Staffordshire Bull Terrier

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Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Staffordshire Bull Terrier "Chaman".jpg
Common nicknames
Weight Male 13 to 17 kg (29 to 37 lb)
Female 11 to 15.4 kg (24 to 34 lb)
Height Male 36 to 41 cm (14 to 16 in)
Coat Smooth, short and close
Colour Red, fawn, white, black, blue, or any one of these colours with white; any shade of brindle; any shade of brindle with white
Classification / standards
FCI Group 3 Terriers, Section 3 Bull type #76 standard
AKC Terrier standard
ANKC Group 2 (Terriers) standard
CKC Group 4 - Terriers standard
KC (UK) Terrier standard
NZKC Terrier standard
UKC Terriers standard
Domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris)

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a medium-sized, short-coated breed of dog of English lineage and may be considered to be within the pit bull type.[2][3][4][5][6]


In the United Kingdom before the 19th century, blood sports such as bull baiting, bear baiting and cock fighting were common.[7][8] At the cattle market, dogs were set upon bulls, bears, or other large animals, with the intent of tenderizing the meat but more commonly to provide entertainment for the crowd. Another blood sport dogs were involved in during this time was dog fighting. Dog fighting involved gambling on dogs that were released into a pit in hopes of betting on the recognized winner: the last surviving dog. This breed has been bred for purposes of fighting and aggression. A dog fighting contest was cheaper to organize and easier to conceal from the law than bull baiting or bear baiting.[9][10]

These blood sports were officially eliminated in 1835 as Britain began to introduce animal welfare laws.[11][12]

The early bull and terrier dogs were developed as a result of breeding for the characteristic known as gameness. Gameness was a desirable trait during a time when pitting dogs against bear or bull was common. Gameness ultimately tests the strength and skill of the dogs.[13] Land-race working dogs crossbred with the early bull and terrier types with this gameness trait provided the ancestral foundation stock for the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.


The Staffordshire Bull Terrier name was officially accepted by The Kennel Club on May 25, 1935.[14] The Staffordshire Bull Terrier Club was formed in June 1935, after the acceptance of the breed by The Kennel Club. It is unusual for a breed to be recognized without first having a club in existence or a breed standard in place. A standard was not drawn up until June 1935 at the Old Cross Guns, a Black Country pub in Cradley Heath where 30 Stafford enthusiasts gathered. It was there that the group also elected the club's first secretary, Joseph Dunn, a well-known figure connected with the breed. Challenge certificates were awarded to the breed in 1938, and the first champions were Joseph Dunn's Ch. Gentleman Jim and Ch. Lady Eve taking titles in 1939.[15]

Staffordshire Bull Terriers have been the traditional mascot of the army regiments in Staffordshire since 1882. C/Sgt Watchman V is the current serving mascot.[16] The breed was recognised in the United States by the American Kennel Club in 1975.[14]



The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a medium-sized, stocky, and very muscular dog, with a similar appearance to the much larger American Staffordshire Terrier and American Pit Bull Terrier.The coat is smooth and clings tightly to the dog's body, making movement through air and water much easier for the breed. This dog has a broad, wedge-shaped head (male considerably more so than female), defined occipital muscles, a relatively short fore-face, dark round eyes and a wide mouth with a clean scissor-like bite (the top incisors slightly overlap the bottom incisors).[4]

The breed has small ears, pronounced cheek muscles, and tight jowls. The breed's waist is tucked up into their loins and the last 1–2 ribs of the rib-cage are usually visible. The tail is often straight and thin, with a slight curve at the end.

The hind quarters are well-muscled. The breed is naturally muscular and may appear intimidating.

Staffordshires come in a variety of colours: brindle, fawn, red, blue, black, and white. Blending of these colours with white and with any other colour broken up over the body is known as "pied".[4]

It is advised not to breed from Staffordshires with light eyes or Merle which is a result of a genetic mutation and can cause health issues such as blindness and loss of hearing.[17]

The dogs stand 36 to 41 cm (14 to 16 in) at the withers (ridge between the shoulder blades) and weigh 13 to 17 kg (29 to 37 lb) for males; females are 11 to 15.4 kg (24 to 34 lb).[18]


Staffordshire Bull Terriers may be at risk for these health problems:

  • Hereditary cataracts[19]
  • L-2-hydroxyglutaric aciduria — a metabolic disorder resulting in dementia-like symptoms. These symptoms are detectable by DNA tests.[20]
  • Distichiasis (commonly known as “double eyelash”)[21]
  • Persistent hyperplastic primary vitreous — a condition the blood supply to the ocular lens fails to regress and fibrovascular tissue forms, causing hazy vision. This health concern can be checked with an ocular examination throughout the life of the breed to prevent the transfer and spread of these conditions.[22]

The breed is known to be at a higher risk from mastocytoma (mast cell tumors) than the general population of dogs.[23]

A UK Kennel Club survey determined the median lifespan of the breed to be 12.75 years.[24] UK vet clinic data determined the median to be 10.7 years.[25]


Joseph Dunn's Gentleman Jim

The modern breed is one that has a temperament suitable as a companion dog but due to its breeding and history, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is known for its character of fearlessness and toughness.[26] However, this breed is also known to have an affectionate nature and is naturally loyal; they are also a friendly and lively breed.[27] The breed is known to be quick learning and Staffordshire Bull Terrier puppies are considered easy to house train.[28] Staffordshires are notably adaptable in terms of changing home or even owners but this can cause issues as it makes them vulnerable to dog napping.[29]


With proper socialization of the breed from a young age, Staffordshires can be friendly to both other dogs and humans.[30] Staffordshires are known to fight if challenged. When encountering unknown dogs, the Staffordshire could become aggressive if challenged by the unacquainted dog. This breed is also known to be headstrong and stubborn which contributes to the occurrence of challenge-related aggression. However, with dutiful obedience training by a confident owner, can alleviate this aggression.[31][32][8]

RSPCA chief vet Mark Evans said "Our experience suggests that problems occur when bad owners exploit the Staffie's desire to please by training them to show aggression."[33][34]


In 2019 the Staffordshire Bull Terrier was voted no 1 on ITV's Britain's Favourite Dogs, based on a poll of 10,000 people for ITV's Britain's Favourite Dogs show, popular breeds.[35][36] In 2017 Staffordshire Bull Terrier was voted no 2 voted dog in Australia.[37] According to the New Zealand Kennel Club staffie were the 2nd most registered dogs.[38] In France according to Société Centrale Canine the fourth most popular dog.[39][40]


In March 2018, Staffordshire Police took Cooper, a two-year-old Staffordshire Bull Terrier, from an RSPCA animal centre in Taunton for training. He is the first police dog of this breed in the UK.[41][42][43].[44][45]


Breed-Specific Legislation[edit]

Staffordshire Bull Terriers are the subject of debate as to whether or not they may be added to the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.[46]

Breed-specific legislation includes breed-specific restrictions and requirements:

Irish Staffordshire[edit]

The purported Irish variety of Staffordshire Bull Terrier, also referred to as Irish Bull Terrier, is not recognized by any notable kennel club or breed registry. Some suspect the dogs are American Pit Bull Terriers with an Irish nomenclature to circumvent breed-specific legislation bans, such as the United Kingdom's Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.[48] A statement by the RSPCA raised concern that "the 'Irish' variety – which it does not recognise as a breed" contributed to a rise in incidents of dog fighting at a level equivalent to that of the 1980s.[48] A 2002 article published in The Telegraph, quoted Beverley Cuddy, then editor of Dogs Today, who called the Irish bull terrier a complete fiction, stating "There is no recognised Irish Staffordshire bull terrier breed."[48]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ BBC. "Staffordshire Bull Terriers". Retrieved 13 November 2018.
  2. ^ "Staffordshire Bull Terriers - Dogs and puppies - RSPCA". Retrieved 22 November 2018.
  3. ^ Dias v. City & County of Denver, 567 F.3d 1169, 1173 (10th Cir. Colo. 2009). "Pit Bull Law and Legal Definition". Retrieved 22 August 2018. A "pit bull" is defined as any dog that is an American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, or any dog displaying the majority of physical traits of any one (1) or more of the above breedsCS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  4. ^ a b c "Breed Information Centre – Staffordshire Bull Terrier". The Kennel Club. Retrieved 13 November 2014.
  5. ^ Merriam-Webster. "Pit bull". Retrieved 26 October 2015. a dog... of any of several breeds... that was developed and is now often trained for fighting and is noted for strength and stamina
  6. ^ ASPCA. "The Truth About Pit Bulls". Retrieved 26 October 2015. The term 'pit bull' is often misunderstood, because it does not apply to just one breed of dog. [This text is in the website's page description.]
  7. ^ "Judging a person by their pooch: Are Staffordshire Bull Terriers just 'chav dogs'? - Mancunian Matters". Retrieved 24 September 2018.
  8. ^ a b Potts, Lauren (3 September 2018). "Are Staffies a question of class?". BBC. Retrieved 3 September 2018 – via
  9. ^ International., Animal Defenders. "What are bloodsports?". Animal Defenders International. Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  10. ^ Meltzer, Marisa (4 January 2019). "The Pit Bull Gets a Rebrand". Retrieved 10 January 2019 – via
  11. ^ "BBC - Ethics - Animal ethics: Animal welfare legislation". Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  12. ^ Della-Ragione, Joanna (8 February 2011). "The Staffordshire bull terrier: our most ‘misunderstood’ dog". Retrieved 18 January 2019.
  13. ^, Stas Bekman: stas (at). "12 What exactly is "gameness"?". Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  14. ^ a b "Staffordshire Bull Terrier Dog Breed Information". American Kennel Club. Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  15. ^ "Joe Dunn". Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  16. ^ "The Staffordshire Regiment Museum". Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  17. ^ "Dogs with Blue Eyes - Causes, Dangers, & Breeds". PlayBarkRun. 2016-10-09. Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  18. ^ "Staffordshire Bull Terrier Breed Standard". The Kennel Club. September 2000. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
  19. ^ "Hereditary Cataract in Staffordshire Bull Terriers | Animal Health Trust". Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  20. ^ "Currently Available DNA Tests". Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  21. ^ "Pit Bull Eye Problems | Cuteness". Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  22. ^ "Persistent Hyperplastic Primary Vitreous | Animal Health Trust". Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  23. ^ "Staffordshire Bull Terrier - Mast Cell Tumour - UFAW". Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  24. ^ "Purebred Breed Health Survey 2004". Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  25. ^ "Longevity and mortality of owned dogs in England". The Veterinary Journal. 198 (3): 638–643. 2013-12-01. doi:10.1016/j.tvjl.2013.09.020. ISSN 1090-0233.
  26. ^ "The Kennel Club". Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  27. ^ "How did the Staffordshire terrier fall in with the wrong crowd?". The Independent. Retrieved 29 August 2018.
  28. ^ "Dogs New Zealand - Breeds STAFFORDSHIRE BULL TERRIER". Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  29. ^ "Thieves 'targeting bull terriers'". 2007-02-19. Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  30. ^ "Staffordshire Bull Terriers - Dogs and puppies - RSPCA". Retrieved 18 January 2019.
  31. ^ Welton, Michele. "Staffordshire Bull Terriers: What's Good and Bad About Staffords". Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  32. ^ "staffordshire bull terrier". Purina. Retrieved 18 January 2019.
  33. ^ "K9 Magazine Article". Archived from the original on 19 October 2010. Retrieved 26 April 2011.
  34. ^ GARNER, THERESA (16 April 2003). "Docile dogs maligned by pit-bull looks". Retrieved 26 January 2019 – via
  35. ^ "Staffordshire Bull Terriers officially named as Britain's favourite dog". 30 January 2019. Retrieved 1 February 2019.
  36. ^ Darbyshire, Robyn (30 January 2019). "Staffie fans defend pets against 'vicious' label as dog declared UK's favourite". mirror. Retrieved 1 February 2019.
  37. ^ "What are the top 10 dog breeds in Australia 2017? Here's a list". Retrieved 1 February 2019.
  38. ^ "The most popular dogs in New Zealand". 21 May 2017. Retrieved 1 February 2019 – via
  39. ^ "Le chien de race en 2018 : Bousculades dans le Top 20 du LOF". Retrieved 5 February 2019.
  40. ^ "Top Dog Breeds in France in 2015 (by SCC raiting)". Retrieved 5 February 2019.
  41. ^ Knapper, Dave (21 March 2018). "Meet Cooper...the unwanted Staffie who's now a police dog!". Stoke Sentinel. Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  42. ^ "An interview with PD Cooper - Staffordshire Police's only Staffordshire Bull Terrier - BEFFSHUFF". Beffshuff. 21 June 2018. Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  43. ^ "Police force takes on first ever Staffordshire Bull Terrier recruit". Lichfield Live. 12 March 2018. Retrieved 24 September 2018.
  44. ^ "Staffordshire Bull Terrier qualifies as police dog". ITV. Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  45. ^ Knapper, Dave (21 March 2018). "Meet Cooper...the unwanted Staffie who's now a police dog!". Stoke Sentinel. Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  46. ^ Burnett, Tom (2018-07-16). "Staffies could be added to Dangerous Dogs Act after petition". birminghammail. Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  47. ^ a b c d e f "Is your bully breed banned?". Animal Planet. 2012-05-15. Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  48. ^ a b c Foggo, Daniel; Lusher, Adam (2002-06-02). "Trade in 'Irish' pit bulls flouts dog law". Archived from the original on 2018-08-03. Retrieved 2018-11-14.

External links[edit]