The Staffordshire Bull Terrier was developed in the region of Staffordshire, England in the 19th Century from crosses between Bull dogs and various local Terriers, similar to the Manchester Terrier. The Staffordshire Bull Terrier was developed for the then popular sport of bull baiting. Bulls brought to market were set upon by dogs as a way of tenderising the meat and providing entertainment for the spectators and dog fights with bears, bulls and other animals were often organised as entertainment for both Royalty and commoners. These blood sports were officially eliminated in 1835 when Britain began to introduce animal welfare laws. By being trained to be aggressive towards other dogs the Staffy has always had a good temperament with people and as time went on, the modern breed has become one with a temperament suitable for a pet and companion.
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier gained recognition by the Kennel Club in the United Kingdom on 25th May 1935 and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier Club was formed in June 1935. It is unusual for a breed to be recognised without a club in existence and even more unusual for there not to have been a breed standard in place. The breed standard was drawn up in June 1935 and a group of 30 Stafford enthusiasts gathered and devised the standard. During the 1980’s, owners started to breed from old British lines, also importing Staffordshire Bull Terriers from Ireland. The breed was recognised in the US by the American Kennel Club in 1975.
The Staffy is a muscular dog and is incredibly strong for its size. It has a broad head, the male considerably more so than the female, short full face, dark round eyes, wide mouth with a clean scissor like bite. The ears are small and the cheek muscles are very pronounced. The lips should be tight and clean. The head tapers down to a strong well-muscled neck and shoulders placed squarely spaced forelimbs. The last one to two ribs of the ribcage are usually visible. They have a low set tail which is thick at the base, tapering to a point and carried low. The tail should not curl much.
They are coloured brindle, black, fawn, red, blue, white or any blending of these colours. The coat is smooth and clings tightly to the body giving the dog a streamlined appearance.
The dogs stand 36 to 42 centimetres and weigh between 11 and 17 kilograms for males and 10 to 16 kilograms for females.
Individual differences in personality exist but there are common traits throughout Staffys. Staffys are known for their intelligence, fearlessness and loyalty. They are an extremely courageous and obedient breed who love to play, work and love.
Staffys are extremely reliable and affectionate, especially with children. The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is one of only two from over 190 breeds that the UK Kennel Club recommend as being suitable with children, the other being a Chesapeake Retriever.
They can be trained for agility and competitive obedience and they love a challenge and variety. Owners need to protect these dogs from injuring themselves as they are fearless and curious and liable to jump off walls or walk through broken glass.
Despite originally being bred as a fighting dog, the Staffy has evolved to become a companion dog, extremely sociable, fun loving and happy. A Staffy is never more comfortable than cuddled up on your lap and they do not necessarily make good guard dogs. These dogs would lick a burglar to death. Staffys simply adore people and they dote on families and insist on following you wherever you go in the house. It is not a dog to be shut out in the garden or left alone for hours on end and thrives on human company. Staffys hate to be ignored and will do anything to get your attention. They can suffer from separation anxiety if they are not used to being on their own.
Staffys are not good swimmers. They like to have lots of toys to chew.