Do Staffies Need Lots Of Exercise? – 10 Staffy Activities


staffy exercise with ball

Staffordshire Bull Terriers have been one of my favourite dog breeds for years. Their tenacity, bravery, intelligence, and loveable nature are all winning qualities. I have been a Staffy owner for over 10 years, and this is what I have learned about their need for exercise.

As a general rule Staffies will need at least 60 minutes of exercise every day. The Staffordshire Bull Terrier needs lots of exercise in order to provide them with a good quality of life. Exercise can be broken into separate sessions, but 60 minutes of solid exercise is required at minimum.

Older puppies and adult Staffies will at times need a little more physical exercise. Upwards of around 90 minutes in some cases. Depending on the activity you select to give your Staffy. In my years as a Staffy owner I have gotten creative with a variety of fun and healthy activities you can do with a Staffy to keep them happy, and give them lots of exercise.

Are Staffies High Energy Dogs?

As a whole Staffies are a very high energy breed of dog. They do belong to the terrier group of dogs, and have a high drive to work. Staffies have such high energy that they are almost unstoppable when focused on a task. The pure tenacity of the breed can lead to exhaustion if you’re not careful.

Basic activities such as a good walk are great to keep a Staffy active. Some days however you may need to mix things up to burn off that extra high energy. Lucky for us the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is an incredible smart dog, and very eager to please. This makes creative activities a lot of fun.

How Do I Exercise My Staffy?

There are several activities you can do to exercise your Staffy. Everything from the basic walk or run, to the more advanced agility. Physical exercise is only one part of the equation when it comes to exercising a Staffy. Mental stimulation can provide a great release for that extra amount of energy.

Ensuring your Staffy is getting lots of exercise will provide them with numerous health benefits, as well as maintain a well balanced companion. Here are some of the best activities you can do with your Staffy to give them all the exercise they need. 

Walking

staffy woods

The single best activity you can do with any dog is walking. Taking your Staffy for a walk is a great way to provide exercise and strengthen your bond. Staffordshire Bull Terriers love nothing more than spending time with their owners. A good steady paced walk every day is a perfect way to give them lots of exercise.

How Often Should A Staffy Be Walked?

As a general rule a Staffy should be walked 2-3 times per day. The duration of each walk can vary, but giving them at least 60 minutes of activity is a good rule of thumb. For myself I take my Staffy for a 15 minute walk in the morning, a 30 minute walk before dinner, and another 15 minute walk later on in the evening.

More doesn’t always mean better however. You can over walk a Staffy. Despite their high energy and need for lots of exercise, some Staffies have no off switch and will keep going as long as you let them. This can lead to over exercise, causing exhaustion, potential injury and illness. 

Can you take Staffies Running?

As a whole Staffies are good running dogs and you can take them running with you. Staffies love running and can keep up, and even push you a little further. Want to go for that extra lap around the block? Your Staffy is game most days.

Be mindful of your pacing and their energy level however. As I’ve mentioned Staffies have no off switch sometimes. You can push them to hard during a run and this can lead to heat exhaustion, fatigue, illness or injury. Start off slow and see where your Staffies limits are.

Avoid running in any sort of hot weather. The Staffordshire Bull Terrier does not regulate heat very well and can suffer heat exhaustion very easily. Also avoid running on hard concrete surfaces for the duration of the entire run. This can be hard on your dogs joints. Field runs are a much better alternative than streets.

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Agility

If there is one thing a Staffy loves it’s a challenge. Agility is a fantastic way to give your Staffy lots of exercise and fun. You can set up a series of mini obstacles in your own yard, or rent some time at an agility space in your city.

A series of cones, hurdles, tunnels, and even things to climb provides a great physical and mental challenge to a Staffordshire Bull Terrier. Get creative, but be safe as well. Make sure any climbing or jumping from object to object is sturdy and secured.

What Do Staffies Like To Play With?

As a whole Staffies like to play with a variety of different toys. Whether playing fetch, tug-of-war, or giving them something to chew, Staffies like variety. Balls, frisbees, ropes, rubber tires, durable squeak toys, and different textures chews are all great things to keep on hand.

Fetch

A game of fetch is right in a Staffy’s wheelhouse. The terrier drive in them makes fetch a perfect way to give them focused, high intensity exercise. Finding what they like best to fetch can be easy to determine. Whatever they seem most interested in will generally be the winner. Most often a good rubber ball like a ChuckIt!.

Teaching a Staffy to play fetch properly can be relatively easy as well. Staffies are easy to train and pick up on games very fast. Adding additional levels of training to drop the ball on command at your feet and waiting for a release command to chase the ball, all provide excellent additional training.

Tug-Of-War

staffy exercising with rope

My Staffy loves all sorts of games, but Tug-of-War is hands down her favorite. This is most likely the case with 90% of Staffies on the planet. Tug-of-War is a great combination of chewing, strength, human interaction, and play all in one game.

Again this also provides a great opportunity to work on additional training and commands. In fact it is advised that the primary function of this game in the beginning is learning the “release” or “drop” command. When playing Tug-of-War with your Staffy you must be able to end the game when you want.

Teaching the release command is very important with this game. Start by engaging your dog and playing the game. Move the rope or tug toy around making things fun and interesting. When you are ready to stop, hold the toy still, and make it boring. When they let go, you say “Yes! Release, good boy/girl”

Repeat this dozens of times. Eventually using the word “release” during the game will have your dog let go of the toy immediately. That is the end goal. Aside from having lots of fun of course.

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Play Dates

Socializing a Staffy is very important. They can be a little testy with other dogs, especially if they are challenged. Having your dog socialize from a young age will teach them how to play with other dogs. A well socialized Staffy loves a game of chase or wrestling with another dog buddy.

Dog parks are not an ideal place for a few reasons. They can often be chaotic, over stimulating, and you can’t control how the other dogs behave. Staffies aren’t looking for problems, but they rarely back down from one. Not to mention most dog parks are filthy.

Arranging a playdate with a neighbor dog, or friend of the family is an ideal situation. A good chase around someone’s back yard, or a nice green space where dogs are allowed to play off leash. Again not a dog park with dozens of other dogs, but a space where your Staffy and one or two buddies can have some fun.

staffies exercise together playing

Can Staffordshire Bull Terriers Swim?

As a general rule Staffordshire Bull Terriers cannot swim. They are in fact terrible swimmers. Their body proportions or a large chest and big head make paddling with those little legs a challenge. My Staffy is not a water dog at all. Swimming should be avoided as a form of exercise.

Staffies can learn how to swim with varying degrees of success. I have an entire article on Staffies ability to swim. A good read for those wanting more insight into the subject

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How do you mentally stimulate Staffies?

There are many ways to mentally stimulate Staffies. They excel in many forms of trick training, obedience, and rally. The Staffy is very eager to please, and incredibly clever, so engaging them in brain games is always readily accepted.

Some of the activities mentioned above provide both physical exercise and mental stimulation. As I mentioned with games like fetch and tug-of-war, you can add additional layers of training into the games to make your Staffy think and react to commands quickly.


I like to use a good mix of the games above as well as the ones below to help physically engage and mental stimulate my Staffy. Typically I use the activities below as a supplementary exercise after some good physical exercise.

Trick Training

staffy balancing treats on paws

One of the first words that comes to mind with Staffies is “clever”. These dogs are incredibly smart, and willing to engage and please their owner when provided the right leadership. Trick training is an excellent way to engage your Staffy’s brain.

There are dozens of tricks you can teach your Staffy, and with a little practice they will nail them. Within the first 6 months of owning my Staffy puppy she could shake, wave, high five, roll over, play dead, and spin. It surprised even me how quickly she absorbed the training once she understood what was being asked.

Make a list of 10 different tricks you want your dog to learn, and day by day work on them. I can almost guarantee that within 3 months you will have your Staffy mastering most if not all the tricks. Depending on the complexity and approach of course.

Rally & Advanced Obedience Training

Much like trick training, rally and advanced obedience training is perfect for a Staffy. They can immerse themselves in these sorts of activities very easily and excel. 

This does require a whole different level of knowledge from you as the owner. This type of training is far more advanced than high fives for cookies. If you are dedicated to learning and practicing for rally of advanced obedience your Staffy will be too.  

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Sniff & Search

staffy staring into the distance

Search games are an excellent way to engage your Staffy’s brain. Placing some of their favorite treats and toys throughout the house or yard can be great fun for them. Working in some additional verbal cues like “hot or cold” will make the engagement with you more interesting for them as well.

The game of sniffing out treats and toys, with the additional training of learning the verbal cues can really drain that mental energy. A 10 minute game of sniff & search can be as exhausting for a Staffy as a 20 minute walk around the block. 

Don’t underestimate how useful these types of games can be for your Staffy’s exercise and energy management.

Food Puzzles & Chews

Food puzzles and chews are excellent ways to keep a Staffy busy. These mental challenges for food rewards provide amazing brain stimulation. My personal go-to has always been the Kong toys. I keep at least 3 of them ready at all times.

I usually place a bunch of my Staffy’s food inside, mix in a few of her favorite cookie treats, and add water. Once all the food and treats are nice and wet I will plug the hole with a teaspoon of peanut butter and throw it in the freezer.

When it’s ready this keeps my Staffy busy for at least 30 minutes or more. Some other great options are food puzzles. There are some really great ones available online. 

I would personally recommend the Outward Hound series of food puzzles. They come in different difficulty levels, and the designers are amazing.

What Age Does A Staffy Calm Down?

ruby cool bone staffy

On average a Staffy will calm down by the age of 4-5 years old. The first 2-3 years are the most active years, but the high energy will last even into maturity. Plenty of good exercise and training will help manage the energy of a Staffy and keep a well balanced dog.

My Staffordshire Bull Terrier is almost 11 years old now, and there are times where she still acts like a puppy. In terms of energy, tenacity, and willingness to play that is. Her manners and training are on point, so her naughty puppy behaviors are well behind her.

That is the thing about Staffies though, they still can go well into adulthood. Though they are much calmer after the age of 4-5, they don’t lose that spunk or zest for life as they age. That is why I love this breed so much. 

They can be a handful in the beginning. But with the right amount of dedication to their exercise, mental stimulation, obedience training, and care, you will have a great companion for years.

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