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Dog Breed Profile: Staffordshire Bull Terrier

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Staffordshire Bull Terrier Photo Photo © iStockphoto.com/Paul Cotney

Group:

Terrier

History:

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier was developed in England during the 19th century for dog fighting. In order to create a faster and more compact dog breed, Bulldogs were crossed with small Terriers (likely Manchester Terriers and similar breeds). At the time, Bulldogs were large, fierce and intrepid - much different than today's Bulldog.

Before landing on its current name, Staffords have been called Bull-and-Terrier Dogs, Bulldog Terriers and Old Pit Bull Terriers. Once dog fighting was made illegal in the early 20th century, Staffords became more widely recognized and loyal and affectionate companion dogs.

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier was brought to the US towards the end of the 19th century, but was not officially recognized by the AKC until 1974.

Size:

Weight: 24-38 pounds
Height: 14-16 inches at the shoulder

Colors:

Red, fawn, white, black, blue or brindle (any shade). All colors may be with or without white.

Health Problems:

Responsible breeders strive to maintain the highest breed standards as established by kennel clubs like the AKC. Dogs bred by these standards are less likely to develop hereditary conditions. However, some hereditary health problems can occur in the breed. The following are some conditions to be aware of:

About the Breed:

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier, also called the Stafford, Staffy or Staffie, is a medium-sized dog of somewhat short stature with a muscular, athletic body. Contrary to its tough appearance, the Stafford is a gentle, loyal and highly affectionate dog breed. However, this breed is quite powerful and tends to be stoic in the face of pain.

The very short, smooth coat of the Stafford requires little more than routine grooming. This breed tends to shed at a low to moderate rate, though shedding does increase seasonally.

As with any dog breed, proper training is a must for the Stafford. This is a very intelligent dog breed that can be stubborn, following his own will if permitted. Therefore, obedience training is essential in order to manage your Stafford.

The Stafford is an athletic dog breed with plenty of energy, so routine exercise is very important. However, be cautious not to overdo it in warmer weather, as the breed is sensitive to heat. Staffords will especially benefit from dog sports that challenge them mentally and physically. Regardless of the type of exercise you give your Stafford, be sure it is provided about twice daily or more.

Overall, Staffordshire Bull Terriers have friendly, gentle dispositions and make lovely companions for many types of households. Praised for its "nanny-like" instincts, the Stafford gets along remarkably well with children when properly trained and socialized. However, because of this breed's strong prey drive and dog fighting ancestry, use caution around other pets. If raised together, well-trained and closely supervised, they may even learn to get along beautifully. While not ideal as guard dogs for the home, this breed will protect people from harm. The Stafford is very loyal and tends to bond closely with its owner. If you are active, patient and ready to provide plenty of one-on-one affection to your dog, the Stafford could be the dog breed for you.


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