Traditionally bred for the purpose of bull-baiting, the original Staffordshire Bull Terrier was developed in county Staffordshire, the result of crossing between the Bulldog and various terriers. Once blood sports were finally dispensed with in Great Britain in 1835, the Staffy (or Stafford) became a popular companion dog, used as an efficient ratter and a fearless hunter. Like the AmStaff, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier was widely enlisted during WW1 as a messenger dog and sentry, and thus features prominently in military history. Despite having experienced some breed-bans and restrictions in recent years, interest in the breed has waned very little. The Staffordshire Bull Terrier was officially recognised by the Kennel Club in 1935.
Combining the traits of its forebears, the Staffy is a compact and stocky dog, characterised by a strong jaw, powerful body and muscular legs, low-set eyes, a broad face, a short to mid-length tail and high-set, pointed ears. The breed appears in solid or parti-colour, with most variations permissible, usually with patches or patterning on the stiff coat. Some colours such as tan, liver and black are highly undesirable. The Staffordshire Bull Terrier has experienced restrictions in recent years with conditions being placed on ownership, yet it remains highly desirable for its even temperament, distinctive structure and appearance.
The common conception of the Staffy is that of a vicious and unpredictable breed, possessing an aggressive instinct. Although the original Staffordshire Bull Terrier may have boasted these traits, such have been bred out of it for the purpose of establishing a more balanced and docile companion dog. The breed is said to be compatible with and devoted to children and, when properly trained, is a reliable guardian and companion. Determined, intelligent and territorial, the Staffy requires firm leadership and obedience training from an early age. On average, a healthy Staffordshire Bull Terrier weighs 13-17 kg, with a life expectancy of 10-15 years when cared for accordingly.
Despite being typically resilient, the Staffy is susceptible to a variety of inherited disorders, including thyroid disease, optical disorders and juvenile cataracts. As with most breeds, hip and elbow dysplasia occur occasionally, as do skin complaints.