Staffordshire Bull Terrier Temperament: What's Good About 'Em, What's Bad About 'Em
Staffordshire Bull Terrier Temperament, Personality, Behavior, Traits, and Characteristics, by Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2018
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.
Most Staffordshire Bull Terriers will live peacefully with the dogs and cats in their own family. But many Staffords are more than willing to fight if challenged. Before bringing a Staffordshire Bull Terrier into a multi-pet household, you should honestly evaluate your other pets. If you already have a dominant dog, a Stafford is not a good choice for you. Staffords should be closely supervised around strange dogs – make sure the other dogs are not challenging yours.
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 who 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 on the ground with boldness and confidence, so makes an effective deterrent, but is usually friendly 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)
- High energy level
- Destructiveness when bored
- Potential 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.
Keep in mind that the inheritance of temperament is less predictable than the inheritance of physical traits such as size or shedding. Temperament and behavior are also shaped by raising and training.
- You can avoid some negative traits by choosing an ADULT dog from an animal shelter or rescue group. With an adult dog, you can easily see what you're getting, and plenty of adult Staffordshire Bull Terriers have already proven themselves not to have negative characteristics.
- If you want a puppy, you can avoid some negative traits by choosing the right breeder and the right puppy. Unfortunately, you usually can't tell whether a puppy has inherited temperament or health problems until he grows up.
- Finally, you can avoid some negative traits by training your Staffordshire Bull Terrier to respect you and by following the 11-step care program in my book, 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...
- Potential animal aggression. With thorough socialization, most Staffordshire Bull Terriers will live and let live, but should always be supervised around other animals.
- Providing enough exercise and mental stimulation. Staffordshire Bull Terriers are active go-getters who need 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 powerful jaws and can make a shambles of your house and yard.
- The strong temperament. Staffordshire Bull Terriers are capable of learning a great deal, but they are not pushovers to raise and train. They can be manipulative, and many are willful and dominant 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.
In other words, you must teach your Staffordshire Bull Terrier to respect you. A dog who respects you will do what you say and will stop what he's doing when you tell him "No." Read more about Staffordshire Bull Terrier Training.
- 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 help you train and care for your dog
Dog training videos. Sometimes it's easier to train your puppy (or adult dog) when you can see the correct training techniques in action.
The problem is that most dog training videos on the internet are worthless, because they use the wrong training method. I recommend these dog training videos that are based on respect and leadership.
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.
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.
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.