How Do You Care For Your Staffy?
Winning the nation’s hearts, the adorable Staffordshire Bull Terrier has topped the list to be voted Britain’s favourite dog. In a UK-wide survey conducted by ITV’s Britain’s Favourite Dogs programme, 10,000 members of the public voted the adorable Staffy above other popular breeds like the Springer Spaniel, Labrador and Cockapoo. So move over Bulldogs, Boxers and Border Collies! With so many of the UK’s dog owners picking these popular pups as their family pet, we thought it was only right to explain just how best to look after your Staffy.
Stocky, strong and full of energy, the Staffordshire bull terrier is a small to medium-sized dog with a big and loving personality.
They have oodles of energy, are incredibly playful and independent, whilst also being some of the sweetest and most caring pups out there.
We’ve assembled a guide that covers everything ‘Staffy’, from diet and exercise to training and health so that you can make your pooch’s life even more enjoyable.
We’ll also talk about options for dog insurance so that you can have peace of mind when it comes to protecting your lovable pup in the future.
Where did Staffies come from?
One of the best ways to gain a better understanding of your Staffy is by taking a look at the breed and its history.
Staffies hail from England where their ancestry can be traced back to dog fighting and rat baiting dogs purposefully bred for the entertainment of spectators.
They’ve since come a long way from being forced to engage in these more aggressive activities and are now incredibly patient and gentle companion dogs.
Stocky, muscular and strong, Staffies are characterized by their broad large chests, muscular shoulders and wide-set legs. Their heads are broad and muzzles short, and their ear tips, which fold over, give them an endearing and friendly look.
Their short, and easy-to-maintain coats, which can vary in colour from reds or fawns to darker blacks or blues, make them an ideal breed for those not too keen on excessive grooming.
Loyalty, devotion and tenacity are just a few of the wonderful qualities that come with this particular breed. Staffies are incredibly affectionate and are, in fact, one of the few breeds of dog recommended by the UK Kennel Club as appropriate for children.
Though gentle and good-natured, Staffies can become rather pugnacious when confronted by other dogs.
It’s wise to be aware of this when out and about on walks with your furry friend, and you might want to get a strong harness to enable you to have full control when you’re out and about.
How do you care for your Staffy?
If you’re keen on buying or rescuing this particular breed of dog, you might be asking yourself how to take care of your Staffy pup?
Even if you already own one, you may be wondering if there’s anything you could be doing better for your favourite pooch. As with any dog, some key areas you should read up on include diet, exercise, training and grooming.
We’ve covered all of these below and how they relate to Staffies in particular.
There are also a few specific health problems inherent to the Staffordshire Bull Terrier breed that are important to be aware of for dog insurance purposes. We’ll go into more detail about these as well.
What kind of diet do Staffies need?
As puppies, Staffies are particularly active, playing and exploring anything and everything. This energy doesn’t subside as they grow up – if anything they get even more active!
Therefore, it’s important that their diet supports increasing musculature and high levels of energy.
You should always consult with your vet on the right kinds of foods (including ingredients) and weights ideal for your particular pup, given his/her age and size and take into account your budget and time constraints.
Lean Staffy puppies with energy and muscle should have meals with a protein content of 25%-25%. Fat percentage should be around the 20% mark to sustain their growth and larger bones.
You can satisfy these percentages easily with whole foods that have fewer ingredients. Avoid more generic proteins (fish and poultry instead of salmon or chicken, animal fat on its own, and any meals that incorporate ingredients too complicated to pronounce.
Carbohydrates should be kept low. If you want to include whole grains in your dog’s diet, barley oats, brown rice and quinoa are recommended.
Avoid corn, soy, or gluten products, and any foods that may cause allergies and skin problems.
Staffies are particularly prone to these kinds of issues, but you can avoid most of them by selecting foods with protein derived from beef, fish or game meats (think venison or rabbit).
How much exercise do Staffies need?
Spirited and fearless, Staffies have oodles of energy and stamina. As such, they’ll need a good amount of exercise (both mental and physical) in order to have a happy and well-balanced life.
You should make sure they have at least an hour of exercise a day. While this will keep them content, they’ll very rarely say no making them an ideal companion for your next 10-mile run!
Exercise should include daily walks, strength work and last but definitely not least, mental stimulation.
A 30 to 45-minute walk every day will help your pup to release any pent-up energy and also keep them busy with all those interesting sights and smells.
Are you confident about your Staffy’s recall? Then walks in the park off the lead could be a great idea.
Otherwise, a retractable lead can give them the same kind of freedom whilst you maintain control.
Staffordshire Bull Terriers can also benefit from the extra resistance provided by a weighted dog vest.
This will help tire them out and build strength but bear in mind that these should constitute no more than 10% of their body weight. Other good (and fun) strengthening exercises include pulling games, ball chasing and a nice, big chew on strong toys.
Why not try some of these activities with your pup for short bursts throughout the day to balance out any excess energy.
Whatever your routine, it’s important to give your Staffy lots of consistent exercise becasuse a build-up of excess energy can cause boredom and more destructive behavior in the long run. But give them lots of love and runarounds and they’ll be a great addition to your family.
How do I train my Staffy?
Staffies are incredibly loyal dogs with above-average intelligence, making them relatively easy to train.
Even if you’re a first-time dog owner, you shouldn’t have too much trouble in teaching your Staffy the basic commands and behaviours.
Staffies are generally keen to learn and will find most training enjoyable, so you should both have a good time learning the ropes.
While gentle, loving and friendly, the Staffy is a canine with a strong personality. Keeping this mind, try to establish a relationship with your pup early on in its training that is fair but firm.
Make sure they understand that they are part of your pack and that you are their leader. Do this, and you will see a dog that is obedient and eager to please.
But if you’re too relaxed with this part of the training, you could be setting yourself up for problems later down the line.
That being said, Staffies are incredibly sensitive and don’t respond well to harsh punishments.
They will shut down if training becomes too aggressive or aversive, so it’s important to stay calm and gentle with them at all times. When it comes to training any dog, consistency is key.
Keep your commands short and clear and only reward the good behaviours you want to see – that way, the more amenable your canine friend will be.
Staffy puppies have a tendency to have a go at nipping and chewing anything in sight.
So, the more you can be on top of correcting this kind of behaviour when your Staffy is still at a young age, the less of it you will get when they are fully grown.
Other things to keep in mind is to avoid training your pup straight after they’ve eaten (as they’ll be too tired), or when they desperately need their ‘walkies’ (when they have too much energy).
If they are bored or tired, call it a day and make sure to end on a high note with a treat if they’ve been good.
How do I groom and bath my Staffy?
One of the advantages of Staffies is that their grooming involves little fuss. Staffordshire Bull Terriers don’t have short, single-layered coats.
This means you don’t have to spend hours grooming or brushing them in order to keep their coats in good condition.
Furthermore, knotting and tangling are almost non-existent with this breed, which is great if you don’t have hours and hours to spend on grooming.
In fact, you may find that you don’t have to brush or groom your Staffy very often and that you don’t need to contend with many of the other problems that arise in breeds that have longer coats.
That being said, it’s a good idea to devote some time during your days or weeks for grooming just to be on the safe side.
For instance, you might find your pooch sheds a little more in Autumn or Spring as the seasons change and their coats are replaced.
Grooming is also a fun way to bond with your Staffie and build up the relationship between owner and dog.
Having short fur means your Staffy’s hair can’t be caught by other hairs in his/her coat so you may find clumps beginning to form around the house.
Regular brushing can help mitigate this as well as help your handsome pooch to stay comfortable and itch-free.
You may be wondering how often you should bathe a Staffordshire Bull Terrier?
The answer is as and when needed but the more you can brush your furry friend the fewer baths he/she will need.
If you’re able to brush your pup regularly with a soft brush with gentle bristles and can get right down to the skin, then you won’t need to bath them as often.
This is also key for reducing skin irritation and sores and for spotting fleas or nasty ticks.
What health problems do Staffordshire Bull Terriers have?
When you’re looking for a new pooch you might not necessarily be thinking about what could go wrong but like with most dogs, Staffies can have a few health problems specific to their breed.
So it’s a good idea to bear this in mind, especially when looking for dog insurance. In particular, Staff’s are prone to hip dysplasia and cataracts according to the PDSA.
Hip dysplasia is when the hip bones don’t fit inside the socket properly, which can cause the bones to rub leading to pain and stiffness in your dog.
As with humans, Staffies can get cataracts when the lens in the eye begins to cloud over, causing partial or full blindness.
However, this doesn’t mean that every Staffy puppy will show signs of these issues.
If you’ve got one of these well-loved canines or if you’re looking to rescue or buy one, it’s good to know that the British Veterinary Association runs a Canine Health Scheme which screens for potential health concerns.
Protecting your pet with dog insurance
One of the most important things to do when you first rehome or buy a Staffy pup is setting up the right dog insurance.
Vet fee cover and Third Party Liability is important to consider when weighing up your insurance options.
The first will cover medical expenses at your vet whilst the latter will cover you if your dog causes the accident or injury. Comparing pet insurance is easy with Go Get It.
We’ll do the hard work for you, comparing the best policies out there and giving you quotes that are just right for you and your beloved pooch.
- No upper age limit
- Puppy and kitten cover from 8 weeks old
- Range of cover levels from Accident Only to Lifetime Cover
- Multi Pet discount is available from many providers
- Cover from £1,000 up to £10,000 per year
- Overseas travel cover
- Emergency boarding
- Complementary medicine
- Special diets
- Third Party Legal Liability (Dogs only) up to £2 million
Get a quote to insure your Staffy today and see how much you could save.