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The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is also known as Stafford Staffy, Stafford, Staffy, Staffy, or SBT. The Staffy is a powerful-looking Pit Bull type of dog under the Terrier Breed Group. In contrast to his looks, this Terrier dog is sweet and loving.
The Stafford Bull Terrier has a short and easy-to-maintain coat. SBT is also adventurous, playful, and energetic with a strong desire to be with his family. The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is very patient with kids, thus earning the name ‘nanny dog.’
Are you thinking of getting a Staffordshire Bull Terrier? Here is a brief background of this child-loving dog.
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier dog breed was developed in the 19th century in Britain. The early Staffordshire Bull Terriers are a far cry from the ones today.
Like most Bull and Terrier type dogs, the Staffy was originally bred for bull baiting as it is believed that harassing these horned animals helps in tenderising their meat.
Aside from this purpose, the Stafford Bull Terrier is also used in dog and bear fighting simply for entertainment. Some breeds that were used to develop the Stafford include the American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, and the Bull Terrier.
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier breeders were aiming to create a small but powerful Terrier dog breed with a gentle disposition towards humans.
In 1835, brutal blood sports were banned in England, but it still continued underground. It took many years before these illegal games were put to a halt.
The future of Staffordshire Bull Terriers was saved thanks to the breeders who focused on developing the dog into a more affectionate dog. In the mid-1800s, the Stafford breed was introduced in the United States.
It took a while for the Stafford breed to be recognised by breeding associations because of his history as a fighting dog. In 1935, he was recognised by the Kennel Club, and the first Staffordshire Bull Terrier Club was formed in England. The American Kennel Club only recognised the Staffy breed in 1975.
Some of the famous Staffordshire Bull Terriers include Winston, who is owned by Vin Diesel, a fancier of the breed, and Sui, who is the dog of Steve Irwin, a well-known Australian conservationist.
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a medium-sized, burly, muscular, and agile breed. He is often compared to the American Staffordshire Terrier and American Pit Bull Terrier.
A male Staffordshire Bull Terrier stands about 36–41 cm tall and weighs 11–17 kg. A female Staffy is smaller, measuring 33–38 cm in height and weighs 10–16 kg. The American counterpart of the European Staffy is slightly larger in size.
Generally, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier has a short head with a broad skull, pronounced cheek muscles, a short nose, powerful jaws, and large cheeks. The SBT has a low-set, medium-length tail.
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier dog has a short, smooth coat that is easy to maintain. It comes in white, red, fawn, white, black, or blue. Any of these colours with white and any shade of brindle are accepted in the breed standards as well. Black combined with tan or liver colour is considered undesirable.
Grooming a Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a breeze since dirt can be brushed out easily. He is generally a clean and odourless dog, so he requires only weekly brushing and occasional baths.
Shedding is also very minimal. Staffys with pale colours or fine fur are prone to sunburn. So they should have dog-safe sunscreen when taking a walk outside during hot weather.
When bathing a Stafford Bull Terrier , make sure to remove any foreign matter in his eyes. Ear care in the Staffy breed is recommended monthly, making sure to watch out for redness or any signs of infection.
Use a cleaning solution and a soft cotton pad when cleaning a Staffy's ears. Do not insert a cotton bud into his ears as doing so can damage his ear canals. It also pushes the dirt further inside instead of removing it.
Lockjaw in Pit Bull breeds including the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a myth though the Staffy does have strong jaws. The theory lacks scientific evidence, thus any experts and dog owners considered it as a baseless claim.
On the other hand, one thing that is proven is the lack of a mechanism in all dogs that prevents them from ‘locking’ their top and bottom jaws together.
Because of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier’s tough-looking appearance, some people are afraid or threatened by him. People are often surprised to learn how loving and playful the breed is.
The Staffy is a family pet that loves being in the presence of his loved ones, and he specifically enjoys being with children. He has been dubbed as the nanny dog because he is very patient and good around children.
Although the Staffordshire Bull Terrier dog has no intention to harm, always supervise interactions with young children to avoid injury caused by his heavy body. The Staffordshire Bull Terrier can live in any type of home as long as he has access to a fenced outdoor area.
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is warm towards people but can be unfriendly towards other dogs. The SBT has a strong prey drive, so he should not be left alone with smaller animals. Since he longs for human interaction, he cannot be left alone for long periods as he can get destructive when bored or lonely.
The Staffy is a very intelligent and quick learner but tends to be impulsive and stubborn. Owners should be firm and consistent, and take on the alpha role in order to establish the strongest bond. The best way to train this Terrier dog breed is to reward good behaviours instead of punishment for faults.
Stingy formal obedience training does not usually work, so focus on practical lessons that the Staffordshire Bull Terrier can use every day. Important lessons are crate training and socialisation, so your Staffordshire Bull Terrier puppy can learn how to behave appropriately around new people and dogs.
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier breed does not bark much, making him suitable for apartment living. However, you must check your area or landlord for any restrictions. The Stafford breed is not a big barker; however he could be noisy in different ways like snoring, grunting, groaning, and even yodelling.
An adult Staffordshire Bull Terrier dog needs 1 1/2 to 2 1/4 cups of excellent-quality dry dog food per day. His high energy needs are paired with high-nutrient requirements. However, like in every breed, the amount of food depends on his age, size, build, activity level, and metabolism.
Breeds have certain nutrition needs, but you also have to consider your dog’s individual requirements. These are the typical calorie needs of an adult Staffordshire Bull Terrier per day:
Since the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is prone to skin allergies, a grain-free diet is the best choice, whether home-cooked or commercial dog food. Always opt for high-quality, well-balanced food that contains no preservatives and colouring.
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier breed thrives on lean proteins like chicken and turkey (meat and liver), venison, eggs, and fish. Fruits and vegetables can provide important nutrients and fibres.
The average life expectancy of a Staffordshire Bull Terrier is 12–14 years. He is generally healthy but predisposed to breed-specific health conditions such as:
Many Staffordshire Bull Terriers can be afflicted with hip dysplasia. This condition is a hip and joint issue that is due to the defect on the ball of the leg and socket of the hip. This leads to the improper alignment of the two, causing the joints to grind against each other.
Affected Staffordshire Bull Terrier dogs are often in pain. Other symptoms of this disease include limping and weakness of hind legs. Moving around is difficult for them as well. Medical therapy and surgery are the available treatments for hip dysplasia.
Prevent hip dysplasia from developing on your Staffy by avoiding high-impact activities. These include running to and from on pavements, going up and down on the stairs, and jumping on or off the bed or sofa.
Exercises such as these put pressure on his joints, triggering the joint disorder. Obesity can lead to hip dysplasia too, so always manage your Stafford Staffy's weight.
Cyclic Follicular Dysplasia
It is a hereditary condition and type of alopecia that is caused by the deformity of the hair follicles. This commonly occurs during early spring. Signs that hint that your Stafford has cyclic follicular dysplasia include flaky skin and hair loss, especially along the flanks.
Although the hair regrows within six months, melatonin medications can help in hastening its growth. Health-screening Staffordshire Bull Terrier’s aids in preventing the spread of this condition within the breed. It identifies which dogs are likely to develop cyclic follicular dysplasia. The breeder should avoid using them as breeding dogs.
Persistent Hyperplastic Primary Vitreous (PHPV)
PHPV is an ocular disease common in the Staffordshire Bull Terrier breed and can lead to impaired vision. Whilst there is no clear cause of the disease, experts believe it is hereditary. Staffordshire Bull Terrier puppies may develop this health problem around 4–5 weeks after birth.
Although PHPV is not a painful disease, it causes discomfort. Mild cases often do not require treatment. The severe condition may prompt surgery. Beware though that it does not guarantee 100% success.
Get your Staffordshire Bull Terrier puppy from a reputable breeder who provides documentation that their breeding stocks are health-screened for this disease.
Staffordshire Bull Terrier puppies show symptoms of cataracts 8 weeks after birth. This eye problem is often inherited from either or both of their parent dogs. Cataracts have no cure, and it is a progressive condition. Within 2–4 years, dogs with this disease will become completely blind.
The only way to prevent cataracts in Staffys is for potential parent dogs to undergo DNA testing. If they have high chances of having cataracts, they should not be used for breeding.
Daily exercise for the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is needed to release his energy and avoid becoming overweight. He requires regular walks coupled with playtimes in a fenced backyard for at least 1 and half hour every day.
The Stafford is good at escaping fences by digging a tunnel. Prevent these instances from happening by reinforcing the bottom of the fence. Since this small dog breed is prone to joint problems, do not subject the SBT to heavy exercises as it can negatively affect his muscles and joints, especially the puppy.
The general rule of thumb that you can follow when walking a Staffordshire Bull Terrier puppy is 5 minutes for every month of age. If you have a 4-month-old pup, he needs a maximum of 15–20 minutes of walking.
When walking the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, it is best to keep him on a lead. This keeps him from chasing small animals or dominating other dogs. The Staffy has a short face, so he should not be left outside for too long as he cannot tolerate hot weather. Always make sure that he has access to shade and clean water.
Getting a Staffordshire Bull Terrier puppy from a Kennel Club-assured breeder will cost you around £1,000–£2,500. You can also adopt and give a Staffy a loving home by enquiring with shelters and rescue groups.
The Staffy will need high-quality food and treats, which cost approximately £30–£40 a month. You will also need to spend on dog accessories such as lead, collar, food bowls, crate, bed, and toys. The combined initial cost for these things is estimated at £200.
As to Staffordshire Bull Terrier healthcare, you should be prepared in case your dog suddenly falls ill or gets into an accident. Veterinary expenses including vaccinations, routine checks, and annual boosters can total around £800 annually.
Pet insurance can range from £21 for a time-limited cover and up to £47 for a lifetime one. These prices vary depending on your Staffy dog’s health, age, the type of cover you choose, and whether he has pre-existing conditions.
Overall, you will be budgeting £50–£100 a month for recurring expenses, depending on the type of insurance cover you choose for your Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
Are you sure the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is the best breed for you? Take the Pet Breed Selector Quiz to find your perfect breed match.Dog Breed Selector Quiz
If you are not sure if you want to get a Staffie, you can check out our Pet Finder to see which breed is best for you.
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