Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Also known as: Staffy Terrier, Staffie, Staffy, British Staffordshire Terrier, Nanny Dog, SBT, Stafford Bull Terrier, Staff Bull Terrier, Staffy Bull Terrier, English Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Staff Terrier
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier
  • Staffordshire bull terrier

General description

Staffordshire Bull Terriers are small sized dogs with a strong muscular build and created to fight. Luckily, nowadays majority of this breed has left the combat rings (not entirely unfortunately) and it is raised as a pet or guard dog. Staffies are quite stubborn, confident and sometimes dominant especially male individuals. This is why Staffy owners must be experts and capable of gently enforcing their leadership. Very playful dogs that are suitable for kids. These dogs love to spend time outdoors however are they very sensitive to both high and low temperatures. The main qualities in a Staffordshire Bull Terrier are the affectionate nature towards the family and kids as well as the ease of keeping this dog clean. Among their flaws, Staffordshire Bull Terriers can count their often aggressive nature towards other dogs and small animals.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier in short

  • Group 3: Terriers
  • Height from 35 to 40 cm
  • Weight from 11 to 17 kg
  • Longevity from 12 to 14 years

Aspect and attributes

Characteristics accepts by FCI:

  • Colors: red, fawn, white, black, blue
  • Hair: thick, smooth, short
  • Coats: markings, solid, brindled

Staffordshire Bull Terriers are a medium sized breed but very strong, muscular and full of energy. This is why, despite being quite small, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier will need space to exercise and won't adapt well to life in a unit.

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Costs and maintenance

As usual, Staffordshire Bull Terriers should only be purchased from professional and specialized breeders and not in multi-breed farms where puppies are constantly born under very little care for their health and without any training. If purchased through a serious breeder, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier puppy can cost up to 900 €. Other than this initial expense, this is not a breed requiring substantial expenditures. Staffordshire Bull Terriers don't require professional grooming nor many visits to the vet clinic.

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is not a really expensive breed

Characteristics Summary


Suitability to apartment life

Staffies are lively dogs fueled by endless energy. For this reason, despite the small size a Staffordshire Bull Terrier doesn't adapt well to apartment life. This breed needs plenty of space to exercise, run and play so it can live indoors only if taken out to unload quite often. This type of dog loves to play and needs to keep busy through mental stimulation in order to be happy and fit.

A Staffy needs to move a lot and prefers being outside

Tolerance for solitude

Staffordshire Bull Terriers form a strong bond with their family and owner and dislike being alone, although they handle this condition better than other more sensitive breeds. Dogs of this type are quite demanding and need attention especially if left alone at home where they can potentially destroy anything available due to boredom or anxiety.

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier doesn't tolerate solitude and inactivity

Suitable as first pet

Staffy dogs were originally bred for English fighting fences where this small breed would attack others to entertain the audience and keep betting money flowing. These days Staffies mainly serve as guard dogs or pets and, the most aggressive behavioral traits have been softened by selection. Nevertheless, Staffies are not suitable for new dog owners as they tend to be stubborn and determined.

Not suitable to those with little experience


As all other breeds selected as guard dogs, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier also creates a strong bond with the owner to whom it depends on an emotional level. Reason why, this breed doesn't tolerate distracted or little affectionate owners as well as an erratic diet (a Staffy is inclined to be ravenous and erratic behaviors can only exacerbate this trait) and chaotic environments.

Sensitive dog that needs a caring master

Tolerance for cold temperatures

Staffordshire Bull Terriers are very muscular but are still a medium sized dog with a short coat and, for this reason are quite vulnerable to cold. Should you decide to raise a Staffy as an outdoor dog, a condition that your pet will usually prefer anyway, you'll need to ensure you leave a warm bed where it can find shelter when it's too cold or simply let your dog inside during the chilliest nights.

A Staffordshire Bull Terrier suffers from cold temperatures, especially if it lives outside

Tolerance for high temperatures

Staffy dogs really suffer from heath due to their short face which prevents them from properly regulating their body temperature. These dogs must be sheltered and not taken out when it's very hot. Staffies that are raised as outdoor dogs should be provided with water, shade and coolness as well as monitoring to ensure don't suffer from heat strokes.

Staffies don't stand the heat and are quite subject to heatstrokes

Friendliness and sociability

Affection towards family

Staffordshire Bull Terriers are absolutely in love with their family and will protect their loved ones at any cost. This type of dog is really cuddly and fond of playtime, a Staffy is affectionate towards children and all loved ones. A Staffordshire Bull Terrier's favorite thing in the world is to spend time playing outdoors with their family, running around and having fun.

A type of dog that is deeply in love with its own family

Friendly towards children

Despite the fact that Staffordshire Bull Terriers are not famous for their tame nature, they can be sweet and friendly with kids. Because a Nanny Dog loves playing, it enjoys spending time with kids but still knows how to be patient and protective. The only flaw is a Staffy's tendency to be a little boisterous and a very young kid could easily get knocked down.

Very playful breed that can be a great companion for children

Relationship with strangers

Staffordshire Bull Terriers were originally bred to fight but then became mainly guard dogs and pet companions. Compared to other dog breeds, Staffies are not naturally overly suspicious of strangers but they can be trained to be if raised as guard dog. A Stafford Bull Terrier that is raised as a pet and properly socialized will also be friendly towards strangers. The instinct of a Staffy is to protect the family but not so much the territory.

The behavior of a Staffordshire Bull Terrier towards unfamiliar people depends on the type of training received

Friendliness towards other dogs

Male individuals tend to be aggressive and dominant with other dogs while female Staffies are usually more playful. Regardless, coexistence of a Staffy and another dog can prove quite difficult unless the former was exposed to the other as a puppy.

Not very friendly towards other dogs, especially male Staffies

Care and health

Coat care and shedding

This breed's short coat won't give you many issues if you decide to have your dog in the house. Regular brushing will help limit any shedding, which is usually once a year anyway, and will allow to keep the fur of your Staffy clean and beautiful. There are even less issues if you decide to keep this dog outside. Generally, the coat of a Staffordshire Bull Terrier won't require much care nor will it cause any trouble, unless obviously you are allergic or a clean freak.

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier doesn't moult a lot and the fur is really short

Salivation and drooling restraint level

This type of dog doesn't have a tendency to drool although it may produce a bit of dribble if it's hungry (which is often, considering their greediness) or hot. The shape of their face may cause Staffordshire Bull Terriers to dribble a bit.

Staffies will drool a bit due to the shape of their muzzle

Easiness to clean

The coat of a Staffy (another nickname for this breed) is short and fine therefore really easy to keep clean and shiny. Brushing your pet now and then will help remove dead hair. Other than this, Staffies don't have many cleanliness requirements. In case you keep your dog outside, you'll have even less to worry about.

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is easy to keep clean thanks to its short fur

Health and diseases

Dogs of the Staffy breed are generally quite healthy with a rather long lifespan however, they can be affected by genetic issues particularly concentrated on their legs and joints such as hip and elbow dysplasia. Moreover, a Staffy is quite vulnerable to cataract and, as mentioned, heat strokes.

can be subject to some congenital health problems

Tendency to gain weight

This breed is quite greedy and often owners will rather satisfy their Staffordshire Bull Terrier instead of keeping it on a stricter diet. This can cause Staffies to gain weight, especially if they live in an apartment. To avoid this from happening, a Staffy should not be given too much delicious food and should follow a balanced diet which allows them to move when needed.

This type of dog has a tendency to gain weight due to a ravenous appetite

Learning skills

Intelligence and training

In case you're not willing to spend time and effort to train your Staffordshire Bull Terrier, you should choose a different breed. This breed requires an expert owner who can act as pack leader without allowing the pet to dominate. The Staffordshire Bull Terrier can become dominant and get out of the owner's control if not well trained.

Staffordshire Bull Terriers are not easy to train due to their dominant nature

Loyalty and inclination to escape

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier has a strong predator instinct and can easily release it by chasing cats or other small animals who unluckily find themselves crossing this dog's path. Staffies also have a tendency to dig and they can create a tunnel under a fence when they see something interesting or annoying on the other side of it (for example, another dog). A Staffy should always kept on the leash amongst other dogs.

It can run away chasing cats, chickens or other dogs

Inclination to bite

Unfortunately, Staffordshires have a bad reputation. They're commonly seen as aggressive by nature and as a danger. Truth is that Staffies are actually playful and curious of people whilst they can attack other dogs or animals. Obviously, a dog that is not properly trained or socialized can be suspicious or aggressive (therefore dangerous).

Not very dangerous to humans, a bit more to dogs and other animals

Hunt drive

Staffordshire Bull Terriers love chasing small animals such as cats, chickens and rabbits. Always be mindful of taking your Staffy out, especially in the countryside. These dogs can easily be tempted to chase some animal that entered their visual or picked up by their sense of smell. Unless they're exposed as puppies (and sometimes even if they are), Staffies may be hard to manage together with cats or other animals they see as preys.

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier has quite the predator drive

Inclination to bark or howl

Staffordshire Bull Terriers are not noisy dogs and won't disturb you or your neighbors. However, this type of dog will protect its family and can be trained as a guard dog. In this instance, barking is simply a way to alert of a danger or to let a stranger know not to get too close. Staffies don't have a tendency to bark in their interaction with other dogs or their owner.

A Staffordshire Bull Terrier will only bark to signal a danger or protect

Exercise requirements

Energy level

Staffies are very energetic and, although not as hyperactive as other breeds, they tend to be quite lively and require lots of exercise. If raised as apartment dogs, they will ask to go out and play a lot. Not suitable for those who love a sedentary lifestyle and not willing to take their dog for daily fast-paced walks and play sessions.

A lively and energetic breed that requires exercise


This breed can be a bit boisterous and vigorous, especially if the owner is unable to calm them down and make them obedient through training. However, Staffies are rather small dogs that can't overpower a human being even when pulling on the lead at full force. It is beast to train your Staffy to be calm and obedient, especially for the peace of mind of other dogs. Moreover, Staffordshire Bull Terriers have quite a high pain threshold and may not realize they've injured themselves while playing or vigorously pulling on the lead.

This breed can be too boisterous if not well trained

Exercise requirements

Although Staffies are not hyperactive dogs, they still require quite a bit of daily exercise. Ideally, you would have a Stafford in a house with access to a fenced outside area where it can go as it please. If you have your Staffy as an apartment dog, you will need to take it for a good run or fast walk or even a good play session everyday.

This type of dog needs to exercise, walk and play

Tendency to play

Staffordshire Bull Terriers are very fond of playing and they need it in order to be happy as well as to release their great energy. Unfortunately, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is not really fond of other dogs, especially if males and its favorite playmates are definitely human beings. Staffies are tireless players and need toys that are quite robust, especially as puppies.

A breed that loves and needs to play

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