body and are often called "the clowns of the dog world" They are a fun-loving breed that loves nothing more than playing with the kids (supervised of course) and spending time with their humans. Easy-going, affectionate and courageous they are much softer than they look and surprisingly make terrible guard dogs, as they just love people too much.
Of course, any dog can be trained and tormented to become aggressive but it is worth noting that even terribly abused and neglected Staffies have tenderly licked the hand of their rescuers trusting them completely. Patient and kind, they adore children although they can be rambunctious and accidentally knock over toddlers.
Staffies were originally bred for fighting and this instinct remains so early socialisation is essential with this breed as they can be dog aggressive, even if your pooch is a lover not a fighter he must still be kept on a lead around other dogs. He might not start a fight but he will certainly not back down from one and unfortunately will always get the blame.
Male V Female
It is entirely personal preference as to which sex you prefer but a dominant male will push boundaries and be harder to train. That said male dogs are often more affectionate and playful than their female counterparts, whereas a female will bond with one member of the family a male will happily bond with everyone equally. Females of course will usually be smaller, that's not to say they will be sweeter.
Females can be moody and are often more cunning than males, they are usually calmer as they get older males being puppy-like for most of their lives. It costs more to spay a female than neuter a male and if not spayed she will leave a bloody discharge around the house when she comes into season twice a year. Unless you intend to show your dog or breed (not recommended when there are already so many unwanted Staffies) It is best practice to neuter at around 18 months to 2 years.
It is not advisable to have 2 Staffies of the same sex living together unless you are experienced with the breed and have complete control. Whichever you choose with the proper training Male or Female will make a fantastic addition to the family.
Cost of Ownership
Staffies are a big commitment as they have a long lifespan, but they are relatively inexpensive to own. They are not fussy eaters and are generally healthy so vet bills are usually kept to the minimum. The initial cost of the dog will be anything from £300-£600 and you will need to factor in the cost of Micro-chipping (around £15) vaccinations, neutering and regular flea and worm treatments.
Insurance costs can vary massively depending on where you live and what cover you go for. As Staffies can be prone to joint and eye problems which are expensive to treat it is recommended to choose the best insurance you can afford and lifetime cover if possible as this means any ongoing treatments are covered so you will be looking at £20-40 a Month. You also need to provide good quality strong toys and should definitely invest in puppy socialisation and obedience classes. In total on average it will cost between £40-£80 a month to keep your Staffy
- Great with kids
- Needs regular exercise
- Extremely playful
- Doesn't need much grooming
- Can be dog aggressive
- Needs to know who's in charge
- Loves to chew
- Love Cuddles
- Need Consistent training
- Adores Humans
How long do Staffordshires live?
Staffies can live up to the age of 16 but their average lifespan is 12-14 years
How much is a Staffy?
You can buy Staffy Cross puppies or ones without papers for as little as £150 but if you want a pedigree pup with the appropriate health checks and pure-bred Staffy temperament you will be looking at paying around £500 with blue Staffies costing slightly more. There are so many of this breed in shelters around the country, neutered, wormed and vaccinated looking for that special someone which could also be an option.
How much exercise does a Staffy need?
A high-energy dog Staffies require between 1-2 hours of exercise a day especially when young. They have tremendous stamina and enjoy a combination of both physical and mental challenges. They love a fun play session, also doing well at agility and flyball. They are also one of the breeds that can benefit from the use of a doggy backpack.
What were they bred for?
Staffies were originally bred for fighting. While larger Bulldogs were used for baiting bulls and bears in the 18th century, when dog-fighting became more popular they needed a smaller more agile breed with a terrier's "gameness" and so starting crossing with the popular terrier breeds of the time.
Is a Staffy a good family dog?
Yes, one of the best, they love humans and make great companions. They are loyal, gentle and playful, with the right training and early socialisation A Staffie makes the perfect family pet.
Is Staffie a good first dog?
Staffordshire Bull Terriers are intelligent, extremely strong dogs and not everyone recommends them for first time owners. However, if you do your research, are able to provide consistent training, be willing to give them plenty of exercise and spend time with them, there is no reason why they shouldn't be suitable for a first-time owner who understands what they are taking on.
Staffies with kids?
The SBT is great with kids in fact it is only one of 2 breeds the Kennel Club state are totally reliable with children, so much so that it is sometimes known as the "Nanny Dog" Many rescue charities and welfare organisations also believe it is one of the best dogs for families with children.
However, it must be noted that they are a strong powerful dog and can be boisterous when young, unintentionally knocking over a small child is a possibility. Properly trained a Staffy is a great family pet one that will enjoy playing with the kids and cuddling up to them on the sofa. As with any breed they should never be left unsupervised with any child.
How big are they?
Staffies are a small to medium sized dog standing between 12-16 inches, however some lines from Ireland can be more long-legged and slightly larger and some back-street breeders sell Staffies that have been crossed with larger bully-types.
Staffordshire Bull Terriers come in a wide variety of colours the only colours frowned upon in the show ring are black and tan and black and liver.
Where to find reputable breeders?
The sad truth is, that there are many "back street breeders" who are just out to make a quick buck and are clueless, irresponsible and have no knowledge of this fantastic breed. You can click here to find a list of reputable breeders of Staffy pups. Alternatively, you can join online communities while doing research into the breed and see if they have any recommendations of reputable local breeders.
More of a lover than a fighter a Staffie is intelligent, loyal, affectionate and courageous. They have a real zest for life and love to play. Like all terriers they love to chase smaller animals and they can be stubborn. They are eager to please and love spending time with their family whether it is hiking through the countryside or lounging around watching the TV.
Are Staffys aggressive?
Normally no, however the practices employed by some owners who have the dogs as status symbols can produce an aggressive animal purely due to the dog's willingness to please their owner. A properly brought up Staffy will show no human aggression whatsoever and is usually a real softy. They can be dog aggressive. after all that is what they were bred for and it is essential to socialise this breed early in life to prevent problems.
Staffies love their food and will eat just about anything including the odd shoe. Some can suffer from allergies so it is worth experimenting so see which food suits them best; a good quality dry food or raw diet will usually suffice. They can be greedy so it is important not to overdo the treats to avoid them becoming overweight.
Can they live with other dogs?
Yes, although some Staffys can be dog aggressive if properly socialised or brought up with other pets they can peacefully live with both dogs and cats.
Best dog to have with a Staffie?
Staffies can live with any dog but having another dog aggressive, dominant, strong-willed breed of the same sex such as a Mastiff type can be a recipe for disaster and if a fight did ensue I wouldn't like to try and break it up.
At what age do Staffies stop growing?
A Staffie will reach its full height at around 1 year old and can look rather rangy at this stage, but will continue to "bulk out" and increase muscle tone until fully mature at 2-3 years of age.
Neutering my Staffordshire Bull Dog
With so many Staffies in rescue centres around the UK it is vital there are no more unwanted puppies therefore neutering or spaying your Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a must.
Most Charities advise this to be done early but there is some controversy with large or muscular breeds, experts proclaiming this is too early and can inhibit growth and development of muscle mass. Discuss with the breeder and your vet but the optimum age now seems to be around 18 months to 2 years when they have reached maturity.
Staffy with other pets like cats?
Staffies are part terrier and do have a lot of terrier traits to varying degrees including prey drive, digging and chasing small animals. That said many Staffies get on with cats if they have been brought up with them from a young age.
Adopting a Staffy?
There are more Staffies in rescue centres than any other breed through no fault of their own. Many dogs are neglected, abandoned or given up to shelters so no matter where you live there is bound to be a Staffy looking for that someone special to give them a home.
Check with your local rescue charity or contact the RSPCA or Dogs Trust which have local branches. You will usually have to pay a fee or asked to make a donation that can be anything up to £150 but your new pet will be micro-chipped, neutered and fully vaccinated and you will have the pleasure of knowing you have provided a loving home for one of these wonderful dogs. For some Staffordshire Bull Terrier Rescues click here.
Are Staffies noisy?
They are not usually big barkers but can still be quite a vocal dog. As with most short-nosed breeds they can be prone to snoring and have a variety of grunts and snorts to let you know in no uncertain terms how they feel.
What toys can I get a Staffy to play with?
Staffies are intelligent dogs, they also have very strong jaws and love to chew so the best toys you can get are strong chew toys and puzzle toys that challenge their mind. It is not recommended to play with tug toys as they will see this as a challenge for dominance unless they will drop on command.
Do Staffies shed?
Yes, Staffies shed all year round although not excessively and a daily rub down will keep shedding to a minimum.
Over the years, Staffordshire Bull Terriers have gone from being fearless fighters to lovable family pets. Yes, they can sometimes be dog aggressive and need firm and fair training but they are loving, gentle and have a zest for life that's hard to beat.
They are great with kids and make great therapy dogs due to their calm natures. They are intelligent and love a job to do as long as they are by your side they are the happiest dogs going. Bringing a Staffy into your life will give you immense pleasure and you will be sure of lots of cuddles.