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Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Member Name: AverageJoseph
Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Date: 01/05/12, updated on 01/05/12 (192 review reads)
Advantages: Medium Energy, Strong, Playful, Easily Trained
Disadvantages: Naughty, Destructive
Falsely pigeonholed as an aggressive, fighting dog, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier has had some seriously bad reputation as of late. With many countries banning them due to confusion over the appearance with Pitbull-Staff Cross, and a fashion trend for uneducated youths to abuse and train them to show defiance and anger, many Staffies are being dumped in shelters and largely ignored by the public when choosing a pet dog. While they were originally bred for the purposes of fighting, the tradition is old and the temperament is not in grained but altered by owners, to be up for the scrap. The term 'There is no such thing as bad dog, just a bad owner' certainly applies here. No doubt many have seen hooded teens being dragged along the pavement by over eager Staffs, looking to cause trouble and scare people. This analogy of the breed has certainly made an impact as people often cross the street to avoid me and mine. I recall one women holding up her two daughters in absolute fear of my then 6 month old Staff. People have shouted at me, gesturing to keep 'that thing' on a leash in the wide open areas of local parks. Its clear that people are fed this nonsense by the media and get it into their heads that the breed is vicious and bound to cause harm. From my so far, short experience, I can see clearly that the breed is fantastic in many senses. My nan used to be terrified of all dogs until she got used to mine. I wasn't particularly fond of dogs either, but when you make the commitment of finding one and looking after it, the bond grows and your opinions change rapidly.
Staff's are well known due to their strong, hulking (often intimidating) frame. With a massive head, thick neck and bulging chest, these dogs show their history as fighting animals. They can come in a variety of colours with black or brindle being the most common example but also white, blue, brown, grey or a mix of the colours mentioned (mine is white with bits of black). Their fur is short and smooth, often staying wet for a while but without being too prone to clinging items like sand, dirt or faeces. The teeth are quite large and the bite is described as a 'scissor bite' due to the teeth slightly overlapping. The legs are average in length with equally average sized paws with sharp little claws best cut. Medium sized eyes mostly brown, average sized half hanging ears, with a medium to short snout, making the head a triangular shape. The tail is dubbed a 'pump handle' and is again medium in size. When tired, excited, panting or a combination of the 3, opens the mouth, producing that classic charismatic smile, often with little lip flaps which I like to call 'Bacon Bits'. Weight is often at the 15KG mark but can be slightly under or over that depending on gender and breeding (mine is large for the breed and over 20KG)
All dogs have their own personalities and temperaments, but one that is a common trait in the SBT is the friendly nature that is often forgotten with recent events making them seem like feral beasts. They just want to say hello to everyone they see, give their affection by licking, jumping and sometimes a little nip should you let them get away with it. They are people dogs - hate being alone unless knackered and just wanting to sleep (even so they don't mind company aka someone to sleep on like a hot water bottle). Personally, my Staffy is rather laid back, only riled up by the doorbell, car doors and when asked "wanna go for a walk?". They are very vocal dogs too, squealing and squeaking for attention, treats and walks. My dog rarely barks, only out in the garden when he sees someone wandering around the neighbours yard or hearing next doors bark. The bark itself is strange as they can produce a high pitch yappy one as well as a strong brutish bark. My dog has NEVER growled at another dog or a person... just inanimate objects like my iron gym, mops and brooms. Sleeps often, adapting to work schedules very well, napping in the middle of the day and in the evening. Almost always up for food, aren't fussy eaters and don't mind getting the same every day. Meeting strangers is a doddle too, as the person can signify whether they want to greet your dog or avoid it - either way, that's cool with a Staffy. Mine loves meeting new dogs, to say hi then run around for a bit or play wrestle. He does however know when someone's not up for games, backing off and getting on with it. My dog has never barked, growled, scratched or bit another dog, nor has he properly bit me or others, at least he's never drawn blood. Keen of tugs of war and pulling toys, thrown balls and sticks, squeakers.
I've had Archie since he was a puppy at the age of 3 months. The house training was unexpectedly easy. Setting up newspaper and ushering him on them for the first few times, only to hurry him towards the garden door and heavily praise him for doing his business outside. Of course there are bound to be the odd accident, Archie used to do 'excitement wees' when guests arrived, all over their shoes.. poor postman. Archie even decided to leave me a steaming present right outside my bedroom door, nice. Tricks aren't exactly necessary, but the 'Sit' command is always useful as well as stay. Sit, seemed like it was built into him from the start, while he eventually learned to stay, heel, offer his paw, "no not that one!" and jump up on command. All this but he rarely drops a tennis ball or Frisbee. Puppy training classes are recommended if it is your first dog, as they offer good advice and training, unless of course you have experience. Will always be up for a treat too as they tend to not know when they are full. They can also go through agility training, though they aren't the fastest of dogs with all that muscle, nor the most graceful, clumsily miscuing jumps and overshooting thrown objects. Not the sharpest tool in the shed, they are average in terms of animal intellect but are loyal and courageous regardless. Best walked 2-3 times a day, getting at least an hour of exercise, loves being off the lead and roaming rural areas.
Faults & Problems
The first thing I noticed about Archie was that he likes to chew things. Not really a problem because he has be taught that he may only chew and or destroy, his own toys. He also likes to roll in disgusting things, like most dogs - dead frogs, rats, animal excrement and other foul smelling atrocities. This is being a less recurring habit as he knows he is in for a bath afterwards. Which brings me onto bathing - which must not be too excessive as Staffs can get skin problems and start to itch. They shed hair quickly too but its not too bad. They can have mucky eyes too, with what look like bogeys - this can phase out or be sorted with drops. Urine burns the lawn! Starts off pulling on the lead until trained not too, along with ignoring calls when spotting another dog, however they like to stay within distance of the owner, looking around to see and running back soon enough. Archie likes to nick things too, like socks and toilet rolls. FARTING! Even with all these little issues and soon to be resolved habits, I wouldn't change a thing.
Easily getting my recommendation, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, is a loving source of entertainment and barrel of laughs too. Perhaps best left to people who have spare time to spend with them as they love attention and being made a fuss of. So many are in dog shelters and deserve a second chance with a new family habits can die fast and new bonds be made sharpish. Even families with young children shouldn't have much to worry about as its dubbed as a 'nanny dog', plus the clumsiness of a child is not met with hostility but forgiveness, or even confusion as they are so damn tough. As long as someone is home during the day to look after them, they are conversation starters, confidence builders, caring companions.