Staffordshire Bull Terrier

By Dr Eloise Bright 9 Min Read

Affectionately known as the Staffy, this muscular and strong dog has a loving, attentive nature and just loves people.

Staffy’s are known for their fearlessness and loyalty and are very popular family pets. They do need to be trained and socialised from a young age and can have a tendency towards aggression and separation anxiety if precautions are not taken. They are in some countries subject to breed specific legislation which restricts ownership of those dogs in the Bull and Terrier family (American Staffordshire Terrier, American Pit Bull Terrier, Staffordshire Terrier and Bull Terrier).

These affectionate dogs are known for giving big wet kisses and bond so closely to their families that they are not suited to long periods of solitude. They can be a little boisterous with young kids, but love family life and all the attention that kids can give. They can be prone to knee injuries and skin allergies so can require regular visits to the vet, but their medium size means they are not high budget dogs to own.


I would love to live with a family with older kids, preferably one where there is plenty of time for socialisation and training, particularly during my early years. I love to run, chase balls and play at the park, but I also love to laze around at home with the family. Just don’t leave me alone all day, I really need lots of love and I will repay you with many, many kisses and my undivided attention.


Lifespan 10-14 years
Weight 11-17 kg
Height (at shoulder) 36-41 cm



Courageous – No one ever told this dog to back down from an argument. They will often take on much bigger dogs and will always finish the fight if someone starts one. They can also be a little timid if not socialised when young and these dogs must be carefully watched around small children.

Loyal – this breed will often bond very closely to one person in the family and be extremely loyal. This can translate to a dog that is not suited to long periods of being alone and perhaps even a bit snappy if not socialised appropriately.

Playful – Life is just a game to your average Staffy. They love chase, ball-games, playing with other dogs and lots of activity. As they get older they can become a little lazy, but if kept at a healthy weight will often stay playful into middle age.


Exercise Requirements High – 1-2 hours per day
Training Requirements Medium – 0.5-1.0 hours per day
Apartment Friendly? No


This high energy breed needs lots of exercise, either chasing a ball at the park, rumbling with other dogs or running/cycling daily. A tired dog is a happy dog and those that don’t get enough exercise are prone to developing behaviour problems. They are incredibly eager-to-please, so easy to train.

The focus during the early 12 weeks of life should be socialisation with other dogs, kids and the hustle and bustle of normal life. Poorly socialised dogs are often those that end up with problems such as fear aggression or leash reactivity.


Trips to the Groomer No- easy care at home
Tick Friendly? Yes
Hypoallergenic No
Brushing Low – Little to no brushing
Hair fall Moderate Shed – will drop some hair, but not excessive
Coat Type Short


Staffy’s have an easy to maintain coat, with minimal brushing required. They are at times prone to skin allergies and frequent ear infections, so regular ear cleaning and bathing may be required.


Good With Kids Good – okay with older kids, but maybe not those under 5
Good With Other Small Pets Low – Strong prey drive, best kept separate from other smaller species
Sociability Medium – Can live alone or with others.


Staffys are boisterous, muscular dogs so they can be a bit rough with young children. They also are prone to chasing smaller animals such as cats.


Overall Expenses (Annual) Medium – $1500-$2000
Veterinary Expenses (Annual) Medium – $200-$500
Food Expenses (Weekly) Medium – $15-$20


Staffys are generally robust and healthy dogs, but can be prone to cruciate ligament injuries and skin disease, both of which can be expensive to treat. Pet insurance is recommended.



Cruciate Ligament Rupture – Larger breed dogs, particularly those prone to obesity are prone to knee injuries, most often due to a conformation issue and vigorous exercise.

Allergies – dogs with allergies tend to lick their feet and get frequent skin and ear infections. Allergies can develop around 1 year of age and be related to airborne allergens such as pollens or food allergies.

Caesarian Births – Around 50% of Staffy’s are unable to naturally birth without a caesarean. Keep this in mind if you plan on breeding.

Heatstroke – Staffys are very muscular dogs and often overheat when exercising in the heat of the day. They should be exercised with caution in hot climates.


Ensure you watch your staffy for signs of heatstroke in hot weather. If your dog starts panting excessively, has dark red gums and is making noise while breathing, wet him down and fan him until you can get to a vet.

If your dog licks his feet, scratches or gets skin disease, visit your vet to discuss allergy treatment plans.

As Staffys can be prone to orthopaedic injuries, such as cruciate ligament rupture, it is very important to avoid excessive weight gain.


The Staffy is one of Australia’s most popular breeds. They hark form Staffordshire in England. In the 1700s bull baiting dogs were highly prized. The sport involved tying up a bull in the town square, blowing pepper up its nose and inciting the dogs to attack. It was supposed to make the meat tasty. This practice was banned in 1835, but dog fighting went underground and is still practiced today. The smaller dogs, such as Staffordshire Bull Terriers were popular because they could easily be hidden within the owners coat should the clandestine fight be discovered.

The dogs were bred to be loyal and brave and are great with people. Those prized for their courage and determination in a fight would rarely back down from an argument with another dog, but could be safely handled by people in the pit.



Petfinder lists all types of dogs who need homes, both purebred and mixed breeds, adults and puppies.

The ASPCA often has Staffys for adoption, just do an advanced search on their adoption page.


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Dr Eloise is a Clinical Lead at Love That Pet and one of our resident pet care experts. She also curates the select range of vet recommended and approved products which feature on our site.
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