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The Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Staffordshire Bull Terrier

A Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Origin

The English Staffordshire Bull terrier are commonly and affectionaly called "staffies", or "staffs" in the U.K where they are the seventh most popular dog.

Its origins began in the 17th Century, the demand for the bulldog declined because bear baiting as the sport became illegal (it is a difficult sport to hide and carry on in a clandestine manner). It was far easier to hold an illegal dog fight than an illegal bear fight, as dogs tend to be less conspicuous. Dog fighting required a dog with tenacity, agility and strength of jaw. To breed the English Staffordshire Bull terrier, the bulldog had some terrier blood introduced into its bloodline.

One of the vagaries of an English Staffordshire Bull terrier was that in the ring they were famed for their courage and their tenacity, there was no way a Staffordshire terrier was going to let go once its jaw fastened around another dog. One of the strange anomalies of dog fighting was the fact that they went they often went on until one of the dogs were dead or mortally injured. However as immense sums of money were waged on the outcome and men did have to get into the ring to check the state of their investment, it meant that the dogs had to be good with humans otherwise they would have taken their hands off!

Yet for all this ferocity in the dog pit they were excellent with children and paradoxically because they were owned by very working class men who used them for a bit of extra cash as fighters. When the dogs were hurt, and that was just about every time they went into the pit, they were often carted off in the pram with the baby on the way home!

In 1835 the Humane Act was passed in England which made dog fights illegal but the Staffordshire bull had endeared himself so much to the men of Staffordshire that they wanted to get the breed recognized for show, and in that way the breed of this exceptional dog would be preserved.

To differentiate him from the English bull terrier he was called the Staffordshire bull terrier, internationally he is famed as the English Staffordshire Bull terrier and to differentiate himself from the Irish Staffordshire bull terrier. The English Staffordshire Bull is an English breed of dog and should not be confused with the English bull dog, their larger cousin the American Staffordshire Terrier or the Bull Terrier.

Description

It is a powerful dog with a large head, which tapers down to a strong well-muscled neck and shoulders placed on squarely spaced forelimbs. It has a black fawn red brindle or blue coat and often has very distinct white markings that give the dog a pirate look, as he has a white ear or an eye.

Temperament

A healthy English Staffordshire Bull terrier does not so much live life, as hurtle itself at it, using every ounce of its considerable power and muscle. There are only two types of people where the staffies are concerned, those that love and adore the English Staffordshire Bull terrier and those that would have them all put down! Despite this they are very much people orientated, they love to meet new people but that cannot always be said of the people, many are frightened of this powerhouse of energy that lives life at full pelt.

It is a dog with indomitable strength, courage and will, but it is also very intelligent and trustworthy. The downside is that they must wear a leash at all times outside as they can be very aggressive with other animals and will go for the jugular. They have in the past been held responsible for ferocious attacks on man and beasts.

In their defense it has to said that the kennel club In England supports nearly two hundred dogs and there are only two that they recommend as being totally reliable with children and one of those is the English Staffordshire Bull terrier. It must also be said in the U.K. that there is little distinction between the pit bull terrier, the bull terrier and the English Staffordshire bull terrier and they may have been responsible when they should not have been.

It must be recognized though by anyone that owns one that given his or her dog-fighting heritage, even a good even temepered staffie will fight another dog when challenged. That does not mean he may it means he or she will, that means they can never be let out unsupervised, because they may fight. However there has never been a direct correlation between aggressiveness to ther animals and agression to humans.

Grooming

He has a short coat that needs little grooming and he does not molt. Rub down with a towel occasionally to remove loose hairs.

Exercise

A lot and more besides, is the short answer to how much exercise they need!

Training

English Staffordshire bull terrier owners have a responsibility towards the safety of other animals; they should ensure that the puppies are exposed to every situation an adult will be exposed to. It is often expedient not to let a staffie get or maintain eye contact with other dogs as that can lead to aggression. Regular, and always supervised contact with other dogs, along with early obedience training will help to ensure that the dog grows into a well socialized animal.

I have to admit I am very much a pro English Staffordshire bull terrier person and have owned several of them with no problems, but it is absolutely imperative that the owner is always in control, and feels in control. Obedience training is crucial, an English Staffordshire bull terrier must know its place. They can be managed, but they need a strong owner and one who is confident in their ability to deal with dogs. They are not the dog for everyone but if you give the dog the time and patience it needs, there is no better dog in the world than an English Staffordshire bull terrier. They truly are the crème de la crème of the terrier group.

Special Traits

An English Staffordshire bull terrier will chew anything, their huge powerful jaws need plenty of exercise. There is no shoe in the world safe with a bullie for longer than five minutes after which it will resembe a piece of limp wet cardboard. They must have toys to chew on, but when buying for them take into account the power of their jaws, they must have strong toys. They can bite right through toys that are not very sturdy and the plastic can do great damage to their mouths.

The Staffordshire bull terrier can be a banned or restricted breed in many parts of the world as it is considered to be a pit bull. Check local restrictions and laws before considering buying one.

Ideal weight: 30-45 pounds / 13-20 kg
Average height: 17-19 inches / 43-48 cm
Life expectancy: 10-12 years

 

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