The Staffordshire bull terrier is a hugely popular dog breed in the UK, and one that is a common choice of pet for both individuals and families seeking a medium-sized dog breed with a very kind and loving personality as well as distinctive looks.
Staffordshire bull terriers have confident, outgoing personalities and a real zest for life, and they tend to be cheerful and fun-loving and great company to have around, without being as high maintenance and demanding as many similar-sized dog breeds.
However, Staffordshire bull terriers are also very strong dogs that are often very confident, and they require owners that understand the breed and know how to work with and manage it in order to thrive.
If you’re thinking of buying a Staffordshire bull terrier, there is a lot to think about, and it is important to make sure that you learn everything you need to know about the breed and the dogs themselves before you can decide if the Staffy is the right choice for you.
In this article we will share ten things you need to know and find out about the Staffordshire bull terrier – before you buy one. Read on to learn more.
Staffordshire bull terriers are sometimes known as “nanny dogs,” because dogs of the breed often have a great affinity for children, and will actively seek them out for companionship and potentially be quite protective over them too.
Whilst no dog should be assumed to be reliable with children and your children also need to be taught to respect the dog and know when to leave it alone, this is generally considered to be a nice breed to choose for a family home.
The Staffordshire bull terrier coat is short and single-layered, which means they don’t need excessive amounts of brushing and grooming. All dogs can benefit from being brushed from time to time and most actively enjoy this, but the Staffy is not a breed that requires lots of attention to be paid to their coats, and whilst they do shed a moderate amount of fur, they are not prolifically heavy shedders.
The first thing that strikes most people about Staffordshire bull terriers is their compact, muscular appearance, with a wide, thick neck and domed head. This in turn means that Staffordshire bull terriers are very strong for their size, and this is something that their owners need to accommodate for.
A Staffy that pulls on the lead or that uses their weight and bulk to get their own way can be a real handful to manage and correct, and so dogs of the breed need to be trained from a young age to be respectful and well mannered, and not throw their weight around!
The Staffordshire bull terrier is middle of the road when it comes to their intelligence and ability to learn things, which tends to make them quite a rewarding dog breed to train, even by a first-time trainer.
Dogs of the breed are smart and motivated enough to pay attention when being trained and they work hard to please, and you are unlikely to face the type of issues that can arise within very intelligent dog breeds, which tend to get bored easily and be more prone to picking up bad habits as a result.
The Staffordshire bull terrier’s business-like appearance and muscular build does tend to indicate the type of dog that you wouldn’t get on the wrong side of, and this, combined with their surface similarities to the pit bull dog breed (which is illegal to own in the UK) has resulted in dogs of the breed sometimes being unfairly maligned as aggressive or unpredictable.
Coupled with this, Staffordshire bull terriers are often portrayed in the media as frightening or aggressive, when in reality, a properly trained and managed Staffy, like any other dog, is highly unlikely to be unpredictable or aggressive.
The breed’s reputation is turning around somewhat thanks to their popularity meaning that more and more people get to know individual dogs of the breed and see their true traits, but nonetheless, some Staffy owners still face issues with other people and particularly other dog owners who may be overly wary or distrustful of the Staffy itself.
Staffordshire bull terriers are hugely affectionate and very gentle dogs when properly managed and treated with kindness, and they are also incredibly loyal and trusting of their owners.
The breed is incredibly gentle and well mannered as a rule, assuming that they are trained correctly and provided with an appropriate lifestyle.
Staffordshire bull terriers will often bark to let their owners know if someone is approaching the home, and they tend to make for good watchdogs in this respect. The sight of a barking Staffy guarding a fence or door is usually enough to make most people pause to reconsider their options, but the Staffordshire bull terrier doesn’t actually make for a good guard dog.
They’re too personable and gentle to be likely to consider seeing off a stranger, and whilst they might bark and follow an intruder around, they’d be highly unlikely to actually stop them from doing something they shouldn’t!
Staffordshire bull terriers are quite confident dogs as a whole, which take new experiences in their stride and that like to meet and greet other dogs and people alike.
They actively enjoy playing with other dogs and require plenty of opportunities for socialisation, particularly when young, to learn about appropriate play and canine communication.
A well-rounded Staffy that is appropriately managed will be well behaved and a great housemate, but they do require clear direction and appropriate limits and boundaries.
You won’t win a disagreement with a Staffordshire bull terrier by physically overpowering them, and so training, boundaries and consistency are vital.
Despite their strength and confidence, Staffordshire bull terriers are generally considered to be a good breed to pick for the first-time dog owner, as they are versatile and not significantly demanding in any one particular area.
However, research and knowledge is required to know how to handle, train and manage a Staffy and avoid problems from developing, and any prospective Staffordshire bull terrier buyer is cautioned to take their time over this, and not rush into a purchase.