A guide to The SBT as a breed (what to expect)

ARTICLE: © Stella Müller   |   EDITED & PHOTOS: © Griet Coetzer


The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is known 'the nanny dog'

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier, also called the Stafford, Staffy or Staffie, is a medium-sized dog of somewhat short stature with a muscular, athletic body. Contrary to its tough appearance, the Stafford is a gentle, loyal and highly affectionate dog breed. However, this breed is quite powerful and tends to be stoic in the face of pain.

Overall, Staffordshire Bull Terriers have friendly, gentle dispositions and make lovely companions for many types of households. Praised for its "nanny-like" instincts, the Stafford gets along remarkably well with children when properly trained and socialized. However, because of this breed's strong prey drive and dog fighting ancestry, use caution around other pets. If raised together, well-trained and closely supervised, they may even learn to get along beautifully. While not ideal as guard dogs for the home, this breed will protect people from harm. The Stafford is very loyal and tends to bond closely with its owner. If you are active, patient and ready to provide plenty of one-on-one affection to your dog, the Stafford could be the dog breed for you.


KUSA Breed Group: Terrier

Place Of Origin: England

Original Function: Pitbul fighting

Availability in S.A.: Abundant

Age of Maturity: 2-3 Years

Average Life Span: 12-14 Years

Height Dogs & Bitches: 14-16 Inches

Weight Dogs: 34 – 38 lbs (seldom)

Bitches: 28 – 34 lbs (seldom)

Is the Breed recommended as a natural Guard Dog? The Stafford will protect the family that it loves, but should not be bought for the sole purpose of being a guard dog as it won't necessarily protect your property.

Attitude to strangers: Normally friendly - depending the attitude of the strangers

Easy to Train? Yes – As with any dog breed, proper training is a must for the Stafford. This is a very intelligent dog breed that can be stubborn, following his own will if permitted.

Easy to House Train? Yes - with perseverance, enough discipline and reward

Is a Stafford noisy or does it bark much? Not at all – very seldom barks

Good Family Dog? Definitely

Good with Children? Yes - probably the breeds hallmark

Good with other dogs? Don't tolerate same sex easily... depends on it's upbringing

Good with Cats? No, only if they grew up together

Can they live in Harmony with other Pets? Yes

Coat Type and Length: Short, shiny, medium length, not too coarse. The very short, smooth coat of the Stafford requires little more than routine grooming. This breed tends to shed at a low to moderate rate, though shedding does increase seasonally.

Coat Colours: Any colour is acceptable (Red, fawn, white, black, blue or brindle (any shade) with or without white), except black & tan or liver which is undesirable

Maintenance of Coat: Just a regular brush or bath with baby shampoo

Food: High quality dog food & meat

Exercise: The Stafford is an athletic dog breed with plenty of energy, so routine exercise is very important (15 - 30 minutes daily). However, be cautious not to overdo it in warmer weather, as the breed is sensitive to heat. Staffords will especially benefit from dog sports that challenge them mentally and physically. Regardless of the type of exercise you give your Stafford, be sure it is provided with water about twice daily or more.

Town or Country Dog? Both providing it gets exercise

Can they adapt to Town house or Flat? Yes

Could they Live Outdoors? They won't bond with you well if they had to stay outside all the time and most likely get-up to mischief

Heredity Abnormalities: HD, L2-HGA, Hereditary Cataracts, PHPV

Special Considerations: Staffords thrive on attention, but also needs routine and discipline

Personality: Peaceful – very affectionate


DO’S and DONT’S / Advice

(except raw chicken necks (cut into 2cm pieces, shin or leg of lamb)

•  Preferably low fat milk

•  Keep puppies on 4 x daily meals for first 3 months, then 3 x daily till 6 months, then 2 x daily till 1 year. Thereafter once daily. Increase quantity on demand, but never overfeed

•  Beware of swimming pools – majority of Staffords are POOR SWIMMERS!!!

•  Be careful of loose or hanging electric wiring – puppies will chew or want to play with it

•  Keep the dogs’ nails short - when you can hear them walk on a hard surface - it’s an indication of the nails being too long

•  A LOT OF LOVE AND DISCIPLINE AT ALL TIMES. Staffords like children thrive on a routine

•  No collar is best, specially when a dog is unsupervised – it can strangle itself

•  De-worm at least 3 monthly – consult your vet

•  Inoculations should be done promptly when they are due

•  TEACH YOUR DOG TO WALK ON A LEASH – the sooner the easier!

•  See that your dog is identifiable with a micro-chip and/or collar tag that shows your telephone number and address

•  If you are new to the breed, NEVER KEEP TWO DOGS OR TWO BITCHES TOGETHER – they will challenge each other and end up fighting (to the death

•  Never use a choke chain on a puppy. It should be trained with patience and rewards

•  If you want to show your dog, don’t teach it to ‘sit’ - rather teach it to ‘stand’ for a reward. Once a dog was taught to sit it very hard to teach them ‘not to sit’. You can also teach him to let you open his mouth gently to look at his teeth so that he/she can get use to being examined by a judge

•  See that your puppy has toys to keep him busy – otherwise he’ll find other things to do

•  Staffords are known not to show when they are sick - if your Stafford seem lifeless and specially not keen to eat - it's all-ready VERY SICK! Get it to a vet ASAP!

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