The Staffordshire Bull Terrier: Loyal Family Friend
By Kim Reeder for Exceptional
The Staffordshire bull terrier, “Staffie” or “Stafford”, is
an intelligent, trustworthy, affectionate (especially with children)
and tolerant dog who makes a great mate. Easy to maintain with
a wonderful temperament, they’re the ultimate family pet.
From Fighter to Friend
Bred in the 1800s in the English midlands for bull and bear
baiting, these dogs were always pets as well as fighters. The
breadwinners for some families, they would earn money in the
pits then go home in the pram with the baby.
A rare breed in Australia in the early 1950s, the prediction
by veterinarian Paul Pemberton that the Staffie “will one day
be running the streets” has been fulfilled, as it is now one
of the top five most popular breeds in Australia.
Its short, smooth coat and medium size mean the Staffie is
suited to urban or rural life -- and make it ideal for a family
home in the suburbs.
A Family Dog
The loyal, fun and active Staffie just wants to be a part of
the family, and will go anywhere. Your Stafford will go swimming
at the beach, skateboarding at the park or even fishing -- as
long as you’re there too.
They can’t live without people and are particularly good with
children -- you’ll often find them “minding” the kids for you.
If they’re segregated to the backyard, they can be destructive,
pulling down the washing or digging in the garden.
Training the Staffie
The Staffie has had unfair reputation for aggression over the
years. However, you’ll find that a badly behaved Staffie is
the result of environment rather than breeding. In other words,
the dog has been in the wrong hands. Strong in both body and
mind, the Staffie needs a committed owner who will act as a
pack leader, so make sure it knows that you’re the boss.
This intelligent breed is very responsive to positive reinforcement
training -- they will do anything for you, as all they want
to do is please. If you are firm and clear in your directions,
you will be rewarded. Staffies are capable of reaching the highest
heights in obedience titles.
Because of their high energy, it’s necessary to walk these
dogs at least twice a day, and ensure they’re not left alone
for too long. Take them to a friendly dog park with a ball to
release some energy -- they’re fantastic fly ball dogs.
As for how your Staffie will interact with other pets, it comes
down to how you a rear your pup. If you socialise him with other
animals from a young age, they will end up the best of friends.
Finally, all Staffies need a lair, so set up a crate somewhere
in your home where they can go to sleep and for some well-deserved
time out. Look after your Staffie with a nutritionally balanced
diet and by exercising both his body and mind, and you’ll have
a loyal companion for up to 15 years.
Like this article? Get more by following us @ExceptionalCanine
or friending us on
Photo: Corbis Images
Kim Reeder of Gamester Staffords is
part of the Reeder family who have been owners, breeders, exhibitors,
importers and exporters of Australia's top award-winning Staffordshire
Bull Terriers since 1968. She is also a member of the Staffordshire
Bull Terrier Club of NSW.