Staffordshire bull terrier breed was established in the 17th century. At that time, in the homeland of the breed, various types of sports such as bull bating, bear baiting, dog fighting, time-biting rats, etc. were popular. It can be said that during this period this breed was bred mainly for utility in these areas, for its gamneness. Various races arose during this period. Staffordshire bull terrier from a cross between a bulldog and a terrier at the time. The aim of the breeders at that time was to create a dog that was faster and more agile than a bulldog. But it was the end of blood sports and in 1983 the Human Act was approved, it was an act against the use of fighting dogs and the like. One of the first laws to contain animal protection regulations. Despite this, there were people who still wanted to breed this breed. In 1935 the stafforshire bull terrier was registered with the Kennel Club and thus appeared on the show rings. Of course, it was also associated with the creation of the breed standard. Staffordshire bull terriers are one of the few breeds where excellent communication with children is marked in the pattern, and the only remnant of their character from the primeval period of the breed is the stubbornness which in the present representative of this breed is manifested, for example, by fiercely retrieving or hanging on a branch.

The precursors in breeding these dogs in their home country were usually simple people-workers, and all the fights were organized in the so-called Black Country – that is, an area where there is or rather was full of mines and steel mills. It also happened that the owners of this wonderful race were also aristocrats. So it got to the point that the little fighting dog became a domestic dog, a great pet loving people and everything related to them, and in this case the human race was not indifferent. The Staffordshire Bull Terrier was first shown at an exhibition in 1935 at Cradley Heath, then at the famous Cruft in 1936. The main activists and first great Staffordie lovers and breeders were Joe Dunn and Joe Mallen, who tried to register the breed and did so. Soon, there were more fans of the breed and a Stafforshire Bull Terrier Club was created, where everyone met in a pub called Old Cross Guns. And so the first famous British Champions were Genthelman Jim and Lady Eve. As of today, the circle of lovers of this breed is growing very much due to their character and irresistible charm.


Staffordshire bull terrier is a very intelligent dog. Nothing escapes his attention and he is also a curious animal. The Stafford is a „heart” dog, ie despite the features listed above, it is a very emotional being. I like the term that we read on the Internet on the website of one of the Polish kennels. Let me quote: „Staffordshire Terrier requires a hard hand, but in a velvet glove.”
This dog has a delicate psyche. She loves contact with people and approaches children with incredible patience.

The Stafford is a smooth-haired dog, the coat is tight. The skin seems to surround the doggy’s muscular body. Representatives of this breed should show proportional muscles in relation to their height. It should definitely not give the impression of a sluggish, slow dog.

A staffy head is the essence of the whole picture of a dog. One of the most important elements of the figure can be said. It should be short and tall. The skull is wide. Cheeks strongly muscled and strongly defined. The stop is well defined, the muzzle is short, which is 1/3 of the length of the head. Black nose.

The eyes are usually dark, but may be in harmony with the color of the pooch. They are round and medium in size. Embedded in the skull so that the dog looks straight ahead.

Staffordshire bull terrier ears are either rosebud-shaped or semi-erect. We call it a plane or rubella. The ears should be small.

Fully erect or prone ears are a fault.

The neck is muscular, short, with a „curved” clean line widening towards the shoulder blades.

Jaws: Scissor bite, regular. The incisors of the lower jaw should be adjacent to the inner surface of the incisors of the upper jaw. Lips should be tight and dry. Overshot or back bite is a serious defect

They are strong, straight and set quite wide apart. Tied shoulder blades. Elbows close There should be no weakness in the wrist and metacarpal section (the so-called soft wrist). The wrists may face slightly outward.
The hindquarters should be strongly muscled, but not excessively so as not to disproportion the body. The knee joints should be well angulated. And the hocks are set low.
The fore and hind legs should be parallel to each other. Strong, compact paws with firm pads.

Strong, compact, muscular. The top line is horizontal and straight. The front should be fairly wide and the ribs should be well sprung.

Low seated. Medium length, tapering gently towards the tip. It should also be worn low. The disadvantage is when the tail is curled. The staffy tail should resemble a stretched „S” or be likened to an ancient pump handle.

Height and weight
Desired height at withers 35.5 to 40.4 cm The height and weight of the Staffordshire bull terrier should be in direct proportion. The weight of dogs should range from 12.7 to 17 kg, bitches – 11 to 15.4 kg.

Coat and coat:
Staffordshire bull terriers have a wide range of colors, from white to spotted „pied” (red or black and blue patches, sometimes brindle markings). The most popular, however, is the black color, both brindle and white markings.
Tan or liver ointments are not sought after and are a disadvantage.

Male Staffordshire Bull Terriers must have two apparently normal testicles in the scrotum.

Defects :
Any deviations from the pattern are considered defects depending on the size of their occurrence in a given individual

Prepared on the basis of the breed pattern from the book by Mr. Andrzej Jędrasiak „Bull Type Terriers”. And an article by Mr. Andrzej Pławiński from the magazine „Bull & Terrier”.


In terms of health and breeding, the Stafford is a rather problem-free dog. It is a breed that is in good health and does not require any special care. Young staffordshire bull terriers sometimes develop skin problems, the cause of which may be allergies, most often food-related or Demodex canis invasion, appearing in a mild, usually self-healing form during periods of weakness caused by temporary immunosuppression (e.g. tooth replacement, maturation) or in the form of generalized, most often in dogs with a genetic immunodeficiency. Therefore, it is recommended to eliminate from breeding dogs that have undergone a generalized form of demodicosis in their youth.

Genetic diseases in Staffordshire Bull Terriers occur rather sporadically and are not a significant breeding problem, but I think it is worth getting acquainted with those that are described most often in this breed. All known genetic defects of the breed will be listed below, however, those that are considered to be characteristic of the breed will be described in more detail.

Cleft palate. It is one of the most frequently reported lethal malformations in the entire canine population and is often associated with hare lip. It is characterized by the formation of a gap between the oral and nasal cavities in utero. Puppies are euthanized as soon as possible after noticing the defect.

Elongated soft palate. The defect is especially common in breeds of the brachycephalic type: with short muzzles and a strongly pronounced stop. The clinical symptoms are primarily breathing difficulties, accompanied by the characteristic wheezing with an open mouth, „wheezing” and snoring during sleep. Breathing difficulties can also cause your dog to tire faster due to oxygen deficiency in the tissues. It is not a typical genetic defect, but only a congenital disease characteristic of individuals with significantly shortened muzzles and heads. In special cases, it requires surgical intervention consisting in the removal of excess tissue forming the fold of the palate.

Habitual dislocation of the kneecap. A disease of the knee joint, the cause of which is the poor development of the skeleton that keeps the knee joint in the right position, resulting in dislocation (dislocation) of the patella. Depending on the severity of the disease, such dislocations occur rarely (several times a year) or often (even several times a day) in a given individual. A dislocated kneecap usually returns to its place by itself after the muscles are relaxed and the leg is stretched. In some cases, however, an adjustment or even a surgical intervention is necessary. Suspected significant genetic factor.

Cryptorchidism. A defect that occurs in all dog breeds – its inheritance mechanism is not clearly understood: most likely it is caused by several autosomal recessive genes. Due to the hereditary nature of this trait, both cryptos and their parents should be eliminated from breeding.

Hip dysplasia. An inherited disorder that occurs commonly in over 200 dog breeds. It consists in the underdevelopment of the pelvic acetabulum, its ligaments and the head of the femur. When underdevelopment is minimal, symptoms are hardly noticeable. In the acute form of the disease, the dog is very limp, feels uncomfortable pain, and in the extreme form – it cannot walk. Unfortunately, dysplasia is incurable. You can alleviate its symptoms, but the only effective method is surgery to insert an artificial hip joint.

In Poland, hip dysplasia is not a common defect in SBT, but according to OFA statistics (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, Columbia, USA), it occurs in 17% of Staffordshire bull terriers tested for this defect. At the same time, elbow dysplasia was described in 10% of dogs tested in the USA.

Persistent hyperplastic vitreous humor (PHPV). A relatively common condition in SBT dogs in the UK. At the moment, it has not been clearly confirmed whether this is a defect of a purely genetic basis. It is known that it occurs in the womb of a puppy and does not progress with age after birth. The disease, also described in human medicine as persistent fetal vasculature, is caused by a defect in the regression of the blood vessels supplying the lens of the eye in utero. In healthy individuals, these vessels vanish before birth, while in affected individuals, they remain after birth, resulting in the formation of a persistent epithelium containing pigment granules, usually located at the back of the lens. Small changes only as pigment spots on the back of the lens are usually asymptomatic, but severe changes in the lens can even lead to secondary blindness. The defect most often affects both eyes. It can only be clinically diagnosed in an ophthalmological examination using an ophthalmoscope in puppies aged 6-8 weeks. The defect also occurs in dobermans.

Hereditary Cataract (HC). Genetic disease with autosomal recessive inheritance: an individual the patient has two mutated copies of the gene, a healthy carrier, one normal and one mutant, and the „free” individual has two normal genes. The first symptoms of the disease appear in young dogs, usually before the age of 1, and most often affect both eyes, leading to complete blindness between the ages of 2 and 3. Currently, the method of choice in the treatment of cataracts is surgery to remove the cloudy lens.

The mutation responsible for this defect was identified and a DNA test was developed to check both copies of an individual’s gene and to determine their genetic status (free, carrier, sick).

L-2-HGA (L-2-hydroxyglutaric aciduria). It is a relatively recently diagnosed incurable, neurometabolic disease of genetic origin (the type of inheritance is identical to that of HC). It only occurs in Staffordshire Bull Terriers (but a similar condition has been described in humans). It attacks the central nervous system, especially the brain. Characterized by the presence of elevated levels of L-2-hydroxyglutaric acid in urine, blood, and cerebrospinal fluid. Symptoms in dogs are epilepsy attacks, seizures, muscle stiffness and spasms, and the occurrence of so-called wobbly gait. There may also be atypical hyperactivity or, on the contrary, so-called „Hanging” (the dog stands still for a long time in a state of dementia). An acute attack usually occurs as a result of intense effort, excitement, strong emotions or similar unusual situations. The disease, in addition to the symptoms listed above, leads to dementia, which is manifested by a lack of obedience resulting from forgetting the learned commands. Symptoms of the disease are non-specific, there may be all or only one, and therefore it may be confused with other neurological diseases, such as epilepsy. The first symptoms may appear between 6 and 12 months of puppy age, although there are cases when the puppy gets sick only in older animals. The surest diagnostic method is magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which shows characteristic changes due to the deposition of L-2-hydroxyglutaric acid in the brain. The final diagnosis should be confirmed by blood and urine tests for the presence of L-2-HGA. This disease is conditioned by the presence of an autosomal recessive gene, which means that in order for an individual to fall ill, they must have two mutant recessive alleles. A dog with one copy of the mutant gene and one copy of the normal gene in its genotype is healthy, but is a carrier of the disease and will pass on the gene to half of its offspring. The mutation responsible for this disease has been identified by the Animal Health Trust laboratory, making it possible to test an individual’s DNA for the presence of a defective gene. The test, as in the case of hereditary cataracts, gives the opportunity to learn the genetic status of not only dogs that are sick, but above all carriers that do not show any clinical symptoms of the disease (and may be potential parents of sick puppies).

Breeding recommendations in the case of genetic defects caused by a recessive autosomal gene (HC and L2HGA):

Associated dogs offspring BREEDING RECOMMENDATIONS
free & free
(clear & clear) 100% free (100% clear) Recommended
free & carrier
(clear & carrier) 50% free (50% clear)
50% carriers (50% carrier) Allowed, but all puppies should be tested for the presence of the mutant gene
free & sick
(clear & affected) 100% of carriers (100% carrier) Not recommended, no need to test offspring
carrier & carrier
(carrier & carrier) 50% of carriers (50% carrier)
25% free (25% clear)
25% of patients (25% affected) Prohibited due to the possibility of having sick puppies
carrier & sick
(carrier & affected) 50% of patients (50% affected)
50% of carriers (50% carrier) Forbidden, as above
sick & sick
(affected & affected) 100% of patients (100% affected) Prohibited – all puppies from this combination would be sick

Dogs carrying unfavorable genes should be systematically eliminated from breeding. However, it should be remembered that this process should be carried out gradually, so as not to rapidly narrow the gene pool in a given breed. It seems advisable to completely eliminate from breeding (I emphasize – from breeding, not from this world) average individuals who are carriers of defective genes. As for outstanding and perfect individuals, but carriers, in my opinion, they should be left in the breeding, but planning matings in such a way as to prevent the birth of defective puppies.

Currently, it is possible to test the dog for the presence of unfavorable recessive genes conditioning HC and L2HGA. To do this, take a 2 ml blood sample for EDTA and send with the form and proof of payment to the Animal Health Trust laboratory in Great Britain: Genetic Services, Animal Health Trust, Lanwades Park, Kentford, Newmarket, Suffolk CB8 7UU. Forms available on the website:

In Poland, DNA testing on L2HGA is performed by various methods also the LABOLKIN laboratory:
It is worth adding that The Staffordshire Bull Terrier Breed Council of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, associating all UK SBT Clubs, associations and kennels registered in the UK Kennel Club, requires a certificate from breeding dogs that it is HC, PHPV and L-2- free. HGA.

Prepared on the basis of:
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier Breed Council of Great Britain and Northern Ireland – Kennel Club Sample Register Documents:
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier Club of Victoria – Information on Inherited Problems:
The Turkish Journal of Pediatrics 2005, Volume 47, Number 1, Page (s) 001-007 “L-2-Hydroxyglutaric aciduria: a report of 29 patients”

Prepared by: Monika Mikulska, kennel „z Bullerbyn”