If love could be personified in an animal, then the Staffordshire bull terrier would be it. This dog forms very strong attachments with their human family and will enthusiastically display this devotion for its entire lifetime of between 10 and 16 years.
The Staffordshire bull terrier is a powerfully muscled breed with strength that belies its size. Strong jaws in a short, broad skull combined with a powerful stance could give it a threatening look, yet this dog almost always appears to be smiling, and probably is. Its coat is short and smooth and can be a variety of colours, which usually, but not always includes white patches. Males are generally 14 to 16 inches tall at the shoulder with a weight of between 25 to 39 pounds, while females are an inch shorter with a 2 to 3 pound weight difference. This dog is fast with agility to match, which served them well in 19th century Britain when they were bred to be fighting dogs. For this reason too, they can sometimes display a measure of aggression towards other breeds and need to be socialised early. They are highly intelligent and totally dedicated to whatever cause is current, whether this is chasing a ball, chewing a toy or licking their owner’s face.
The Staffordshire bull terrier is definitely a lover and not a fighter. It does everything with great enthusiasm and a seemingly endless supply of energy. They trust quite freely and love abundantly and no dog is their equal when it comes to being good with children. They will put up with an enormous amount of prodding and pulling from the very young, while showing the type of patience and restraint that most human mothers often find themselves begging for.
Staffordshire bull terriers love being in the company of their family and, therefore, they do not do that well if they are required to live in an outside kennel. However, they have a great fondness for chewing and would need to be thoroughly house-trained to prevent them from eating the furniture. Because of the strength of their jaws, they should be provided with a variety of durable toys on which to chew; cheap plastics will be totally destroyed in a matter of minutes.
The high energy level of the Staffordshire bull terrier requires lots of game-playing in an outdoor environment, although owners with swimming pools must be aware that this dog is not a good swimmer. Long walks are essential, but the animal should always be leashed in public to prevent any nasty encounters with other dogs. Besides its huge appetite for play, the Staffordshire bull terrier also loves to dig, which is another reason that they cannot be trusted to be in a garden alone. These dogs are highly trainable, though, but need every member of a family to establish their dominance if they are to behave well.
The Staffordshire bull terrier’s love of people and companionship sometimes leads to over exuberance, and every member of the family should participate in reinforcing the firm commands that are necessary to control its enthusiasm. Any sign of weakness will quickly be exploited by this intelligent breed, and training in appropriate behaviour will be delayed. Firmness, patience and consistency are essential to successful training and harsh measures should never be considered. The Staffie loves love and will return any shown to it in spades. Once trained to accept authority, this dog becomes the picture of devotion and will use every ounce of its immense courage to defend its loved ones.
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