Staffordshire Bull Terrier breed information
|Average height||36-41 cm|
|Average weight||11-17 kg|
|Average lifespan||Over 12 years|
|Minimum exercise (per day)||1 hour|
|Minimum cost (per month)||£80|
Staffordshire Bull Terriers are lively and energetic dogs who love company and cuddles from their owner (once they’ve tired themselves out!). They love to be at the centre of anything going on in the home.
Staffies are stocky and solid dogs with seemingly boundless energy, which makes them the perfect pet for active households. They do best when there is someone around the home all the time to keep them company – otherwise you might find your furniture pays the price!
Common health problems in Staffordshire Bull Terriers
Staffies are wonderfully loving pets and most owners report just how cuddly and sweet-natured their Staffie is. Sadly, like so many other purebred dogs, they are at risk of certain conditions relating to their breed.
If you are thinking of buying a Staffordshire Bull Terrier puppy, make sure the parents of your puppy have had the relevant health screening to reduce the chances of your puppy being affected by certain conditions. We’d recommend looking for a Kennel Club Assured Breeder as they meet extra requirements which will benefit your puppy’s health.
Some of the conditions Staffies may develop include:
- Hip dysplasia – where the hip joint doesn’t fit together perfectly, which will eventually lead to arthritis. Before breeding, dogs should be screened by x-rays through the BVA/Kennel Club Hip Dysplasia Scheme.
- Skin conditions – Staffies can suffer from allergies and can also be affected by a skin condition caused by demodex mites.
- Certain cancers.
- Some eye conditions – there is currently testing available for some eye conditions.
- L-2-hydroxyglutaric aciduria – a metabolic disorder that affects the nervous system. There is currently testing available for this.
If you want to minimise the risk of your dog getting problems due to exaggerated features, you can read our advice on choosing a pedigree dog.
Caring for your Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Staffies are very people-orientated dogs who are likely to want to say hello to everyone out and about! They have lots of energy and can be boisterous well into their adult years so owners need to be prepared for this especially due to their solid build. In the right household, they can make the perfect family pets.
Like any breed, Staffies love the company of their owners and prefer to have someone around all day. They are known for suffering with separation anxiety, though, so ideally they need to live in a home where someone is with them all the time. They’re known chewers, so left to their own devices this could be fatal for your furniture and even your walls!
Staffies and barking
As with any dog, your Staffie is likely to make noise and how much they vocalise is down to the individual. Staffies aren’t really known for barking though – although many owners report snuffling and pig noises when they eat! If you’re having problems with excessive noise or barking, we recommend seeking the advice of an accredited behaviourist.
Training and socialisation
Staffies are intelligent dogs who will pick up on their training quickly, so starting positive, reward-based training early will really help them along the way. You might find they do like to test their boundaries, though, so consistency is key! Make sure you set clear boundaries and stick to them, handling your Staffie’s training with a firm but fair attitude. They can be strong-willed at times so if you are a first-time owner or new to the breed, you might benefit from taking your pup along to training classes, which you can find online. Because of their energy and excitable nature, it’s a good idea to work on your Staffie’s recall from an early age.
As long as your Staffie is socialised from a young age with different people, dogs and experiences, they should grow to be a confident dog, happy to go out and about. You might find that walks take a lot longer where there are lots of people around because your dog wants to say hello to everyone!
Because they are so people-orientated, Staffies are known to suffer with separation anxiety when left alone. You should never leave any dog alone for more than four hours, but you might find your Staffie struggles with shorter periods than this and you might need to train them to be OK with very short periods.
Staffies have a lot of energy and love to play with their owners. They enjoy running around and a lot of owners notice that their Staffie loves to get their teeth into anything they can chew! For this reason, it’s important to get them strong toys appropriate for their breed. Some Staffies really enjoy scent games, so consider a puzzle toy that ends with a tasty reward.
Your Staffordshire Bull Terrier will need a minimum of an hour exercise every day. This should be split into a few walks with time in a secure area to run and play off lead. On top of this, you’ll also need to include lots of playtime, challenging training sessions to get their mind working and free time in a secure garden. Staffies are great escape artists both by digging and jumping in some cases! They’ll take any opportunity to test your fencing, so make sure you’ve Staffie-proofed you garden before giving them free reign.
In general, Staffies are pretty low maintenance when it comes to grooming because they have very short fur. While they do shed, a weekly brush should help you to keep on top of the dead hair and keep their coat looking nice. It’s unlikely that your Staffie will need bathing unless they’ve rolled in something nasty. Staffies can have sensitive skin, so ask your vet before choosing a dog shampoo.
If you have a pale coloured Staffie or their fur is particularly fine around their nose and ears, you might need to put sunscreen on them over the warmer months to make sure they don’t get burnt. You can read more on our summer care pages.
Staffordshire Bull Terriers and children
Staffies are widely known to be 'nanny dogs' because of their love of children. Generally speaking, Staffies tend to be very tolerant and sweet-natured towards children. This said, they are very high energy and often don’t realise their own strength, so they might not be suited to families with younger children. It’s important to always supervise your Staffie with children and vulnerable adults to avoid any accidents and stop playtime if they get a little too excitable.
Remember to make sure you can recognise your dog’s body language so you can put a stop to any potentially stressful situations before they escalate.
Staffordshire Bull Terriers and other pets
Some Staffies are known to be a little wary of other dogs as they much prefer the company of people, but as long as they are well-socialised from a young age they should get along fine. Don’t be surprised if your Staffie would rather say hello to other owners instead of their dogs! It would probably benefit your Staffie to go to puppy socialisation groups so they get used to other dogs from a young age.
Staffies have a very strong prey drive so it’s not a good idea to have smaller pets around them. If they have grown up with another pet in the home, they may get used to them, but never leave your dog unsupervised with other pets. Remember to keep a tight grip on their lead on walks in case they see something that looks fun to chase!
Your vet will be able to tell you how much your Staffie should be eating. You should feed them a good quality, commercially available, complete dog food. We usually recommend splitting their daily allowance into two meals. If you give your dog the occasional treat or use treats for training, remember to take this into account and reduce their daily allowance. Treats shouldn’t make up more than 10% of their daily calorie intake as this can unbalance their diet.
Staffies are known to be able to sniff out leftovers or scraps dropped on the floor, so keep a close eye on them when there’s food around and don’t leave them unattended in the kitchen!
The cost of owning a Staffordshire Bull Terrier
You can expect your Staffie to cost you a minimum of £80 per month after purchase and set-up costs and over £13,000 across their lifetime.
Costs you’ll need to think about include:
Adopting an adult Staffie from a rescue centre may be a more cost-effective option, with the added advantage of giving a home to a pet without one – check if the rehoming centre you’re looking at asks for a donation for rehoming.
If instead you’re buying a Staffordshire Bull Terrier puppy from a breeder, you’ll need to factor in this cost. Beware unusually cheap puppies as they could come from a puppy farm. If you’d like to buy a pedigree puppy, we recommend looking for a Kennel Club Assured breeder. These breeders must do extra health tests and meet high standards.
- Puppy vaccines – if you rescue a dog, reputable centres will often vaccinate them for you. Remember that ongoing booster vaccinations will be needed to continue their immunity.
- Neutering – you should usually arrange for your dog to be neutered at around 6 months old, though your vet will be able to advise you exactly when is best. Check prices at your local practice as these will depend on your vet and where you live. Some rescue centres will neuter any dogs they rehome, saving you this cost.
- Equipment – including a collar and tags, lead, harness, dog beds, dog bowls, pet-safe toothpaste and toothbrushes, grooming brushes and toys. Keep in mind that all these will need to be replaced with wear or damage or if your dog outgrows or damages them!
- Preventive healthcare – budget for routine vet visits to help stop your dog getting ill and catch any problems early. They need annual check-ups, vaccinations and regular flea and worming treatments. Check if your vet offers a health care plan as this can help spread the cost throughout the year.
- Vet bills* or pet insurance – if you don’t have pet insurance and your dog needs veterinary treatment for an injury or illness, costs can rapidly mount up. Check what’s covered and what isn’t when comparing policies.
- Accessories – including lots of poo bags, replacing worn toys and grooming accessories, buying doggy toothpaste and any other extras they might need.
- Training – basic training is very important and dogs can benefit from formal classes. Some dogs may have, or develop, behavioural problems which might need professional management.
- Boarding – you may also need to budget for boarding or dog sitting costs if you are planning to go away from home on holiday.
- Dog walkers/day-care – you might consider a professional dog walker to keep your dog happy and healthy if you’re unable to get out with your dog enough yourself, or to look after them during the day if you need to be out for more than four hours
* It’s always better to plan ahead and budget or get pet insurance in case your pet gets injured or unwell. If you are having difficulty with veterinary costs, you can check if you are eligible for treatment at PDSA here.
If you’re considering pet insurance, our PDSA Pet Insurance could be a great option for you and it’s quick and easy to get a quote online.
- Staffies are actually super affectionate dogs who form really strong bonds with their families, which makes them popular family pets.
- Staffies are known for their great big Staffie smiles!
- They’ve been nicknamed ‘nanny dogs’ because they’re known for being playful and patient with children.
- They are jumpers! Some Staffies can jump really high, so make sure you have a tall fence.
Getting a Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Do plenty of research before getting a Staffordshire Bull Terrier. These sweet natured and loving dogs are known for having energy to spare! Their strong jaws mean they love to chew on anything and everything. If you have the time to give a Staffie, you’ll get a wonderful family pet in return.
There are plenty of rescue centres across the country where you may find a Staffie – in fact, many rehoming centres sadly report that they see more Staffies than any other breed. Breed-specific rescues that specialise in Staffies are also out there. You’ll need to ask any rescue centre about the dog’s history to make sure they will be comfortable in your home. Good rescue centres should let you know of any health and behaviour problems.
If you buy from a breeder, make sure your puppy will be well socialised and have all necessary screening tests, health checks and vaccinations. It’s really important that Staffordshire Bull Terrier puppies from a breeder get the right early socialisation so always ask the breeder about how they go about this. We recommend looking for a Kennel Club Assured breeder as they meet higher standards. We’ve put together some advice to help you find a good breeder.