Everything you need to know to buy or adopt a Staffordshire Bull Terrier puppy or adult dog.


For Your New

Staffordshire Bull Terrier!

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Raise and train your dog the RIGHT way and he will live a long, healthy, well-behaved life – and both of you will be happy!

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Staffordshire Bull Terrier dog breed

Buying or Adopting a Staffordshire Bull Terrier

By Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2018

Is a DOG really the right pet for you?

I've been helping people choose and find dogs for over 35 years now, and I have to say that for many people, dogs are not ideal pets.

Pros AND Cons of Owning a Dog

Should you get a purebred, crossbred, or mixed breed dog?

Don't set your sights on any purebred dog until you read these three eye-opening articles:

The Truth About Purebred Dogs

The Truth About Crossbred Dogs

The Truth About Mixed Breed Dogs

Is a Staffordshire Bull Terrier the right breed for you?

Staffordshire Bull Terriers: What's Good About 'Em, What's Bad About 'Em

Staffordshire Bull Terrier Health Problems

Are YOU right for a Staffordshire Bull Terrier?

Can you provide what this breed needs?

  • Someone home most of the day
  • Fenced yard (not an electronic/underground fence)
  • No dogs of the same sex in the household
  • Restricted exercise when young – until maturity (at least 18 months old), exercise restricted to multiple short (20 minute) walks, fetch games, and playing with other dogs – no forced running (beside a jogger or bicyclist), no long-distance treks, minimal jumping
  • Ample exercise after maturity – enough ongoing exercise that your Staffordshire Bull Terrier stays slim and is tired enough to sleep contentedly and not get into mischief
  • "Mental exercise" – interesting activities that keep the mind stimulated, such as a challenging dog sport (agility, rally obedience, musical freestyle, tracking, flyball, weight pulling); challenging dog toys; a homemade obstacle course; tricks and games such as Musical Toys and Hide 'n Seek; instructions in my training book, Teach Your Dog 100 English Words
  • An indoor lifestyle, except for exercise and bathroom breaks
  • A meat-heavy diet, either homemade or commercial – meat is expensive, so people with less money should opt for a small dog
  • An owner with enough money to treat the health problems Staffordshire Bull Terriers are prone to (pet health insurance can really help here!)
  • Commitment to provide thorough socialization – introducing your Staffordshire Bull Terrier to lots of people and other animals, diligently correcting any signs of misbehavior or aggression
  • Commitment to establish the right Leader-Follower relationship with your Staffordshire Bull Terrier, teaching him to listen to you and do what you say

Should you get a male or female Staffordshire Bull Terrier?

Symbols for male and female Male Dogs vs. Female Dogs
Which one makes a better pet?

Should you get a young puppy, an older puppy, or an adult dog?

Girl hugging a dog Puppies vs. Adult Dogs
What age should your new Staffordshire Bull Terrier be?

Where can you buy or adopt a Staffordshire Bull Terrier?

Staffordshire Bull Terriers are middle-of-the-road in popularity in the United States. Out of 189 breeds in the American Kennel Club, where 1 is most popular and 189 is least popular, Staffordshire Bull Terriers rank 82nd.

Adopting From Dog Rescue Organizations
You might find a Staffordshire Bull Terrier available from a Dog Rescue group. Staffords may be turned over to Rescue because they're more energetic than the owner expected. There might be dominance issues, or aggression toward other animals. Owners may give up their Stafford when it becomes apparent that, despite its small size, the dog is too much for them to handle. You would need to provide these dogs with the exercise, training, and socialization that they are lacking.

Other Staffordshire Bull Terriers are given up simply because of changed family circumstances, and these dogs may have no behavior problems at all.

Adopting From Public Animal Shelters and Humane Societies
Unfortunately, Staffordshire Bull Terriers typically get tarred with the same brush as American Staffordshire Terriers and American Pit Bull Terriers. Some shelters and humane societies won't try to place any of these breeds, euthanizing them instead.

Shelters who are willing to place them often can't tell the difference between them. So any dog who looks like a pit bull, but is smallish, may get labeled as a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, even if it's not. It's probably safe to say that if you adopt a "Staffordshire Bull Terrier" from a shelter, the chances are high that it's a smallish pit bull cross. Just so you know.

Buying From a Dog Breeder
You can buy a Staffordshire Bull Terrier from a show breeder, who breeds Staffordshire Bull Terriers to match a detailed standard of appearance for the dog show ring. You can also buy a Staffordshire Bull Terrier from people who "just breed pets" or "just had one litter." But should you? Be sure to read the article to learn more about these people.

Here's one difference between a responsible breeder and an irresponsible breeder – BOTH PARENTS of a Staffordshire Bull Terrier puppy should have:

  • a certificate from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) – dated within the past year – certifying the dog to be free of eye diseases
  • a certificate from the Orthopedic Foundation of America (OFA) or PennHip certifying the dog to have normal hips

Also, at least ONE PARENT of a Staffordshire Bull Terrier puppy should have:

  • a DNA test proving they are Normal/Clear of a severe eye disease called hereditary cataracts.
  • a DNA test proving they are Normal/Clear of a seizure/tremor syndrome called L2HGA.

If a seller can't show you those certificates, the puppies are higher risk for health problems. You might choose to accept that risk. But then you need to be willing (and able) to pay a couple thousand bucks for future surgeries and lifelong meds if your Staffordshire Bull Terrier ends up blind and crippled.

Puppy in a pet shop window Pet Shop Puppies: Buying a Puppy From a Pet Store
I've never seen a Stafford in a pet shop, but it's certainly possible. I have plenty to say about buying a puppy from a pet shop!

Related Articles

Girl holding up a puppy and looking at him How To Choose a Good Staffordshire Bull Terrier Puppy
How to test the temperament and personality of Staffordshire Bull Terrier puppies and pick the best puppy in a litter.

Pedigree parchment AKC Registered Puppies: Are AKC Papers Important?
Should you consider buying only AKC registered Staffordshire Bull Terrier puppies? Do AKC papers and pedigrees really matter?

To help you train and care for your dog

book cover To learn more about training your dog to be calm and well-behaved, my dog training book is Teach Your Dog 100 English Words. It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your dog to listen to you and do whatever you ask.

book cover My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a good-tempered, healthy dog.

book cover My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, shows you how to help your dog live a longer life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.