These dogs are active and cheerful. Sitting still in one place, or laying on a sofa all day long is not about them. Staffbulls enjoy playing. It is important for them to stay in a good shape. Without physical exercises, pets get bored. Because of boredom, they start running around the apartment and interacting with everyone who is around: they jump into hands, give toys and ask people to play with them.
Staffordshire Bull Terriers treat strangers neutrally. However, if they feel danger for themselves or the owner — they will attack. These dogs do not feel pain well. They have muscular shoulders and strong jaws. That is why, during a fight, they will protect themselves until the end. Meanwhile, it is pointless to make a guard dog out of a Staffbull. It is important for them not only to protect the territory, but to prove their loyalty to the owner.
Despite having fighting skills, Staffordshire Bull Terriers like children. When seeing a child, these dogs change their behavior: adult dogs become as playful and affectionate as puppies. However, it is better not to leave a dog and a child alone. It is recommended to wait until the kid turns 8–10 years old. It will be safer.
Staffbulls get on well with other animals only if they grew up together. These dogs like being dominant. If a new animal, especially a male pet of the same breed, appears in the house — conflicts will arise. It should be considered before purchasing an animal. It also needs to be remembered that, initially, the breed was developed for fighting other animals. That is why it is better to walk Staffordshire Bull Terriers on a leash. When the dog sees a running cat, it might want to start chasing it.
Starting from the very first day in the house, the puppy needs to learn the rules that have been set on the territory. It has to understand what is allowed to be done, and what is not: where to go potty, to sleep, to eat, and how to do other things. Start working on dog`s socialization when it turns 2–3 months old: take it outside and get it used to other animals and people. However, it is important to give the dog all the needed vaccinations beforehand.
First street walks need to last for 15 minutes. It is important to realize that they are stressful for the puppy. It needs to get used to the street gradually: increase the length of walks every week. It is better to start training the dog while you work on its socialization. It can be done either inside or outdoors.
Staffordshire Bull Terriers are smart, but stubborn: they understand what they need to do, but take their time before completing the command. This fact should be considered before purchasing the pet. Be patient. The first thing that should be done right after getting the dog is showing your authority to it. Meanwhile, it is crucial not to show any cruelty to the dog. The worse you treat the pet, the more it will resist training. That is why it is recommended not to wait until the dog turns 6 months old, but to train the puppy starting from its first weeks of life. The second thing that needs to be done is teaching the dog to obey and respond to its name. Then, start working on teaching it basic commands: «no», «come here», «sit down», «lay down», «stay close» and others.
Staffbulls are emotional dogs. They get quickly bored while preforming monotonous tasks. That is why it is better to divide such tasks into units, taking 5-minute breaks between them. If you do not manage to get on well with your dog, it is better to consult a professional trainer. Also, the pet can be taken to a course of general training, or a course of an obedient city dog.
You do not need to give these dogs a bath very often. Once a month, using a shampoo for short-haired breeds, will be enough. After the procedure, you can wipe your dog`s hair with a towel instead of using a hairdryer. Their eyes and ears need to be cleaned once a week, using wet cotton pads. The only procedure that requires much effort is brushing teeth. They need to be cleaned 2–3 times a week, using a special brush and a zoo-paste. Meanwhile, you should remember that Staffbulls do not like this procedure, and they might resist it. Claws of dogs of this breed do not need to be trimmed: they get shorter during street walks. The only thing that is recommended to do is to grind them down with a nail file.
Staffordshire Bull Terriers can be fed with either natural or dry food of premium quality. It is crucial not to mix them into one portion. Dry food of high quality contains vitamins and minerals needed for pet`s health. Such natural ingredients can be given to them: not greasy meat — chicken, beef and rabbit meat; offals; grains — rice and buckwheat; fat free dairy products — 1% fat kefir or baked milk, cottage cheese; vegetables, washed in boiling hot water. Once a week, a boneless sea fish fillet can be given to the dog. A puppy under the age of 4 months needs to eat 5–6 times a day, under 6 months — 4 times; from 6 to 8 months — 3 times; after it turns 8 months old — twice a day: in the morning and in the afternoon, preferably at the same time. Twenty-five grams of food should correspond to 1 kilogram of dog`s body weight.
Staffordshire Bull Terriers need to live inside. Because of having short hair, they are prone to coldness and heat. For comfortable life, these pets need: active walks, interaction with people and free space. Before purchasing a dog, you should understand that Staffbulls like physical exercises. You need to walk them long and often enough: for at least 60 minutes a day. However, in winter, it is better to shorten the length of street walks to 10–15 minutes a day. Also, you should dress the dog up into a special costume when it is cold outside. Meanwhile, you should remember that simple walks are not enough for Staffbulls: they like running around, bringing branches, digging pits and other similar activities.
Health and Illnesses
Hip dysplasia is a genetic disorder that affects formation of the acetabulum by making it flat. Because of it, the head of the femoral bone gets dislocated and starts rubbing against the joint, destroying its structure. The dog feels pain after each move: it limps and holds the leg bent close to the body. It is impossible to cure dysplasia. However, if it is diagnosed in time, and treatment begins early enough, the development of the disease can be slowed down.
Volvulus is a congenital pathology due to which dog`s stomach gets formed in a wrong way. Because of volvulus, the pet develops abdominal bloating: gases and food leftovers get accumulated in its stomach. The dog starts feeling pain, vomits and stops walking. If help is not offered in time, the pet might die in 20–30 minutes. For that reason, as a prophylaxis, it is recommended not to overfeed the dog, and to walk the pet 1–1,5 hours after it ate.
Entropion is a condition in which the eyelid gets turned inward the eyeball. The pet starts feeling pain: its eye tears a lot, the cornea irritates and festers, conjunctivitis develops. Entropion can be surgically cured.
Cataract is a condition that affects the transparency of the lens in the eye. The lens focuses light rays on the retina. The darker the lens is, the worse the eyesight becomes. Cataract can be either congenital or acquired. The latter is diagnosed more often: especially older pets present it. It can be surgically cured.
Cushing syndrome increases the secretion of cortisole by the adrenal glands, which produce hormones that are important for the body. Adrenal glands consist of 2 layers: The adrenal cortex is responsible for cortisol production. It affects protein, carbohydrate and fat metabolism. It also activates energy reserves when needed. To add more, cortisol strengthens joints.
In most cases, a lot of cortisol gets produced during stressful situations. After that, its level normalizes. The secretion of cortisol is regulated by the brain and adrenal glands. Cushing syndrome affects their bonds, and the level of cortisol stops being regulated. Because of it, the pet gets thirsty, its hair structure gets damaged, wounds heal slowly, and fatigue develops. Most often, old dogs get diagnosed with the Cushing syndrome. It can be treated with medications.
History of the Breed
In the middle of the 19th century, dog owners decided to crossbreed Bulldogs and Terriers. That is how the breed of Bull and terrier was developed. These pets were not quick, but looked strong and muscular. Nobody was equal them in dog fights. They also inherited the skills for mice hunting. Englishmen started begging money and guessing which dog would suffocate more mice.
The popularity for Bull and terriers was rising: they started being brought from Britain and the USA. However, while dogs were used for fights in America, such way of entertainment became forbidden in England. However, dog owners continued breeding pets and experimenting on their appearance. That is how 3 varieties of the breed appeared:
- Cradley — small but muscular dogs with a well-developed skeleton. Modern Staffordshire Bull Terriers look similar to them.
- Varlaston are larger than Cradley, but with short legs.
- Varsol are more similar to Terriers, with long legs.
First Staffordshire Bull Terriers participated in a show in 1861. However, the breed was officially recognized only in 1939. In 1972, Staffbulls from the USA were renamed to American Staffordshire Terriers.