The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a loving, affectionate breed. Though protective of their family and, these active dogs are usually very friendly toward children and strangers. Staffordshire Bull Terriers have playful, curious natures and love spending time with their people.
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier originated in England in the 17th century. As the sport of bull-baiting declined in popularity and dogfights grew more common, the need for a smaller and more agile dog arose.
To develop this new dog, people bred Bulldogs to reduce their size. Experts think breeders then crossed these smaller Bulldogs with the Black and Tan Terrier to produce the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
Dogfighting ultimately lost its popularity, and the sport was banned in 1835. Still, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier remained a favorite breed of working-class families. Eventually, a group of workers in the Staffordshire area preserved the breed by introducing it into the world of dog shows.
The Kennel Club in England officially accepted the breed in 1935, and the American Kennel Club followed suit in 1974.
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a medium-sized, powerful dog with a broad chest and strong shoulders. Despite these powerful features, they're a very agile breed.
The short-haired Staffordshire Bull Terrier comes in many colors. These include red, fawn, black, white, blue (gray), brindle (black and brown striped), and lighter shades of brindle. Their coats are either a solid color or parti-color with white.
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier has a short, broad head with distinct cheek muscles, wide jaw, short muzzle, and ears that fold over at the tips.
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a smart, stubborn, and quiet breed. And don't be fooled by their tough exterior. These pups are gentle, docile, and sweet-natured. They've even earned the nickname "nanny dogs" because they're usually so good with children.
Staffordshire Bull Terriers love being around people and want plenty of time to play. With enough exercise and mental stimulation, these dogs make well-behaved, loyal companions.
Some Staffordshire Bull Terriers can be reactive toward dogs they don't know. Keep this in mind if yours is ever in a situation with unleashed dogs.
Staffordshire Bull Terriers need a high-quality dog food that is age-appropriate—whether it's commercially manufactured or homemade (under a veterinarian's supervision and approval).
Some dogs are prone to becoming overweight. It's important to monitor the amount of food you give them and reduce portions if they gain weight. Also, remember that giving too many treats in addition to regular meals can contribute to obesity.
Grooming a Staffordshire Bull Terrier is pretty effortless. Weekly brushing with a horsehair mitt or hound glove is usually all it takes to remove dead hairs.
As with all breeds, regular nail trimming is a must for Staffordshire Bull Terriers. Overly long nails can cause pain or lead to issues walking. And make sure to check your dog's ears often for wax buildup and debris, as both can lead to an infection.
Keeping a Staffordshire Bull Terrier in tip-top shape requires regular exercise. These agile dogs enjoy activities such as flyball, rally, agility, and competitive obedience exercises.
Staffordshire Bull Terriers don't do well in warm or humid weather. So, avoid overstraining them when providing exercise in these conditions.
Because of their original breeding, Staffordshire Bull Terriers have a natural inclination to guard. Use socialization and firm, dedicated training to temper this tendency and make them safe household companions.
Staffordshire Bull Terriers are an intelligent breed that learns easily and responds quickly. But they can be hard-headed. Reward-based training using small treats and favorite toys helps lessen their stubborn tendencies.
L-2-Hydroxyglutaric Aciduria (L2HGA) is a metabolic disease caused by a fault in the enzyme that breaks down a chemical in the body known as L-2-hydroxyglutaric acid, which increases to toxic levels. This causes damage to the nervous system and results in incoordination, muscle stiffness during exercise or times of excitement, and altered behavior or epileptic seizures.
Knowing if your Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a carrier or at-risk for these conditions can help you and your veterinarian plan for your pup’s lifelong care. With Wisdom Panel™ Premium, you can get results for over 200 genetic health tests.
Reviewed July 26, 2020 by Annette Louviere, DVM