You’ve been thinking about getting a Staffy. Amazing choice I must say. The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is one of the best dog breeds on the planet, and a personal favorite of mine. I have had my Staffy for over 11 years now, and this is everything you need to know.
What are some things you need to know before getting a Staffy? There are several things you need to know about Staffies. They are amazing with people and kids. Staffies need a lot of exercise and mental stimulation. The Staffy dislikes being left alone, loves to cuddle, are easy to train, and love to chew.
In this post I will cover, in detail, 12 things you need to know before getting a Staffy. Owning a dog is a big responsibility, so knowing what to expect ahead of time is crucial. By the end of this list you will have a full understanding of Staffordshire Bull Terrier ownership and whether it’s the right dog for you. Let’s dig in.
Staffies Are Great With Kids
There are few dogs on the planet that adore children more than the Staffy. Earning the name of the “Nanny Dog” is no stretch of the imagination when you see a well socialized Staffy around kids. They are gentle, playful, fun loving, and protective of their little human friends.
The Staffy is not a large dog, but they are strong, and can be a little much when excited. Monitoring playtime with children is recommended with any breed of dog. Because the Staffy is so enamoured with children they can be a little invasive of their space, and have the potential to accidentally knock over smaller children.
My Staffy absolutely adores children. She is always eager to meet kids in the neighborhood, and will often try to lead me across the street to make new friends. She is very sweet, and extra gentle around kids. There is nothing more heartwarming than watching the love my Staffy has for children.
Staffies Need Lots Of Exercise
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a fun loving, tenacious and energetic breed of dog. This means you will need to give your Staffy plenty of daily exercise. Especially in their younger years. Between 60-90 minutes of daily exercise is recommended for the Staffy.
Activities such as brisk walks, fetch, tug of war, and games that involve mental enrichment such as food puzzles, hide and seek, and search games. The Staffy is very clever, and will need mental exercise as much as physical exercise.
Be prepared to dedicate your day to at least a couple nice long walks and plenty of games, trick training, and basic obedience practice to keep their minds working. Personally these are my favorite parts of the day, so if you are an active person, the Staffy is a great dog for you.
Staffies Like To Chew, A Lot
One thing that Staffies are know for, and you need to prepare for, is chewing. Staffies love to chew. Chewing provides great mental stimulation as well as some self soothing for Staffies. Because the Staffy is such a smart breed they need to be mentally stimulated throughout the day when they are not exercising.
Chewing can be managed by giving your Staffy the right toys to chew on. To prevent unwanted chewing on your favorite shoes, the couch, or tv remote it’s firstly important to make sure your Staffy is getting enough physical exercise. A bored Staffy with pent up energy can chew up a storm, exercise will help curb that chewing.
Staffies need tough chew toys. My Staffy can get through a stuffed toy in minutes, so things like Kongs, Nylabones, Tonka toys, and various antlers are highly recommended. Check out our resource page for some great chew toys you can give your Staffy.
Staffies Are Smart And Can Be Easy To Train
Staffies are very clever dogs. They are also very eager to please their owners. The combination of the Staffies high level of intelligence and love of praise makes training very easy when approached in a calm, consistent, and confident manner.
A Staffy responds extremely well to positive reinforcement training and will bend over backwards with this type of motivation. Staffies can be known to have a stubborn streak as well, so keeping training fun, consistent, and challenging enough for them to stay fully engaged is important.
Staffy Grooming Is Low Maintenance
Grooming the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is very low maintenance. Staffies don’t need to get hair cuts ever, so no expensive trips to the groomers are needed. All Staffies require is a weekly brushing to keep their coats and skin clean and healthy. Bathing should happen once every 6-8 weeks, and nail trimming can happen when needed.
Staffies do have sensitive skin so proper brushing and skin care is a must. Overbathing a Staffy too often can lead to dry, irritated, and sometimes rashy and infected skin. I use a hypoallergenic, oatmeal based shampoo on my Staffy to keep her skin moisturized, healthy , and smelling fantastic.
Staffies LOVE to Cuddle
You will be hard pressed to find another breed of dog that is more affectionate, loving, and cuddly than a Staffy. Staffies absolutely love to cuddle. Being around their humans is the number one priority of any Staffy.
My Staffy is never far from me. Anytime I sit on the couch, lay on my bed, or even sit in my chair, she sees this as an opportunity to cuddle up. Staffies will lean up on you anywhere you sit still for a few minutes. They love to be as close as possible, and the love you feel from a Staffy everyday is priceless.
Staffies May Have Trouble Being Alone
Because the Staffordshire Bull Terrier has such a strong bond with their family, separation anxiety can become an issue if not properly managed. Staffies can sometimes have trouble being left alone and away from their family members.
Early training using a crate, and practising various calming techniques to get your Staffy accustomed to the idea of being alone is crucial in the early months. Proper exercise and mental stimulation play a big role in training as well. I have written a lengthy post cover all of this in some detail that you will find helpful
Staffies Can Have Some Health Problems
Staffies are general very healthy and robust dogs, but like any breed they are prone to certain health problems you will need to watch for. Skin conditions caused by food sensitivities and environmental allergies are the most common, and ones I have dealt with myself.
Other health conditions that Staffies are prone to include:
- Hip and Elbow Dysplasia
- Skin Conditions – Atopy and Food Sensitivities
- Eye Conditions – Juvenile Cataracts and Distichiasis,
- Certain Cancers – Mast Cell Tumours
- L-2-Hydroxyglutaric Aciduria
- Patella Luxation
- Heart Disease
Staffies Aren’t Great Swimmers, Usually
Staffies as a whole are not known for being great swimmers. There are exceptions to every rule, and some Staffies can learn how to swim with varying levels of difficulty. Generally though Staffies don’t have the best build to be strong swimmers, so extra safety precautions around water are a must.
Because Staffies have such short legs, broad chest, and short muzzles, swimming is considerably harder for this breed. Life jackets around water are always recommended. Training your Staffy to swim can be done, but should be a slow, gradual, and very safe approach.
Staffies Are Inside Dogs And Get Cold Easy
Staffordshire Bull Terriers are inside dogs for a couple of reasons. One they love being a part of the family unit and thrive when inside with their pack. Staffies are also very sensitive to weather such as cold, and moderate to high heat.
Leaving a Staffy outside in cold or hot weather is potentially dangerous and generally not where they prefer to stay. The short coats of the Staffy don’t protect them well from cold temperatures, and regulating their temperature in heat can be difficult and dangerous.
Keep you Staffy inside with the family. When venturing outside for walks and playtime together make sure they are ready for the weather in all seasons. Winter coats, rain gear, plenty of water, and moderation of activities should all be considered in each type of weather condition.
Staffies Need To Be Socialized Early With Other Dogs
Early socialization is very important for any breed of dog, and the Staffy is no exception. Staffies that are socialized early and have a well balanced life of exercise, training and proper care get along great with other dogs.
Socialization is important because the Staffy is a very powerful dog, especially for their size. Learning how to play, interact, and be respectful of other dogs is an important skill for a Staffy to learn as young as possible.
Staffies Are One Of The Best Family Dogs
I may be speaking from a biased opinion, but I can honestly say that Staffies are one of the best family dogs. The Staffy is the most loyal, loving, sweet, protective, and affection breed of dog you will ever meet.
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is first and foremost a people dog. They bound very strongly with their family unit, love children, and would do anything to make them happy. The Staffy is overflowing with affection and will be the best companion you could ever ask for in a dog.
If you are still considering getting a Staffy I think you are making a great choice. Staffordshire Bull Terriers do require a lot of time and attention when it comes to their exercise and social needs, but these are the moments I enjoy most in my day.
Training can be a breeze when applied consistently and with a fun positive approach. You will be amazed at how smart and responsive your Staffy can be when you are able to connect with them during training sessions.
All in all these are some of the basic things you need to know before getting a Staffy. I have a huge variety of posts on my blog about the Staffordshire Bull Terrier that I encourage you to explore. I have over 11 years experience with Staffies and can honestly say it was the best decision I have ever made when I brought my Staffy puppy home all those years back.
PIBBLES & BITS TOP PICKS
King Komb DeShedding Tool – One of the best dog brushes on the market. I use the King Komb each and every week with my Pibbles. Easy to use and even easier to clean.
Wahl Dry Skin Oatmeal Shampoo – Smells great, cleans great, and best of all keeps my dog’s skin and coat looking and feeling amazing. Wahl Dry Skin Oatmeal Shampoo keeps my Pibbles skin moisturized like no other.
Earth Rated Dog Wipes – Dog wipes are an essential to keep on hand, and nothing beats Earth Rated. Hypoallergenic, biodegradable, and durable. I keep these dog wipes in the house and the car for everyday use.
Kong Extreme – Kongs are one of my most used tools to give my dogs some mental stimulation and something tough to chew. Kong Extremes are as tough as they come and will give your Pibble the entertainment they crave.
Outward Hound Food Puzzle – Outward Hound food puzzles are the best in the industry. Available from beginner to advanced. These are an excellent way to challenge and mentally stimulate your dog.
BeneBone Dog Chew – The toughest dog chew around. My dogs absolutely love the bacon flavor and peanut butter flavor BeneBone. These will keep your toughest chewers busy for weeks, if not months and years.
BarkBox Super Chewer – Variety is the spice of life, and BarkBox Super Chewer is the perfect way to keep your dog engaged. New treats, toys, and chews each and every month that your super chewer will love.
iCrate Dog Crate – The iCrate is my absolute top recommendation for dog crates. I use this for both my dogs and love the sturdy, easy to store, and versatile adjustable panel. You need the iCrate in your life.
HiKiss Long Training Lead – Recall training and puppy training outdoors requires a long training lead. My favorite to use is the HiKiss long training lead. Available in a range of lengths to suit your long lead training needs.