Staffordshire Bull Terrier Breed Guide

Breed Group:
Terrier Dogs

Middle Age: 6 years

Geriatric Age: 12 years

Life Span: 12 to 15 years

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Staffordshire Bull Terrier Background Info & History

Originally from England, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier breed has been popular for centuries. In their earlier years, these dogs were forced to participate in the cruel sport of bear and bull-baiting. Finally, in 1835, this practice was banned and was replaced with dog fighting.

Bulldogs were then bred with terriers to create a smaller version that would be ideal for these fights. Sadly enough, the Bulldog was always at the center of these violent activities. By the 1930’s, dog fighting was completely outlawed in both England and the United States.

Shortly after WWII, the Bull Terrier was brought to America. Throughout their first couple of years in the U.S, breeders began making taller and bulkier versions compared to their English counterparts. This strain became the Staffordshire Bull Terrier we know today and they became recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1974.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier Temperament & Personality

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier personality shares many of the same qualities as their close relatives, the American Bull Terrier.  Many people identify this breed by their strong build, hefty size, and tough appearance. Even though this breed may look aggressive, they are surprisingly very sweet and patient, which makes them a great pet for children and family.

As long as a Staffordshire Bull Terrier is around people, they are a happy pup. They love to play in the park or cuddle on the couch. No matter the activity, you can expect your dog to get involved. Staffordshire Bull Terrier characteristics work well with an active family that will provide them with constant love and affection.

When properly trained, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a great household pet. Once they have developed a strong relationship with their owner, they will show complete loyalty and obedience towards their family.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier Trainability

When it comes to training your Staffordshire Bull Terrier, the first thing they need to learn is respect. This breed will be easier to train once you have established that you’re in charge. Use firm and consistent commands to get them to obey you. Staffordshire Bull Terriers can be headstrong and stubborn at times, so make sure to continuously work on your training efforts with them.

Once they begin learning the desired commands, make sure to support your efforts through positive reinforcements. Make sure to socialize your SBT as early on as possible. This will help them become more comfortable with unfamiliar people, animals, sounds, and experiences. The earlier your dog is exposed to these factors, the better they will behave later on in life. If you are still struggling to properly train your SBT, try enrolling them in a behavior and training course.

Exercise Requirements for Staffordshire Bull Terriers

To keep a SBT happy and healthy, make sure to walk them 2-3 times a day for 30 minutes each. Daily physical activity will prevent your pet from becoming bored and destroying your home. A bored Staffordshire Bull Terrier will find entertainment by digging holes in the backyard or by chewing up the new living room sofa.

This breed should also be kept on a leash at all times. Since they tend to be aggressive towards other dogs, they should be carefully monitored during any kind of interaction. This is especially true when they are protecting their home or personal space. Obedience and agility training are both great exercises for this breed. Not only are they getting a great physical workout, but they’re also pushed mentally as well. This breed does not do well in extreme temperatures, and should only be walked during the cooler times of the day.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier Lifespan

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier life expectancy is 12-15 years.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier Popularity

Since the 20th century, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier has been within the top 10 most popular breeds in England according to the EKC. Once they came to America, they have been a widely popular breed due to their loving and energetic qualities. According to the American Kennel Club, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is the 82nd most popular breed in the United States. Today, SBTs work as a loving companion and trusted guardian for many households.

Feeding Recommendations for Staffordshire Bull Terriers

A Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a bulky and muscular breed that need a high amount of food to fuel their energy. On average, a SBT should consume 1 ¾- 2 ¼ cups of quality food a day. This varies depending on their metabolism, size, and age. They can vary anywhere between 20-40 pounds, so their food needs to be adjusted accordingly.

It is also very important to have fresh water readily available at all times. Staffordshire Bull Terriers are known to overheat and can become dehydrated if they do not have a source of fresh water. Make sure to wash the dish once a day in order to prevent bacteria from growing. It is also important to look for all natural ingredients in your dog food. You want to avoid any brand that has soy, animal by-product, or corn as the main ingredient listed. In order to find a safe and reputable dog food company, ask your veterinarian for their recommendations.

Grooming a Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Even though the Staffordshire Bull Terrier doesn’t have excessive grooming requirements, they still need to be brushed weekly in order to keep their coat strong and healthy. Brushing will also help control their annual shedding. Professionals suggest occasional bathing for your SBT. Make sure to use a dog shampoo that is recommended by your veterinarian.

If your dog has sensitive skin, buy a hypoallergenic shampoo that won’t irritate the skin. It is also important to check their ears and nails regularly. Their ears should be checked for infection or wax build-up, while their nails should be trimmed to avoid infection or cracking. Overgrown nails can cause discomfort or pain, and should be trimmed every two weeks.

Are Staffordshire Bull Terriers Good With Kids?

Also referred to as the nanny dog, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is the perfect playmate for children. They are patient and loving by nature, making them a great pet for any household. Just like with any other breed, it is always recommended to have parent supervision when a child and a dog are together. Teach your dog at a young age how to properly interact with children and strangers. If you have younger children in the household, make sure they know how to care for their pet.

Health Problems of Staffordshire Bull Terriers

For the most part, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a healthy breed, but they are still at risk for several health issues. Below is a list of potential problems to be aware of.

Hip Dysplasia: This occurs when the ball and socket of the hip joint do not properly fit together. A dog diagnosed with hip dysplasia will hop or jump every time their joints are rubbing together. This disease can lead to pain, arthritis, difficulty in standing, or lameness.

Patellar Luxation: This disease occurs when a dog’s kneecap is dislocated out of the thigh bone. In most cases, Patellar Luxation is caused by trauma or genetic malformation.

Juvenile Cataracts: Cataracts occurs when the lens of the eye becomes clouded, which causes a loss of vision. The severity varies on a case by case basis- some cataracts barely interfere with a dog’s vision, while others turn into a serious disability. Cataracts can develop quickly and will cause blindness in severe cases.

Atopic Dermatitis: Atopic Dermatitis is another word for skin allergies. Dogs affected with allergies will develop red and irritated skin. In many cases, allergies can cause inflammation and loss of hair. If you believe your dog has Atopic Dermatitis, take them to the veterinarian as soon as possible to learn about possible treatment options.

Demodectic Mange: Dogs with weakened immune systems may be affected by demodectic mange. This skin problem causes patchy and irritated skin, which can lead to a bacterial infection if gone untreated.

More Resources

National Breed Content: Stafford Bull Terrier Club of America

Staffordshire Bull Terrier Rescue: Bull Terrier Rescue Inc

Health Issues Associated with this Breed: