The Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Staffordshire Bull Terriers (also known as “Staffords” or“Staffies”) are the modern show and pet descendants of the “bull and terriers” originally bred in many parts of the UK well into the nineteenth century as fighting, rat catching and badger baiting dogs.
Since they were first registered as a show breed in 1935, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier`s courage and affinity with people, especially children, has enabled him to become popular in many corners of the world and has established the breed`s well-earned nickname of the “nanny dog”.
A Family Dog
Because of his close relationship with humans the Stafford does not make a good guard dog and is not suited to being left for long periods without outside stimulation. Of course there are many positive virtues to owning a Stafford – he is a dog with very special qualities that make him an ideal family dog. The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is well suited to a close living relationship with his human companions – he is highly intelligent and thrives on a “one dog to one family” basis. He is ever eager to please and will give you a lifetime of devotion.
However, beware: his friendliness to humans in general also makes him an easy target for any “dog napper”. There are frequent reports of Staffords being stolen from homes, gardens and cars, so great care should be taken not to leave your Stafford unattended in public. You should also ensure that your garden is secure and “dog-proof”; Staffords have no fear of traffic and all too often become road accident victims.
Mixing with Other Dogs
The Stafford has a colourful history and you should remember that while they love people, they will react if challenged by another dog. For this reason you must always be a responsible owner and never take your dog into a public place unless he is on a collar and lead. Always ensure the collar and lead is of sufficient strength to withstand the wear and tear to which it will be subjected (leather or nylon webbing are ideal). A collar should be of sufficient width so as not to cut into your dog`s neck, and neither uncomfortably tight nor so loose as to pull over his head in one of those “stubborn” moments.
Every dog is different, and some Staffords live happily with other dogs or even cats. It has to be said that it`s an exception to find a Stafford that can be totally trusted when meeting strange dogs. Training classes provide a controlled environment where your dog can socialise with other dogs, learn to behave well and respond to you in their presence.
It is strongly recommended that where there are two or more Staffords in a household, they are separated if left unattended for any length of time. As with other breeds, it is not usually wise to try to keep two male animals - especially of similar ages – in one household.
Staffords are easily stimulated and like to explore everything, which can often lead to them “mouthing” (gently but continuously grabbing hold of you with their mouth). This problem will most commonly be encountered by new owners during excited bouts of play or when someone arrives at the house or greets you and your dog in the street. Unfortunately strangers can easily misinterpret this behaviour and to avoid problems it is important to train your dog out of this habit.
If your dog becomes “mouthy” during play, try to encourage him to focus his attention onto toys. Immediately the dog's teeth come into contact with your skin, a loud “ah” followed by you immediately leaving the room for 5 minutes should soon help to stop this unwanted behaviour.
How much exercise and what kind?
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is remarkably flexible when it comes to the amount of exercise needed. Naturally any dog needs stimulation of new and varied environments so just sitting at home waiting for your return from work must be followed by some form of exercise. Some Staffords will be content with a walk around the block, whilst others will happily cope with a 10 mile run. Whatever suits you will almost certainly be fine for your Stafford, but do try to be consistant. A dog that walks long distances day after day can be frustrated on odd days when no such exercise is forthcoming.
Staffords are extremely strong and pulling games or chasing a ball or other strong toy for a short period will provide the hard exercise that they really enjoy. Ensure that you are in control of the game. If you tell the dog to “leave” he must do so in order to maintain your higher position in the “pack”. Ensure that the dog understands that nipping a human, even accidentally in the hullabaloo of the game is just not allowed.
The Rescue Stafford
Everybody that contacts the rescue groups with a view to adopting a Stafford, do so because they claim to love the breed. However, not everybody seems to have taken on board that this is a RESCUE Group, we are not breeders, and as such, we are looking for kind, loving permanent homes, prepared to take on a RESCUE dog.
This means that the dogs that we re-home may not be the Crufts-winning sleek-coated gladiator of a dog that your neighbour has. It is more likely to be a slightly ragged but loveable rogue with possibly middle age spread setting in (and maybe a case of fleas to boot).
If you are a genuine lover of animals, and feel that you could offer a better quality of life to one of our “little darlings”, PLEASE contact one of our regional groups who can advise you about which dogs are available.