Staffordshire Bull Terrier

February 23, 2023 - 9 min read
Staffordshire Bull Terriers standing and looking at camera

Vital stats

  • Breed type: Terrier
  • Size: 14 - 18 inches
  • Weight: 22 - 40 pounds
  • Lifespan: 12 - 14 years

Personality

  • Size

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  • Intelligence

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  • Trainability

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  • Exercise needs

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  • Good with kids

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  • Levels of shedding

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  • Good for new owners

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  • Overall health of breed

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Staffordshire Bull Terriers —  commonly known as Staffies or Staffords — were originally bred in Birmingham, England, during the 1800s for dog fighting. Bulldogs were crossed with terriers to create a powerful and fast dog that could compete in the sport. 

Thankfully, society has come a long way since then. Once dogfighting was outlawed in the UK, Staffies rightly became known as affectionate and loyal companions for humans. Despite their tough appearance, they’re considered kind-hearted dogs who are always on the lookout for fun. The breed was first officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1974, 39 years after the UK’s Kennel Club did the same. 

Learn everything you need to know about this lovable breed in our in-depth guide.

How much does Staffordshire Bull Terrier Insurance Cost?

In 2022, the average cost to insure a Staffordshire Bull Terrier with ManyPets was $44 per month, a bit more than than our average across all breeds and ages, which was $37 per month. This price difference indicates that Staffies are more prone to health conditions than the average dog.  

How Much Does a Staffordshire Bull Terrier Puppy Cost?

On average, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier puppy will cost around $2,000 in the US, with some prices as high as $3,000.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier Popularity

Staffies are about middle-of-the-pack when it comes to popularity. The American Kennel Club ranks them as the 75th-most popular breed in the US, out of 197 breeds total.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier Training

Staffordshire Bull Terriers are clever dogs that are eager to please their owners; teaching them obedience, new tricks, and even sports is reasonably straightforward. As a high-energy breed, they also love interactive toys and playing games, which can help make training fun.

A Staffie’s intelligence can sometimes cause stubbornness, and they often prefer to follow their own way. However, they’ll soon learn to obey instructions with consistent training starting from puppyhood.

Staffies can be easily distracted, so it's a good idea to work on recall training while they’re around other dogs. This will help them respond more quickly to your call. 

Breed Bad Habits

Staffies can be defensive if they feel threatened by other dogs. This behavior is one of the most common issues that owners face. Therefore — like any breed — Staffies should be kept on a leash when out for walks. Socialization with other dogs from a young age will also help combat this guarded behavior. 

Staffords are high-energy dogs, so they need a good deal of exercise to help them keep out of mischief. If they don’t receive the activity and attention they crave, they’ll often resort to destructive behavior around the home, like scratching, chewing, and digging. And be warned, these are strong dogs that can do a lot of damage in a short space of time!

Training Tips 

Staffies are a clever breed that love to please their owner, so they should pick up training fairly quickly in the right hands.

They’re excitable dogs who enjoy exercise, so pulling on the leash can cause problems during walks. When you feel your pup pulling, stop walking for a moment and then encourage them to follow you in an excited tone. Staffies are strong-willed dogs, so rewarding them with praise is more effective than tugging on the leash when it comes to making them follow instructions. 

Positive reinforcement always works best. Staffies are very intelligent, and will soon make the connection between good behavior and a reward.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier Gender Differences 

Although there are slight differences in temperament between males and females, a Staffie’s behavior will depend more on how they’re raised and socialized as a pup. 

The primary differentiation between the genders is appearance: Males are significantly larger with broader skulls and a more muscular build. They also tend to weigh more. 

Male 

In general, male Staffordshire Bull Terriers are in greater need of human companionship than females. Although both genders are energetic and curious, males tend to be slightly more playful. However, their excitability can translate to rough play, so they need to be watched around young children.

Male Staffies may have a greater need to assert dominance than females, making them more likely to test the boundaries. To prevent territorial issues and problems with authority from developing later on, they must be trained well starting when they’re a puppy.

Male Size Information

  • Height: 14-16 inches

  • Weight: 28-38 pounds

  • Size: Medium

Female

Female Staffies are often more independent and less eager to please than their male counterparts, which makes training slightly more complicated. 

However, issues with territorial behavior and dominance are less common with females. Female Staffies also tend to get along better with other dogs.

Female Size Information

  • Height: 12-14 inches

  • Weight: 24-34 pounds

Size: Medium

Staffordshire Bull Terrier Breed Health 

Generally, Staffordshire Bull Terriers are a generally healthy breed compared to many other purebred dogs, although mixed breed dogs tend to suffer from fewer health conditions. There are some genetic issues that Staffies are particularly prone to, including hip dysplasia and patellar luxation. 

Getting your pup from a responsible and knowledgable breeder will limit the risk of hereditary conditions being passed down.

Life Expectancy

A healthy Staffie is expected to live for 12-14 years.

Common Health Problems

Some of the most common health problems that affect Staffordshire Bull Terriers include: 

  • Hip and Elbow Dysplasia:Staffies often suffer from hip or elbow dysplasia, a hereditary condition causing abnormal joint development. Symptoms include difficulty standing up, stiffness, and limping. You may also notice an unwillingness to exercise, which will probably be out of character for your energetic Staffie. Although incurable, specific interventions such as weight control may be recommended by your vet. Obesity can also worsen the issue, so weight loss may be necessary to take pressure off the joints. Surgery can be required in severe cases, and it may not be cheap; certain dysplasia surgeries can cost as much as $3,500 per hip or elbow.

  • Patellar Luxation:This is a condition that causes the kneecap to slip in and out of place. Staffies are prone to developing Patellar luxation, and you may notice them running on three legs or skipping. It often doesn't require treatment, but surgery can correct severe cases. These surgeries can cost as much as $1,500 - $5,000 per knee.

  • Cataracts: Staffies are prone to cataracts — a condition where the eye becomes cloudy, affecting vision. The condition is hereditary, and puppies will develop cataracts if both parents have the gene. If you notice any symptoms like your pup bumping into things or not judging distances correctly, taking them to the vet as soon as possible will give you the best chance of solving the problem. If left untreated, your dog could become blind.

  • Follicular Dysplasia of the Coat:Follicular dysplasia is a hereditary disease that causes hair loss and thinning. Staffies are particularly prone to cyclic follicular dysplasia — also known as seasonal alopecia — which usually causes hair loss in late autumn or early spring, regrowing within six months. Although the condition shouldn’t cause pain for your Staffie, the skin may be exposed to the sun, increasing the risk of sunburn and infection. Therefore, you should keep an eye on your dog and ensure they’re out of direct sunlight. Although there is no cure for the disease, oral melatonin may reduce hair loss.

  • L-2 Hydroxyglutaric Aciduria (L-2HGA): L-2HGA is an inherited disorder that affects the nervous system. Symptoms include seizures, muscle stiffness, and cramps, and usually present themselves around six months after the pup is born. Like cataracts, the puppy will only develop this disorder if both parents carry the gene. Therefore, getting your Staffie from a reputable breeder that tests their dogs will reduce this risk. Although it can be managed with treatment, there is no cure for the disorder.

  • Allergic Skin Disease: Allergic skin disease — also known as atopic dermatitis or atopy — causes itchy skin and rashes in dogs. Staffies are genetically prone to this disease and environmental factors like pollen or food can trigger it. You may notice your dog scratching, licking excessively, or displaying weepy eyes. Although dogs may have flare-ups from time to time, the condition can be managed with medication from your vet and by avoiding known triggers.

Vet Tips

“Despite their strong appearance — like any dog — there are some genetic diseases Staffies are susceptible to, like hip dysplasia,” says veterinarian Dr. Kirsten Ronngren, DVM MRCVS.

“It’s critical that owners know what symptoms to look out for, such as limping or reluctance to exercise, so that they can take their pup to the vet as soon as possible. This gives your vet a better chance of intervening. 

Mild cases of hip dysplasia may require simpler support such as weight management, joint supplements, or physiotherapy, whereas catching severe cases early on can make surgery an option!”

Staffordshire Bull Terrier Colors and Variants

Staffies have a short and smooth coat that comes in various colors, including:

  • Red

  • Fawn 

  • White

  • Black

  • Blue 

  • Liver 

Although they are often a solid color, Staffies can also have brindle markings, available in any shade. White markings are also common, appearing on both the body and face.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier sitting down

Caring for a Staffordshire Bull Terrier 

Exercise

Staffies are athletic dogs, so at least an hour of walking daily is needed. Games like fetch and participating in dog sports like agility will also give them the mental and physical challenges they often crave.

True to their terrier instincts, Staffies may dig a tunnel to escape. Keep an eye on your dog if they’re playing in the yard. You could also reinforce the bottom of your fences for security. 

Staffies can run up to 25 miles per hour, so like any dog, be careful when letting them off the leash. This is particularly true in states with a lot of wildlife like Colorado or California, as Staffies have a tendency to run after animals. 

Nutrition 

Dogs need a balanced diet filled with protein-rich meat, grains, and vegetables. However, the amount of food they need depends on their size and activity level.

Building a healthy diet and feeding schedule on your own may be challenging, so consult your vet for advice to ensure your pup is getting the nutrients they need. 

Remember to fill your dog's bowl with fresh water often to keep them hydrated. 

Sleep

Adult Staffies will need around 12-14 hours of sleep per day. You may find them napping during the day.

However, puppies require around 18-20 hours of sleep to promote healthy growth and development. 

Insufficient sleep may weaken your dog's immune system, leading to obesity or illness. Therefore, ensuring they get enough exercise and food is essential to help them rest. You may need to visit the vet if sleeplessness persists, as a lack of sleep could be a sign of an underlying illness. 

Healthcare Tips

“The correct amount of exercise, food, and sleep will make a happy and healthy dog,” says Dr. Ronngren. 

“As a lively breed with plenty of energy, Staffies need sufficient exercise and playtime to stimulate them mentally. Therefore, they’re best suited to owners with an active lifestyle and time on their hands. They’re also professional cuddlers, so get the couch ready!"

Staffordshire Bull Terrier Temperament

How Good Are Staffordshire Bull Terriers With Kids?

Generally, Staffies are kind-hearted dogs that love being part of a family. When properly trained and socialized, they can get along great with kids. They're often described as "nanny dogs" due to their protective nature.

However, due to their fighting background, they can sometimes become rough when playing — especially males. They therefore need to be watched around young children.

How Affectionate Are Staffordshire Bull Terriers?

Staffords are a friendly and loving breed, making them great companions. They tend to show affection by licking, jumping up, or staring into their owner’s eyes. 

How Territorial Are Staffordshire Bull Terriers?

Staffies are loyal dogs who are naturally protective of their families. They often use barking to alert their owners that someone is approaching the home, which makes them excellent guard dogs.

How Friendly Are Staffordshire Bull Terriers?

When dealing with other dogs, Staffords can become wary and defensive if they feel threatened. The breed often prefers human companions over canine ones — they'll often greet other people when out for walks!

However, they should get along just fine with other dogs if socialized from a young age.

Will Staffordshire Bull Terriers Tolerate Other Pets?

Due to their fighting ancestry, Staffords may need additional training and supervision when first introduced to other pets. 

However, they are a gentle breed that will learn to live with other dogs with early socialization. They can even get along well with cats if they receive the proper training.

How Much Attention Do Staffordshire Bull Terriers Need?

Staffies love human companionship, so they can suffer from separation anxiety when they’re left alone for too long. If your pup isn’t given the attention they need, they may resort to destructive behavior like chewing around the house or digging; it’s best not to leave them alone for over four hours. 

You’ll need to train your dog from puppyhood to help them learn to cope with being on their own for a few hours. Leaving them with their favorite toy and rewarding them for good behavior when you get home will help.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier Coat and Grooming

Coat Type 

Staffies are a short-haired breed with a smooth coat.

Shedding Levels 

Since they have a single coat, Staffies shed at a low rate, consistently throughout the year. However, this shedding does increase seasonally when weather conditions change. 

Brushing your Staffie once a week will help manage the shedding. 

How Often Do I Need to Groom a Staffordshire Bull Terrier?

Staffies are relatively low maintenance when it comes to grooming. Along with weekly brushing, you'll need to clean your dog's ears and clip their nails around every four to eight weeks. This can be done at home with dog-safe equipment, or you can take a trip to the groomer. 

As a general rule, Staffies need to be bathed every three months. But the exact frequency depends on their activity; dogs who love to jump in the mud need to be washed more often. Remember not to bathe them too much, as this can irritate your pup's skin. 

Are Staffordshire Bull Terriers Hypoallergenic?

Although no dog is entirely hypoallergenic, Staffies generally shed little due to their short coats. Therefore, dander present in the hair won’t spread around the house as much, so this breed may be a decent option for allergy sufferers.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier Bark Sound

Staffies have a moderate barking tendency. However, they're very vocal dogs, using groans, grunts, and whines to communicate with their owners. 

Barking habits

Staffies don't bark very often; when they do, it's usually a territorial behavior to alert their owner of someone approaching the house. They can also communicate with groans and grunts when they want attention, or simply to show satisfaction when they’re praised or given a belly rub! 

However, your Staffie also may be using their voice to communicate discomfort. You must therefore be in tune with your dog to understand their feelings. 

If barking is excessive, it may be because your dog isn't getting enough exercise or food. As human-oriented dogs, it could also be due to separation anxiety or loneliness. Consistent training from puppyhood and ensuring your Staffie is given the time they need will reduce the risk of bad habits developing.

Frequently asked questions about Staffordshire Bull Terriers

When Do Staffordshire Bull Terriers Stop Growing?

Staffies usually reach their adult size by the time they’re one year old. Larger pups may take up to 18 months.

Are Staffordshire Bull Terriers High Maintenance?

Staffies are lively and active dogs that require a lot of exercise and playtime. 

They also love human companionship, so they often struggle with separation anxiety when left alone for long periods. Staffie owners will need a lot of time on their hands to keep their pups happy and healthy.

Do Staffordshire Bull Terriers Like to Cuddle?

Although they look tough, Staffies are very affectionate animals that love to cuddle with their owners. They also enjoy a good belly rub! (Who doesn’t?)