Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Origin and Brief History
Ranking in the top five of the most popular English breeds, the “Staffy” or Staffordshire Bull Terrier has distanced themselves from an unflattering attachment to their ancestral heritage as a fighting dog. Prior to the 18th century the breed was commonly utilized inhumanely in what were known as blood sports, like bull baiting, or bear baiting. This terrier variety was so powerful they were used to attack a bull brought to market to tenderize the meat, all the while offering appalling amusement for royalty and casual spectators. British law rightfully eliminated these heinous activities in the early 1800’s therefore allowing the Staffordshire to outgrow this undeserved iniquitous aspect of their heritage.
The muscular structure of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, similar to many of their close relatives, exudes a sense of macho bravado and toughness. True, the dog’s appearance with a sturdy and striking pose can appear ominous. Do not be fooled by this macho bravado look, as the breed is far more a lover than a fighter. Fact of the matter is the Staffy loves to be around humans, regardless of the activity. They thrive on playing long and hard, or can be seen lounging comfortably beside their masters, appearing to enjoy watching a television program as much as the human being. Most all bull terrier breeds have an air of portentousness, slightly territorial and protective of their space, but perform exceedingly well when gradually exposed to children and other animals, adapting well to all environments. A Staffy puppy, raised along side a small child, has been known to be a dear playmate, plus a dutiful guardian.
One of the most endearing characteristics of the Staffy is the simplicity of grooming. Staffordshire’s have a tight cut, short coat of fur, although it does shed lightly throughout the year. Clean ears and clipped nails are a priority with the breed, as well is dutiful attention to a healthy condition of their skin as they have a tendency to dry out. Skin conditions can become a health issue, not to mention create an uncomfortable itchy situation for the dog. Since Bull Terriers in general have this mild propensity to develop skin conditions, using a hypoallergenic shampoo, then giving the animal a secondary bath to be certain of a thorough rinsing can help prevent problems from developing. Finishing the bath will a cool water rinse down is not only refreshing, but also can help in this area.
Specifications of Breed
The earliest ancestral traits of this breed of the Bull Terrier were not maintained to resemble the loving companion type animals we see presently as household pets worldwide. The build is still strong and muscular, but the temperament has gone the way of mystical legend. Males of the species range from the lower end of the medium dog spectrum, commonly weighing just less than 40 pounds, with the female counterpart most often about 5 pounds lighter than a male of comparable height. The standard height is usually a few inches less than a foot and half tall which visually might not appear to correspond accurately with the average poundage if the observer were not aware of the characteristic stocky muscular frame.
Health wise, the Staffy is as free from general medically serious conditions as most dog breeds, but does have a higher than normal inclination to develop Hereditary Cataracts, so attention to eye cleaning is advised. There is also a rare dementia-like symptom that can lead to unnatural behavioral changes in the dog, but this condition can be detected through DNA testing. As underserved as the stereotype is, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier’s appearance may well be the most difficult stigma a prospective owner will need to overcome. In part as a result of their undeserved written heritage, plus because of an unjustified prejudice due to their illegal use by humans, the Bull Terrier’s in general are erroneously viewed as a potentially dangerous pet. Simply not the truth, and the animal will prove to require as much or more love and kindness than any pet brought into the home.
image credit wikipedia.org