The first element in the history of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is the terrier. But not the terriers we know today. Early terriers are described as belligerent, grumpy and irritable but of high intelligence. It was also extremely fast which was a necessity in attacking its prey. The terrier was unconcerned for its own fate during the attack, its aim was only to cause as much damage as possible. The terrier would virtually throw itself into the fox hole, drive the fox from hiding and the tear it to pieces in its own lair.
The second element is the bulldog, which it can be said, typifies certain English characteristics: it takes a lot to ruffle it; it exhibits perseverance, endurance and fierce looks. And if it should come to the worst it will be ready for a fight. Breed historians have traced the bulldog back to the early 1600's. From those early days progress of the breed can be followed through its involvement in bull baiting. Desirable traits in those days were gameness, intelligence, endurance and a powerful body structure low to the ground in order to minimize vulnerability.
The Stafford type breed developed because of the special requirements demanded of a successful dog fighter as opposed to a dog most suited to bull baiting. The bulldog would crawl along the ground towards the tethered bull and at the right moment seize the bull by its nose and hang on with all its might. Such a technique would not be suitable in the dog pit. Bearing in mind the mentality of the mob which would not have been entertained by a dog which held back from the fray. So the faster and smarter characteristics of the working terrier were introduced. By crossing the bulldog with a terrier, a dog was developed which could provide a tough and varied fight, combining the toughness and stamina of the bulldog with the speed and intelligence of the terrier.
Before taking a dog into one's home the deciding factor should always be "Is this dog suitable for my family and myself?" At first the Staffordshire Bull Terrier seems like a contradiction— he looks so tough, but his approach to the human race is loving and all-encompassing. His patience and gentle ways with children are legendary. Many words are used to describe the Stafford but most common are courage, tenacity, stubborn, high intelligence, and indomitable. Staffords are inclined to protect people and not property. Their alert, muscle bound appearance makes for a strong visual impact on would be intruders! These virtues, combined with a love of people and a stable nature make the Stafford and extremely versatile companion.
A Stafford with a good temperament is intelligent and fearless. It will greet a stranger with positive expectations and will take pleasure from the offer of friendship; it has no reason to feel that in doing so it betrays its owner. Anyone who does not like such open, friendly and happy self-assurance in a dog should not consider a Stafford.
It is also important to remember the roots of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. In the beginning it was bred to fight to the bitter end. This history is of course a part of the breed. However, the legacy of the dog has resulted in a unique dog in terms of character. A good Stafford is never shy or reclusive, and conversely, should not be snarling and mouthy around people. However, because of its early beginnings, many Staffords may retain an antipathy toward strange dogs if provoked. No other breed can claim the traits of such an all-purpose dog which suits our time so well. Dogs are social creatures and they learn the pecking order and correct pack behaviour at an early age. It is the duty of every breeder and owner of Staffords to rear them so that they are absolutely reliable and understand it is unacceptable to show agression towards others.
If you choose a Stafford the excitement of owning the best pure-bred dog in the world awaits you. Words cannot describe the countless hours of joy and fun that lie ahead. You will delight in your Stafford's total inability to contain its energy, while you fumble to remove its lead at the beach. Once freed it will explode with enthusiasm. It will race off, only to return again and again with a grin and an abundance of exuberant body language revealing its joy in the things it wants to share with you on the road ahead. From the time it awakens in the morning until the quiet of night, a Stafford lives life to the fullest.