Popular among coal miners in Staffordshire, England, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier temperament is loyal, courageous, intelligent, and affectionate.
Yep, even Affectionate! Surprised? More on that later.
The “bully breeds” date back to the 15th century where bullbaiting – the act of harassing a bull by a bulldog – was popular during this time.
The Pit bull-type breeds originated in the 18th century by crossing the bulldog with a smaller, faster terrier.
Coal miners used to pit Staffies, as they are called, against each other when dog fighting was popular.
Today, Staffies are fun-loving, devoted companions.
Staffordshire Bull Terrier Temperament and Personality
They adore humans
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is known for their extreme affection towards humans. They love nothing more than to be around their family as much as possible – whether that means hanging out on the couch or running errands. They are a reliable dog with a trustworthy nature.
But they don’t make good guard dogs
Because Staffordshire Bull Terriers have a people-loving personality, they don’t make the best guard dogs. They would probably lick an intruder rather than attack them! They will, however, alert you of visitors.
Staffordshire Bull Terriers get along with children
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier makes a great companion for families with children. They are patient and gentle – even nicknamed the “nanny dog” – but should always be supervised around young children. Staffies can get too rambunctious or playful and accidentally knock a small child down.
But be cautious around other dogs
When raised together, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier gets along perfectly fine with other dogs and even cats. If introducing an adult to the pack, expect a longer adjustment period. Because of their strong prey drive and fighting origin, they should always be supervised around other animals.
They do well in most environments
If they get enough exercise, Staffordshire Bull Terriers will adapt to any environment – including apartments.
Staffords are not known as barkers
Though they are not “barkers”, they can be vocal. Expect entertainment from them in the form of snores, snorts, grunt, and groans. They even have a singing voice!
They have a zest for life
This is a bold, fearless breed. Staffordshire Bull Terriers approaches life as an adventure and lives it to the fullest.
Training a Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Staffordshire Bull Terriers are extremely intelligent. They are quick learners and respond quickly to training.
They have an innate desire to please and will generally comply with your requests. But, don’t forget that they were bred to fight other dogs and have a strong prey drive.
Leash training is a must with Staffordshire Bull Terriers. They are strong pullers and will chase anything that catches their eye.
Start training early and be consistent. Use positive reinforcement with lots of treats and praise and you’ll have a trained Staffordshire Bull Terrier pup in no time.
Finding the Perfect Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Ready to find your perfect Staffordshire Bull Terrier? First, you’ll need to decide whether you’d like to purchase a Staffordshire Bull Terrier from a breeder or adopt one from a rescue organization.
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier Club of America is a great place to start – they have information on both breeders and rescue organizations.
Staffordshire Bull Terrier Puppies for Sale
A purebred Staffordshire Bull Terrier for sale will cost between $1,500 and $2,500.
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier price depends on the breeder location, litter availability, and bloodline.
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier cost for adoption depends on the rescue organization and location but expect to pay between $100-$400.
Staffordshire Bull Terrier Rescue and Adoption
Unfortunately, many Staffordshire Bull Terriers find themselves in rescues due to lack of knowledge and breed specific legislation.
In some cities, it is illegal to own a Staffordshire Bull Terrier (among other “bully breeds”). Because of this, Staffordshire Bull Terriers are taken away from their families and placed in shelters.
Additionally, some owners are unaware of the Staffies temperament and personality and have to surrender them to a shelter.
If you decided on adopting, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier Rescue is a great place to start.
Or, reach out to your local rescue and ask if they have any Staffordshire Bull Terriers available for adoption.
Staffordshire Bull Terrier Breeders
If you would rather purchase Staffordshire Bull Terrier puppies for sale from a breeder, start with the AKC Marketplace. You can search for Staffordshire Bull Terrier breeders by location, bloodlines, and whether they have puppies available now. You can also search based on what gender you’d like.
To find the perfect breeder, do your research. Plan home visits to breeders in your area and take your time choosing the right one for you.
A big red flag is if a breeder is unable to provide a health certificate or if they are not knowledgeable about the breed. Also, take notes on how clean their kennel or house is and how they treat their dogs and puppies.
If you don’t get a good feeling from a breeder, move on to the next one until you find the perfect match.
Caring for a Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Staffordshire Bull Terriers are between 14-16 inches tall. Males weigh between 28-38 pounds while females weigh between 24-34 pounds.
Many people compare the Staffordshire Bull Terrier vs the Pit Bull, but the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is stockier and shorter.
They have a life expectancy of 12-14 years.
Grooming a Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Luckily, grooming a Staffordshire Bull Terrier is easy thanks to their short, smooth coat. Their coats come in red, white, fawn, black, blue or any variation of these colors with white. The Staffordshire Bull Terrier brindle coat is also a common color.
They shed annually, with minimal hair loss during the year. Brush them weekly to remove dead and loose hair. They have little odor and only require bathing when needed.
Staffordshire Bull Terriers can suffer from health conditions such as:
- Canine Hip Dysplasia (when the thighbone doesn’t fit properly in the hip joint),
- Elbow dysplasia,
- Patellar luxation (when the kneecap is out of place),
- And Skin Allergies.
Note: Never take your dog's health for granted. You can help prevent many health problems if you know what to be on the lookout for and what to do. The Ultimate Guide to Dog Health is a great place to start. Get a copy to keep at home. It will help you prevent the painful health issues that can plague your lovely pet from fully expressing his winning personality and maximizing his life expectancy.
Take them on daily walks, jogs, bike rides, or play fetch in the backyard. While they love to run around and play outside, they are generally quiet indoors.
Conclusion: Why a Staffordshire Bull Terrier?
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier temperament is tenacious, brave and slightly stubborn. They are also clever, playful, and gentle –, especially around children.
Even though they require moderate exercise, they can adapt to apartment life if properly exercised.
Nicknamed the “nanny dog”, Staffies are great with children (with supervision) but can be dog selective. They are extremely intelligent and respond well to training.
If you’re looking for a loyal, playful dog with an infectious zest for life, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is the perfect match.
Calvin is the co-founder and one of the main contributors to dogtemperament.com. He has been an avid dog lover all his life. He enjoys researching and sharing great ideas on how you can avoid common pitfalls of dog ownership and build the most loving and enjoyable relationship with your dog.