Origin of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Dogs believed to be the ancestors of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier lived in England for over 250 years. Miners in central England, including in the county of Staffordshire, bred and kept the dogs. These were small and beefy. They shouldn’t be particularly big, since they lived with the workers in their small apartments.

Worth knowing: The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is not to be confused with the American Staffordshire Terrier. This breed, which originated in the USA, is larger, among other things. However, this developed from the same ancestors at the end of the 19th century.

Staffordshire Bull Terriers were also used to look after the children, earning them the nickname “Nanny Dog”. First, however, they were used to eliminate and kill rats, which turned into a competition. In this bloody so-called rat biting, the dog that killed as many rats as possible in the shortest possible time won.

From around 1810 the Staffordshire Bull Terrier had made a name for itself as the favorite dog breed for dog fighting. Not least because they are considered to be strong and capable of suffering. With the sale of puppies, competitions, and dog races, one wanted to generate additional income in order to improve the poor wages of the blue-collar profession.

Worth knowing: The dogs were crossed with other terriers and collies.

The bull and terrier, as they were still called at the time, was also a status symbol for the working class in the coalfields. Breeding goals were courageous, tenacious dogs that were willing to cooperate with humans.

Interesting: Even today, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is one of the most commonly kept dog breeds in England.

When such dog fighting was banned in England in 1835, the breeding goal focused on the family-friendly trait of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

According to the breed standard, intelligence and child and family friendliness are the main goals when breeding Staffordshire Bull Terriers. 100 year later, in 1935, the Kennel Club (the umbrella organization of British dog breed clubs) recognized the dog breed as a separate breed.

Worth knowing: Since its recognition in 1935, the breed standard has changed a lot. The biggest change was reducing the expected height by 5.1 cm without also adjusting the maximum weight. That is why the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is quite a heavy dog for its size.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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