Staffordshire Bull Terrier Overview

Dog Breed:
Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Breed Group:
Clever, brave, tenacious, family orientated, and loving.
14-16 inches
24-38 pounds
Life Span:
12-14 years
Coat Colors:
Red, fawn, white, black or blue and brindle.
Area of Origin:
Best For:
Experienced owners/Committed to training and socialization/Active family.
Adult Food:
Best Dog Food for Staffordshire Bull Terriers
Puppy Food:
Best Puppy Food for Staffordshire Bull Terriers

Staffordshire Bull Terrier Characteristics

Good for First-Time Owners
Good with Children
Easy to Train
Exercise Requirements
Ease of Grooming
Amount of Shedding
Amount of Drooling
Tendency to Bark

About The Staffordshire Bull Terrier

  • Loving and gentle

  • A true family member

  • Legislation in some areas may place restrictions on ownership

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier can initially look a little imposing with their robust and muscular body and powerful stance. However, the Staffie is a sensitive and loving companion who is much more interested in playing than being tough. In fact, the Staffie sees life as one long game, and they throw themselves into every situation with complete enthusiasm.

This breed is a real family member, they don’t do well shut away in a yard and kennel. They love to be the center of everything going on, whether that’s a game of football with the kids, a day trip to the beach or running errands in the car; if they can be with you and be involved, they’ll be happy.

Sadly, some people are attracted to the breed because of their appearance rather than because of their friendly nature. This has then resulted in irresponsible owners causing the breed to become restricted in some parts of the world. Do check local legislation before committing to a Staffie joining your home.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier Breed History

  • Once a popular choice for illegal fighting pits

  • The name comes from their popularity in the county of Staffordshire

  • Breeders worked hard to develop the loving and trustworthy modern Staffie


In 1835, England outlawed blood sports. However, illegal fighting pits soon sprung up where dogs would be matched against each other, or they set against a sack full of rats. The Bulldogs, which had become unemployed since the end of bull-baiting, were then crossed with feisty terriers to make them more competitive for these new ‘sports.’

The result of the breeding was a fighting dog who had the spirit and speed of the terrier combined with the powerful jaws of the Bulldog. James Hinks of Birmingham emerged as one of the key breeders of this new type of dog, and by the 19th century, they had become one of the most successful breeds in the fighting pits.

The breed name of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier comes from the popularity of the breed in the county of Staffordshire. The Staffie arrived in the US in the late 1800s, where the breeders developed a taller and heavier variation, which then became the American Staffordshire Terrier.

Since then, breeders have worked hard to transform the breed from their fighting days to become a trustworthy family companion.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier Size & Weight

  • Height 14-16 inches

  • Weight 24-38 pounds

  • Very strong and muscular dogs


Staffies are not big dogs, measuring 14-16 inches at the shoulder. However, they can weigh anything between 24-38 pounds showing just the powerhouse these guys can be! This means that leash training is essential so that you can have a relaxing walk with your Staffie.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier Personality & Temperament

  • Enthusiastic and loving

  • Courageous and tenacious

  • Loving with children


The well-bred Stafford is never fearful or snarly. They’re enthusiastic about everything they do and curious about everything that’s going on. A real people loving personality means that they are loyal to their people but don’t expect them to be a protector for your home.

This is a breed that is courageous and tenacious, so that means once they become determined about something, they can be a challenge to dissuade. Their temperament is a combination of genetics which is passed down by their parents, and the experiences they have while a puppy.

This then means that it’s essential to meet your pup’s parents and, ideally, other family relatives. Then you need to enroll in puppy classes and plan out their socialization period so that they have lots of positive experiences with all kinds of people, children, and other dogs. The Staffie is a smart breed, and they’ll soon learn all the behaviors they need to become a well-mannered member of the family.

This is not a breed that will do well when left outside alone or at home for long periods without human companionship. The Staffie can learn to get on with other dogs, but as mentioned, they need to have lots of positive experiences of this when younger. Care does still need to be taken with introductions to new dogs.

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is the only type of dog where the UK Kennel Club makes mention of how good they are with children within the breed standard. Of course, individuals will vary, and children should still learn how to interact safely with dogs, but if you’re looking for a family dog, then a Staffie may be one to shortlist.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier Health & Grooming

  • Some hereditary conditions which breeders should screen for

  • Weekly brush to remove dead hair

  • May need a daily groom during shedding season


As with most breeds, there are a number of conditions that Stafford’s should be screened for before they are considered suitable for breeding from. These include –

  • Elbow and Hip Dysplasia. These are conditions that cause problems in the joints resulting in lameness and pain for the affected dog.
  • Eye Conditions. Juvenile cataracts, PHPV, and PPSC are all conditions that can cause sight problems.
  • L-2-HGA. This metabolic condition which can cause wobbly walking, fits, and muscle cramps. While there is medication that can alleviate some of the symptoms, there is no cure.

It doesn’t take much work to groom a Staffordshire Bull Terrier. A weekly brush to remove dead hairs is about all that’s needed until shedding season comes. Then, you may need to up the number of times they get brushed to stop your house becoming over-run with discarded hair!

Staffordshire Bull Terrier Training

  • An intelligent dog who loves to learn

  • Best results will come from reward-based training

  • Basic training essential for all Staffies


The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is an intelligent dog who loves to learn. They do best with reward-based training, and this also helps to develop the relationship between them and their owner.

All Staffies need obedience training when young. It will help them to learn how to walk on a leash without pulling and come back when called. Many of the breed progress beyond basic obedience and can be seen successfully competing in a range of canine performance sports such as flyball, agility and obedience.

Despite their terrier background, Staffies tend not to have a strong prey instinct, though that will vary between individual dogs. It also has to be remembered that all dogs, at some point, will feel the need to chase, so exercising in a secure area is always the safest option.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier Exercise Requirements

  • An intelligent dog who loves to learn

  • Best results will come from reward-based training

  • Basic training essential for all Staffies


The Stafford needs exercise every day to keep them fit and healthy. A long hike through the woods, chasing after a ball and jogging alongside their owner are all good options. Once they’ve had their exercise, they then tend to settle well in the home. You should plan in a minimum of an hour’s exercise every day.

The Staffie loves to play with their family, so if you’re up for a game, they will be too! Do remember to teach the rules of the game first, such as having a good leave, and look out for signs of them becoming over-excited.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier Diet & Feeding

  • Chat to the vet or pet nutritionist for advice on your dog's needs

  • Select a food suitable for your dog's age, size and exercise intensity

  • Monitor treats to avoid your Staffie becoming overweight


For nutritional advice for your dog, do chat with your vet or pet nutritionist.

Generally, most dogs start off on a specially formulated puppy food until they’re around 6 months of age. Then they can move across onto an adult food selected for the right age, size, and exercise intensity of your dog.

Staffies can be prone to quickly becoming overweight, so do monitor how many treats yours receives each day to avoid problems.

You may also be interested in:

Staffordshire Bull Terrier Rescue Groups

Sadly, high numbers of Staffordshire Bull Terriers find themselves in need of a new family every year. If you’re interested in offering one a home, chat with your local rescue who can provide information and advice.

For a group that just focusses on the rescue of the Staffie, take a look at –

For further information take a look at the website of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier Club of America –