The Staffordshire Bull Terrier was developed in the region of Staffordshire, England, in the 19th century from crosses between Bulldogs and various local terriers that were similar to the Manchester Terrier.
The Staffordshire Bull was developed for the then-popular sport of bull baiting. The breed's popularity waned as interest in the sport waned. Then, in the twentieth century, interest in the breed grew again, especially in the United States.
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is not a dog for every family, but in the hands of a dominant, experienced owner it can be a successful pet and family guardian.
They were created from crossing Bulldogs and Terriers of the time. The resulting puppies became known as the Bull and Terrier, or the Pit dog.
They were introduced around the time of bull baiting and were used for this purpose. At this time bear, bull and even lion fighting was also popular and as a form of entertainment, these dogs were put into a pit and forced to fight.
With increased awareness of animal welfare, these fights were outlawed in the 1800's. Once fights were outlawed, a group of men from Staffordshire, England, wanting to preserve the breed, introduced it into the showing world.
Private dog on dog fighting still existed in spite of it being outlawed. These dogs had to be handled by their owners, so were bred to be trustworthy with humans and aggressive towards other dogs. Although they excelled in the fighting ring, known for being ferocious and courageous, they still made excellent family pets, adoring especially the children.
Over the years, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier has become a popular pet retaining the attributes of years of fighting, bred for tenacity, and courage and most of all their reliability and love for people, in particular kids.
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a stable, intelligent, affectionate and obedient dog. They are well known for their reliability as a companion and as a family pet. It has a cheerful appearance and a positive outlook on life. These dogs also possess a fair amount of self-confidence.
They are very brave and tough on themselves; they thrive to perform to perfection. Staffies are very active and playful and can be rather animated in their enthusiasm. Owners of these dogs often describe them as loyal, active and goofy, always wanting to be in the centre of attention. If danger is near they will surely notice, as they are very aware of their surroundings. Nothing goes unnoticed by the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
These dogs will bark if they sense something wrong, but are generally friendly to anyone they meet, even strangers. Being a very loyal dog, they will stand by their owners and protect them with whatever force is needed.
SBT's generally get along quite well with children, and will protect them like they were their own puppies. If socialization is provided from a young age, cats and other small pets will be welcomed and loved by the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
Being a dominant breed, socialization with other dogs should start from puppy hood and a watchful eye should be kept to ensure no conflict or aggression starts. As a result from being bred to fight, they tend to have aggression towards other dogs, this isn't usually recognizable in puppies, but as the dog grows older, this may become evident.
Staffies usually don't start fights, but if challenged, will not back down. They are very tenacious and strong and also have a high pain tolerance. Males tend to be the aggressive ones, and prefer to be top dog, any other male dog may be seen as a threat, and this is why proper socialization is a must. Staffies should also know that any aggressive behavior is unacceptable and should be distracted from acting in an aggressive manner.
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is prone to Cataracts. Other eye problems can be common, but can be avoided by testing the parents before Breeding.
Hip dysplasia is seen occasionally, but can be prevented by limiting the amount of stress on the joints as the puppy grows. You can limit the stress on the joints by not pushing the dog to run, and by not allowing the dog to frequent stairs.
They are also prone to gas, but with a healthy Diet this can be brought down to a minimum.
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier has a short coat and minimal grooming is needed. A soft bristle brush or a hound mitt used weekly will keep shedding down and keep the coat soft and healthy looking. Bathing is only required when the dog is dirty. Bathing too often will strip the coat of its essential oils and may cause the skin to become dry and flaky. If the dog has an odor, a quick rub down with baby wipes or puppy wipes will be enough.
The ears should be checked on a weekly basis. If there is any dark coloration or earwax, a flushing with ear cleaning solution and a simple wipe with a cotton ball will keep them clean. If no ear cleaning solution is available, a wipe with a cloth soaked in diluted baby shampoo will work also. If there is "dirt" and excess build up with wax, ear mites may be the cause. A simple trip to the vet to confirm and consistent treatment will clear the ear of the mites.
Eyes should be clear and free of discharge. If there is a lot of discharge and the eyes are watery, there could be an infection. These dogs are prone to eye problems and a trip to the vet for treatment early should stop the problem from becoming worse.
These dogs are very energetic and love games; the rougher, the better. Tug of war, chase and rough housing are favorite activities of the SBT, but don't let the dog win the game. By doing so, they believe that they are the dominant one. Teach the dog to let go, and that when you say enough, that means the game is over.
They can jump very high, and love playing ball and will return it to you with great enthusiasm for another throw. As long as they are with their owners, they don't care where you take them. A walk in the park, city or countryside will suffice.
These dogs need to be exercised daily. They have a lot of energy and need to be kept busy. Without proper exercise, Staffies can become rambunctious, destructive and get themselves into trouble.
A tired dog is a happy dog. If the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is exercised properly, they will be quiet and calm in the home. Other activities that Staffies excel in are agility, advanced obedience, tracking, and weight pulling.
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a very intelligent dog and learns very quickly. These dogs get bored quite easily so continuous stimulization is a must. To curb chewing of your furniture and belongings, provide the dog with suitable chew toys, such as bones or a Kong. Lots of exercise also prevent boredom and keep the dog relaxed and happy. A tired dog is a happy dog. Crate Training is also suggested, this keeps the dog safe and content while its owner is away.
Staffies are a dominant breed and extra socialization is needed to prevent aggressiveness. Early contact with other dogs, cats and small animals is important.
Puppies tend to get along with everybody and everything, but as the dog grows older, aggressive tendencies towards other dogs may become evident. It is also important to ensure that training is done in a positive, patient manner. You must be able to control you dog and it must be aware that you are boss. If the dog sees himself higher on the scale than you, he may become difficult and hard to train.
Staffordshire Bull Terriers love to please; they excel in obedience and agility and would do quite well in fly ball.