Breed Group: Terrier
Height: 14 to 16 inches at the shoulder
Weight: 24 to 38 pounds
Life Span: 12 to 14 years
Make no mistake: Known in U.K. as the children’s nursemaid, the Stafford is a love machine. This small “pit bull” tends to be good with children and people, but not other dogs. He is an independent thinker who excels in joie de vivre, but likes to do things his own way and needs an experienced leader.
Did You Know the Staffordshire Bull Terrier Has a Nickname of the “Children’s Nursemaid” Back in Britan?
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is generally considered one of the breeds known as a “pit bull” in the United States. Staffords are specifically exempted from national breed bans in their native Britain as well as Australia and New Zealand, but that’s not the case in the United States, where most laws aimed at “pit bulls” apply to them as well.
Before getting one of these dogs, it is important to realize that there is much misinformation around the natures of ” pit bulls” and there are campaigns to outlaw the dogs. Check into local ordinances carefully to be sure that you can legally own one of these dogs in your town.
Despite the ” pit bull” reputation this dog has received, there are few breeds quite so in love with the human race as the Stafford. In his native Britain, his nickname is “the children’s nursemaid.” But make no mistake: He’s a terrier through and through, and thus he digs, he chases cats, and he’s not always great with other dogs. Here’s what you need to know if you’re interested in bringing home a Stafford.
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a vibrating, dancing, chortling love machine in the body of a warrior. He definitely does not love other dogs, however, and he’s also not too fond of cats, although a few Staffords that are raised with other household pets can live with them in harmony. Just don’t count on it.
The Stafford is smallish – under 40 pounds – and similar in looks to the larger American Staffordshire Terrier. Despite his size, he’s a powerful dog, and can be a challenge to walk on a leash if not well-trained.
In fact, he can be a challenge just to live with if not well-trained. This is not a breed for someone who likes to let his dog call the shots, because he most certainly will. Show your Stafford the ropes from puppyhood on, using gentle, consistent training, and you’ll have a well-behaved, well-socialized canine family member. Don’t do it, and you’ll have a sofa in shreds, a backyard full of holes, and a dog who doesn’t listen to you.
Staffords don’t do well if they’re left alone for long periods, and are not happy as backyard dogs. Let him live as a member of your family or you might find yourself with a lonely, bored, noisy, and destructive nuisance instead of a happy, well-behaved companion.
The exercise needs of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier are not modest. These dogs radiate energy, and need long walks and plenty of play time. They’re challenging to have around strange dogs, however, so off-leash walks and dog parks aren’t usually possible with these dogs. Many Stafford owners get involved with more organized canine sports like agility or obedience to give their dogs a mental and physical workout. Staffords are susceptible to temperature extremes, so keep them cool in hot weather and limit activity as much as possible to cool mornings and evenings.
Other Quick Facts About the Staffordshire Bull Terrier
When you look at a Stafford, you see a small but powerful dog with a smooth coat in solid red, fawn, white, black, blue or brindle. He has a short head with a broad skull set on a short, muscular neck, prominent cheek muscles, a black nose, round dark eyes, and rose or half-pricked ears. At the other end is an undocked tail that resembles an old-fashioned pump handle.
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier’s popularity has increased steadily over the past decade. He has moved up from 94th place in American Kennel Club registrations to 74th.
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is the fifth most popular breed in the U.K.