How to Identify a Staffordshire Bull Terrier

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Staffordshire bull terriers are one of the popular breeds. But with popularity, some scams also take place. Some local unregistered breeders follow inappropriate breeding techniques to produce Staffy puppies. If you bring home a purebred adult Staffy, you need to have an idea of how it looks.

What Does a Staffordshire Terrier Look Like

Most puppies look different, yet they have some characteristics that prove their breed uniqueness. If you are adopting a purebred adult Stafford terrier, it should have the following physical appearance and behavioral attributes. 

Cute dog on the floor


Staffordshire terriers have flat, well-sculpted bodies with short hairs and a rough texture that makes them look shiny and sleek. They have uniformly short coats that may be white, black or brindle in color. In most cases, the eyes’ color corresponds with the dog’s coat.  

Size and Weight

An adult Staffy is a medium-sized dog that is about a foot tall, approximately 13 to 16 inches. Like other dog breeds, male Staffordshire terriers tend to be slightly larger and heavier than their female counterparts. 

Typically, full-grown Staffy males weigh 28 to 38 pounds, while full-grown female Staffordshire terriers are slightly smaller than the males, weighing 24 to 34 pounds with a standing height of 11 to 14 inches. Generally, Staffordshire terriers are muscular with athletic bodies.  

Head Shape

The head of a Staffordshire bull terrier is short, with a broad skull and very conspicuous cheek muscle. The neck is short and muscular, with a clean outline that gradually widens towards the shoulders. 

Their faces are deep and broad with tight lips. Although the head generally looks split, it might change shape when the muscles fully develop. 

Their mouth has inverted canines that are visible on the outside of the gum, especially when the jaws of the Staffordshire terrier are closed. However, these inverted mouths cannot grip efficiently like other dog breeds.

Eyes and Ears

The Staffordshire terrier eyes are bright, effectively conveying, appearing fairly round in shape and set a little deep in the skull of their squarish heads. Usually, the rims around the eyes are dark if the white fur is not around the eye region.

The ears of the Staffordshire are pricked and medium-sized, set around the top corner of its skull. Generally, these dogs tend to bring their ears forward when drawing attention to something, and the ears fold back to look like a rose when the dog is relaxed or sleeping.

Forequarters and Hindquarters

Staffordshire terriers have straight legs that are well-boned and firmly attached, showing sturdiness at the pasterns. The shoulders look overloaded with muscles, giving the dog a heavy appearance, especially when viewed from above. 

The hind legs are well-muscled and look bent and parallel, especially when viewed from behind. These dogs have strong dewclaws that help to stabilize the carpal joint, making it easier for them to climb on objects or firmly hold onto objects when chewing them.

Generally, Staffordshire terrier tails are undocked. The tail is medium in length and does not curl much, and it’s common for the dog to move it freely. Typically, the tail looks like the handle of an old-fashioned pump.


The Staffordshire terrier is courageous and loving and doesn’t show aggression toward the family members. This aspect makes the dog a preferable family pet as long the Staffy is well-trained and doesn’t have health issues.

They have high intelligence, making it easy to remember commands during training. However, they can be aggressive when provoked, and it’s not advisable to leave them alone with children.

How to Identify a Staffordshire Bull Terrier 

If you wish to get Staffordshire bull terriers, you need to get an idea of how to identify them. For instance, you can get puppies that look like the actual Staffordshire bull terriers yet are not purebred.

As a result, such a dog will live an unhealthy life and get an untimely death. It’s even advisable to report breeders who purport their puppies are purebred yet they are not. 

In the following guide, you will learn the proper techniques of how to identify a Staffordshire bull terrier.

Close-Up shot of dog showing mouth

Checking the Structure of an Adult Staffy

The first identification aspect lies with the structure of your dog. The Staffordshire bull terrier has a recognizable structure, whether a puppy or an adult. 

Do Not Miss the Paws

  • The paws of a Staffy should be medium in size.
  • They should look strong and must have good and firm pads.
  • The front paws should slightly deviate in an outward direction.

Inspect the Overall Build of Your Dog

  • Staffordshire bull terriers should have a muscular appeal.
  • Their structure is generally strong, with broad shoulders and well-sprung ribs..
  • They have a wide neck at the point where it connects to the shoulders.

Inspecting the Purity of Staffies by Their Coats

This mode of identification is liable for both puppies as well as adult Staffies. So, you must ensure not to miss out on this method if you intend to bring in a purebred and healthy Staffordshire terrier. The steps include:

Understand the Color Variety for Staffordshire Bull Terriers

Staffordshire bull terriers are available in quite a few colors. They can be either black, fawn, solid white, red, or blue. Some dogs also have brindle and white patches or marks that make them look even more appealing.

Check for the Coat Quality

The Staffordshire bull terriers or puppies have short-length coats that have a smooth feeling. And the fur of a purebred should always be close to the dog’s skin.

So, if you are not feeling such smoothness and short length of the coat, that is definitely not the purebred Staffordshire terrier. Question the breeders and report them for the fraud.

DNA Testing for Identifying Staffordshire Bull Terrier

The best way to identify whether the Staffordshire bull terrier puppy or adult is purebred or not is to get a DNA test. The vets around your town will definitely help you get in touch with the dog’s DNA testing lab to help you identify the purity of your breed.

But you can also get a ready-made DNA testing kit to carry out the test all by yourself.

Here are the steps to help you with the right process of approach. The steps include:

  • You need to get the DNA testing kit from an online store.
  • Please read the instructions over the kit, and open it up.
  • Take the cotton stick that you get with the pack.
  • Swab it around your dog’s cheek from the inside.
  • Now, go online to the brand’s official site that is providing you the DNA testing kit. And then you should activate your kit over it.
  • Once your kit is activated, you will have to send the kit again with the DNA sample to the brand’s lab. There is a prepaid shipping label available with the pack for you to ship it.
  • The technicians working in the lab assure that they can tell the actual breed of your dog with up to 97% accuracy.
  • Hence, this is the best way to identify whether a Staffordshire bull terrier is a purebred dog or not.
Cute dog playing in grassland

Checking for the Pedigree Papers

If you are heading to a breeder to buy a Staffordshire bull terrier puppy, then you should demand the pedigree papers. The reputable and genuine breeders will provide you with these papers that will have the signature of the Kennel Club.

Also, these papers will give clarity of lineage for the Staffordshire terrier puppy and will have details of around five generations. The pedigree paper is to help you get an idea of the family tree of Staffordshire bull terriers.

Verifying the Pedigree Papers

If there are papers for a puppy, you can consider them purebred because a breeder cannot give out fake documents for selling a puppy. They can face a lawsuit if they ever do that! Check the papers well, but do not entirely rely upon them.

If you are not convinced by the information given in the pedigree papers, you can always try out other measures.

Marking the Characteristic Traits of the Staffies

The last and final method to try and identify whether your Staffordshire bull terrier is purebred or not is to take note of its characteristics. Here is the list of few things that your Staffordshire terrier would do if they are a purebred:

  • With sufficient socialization, your Staffordshire terrier puppy or adult should like to be around people without resisting. It should replicate a friendly nature.
  • Staffordshire bull terriers are not guarding dogs but can be good watchdogs. They have that alerting mindset to alert their family about anything that is unfamiliar to them.
  • Stubbornness is their prime sign of purity. Staffordshire bull terriers have a powerful will, especially during their training sessions. If they show resistance and stubbornness, you can ensure that they are the purebred ones.
  • Staffordshire bull terrier is well-acquainted with all types of environmental conditions.

Traits of a Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Height 14 to 16 inches tall
Weight 28 to 38 pounds (male)
24 to 34 pounds (female)
Life Expectancy 12 to 14 years
Dog Breed Group Terrier Dogs
Friendliness Friendly with Humans
Not so friendly with dogs if not exposed to other dogs during puppyhood
Trainability Not so easy to train

Frequently Asked Questions

What Can I Expect From a Staffordshire Bull Terrier Dog?

You can expect courageousness, boldness, loyalty, and intelligence from your Staffordshire bull terrier. They are loving and blend well with the environment. Also, they love their family members and are on the front line at all times to ensure the safety of their house and the members.

A Staffordshire bull terrier shares a strong bond with one family member in the house, even though it loves all of them. And due to abandonment cases, Staffordshire bull terriers tend to suffer from separation stress and anxiety.

Do Staffordshire Bull Terriers Bark a Lot?

The Staffordshire bull terriers do bark a lot when they get bored. For instance, if you are leaving them alone at home for some emergency reason, they will start to bark after a certain point of waiting time. It is due to separation anxiety, as your dog feels like you have left them behind.

Is There a Difference Between a Staffordshire Terrier and a Staffordshire Bull Terrier?

Yes, there is. The main difference between a Staffordshire Terrier and a Staffordshire Bull Terrier is their size. The Staffordshire Terrier is larger in height and weight.


You need to keep in mind that identifying Staffordshire terrier is not a big task. Do your research on the personality traits and physical appearance attributes of a purebred Staffordshite terrier. You can also consider an inspection and get the assurance of purity before bringing home a Staffordshire terrier.