— Breed of the Month —

Staffordshire Bull Terrier

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Breed Traits and Characteristics

According to the American Kennel Club, here are some breed characteristic you can find in Staffordshire Bull Terriers. 

 

  • Height

    14-16 inches

  • Weight

    28-38 pounds (male), 24-34 pounds (female)

  • Life Expectancy

    12-14 years

  • Coat Type/Length

    Smooth/Short

  • 100 affectionate with family
  • 100 good with young children
  • 60 good with other dogs
  • 100 trainability level
  • 80 energy level
  • 60 barking level
  • 40 shedding level
  • 60 drooling level

History

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier originated in England and is a tenacious and courageous short coat breed. It was one of the breeds used for bull and bear baiting before the 19th century when sports such as cockfighting were common place and animal rights not yet fully in place.

As far back as the 16th Century, there was a common practice at the cattle markets to set dogs on the bulls and cattle as a way of tenderizing the meat and providing entertainment for the spectators. Fights with bears and other animals were also organized as entertainment.

Eventually the practice of these blood sports was phased out or eliminated in 1835 as animal rights organizations like the RSPCA came into being.

However, the practice of dog fighting still continued, where folks could test the fighting strength and courage of their dogs in secret locations. Dog fighting was a form of entertainment and involved gambling. These dog fights usually took place in a pit and the last dog standing was declared the winner.

Despite its violent history, the modern-day Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a breed that has the ideal temperament to be a family dog and trustworthy companion.

The early bull dogs and terrier types were remarkably different from the breeds of today and were selected mainly for their gameness, inbred courage and aggressiveness. Terriers and other popular dogs of the time, bred with bulldogs, provided the ancestral foundation stock for the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

 

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is rated high on Bark Busters’ list of popular breeds, coming in as the 4th most popular trained breed in the USA, and 3rd in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand

They are energetic, fun loving dogs and in great demand as the all-round family dog. Staffordshires are a very loving breed that want nothing more than to settle down for a cuddle with you after a fun-filled day. It is their sweet nature, their ability to romp and play and then cuddle and chill out, that keeps them near the top of the ‘most popular breeds list’ around the world.

This breed is generally over-exuberant in their display of affection and all Staffordshire’s possess that trait of squirmy jumping and licking as they greet their human when they arrive home. This is what most Staffie parents love about the breed, but it can be a turn off for those who can’t cope with the ‘rough and tumble’ behavior. With patience, education and training, they can be just as well behaved as any breed. They are definitely worth the effort.

The breed has a defined muscular appearance that can look intimidating, but their natural love of people shines through and wins everyone’s heart in no time.

The Staffie (as its affectionately referred to), is classed as a medium sized dog with a similar appearance to the much larger, more powerful American Staffordshire Terrier and American Pit Bull Terrier.

According to the American Kennel Club, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is brave tenacious, a bit stubborn but also gentle, playful and clever. Authorities generally agree that the breed can be traced back to the Mastiff-like dogs through the old bull dog which, when crossed with British Terriers, produced the first ‘Bull and Terriers’. The old-fashioned bull dog was a fierce, courageous animal used in the spot of bears and bull baiting as early as the mid-sixteenth century.

Bark Busters Trainer Michael Konstantaras-Lower Coastal CT, on the subject of Staffordshire Bull Terriers.

As the owner of a female Staffordshire Bull Terrier and a male Pit Bull, I look upon the differences in the two breeds as follows:

My experience with owning and working with Staffies has been great. Although every dog has its own temperament and personality, I've found them to respond remarkably well to Bark Busters training. Smart, outgoing, and energetic. I'd describe them as being Porsches while the standard American Pit bulls being Jeeps.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier Breed Traits

Capabilities

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a tough breed of dog, full of confidence and self-reliance. Fun to have around and definitely capable of being a lap dog, they would love nothing more than to be with you wherever you are.

They possibly are not the world’s greatest guard dogs because of their love of people, but their looks can be a deterrent.

Although they are good with kids, always monitor their behavior and never leave dogs and children unattended.

Are you an outdoor enthusiast? They are a great hiking companion.

Do you have other animals? Staffies are good with other animals and dogs if introduced properly.

A very trainable and cooperative breed of dog.

Points of Interest

  • Short hair and easy care coat
  • Muscular, formidable appearance, rarely found in a medium-sized breed.
  • All round fun-loving dog with an even temperament.
  • Ensure that their over-exuberant personality can be brought under control. Dogs and kids must never be left alone unattended.
  • Loyal and loving nature.
  • Adaptable to most situations.
  • Enthusiastic breed, very athletic-great companion for the fitness enthusiast.
  • Outgoing personalities that can be prone to becoming easily excited.
  • Great staying power, high energy levels and always ready to be active.
  • Need lots of entertainment and brain stimulation.
  • They are known to play rough and can hurt you just through their play.
  • Barking from excitement can be an issue, but usually easy to control.
  • Very capable of doing things that the larger breeds can do.
  • Naturally friendly towards most strangers, but capable of protecting you if the need arises.
  • Common issues are mild dog aggression, walking issues and over-exuberance.

Personality & Temperament

Anyone who has a Staffordshire Bull Terrier will tell you that they adore this breed. They are lovable, adaptable and very trainable. They are a great family dog that loves to join in any activity.

Don’t let their looks fool you – although they look tough on the outside, they are sensitive, loving and very low maintenance. These dogs are very trainable and Bark Busters training methods suit their intelligent personality and we find them very trainable and quick to learn.

Although very trainable, they do need training, so that the energetic energy they possess is channeled in the right direction. 

Don’t leave your Staffordshire Bull Terrier puppy confined for long hours because they don’t do “Home Alone” too well; they can become frustrated and behavioral issues could surface. These dogs love company and need to be kept active.

Create a place in your home that contains everything your Staffie will need for those times when you need to leave him alone. 

Bark Busters Trainer Donna Ryan on the Staffordshire Bull Terrier

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a very adaptable and trainable dog. They just want to please and are always full of energy. However, you do need to have patience when training, or their fun-loving personality can wear you out. They always seem to be ready for the next big thing and keeping their full-attention is always challenging.

The over-exuberance in Staffies (jumping nipping and barking) is one of their best and worst traits. They need their owners' and people they meet, to always keep calm and ignore them until they are calm. They are a very soft natured dog, so they go from manic to submissive in a second.

Staffies tend to be over-zealous with other dogs. A lot of their excitable behavior with other dogs ends up with them humping the other dog, and because they are so strong, this can cause problems with other dogs. The other dog will try and get away, but the Staffie holds tight and this invariably leads to a fight.

Staffies like to play fetching games. So spend some time teaching them to bring their ball back, hiding their ball and sending them to find it.

I find that by keeping the exercises short and fun, they stay focused on what I am trying to teach them.

"Positive-only" dog training is a big fad right now. Treats can be great motivators for training Staffordshire Bull Terriers, but if your dog will only obey for a treat and you need to have treats always on hand to get the best out of your dog, then the dog is in charge of things, not you and this is not conducive to controlling a lively, energetic breed

I find that ‘communication’ built from consistent education, is the key because we always have our voices with us and as long as you keep the sessions short, you will get great results from this breed.

Case Study -Clancy-6 year old Staffordshire Terrier

Behavioral issue: Dog Aggression, pulling on the leash and general disobedience.

His human parent told us that ‘Clancy’ started out as a fun-loving puppy, a well-adjusted puppy who loved all dogs. She told us that she could not wait to take him to the ‘dog park’ and show him off to all the other dog parents there, but she had to wait for him to have his shots and be cleared by the vet before she could take him.

Before his training, a side issue from his dog aggression was his leash manners. He would pull her down the street and she was just along for the ride.

His first day at the dog park went okay, there were just a few small dogs and one puppy there. They all seemed to hit it off. Clancy was the life of the party and played until he dropped.

Then one day as she entered the park with her excited little charge dragging her through the gate, a large dog pounced on him and knocked him flying. Clancy screamed in shock and tried to get away, but the big dog kept persisting. It was obviously the King of the Park and wanted Clancy to know that he had no ranking at all.

The next time they visited the dog park, Clancy refused to get out of the car. Visits to the ‘dog park’ where then completely halted, but as Clancy grew he started to become aggressive to all dogs the moment he saw them.

Success at First Lesson: Clancy’s human mom called Bark Busters.

We were able to stop Clancy’s dog aggression at his first lesson and he also learned quickly not to pull on his leash and to walk sedately at his human’s side and to listen. Who said you can’t teach and old dog new tricks?

Our methods are dog-friendly and are based on the natural way that dogs communicate. We teach you how to Speak Dog and earn your dog’s respect, with kind and dog friendly methods.

Training Your Staffordshire Bull Terrier

The Right Training for Your Staffordshire Bull Terrier

‘Staffies’ are keen to please their human and will play the clown or the serious role with ease. Most behavioral issues in relation to ‘dog aggression’ stem from their unwillingness to walk away from a fight that they generally didn’t start and the inability of their owner to control this behavior.

The most prevalent behaviors we are called upon to deal with are dog aggression, biting the leash during the walk, excitable behavior and a small amount of human aggression, which usually stems from poor breeding or lack of training.

More often than not, their pet parents do seek out professional training to deal with their over-exuberance.

Savvy dog fanciers understand the importance of locating the right training for their Staffie; a training that is kind and humane, dog friendly and taught by experts who have the skills to deal with their particular breed.

People who lead hectic lives find that Bark Busters in ‘home dog training’ suits their lifestyle. Why in-home? Because this is where most problems occur, this is also where dogs feel safe and have fewer distractions. The modern-day dog parent is looking for fast results without having to use any harsh methods.

We have mentioned the common behavioral issues and traits of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier that are easily addressed with consistent education and training. They are not the type of breed that wants to constantly test you.

Grabbing the leash

This is an issue that does occur regularly with this breed and generally stems from either frustration on the dog’s part or a learned behavior from when it was a puppy and was first introduced to the leash.

Most Staffies stop this annoying behavior if it is addressed properly and at the precise time that your dog is grabbing the leash.

Be sure you don’t turn the exercise into a battle of wills or the dog will win. You have to be in control and let your dog know that this behavior is not acceptable

Freeze your actions and clap your hands at the precise moment your dog opens its mouth to grab the leash.

Do not hit, try to grab your dog, or drag the leash out of your dog’s mouth. Neither of these actions will build trust. Be patient and in control.

Dog Aggression

Because of its breed history, the Staffie is not one to walk away from a fight. It is not usually the first one to start a fight, but has been known to finish the odd one or two.

Most of the dog aggression Bark Busters encounters stems from a ‘bad experience’ that the dog has had as a puppy or adolescent.

Let your dog know that you are the boss and take control if it displays any aggression. If you find yourself in over your head, seek professional help.

Recall - Come when called

The Staffie is generally not deliberately disobedient. We usually find that its inability to ‘come when called’ stems from a lack of proper communication. Practice calling your dog on leash first, and in a controlled environment or fenced area, then let the leash trail on the ground and call your dog to you in a pleasant and encouraging way. Staffies need to understand your intentions and what you want from them or they will just bound away to investigate more interesting things.

Over-Exuberance

Over-zealous behavior is synonymous with most Staffordshire Bull Terriers. If you want to quell this over-exuberant behavior, practice some calm interaction with your dog. Don’t turn on your ‘excitement meter’ when you arrive home, enter the home and interact in a calm way. The worst thing you can do with an excitable breed is to act in an excitable way. They will just match your behavior and ramp it up.

If you are determined to take your dog to a doggy park, we recommend that you wait until they have reached 12-months of age. The concern about dog parks is the natural intimidation that older dogs display when they encounter puppies. This can give your puppy a lasting bad impression, which can later lead to dog aggression as your puppy reaches maturity.

The areas where scuffles and ‘power plays’ usually occur is near the entrance to the dog park, where the established dogs like to check out who is requesting entry to their domain.

Staffies are not the type of breed to take a backward step if another dog provokes them. This could cause you long term problems and mean that your dog never gets to go back to the park for fear of fights with other dogs. So be patient and let your dog mature first and allow it to develop a trust that it does not have to worry about other dogs when it goes out.

Even other puppies can bully and intimidate your dog, so don’t rush off to a dog park. Let your puppy enjoy pleasant experiences with well-behaved dogs or puppies.

If fully immunized, you can sit with your puppy on your lap in a public area or park, where it can watch the world from a safe place. This way it won’t be intimidated or frightened by over-exuberant mature dogs or other puppies.

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Staffordshire Bull Terrier Health

Common Illnesses and Injuries

Your Staffordshire Bull Terrier’s health concerns will change over the course of their life. A puppy might be more prone to eat something they shouldn’t, a 2-year-old Staffie may be more likely to develop allergies, and a senior Staffie is far more likely to develop arthritis as they age. Staffordshire Bull Terriers also have personality and physical traits that may make them more prone to certain conditions—an active Staffie that loves to run around the yard may be more prone to rupturing their knee ligament.

At any stage of life, there are some of the most common injuries and illnesses you should be aware of when bringing home a Staffordshire Bull Terrier:

  • Cataracts and eye problems
  • Hip and Elbow Dysplasia
  • Joint Problems
  • Cruciate Ruptures

If you are ever concerned about your dog’s health, your local veterinarian is a great resource.

Genetic Health Concerns

Like many popular breeds, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier has its fair share of hereditary based issues, such as hip and elbow dysplasia. Most reputable breeders now have their breeding stock checked and scored by a vet for these hereditary ailments. You can request proof that the puppy you are purchasing comes from parents that have been checked for these issues

Because many other health issues are also hereditary, you should do some research on the ancestry of your puppy and any health issues of that particular breed.

Tips for Every Dog Owner

Things to consider before getting a puppy

Thinking of Getting a Puppy?

Before you make the commitment to bringing home a puppy, consider your lifestyle compatibility, breed temperament and your experience with dogs.
Preparing for a vet visit Bark Busters Home Dog Training

Preparing Your Dog for a Vet Visit

A first time vet visit can be stressful for pets and owners alike. Taking your dog to the vet is essential for their health and well-being. Help create a positive experience for your dog, and the vet team, by following our tips.

Owner Taking Dog on Walk on Leash

One Step at a Time: A Guide to Successful Dog Walking

Walking our dogs is a great source of exercise for both pets and pet parents. It not only helps keep our canine companions healthy and physically and mentally stimulated, but also strengthens the bond between us. There are several factors for pet parents to consider, however, to keep walks fun and safe for all.

Bark Busters Dog Trainers Training Two Dogs

Tips for Every Dog - Why Training?

All dogs need some form of training and education. Love is vital to the bond you and your dog share, but on its own and without all the other elements of a strong relationship, your dog won’t feel fully fulfilled.

Dogs at Dog Park

Tips for Every Dog - Socialization

Dogs are social animals and like to be part of a structured social group. In the wild, their pack provides this purpose, but in the domesticated world, this consists of the humans they live with and other animals that live in your home.

Large Group of Dogs of Various Breeds

Tips for Every Dog - Four Basic Needs

At Bark Busters, we believe that every dog has four basic needs. When these needs aren’t being met, misbehavior will likely follow. Find out more about the four basic needs: food, shelter, safety and leadership, and entertainment.

Hear from Bark Busters Clients Who Have a Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Since Lexi is a American Staffordshire Terrier, it was very help to know that Damon is very knowledgeable about breed.
Damon was able to identify the good and bad things that I was doing which made it much easier for me to figure out what
I needed to work on between myself and my dog. Also, he was able to show how to be a leader toward my dog and got
immediate results right afterwards. I like how the training resembled how dogs command respect and leadership from each
other like how a mother commands respect and obedience to her pups.
Bark Busters is an excellent service for training your dog. After just four visits with a trainer our two dogs are night and day different than they were before they were trained. We have a 5-year-old Lab/Pit Bull mix and a one and a half year old American Staffordshire Terrier. I highly recommend you use Bark Busters for dog training.
I adopted my first pet this January. She is a Staffordshire Terrier Mix, so very similar to a pitbull. She is 7 years old and bears the scars of fights with dogs on her face and legs, and also the scars of being returned to the shelter twice before I adopted her. She is very very loving, but also very very aggressive towards other dogs. She also barked at everything and everyone that came near the place, or just at noises she would hear. And, she needed to be by me 24-7, followed me everywhere. After working with Deb, she explained how Bella was feeling, and why she was reacting the way she was. We have had two sessions, and really the second session was to show off how well Bella was doing. Don't get me wrong, she is not perfect now, but she is much more manageable in terms of listening to me, not needing to be around me all the time, walking by me and not leading me, and lastly, not lunging aggressively and barking at every dog we see. I don't think Bella will ever be a dog that can be around other dogs, but with Deb's training, I have learned to be more alert than Bella and calm her before her adrenaline kicks in to start barking or going after another dog. Deb has great skills and lessons to teach, but she is not teaching your dog, she is teaching YOU. You have to listen, and do the work, and with her lessons, you can have a well-behaved dog. I've gotten compliments now on the changes in Bella's behavior, and listening to me. I'm more confident walking her now, and now, she will only bark once when the bell rings, before I give her the command and she goes to where she is supposed to. Thanks Deb for all your help, and I am so thankful for the option of continual support.
Have a 4-year old lab/staffy mix who has gone through two trainers and a board & train. She would bark and charge at the door if she saw anything (sometimes when she just saw the wind blow), jump over the couch (and yes, over people sitting on the couch) to get to the door faster and pull so hard on her leash during walks. My husband was on the cusp of wanting her gone because we were about to have our first baby and we didn’t feel comfortable with her energy levels. He felt he had no control over her. I found Bark Busters through Google search and decided to reach out because I didn’t want to get rid of my dog. I thought, Third trainer’s a charm!
Amanda is a great trainer and good people! My dog responds well to the training and she doesn’t run our household anymore. She still barks at the door and that’s fine because she isn’t as wired and bossy as she was 2 months ago AND doesn’t pull on walks anymore. But most importantly, she has been great with our one week old son. She listens more to us because we have established more leadership.
The homework Amanda gives you is very helpful and you’ll have access to those resources forever if you ever forget some steps. It’s also lovely how reachable she is for any questions or concerns you may have. I definitely feel that my dog is being taken care of.
Jared at Bark Busters did an amazing job working with my dog and keeping her prey drive under control. Watching him in action was amazing, he broke her attention away from a squirrel multiple times and was very quick on rewarding her. He explained everything as he did it, so I could work with her whenever the opportunity arrived in the future. This is the most important part with training from my experience, the knowledge to replicate the training so we as pet parents can reinforce it throughout our dogs lives.
Flynn, my Wheaten Terrier, barked, jumped and acted aggressive any time someone came to the door or approached the car. It was frightening, frustrating and at time scary.The change in behavior after one visit was amazing. I'm looking forward to following the recipe to a calm well behaved dog. If today is any indication of what that is like I'm going to have the dog I've always wanted.
Bonnie was very helpful in teaching my family and I how to train our two new English Terrier Dogs. She showed us what we needed to do, products to buy and how to apply the products for potty training, so we could start enjoying our new dogs. I highly recommend Bonnie.
I was surprised how fast Eearl and Ford responded to my newly taught command skills!
Josh was a joy to learn from!
Taught several behavioral tips + immediately saw improvement in our puppy. Extremely satisfied with the experience.
My husband and I were looking for some help with our reactive pitbull. We had already had some experience with training her at different places but needed a new trainer after moving. Jared was a perfect fit! He came to our place and helped us learn how to read our dog's behavior in her natural environment. Our dog is making awesome progress! She is less reactive and responds more to our corrections now that we know how to communicate with her! Our dog has a long journey but knowing that Jared is by our side the whole way brings us so much peace. I cannot recommend Jared enough!

The training has been a virtual miracle for my dog Rosie. I know I am the one being trained, but she is so much better behaved it is amazing. I highly recommend this method and Jerry, this trainer, is wonderful. Five stars
The "girls" are a lot calmer and better behaved than ever!! A little more work needed with Kai and the Amazon delivery, but we now know what we are doing and doing it right, for once!!!! We all loved Patrick!
Heather is the best! My girl Trixie is a good girl but definitely needed some help with aggression towards other dogs and leash pulling so I could take her to breweries and parks without her acting like a fool : )
Heather taught techniques that trained both Trixie and me! She was kind and gentle with my girl but at the same time showed her who was boss. We now practice what we were taught daily. It was a great experience! Look out breweries Trixie and I are coming for ya!
My Jojo is a happier dog now that Heather worked with him to calm him and his issues. She did a fabulous job, and we are very pleased. Thank you, Bark Busters.
We were at our wits end with our Husky Jimmy. He would not stop barking and lunging at other dogs on walks. He also had terrible jumping habits when guests would come over. Heather helped so much within the first visit. She showed us how to train him with simple language and no treats. We tried training before, without the results we wanted. We are working with him daily and have seen such an improvement! Bark Buster's methods work and we could not be more grateful. Thank you Heather!!
Great service! Heather and crew are super friendly & professional.
Last Monday Michael came to my home to help me with my beautiful two year old Sherinian.When we go for a walk Mia would bark at everything and especially everyone we passed she wouldn’t let anybody into my house without barking constantly the entire time they were here. Michael worked with her for approximately 10 minutes he diagnosed exactly what the problem was Gave me some tools and instructions as to how to help her understand. We then went outside where he walked with me and showed me exactly what needed to be done in a very firm but loving way. I am happy to say Mia had an appointment at the veterinarian on Thursday she walked in that office never barked at anybody sat down while we waited our turn and was an entirely different puppy.In my opinion Michael is truly the dog whisperer he has more knowledge about dogs and they’re behaviors and how to correct them than anybody I have ever met. More importantly to me he did this with absolutely no cruel or harsh techniques and zero negativity he did this all with kindness, gentleness and understanding I would highly recommend Michael to anybody that has any issues with their dog training
First time I've seen improvement in Luca's behavior. He is learning the proper behavior, and it has given us hope!
Very Very informative, Tad Brown changed his behavior in one day!
Josh sat with us to really understand our needs and our dogs before starting and really focused on the tough areas. He really understood our dogs personalities and customized the lesson to best suit our dogs.
Joshua listened to all our concerns we had with our dogs. He explained thoroughly the steps we'd take. He provided us with various resources to ensure our success. He provided with demos and then walked us through while working with our dogs. Overall, this was a great and very helpful experience5.
I had a wonderful experience with my dog Jack! I was really struggling to understand how to make him feel less anxious and provide him with what he needs. Heather came in and patiently helped me understand how to help Jack out. She also taught me how to become a proper leader so Jack could be more relaxed and less anxious.
We feel very good about John's training. He is very professional and very patient explaining how to train our dogs. John handles the subject very well and we have a lot of faith that we are going to achieve a good result with our dogs. Excellent service! Thank you very much!
John has been amazing! I was shocked at how much our dog has improved in just the initial training session.
Just had my first training session with Jerry from Bark Busters. The 3 hours went by quickly. I received an intensive tutorial on dog behavior, and the impact of becoming a pack leader on their training, comfort level and happiness. I was shocked at how immediately effective the training was and continues to be several days later. This has greatly increased my confidence. Looking forward to seeing what’s possible with the next training session.
Our session with Josh was incredibly informative. We learned many of the reasons for her behavior and strategies to correct them. We saw improvement very quickly.
Excellent!! Joshua is very knowledgeable, great trainer! Luma's behavior instantly improved. Very impressive!! Thank you, Joshua!

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