I want to preface this post by saying I love the Staffordshire Bull Terriers. This breed has been a part of my family for the last 10 years. My opinion of the Staffy may be biased, but I want to share some facts about this breed to help you determine if a Staffy is right for your family.
Are Staffordshire Bull Terriers good family dogs? Staffordshire Bull Terriers are very good family dogs. They are one of the most loving, loyal, and well rounded dog breeds. The Staffy comes with many pros, and a few challenges that need to be known before bringing one into your family.
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier can be one of the best additions to your family. Knowing the upsides as well as the challenges will better prepare you to bring that Staffy home. In this post I will cover the whole gamut of Staffy facts that can help you make that decision much easier.
Are Staffies Easy To Train?
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a highly intelligent and extremely people oriented breed of dog. These traits make Staffies easy to train under the right leadership, techniques, and consistency. The Staffy is very eager to please their owner, and with a calm and confident leader, training can be easy and fun.
The Staffy can also be a little stubborn at times. Giving your Staffy firm, gentle, and consistent training from an early age can help curb their stubborn side. It is not that a Staffordshire Bull Terrier will refuse to do what you ask of them, it can sometimes be a matter of convincing your Staffy why they should do something.
Overcoming this wilful or stubborn streak can be made quite easy to train your Staffy with a few basic principles.
Keep It Fun
Training your Staffy should always be fun! Keeping your training sessions engaging and entertaining for both you and your dog will yield great results. When your Staffy is convinced obedience is a fun game, that stubborn streak can soon disappear.
Keep It Short
When training your Staffy be sure to keep sessions short. 15-20 minutes sessions are a good chunk of time to keep your dog engaged and fully involved in their learning. Doing a couple short training sessions in a day can compound to a lot of knowledge acquired over time.
Keep It Positive
Positive reinforcement with a calm and confident pack leader is the best formula when training your Staffy. These dogs love their family, and love receiving praise and reward for their good behaviors. This constant positive reinforcement will accelerate your dog’s learning, and willingness to train.
Keep It Consistent
Daily training of basic commands, obedience, and house rules is key. Make a practice regiment a part of your daily routine with your Staffy. A consistent daily practice of everything you want them to learn will help further engrain their training.
I have had my Staffy for 10 years, and we still practice tricks and commands every single day.
Keep it Challenging
Your Staffordshire Bull Terrier is smart, and can get bored fairly easy. Keep your training sessions challenging for them by progressing each day. This can be with holding a sit/stay for long durations, or gradually introducing more advanced tricks and obedience commands.
Follow the above 4 rules, and step up your Staffies learning curve to maximize their full potential.
Are Staffies Hard To House Train?
Staffies are not hard to house train. That doesn’t mean house training your Staffy will be easy either. Your approach to potty training your Staffy will determine your level of success. Proactive potty training is what I call it. House training your Staffy will be much easier with these tips.
Take your Staffy outside to potty every time they:
- First wake up in the morning.
- Wake up from a nap.
- Finish eating or drinking.
- Finish playing, or during play times.
- Come out of their crate.
By sticking to these simple guidelines you can be proactive in getting your Staffy puppy outside to potty and avoid accidents. I lived on the 10th floor of an apartment downtown when I first got my Staffy, and these tips were a life saver for training. By the time Ruby let me know she had to potty, it was too late to get downstairs.
When your Staffy puppy goes potty outside try to bring them to a similar spot, and shower them in praise when they go. Your Staffy should feel like a champion when they successfully go to the bathroom outside. This positive reinforcement paired with the routine tips mentioned above will make potty training your Staffy easy.
Never shout, scold, hit, or rub your dog’s nose in their accidents. This sort of negative reinforcement is not effective in teaching them to go potty outside, and can result in fear and anxiety based behavior problems.
When your Staffy puppy has an accident inside, clean it up, maybe ignore the puppy for a few minutes, and then try and be more proactive next time. Accidents inside the house are on you, not the puppy.
Do Staffies Need Lots Of Exercise?
Staffies need lots of exercise. The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a very energy, athletic, and strong dog that will require at least 1 hour of exercise everyday. A 60 minute walk, or two 30 minute walks everyday, mixed with some training and mentally stimulating activities can drastically reduce any behavior issues.
A Staffy that is lacking their daily exercise can oftentimes become bored, anxious, and pent up. This can lead to destructive behaviors such as chewing things they shouldn’t, digging in the yard, separation anxiety, and excessive barking.
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier can be a good family dog so long as the family is willing to put in the work. This means daily exercise without exception. A tired dog is a happy dog, and you need to match their energy level to give them a fulfilling and balanced life.
A daily walk with your Staffy is your best way to give them the exercise they need, as well as strengthen your bond. A well mannered walk each day will allow for additional training exercises, and consistently establishing your role as a pack leader.
Supplement their daily walks with some obedience training, and some mentally stimulating activities such as Fetch, Tug-of-war, Flirt Poles, Agility training and Puzzle games.
Adding these extra activities will keep your Staffy engaged in learning, entertained, and most of all tired by the end.
These are some of my most recommended tools for additional mental stimulation activities. I use all of these with my Staffy and can’t imagine not having these around.
- Chuckit! Ball Launcher
- BlueIsland Dog Rope Toys for Aggressive Chewers
- Flirt Poles
- Outward Hound Treat Tumble
Staffordshire Bull Terrier Grooming
Grooming your Staffordshire Bull Terrier is very low maintenance and will save you a small fortune at the groomers. Getting yourself a few basic tools to bath, brush, and trim their toenails is basically all your will need to keep your Staffy looking amazing.
Do Staffy Dogs Smell?
Some breeds of dogs can be a little smelly, the Staffy dog however is not one of those breeds. The Staffy dog does not smell in an offensive manner. They generally just smell like a dog, and unless they have rolled or stepped in something, they will not stink up your house.
If you Staffy does smell and it’s not their coat. We could be talking gas. I have written an entire article on this subject that I would recommend if this is the case.
How Often Do Staffies Need A Bath?
You should be giving your Staffy a bath every 2-3 months at least. This can ensure you have a shiny dog with a great smelling coat. My Staffy, like many Staffies, has sensitive skin, so I use a gentle hypoallergenic shampoo to ensure her skin is nice and healthy.
Bathing your Staffy too much can strip their body of the natural oils, so be careful not to over do it.
Best Shampoos For Staffies
I have used a few shampoos over the years with my Staffy and by far the best I have found is Wahl Dry Skin & Itch Relief Pet Shampoo for Dogs This is a terrific anti-itch, moisturizing shampoo and conditioner that leaves my Ruby girl smelly incredible.
Highly rated and very affordable. Grab a bottle on Amazon and give your Staffy the spa treatment.
How Do I Stop My Staffy From Shedding?
Shedding is a normal part of having any breed of dog. Fortunately the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is not a big shedder, but routine brushing can help with those little short hairs around the home. Giving you Staffy a good brushing once a week will keep the hair around the home to a minimum, and give them a nice healthy coat.
My Staffy has a bit of Atopy, and can get a little itchy during the springtime. Giving her a good brushing, and a good wipe down when we come inside keeps the allergens to a minimum. This extra care gives her the level of comfort she deserves from those pesky grass, pollen, and dust allergens that both some Staffies.
Best Brushes For Staffies
Getting your Staffy a good quality, self cleaning brush can make all the difference in their weekly grooming. I have used a few in my lifetime. My go to brush for years was the FURminator Short Hair Dog Deshedding Tool. Super easy to use, comfortable for my Staffy, and easy to clean. A top quality brush that you can pick up at Chewy.com for a great price.
Recently I came across a newish brush from King Kanine featured on the news. After visiting their website, and checking out all of the 5 star reviews, I figured it was worth a try.
Are Staffordshire Bull Terriers Aggressive?
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is not a naturally aggressive dog. They are a loyal, sweet, and even tempered breed that are good family dogs. Despite how the media can sometimes portray the Staffy, they are no more and no less aggressive than many other dog breeds.
Aggression towards people for a Staffordshire Bull Terrier is extremely rare. The Staffy is one of the most people friendly breeds on the planet. Unless they are very poorly socialized, abused, or aggressively provoked, aggression towards people is highly unlikely and not part of their nature.
Are Staffies Good With Other Dogs?
The Staffy can be a little less tolerant of other dogs. They are strong willed, and though they generally are not looking for a fight, they won’t likely back down from one if challenged by another dog.
Early and consistent socialization is a must for Staffies. Understanding dog behavior and body language is also an important factor for you as the owner to prevent tensions from escalating.
I have had my Staffy for over 10 years and have only seen her react very briefly to another dog twice. On both occasions the other dog was the aggressor, and I was at fault for not seeing the warning signs earlier. Neither alterations resulted in injury, and were quickly ended. This sort of incident can happen with any breed at any dog park you visit.
How Do You Introduce A Staffy To Another Dog?
Introducing a Staffy to another dog is how you would introduce any two dogs. In a calm, neutral setting. My preferred method is always going for a walk with another owner and their dog. This allows a slow and gradual introduction between the two dogs with the owners in full control.
My Staffy loves other dogs, and I attribute this to my many years working as a professional dog walker. From the age of 4 months Ruby was included on many of my daily group walks with Corgis, Labs, American Bullies, and Boston Terriers. Just to name a few. This group walk activity was so important in her socialization.
You don’t need to be a professional dog walker to achieve this kind of socialization. Find some walking buddies in your neighborhood, at your community center, church, or place of work. This is a great way to give your Staffy some exercise and socialization.
Dog parks are hit or miss when introducing your Staffy (or any dog) to another dog. The dog parks can be chaotic, and not all owners are as responsible with their pets as you might be. Always access the park before calmly entering with your Staffy. Take note of how the other dogs are playing and interacting, and also take note of your Staffy. They should be eager, yet calm to enter the park.
Taking your Staffy for a walk to the park, or a walk before driving to the park is recommended if they haven’t exercised at all that day. I recommend this for every dog too by the way. An excited dog bursting in a park with a full day’s worth of pent up energy can cause a dust up, or over excited play.
Socializing at the park should be fun, but never intense. Keep a good eye on how everyone is interacting, and be able to cut a visit short if you see any potential red flags from your dog or others.
Are Staffordshire Bull Terriers Good With Cats?
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier can have a decent prey drive, and a fast moving cat can excite this instinct. A Staffy raised with a cat in the house is generally not an issue, and they can become good friends. Depending on the cat’s disposition.
Introducing your Staffy to a cat in the house should be taken slowly and monitored. Early socialization with all sorts of different house pets will be important, and generally everyone can live together peacefully.
My Staffy has never had an issue with cats in a house. In fact she learned very quickly from an early age, that approaching a cat too quickly and eager to make friends could result in a swat across the nose from the cat. So if anything she approaches with extreme caution now.
Would A Staffy Protect Its Owner?
The Staffy is naturally loyal and loving to their family. They form an extremely tight bond to the members of their household and can have natural instincts to protect them from perceived dangers. Generally however the Staffy is very friendly towards people, so training them to be a protector will require professional training.
A direct and immediate threat to a member of your family could elicit a reaction from your Staffy. As I mentioned they are very loyal to their pack. To train them to act as a personal protection dog however will require a lot of hard, professional training. They will need to learn specific cues and be handled by an expert to ensure everyone’s safety.
Please consult a professional if you are looking to have your Staffy train in personal protection. This is a serious job that should not be taken lightly.
Do Staffy Dogs Bark A Lot?
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier can be a vocal dog. The Staffy can sometimes bark a lot, but this can be trained and prevented to ensure the barking does not become excessive. Typically a Staffy will bark to alert you to something of interested, or a potential threat in their eyes. This can make the Staffy a decent guard dog.
Your Staffy could be barking mainly to get your attention. If you typically give them attention when they bark, that only reinforces their method as effective. Usually the reason your Staffy is barking is because they are bored, hungry, or need to go outside.
Making sure you are giving your Staffy enough exercise and mental stimulation before they start asking for it can almost eliminate this type of barking.
Staffies are not shy about letting you know when it’s dinner time. When they begin to bark at you to feed them, and then you’re immediately feeding them, this reinforces the behavior.
Instead make sure that feeding times are consistent. Dogs are very much a creature of habits. If they begin to bark before it’s dinner time, you ignore them. Once they have stopped and calmed down, then you can get them dinner.
This same technique applies to any other form of attention seeking behavior. Do not respond if you know what they are looking to get from you. Wait until they are calm and then reward that calm behavior with trips outside, food, or belly rubs.
Do Staffies Like Cuddles?
Do Staffies like cuddles? They LOVE cuddles. The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is one of the most affectionate dog breeds around. They are devoted, loving, and gentle family dogs that want to be around you constantly. A Cuddle up on the couch is my Staffies favorite thing in the world.
Though Staffies aren’t the biggest dog breed around. They are actually quite short, but are also thick and heavy. This doesn’t stop them from wanting to sit on you as well. My Staffy is sure she is a lap dog, and those little feet with her 35lbs body can sometimes hurt.
Teach your Staffy to be invited up on your lap if you want them to be. This can save you thighs from little paw sized bruises when done on your terms.
Are Staffies Good Around Kids And Babies?
Staffies are great with kids and babies, in fact this is one of their strongest traits. The Staffy has had the nickname of the Nanny dogs for over a hundred years because of their affinity and loyalty to children. They are natural caregivers and have a very gentle, nurturing nature with kids and babies.
My Staffy adores kids, and will want to cross the street to meet any child she sees. We stayed at my Sister’s place shortly after my niece was born, and my Staffy was constantly wanting to be near the baby, and would sneak into her room to lay next to the crib in the middle of the night. She is very reliable around any kid, and loves to check in on them to make sure everything is alright.
WIth any dog it is important to monitor play time between them and children. Accidents can happen, and it is important that everyone learns how to play and interact with each other.
The Staffy is strong and sturdy, and simply bumping into a toddler can knock them over. Keep playing gentle and supervised with everyone involved.
Can Staffies Be Left Alone During The Day?
Staffies are very people oriented and love to be near their family as much as possible. They can be left alone during the day, but this is not their ideal situation. My Staffy will often just snooze the day away when I have to go to work, and she manages just fine.
Staffy puppies however should not be left alone during the day for more than a couple hours at time. They have small bladders and will need to go potty after a short period of time.
Adult dogs can manage a bit longer during the day, but 6-8 hours left alone can be a long time. Hiring a dog walker to give your Staffy a break during the day would be recommended.
Finding a local dog walker with references and some experience is always your best option. There are many different services depending on the city you live, and finding a good reliable walker for your Staffy can give them a much needed bathroom break during the day.
Services such as Rover have a network of dog walkers that can be scheduled to fit your needs. The app allows you to book your walks as well as see where your dog went, if they did their business, and if there are any updates from the walker. All on their app.
Rover is an affordable and convenient option to give your Staffy the exercise and bathroom breaks they need. Check out Rover.com for details
Are Staffies Prone To Separation Anxiety?
Staffies can be prone to separation anxiety. They are very family oriented, and being away from you can cause varying degrees of separation anxiety. This can be helped however by following a few simple tips to keep your Staffy calm when you leave the home.
Exercise is one of the best ways to prevent separation anxiety. Giving your Staffy a good walk before you know you are leaving the house can burn off some of that pent up energy that manifests into anxiety. I have said it once and I will say it again. A tired dog is a happy dog.
Desensitize your Staffy to you leaving the home. This is a form of training that can make a big difference. Start by calmly and uneventfully leaving your front door, wait a couple minutes, then return inside. When you enter the home, do not make a big deal of things. Just calmly enter, and ignore any excitement they may display. Repeat this several times and increase the duration you are outside the home.
By doing this exercise of desensitizing your Staffy to you leaving the home, they learn that you will return, and you’re coming and going is not a big deal. Reward calm behavior once you have returned, but be sure not to make your arrival a big event, nor your departure.
Crate training a puppy from an early age can be a great preventative measure to ensure separation anxiety doesn’t become an issue. When done effectively, crate training provides your dog with a safe, comfortable and happy place to be when you are away. This early training worked wonders for me and my Staffy. She has never had separation anxiety her entire life thanks to crate training.
When exercise, desensitizing training, and crate training have all fallen short, there is an option for supplementation. CBD Oil for dogs can be an excellent way to reduce anxiety.
Staffordshire Bull Terrier Health Problems
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is generally a robust and healthy breed of dog. When getting your Staffy make sure you are working with a reputable breeder that is willing to provide several health certifications. One of the more common health issues with Staffies is their skin. They are prone to sensitive skin and in some cases Atopy.
I have written a detailed breakdown of the various health problems that Staffies are prone to in my article What Problems Do Staffies Have? 7 Health Issues To Know that I recommend you check out. This will give you all the information you need to care for and prevent known health problems.
Is A Staffy a Good First Dog?
The Staffy is a good first dog to own if you know the breed. Staffies are not for everyone, but with the proper knowledge and expectations make good family dogs. Knowing the exercise needs, training requirements, and proper care can help you determine if the Staffy is right for you.
I have owned my Staffy for over 10 years and could not ask for a better dog. She was my first dog after leaving my parents house, and with careful attention to her needs, I have had the best experience.
You will not find a more loving, loyal, affectionate, playful, courageous, silly breed of dog. Staffies are in my opinion truly the best family dog when you are willing to put in the work.