Staffordshire Bull Terrier Overview
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier, or “Staffie” can trace his lineage all the way back to the Greek mastiff dogs called Molossians. These dogs were used in the fight arenas of the Roman Empire. However, the Staffy was originally used to manage bulls and catch and hold wild boar while hunting, rather than as a fighting dog. When the dogs were brought to England, their role changed to that of bull and bear-baiting, and eventually into dogfighting. However, when dog fighting was outlawed, the breed was then changed again toward show and companionship.
Staffordshire Bull Terrier Characteristics
The Staffy features a characteristic blocky head and low to the ground body, making him ideal for nipping at the heels of cattle or holding game with his powerful jaws. They feature a muscular body with ears that may be kept natural or docked for a more “fearsome” look. Despite the breed’s past as a fighting and hunting dog, these versatile dogs have easily shifted to the role of a pet.
Staffordshire Bull Terrier Temperament
Despite his fighting background, the Staffy is known as gentle, playful and loving. Their intelligence and playful nature make them great to play games with, and they do well around children. The breed earned the name of “nanny dog” due to their devotion, and protection of their children companions. The breed may be aggressive towards other dogs and animals, however, unless socialized from puppyhood.
Staffordshire Bull Terrier Care
This dog breed lives on average 12 to 14 years, good for a small-medium sized dog. However, they are prone to some health issues such as cataracts, deafness related to white coat color, hip and elbow dysplasia, heart problems, thyroid problems, skin allergies, luxating patellas and metabolic disease. Careful selection of parents along with good veterinary care can help the Staffy live a long life.
Staffordshire Bull Terrier Coat
The short smooth coat of the Staffy is extremely easy to care for. It requires only grooming with a mitt or glove a few times a week to remove any dead or loose hairs. Dogs with natural ears or those with skin allergies may require more care to prevent infection and to keep the skin in good condition.
Staffordshire Bull Terrier Training
While very intelligent, the Staffy can be willful and stubborn at times, making him a challenge for trainers. Owners with dog experience and patience are better suited for training the Staffie, and can help him learn his commands. Reward-based training is also a plus for the breed and will help him pick up obedience faster. Socialization from puppyhood is another must for the breed.
Staffordshire Bull Terrier Activity
The Staffy has lots of energy and stamina, especially as a puppy. This means they require ample amounts of exercise to keep them in shape and from becoming destructive. Keeping the Staffy very active in both mind and body will help to keep him in shape and from creating his own boredom-based games.