Staffordshire Bull Terrier
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier or ‘Stafford’ is a popular small sized pet dog who is very happy to be a family member. He is known for his strength and courage and utter devotion to his family. Some Staffords do not socialise well with other dogs, so need firm handling when out and about. Generally if treated well and given appropriate early socialisation and training the Stafford will behave well and reward his owner with excellent behaviour. He needs at least an hour’s exercise every day and opportunities where he can meet other people and dogs. A further comment about his name: it seems that dogs that are Kennel Club registered are known as Staffords, those that aren’t are referred to as Staffies. Apparently this breed more than any other has a greater proportion which are not registered with the Kennel Club.
Inbreeding Coefficient - COI
(Should be as low as possible)
The UK Kennel Club breed average COI is 7.6% - see 'A Beginners Guide to COI'
Effective Population Size - EPS97.71
EPS is a measure of how many individuals are contributing genetically to a breed population. It is a measure of the size of the gene pool in a breed. Lower than 100 is considered critical by conservationists and below 50 brings a breed close to extinction. For more information see the Kennel Club article.
Health and Welfare Problems due to Conformation
(Body shape and physical characteristics)
Brachycephalic upper airway syndrome (due to facial/skull abnormalities – affects the ability to breathe and causes exercise intolerance).
- Hip dysplasia: breed mean score 12.9 (parents should be lower)
- Eye disease: Hereditary cataract (HC); Persistent hyperplastic primary vitreous (PHPV) (severe lesions can cause visual loss) (litter screening)
Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) are now available for Hip Dysplasia and Elbow Dysplasia:
DNA Tests Available
- Hereditary Cataract (HC-HSF4)
- Hydroxyglutaric Aciduria (L-2HGA)
- Degenerative Myelopathy (DM)
Unofficial (Breed Club) Schemes
Litter eye screening for Persistent hyperplastic primary vitreous (PHPV).
Ask the breeder to show you the certificates for the above tests/screening for both parents. If any of the above tests have not been considered necessary by the breeder (and there may be good reasons), ask her to explain why.
Other Diseases Reported
(For which there are currently no genetic or screening tests for sire or dam)
- Demodicosis (skin problems caused by the demodex mite)
- Cancer – Mast cell tumour (cancer of the immune system – ranges from localised tumours in the skin, causing itching and pain, to severe pain and malaise when internal organs are affected); Soft tissue carcinoma
- Cranial cruciate ligament disease (causes pain and lameness of the hind limbs)
- Canine follicular dysplasia (seasonal flank alopecia) (hair loss)
- Brachycephalic upper airway syndrome (see above)
Ask the breeder about the medical history of the parents, grandparents and great grandparents. Consider carefully whether to purchase a puppy if some of these or other diseases are in the family line.
Ask about the breeder’s policy in cases of serious genetic diseases occurring to your puppy in later life. Good breeders will request to be informed of such events in order to improve future breeding decisions. Some breeders will also agree to contribute towards medical costs or refund purchase price.
You are strongly advised to buy from a breeder who uses (or is prepared to use) the RSPCA / BVA AWF Puppy Contract and Puppy Information Pack (PIP): www.puppycontract.org.uk
You are also advised to buy from a breeder who follows the Dog Breeding Reform Group’s (DBRG) Standard for Dog Breeding: