Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Temperament: Clever, Brave, Tenacious

  • Height: 14-16 inches
  • Weight: 28-38 pounds (male), 24-34 pounds (female)
  • Life Expectancy: 12-14 years
  • Group: Terrier Group 

From his brawling past, the muscular but agile Staffordshire Bull Terrier retains the traits of courage and tenacity. Happily, good breeding transformed this former gladiator into a mild, playful companion with a special feel for kids.


The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a smooth-coated dog. It should be of great strength for its size and, although muscular, should be active and agile.

About the Staffordshire Bull Terrier

At 14 to 16 inches, Staffordshire Bull Terriers do not stand particularly tall. But, weighing anywhere between 24 to 38 pounds, they pour a gallon of dog into a quart-size container. These are rock-solid, muscular terriers. The head is short and broad, with pronounced cheek muscles, and the tight-fitting coat comes in several colors.

Staffordshire Bull Terriers still resemble the pugnacious brawlers who once ruled England’s fighting pits. But today’s responsible breeders are producing sweet-nature, family-oriented dogs with a reputation for being patient with kids. These are true-blue loyal companions, but the old fighting instinct still lurks within—making it vital that pups be socialized with other dogs to learn good canine manners.

NUTRITION The Staffordshire Bull Terrier should do well on a high-quality dog food, whether commercially manufactured or home-prepared with your veterinarian’s supervision and approval. Any diet should be appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior). Some dogs are prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.

GROOMING It doesn’t take much work to keep a Staffordshire Bull Terrier looking handsome. Occasional baths and weekly brushings with a horsehair mitt or hound glove to pull away dead hairs will keep him in beautiful condition. His nails should be trimmed at least monthly. Avoid letting them grow out too long, as overly long nails can be quite painful for him. Clean the ears regularly to remove excess wax and debris, which can cause an ear infection. Your breeder and your veterinarian can suggest a good routine and cleaning materials and will show you how to do it without damaging his inner ear.

EXERCISE This breed requires regular exercise to stay mentally and physically fit. Exercises can range from chasing a ball tossed across the backyard, running alongside a biking or jogging owner, or just a nice, long hike through the woods. Although a Staffordshire Bull Terrier in good physical condition can keep up with an athletic owner, they usually settle right in when they come back in the house after a good exercise session. However, the breed can be heat intolerant and should never be overworked in warm or humid weather.

TRAINING The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is intelligent, learns easily, responds quickly, is calmly protective, and can be a loving and fun companion. They have an ardent desire to please and easily comply with the requests of their owners. However, remember that they were originally bred to fight other dogs, and most have retained a strong prey drive. They must be trained to control their temperament traits to truly become a perfect pet. It is imperative that, from the beginning, a Stafford puppy have clear and consistent training. They should not only learn the rules, but also accept that they must always follow them.

HEALTH Responsible breedersscreen their stock for health conditions such aselbow and hip dysplasia, patellar luxation and eye anomalies including hereditary juvenile cataracts, persistent hyperplastic primary vitreous (PHPV), and posterior polar subcapsular cataracts (PPSC). SBTs can develop several forms of skin allergies, some of which may be genetic. The DNA test for L-2-HGA, a metabolic condition, allows breeders to identify carriers and avoid producing affected offspring. Be an informed owner, and discuss any health questions or concerns with your dog’s breeder and your veterinarian.

Recommended Health Tests from the National Breed Club:

  • L2HGA DNA Test
  • Hereditary Cataracts DNA Test
  • Ophthalmologist Evaluation

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