They say love gives you strength. The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is the embodiment of this.
Bulked out like a bodybuilding mascot, the Staffy is as strong as it is affectionate. Coming from a rough history, the modern-day Staffy is a sweet-tempered and loyal companion, though not without their health problems. Read on to find how you can look after your Staffy as much as it wants to look after you.
Before we had things like video games, escape rooms, and the wide world of sports, people got their kicks from bloodsport. A hobby in which animals were pitted against each other to the death for the sake of entertainment were dogfights. Because you know, watching animals kill each other is… fun?
Dog fighting resulted in stronger and stockier breeds, but thankfully humans came to realize that loving and caring for creatures tends to be more satisfying than training them to kill.
As such, the viciousness and cruelty beaten into the dogs have slowly faded out of these breeds through their owners' kindness and affection, creating gentle giants – a canine version of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is perhaps the best example of this.
Though the "Pit Bull" stigma still lingers, Staffies are now well-known for their loyalty and love of their human family.
Staffies might remind you of an underworld standover man; stocky, thick-necked and they always seem to be flexing. Their muscular build is a result of their selective breeding during their years in the fighting pits, where strength was a desirable trait.
Their smooth coat, worn on them like a muscle shirt on Hulk Hogan, comes in a variety of colors, usually with a streak of white on their chest and belly. Their head resembles an anvil that holds a wide mouth framed with pronounced cheek muscles that burst with smiles.
Staffies may appear intimidating due to their history, appearance and unfair reputation, but you have nothing to fear from these loveable brutes. Their fearlessness and toughness are muted by an affectionate nature and enthusiastic friendliness.
Though they're no pushovers and will require a determined owner to make sure they obey instructions like "sit" or "give me back my socks", Staffies are generally recognized as easy to train, adaptable to residential changes and eager to please.
Though they are still sometimes thought of as a dangerous dog, this has more to do with the person at the other end of the leash, with some villainous owners abusing the Staffy’s desire to please by training them to show aggression.
A loving house makes a loving dog, and this is doubly true with Staffies.
Are Staffordshire Bull Terriers dangerous?
While Staffies have a fighting dog history and stigma, they are very human-friendly and affectionate. Their love for their family can lead them to be protective, especially against other dogs.
They don’t deserve their reputation as a dangerous dog... maybe mischievous is more appropriate. Through proper socialization and training, Staffies are largely happy to mingle with other dogs and people. However, supervision is always recommended when they are brought around other animals and small children, as their bulk and strength can result in some rough playfulness.
What's the difference between a Staffordshire Bull Terrier and an American Staffordshire Terrier?
While almost being the same breed, the major differences between the two breeds are their size and temperament.
|Staffordshire Bull Terrier||American Staffordshire Terrier|
|Height||30 to 40 cm||Approx. 45 cm|
|Weight||11 to 15 kg||20 to 30 kg|
|Temperament||Affectionate, obedient and stubborn||Energetic, protective and stubborn|
|Good with...||Adults, children (supervision with other dogs and smaller children required)||Families (requires regular supervision and training, defends against any threats)|
What health problems do Staffies have?
Though Staffies are tough, they’re not invincible and are as susceptible to illness and disease as the next dog. In particular:
- Hip and elbow dysplasia
- Hereditary cataracts
- L-2-hydroxyglutaric aciduria (a metabolic disorder that results in behavioral changes and symptoms of dementia)
- Distichiasis, or double eyelash
- Persistent hyperplastic primary vitreous (a condition in which not enough blood gets to the ocular lens, resulting in hazy vision)
- Mastocytoma (mast cell tumors)
- The high rate of allergies which can give them itchy skin and secondary infections
How much does treatment cost?
A healthy Staffie will bring smiles to your family. However, trips to the vet will not only bring frowns but also pain in the back pocket. The table below is a rough picture of the treatment costs for a range of common conditions:
|Health Problem||Average Total Claim|
|Epilepsy and seizures||$1,079|
Why you need pet insurance for your Staffy
Like humans, Staffies can be just as prone to accidents or bad health. It is not a question of if but when. Even if your dog is bright and healthy now, age will have its way eventually.
With the Staffy’s increased chances of developing cataracts and metabolic issues, as well as the high risk of mastocytoma, pet insurance is a no-brainer. Pet insurance providers generally only cover new conditions and not pre-existing ones, so you’re encouraged to insure your dog as early in its life as possible.
Should your Staffy develop a long-term illness before you are insured, the cost of regular medication is unlikely to be covered. A modest insurance plan early on can save you years of vet bills after the fact.