Close Menu
Our Branches Contact

Owning a Staffordshire Bull Terrier: Guide


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 Staffy 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 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.

Adult Staffordshire Bull Terrier Blue 768x768

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 tend 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, stocky 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.

  1. Are Staffys good family dogs?

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.

  1. What colours are Staffordshire Bull Terriers?

Staffordshire Bull Terriers come in a wide variety of colours. These include red, fawn, black, white, brindle and Blue Staffordshire Bull Terriers or any of the previous intermixed with white markings. They have a short, smooth and close lying coat which really shows off their markings.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. Are Staffordshire Bull Terriers (Staffies) 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.

  1. 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. Staffordshire bull terriers can make loyal family pets with the right socialisation

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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 consider whether 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.

Pros of owning a Staffie

Owning a Staffordshire Bull Terrier (Staffie) can offer numerous benefits for the right owner. Some of the pros of owning a Staffie include:

Loyal Companion – Staffies are known for their loyalty and affection towards their owners. They often form strong bonds with their families and can be highly devoted doggy companions.

Friendly and Sociable – Despite their muscular appearance, Staffies are typically friendly, sociable, and good-natured dogs. They often  love being around people and can make great family pets.

Good with Children – When properly trained and socialised correctly, Staffy dogs can be excellent with children. Staffordshire Bull Terriers temperament is typically patient and tolerant, making them suitable companions for families with children.

Playful – Staffies are energetic and playful dogs that enjoy regular exercise and activities. They often thrive in environments where they have opportunities to burn off their energy through walks, playtime, or training sessions.

Low Maintenance Grooming – Staffies have short coats that are relatively easy to maintain. They require minimal grooming compared to breeds with longer or thicker fur, making them suitable for owners who prefer low-maintenance pets.

Intelligent – Staffordshire Bull Terriers are intelligent dogs that respond well to positive reinforcement training methods. With consistent training and socialisation, they can learn obedience commands and proper behaviour, making them well-behaved companions.

Versatile – Staffies can excel in various activities, including obedience, agility, and even therapy work. Their versatility means they can adapt to different lifestyles and living environments, whether in urban apartments or suburban homes.

Protective Instincts – While Staffies are typically friendly, they also possess protective instincts towards their families. They can serve as effective watchdogs and may deter potential intruders with their presence and alertness.

Longevity of Life – Overall, Staffies are relatively healthy dogs with a lifespan of around 12 to 14 years on average. With proper care, including regular veterinary check-ups, a nutritious diet, and sufficient exercise, Staffies can enjoy a long and fulfilling life.

Cons of owning a Staffie

Breed-Specific Legislation – Staffies, along with certain other breeds, are sometimes subject to breed-specific legislation (BSL) in some areas due to misconceptions about their temperament. This can lead to legal restrictions on ownership and public perception issues.

High Energy – Staffys are energetic dogs that require regular exercise and mental stimulation to prevent boredom and destructive behaviours. Owners must be prepared to provide sufficient daily exercise and engage in interactive play to keep them physically and mentally healthy.

Stubbornness – Staffies can be strong-willed and independent, which may pose challenges during training. Consistent, patient, and positive reinforcement-based training methods are necessary to address any stubborn tendencies and ensure good behaviour.

Potential Aggression Towards Other Animals – While Staffies can be friendly and sociable with people, they may not always get along well with other dogs or pets, especially if not properly socialised from a young age. Owners should be cautious and supervise interactions with other animals, particularly in multi-pet households.

Strong Prey Drive – Staffies may exhibit a strong prey drive, which can lead to chasing small animals or wildlife. It’s essential to keep them on a leash or in a securely fenced area to prevent them from engaging in potentially dangerous behaviour.

Separation Anxiety – Staffies are known for their strong bond with their owners and may experience separation anxiety when left alone for extended periods. Owners should gradually increase alone time and provide enrichment activities to alleviate stress and boredom.

Possible Grooming – While Staffies have short coats that are easy to maintain, they still require regular grooming, including brushing to remove loose hair and occasional baths to keep their coat clean and healthy.

Health Issues – Like all breeds, Staffies may be prone to certain health issues, including hip dysplasia, skin allergies, and respiratory problems. Potential owners should be prepared for potential veterinary expenses and prioritize regular health check-ups to monitor their dog’s well-being.

Misunderstood Breed Stereotypes – Due to negative stereotypes and misconceptions surrounding the breed, Staffies may face discrimination or bias from some individuals or communities. Owners should be prepared to advocate for their dog and educate others about the true nature of Staffies as loving and loyal companions.

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 must 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 cannot be 100% true of each 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 deciding to purchase or adopt a Staffordshire Bull Terrier puppy or adult dog.

Share This Article: