Choosing a Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Choosing a Staffordshire Bull Terrier

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The Staffordshire bull terrier is often confused with the pit bull. A completely separate breed, the Staffordshire bull terrier is a devoted and loving family companion, despite his original use.

History and Origin

The Staffordshire bull terrier is a small descendent of the bulldog, mastiff and various terriers that developed in Staffordshire, England. In the early 19th century, dog fighting was unfortunately a very popular, but bloody, sport. The participants were looking for a powerful yet smaller dog that could be more agile than the mastiff. They eventually developed the forerunner of the Staffordshire bull terrier.

In the late 1800s, dog fighting became illegal and the Staffordshire bull terrier was bred to be more of a companion and family dog. In 1935, the Staffordshire bull terrier was accepted by the English Kennel Club. The breed became popular in the United States and was eventually accepted by the American Kennel Club in 1975 as a member of the terrier group.

Appearance and Size

The Staffordshire bull terrier is a small, muscular, square dog with the appearance of strength and power. The head is large with dark eyes, semi-erect ears and a medium length tail. The hair coat is short, soft and sleek coming in colors of red, fawn, white, black, blue, brindle, or any of these colors with white. The Staffordshire bull terrier stands 14 to 16 inches at the shoulder and weighs 24 to 28 pounds.


The Staffordshire bull terrier is an intelligent and obedient dog but his rough appearance can be deceptive. Despite looking like a tough character, the Staffordshire is a loving and devoted dog. He tolerates all kinds of antics, especially from children. He can, however, become aggressive if he feels he must protect his family or property.

Home and Family Relations

The Staffordshire bull terrier may look like an aggressive and formidable foe but he is actually a loving and caring dog. The breed is very good and patient with children but needs to be socialized early. They are courageous and tenacious and love to play games for hours and hours. Be aware that the dog’s history as a fighting dog should always be understood and interactions with children and other dogs should be supervised.


The Staffordshire bull terrier should be socialized early in life. The breed is intelligent and can learn basic and advanced obedience skills. The Staffordshire bull terrier can be trained to be a guard dog.


The Staffordshire bull terrier requires little grooming. His short hair coat can be brushed periodically and wiped with a towel for a clean and shiny coat.

Special Care

The Staffordshire bull terrier is not the same as a pit bull. Unfortunately, many people do not realize this and consider the Staffordshire to be a dangerous dog. This is very sad because the Staffordshire is a sweet and loyal dog, undeserving of the bad reputation.


Common Diseases and Disorders

The following diseases or disorders have been reported:

  • Cataracts cause a loss of the normal transparency of the lens of the eye. The problem can occur in one or both eyes and can lead to blindness.
  • Gastric torsion, also known as “bloat”, is a life-threatening sudden illness associated with the stomach filling with air and twisting.
  • Hip dysplasia is a malformation of the hip joint that results in pain, lameness and arthritis.
  • Urolithiasis is a condition affecting the urinary tract resulting in the formation of bladder stones.
  • Entropion is a problem with the eyelid that causes inward rolling. Lashes on the edge of the eyelid irritate the surface of the eyeball and may lead to more serious problems.
  • Hyperadrenocorticism is a disorder affecting the adrenal glands. When overactive, the adrenal glands secrete excessive cortisol, resulting in illness.
  • Gastric tumors is a disease that causes tumors of the stomach.
  • Mast cell tumors are malignant tumors than can occur in the skin or within the body.
  • The Staffordshire bull terrier is also prone to arthritis.
  • Life Span

    The life span of the Staffordshire bull terrier is approximately 12 to 14 years.

    We realize that each dog is unique and may display other characteristics. This profile provides generally accepted breed information only.

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