The Stafford is slightly longer than it is tall, and relatively wide, giving it a low center of gravity and firm stance. Its small size imparts a surprising agility, while its heavy musculature provides great strength. The wide head provides ample room for attachment of jaw muscles. Its gait should be powerful and agile. Its coat is smooth, short and close.
The Staffordshire bull terrier is a fun-loving character that loves playing with its family and friends. It is typically playful, companionable, amiable, docile and generally responsive to its owner's wishes. Its love of a good game is rivaled only by its need for human companionship. It is also characteristically friendly toward strangers. Some can be strong-willed. Although it doesn't usually look for a fight, it is fearless and tenacious. It may not do well around strange dogs or sometimes even household dogs that challenge it. It is generally very good with children; although usually gentle, some can be rambunctious. In the United Kingdom the Stafford is known as the Nanny Dog, in reference to its eagerness and ability to assume the role of a child's nursemaid.
AKC RANKING 92
FAMILY terrier, mastiff (bull)
AREA OF ORIGIN England
DATE OF ORIGIN 1800s
ORIGINAL FUNCTION ratting, dog fighting
TODAY'S FUNCTION companion
AVERAGE SIZE OF MALE Height: 18-19 Weight: 35-40
AVERAGE SIZE OF FEMALE Height: 17-18 Weight: 30-35
OTHER NAME none
Energy level Medium energy
Exercise needs Medium
Playfullness Very playful
Affection level Very affectionate
Friendliness toward other dogs Shy
Friendliness toward other pets Friendly
Friendliness toward strangers Friendly
Ease of training Moderately easy to train
Watchdog ability Medium
Protection ability Moderately protective
Grooming needs Low maintenance
Cold tolerance Low tolerance
Heat tolerance Low tolerance
This is an athletic breed that needs a good walk on leash every day. It also enjoys a good game in the yard or a run in a safe area. Although the Stafford is capable of living outdoors in mild weather, it can be affected by cold and, more importantly, it is a dog that craves human contact; thus, it is far better suited as a house dog. Coat care is minimal. Major concerns: none
Minor concerns: none
Occasionally seen: cataract, CHD
Suggested tests: (CERF), (OFA)
Life span: 12 14 years
Note: The high pain threshold may mask problems.
In the early 1800s, the sport of rat killing had become quite popular among the working classes. Bull-baiting, which had been popular in earlier times, did not lend itself to the cities, and fanciers of the rat pit became increasingly enamored of dog fighting as a more exciting alternative to rat killing. In their efforts to produce a fearless, quick, strong contender for the dog pit, they crossed the bulldog of the time with the black and tan terrier, thus producing the "bull and terrier." Selective breeding resulted in a small nimble dog with incredibly strong jaws. It also produced a dog that was specifically not aggressive toward people because it had to be handled safely when it was at its most aroused state. By the time dog fighting was banned in England, these dogs had so endeared themselves to their fans that they continued to have a loyal following. Although some fanciers continued to fight them in clandestine gatherings, true aficionados sought a legal venue of competition and found their answer in the show ring. Concerted efforts to produce a dog more amenable to the ring and attractive as a pet finally resulted in the breed's recognition by the English Kennel Club in 1935, but it was not until 1974 that the AKC confirmed similar status. Although the breed's reputation as a combatant may have dogged it into the present, those who live with one know it as a lover, not a fighter.