The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a medium breed that first appeared in 19th Century England. They are the second most common dog breed here at Yorkshire Vets, after the Labrador Retriever. To find out more about the breed, and if it is a good fit for your family, read on below.
Staffordshire Bull Terrier
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier (Staffie) is a stocky and muscular breed. They are medium sized, with females expected to weigh between 11 and 15kg and males between 13 and 17kg. Their head is broad, with a short muzzle. Atop this wide head, they have small, half-pricked ears. They are short and smooth coated, with a huge variety of colour variations including blue, brindle, fawn and white. It is quite common to see many colour varieties with white areas.
Despite their muscular appearance, Staffies are affectionate and loyal breed. Sadly, they have gained a reputation as nasty or vicious dogs. The truth of the matter is, however, that in most cases the blame for these behaviours lies at the feet of the owner, rather than the dog. Provided that they are well socialised and trained, Staffies are an excellent family dog. Due to their people-pleasing personality, they are easily trainable. They are typically great with children and suitable for multi-pet households. It is always worth remembering, however, that you should never leave young children alone with any dog. It is also important to raise your children to know how to handle and respect their dog.
Staffies have a life expectancy of around 12 – 14 years. They are generally a healthy breed, though can be prone to some medical conditions. Hip and elbow dysplasia can occur in the breed, as can patellar luxation. A condition called L-2 hydroxyglutaric aciduria, while rare, can occur. This is a metabolic disease that results in behavioural changes and dementia type symptoms. They are also prone to developing cataracts, demodectic mange and skin allergies.
Development of the breed began with the crossing of bulldogs and a variety of other breeds, to produce a dog somewhat similar to the Staffie we know today. As their name suggests, Staffies were originally bred as bull baiting dogs and were also used for bear baiting. These practices were common prior to the 19th Century. In 1835, these blood sports became outlawed. After this date, the temperament of Staffies began to shift to one more suited to companionship than fighting. The breed was first recognised by the kennel club in 1935, with a breed standard established in the same year.
The Staffies in the attached photo are Lottie and Lemmy. They are regular visitors to our Armley surgery.