The Staffordshire bull terrier or staffie for short, was originally bred from crosses between bulldogs and terriers. The temperament comes from both breeds and they are supposed to be bold and fearless. In view of this they may need confident handling but of course this depends on the individual dog.
The height of the staffie should be 35.5 to 40.5cm and the weight can be anything from 11 to 17kg. This puts them in the medium class for agility but as with all breeds there are variations in the height and weight so you may get a little chunky bitch in the small classes or a taller dog in the large class.
Staffies are usually very muscular and active dogs so if you're thinking of taking up agility with your staffie you'll find this an ideal way to keep your dog active and occupied without getting into mischief. I know a few people who run these dogs in agility and they do very well in competition. They are excellent jumpers.
For some reason we seem to have a lot of these dogs living locally to us and they vary from being sweet and easy to handle to downright naughty and difficult.
The variation is almost certainly more to do with the owners than the dogs. If you are thinking of getting a staffie I would talk to some of the breeders first to find out if the breed is suitable for you and if you think you can take on the training required.
Comments from handlers of staffies
Holly ( XxbritpupxX
I've Had Staffords Since I Was 11. I Will Always Have One By My Side, If Not More. I Get Another 2 Of Them Next Month, Which Will Be The 4th and 5th That I Own. They are an amazing breed and I am glad I have them :) Staffords have been the easiest of dogs I have ever trained and even easier than my Labrador Pup. So it is all down to owners and techniques. I have now fully trained 3 dogs and working on number 4 next month. All these dogs know basic commands as well as other, more bizzare ones. They are also fully socialized with humans and animals, And I have been offered many jobs of dog training with strangers dogs. Which I am taking on 3 more SBT's to train. As well as this i am doing a run for the Northen SBT rescue next month. Not bad for a 15 year old, right? ( P.s Most people judge me for being 15, but actually I grew up in the country with dogs and all animals and learnt to respect them and work with them not against them.) Please don't judge.
Pat comments: If you're good enough you're old enough!
Well I got my staffy about 2 days ago and she is hard work and very naughty. My mum is scared we are gonna have to give her away she always seems to bite but to be fair she is a gorgeous dog that I would not give away for the world. I LOVE HER A LOTTTTT :D:D x and I agree with the person that said staffys aren’t horrible only the owners are !
Pat comments: You have to be a bit firm with staffies. They are very energetic dogs and they are hard work. They’re really good agility dogs though and it does channel their energy into something that’s fun and very addictive.
My dog is beautiful his 3 and he would never hurt a fly. He saw a cat and the CAT CHASED HIM he's a gentle soul he's lovely and I'm taking up agility with him even though I'm young.
I have got a 7 week old puppy and he's great he's teething so he bites a lot of things but he perfect for me.
Amazing breed. Haven't met another breed with quite so much character as the Staff. You'll never get bored with one.
Just got a six month old puppy Maisy, she's a nightmare but I wouldn’t have her any other way, rather hard to train, but we're getting there !
Staffies are easy to train, if you use the correct method. Food didn’t work for me, I used a piece of rope and she would get as soon as she did the command and when she knew the command then she had to do it rope or no rope. She’s now 8 months and is perfectly trained, no need for lead at any time.
I love my new staff, he is 7 weeks old and very playful.
i love my new dog tyson his black and hes 8weeks old there good dogs my best mate
My staffy Murphy is quite hard to train. He's going to ringcraft and puppy training in 2wks time so that will probs sort everything out, but u gotta lurve a staffy.
Blue Boy Babe:
Staffs have been given a bad name because of bad owners. I think this is unfair because no dog is bad, you only get bad owners, who make the dog bad! Of all the 4 staffs my family have had we have never had a bad one, they have all been the friendliest and kindest dogs ever. Staffs are friendly, intelligent, loving and protective, they are great with children and love their owners dearly, so I think people should change their attitude towards them and see the true side of staffs!
Can be hard work as you have to be fairly strong minded.
Lindsay Dobson (Staffie cross):
She can be a little clumsy, but she loves the agility 'things' in particular the ramp and the tunnel. When first introduced to these things as a puppy, she had no fear whatsoever and if off lead and left alone would go over the the things on her own and then stop and look as if she wanted some applause.
Although we have yet to compete, my dog is brilliant at jumping, extremely quick, intelligent and easy to train. Although sometimes too intelligent for her own good!!
Staffie/Jack Russell cross handler:
She's got the speed of the JRT; the sweetness of the SBT; the stubbornness and independence of all terriers; Agility is her favourite game (equal to chasing and retrieving a tennis ball)
My Staffie loves agility, she measures 18" so is in large but she copes ok. Sometimes her concentration lacks, but I'm very proud of her as she was a rescue that didn't even know what a lead was when we got her.
The respondents to our survey varied in their answers to the question on ease of training from "easy" to "a bit difficult." Most people said they would choose this type of dog for agility again and only one person said they wouldn't. Bear in mind though that some people who want to compete on a regular basis may want to continue their agility career in standard classes and therefore wouldn't choose a smaller chunkier dog for agility anyway.
Sue says she finds her staffie falls into the large category for agility and is fairly easy to train.
Very active keen learner! Loves agility and obedience training sessions. Diverts his energy into something more positive, keeping him out of trouble!
Becky Leighton(Staffie/labrador cross)
Typical staffie temperaments - stubborn! but loves agility. Due to being just a centimetre too big, he is large, and can't really do speed and height, so clear rounds galore!
I have to agree with the weaves comment - it was a good two years of training before Max would reliably do a full 12. He loves agility although the cross bit of him means he is a Large, all this means is that the speed is lacking, but the clear round rosettes are not! I would get another staffie for agility without a moments hesitation.
It's undoubtedly the BC genes in my dog that makes her a good agility dog. Had the Staff genes been dominant then perhaps she wouldn't have been quite as good.
Staffies are really easy to train and very obedient and if brought up around animals will not be vicious, they are also easy to build a great bond with.
Jacki Ciereszko (Competitor in large classes):
Staffy's are supposed to be small to medium, mine just got bigger and bigger. He can manage the large jumps, but his weight is against him, but he loves agility. The only thing that they find a bit difficult is the weaves, being a square shaped dog does have its disadvantages.
Staffie Handler (medium category):
They find it great fun, and it's a great way of socialising them with other dogs while keeping their minds occupied on the fun part! They pick it up so quickly, as they would do anything for a treat and lots of praise!
Sonia (Experienced obedience trainer and competitor)
If you can train a staffie you can train anything.
Bernie (The main victim of a staffie puppy's attention.)
I've never seen anything like it before or since. It was completely mad and appeared to be on springs.
Pat comments: We are going back some thirty odd years here so this pup made quite an impression.