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staffordshire bull terrier

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key point

  • Despite their rather violent past, Staffordshire Bull Terriers are loving and easy to take directions.
  • That said, aggression from another canine could easily trigger those genetic predispositions for repressed belligerence.
  • Because they are prone to skin allergies, it's best to feed them a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
staffordshire bull terrier 1

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The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is known as a "nanny dog" with a lot of energy and a loyal heart.

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Looking for a hypoallergenic, human-friendly dog that's not too big? A Staffordshire Bull Terrier could be the perfect match! Known among dog lovers as "SBT" or "Staff," the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is strong, energetic, loving and loving, and doesn't require much grooming. According to the American Kennel Club, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is the 80th most popular dog breed in the United States, the 10th most popular dog breed in Australia, and the most popular dog breed in South Africa Ranked 10th among species.

The offspring of the ferocious Pit Bull Terrier, the Staff has a muscular body and high energy. But aggression has been bred from them for centuries. Most SBTs these days are high-spirited happy goofs who are great with kids.

Widely regarded as an excellent breed for active families, the Staffy could be the perfect addition to your home. But before welcoming one in, it's important to familiarize yourself with some key facts to make sure it's a good fit.

Owning a Staffordshire Bull Terrier: 3 Pros and Cons

advantage! shortcoming!
People Friendly <br>The Staffordshire Bull Terrier loves people and makes an excellent therapy dog. The staff is not to be missed by anyone in need of a loving companion. In addition, SBTs have a keen "emotional barometer" and "maternal instinct". Overheating <br>The Staffordshire Bull Terrier overheats easily and hates extreme weather. If you live in a hot and humid area, strongly consider switching to a different breed.
SBTs take instruction well. Basic obedience training goes a long way in individuals of this breed. On the track, they excel in agility and flyball.
Stubborn <br>If another dog attacks an employee, their "pit bull breed" instincts may kick in and they won't back down.
Loyal <br>The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a good friend who wants nothing more in life than its humans, whether in a cramped one-bedroom apartment or a 40-room mansion. As long as you love them, they will love you tenfold. Very Active <br>The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is athletic and needs a lot of vigorous exercise. They need to play to stay happy and healthy. If you can't play with them often, consider other breeds. Gardeners beware: some employees love to dig because of their stalk roots!

History and Evolution

Black and white staffordshire bull terrier with faded background
Despite their bulldog ancestry, Staffordshire bull terriers became beloved working dogs in the 19th century


The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a descendant of the now extinct Old English Bulldog and Old English Terrier. Some kennel clubs refer to these two "vanishing breeds" as Old-Fashioned Bulldogs and Old-Fashioned Terriers, and refer to early crosses as "Bulls and Terriers." Because of their pedigree, SBTs fall into the bulldog category.

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Staffordshire Bull Terrier Health and Recreation

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In medieval England and Europe, the Old English bulldog competed in bloody sports such as bull and bear fighting, giving way to dog fighting in the 18th century. These games were crude and inhumane and were eventually outlawed in 1835.

Around that time, British breeders turned their attention to breeding family-friendly bulldogs, and this is how the Staffordshire Bull Terrier was born. Breeder James Hinks of Birmingham, England is credited with "perfecting" the breed in the mid-19th century. Soon, the staffy became "the dog of the working class."

The first employees came to the United States in the 1880's. At that time, North American breeders used SBT to create an offshoot breed, the American Staffordshire Terrier – known as the AmStaff – which was heavier and taller.

In 1935, the first SBT Standard Club was formed in England and the Kennel Club of England accepted the breed. Today the British Isles are home to around 15 different Staffordshire Bull Terrier clubs. On this side of the Atlantic, the American Kennel Club first listed the SBT as the 120th recognized and registrable breed in 1975.

size and weight

Brindle staffordshire bull terrier sitting on a hill
Staffordshire Bull Terriers reach adult size at 12 to 18 months of age.


The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a small to medium-sized short-haired dog with an average height of 14 to 16 inches in males and females. In terms of weight, males range from 28 to 38 pounds and females from 24 to 34 pounds. SBT puppies are small at birth but weigh between 9 and 14 pounds for females and 10 to 15 pounds for males by three months. Employees reach adult size at 12 to 18 months of age.

common health problems

Some breeds have inherent health problems, but the staff are relatively robust and enthusiastic. The most common disorders in SBT are L2HGA, skin allergies, and cataracts, all of which can be genetically screened for. Some Staffordshire Bull Terriers suffer from hip dysplasia and patellar luxation – a painful knee condition – but these problems are less prevalent in the SBT population than in other breeds. [2]

The most common Staffordshire Bull Terrier health problems are:

  • L2HGA
  • cataract
  • Skin allergies
  • hip dysplasia
  • Patella luxation


Pair of Staffordshire Bull Terriers
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is playful and affectionate, but has a strong desire to eat


Intelligent, courageous, energetic and loyal are the adjectives most often used to describe the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. If the weather is not too hot, they can play tirelessly. According to SBT expert and author Steve Eltinge, "As early as three to four weeks old, a working puppy will often prefer human company to [it's His biological] mother’s company.”

The staff are smart and reliable. Author Dieter Fleig described the breed as "everyone's Friday man." And, much to the delight of their owners, SBTs are not big barkers. But if another dog in the house likes to howl, the staff will mimic their mate and "talk back." Plus, SBTs make happy meows when played.

But it's important to remember that Staffordshire Bull Terriers were originally bred to fight other dogs. Although this instinct has weakened considerably over the centuries, they can still become aggressive towards other dogs if not properly trained. Also, due to their pedigree, SBTs also have a strong "prey drive" and will often chase small rodents that pass through their path – but this is not a widespread problem. The vast majority of employees eventually bonded with other household pets and found friends at the dog park.

How to Care for a Staffordshire Bull Terrier

American Staffordshire Terrier standing in water
Staffordshire Bull Terriers should be fed a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids

©Aneta Jungerova/Shutterstock.com

What must a new staff owner know about caring for this breed? What diseases and health problems do SBTs most commonly face? What is the best diet for them and do they need special training?

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Best Dog Food for Staffordshire Bull Terriers

Employees are not picky eaters, and they are less likely to suffer from diseases that require dietary adjustments. However, since they may have skin allergies, their dermatological function is best supported by foods containing Omega-3 fatty acids. Also, SBT is prone to weight gain. So be careful with foods that contain fillers. Instead, choose higher-quality options that contain a lot of protein.

Employees need meat. Some vegans and vegans insist on feeding their dogs an all-plant diet, which isn't best for a Staffordshire Bull Terrier or any dog for that matter. In fact, dogs aren't obligate carnivores like cats — cats can't do without meat — but canids are facultative carnivores, meaning they primarily eat meat. Of course, in a pinch, dogs can survive for days on just plants, grains, and fruit. But this is by no means optimal, and canines on a microbiota-restricted diet may have more health problems and die sooner.

Here at AZ Animals, we say the best dog food for Staffordshire Bull Terriers is Wellness CORE RawRev Dry Dog Food with Wholesome Grains, High Protein Dog Food.

For breeds that need a satisfying high-protein meal, this one has you covered. Real turkey and chicken are natural sources of glucosamine and chondroitin, which minimize the risk of joint dysplasia and patellar luxation. The eyes contain taurine, and the skin and hair contain omega fatty acids. Thanks to fiber-rich grains like oatmeal and barley, your Staffordshire Bull Terrier will know when it's full and not overeat.

The Best Raw Materials High Protein

Wellness CORE RawRev Wholesome Grain High Protein Dry Dog Food

  • Contains no fillers, wheat, corn or soy.
  • Rich in omega fatty acids, antioxidants, glucosamine, probiotics and taurine.
  • Made with 100% freeze-dried turkey pieces for added saltiness that dogs love.
  • Perfectly balanced with high-protein kibble, wholesome grains, and nutrient-dense superfoods.
  • Crafted with advanced natural nutrients to support lean body mass, muscle tone, and healthy coat and skin.

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Maintenance and Grooming

The short drip-dried coat of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier makes them vulnerable to fleas and ticks

© Eric Isselee/Shutterstock.com

The coat of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is smooth and short. As a result, they don't require as much grooming as finicky breeds such as Poodles, Bichon Frizes, and Pulees. However, SBT with weekly brushing and occasional bathing works well.

As with all dogs, regular maintenance of their ears and teeth will keep them looking their best. In addition, Staffordshire caretakers should have their nails trimmed monthly; long ones can cause a lot of pain to this breed.

Due to their short, drip-dry coat, SBTs are susceptible to fleas and ticks. To keep your vibrant hairball free from pests, use a flea comb frequently during the warmer months.

How Much Hair Do Staffordshire Bull Terriers Shed? Not many since they wear short coats. You may occasionally find some hair around the house that is easy to vacuum up, but that's about it.

The staff are great for people with allergies as they don't collect as much dust and grime and they aren't very odor absorbing.


The staff are full of energy and the puppy training school does wonders for their social skills. When they are taught how to control their enthusiasm, Staffordshire Bull Terriers are incredible additions to families of all sizes.

With proper training, female Staffordshire Bull Terriers can make excellent watchdogs, but not guard dogs. The crew is good at protecting people, but not so good at protecting property.

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Staffordshire Bull Terriers have a high pain threshold when it comes to territorialization and will often run through electric fences. Better to invest in a tall backyard fence.


Staff can easily overheat, but they also love to play! Daily play is essential to an SBT's well-being and health. People who are sedentary and value their alone time should consider another breed, as employees love to be around their people. They love to go for drives, hikes, or spend a lot of time playing in the yard or indoors. When you're not playing together, the crew snuggles up.

In the summer, or if you live in a year-round hot and humid climate, invest in a plastic kiddie pool for your employees. While playing in the hot sun, they need to go for a soak every few minutes. But don't leave them alone when they're in the pool. It may be shallow, but the staff are notoriously poor swimmers due to their size. So, just like your kids, keep an eye on them when you're wading through the water!


Obedience training is highly recommended for Staffordshire Bull Terrier puppies

©Aneta Jungerova/Shutterstock.com

Experts strongly recommend basic obedience training for Staffordshire Bull Terrier puppies. In addition, staffy puppies can experience oral irritation. To save your furniture, bathe the little ones with plenty of chew toys. They love boomer balls, nylabones and big bars.

What about SBT puppies and other household pets? Will they assimilate soon? The answer depends largely on the age of the puppy in question and their temperament. Some Staffordshire Bull Terriers will take an instant liking to a new four-pawed friend, while others see them as competition for human attention.

In general, though, it's easier to bring a staffy puppy into another dog's home than another dog into a staffy's home.

If you want two Staffordshire Bull Terriers, preferably one male and one female. Also, you shouldn't be taking them home at the same time. In doing so, you risk allowing them to bond with each other and ignore you—which could lead to unresolved discipline issues in the future. So space them out by a few years.


Known as "kids' nannies" and "nanny dogs," employees are known for caring for and protecting babies and young children. They are also very attached to their adults. Staffordshire Bull Terriers love to snuggle up in cold weather and are often considered snuggle partners by staff if children are around. Learn more about the best dog breeds for families with children here.

Brave and loyal SBTs are also very protective of their human infants, and won't back down if they feel threatened. However, the staff don't like to bite – but they do bark to stop unwanted parties!

dog similar to staffordshire bull terrier

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is most similar to, and compared to, the American Bulldog, American Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Pit Bull Terrier, Pit Bull Terrier, and American Bulldog.

  • American Bulldog: While very similar to the Staffordshire terrier, they come in a wide range of sizes.
  • American Staffordshire Terrier: AmStaffs are close relatives of the Staff and share a lot in common with their English cousins, but are larger and have longer legs. US Staffordshire is also a bit more serious than SBT.
  • Pit Bull Terriers: Pit Bull Terriers are generally larger than Staffordshire Bull Terriers.
  • Pit Bulls: While similar to clerks, pit bulls are not as intelligent, they are red and brown instead of black, and shed more hair.
  • American Bulldog: Another breed similar to the SBT, the American Bulldog has a slightly different head and ear shape. Plus, they're more "funny" than the employees.

Popular Names for Staffordshire Bull Terriers

What should you name your new SBT puppy? Popular names for Staffordshire Bull Terriers include:

  • Jock (named after the clerk in the famous book Jock of the Bushveld )
  • Rossi
  • winston
  • fashionable
  • Roxy
  • doom
  • grown ups

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A purebred Staffordshire Bull Terrier can cost between $800 and $2,500. Adopting one will set you back about $300. Staff don't have much grooming needs, so their monthly maintenance costs are equivalent to food and toys. However, SBTs require basic obedience training at a young age, so factor this into your budget!

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is brave, curious and loves people. They're especially good with kids, but it's important to socialize them properly from an early age. Also, don't forget to teach the kids how to interact with pets lovingly and with respect!

The typical lifespan of a Staffordshire Bull Terrier is between 12 and 14 years.

Due to their stout size, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier overheats easily and dislikes extreme weather. If you live in a hot area, you may want to look at another breed.

Staffordshire Bull Terriers are omnivores, which means they eat both plants and other animals.

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier belongs to the animal kingdom.

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier belongs to the phylum Chordate.

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier belongs to the class Mammalia.

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier belongs to the canine family.

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier belongs to the order Carnivora.

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is covered in hair all over.

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier belongs to the genus Canis.

The scientific name of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is Canis Lupus.