What Breeds Make a Staffordshire Bull Terrier?

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The Staffordshire Bull Terrier dog has extinct ancestor breeds that originated in England. Breeders created this dog breed for bull-baiting and dog fights, but good breeding transformed the Staffordshire Bull Terrier into a mild companion.

The physical feature is notably similar to the American Pit Bull Terrier as they share a common ancestor. So, what breeds make a Staffordshire Bull Terrier?

What Breeds Make a Staffordshire Bull Terrier?

A Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a product of crossbreeding between two extinct breeds — the Old English Bulldog and Old English Terrier. Today, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier exhibits a gentler temperament that makes it a good family pet.

Graphic image of two Staffy dogs with a text that explains what breeds make up a Staffordshire Bull Terrier

In the next section, I will discuss the ancestor breeds in an in-depth manner.

Brief History of Breeding a Staffordshire Bull Terrier

The Staffordshire Bull Terriers were created in England in the 19th century. The mentioned breed is a descendant of the Old English Bulldog and Old English Terrier. The English Bulldog manifests an aggressive behavior that people back then thought suits dogfighting and bull-baiting. 

Since the Old English Bulldog is heavier, people thought to improve the breed into something faster, lighter but at the same time exhibits the tenacity and boldness of a Bulldog. They started to breed it with various terrier breeds until they successfully created the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. 

However, dogfighting was criminalized in 1835. That’s the start of keeping the Staffordshire Bull Terrier as a companion. The breed was improved and perfected by James Hinks in the 1850s where its broad skulls feature became one of the breed’s distinctions.

The breed arrived in America in the 1880s and was developed to become taller and heavier. 

Old English Bulldog

The Old English Bulldog is the ancestor breed of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. This extinct breed manifests less health issues compared to other bulldog breeds.

Breeders paired this dog breed with the Old English Terrier with the intent to create a fast-acting and athletic hybrid that resulted in the creation of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier resting on the pavement

The Old English Bulldog was larger than the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, although both breeds belong to the medium-sized category. An Old English Bulldog male weighs 60-80 pounds and is 17-20 inches tall, while a female has 50-70 pounds weight and 16-19 inches height.

In comparison to the descendant breed, Staffordshire Bull Terrier male weighs 25-38 pounds and stands 14-16 inches and a female weighs 23-35 pounds and 13-15 inches tall.

When it comes to temperament, an Old English Bulldog is an extremely protective guard dog than the Staffordshire. Despite being a good guard dog, the English Bulldog generally goes along well with other pets like cats compared to the Staffordshire that usually doesn’t.

The descendant breed has an average obedience intelligence and a social breed that was most likely acquired from the Old English Bulldog. 

Staffordshire Bull Terrier on a beach sand

Old English Terrier

As mentioned earlier, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a descendant of the extinct Old English Terrier. In the early 20th century, this breed of dog became extinct due to health problems acquired through the inbreeding method. The breeding process negatively affected the breed to be born deaf.

In terms of physical features, the Old English Terrier is smaller than the Staffordshire Bull Terrier and the Old English Bulldog. It weighs about 8-35 pounds and has a height of 10-15 inches.

The breed comes in white color only that’s why it’s also known by several aliases such as the White English Terrier, Old English White Terrier or Old White Terrier. 

Unlike the Old English Bulldog and Staffordshire level of trainability, the Old English Terrier is difficult to train. The reason behind this problem is due to deafness caused by unhealthy breeding.

The similarities of this breed to the two mentioned breeds are more on the temperament which is loving, affectionate and loyal. Despite its affectionate nature, the Old English Terrier makes a good hunter. 

Chart below summarizes some similarities and differences of each breed.

Old English BulldogStaffordshire Bull TerrierOld English Terrier
IntelligenceAverageAverageDifficult**due to deafness
TrainabilityQuite easyNot famous for trainabilityDifficult**due to deafness
Weight (lbs)Male: 60-80 Female: 50-70Male: 25-38Female: 23-358-35**average weight for both gender
Height (in)Male: 17-20 Female: 16-19Male: 14-16Female: 13-1510-15**average height for both gender

Staffordshire Bull Terrier General Appearance

According to the American Kennel Club breed standard, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier should be agile and active, of great strength according to its size and smooth-coated.

The head features should include a broad skull though short and deep. The nose should be black and very pronounced with distinct cheek muscles.

The eyes are round and medium-sized, preferably dark in color or related to its coat. The eyes are preferably dark in color or related to its coat’s color.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier

The ears should be half-pricked or rose but are not heavy nor large. This breed should also have tight and clean lips with strong jaws, large teeth and a complete scissor bite. The neck should be short and gradually goes wide towards the shoulders.

Its forequarters should have laid back shoulders and tight elbows. The body is well-defined with a medium-length and low-set tail that shouldn’t curl.

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier should have a powerful, free and agile movement. The coat is smooth and short. It comes in a wide range of colors that include fawn, white, red, black and blue or any of the mentioned colors combined with white. It can also be a shade of brindle or brindle with white.

However, the liver or black and tan are undesirable colors for this breed. 

Related Questions

What Is the Difference Between Staffordshire Bull Terrier and American Staffordshire Terrier?

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier differs from the American Staffordshire Terrier through size. The latter breed is larger compared to the Staffordshire Bull Terrier which has a deeper skull and more developed chewing muscles. 

How Do I Know if My Dog Is a Pitbull or Staffy?

Since Staffies and Pitbulls share common ancestors, they almost look the same. However, you can distinguish the two through their size. Pitbulls are taller and heavier than the Staffordshire Bull Terriers. 


The Staffordshire Bull Terrier originally came from the breeds of the Old English Terrier and English Bulldogs. This breed was originally created for dogfights and bull-baiting but today, it became a human companion. Despite its fierce features, this dog is generally affectionate and loving.

However, it’s best to practice caution especially around kids, strangers and other pets.