An introduction to Staffordshire bull terriers
If you are thinking about owning a Staffordshire bull terrier, our handy guide to buying or adopting this popular dog breed is ideal for you! Known as the ‘Staffie’ for short, these stocky, loyal and loving creatures are adorable – but are they the right dog for your home and family? We’ll answer all the most frequently asked questions below, so that you can decide if owning a Staffordshire bull terrier would be perfect for you.
Originally bred as a fighting dog, the ‘Staffie’ is however, renowned for their kind and friendly nature. They have seen a huge rise in popularity in the last twenty years and are now one of the most commonly kept pets in the UK. The breed benefits from the positive character traits of being bold, courageous, intelligent, loyal and very loving in a family environment. This has led to their reputation as good household pets.
Staffordshire bull terriers form strong bonds with their owners and so are prone to suffering from separation anxiety. If they are left alone for long periods of time this can lead to destructive behaviour. Early training and socialisation are also very important as some Staffordshire bull terriers can have a tendency to show aggression towards other dogs.
The Kennel Club, the UK’s largest organisation dedicated to the welfare of dogs, says:
“The Staffordshire bull terrier shares the same ancestry as the bull terrier, i.e. bulldog crossed with the black and tan terrier, and was developed as a fighting dog. It carried the name Staffordshire as the breed was developed in the “black country” of Staffordshire and northern parts of Birmingham. Despite its early function, the Staffordshire bull terrier is known as a wonderful family pet.”
1. What size are Staffordshire bull terriers?
Staffordshire bull terriers are a compact, stockily built, small to medium sized breed of dog with a muscular appearance. Fully grown males typically weigh 13-17 KG and measure around 36-41 cm to the withers. Females weigh 11-15.4 KG and measure around 33-38 cm to the withers.
2. Do Staffordshire bull terriers make good family pets?
Staffordshire bull terriers are regarded as a great addition to the family by thousands of dog owners in the UK. They are known to be kind and tolerant with children, leading to their nickname as the ‘nanny dog’. Their calm and tolerant natures, coupled with their protectiveness of their human ‘pack’ means that they can be ideally suited to becoming a family pet. However, Staffordshire bull terriers can be boisterous at times and love to play roughly, so are perhaps not the best choice to live with very young children. They are known to thrive in a family home environment with plenty of attention, socialisation and training. However, please note that young children should always be supervised around any breed of dogs and appropriate care should be taken.
3. What colours are Staffordshire bull terriers?
Staffordshire bull terriers come in a wide variety of colours. These include: blue, red, fawn, black, white, brindle or any of the previous intermixed with white markings. They have a short, smooth and close lying coat which really shows off their markings.
4. What is the average life span of a Staffordshire bull terrier?
Staffordshire bull terriers live for approximately 12 – 14 years on average, when they are fed and cared for correctly.
5. How much does owning a Staffordshire bull terrier cost?
According to Pets4Homes, the UK’s most popular classifieds’ website for various kinds of pets, the average cost for a Kennel Club registered Staffordshire bull terrier is £965. A non-registered Staffordshire bull terrier costs an average of £468. This is just the cost of purchasing the animal, there are also ongoing costs which include equipment such as collar, lead, toys, bedding and a dog guard or car harness. You will also need to budget for the cost of food, pet insurance, training classes and regular vaccinations, flea and worming treatments.
6. Are Staffordshire bull terriers easy to train?
Staffordshire bull terriers are generally very intelligent dogs and are quick to learn, needing to be handled, socialised and trained from a very early age. Staffies are stable and confident dogs when responsibly bred and in the right hands are relatively easy to train. However, the downside of their intelligence is that they will sometimes test the boundaries and are known to have a bit of a stubborn streak. It is essential for Staffordshire bull terriers to be socialised from a very early age for them to be manageable adults and accept being around other dogs and family pets.
7. How much exercise should Staffordshire bull terriers have?
As with any other breed, Staffordshire bull terriers love going on dog walks and need to be given the right amount of exercise to stay fit and healthy. An ideal amount of exercise is roughly one – two hours a day. This relates to fully grown adult Staffordshire bull terriers. Puppies should be walked following the rule of five minutes of exercise per month of age, twice a day.
It is important to include activities other than just walking because as intelligent dogs, Staffordshire bull terriers require lots of mental stimulation. Boredom can unfortunately lead to unwanted and destructive behaviour.
8. How much grooming do Staffordshire bull terriers require?
Staffordshire bull terriers have a fairly low maintenance grooming routine. Like any kind of dog though, regular grooming on a weekly basis will keep their coats and skin in good condition.
9. Feeding a Staffordshire bull terrier
Due to Staffordshire bull terriers being high energy dogs, special attention should be paid to their diet. It is important to feed your dog a good quality food with all the nutrients they need, right through from puppyhood to old age. You should research your pet’s food carefully and if in doubt, consult your vet.
10. Do Staffordshire bull terriers like water?
Most Staffordshire bull terriers are not fans of water and aren’t genetically predisposed to being swimmers. Their large heads, short legs and wide chests put them at a disadvantage and so care should be taken around open water.
Is your lifestyle compatible with owning a Staffordshire bull terrier?
When making the decision to own any kind of dog or puppy, it is important to give real consideration to whether or not they are suitable for your lifestyle. Staffordshire bull terriers are high energy dogs and are very people oriented, not coping well with being left alone for long periods of time.
A Staffordshire bull terrier may be just the dog for you if you have the time, space and energy for a fun and lively breed and are willing to commit to the necessary training and socialisation. However, it is natural to worry about what will happen if you have to leave your new best friend. Sometimes it is unavoidable to go away for work, for a holiday or for a family occasion such as a wedding. Luckily, Barking Mad Dog Care offers the perfect solution for dog owners who don’t wish to place their canine companions in kennels.
Barking Mad have many years of experience of offering home-from-home care for Staffordshire bull terriers and the many other breeds of dog. Whether it’s doggy day care services you need, or a longer doggy holiday, we have the solution. Why not find your local branch today and get in contact to discuss care for your Staffordshire bull terrier?
Please note, our information about Staffordshire bull terriers is a brief description for the benefit of our website visitors. The points we make are a generalisation of breed characteristics. They can not be 100% true of each and every dog of the Staffordshire bull terrier breed. Every dog is an individual and will have different needs. We would advise carrying out lots of research, both online and in person (such as with your local vet) before making a decision to purchase or adopt a Staffordshire bull terrier puppy or adult dog.