Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Staffies have won the hearts of the people, after recently being voted Britain’s favourite dog breed. They’re bouncy, lovable bundles of energy. Want to learn more about the breed’s history, characteristics and traits? Read on to find out all about Staffies...
Breed group: Terrier
The word terrier means ‘of the earth’, and terrier dogs were purpose-bred from older breeds to hunt small rodents and vermin like rats, foxes and badgers both below and above ground. As a result, most terrier types have great resilience, determination and courage.
You’ll find both terriers of differing sizes depending on their specific roles, and breeding. The Staffordshire bull terrier for example, is a medium, stocky and muscular dog owing to it cross with the bulldog – giving the classification of a ‘bull terrier’.
Developed in the 19th century the Staffordshire Bull Terrier dog is thought to have begun by crossing the bulldog and Manchester terrier breeds, selectively bred into the pooch we see today. The purpose was to create a dog that was fast and agile in the fighting ring but still gentle and friendly towards people.
It, unsurprisingly, carries the name Staffordshire due to where the breed originates from, thought to be the “black country” of Staffordshire and northern areas of Birmingham. Given its early reputation as a fighting dog, it wasn’t until the 1930s that kennel clubs began to recognise the breed in it's own right. In spite of this history, modern Staffordshire’s are gentle and loving and have proven to make great companions and family pets.
Staffie’s, as they’re affectionately referred to, have a reputation for being tough and determined but in actual fact well-cared for dogs of this breed are some of the most sensitive, loving and happy pups going.
At a glance, Staffie’s are:
What are they bred for?
Staffie’s have been purposely bred for their strength, agility and power, historically for unkind reasons but in more modern times this lovable dog utilises it's skills in other areas. These days, Staffordshire Bull Terriers are best described as all-purpose; from their distinctive look in the show ring to their playful nature in the home. You’re unlikely to see a “working” Staffie anymore, though historically they were used to control foxes and pests around their land and homes, but now many of them enjoy an easy family life.
What sort of owner would they suit?
Staffies can make great first-time pets given their people-oriented nature and loving personalities, but they don’t tend to thrive being left alone for extended periods of time so would be best in a household with someone around most of the day. These dogs are absolute bundles of energy so lots of toys, a decent sized garden and a parent with an active lifestyle and open to long walks would be ideal.
Known as the nursemaid to babes, Staffie’s completely adore children and live well with them, but as with any dog supervision with kids is vital. Whilst they do well with little humans, they’re not so great with other animals so they’d prefer a household where they’re the only pet. Their rambunctious and mischievous (though harmless) nature mean a keen eye is needed – and of course a playful owner to satisfy their fun-loving needs.