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The Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Posted October 10, 2013 in Dog Breeds


Staffords were born from the dark days of bull-baiting and dog fighting. They were bred primarily by coal miners in the town of Staffordshire, England. The practice of bull or bear baiting was intended to tenderize meat, but later it became a popular sport.  Because bull-baiting was difficult in the cities many turned to dog fighting for entertainment. The miners wanted to breed a dog that was small and fast so they bred Bulldogs with small terriers. The resulting Staffordshire Bull Terrier was fast and ferocious around other dogs while remaining tame around his handler.  After blood sports were banned some still gathered in secret, but most people realized Staffords were better suited as an endearing and loveable family companion. Their history still left many people nervous but the Staffordshire was finally recognized by both English and American Kennel Clubs in the 1900s. Today they are common show dogs and excellent companions.

Sizing up:

  • Weight: 24 to 38 lbs.
  • Height: 14 to 16 inches
  • Coat: Short, smooth
  • Color: Black, black and white, white, white and brindle, white and fawn, white and red, blue, blue and white, brindle, brindle and white, fawn, fawn and white, red, red and white, black and tan, liver
  • Life expectancy: 12 to 14 years

What’s the Staffordshire like?

The Staffordshire is sometimes called a “bully breed,” and is often misunderstood. While it’s true that generally speaking he won’t like other dogs or cats the Staffordshire is among the most people friendly dogs in the world. He wants to do everything with you and be everywhere you are. He even has a reputation as a nanny with children; although their interactions should always be supervised, the Staffordshire is likely going to be a child’s best friend. 

The Staffordshire is easy to train because he’s smart and eager to please. This is important because a well trained Staffordshire will be a fun, loyal, obedient, and capable of competing in all sorts of sporting competitions. A poorly trained Staffordshire, on the other hand, will be impossible to manage: digging holes in the backyard, barking constantly, and destroying every piece of furniture in the house. Training requires that you be consistent and firm with your Staffordshire.

Staffordshire Bull Terriers require a high level of physical activity. They won’t be satisfied by a quick walk and would rather take a hike or go for a run. This isn’t the right

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Tori has more than 2 years of experience in the pet health industry and is junior editor of IDEXX’s Pet Health Network team.