The people-oriented Stafford craves companionship and wants to be with you all the time. With proper socialization, he is friendly with everyone, yet makes a sensible watchdog.
As you might expect, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is rugged, energetic, and impulsive. “Why walk when you can run and play games?” is his motto.
He requires rigorous exercise as an outlet for his energy and to maintain his splendid muscle rrier is not going to be a pacifist with all other dogs, especially those his own size or larger. He is more than willing to fight if challenged (which, for some Staffords, could consist simply of being looked-at crosseyed). This is not a breed who should run loose at the neighborhood dog park.
However, with proper socialization, many Staffords will live peacefully with the dogs and cats in their own family.
Stubborn and sometimes headstrong, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is inclined to test for position in the family pecking order. Confident leadership and obedience training are musts.
Provide the strongest chew toys you can find to keep his powerful jaws busy and as an alternative to furniture.
The athletic Stafford can scale a six-foot fence, and when inclined, he can dig his way under.
This “buff little dude” is a stable, confident dog with excellent judgment, but he needs supervision and control from an owner who can match his intelligence
If you don’t want to deal with…
- Public perception
- Providing extra amounts of socialization and training to make sure your dog turns out well and counteracts all the bad press
- High energy level
- Destructiveness when bored
- Possible aggression toward other animals
- Strong-willed mind of his own, requiring a confident owner who can take charge
A Staffordshire Bull Terrier may not be right for you.
If you want a dog who…
- Looks compact, muscular, and powerful
- Stands firmly on the ground with boldness and confidence, so makes an effective deterrent, but is usually non-aggressive with people
- Is energetic and high-spirited and thrives on vigorous athletic activities
- Has a sleek easy-groom coat that comes in many colors
A Staffordshire Bull Terrier may be right for you.
You can avoid or minimize some negative traits by
If I was considering a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, I would be most concerned about…
- Animal aggression. Some Staffordshire Bull Terriers may be aggressive toward other dogs. Many have a strong prey drive.
- Providing enough socialization. Most Staffordshire Bull Terriers are friendly with everyone, but some individuals have protective instincts toward strangers. In such a powerful and determined dog as a Stafford, this could be a problem unless you carefully socialize your dog, providing extensive exposure to a variety of people so your dog learns to recognize the normal behaviors of “good guys.” Then they can recognize the difference when someone really does act abnormally.
- Providing enough exercise and mental stimulation. Staffordshire Bull Terriers are active go-getters. They MUST have regular opportunities to vent their energy and do interesting things. Otherwise they will become rambunctious and bored — which they usually express by barking and destructive chewing. Staffords have massive jaws and can make a shambles of your house and garden.
- The strong temperament. Staffordshire Bull Terriers are not Golden Retrievers. They are capable of learning a great deal, but they have an independent mind of their own and are not pushovers to raise and train. They can be manipulative, and many are willful, obstinate, and dominant (they want to be the boss) and will make you prove that you can make them do things. You must show them, through absolute consistency, that you mean what you say.
- Spillover from the Pit Bull reputation. Staffordshire Bull Terriers are an entirely different breed, but many people will lump all of these similar-looking dogs together as potentially dangerous. Thus, Staffordshire Bull Terriers may be targeted for “banning” in certain areas, or refusal of homeowner insurance policies. In this day and age, the legal liabilities of owning any breed that looks intimidating and has a fighting heritage should be seriously considered. People are quicker to sue if such a dog does anything even remotely questionable.