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Your new Staffordshire
Thank you for choosing a Staffordshire Bull Terrier to be
your new companion. You will find that you are taking
home one of the most family orientated dogs. This is a brief
guide designed to give you some basic advice to help you
and your new dog live a happy life together. At the end you
will find a list of recommended books for further reading.
Staffordshire Bull Terriers (also known as Staffords) are
the modern show and pet descendants of the ‘bull and
terriers’ originally bred in many parts of the UK well into
the nineteenth century as fighting, rat catching and badger
baiting dogs. Since he was first registered as a show
breed in 1935, the Staffordshire Bull Terriers’ courage and
affinity with people, especially children, has enabled him
to become popular in many corners of the world and has
established the breed’s well-earned nickname of the
How much exercise will he
require and what kind?
This breed is remarkably flexible when it comes to the
amount of exercise needed. Naturally any dog needs the
stimulation of new and varied environments so sitting at
home waiting for your return from work must be followed
by some form of exercise. Some Staffordshire Bull Terriers
will be content with a walk around the block whilst others
will happily cope with a 10 mile run. Whatever suits you will
almost certainly be fine for your Staffordshire Bull Terrier but
try to be consistent. A dog that walks long distances day
after day can be frustrated on odd days when no such
exercise is forthcoming.
Staffordshire Bull Terrier are extremely strong and pulling
games or chasing a ball or other strong toy for a short
period will provide the hard exercise that they really enjoy.
Ensure that you are in control of the game. If you tell the
dog to “leave” he must do so in order to maintain your
higher position in the ‘pack’. Ensure that the dog
understands that nipping a human, even accidentally
in the hullabaloo of the game, is just not allowed.
Health and physical care
Staffordshire Bull Terriers need very little grooming indeed.
An occasional brush with a stiff bristle brush to remove
loose, dead hair, and an occasional bath, is all that is
generally required. Staffordshire Bull Terriers’ coats can
be made especially shiny with an occasional treat of oily
fish e.g. a can of pilchards, sardines or a cod-liver oil
capsule. Stroking and fussing also bring up a good shine
on the coat. Bathing them too often removes the natural
oils, but it may be refreshing to have a very occasional bath
if they become smelly. Use baby shampoo or a good dog
shampoo. Beware of getting soap in the dog’s eyes and
always make sure you dry him well – especially the
underside of his belly which is virtually hairless. This part
of the body should also be dried thoroughly when your
Staffordshire Bull Terrier has been out in the rain.
Ears do not normally cause many problems for the
Staffordshire Bull Terriers because the shape of their ears
allows plenty of air to circulate. If wax or mites do build up
they will give off an unpleasant smell. Do not be tempted
to pour anything into the dog’s ear, or to use a cotton bud.
Your vet can supply excellent ointment and the debris that
floats to the top can then be cleared away from the
entrance to the ear.
Staffordshire Bull Terriers are generally considered very
healthy dogs. As we can see from their past history, it
really has been the survival of the fittest and toughest and
responsible breeder attempt to maintain this high standard.
However, the breed is not immune to disease and will need
trips to the vet for annual boosters for the usual canine
diseases, and a regular worming regime. Being somewhat
headstrong, young Staffordshire Bull Terriers are rather
accident prone and you should consider taking out an
insurance policy to cover vet bills.
Most dogs do not drop to one meal a day until around
eighteen months to two years of age, and indeed some
people continue to feed their dog a small ‘breakfast’ and
a reduced evening meal throughout the dog’s life.
The amount and type of food varies with the individual dog
and his owner’s lifestyle. No two animals are the same and
a diet that suits one will not necessarily suit another. It is a
matter of getting to know your dog.
An adult Staffordshire Bull Terrier should have a basic meat
and biscuit diet. The meat can be raw or cooked. Tripe is
a favourite with many dog breeders and, although it smells
unpleasant, raw green tripe will set any dog’s mouth
watering. However, it is not advisable to feed tripe to any
animal less than six months of age. Meat in sausage form –
rabbit, chicken, beef and lamb flavoured – is easy to keep
fresh but many people prefer canned foods for ease of
storage and serving. There is a multitude of canned foods
available including supermarket own brands.
Meat, in whatever form, should always be accompanied by
a biscuit. Some of the more expensive varieties of canned
food are very rich and if your dog cannot cope with these
try the cheaper types which he may find easier to digest.
Finally there is a large range of complete dry foods.
Unfortunately, because they do not look like protein, there
is a tendency for some people to use them like a biscuit
and add them to meat. In fact, they are usually very high
in protein and should be fed strictly according to the
instructions. Remember when feeding either canned or
dry foods that ample water must be available to the dog
at all times.
Dogs vary and while one Staffordshire Bull Terrier may
thrive on this type of food, another may flourish on canned
food. The proof of the pudding is in the condition of your
dog – does his coat shine, his eyes look bright, and are his
One last point: if you spoil him by providing him with
human food “as a treat”, it will be difficult to encourage
him to eat his proper food again.
Staffordshire Bull Terriers have very powerful jaws and
strong teeth and need to chew in order to keep these
healthy. Young Staffordshire Bull Terriers need to chew to
help jaw development and adults to keep teeth clean and
as an outlet for stress.
To avoid expensive damage to your belongings it is
important to provide your dog with appropriate objects that
he can chew. There is a huge variety available in pet shops.
Avoid natural bones that can be broken causing small
sharp pieces that can be swallowed – nylon bones are
probably the best. Regular cleaning with a toothbrush and
dog toothpaste is a good idea if you can get him used to
the experience at a young age!
Dog training classes
It is recommended that anyone planning to attend a dog
training class makes sure that the class has been approved
by the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT).
Before registering with any training class make sure you
watch a class in progress to ensure that you agree with
A list of recommended dog training classes in your area
can be obtained from the APDT by phoning 01428 707620
or online at www.apdt.co.uk
Written by David Ley and Claire Lee.