Staffordshire Bull Terrier history, colors and temperament

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier presents an incredible mix of intelligence, courage, and tenacity tempered with a sweet affection for its family. As a breed, it is often shrouded in myth and misconception about its history and origin. Read on to learn the truth about where the Staffordshire Bull Terrier came from and what the difference is between this breed and others similar in name and appearance.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier history

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier history dates back to Elizabethan England when an ancestor of the Bulldog was used in a bloody sport called bullbaiting (also bearbaiting). This dog was closely linked to the Mastiff and weighed in at between 100 and 120 pounds.

A Bloodsport breed

Around the 19th century, when bullbaiting was outlawed, dogfighting quickly gained popularity, and the massive bullbaiting dogs were crossed with smaller terriers, and a smaller, quicker breed of dog was born, weighing about 60 pounds. This dog became known as a Bulldog Terrier or Bull and Terrier and was further refined by outcrosses to an ancestor of the Manchester Terrier. This produced a dog of about 30-45 pounds that came to be known as the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, which is the father breed out of which came the English Bull Terrier (1860), and later when exported to North America around 1880, the American Pit Bull Terrier and the American Staffordshire Terrier.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier history
Staffordshire Bull Terrier

They’re different from American Pitbulls

Quite a few people compare it with American Pitbulls. The American Staffordshire Terrier and the American Pit Bull Terrier appear very similar to each other, and people often hotly debate whether or not they are separate breeds. To clear things up a bit, the American Pit Bull Terrier was first recognized by the UKC and later by the AKC. However, when the American Pit Bull Terrier was entered into the AKC registry, the name was changed to American Staffordshire Terrier, as noted by the AKC on their website,, As the breed moved to America the names Pitdog and Pitbull Terrier stuck. However, American breeders wanted an animal heavier than the British race, hence the name American Staffordshire Terrier. This is the breed commonly referred to as Pit Bull.

Although certain breeders have pursued slightly different goals with the American Staffordshire Terrier, often referred to as the AmStaff, and the American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT), the two remain virtually indistinguishable, and a single dog could conceivably be simultaneously registered as both an AmStaff with the AKC and as an APBT with the UKC.

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier, however, is a distinct breed. Its official, AKC standard states that the Staffie stands at 14-16 inches; male dogs weigh 28-38 pounds, and females weigh 24-34 pounds. This is in contrast to the AmStaff, which has no such size or weight limit.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier colors

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier colors are also restricted, allowing red, fawn, white, black, blue, or brindle or any of these colors with white and disqualifying black-and-tan and liver color. AmStaffs can be any color except white (80% or more).

It can be any color of these with any shade of brindle or any shade of brindle with white. They seem like a fierce dog, but when raised at home with care, they show great loyalty and love towards the family. Their coat is smooth, short, and close. Their lifespan is over 12 years, and their litter size is 5-7.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier colors
Staffordshire Bull Terrier

The Staffords are mostly famous for their muscular bodies and their agility, which makes them appear tough. But, in reality, they are people-friendly, loving, and loyal to their owners. They are one of the most popular dog breeds in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier temperament

Staffordshire Bull Terrier’s temperament is quite interesting actually. It was first developed for blood sports, but even in those days, it was famous as a family pet. We can attribute it to the fact that they are very loyal and people-friendly. They are dependable, courageous, and affectionate, they are recommended by the KC as a pet for families. They are very agile and don’t back away when challenged by other dogs.

Staffords are robust dogs with a life expectancy of 12-14 years. Hereditary eye conditions like hereditary cataract and L-2HGA are known to occur in this breed. The disease is caused by the mutation of a gene, which can be detected in a dog by DNA screening. Their DNA study also revealed that they are related to the terriers of Ireland.


They can adapt to apartment living and can tolerate being left alone by their owners. They also tolerate all kinds of weather, and they can be even managed by not-so-experienced owners. They are very playful, but they need to be taught social skills with other pups.

Grooming a Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Grooming a Staffie is very easy thanks to its smooth coat. They shed their fur annually and lose minimum hair. Brushing them weekly helps them lose dead hair. They don’t need much bathing as they produce very little odor, also thanks to their smooth coat. Cut his fingernails monthly to keep him comfortable. Clean his ears with specialized equipment provided by the veterinarian.

keeping them healthy

Dogs of this breed can suffer from

  • Canine Hip dysplasia,
  • Elbow dysplasia,
  • Patellar luxation,
  • Posterior Polar Subcapsular Cataracts,
  • and skin allergies.

Training Staffordshire Bull Terriers

They are quick learners and obedient. But keep in mind that they were bred to fight other dogs and help them to get social with other dogs from a young age. Thus, leash training becomes a must for these dogs. They are somewhat hard to train but motivate them by giving them treats or something as an accomplishment.

Not good guard dogs

They are people-friendly dogs and are loyal to their owners and playful with children. This very trait makes them a lousy guard dog. They just love people! They might play with an intruder instead of attacking him.


They can be fed with any store-bought food or homemade food, whichever suits your ability and time. Although watch how many treats you are giving the dog, as they can become overweight. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs and which are not here.