Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Initially a bull-baiting dog, this breed developed in the early 1800's by crossing the old British bulldogges with local hunting terriers in England, such as the English White Terrier and the Manchester Terrier. The result was a dog combining the immense physical strength of early bulldogs with the tenacity and prey-drive of terriers, creating a whole new category of dogs, the so-called Bull & Terrier group. Contrary to popular belief, the breed was named after a bar where the first Standard was written up and not after Staffordshire County.
Regarded as the first of its kind, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier was hugely influential in inspiring other bulldog/terrier crosses throughout England and Ireland. When bull-baiting was banned in 1835, the S.B.T. proved itself to be the ultimate dog fighter of the day, which resulted in spawning an endless list of worldwide outcrosses and improvements which eventually matched, and then surpassed the original Bull & Terrier breed. Once the Staffy became a popular pet and Show dog, some old strains were re-classified as separate breeds in their own right, as is the case with the Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier, which is still a well-respected working dog today.
Today, this is a very different dog, modified over the past 100 years in terms of temperament and personality traits, while retaining its impressive physical appearance. The body is muscular and strongly boned, with a powerful head and neck. Even though the breed is fully standardized and recognizable, there are 2 main types of the S.B.T. encountered today, these being the terrier and bully variety, differentiated by their physical built, one being lighter and more agile, while the other is a bit more massive and slightly larger, as preferred for the Show ring. An affectionate family dog, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is very gentle with children and friendly with people, even strangers. But it still shows signs of dog-aggression, which is why it needs proper handling.
Smooth, short coat comes in all colours, from white to fawn to black, as well as various bicolours, although black-n-tan dogs are undesirable. Average height is around 16 inches, but taller examples exist.