The Staffordshire Bull Terrier (affectionately known as the Staffie) was initially bred as a fighting dog. The breed is an English dog and closely related to the Bull Terrier. The tenacious and playful breed is now a friendly companion dog (if trained correctly) and most often, well-behaved. They appreciate affection and respond well to such attention.
The Staffordshire bull terrier has cemented its name among Australia’s best known, most popular and most loved breeds. There are several breed clubs and even publications devoted to the Staffie. Costing around $400 at this time, they are affordable and can live for more than a decade, which is certainly enough time to create an ever-lasting bond. It is recommended the breed live with families with older children (around 10 years old) because of their potential to be boisterous. If trained in the correct manner though, this might not be a concern.
The Staffie, although mellowed, is still a tough and aggressive proposition. They are supremely built, and adored by their owners. Staffies also boast a strong tail and can come in a range of colours, including red, fawn, white, black and blue. The breed can also come in any of these colours combined with white. Staffies stand around 35-40cm, with males weighing between 13 and 17kg and females 11 and 15kg.
The Staffordshire bull terrier relates well to humans however, it is vital to make sure the dog socialises often during the early stages of life. The rewards of this will be seen later on when the Staffie develops into a loyal family pet. Ensuring the Staffie learns to socialise with other dogs is particularly important as while they’re naturally fond of humans, other dogs aren’t greeted with the same natural enthusiasm. Unlike many breeds, they respond kindly to strangers and won’t have second thoughts about running up to welcome them.
Due to their playful and boisterous nature, it is important that owners of Staffies train their dogs early to dissuade any aggressiveness or misbehaviour which, due to their powerful build, may cause some problems.
When it comes to maintaining their own health, the Staffie is often solely responsible for any injuries they may suffer as their exuberance can often see them running blindly into small spaces and other dangerous areas. They’re well known for their fearlessness. The Staffie can also suffer from hip dysplasia, which is a bone disease, slipping kneecaps and the eye disease known as entropion. But it is worth noting these are not common in the breed. Light coloured breeds of the Staffordshire bull terrier can be prone to sunburn and, in more extreme cases, skin cancer.
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a dog that is quite happy indoors and their characteristics also suggest this. They are not a breed that will run around the yard. Rather, they like it inside close to their family. In a positive for owners, they shed hardly any hair and can be trained easily if the right time is taken.
It is recommended you bath the Staffie once a fortnight, which should ensure it retains a healthy and vibrant coat and general good health. A daily 15-20 minute walk is also ideal, and helps to burn off energy, but generally the breed is happy to rest inside and hang out with the family.
Puppies should also be wormed within two or three weeks of birth, and no later. Simple liquid forms of wormer are available and suitable for young staffies. Consult your nearest professional breeder or vet for the proper advice on worming and vaccination.
Overall, the Staffordshire bull terrier can make an excellent and loving family pet, so long as effort is put into training and socialisation. Any negligence in this area can trigger undesirable results later on.