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Raising the Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier (6 MUST KNOWS)

The Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier temperament makes him a loving, friendly, doll of a dog – for the right family.

Interesting Note:

The breed's recognized name is actually just “Staffordshire Bull Terrier.” In the U.K., some have described American Pit Bull Terriers as “Irish Staffordshire Bull Terriers”. However, in the U.S., we still refer to this breed as the Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

6 Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier Temperament and Personality Traits

When you are interested in adopting a particular breed of dog, one of the most important things you can research is the dog's temperament.

Is he aggressive or docile? Is he lazy or active? Does he get along with other animals, or does he prefer to hunt them?

Here are some of the top things you should know about the Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier temperament before you commit to buying one.

1. He Puts His Heart and Soul into Everything He Does

This is a breed who lives every day like it was his last.

Work? He’ll give it his all. Play? He’s up for whatever you want to do. Want to snuggle? He’ll lean into it with everything he has. There are no half-measures for this breed.

2. He’s a People Person…Uh, Dog

Typically, the Staffie is always up for making friends. However, it truly does depend on the individual dog. Some Staffies are wary of strangers, but the more you socialize him when he’s younger, the better off you’ll be.

Make sure you take him for regular walks around the neighborhood, and introduce him to friends, family, and acquaintances whenever possible to ensure he’s well-rounded.

3. He Love Kids

If you’re looking for a dog who’s great with kids, the Staffie is it. Family or no, the Staffie is always happy to be in the presence of children.

However, this breed is not a one-size-fits-all breed, so be sure to spend time with the individual dog before you bring him home. The Staffie is not for every family, but the family he falls in love with will be lucky to have him.

4. He Can Be Good with Other Dogs

If you have another dog at home, and you’re looking for a companion for him or her, the Staffie can be a great choice. Yes, it is in his nature to become aggressive with other dogs, but if you socialize him properly, he should do just fine with them.

As for other animals, he will typically bark at wildlife, including birds and rabbits. So, you must train him not to do this if you’d rather not listen to him bark for no reason.

5. He’ll Take Advantage if You Let Him

This is one of those breeds where you really need to assert your dominance. Give him an inch, and he’ll take a neighborhood.

If he senses you’re weak, he’ll feel like he needs to take over for you and run the place. You definitely do not want him to do that, least of all because you’ll never be able to train him on right from wrong if he doesn’t trust you.

6. He’s Fearless…to a Fault

You have to keep an eye on the Staffie, as this breed is so fearless and curious that they tend to injure themselves while investigating something. Curiosity killed the cat, you say. Nope – curiosity injured the Staffie.

One bright spot to his fearlessness is that he can also make for a great guard dog. Just make sure you train him to control it – else he may become more suspicious of strangers than he needs to be.

The Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier Appearance

Size (Weight and Height)

The Irish Bull Terrier is a medium-sized dog. His average height is between 17 to 24 inches tall, and his average weight is between 55 and 77 lbs.


As far as colors go, he comes in almost every color you can think of for a dog, including:

  • Black
  • Grey
  • White
  • Various shades of brown, including fawn, tan, brown, and brindle
  • Blue
  • Red

A Brief History of the Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier Breed

Back in the early 1800s, breeders started combining Bulldog and Terrier breeds to develop new breeds who could both keep the vermin population down and participate in blood sports.

The Staffordshire Bull Terriers we know today started out as bull baiters but eventually moved on to participants in dogfighting competitions when the public's interest shifted.

Despite his name, the Irish Bull Terrier actually hails from England, with his ancestor being the English Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

Experts believe breeders crossed an English Bull Dog and a Manchester Terrier, which eventually lead to the “Staffie” we now know today.

People once regarded the Irish Bull Terrier as a dangerous breed, due to their participation in such violent activities. Even today, some still fear the breed due to how similar they look to the Pit Bull, and the unfortunate stigma the Pit Bull breed has received.

Over time, breeders have developed more English Staffordshire Bull Terriers and American Staffordshire Terriers with gentler natures. This influx has caused Irish Bull Terriers to become more of a rarity, which is why the AKC does not officially recognize the breed.

How Do You Train an Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier?

As previously mentioned, if you let an Irish Bull Terrier think he’s in charge, he’ll take that idea and run with it. You must remain persistent and consistent if you want him to listen to you.

Once he understands that you’re the one in control, you can train him to do all sorts of things, including competitive obedience and agility exercises.

You can also enroll him in jumping competitions, as this breed holds the UK world record for jumping an astonishing 7 feet high!

You may find it difficult to housebreak this breed. For some reason, it’s just something they tend to struggle with.

Helpful Dog Training Resource:

For help with training your dog, you should take a look at The Online Dog Trainer by Doggy Dan. Doggy Dan is an expert Dog Trainer based in New Zealand. His online resource contains Hundreds of Excellent Dog Training Videos that will take you step-by-step through the process of developing a healthy, happy well-behaved dog.

How Do You Groom an Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier?

The Staffie is a shorthaired dog with a smooth coat, which means he is very low maintenance when it comes to his grooming needs.

He does still shed from time to time but brushing him each week should be enough to help him keep it under control.

Don’t bathe him unless he’s stinky or visibly dirty to avoid drying out his skin.

Check his ears weekly for redness or odors and wipe them out, preferably with a dog ear cleaning solution or a damp (but not wet) cloth. Too much moisture can cause an infection, so be sure to dry them gently when you’re done.

Staying Healthy: Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier Health Issues

The Irish Bull Terrier is a healthy breed, but they can still succumb to certain health issues. Those in particular that tend to pop up often in this breed include:

Helpful Dog Health Resource:

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Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier Lifespan

The Irish Bull Terrier's life expectancy is between 10 and 16 years.


This breed has a high energy level. If you don’t give them an adequate amount of both physical and mental challenges, they can become bored.

And when they’re bored, they can become destructive. This is never good, but especially when you have a dog as strong as the Staffie.

You know your Staffie is starving for exercise if he seems high-strung. At the very least, you should take him for a long walk daily. And never allow him to go off-leash unless you are confident you are in an area where it is safe for him to run free.

As puppies, they tend to channel their energy into chewing. Make sure they don’t chew your precious belongings by providing them with plenty of toys. And make sure those toys are strong enough to hold up to a vigorous chewer like the Staffie.

It probably goes without saying that this is not the ideal breed for apartment living.

Most Staffies need a big yard to run around in, but some do well in an apartment provided you take them outside for a good portion of the day.

Finding the Perfect Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier

If, after all you’ve read here, you’re interested in adding an Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier puppy to your family, you may be wondering how to go about doing that.

You can find an Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier for sale either from a dedicated breeder or as a possible adoption through a rescue agency or animal shelter.

Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier Puppies for Sale

The average Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier price is around $1,000.

If you are dead set on buying a puppy, then that is the price you can expect to pay for a puppy from a breeder. Dogs from shelters and rescue agencies tend to be less expensive, but they also tend to be older.

Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier Adoption and Rescue

If you want to adopt an Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier puppy, you can try your luck with your local rescue organization. This is also a great choice if you’re looking for an Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier mix, as mixes tend to end up in shelters more often.

Adoption should be your first choice because there are so many loving dogs out there, abandoned for reasons out of their control. And unless the right family comes along, they are doomed to live out their lives in shelters.

And while you may want a puppy, think of the advantages of owning an older dog. For one thing, shelters tend to housebreak their dogs, if they aren’t already. Plus, you won’t have to put up with the chewing and other destructive behavior that a puppy engages in.

Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier Breeders

If you are interested in buying an Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier puppy, then a dedicated breeder is the way to go.

Some things to keep in mind when you visit the breeder:

  • Check out the breeder’s home. Make sure it’s spacious, clean, and safe.
  • Make sure the breeder asks you as many questions as you ask her (and make sure to ask a lot!).
  • Get copies of any and all documents related to any medical clearances the dog has received.
  • DO NOT buy from a breeder at a pet store or over the internet. Chances are good the dog is from a puppy mill, and the breeder knows next to nothing about its history.
  • Pay attention to how the dog you’re interested in interacts with his parents. This is a good indicator of how he’ll act in your home, too!

Checkout our Complete Guide to Breeders:

We wrote the definitive guide on finding, selecting, and dealing with dog breeders. This will give you the smarts and confidence to save you money, time and heartache. Read On…

Conclusion: Why the Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier?

The Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier temperament is a good choice for most families. While it does come down to the temperament of the individual dog, you can mold this breed while he’s still a puppy make him more manageable. Still, this breed is not the best choice for someone who has never owned a dog before.

The Staffie can become aggressive with other dogs, but he will rarely become aggressive toward people – unless that person is threatening his family. Plus, he’s an incredibly active dog, so if you want a lap dog, this breed is not the right breed for you.