For this month’s breed post, we have one of the UK’s most beloved breeds, the cheeky and charming Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
The origin of the Staffy links back to the Bulldog. When you picture a Bulldog today, you probably think of a short, stocky dog with wrinkles and baggy jowls, like Spike in the Tom & Jerry cartoons. Hundreds of years ago, the Bulldog had quite a different look – they were taller, with a more athletic body shape, and a longer, more pronounced snout.
In the 18th Century, the Bulldog was bred with the Manchester Terrier, with the aim to create a strong and muscular breed, much like the Bulldog, but slightly leaner and more agile. The result was what was to become known as the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
Staffies have a short coat and can come in many colours, such as brindle, white, red, black, blue, fawn, or a variation of these with some white markings. They’re very low maintenance when it comes to grooming and don’t shed an excessive amount in summer, so they’re a relatively clean dog (unless they dig or roll in something, of course!)
Staffies have an endless amount of energy and enthusiasm for life. If you’re considering one of these little athletes as your next pet, you need to make sure that you have enough time to dedicate to making sure their physical needs are met. Many Staffies thrive at dog agility and activities such as flyball. A secure garden would be beneficial although not essential. This breed will do well in most living environments as long as they have the right amount of exercise and human company.
Staffies are quite hardy little dogs with not many issues, although hip and elbow dysplasia is not uncommon. This breed can also be prone to sensitive skin, which could be genetic but can also be due to an environmental factor or intolerance. If you start to notice these changes in your dog it’s always an idea to check to see if anything around the house has changed, like using a different household product, or new bedding made from a different material to what they are used to.
Staffies are known for wanting to have fun at any cost, often with a complete disregard for to their own personal safety, so they can – and do – often get themselves into all kinds of scrapes on their adventures.
Although a relatively quiet dog not commonly known to bark much, that’s not to say that the Staffy is not vocal. Most Staffies will snore, snort, gurgle and grunt, and often have a unique singing voice compared to a yodel. They have a distinct language all of their own, and will definitely be entertaining!
Currently, on average, over 45% of dogs in animal shelters waiting to be adopted are Staffies. It can be difficult for them to find new homes as they often receive unfairly bad press, with many wrongly labelling them as a tough and/or aggressive breed. With a stocky, muscular frame, some may find this dog to be an intimidating figure. However, as anyone who knows a Staffy will tell you, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more friendly and affectionate dog. Staffies make lovingly loyal pets by nature, providing they are, like all dogs, are well trained with a good routine and house rules.
Due to their reputation for being gentle guardians and playmates to small children, they’re often nicknamed ‘The Nanny Dog’. The Staffy thrives on human company and wants nothing more than to tag along with you on your adventures. From hiking all day, to snuggling up with you on the couch to watch a movie, they will be happy to be by your side.