Wondering how to breed Staffordshire Bull Terriers? Read up this article to learn about breeding Staffies the right and ethical way.
The healthy Staffordshire Bull Terrier breed is the most popular bully breed in several countries, including England. Its gentle yet stocky and muscular appearance is appealing to families throughout the world.
Background of Staffordshire Bull Terrier Breeding
Historians are divided on the origins of Staffordshire Bull Terrier breeding. Mainly, there are two theories explaining the breed’s origins.
While one suggests, that breeding Staffordshire Bull Terriers was a conscious decision, made by mating the mixed bred Bull & Terrier with the massive English Bulldog. This was done, to create a breed that was fit to fight as well as hunt rats to end the vermin menace in those days.
Another theory, which is less popular, but nevertheless fits, is that the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a direct descendant of the Bulldog, albeit a smaller version of it.
Dunn, Mallen & Walls
A breeder called Joseph Dunn is believed to have created and promoted the Staffordshire Bull Terrier as a separate breed. Alongside him, were other pioneers like John Mallen and Tom Walls also contributed greatly to the popularity of this breed.
In 1930, people sat up and took notice of the Staffie – a gorgeous, mid-sized cutie that was making appearances in the ads section of the newspaper. Soon enough, its popularity grew. Those who had one as a pet swore by the dog’s amazing ability to be a darling companion. By 1933, various kennel clubs had begun to acknowledge this breed owing to the efforts to some very devoted breeders, including Dunn and Mallen.
While fluctuations in their ranking are normal, the Staffie is usually in the top ten preferred dogs on US and UK rankings.
The Staffordshire Terrier has been gaining popularity worldwide, especially in the UK and USA. While it was always a preferred breed, its popularity skyrocketed after the law banned certain breeds – but not the Staffie. American Pit Bull Terriers were the first to go. This gave the easygoing, happy, loving, caring and trustworthy Staffie a direct entry into households and hearts. People have taken to adopting, buying and breeding the Staffordshire Terrier owing to its amazing temperament – a quality that not all Terriers possess.
Also, a lot of its popularity can be attributed to the medium size. The Staffie is not too large or too bulky for a small apartment and it is not toy-sized either.
Staffordshire Terriers are stocky, muscularly built, mid-sized dogs with alert eyes and a snub nose. They have very short coats that come in a variety of colors and shades, including but not limited to:
- brindle, and
- brindle with white.
A lot of Staffies flaunt a shiny black coat at times. These are all accepted at most kennels. However, the AKC does not accept liver colored coats. Also, they do not acknowledge Staffies that are too white! So a dog with a coat that is about 80% white is acceptable.
Male Staffordshire Bull Terriers can grow up to 19 inches; the females grow up to a height of 17-18 inches. The weight of these stocky little Staffies ranges from 24 pounds to 38 pounds. Their large heads, shrewd eyes, and short legs are misleading because contrary to their thickset appearance, they can be very agile.
Their muscular body gives their chest a “sprung out” look making them look super confident as they move.
The Staffordshire Terrier is fun loving yet caring and protective. It is a highly adaptable dog breed and fits in just right, anywhere. It is active and can play with kids but it also has every quality of a quiet family dog that simply settles down to cuddle with the rest of the clan.
Staffies are extremely loyal. They are peace-loving too but sometimes, they can get very stubborn, it is one of the few Terriers, who are known to have abilities like these. Over the past 100 years or so, the Staffie has evolved into being a gentle, caring dog breed. For those who are on the fence about breeding Staffordshire Terriers – don’t be! They’re perfect for a small or big home, large or nuclear family or even if you’re alone and need a therapeutic lending ear.
If started early, Staffies can be highly trainable, allowing you to mold them any way you wish to. Aggression can be an occurrence but with the right amount of exercise, socializing and correct treatment, a Staffordshire Terrier is the best and calmest furry friend.
A Dangerous Breed
Staffies are a little infamous for being more aggressive than most dog breeds. There can be some truth to this given their lineage and some statistics floating around. Just like Bull Terriers, Staffordshire Terriers were also originally bred to fight other dogs. They are born hunters and were used to hunt out rodents.
But those were the days of the past. The Staffie today has evolved into a brilliant family dog with a lot of love and loyalty to give. They can still be aggressive but generally only when humans are not careful.
Think of it this way.
There is a varying amount of aggression lying dormant in every dog. It only rears its ugly head when the dog feels threatened or when its expectations are not being met. Owning a Staffie would involve tons of rigorous exercise. If kept cooped up brimming with so much energy, they are most likely to chew up your shoes and furniture. They also need a good amount of socializing, right from the beginning, this way they will not fear and attack other humans and dogs.
Stubborn as a brick, if the dog has made up its mind to fight another dog, there is no backing out of it. That’s something they are built to do so you can’t help that either, but you can keep your precious Staffie out of harm’s way by training them right. Even the AKC has acknowledged the fact that the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a safe dog breed to have around children.
Health Concerns While Breeding Staffordshire Terriers
The average lifespan of a Staffordshire Terrier is about 12 to 14 years. However, the breed has been known to live up to 18 years in some instances.
They are a fairly healthy breed with certain genetic predispositions towards issues like skin problems, eye problems, and canine dysplasia. Here are some health issues to be concerned about if you own or breed Staffordshire Terriers.
Hereditary cataracts affect over 8% of the total population of Staffordshire Terriers in the US alone.
Inherited cataracts cause rapid vision loss. For someone who is breeding Staffordshire Terriers, performing reliable and regular DNA tests is very important, to screen the gene pool of a defective litter out. If a particular dog is inclined towards this disease, you must find out to what extent it is so. If it’s not too high, you could still mate it with a healthy partner and expect a disease-free litter. A litter suffers from this disease when both parents are carriers of this heterozygous mutation – meaning both of them to have a faulty gene. In such cases, the puppies will sure shot have it too.
The most awful part about this disease is that it causes progressive vision loss in the Staffies. Moreover, because it is genetic, it starts at birth. So, by the time the Staffie is 2-3 years old, they may go completely blind.
The best way to prevent it is to perform a simple genetic test and make sure that neither parent has the faulty gene.
Mast Cell Tumors
Staffordshire Bull Terriers are more prone to cancers and tumors than many other dog breeds. The scary thing about it is that tumors often start very young in this breed.
If you own or breed Staffordshire Bull Terriers, always look for skin tags, lesions, and lumps with absolute attention. When detected early, you can actually save your dog from them. Early detection and surgical removal of these cancerous tumors can work wonders.
One of the most common cell tumors that Staffies often get diagnosed with is Hemangiosarcoma – a tumor that grows on the spleen. Because it is inside the body, it often goes unnoticed before its too late. Which is why, when you breed a Staffordshire Bull Terrier you must always get frequent blood tests and skin tests done. It is not until after the tumor breaks and starts bleeding inside the body, that cancer shows up.
L-2 Hydroxyglutaric Aciduria
A genetic disorder that makes dogs go through extremely excruciating problems like seizures, aneurysms, ataxia, and dementia. L-2 Hydroxyglutaria aciduria is a condition that was seen in humans for the longest time. However, sometime around the late 1900s, the Staffordshire Terrier breed started showing symptoms of this disorder too.
Epilepsy-like fits and seizures, wobbly walking, tremors and cramping of hind legs and a lot of behavioral changes show up when your Staffie gets this terrible disorder. This is when you sit up and start paying attention to their behavior. If your Staffordshire Bull Terrier starts being disoriented and disobedient or fails to follow orders, you might want to take him to a vet and get him checked up.
Double eyelashes (Distichiasis)
Of the handful of health issues that Staffordshire Bull Terriers have, eye problems are probably the most common. If your method of breeding Staffordshire Bull Terriers isn’t correct, it may even lead to them having double eyelashes – a condition called distichiasis.
Now, while this may seem like a very harmless disorder, caused by improper breeding, the problem is much deeper. The clumps of extra lashes brush against the cornea of the eye, causing scratches and hurting the eye, sometimes irreparably. As irritating as this disorder is, it can be safely avoided by simply breeding the Staffordshire Terriers right.
Persistent Hyperplastic Primary Vitreous
Persistent Hyperplastic Primary Vitreous makes the dog’s vision blurry. This means, that to them, everything starts to appear cloudy, as of you’re wearing dirty glasses. In a way, this disorder is akin to partial blindness.
Yes, yet another eye-related disorder (Staffordshire Terriers face a lot of eye problems).
This disorder happens as a result of extra tissue forming on the dog’s oculus. When the blood supply becomes excessive or does not recess when it should, it starts to create flesh on the inside of the eye, making the dog’s vision cloudy.
Primarily, Persistent Hyperplastic Primary Vitreous (PHVP) is a hereditary disorder. It is also believed that it is a condition that develops in the embryo, as early as 4-5 weeks after conception. The blood vessels, which are supposed to help develop the eye, fail to get reabsorbed in the body of the mother, causing to set the ball rolling for future problems in the dog. Sadly though, the symptoms are not easily traceable and there aren’t simple treatments for this condition either.
A simple screening can help you avoid this condition altogether. If you know a dog has PHPV, don’t breed your Staffie with it and save the litter from a lifetime of irritating vision impairment.
Staffordshire Terriers are known to be extremely prone to suffer from hip and elbow dysplasia. A condition that causes the bone joints to develop poorly, resulting in long-term arthritis-like pain in adult dogs. This breed is also known to suffer from thyroid, with their thyroid glands swelling up and resulting in various kidney and liver-related issues.
Staffies are also known to suffer from a lot of skin-related issues and allergies apart from other things. They are more prone to suffering from sensitive skin than other dog breeds are, making it very important for an owner or a breeder, to keep a check on their hygiene quality and pay adequate attention to their grooming needs as well.
How To Breed Staffordshire Bull Terriers
Breeding Staffordshire Bull Terriers is uncomplicated thanks to smooth pregnancies. They are usually healthy and very low maintenance.
A mother Staffie will usually begin to lose appetite, start vomiting and display extreme restlessness before she goes into labor. You may even notice her building a ‘nest’ with soft, cushiony materials like towels, napkins or anything she finds around the house. This is believed to be the mother’s way of prepping for the arrival of the pups, by creating a landing ground for them.
On average, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier gives birth to 5 to 7 puppies. This breed is known to be bold, courageous and affectionate and litters have very low mortality rates.
Increasing the puppy count is not really in your hands. It is a conjunction of the overall fitness of both parents as well as the size of the mother.
The umbrella term for birthing difficulties in dogs is dystocia. Usually, most dogs will give birth without any external help or with very minimal help from vets. However, during dystocia, a female will need support, medically and otherwise to birth the dogs.
Birthing difficulties when breeding Staffordshire Bull Terriers can range from anything between puppies being stuck in the birthing canal to contractions that last way too long. Labor in dogs is a long and intensive process and with dystocia, it becomes worse. These can occur anytime, before or during birth. If not treated on time, it could lead to fatal outcomes like stillborn or premature pups or even the death of the mother.
To ensure that your Staffordshire Bull Terrier is not in harm’s way, simply ensure that a vet is around when she is giving birth. If not physically present, they are at least available on call. Keep a lookout for symptoms of dystocia. Heavy breathing, frequent vomiting, loss of appetite are all signs that your dog may not have a normal birth.
Nursing is particularly complicated in Staffordshire Bull Terriers that have previously been diagnosed with mast cell tumors. Whelping mothers may not be able to produce milk if they have ever been diagnosed with mast cell tumors.
Hence, it is essential for breeders of Staffies to be prepared for feeding the puppies with a bottle. If the dog is undergoing chemotherapy treatments, it is best that you don’t mate them. Even after they are completely cured of their cancer. It could backfire terribly and cancer could be passed onto the puppies too.
Be very aware of the male and female you are about to mate – always prefer proven parents!
Questions about Staffies
Staffies are mid-sized and can fit into any apartment or house. They do require their share of exercise but they are extremely adaptable to various conditions. Their temperament also makes them very good dogs for children as well as families.
A lot of questions surround Staffordshire Bull Terriers. Most likely because they are a popular a bull-terrier type of breeds. Here are answers to frequently asked questions and feel free to comment below!
What is the preferred kennel club for Staffies?
The American Kennel Club (AKC) accepts Staffordshire Bull Terriers. They are classified under bull types and even the AKC has mentioned the Staffie as one of those Terrier breeds that are sweet tempered and family friendly.
The United Kennel Club (UKC) is another standard classic kennel club that also accepts Staffies. The UKC goes a step further in helping breeders maintain the quality of the breed and constantly update them about breeding Staffordshire Bull Terriers. The UKC focuses on the total dog – one that looks, behaves, and works equally well! This makes UKC also a good choice for anyone who wants to register their Staffie and at the same time, be well aware of how to handle the breed. Under the UKC, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is listed under the Terriers group. Moreover, the UKC is also pretty focused on breeds similar to Pit bulls and so Staffies have an added advantage here.
The main thing, when choosing a kennel club for your Staffie, is to ensure that it is credible and well connected. While there are special kennel clubs for certain dog breeds, there isn’t one for the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. We’d suggest you go with the most standard ones. Be wary of random fees for much smaller-scale kennel clubs.
Can the Staffordshire Bull Terrier be legally bred and owned?
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier can be legally owned and bred in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. While a lot of terriers and bulldogs are banned across the UK and USA, the Staffie isn’t on the list.
All of these laws that promote the banning of certain breeds have a loophole. The dog can be exempted from the ban if they can prove that it is safe to be around people. And that it will not harm others around it. If a dog can prove so, even a dog from a banned breed is allowed in families.
In the case of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, they often get confused for being banned dogs, because of their resemblance to the Pit Bull. The Pit Bull has been banned from various countries owing to its aggressive behavior and bloody past. The Staffie, however, is perfectly legal to be owned and bred.
Is the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, a Pit Bull?
Although the physical resemblance between the two dog breeds is uncanny, they are far from being the same dog.
For starters, while the appearance is similar, there are certain nuances that set them apart. The Staffie is stockier and heavier than the Pit Bull. The Pit Bull, on the other hand, grows taller than a Staffordshire Bull Terrier does, Apart from this basic difference, both the dogs are very different in terms of behavior and aggression. The Staffie is a people’s dog – it can work very well with a family and is known to have a soft spot for kids.
The Pit Bull, on the other hand, is very aggressive and is known to be slightly untrustworthy around children. The loyalty of a Staffie is far greater than that of a Pit Bull.
So for those who love Pit Bulls but are scared of having them around for fear of it being too risky, the Staffie is a brilliant substitute!
Are Staffordshire Bull Terriers good with kids?
Staffordshire Bull Terriers are one of the safest breeds to have around children. If you start them young and teach them how to socialize and be comfortable around humans, you can train them well.
Despite being a terrier breed, Staffordshire Bull Terriers are extremely fun-loving, warm and affectionate. They fit into families very well and can play with the kids and curl up with their parents later. They show little to no aggression and are known to be extremely patient with humans, making them excellent family dogs for those looking for a mid-sized family pet.