Staffordshire Bull Terriers, Misconceptions


Staffordshire Bull Terriers,

Why Do They Have Such A Bad Reputation?

Anyone who has ever walked around a dog rescue centre in the UK will know that there is a higher percentage of Staffordshire Bull Terriers than any other breed looking for forever homes. Due to the high numbers, there is less chance that they will be rehomed quickly. Consequently, hundreds are put to sleep through no fault of their own.

Why do Staffie’s end up homeless?

1. They are bred to be ‘status’ dogs.

The muscular body and large jaw give the impression that these dogs are menacing. In fact, they are far from it. Without suitable training, any dog can become aggressive and even the smallest breeds can produce a nasty bite if they are handled incorrectly. This breed is often seen accompanied by gangs of youths or chained outside buildings. When an owner realises how much work is involved, the dogs are discarded, handed to dog fighters or passed on to another unsuitable owner. The breed is well known for being quick to learn and eager to please, however, the downside to this is that they can easily pick up bad behaviour just as quickly.

2 Overbreeding

These dogs are still being bred and sold on for large amounts of money, despite rescues overflowing with them. If the dogs are not neutered there is a high chance they can produce many litters over a lifetime. Surplus puppies end up in rescue and the breeders just go on to breed from them again.. a vicious circle!

Due to unresponsible breeding, SBTs are often part of mixed breeds or mongrels, but the offspring still strongly resemble the Staffie. Therefore, a dangerous dog may only be part Staffie but because of their appearance, the Staffie breed gets a bad reputation.

3 Bad Press

We have all seen upsetting headlines concerning Staffordshire Bull Terriers. Unfortunately, when unscrupulous breeders produce litters just to make money they are not going to care who is buying them. A Staffie is a powerful dog which needs a good training programme starting with a good breeder, then on to the owner at 9-12 weeks. Any dog which is not trained properly can become aggressive, it is not fair to blame Staffordshire Bull Terriers. Sadly, this breed is more likely to live their lives on the end of chains, given no social training and unneutered.

4 The similarity to Pit Bull Terriers.

The Dangerous Dog Act prohibits ownership of certain breeds including the Pit Bull Terrier which has a physical resemblance to the SBT. The Pit Bull Terrier is considered a ‘dangerous dog’ and can be seized by the police.

The Act is often criticised for taking an approach of ‘banning the breed rather than the deed’. Dog Experts believe that the dog’s temperament is due to the way a dog is bred and trained rather than his/her actual breed.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier


Dispelling the Myths

Far from the Staffordshire Bull Terrier being a dangerous breed they have been described as the ‘Nanny Dog’ . These dogs adore human contact and have a maternal tendency towards children.

Staffies are believed to have a bigger bite pressure than any other dog. However, when tested, the German Shepherd, Doberman, and  Rottweiler had greater bite pressure *

Another myth is that Staffordshire Bull Terriers are not good with other dogs,  In fact, Staffies are just as likely to be the ‘nanny’ to other dogs in the home and often live harmoniously with cats. Again, socialisation is a top priority.

People also believe that Staffie’s have a ‘locking jaw’, where the top and bottom jaws lock together. This is also a myth. Police dogs are trained to hold on to suspects until instructed otherwise but no dog has the capability to ‘lock’ its jaw. Instinctively, terriers will hold on for dear life, but should be trained to ‘leave’ on command.


What can be done?

1 Stop irresponsible breeding, neuter, spay and consider rehoming a Staffordshire Bull Terrier rather than buying one.

2 Socialise, attend puppy classes and promote reputable training programmes in SBT puppies

3 Encourage the government to crack down on back street breeders, dog fighting, and dog neglect.

4 Give these lovely dogs a chance!

Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Positives of owning a Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Great for first-time dog owners, easy to train, eager to please.

People orientated dogs, great for families.

They love to play and will attach themselves to a favourite toy.

Good with children with the nickname, ‘The Nanny Dog’

Only require minimal grooming.

They have big personalities and show loyalty and devotion.

SBTs are adaptable to change, as long as they still have their family around them.

They will only bark when absolutely necessary.

Staffies pick up on people’s feelings instinctively, they are tuned in and adapt to how their owner is feeling.

They are known to greet strangers in a friendly way, with a waggy tail and relaxed state of mind.

Negatives of owning a Staffordshire Bull Terrier

They need training from day one with a firm but fair approach.

Staffies can suffer from separation anxiety, they hate being alone, therefore a home where the owner is mostly at home is advised.

SBTs require mental stimulation and exercise, boredom can lead to destructive behaviour, provide plenty of tough chew sticks or Kong toys.

They can have a stubborn streak and will choose to ignore commands if the mood takes them.

Some will try to test boundaries, therefore, they need to be set firm rules right from the start.

Like most dogs, Staffies shed their fur, especially in Spring and Autumn, this can be minimised by investing in a good quality grooming tool.

I would really love to hear all your positive stories about these delightful dogs. Comment below if you know an adorable Staffordshire Bull Terrier. Let’s try to get this breed the reputation that it deserves.

Adopt A Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Dogs Trust

Additional Reading

Overlooked Dogs In Rescue

Things To Know Before Adopting A Rescue Dog








7 thoughts on “Staffordshire Bull Terriers, Misconceptions”

  1. My first foster dog was a stuffy.a breed so mistreated.there is no aggression in them unless it is taught but then it is the same for every breed and they are so good and gentle with kids.😍

  2. I’ve had a few,breeds o dogs f labs too.but my staff has been the best dog .she’s always been great with kids and other animals she looks after puppies and is great with cats

  3. I own a Staffy and all our neighbours love him, ones in her 80s and I sometimes worry he will push her over if he jumps up to lick her but he’s so gentle with her. We thought something was wrong with him when he was a puppy because we never heard him bark, he was 14 months when we first heard him bark and it was only when another dog went crazy at him from the other side of the road. I stopped taking him to parks because by the time he was 4 months he’d been attacked probably 5 times by other “friendly” dogs at parks and he never reacted aggressively

    Brilliant dog he’s part of the family my kids love him

    Oh one last thing, I was playing patter cake (old hand clapping game) with my daughter she was around 12 at the time we were stood in the hall way and within a few seconds of us clapping hands out Staffy came running out the living room stood between us and started barking at me… he thought I was hurting my daughter I was so proud of him 😊

    1. What a lovely dog! Thank you for sharing your story, Staffy’s get a lot of bad press, we should hear more positive characteristics about these wonderful dogs.

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