Spartan Dogs - Staffordshire Bull Terrier 

Category: Dogs, Working Dogs, Terriers, Bull and Terriers, Molossers, England, Europe, Family Dog, Fighting Dog, Ratter

Staffordshire Bull Terrier / English Stafford
Names Staffordshire Bull Terrier, English Stafford, Staffordshire Bullterriër, SBT, English Staffy, Stafford, Staff, Staffy, Staffie, Staffordshirenbullterrieri, Stafordšyro Bulterjeras, Staffordshire Bullterriern
Origins Staffordshire, England
Tasks Loyal Family Dog, Fighting Dog, Ratter
Height 35.6-40.5 cm
Weight 12.7-17.3 kg / 10.9-15.0 kg
Lifespan 11-12 years
Group Terriers, Bull and Terriers, Molossers

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a medium sized, short coated, muscular dog that was developed in England, specificly Staffordshire.

The Staffordshire is renowned for its reliability as a family dog. They are extremely loving dogs, being loyal and devoted to people, with special emphasis on their reliability with children. The breed thrives in the family environment, being a suitably compact size for close family living. For these reasons, they are sometimes referred to as "nanny dogs". The Staffordshire Bull Terriers are known to have great strength for their size. Great trustworthy and character stability even when confronted with pain. They should also be active and agile. As a result of their dog fighting heritage, one of the problems noticed in this breed is a tendency of aggression towards other dogs.

In it's place of origin the breed is the 5th most popular dog, and it is the only breed to have the words 'totally reliable' in its breed standard. Furthermore, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is one of only two breeds from over 190 recognized by the UK Kennel Club to have a mention of the breed's suitability with children.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier History

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier first came into existence in or around the seventeenth century. Before the nineteenth century, bloodsports such as bull baiting, bear baiting and cock fighting were common. Bulls bought to market were set upon by dogs as a way of tenderizing the meat and providing entertainment for the spectators. Among both royalty and commoners dog fights with bears, bulls and other animals were often organized as entertainment. Early Bull and Terriers were not bred for the handsome visual specimen of today, rather they were bred for the characteristic known as gameness. The pitting of dogs against bear or bull tested the gameness, strength and skill of the dog. These dogs were renowned for their courage and tenacity and despite their ferocity in the pit were excellent human companions and good with children. Fighting dogs were often handled in the pit during fights, by both their owners and the judge, so were bred to be as trustworthy with humans as they were aggressive towards other dogs. In fact it was not unknown for an injured original Staffordshire Bull Terrier (or more precisely Bull and Terrier) to be transported home in a pram with the baby!

These dogs were not only fought for entertainment but provided a working man with valuable extra income when worked against badgers or as ratters.

With the introduction of the "Cruelty to Animals Act 1835", baiting sports and dog fighting became unlawful and a group of men in the Staffordshire area endeavored to preserve their breed by introducing them to the show world.

After much discussion the Standard was written describing the dog's physical attributes and this dog was named the Staffordshire Bull Terrier to differentiate him from the Old English Bull Terrier. The Staffordshire Bull Terrier was officially registered by the Kennel Club in 1935 and the first club show for the breed took place in August 1935 at Cradley Heath in the West Midlands where 60 dogs and bitches were entered. The founder club was named The Staffordshire Bull Terrier Club and is affectionately known as 'The Parent Club'. There are now a total of 18 clubs in Great Britain and Northern Ireland ranging from the North of Scotland to the West of England. The breed received championship status in 1938 when CC's (Challenge Certificates) were awarded for the first time at the Birmingham National. The first two Champions of the breed were Ch. Gentleman Jim and Ch. Lady Eve.

In the US many original Bull and Terriers and Staffordshire Bull Terriers were imported and used in breeding programs to produce the American Pit Bull Terrier and American Staffordshire Terrier. Many were imported by British nationals who brought their dogs with them or U.S. expatriates who fell in love with the breed in England and brought it home. Eventually through the campaign of many people the Staffordshire Bull Terrier was recognized in the U.S. in 1976 (this wasn't easy because the APBT and the AST were the nations pride) and now has a loyal following.

The popularity of the breed has now spread abroad with well established clubs in many countries including Australia, Ireland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and the U.S., to name but a few. Over the years the Staffordshire Bull Terrier has become a successful show dog and a serious contender in the Terrier Group, where they frequently have the highest number of entries of all dogs in the Terrier Group and are occasional winners of Best in Show. More importantly than this show happening, there are still breeders cherishing the breed's athletic capabilities, stamina and reliability and enthusiastically focus on them in their breeding program.

The Stafford has become a popular pet retaining the attributes gained from generations of fighting dogs bred for courage, tenacity and most important: total reliability and affinity with people and in particular children.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier Appearance

Body: Staffordshire Bull Terriers have a compact and muscular body, with a straight back and short loins. The tail is mediocre long, low set and is carried low. Its broad front has a deep front chest and well vaulted ribs. The elbows should not be loose. The straight legs have strong bones. They are quite far apart. The strong and mediocre sized feet are slightly rotated to the outside. The muscular neck is short and dry.

Head: the head is short and deep, with a broad skull, a visible stop and visible highly developed jawmuscles. The lips are tightly connected. The breed exist with both partly folded and partly upright ears, which may not be too long or too heavy. The eyes are round and medium in size. Staffordshire Bull Terriers have a sturdy and complete scissorbite.

Height at Withers: the preferenced height is between 35.6 to 40.5 centemeters. However it's more important, to have a good relationship between height and weight.

Weight: according to the ratio between height and weight, preferably for dogs it's between 12.7 to 17.3 kg and bitches are between 10.9 to 15.0 kg.

Coat: short, smooth, dense and closed coat that lays close to the skin.

Colors: Staffordshires occur in black, red, brindle, blue and any kind of fawn, with or without white. All quantities of white are allowed, a small chest spot to a white dog. Black and tan and liver color are unwanted colors.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier Temperament

Character: the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, also known as English Stafford, is a solid, intelligent, affectionate and reasonably obedient dog. He has a cheerful and positive attitude in life, and has a lot of confidence. They are very brave and hard on themselves. In general, these are active and playful dogs, in their enthusiasm they can be a bit inquisitive. They are alert to what is happening around them and let their voices be heard if they decide something is not right. Their adaptability is large, they can be held both on a farm or in an appartment in the city.

Social Build: in general dogs of this breed are exceptionally well with children, they withstand roughness and will not easily feel treated unfairly. When a Staffordshire Bull Terrier is sociallized well with cats and other pets, there do not have to be any handling problems. In their youth, these dogs often still go well with peers, but once mature, a Stafford prefers to have the reign for himself. In particular, the dogs can be competitive towards other males. When somethings is off these dogs will respond, but as a rule they are friendly to all people.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier Socially

Care: the Staffordshire Bull Terrier needs very little coat care. It is possible to brush the coat once a week with a soft bristle brush. During the shedding period dead hairs can be removed easily using a rubber glove to massage the coat. Keep the nails short if necessary.

Education: the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is very intelligent and learns relatively quickly. A consistent and loving upbringing, with a lot of variety and action gives the best results. Putting much emphasis on the socialization, has a positive effect when building its character.

Activity: these dogs are very energetic and they love games and the wilder and madder the better, as the more fun they'll find. Especially rope pulling games are his favorite, but teach the dog to let loose when you want to. They can jump very high, they like playing with balls and playing fetch as well. They like to accompany their owner on long walks, which they care little; through the woods or through a busy city. When a Staff gets sufficient exsersize, he will be rather quiet once in the house.

Usability: the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a very suitable family dog for people who do not have the space to keep a big dog, but like a 'big' dog personality. The breed is not or hardly represented in the various dog sports branches, but doesn't say anything about their capabilities in this area. Given their energy, agility and intelligence they with a good coaching would do well in sports such as skill and fly-ball.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier Quotes / Trivia

American Kennel Club: "from the past history of the Staffordshire Terrier, the modern dog draws its character of indomitable courage, high intelligence, and tenacity. This, coupled with its affection for its friends, and children in particular, its off-duty quietness and trustworthy stability, makes it a foremost all-purpose dog."

Click here to easily compare the old and new standards of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

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