Staffordshire Bull Terrier
"Once a Fighter, Now a Lover"
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier's roots lie in pre-nineteenth-century Britain, when blood sports like cock fighting, bull baiting and even bear baiting were popular pastimes. The Staffie's forebears were bred to engage in combat with these animals. After 1835, when Britain banned such activities, blood-sport enthusiasts pitted the dogs against each other and often placed bets on the outcomes. However, although the canine combatants were bred and trained to behave viciously toward each other, they were intended to be loyal, loving, and obedient toward their human handlers. Some breeders and blood-sport enthusiasts made their way across the Atlantic and introduced the Staffie to the United States in the early and mid-twentieth century. The American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1976. Today, the Staffie is beloved in some parts of the world but reviled in others. Like other “bully” breeds, these dogs have been targets of breed-specific legislation and policies that seek to eliminate so-called dangerous dogs. Nevertheless, the breed has its share of devotees: in 2006, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier ranked 80th among the 154 breeds registered to the American Kennel Club.
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier loves his family with a passion, especially the juvenile members – this breed's devotion to children is legendary. However, such devotion does not include other dogs, particularly strange ones. A well-bred, socialized Staffie won't pick fights with other canines – but if challenged, he won't back down. Bringing a Staffie to a dog park is a less-than-brilliant idea. Not surprisingly for a dog with such powerful jaws, the Staffie deserves his reputation for being a notorious chewer. Bypass flimsy, squeaky toys in favor of sturdier fare that can stand up to a Staffie's oral fixation. Daily exercise will also help to curb chewing.
The Staffie stands 14 to 16 inches tall at the shoulder and weighs between 24 and 38 pounds. His coat can be fawn-colored, red, blue, black or brindle, and also may sport white markings. His stocky, muscular body resembles a keg – hence, the nickname “keg on legs.” His coat is short and smooth, which makes grooming relatively easy.
The intelligent, devoted Staffordshire Bull Terrier benefits from consistent, firm and positive training. Socialization from puppyhood is crucial to help the dog become accustomed to all of the sights, sounds and situations he's likely to encounter in his life with the human community.
Grooming & Care
The Staffie's coat needs little more than a weekly brushing during most times of the year, and more frequent brushing during seasonal shedding. Weekly ear cleanings and pedicures and periodic baths also help the dog to look and feel his best.
Like all purebred dogs, the Staffie has his share of genetic health issues. Among the most common are hip dysplasia, cataracts and entropion (inward-turning eyelids). Potential parents should receive OFA and CERF clearances before being bred. Prospective buyers should ask to see these clearances.
Famous Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Steve Irwin, "The Crocodile Hunter," had a Staffie; Vin Diesel has one called Winston.
|Challenges||Can be dog-aggressive.|
|Height||14 to 16 inches|
|Weight||24 to 34 pounds|
|Life||12 to 14 years|
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