Acquired: Rescue / shelter organization
Posted December 5, 2015
Staffordshire Bull Terrier's have got to be one of my most favourite breeds of dog out there. I have owned/looked after 3 different staffy's in the past, and I have dearly loved every single one, and they have loved me back.
Growing up, we had owned a couple of dogs in the past but both had passed away before I was old enough to really form a strong bond with either one. When I was 10 or 11, my dad had acquired a Staffy from a rescue home - Sandy. My dad had a very close bond with this dog after some weeks, and once she was comfortable in our home, she bounded around the place and was very energetic, but not destructive in any way; the dog never misbehaved when we were out and the house would always be how it was when we left it. As the dog got older and our housing situation changed, Sandy was no longer living inside the house, and instead living in an outside fenced off area with a kennel. Sandy seemed happy to live outside, although we had installed a pet-safe radiator in the kennel for the winter. If you were going to keep the dog outside, I suggest setting up some sort of heating for the winter, or just keeping the dog inside, as Staffy's have a short-hair coat and will feel the bitter freezing temperatures, at night especially.
I used to love playing with Sandy. Being such an energetic dog, you could lay on the floor and she would come bounding towards you, licking your face and climbing all over you. In the early days, occasionally she would grip you with her jaw, but a small & stern telling off would stop her, and she would know that she had done something wrong. Staffy's can be very loud and vocal when playing with them, but this just shows you that they're having fun. I wouldn't recommend having a Staffy if you live in a flat, as they love to run around when playing. Taking Sandy on a walk was occasionally a nightmare, but always fun. One of the more challenging aspects of walking Sandy was that she would always do the smelliest farts in the car on the way! This has been a recurring affair with Staffy's I've owned! When we finally reached our destination (and could breathe again), we would let Sandy off the lead, and she would go bounding away. After calling her a few times, she would come running back, and then would dart off again after receiving some praise and attention. There was one time when we thought we had lost her in a forest, but after searching and shouting her name for half an hour, we finally heard her come running back through the bushes, and she was safe and sound. I guess the behaviour of the dog when out and about depends of how you've trained them, but I've found with Staffy's that they aren't too friendly to other dogs, although now Sandy is growing old, she doesn't much care for other dogs.
Sandy's an old girl now. Her ginger hair has greyed and she's become a lot more skinny, losing her appetite and becoming very fussy, managing to only eat one certain brand of food. Her hair is a lot more oily and smelly, and she loses hair when stroked. She is taken to a dog grooming parlour every month to keep her coat as best as it can be, which is what I would recommend for Staffy's as they love the attention and love getting their coat cleaned. Although old, she still remembers old commands from her training. There have been times when we've woken up the next day and come downstairs to find out she has defecated in the house. I have found that this is a common occurrence with most old dogs, and is to be expected. She still gets excited when we come home and see her, and I know that she will remember us and love us to the end of her days.
If you want ultimate dedication and love from a dog, then a Staffy would be the right choice for you. Make sure you train them from an early age, as to minimise any chance of violence from these dogs. They have potential to be dangerous only if they haven't been taught obedience from a young age. Staffy's need walking at least once a week, and will appreciate everything you do for them. They are strong and powerful dogs on the outside, but on the inside they are caring, loveable, playful and somewhat intelligent.