In its home country of England, the Staffordshire bull terrier is nicknamed the "nanny dog," such is its reputation as a child's playmate and guardian. Despite his fierce appearance, this dog is a lover, not a fighter. The breed is gentle, docile, and always on the look out for fun. Although not looking for trouble, the Staffordshire will not back down to a challenge and is not always agreeable with other dogs.
Obedience training is possible, although it is not the Staffordshire's strong point. Force training methods will lead nowhere, but if training is made into a game, then the Stafford is more than willing to play.
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a dog that needs two things in life — close human contact and a chance to play. He is far too much a people dog to be exiled to the yard, and far too much an athlete to be stuck inside all day. Living with a Stafford means sharing time both inside and out. Given proper exercise of body and mind, the Stafford is a well-behaved house dog.
Because some Staffordshires are not good around strange dogs, precautions should be made that they not encounter dogs while loose.
This is an easy upkeep dog, needing no special grooming.
Though Staffords are happy to lounge around all day if you let them, these dogs need plenty of good running exercise every day to maintain their health and muscle tone. They enjoy walks, hikes, jogs or simple games of catch in the backyard. Enrolling them in organized activities like agility or flyball keeps their minds as sharp as their bodies.
Staffords are adaptable to just about any living situation be it apartment or estate, city or country. No matter what his living arrangements, a commitment should be made to properly exercise a Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier resembles other “tough” breeds like the American Staffordshire and Pit Bull Terrier, but these sturdy dogs look a lot tougher than they really are. The motto of many Stafford owners is, “He's a lover, not a fighter.” Staffords would much rather romp around and play all day than grouse or fight or even stand around looking imposing. They have a zest for life and eat up new experiences with the zeal of a puppy. They love to be with people and they don't particularly care what the activity is: watching TV reading a book in the sun, waking, running, going for a ride in the car – the Stafford just wants to be with the people he loves. They also don't like to make their own choices about what to do, and therefore don't like being left alone, so Staffordshire Bull Terriers are best suited for active families where someone is always home with them. Despite their imposing look and tendency toward dog aggression, Staffords are actually very good with children. Toddlers are not recommended, but older kids who understand a dog's boundaries will find that a Stafford will gladly accept the role of best friend, playmate, and evening pillow during TV time.
Staffordshire Bull Terriers have very strong jaws and they love to chew, especially as puppies. It is essential to the life of your furniture that you keep plenty of bones and chew toys around to satisfy your Stafford's urge to chew.
Dog aggression is very common in adult Staffords. If they think another dog is challenging them, they will not hesitate to engage. Socializing your puppy to understand canine manners can help, but it's best to keep your Stafford on a leash at all times, and at home his yard should be fenced. The leash and fence will also help keep your Stafford from taking off after birds, squirrels, rabbits and cats, which they love to chase.
Staffordshire Bull Terriers are fairly healthy, but genetic health problems that have been seen in the breed include hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, patellar luxation, and juvenile cataracts. Staffords also suffer from a fairly high rate of allergies that can cause skin itching and secondary infections.