Is there anything more heart-warming than a Staffie’s grin? This playful breed is one of the most loyal and fun-loving dogs you’ll ever meet. They’re also a favorite choice for families.
In fact, according to the RSPCA, they’re the second most claimed breed in Australia, proving their popularity. But before you welcome one into the family, here are a few things you need to know about them.
They might seem ‘tough’ with their boxy head and toned muscles, but Staffies (Staffordshire Bull Terrier) look more intimidating than they really are. They’re headstrong and playful, with a genuine love of people – especially kids.
And with proper socialization and training, they will have no problem fitting in with the family. It is recommended to not allow Staffies around toddlers. However, with that being said, older kids that do understand a dog’s boundaries will find them to be loyal and fun companions.
The one downside is that Staffies can be aggressive towards other dogs. But just like other breeds, this comes down to training. That’s why pups between eight and 18 weeks should be well socialized.
Staffies also love to chew, particularly when they’re puppies. Their strong jaws can do some serious damage to your furniture. So make sure you keep plenty of bones and toys around to satisfy their urges.
While they might love you to pieces, Staffies can sometimes be hard to train. They’re a stubborn and wilful breed, and often don’t care about doing what they’re told. On the other hand, some seasoned dog owners won’t have a problem training them. So, if you’re a new pet owner, it’s best to consult a professional trainer who understands their unique personality.
Staffies basically need confident leadership, a bit of firmness, and 100% consistency. Ideally, start teaching them good habits as puppies, as this is when they’re most influenced.
Intelligent as they are stubborn, Staffies respond well to repetition. So if you give the exact same instructions every day, using treats and certain words, they’ll learn to follow your commands. Just make sure everyone in the household is giving the same commands.
Staffies generally live to a ripe old age of between 12 and 14 years, which makes them great dogs to raise a family with. However, their sense of adventure and fearlessness can sometimes lead them into trouble – particularly on the road. That’s why it’s important to keep an eye on them at all times in public places.
Staffies sometimes suffer from conditions like hip dysplasia (degenerative bone disease), luxating patellas (slipping kneecaps), entropion (eye disease), congenital deafness, and heart problems – but these aren’t too common. Like most breeds, they are also prone to skin conditions, especially if not cared for properly.
When it comes to grooming, Staffies are reasonably low-maintenance. They shed little hair and only need to bathe every couple of months – especially if they’re spending most of the time indoors (which they love).
It’s also a good idea to check their ears on a weekly basis for any signs of infection, wax build-up or irritation. To prevent tartar buildup and gum disease, make sure you brush their teeth once per week. Additionally, their nails should be trimmed once per month if they don’t wear down naturally.
While Staffies will happily lounge around all day if you let them, they need plenty of good exercises every day to keep fit and healthy. They love walking, hiking, jogs or simple games of catch.
You can even enroll them in organized activities like agility or flyball, which keeps their minds as toned as their bodies. Just be aware that they’re not the best little swimmers.
Staffies are adaptable to just about any living situation, whether it’s an apartment in the city or a house in the country. But no matter what the living arrangements are, you need to commit to exercising them on a regular basis.
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Staffies are easily one of Australia’s favorite family dogs. They friendly to a fault, well behaved if they’re trained early, and will give you more love and loyalty than you could have ever imagined.