The Staffordshire Bull Terrier – Little Dog with a Lot of Heart

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier – Little Dog with a Lot of Heart

By Carol Stack

A family was at the local animal shelter to put a hold on a pug for the pug rescue when they met and fell in love with Bonnie, a brindle-colored Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

The shelter’s assistant told them that this little dog had been scheduled to be euthanized that morning but the administrator really wanted to see this dog get a home so they had postponed her death sentence.

The family didn’t need any prodding. They had already fallen in love with her and quickly decided to adopt this sweet-natured little dog. When studying about the Staffordshire Bull Terrier they found out this dog breed is great with children because they are very patient and have a high tolerance for pain.

They learned that Staffordshire Bull Terriers are closely related to several other bulldog-type dog breeds such as the Pug, Boxer, Bullmastiff, and Boston Terrier. The Pit bull-type dog breeds (called bully breeds) are one branch of this family and include the American Pit Bull, Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordsshire Bull Terrier, American Bulldog and Miniature Bull Terrier.

These dogs descended from a bulldog breed that is very different from the Bulldog of today. They were tall and had a smaller head than today’s bully breeds.

The bulldog of old helped the farmer control the bulls when the farmer needed to bring them into the barnyard. Since it was entertaining to see a dog pinning a bull, the sport of pitting this bulldog against bulls was begun. That quickly expanded into pitting the dog against bears and badgers.

The dog needed courage and tenacity, so they crossed this bulldog with terriers, which gave the dog additional ferocity and gameness. The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a cross between that bulldog and the now-extinct White Terrier.

The history of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier and the other bully breeds is very interesting. Many famous people, including General George Patton, President Woodrow Wilson, and author John Steinbeck have owned bully breeds.

Pete from the Our Gang movies in the 1930s was an American Staffordshire Terrier. The elderly dog in the original 1963 movie The Incredible Journey was a Bull Terrier.

A Pit Bull named Weela was named a Ken-L Ration Dog Hero in 1993 after rescuing 30 people, 29 dogs, 13 horses and a cat during some heavy floods in Southern California.

Alaska’s first certified hearing-dog was a Pit Bull named RCA, rescued from a shelter. Another Pit Bull, Dixie, in Georgia, protected her family’s children by placing herself between the children and a poisonous snake. She actually suffered multiple bites to her face and eyes, but fully recovered and was inducted into the Georgia Animal Hall of Fame in 1999.

Too bad people forget about the heroes and only remember the dogs that attack. Bully breeds can be gentle but some people have trained them to fight.

With that big mouth and stocky chest their look is intimidating. But underneath that brawny exterior is a great big heart.

All the bully breeds exist only to love and adore their families. They bond deeply and heavily and display a great amount of empathy. They give so much affection and friendship, but it comes with a price tag. They want you in return.

These breeds need a lot of you. They need your time and your attention.

If you don’t have the desire to give the love these dogs need then it’s better to get a breed that doesn’t need or want a lot of attention. Bully breeds want and need a lot of love in return for the love they give. Bonnie proves that fact every minute of every day. But her family loves her deeply and wouldn’t want her any other way.

Copyright 2006 Carol Stack

Carol Stack has been working with dogs for more than three decades. She and her daughter Christy have created a web site especially for dog lovers. It focuses on dog breeds, dog care and health, and dog training. You can find it at

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