Staffordshire Bull Terrier Temperament
What's Good About 'Em,
What's Bad About 'Em
By Michele Welton.
Copyright © 2000-2014
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is rugged, energetic, and impulsive. "Why walk when you can run and play games?" is his motto.
He requires rigorous exercise as an outlet for his energy and to maintain his splendid muscle tone.
The people-oriented Stafford craves companionship and wants to be with you all the time. With proper socialization, he is friendly with everyone, yet makes a sensible watchdog.
As you might expect, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is not going to be a pacifist with other dogs, especially those his own size or larger. He is more than willing to fight if challenged (which, for some Staffords, could consist simply of being looked-at crosseyed). This is not a breed who should run loose at the neighborhood dog park.
However, with proper socialization, many Staffords will live peacefully with the dogs and cats in their own family.
Stubborn and sometimes headstrong, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is inclined to test for position in the family pecking order. Confident leadership and obedience training are musts.
Provide the strongest chew toys you can find to keep his powerful jaws busy and as an alternative to furniture.
The athletic Stafford can scale a six-foot fence, and when inclined, he can dig his way under.
This "buff little dude" is a stable, confident dog with excellent judgment, but he needs supervision and control from an owner who can match his intelligence.
If you want a dog who...
- Looks like a small Pit Bull -- compact, muscular, and powerful
- Looks imposing and stands firmly onthe ground with boldness and confidence, so makes an effective deterrent, but is usually non-aggressive with people
- Is energetic and high-spirited and thrives on vigorous athletic activities
- Has a sleek easy-groom coat that comes in many colors
A Staffordshire Bull Terrier may be right for you.
If you don't want to deal with...
- Legal liabilities (public perception, future breed bans, insurance problems, increased chance of lawsuits)
- Providing extra amounts of socialization and training to make sure your dog turns out well and counteracts all the bad press
- High energy level
- Destructiveness when bored
- Aggression toward other animals
- Strong-willed mind of his own, requiring a confident owner who can take charge
A Staffordshire Bull Terrier may not be right for you.
- choosing the RIGHT breeder and the RIGHT puppy
- or choosing an ADULT dog from your animal shelter or rescue group – a dog who has already proven that he doesn't have negative traits
- training your dog to respect you
- avoiding health problems by following my daily care program in 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy
More traits and characteristics of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier
If I was considering a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, I would be most concerned about...
- Animal aggression. Like the Pit Bull Terrier, most Staffordshire Bull Terriers are aggressive toward other dogs. Many have strong instincts to chase and seize cats and other fleeing creatures. If anything goes wrong in the breeding, socializing, training, handling, or management of this breed, it is capable of seriously injuring or killing other animals.
- Providing enough socialization. Most Staffordshire Bull Terriers are friendly with everyone, but some individuals have protective instincts toward strangers. In such a powerful and determined dog as a Stafford, this could be a problem unless you carefully socialize your dog, providing extensive exposure to a variety of people so your dog learns to recognize the normal behaviors of "good guys." Then they can recognize the difference when someone really does act abnormally.
- Providing enough exercise and mental stimulation. Staffordshire Bull Terriers are active go-getters. They MUST have regular opportunities to vent their energy and do interesting things. Otherwise they will become rambunctious and bored -- which they usually express by barking and destructive chewing. Staffords have massive jaws and can make a shambles of your house and yard.
- The strong temperament. Staffordshire Bull Terriers are not Golden Retrievers. They are capable of learning a great deal, but they have an independent mind of their own and are not pushovers to raise and train. They can be manipulative, and many are willful, obstinate, and dominant (they want to be the boss) and will make you prove that you can make them do things. You must show them, through absolute consistency, that you mean what you say.
To teach your Stafford to listen to you, "Respect Training" is mandatory. My Staffordshire Bull Terrier Training Page discusses the program you need.
- Spillover from the Pit Bull reputation. Staffordshire Bull Terriers are an entirely different breed, but many people will lump all of these similar-looking dogs together as potentially dangerous. Thus, Staffordshire Bull Terriers may be targeted for "banning" in certain areas, or refusal of homeowner insurance policies. In this day and age, the legal liabilities of owning any breed that looks intimidating and has a fighting heritage should be seriously considered. People are quicker to sue if such a dog does anything even remotely questionable.
To learn more about training Staffordshire Bull Terriers to be calm and well-behaved, consider my dog training book, Teach Your Dog 100 English Words.
It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will make your Staffordshire Bull Terrier the smartest, most well-behaved companion you've ever had.
Teaches your dog to listen to you, to pay attention to you, and to do whatever you ask him to do.
My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a healthy Staffordshire Bull Terrier. Health problems have become so widespread in dogs today that this book is required reading for ANYONE who is thinking of getting a purebred, crossbred, or mixed breed dog.
If you'd like to consult with me personally about whether the Staffordshire Bull Terrier might be a good dog breed for your family, I offer a Dog Breed Consulting Service.
Once you have your Staffordshire Bull Terrier home, you need to KEEP him healthy -- or if he's having any current health problems, you need to get him back on the road to good health.
My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy is the book you need.
Raise your dog the right way and you will be helping him live a longer, healthier life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.
Please consider adopting an ADULT Staffordshire Bull Terrier...
When you're acquiring a Staffordshire Bull Terrier PUPPY, you're acquiring potential -- what he one day will be. So "typical breed characteristics" are very important.
But when you acquire an adult dog, you're acquiring what he already IS and you can decide whether he is the right dog for you based on that reality. There are plenty of adult Staffordshire Bull Terriers who have already proven themselves NOT to have negative characteristics that are "typical" for their breed. If you find such an adult dog, don't let "typical breed negatives" worry you. Just be happy that you found an atypical individual -- and enjoy!
Save a life. Adopt a dog.
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Copyright © 2000-2014 by Michele Welton. All rights reserved.
No part of this website may be copied, displayed on another website,
or distributed in any way without the express permission of the author.