What to know if you’re buying a… Staffordshire Bull Terrier

There are many aspects that potential dog owners need to consider before acquiring a dog or puppy, and each have their own unique personalities and health care needs.

Petplan takes a look at the origins, temperament and common health problems of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier…


Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Original use of breed:

Originally, Staffordshire Bull Terriers were known as fighting dogs when bear baiting was popular in the 1800s. During this time they were not yet recognised as a breed.

However, this changed in 1935 when breeders from Staffordshire’s Kennel Club met and formed the original Staffordshire Bull Terrier Club. These breeders changed the perception of the breed from fighting dogs to iconic pets.


The average Staffordshire Bull Terrier lives between 12 -14 years.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier personality:

Their temperament is one of love and care – these traits are often what attract owners to the breed. They are known to be bold, fearless, affectionate, eager to please, sensitive and loyal.

They have struggled with their reputation in recent years as the breed has been adopted as the dog of choice for those seeking a status symbol and even as a weapon substitute. Many also confuse the breed with Pit Bull Terriers which are banned in the UK under the Dangerous Dogs Act (1991). However; any dog in the wrong hands can be trained to be a fighting dog. Through no fault of their own, many are overlooked in rehoming centres as they are not seen as a ‘family dog’, with many waiting months to find a new home.

BUT Staffies have so much love to give! They are gentle, soppy creatures with a fun personality and love to play, plus they love children and simply want to just ‘be’ with their family. However; they can be aggressive towards other dogs, so ensuring they are socialised from an early age is hugely important. Although, training can sometimes be a challenge due to their stubbornness, so persistent and firm training is needed.

How much exercise a Staffordshire Bull Terrier needs:

Staffies have very high energy levels, needing lots of opportunity to run around or play. The recommended amount of exercise they need is 1-2 hours, ideal for fitting in a walk and playtime with kids.

Potential health problems for Staffordshire Bull Terriers:

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier breed, like all dogs, can be susceptible to certain health issues. These include:

Patellar Luxation:

The patellar is better known as the kneecap, with Patellar Luxation occurring when the kneecap slips out and dislocates. It is common in Staffordshire Bull Terriers as they are a smaller breed of dog, yet they are still quite heavy. They carry a lot of weight, but don’t necessarily have strong enough ligaments to support themselves.

The condition can especially flare when dogs are excitable and playing. Dogs naturally put a lot of stress on their front legs when exercising, so it is no shock that Staffies who have a high energy rate are at more risk of dislocating their patellar.

Symptoms include struggling to straighten their knee, limping and pain.

Hereditary Juvenile Cataracts:

Unfortunately, this condition has been inherited within the breed since the 1970’s. The condition causes the lens of the eye to become progressively opaque and it often begins to develop at an early age. It can progress to total blindness in a Staffie by 2-3 years old.  There is little in the way of prevention for the condition, but you can test your dog to see how likely it is that they will pass on the condition to any puppies.

Skin Allergies:

There is one skin allergy in particular that is common in Staffies – Atopic Dermatitis. It can be brought on through numerous factors, such as an improper diet that is too rich in grain or seasonal allergies.

As with all pets, it’s vital you have the right insurance to ensure your pet has access to the best care possible. Visit Petplan’s dog insurance page to see which policy is right for your dog.

Have you got a Staffordshire Bull Terrier? Have you got advice for anyone considering getting one? Let us know in the comments below….