Though closely related, the English Staffordshire Terrier, sometimes referred to as the English Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and the American Pit Bull Terrier, are not one and the same, although they share some of the characteristics common to most bull terriers. Nor is the English Staffordshire Terrier quite the same as its American counterpart, the American Staffordshire Bull Terrier, the American Staffordshire being nearly twice as large as the English Staffordshire. Aside from that, the features and temperaments of the two breeds are quite similar. The Pit Bull Terrier has of course gained the reputation as being unpredictable and vicious. While there is some truth to this, most pit bulls are in fact friendly and quite obedient. There have however been enough incidents to make many distrustful towards the breed.
The English Staffordshire – Not A Vicious Breed
There are still those however who equate the English Staffordshire Terrier with the Pit Bull, and consider it to be a dangerous breed. This is simply not true. For one thing, the English Staffordshire is a smaller dog, although when it shows its teeth, it can be quite intimidating. The English Staffordshire is a very brave dog, and it is a fierce fighter for a dog its size, but it is mostly known as a breed that is very fond of people, as well as being a safe dog to have around children. The breed is in fact noted for its tolerance of children, earning the nickname “Nanny Dog” in England. The Staffordshire can be, and often is, protective of the people it is around, especially children, but is not known for being particularly protective of property. This, together with the fact that it is not a particularly noisy dog, and not known to bark a great deal, can make it a rather poor guard dog. It can serve as a good watchdog however, simply due to the fact that it can look a great deal more aggressive and unfriendly than it really is. It is in all respects a very tough looking little dog. The Staffordshire is often more apt to show affection towards a stranger than to show aggression.
Where To Find Information On The Breed
Many owners refer to the breed as either the “Stafford” or “English Stafford”. This breed has been registered with the American Kennel Club (AKC) since 1975. A great deal of information about the Staffordshire can be found on the AKC website, and also on the website of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier Club of America (SBTCA). Unfortunately, both websites do not always make a clear distinction between the American Staffordshire and the English Staffordshire, except to note that the English Staffordshire was here first! Since the characteristics of the two breeds are so similar, the information presented is generally valid for either breed. The fact that one of the Staffordshire's ancestors is the English bulldog can be seen in the Staffordshire's body, which is rather round and a bit chunky, or as some would say, “fully packed”.
Caring For The English Staffordshire
Who should own an English Staffordshire? The answer is probably anyone who will take the time to see that this highly energetic dog gets its daily exercise, and anyone who is going to take the time to ensure the dog is given obedience lessons at an early age, so its tendency towards being quite mouthy when it is a puppy is not allowed to become a problem once the dog matures. Because the Staffordshire is so very affectionate towards people, it does not like to be left alone for what it would consider to be a lengthy period of time. It will be tolerant of other household pets when introduced into a household as a puppy, and when the other pets are already there, but it may not be quite so tolerant when other animals are brought into the household once it has established residence. The Staffordshire is at times unfriendly towards other breeds, and often delights in chasing a cat that has chosen to run from it.
An owner of an English Staffordshire should also be aware of the fact that due to its rather stoic nature, this breed will not often show pain or give any indication that it is ill. While it has few inherited afflictions to contend with, the Staffordshire is sometimes prone to injury because of its fearless and energetic nature. As a puppy, it will tend to chew on anything within reach, including furniture and electrical cords. When outside, it may try to tunnel under a fence it cannot jump over. The English Staffordshire has a reputation as being an escape artist. Most importantly, like its cousin the English Bulldog, the English Staffordshire Terrier does not tolerate heat well, and should not be allowed to spend too much time in the hot sun. The Staffordshire is particularly at risk when being left in a car on a hot day. The breed does not tolerate extreme cold either. As far as this breed is concerned, warm and cozy is the rule.