Staffy Temperament, Characteristics and Personality

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a popular breed for many reasons. Of course, we love them, which is why we have a whole site dedicated to them. Unfortunately, staffies do tend to have a bad reputation in some circles due to previous bad press and their connections with the term “pit bull.”

The people who believe this misinformation don’t understand that the term “pit bull” can be used to group together dog breeds known as bully dogs. People also commonly use the term pit bull to describe the pit bull terrier breed, which is on the UKs banned dog breeds list.

People often see these awful videos of staffy-like dogs attacking people and other dogs. But what they fail to understand is these dogs act this way because disturbed people mentally break them. In no way, does this define the temperament of all Staffordshire Bull Terriers.

This article will outline the characteristics and temperament of an average staffy to help fight against this awful misrepresentation of this beautiful breed. In other words, describing what a staffy would be like in the hands of a proper owner who looks after and loves it.

Staffy Temperament and Characteristics

Common Staffy Characteristics

Before we get into the fun stuff like personality and activity levels, we must go over a staffy’s essential characteristics: coat colour, height, weight, and lifespan. Understanding these attributes will help you prepare your home for a staffy’s arrival.

You can check out the guide for more information on what they consider desirable aesthetic traits for a Staffy.

Coat Colours

Staffies are very colourful breed. They’re many different colours a staffy’s coat could have; this means you have the opportunity to choose a colour that fits your particular preference. The most common staffy coat colour is brindle. However, the following coat colours are known to exist:  

  • Red
  • Fawn
  • White
  • Black
  • Blue
  • Liver
group of staffies

In some cases, one of the above colors is mixed with white and can make a staffy’s coat two colours.  Then, you get the following combinations:

  • Red and white
  • Fawn and white
  • Black and white
  • Blue and white
  • Brindle and white

And it doesn’t end there; white and brindle coats are sometimes lighter or darker depending on the staffy. Overall, there’s no way you won’t find a staffy with a coat colour for your particular fancy.


Staffies are relatively short with an average height range between 1 feet 2 inches to 1 feet 4 inches. This could be to your benefit as it means staffies are unlikely to steal things off the kitchen table or countertops.

However, their jumping ability still makes them a threat to your food. So watch them carefully, or you might find your dinner missing a sausage or two.


The recommended weight for a staffy ranges from 11 to 17 kilograms, (11 – 15 for females and 13 – 17 for males). Knowing the healthy weight range for a Staffordshire Bull Terrier helps curb a common problem for this breed: obesity.

Staffies need a constant, rigorous exercise regime to keep their weight in a healthy range. If they don’t, they tend to overeat and lay around the house a little too much.

Life Span

Getting a dog is a long term commitment so it’s imperative you understand the number of years a staffy tends to live for: 12 to 14 years.

You can check out the Kennel club’s staffy breed standard guide for more information on what they consider desirable aesthetic traits for a Staffy.

Staffy Temperament & Personality

Now that you understand all the common characteristics of a staffy, it’s time to discuss their temperament, personality and why these dogs make the perfect pets.

If you don’t think you’re this type of owner, there’s no need to worry. There’s a reason dog trainers exist. Contact one and let him or her aid your training process and guide you towards a successfully trained dog.


The first thing you’re going to notice about a staffy is their very tough and rugged look. Their appearance embodies what it means to look powerful. But under this rough exterior lies the sweetest dog you could ever imagine.

stroking staffy

All these pups want to do is play and run around enjoying life.  They’ll make sure they’re apart of any activity you’re doing: running, walking, reading a book, taking a nap, etc. They just want to be with the people they love.

Due to this, staffies tend to get over-attached and develop issues such as separation anxiety: a condition that can cause some severe problems for both the owner and their dog. We recently posted an entire article on staffy anxiety problems.

Besides being fun-loving towards their owners, these dogs will most likely get along with your other pets. However, it’s essential to continually watch their interactions. Staffies are known to be overly playful and given their strength accidents could happen.

In light of this, think about the pets already in your home. For example, if you already have a dominant dog, a staffy isn’t a wise choice for a second dog. Staffies are a loveable breed but they are fearless as well and will fight if they receive a challenge.

With this in mind you will want to be cautious when walking a staffy off the lead (this is the case with any dog, really). As mentioned earlier, other dog owners aren’t very informed about this breed and could be very standoffish or act scared towards them. In response, your staffy might become frightened and defensive towards the person or their dog.

These fantastic dogs are seeking an owner to love them. If you take care of and train them properly, there’s no reason a staffy can’t make the perfect pet. Remember, don’t believe the misconceptions about them. They’re one of the best pets you could ever consider.

Energy Levels

Staffies are a very energetic, playful breed that needs a lot of attention and exercise.

Running and jumping staffies

They love walks, hikes, runs, playing fetch, and any other physical activity you can possibly think of which can involve your dog.

But given the opportunity, these dogs will lounge around all day. Allowing them to sit around and sleep will increase the likelihood they become overweight. They need a consistent, rigorous exercise regime every single day.

If you think that’s too much responsibility, there are other ways to get your staffy the exercise they need to stay healthy: invest in a dog walker, training classes or having a work from home friend take them on walks these are all things which could positively effect a staffy’s life and health

Here's a full article I posted dedicated to staffy exercise ideas.


All staffy owners can agree on one thing: these dogs are stubborn. This stubbornness can make training them a challenging task a times. They’ll need an owner who’s confident, firm, and authoritative to train them successfully.

Most importantly, these dogs need a sense of consistency for their training to take hold. Don’t expect a staffy to understand all the commands you want them to know immediately. It will take a lot of effort, patience and practice for you to train your staffy successfully.

Final Words on Staffy Personality Traits

In the end, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is one of the best breeds in existence. They’re fun, loveable, outgoing, smart and an owner’s best friend. Don’t let bad owners and misrepresentations in the media cloud your judgment of this fantastic breed!

In fact, staffies are even listed by the Kennel Club as one of the breeds suitable for families with children.

7 thoughts on “Staffy Temperament, Characteristics and Personality”

  1. Hello ma’am and sir, I would like to ask for help regarding our staffy dog. He is still one year old and had been in the cage for about 5 months early after he was born and I think this cause him to be aggressive and usually bites us whenever we set him free. What should we do?

    • Hello Saharah, thanks for commenting. I apologise for the delay in getting back to you, I had been away for a while so just catching up with the comments now.

      I’m not a dog behaviour specialist and this is something I have never experienced with my own dogs so it is difficult for me to offer any solid advice here. It’s also hard to get an idea of the reasons behind a dog’s behaviour without seeing it in person.

      I would suggest doing a bit of research and finding a reputable dog behaviourist in your area who will come to your home and work with your dog in person. When it comes to biting and aggression, I think seeking help from an expert is best and should be done quickly.

      Sorry I couldn’t offer anything more than that but I hope it helps a bit.

      Best regards,

      Laine @SmilingStaffy

    • Why get a dog and put it in a cage. Your dog is family and if you can’t offer that do not get a dog, mabe consider a hamster

      • Hi Charlotte, thanks for visiting the site and commenting.

        I am agreed with your view on keeping a dog in a cage long-term. However, I do feel like a crate can be useful in certain situations as long as proper crate training is employed.

        With regards to the initial comment, as I understood it, I don’t think it was initially the owner’s choice to keep their dog caged. From what I could tell from the original comment, it seems like the issue may have been caused by the breeder.

        Thanks again for reading and getting involved in the discussion,

        Laine @ Smiling Staffy

  2. I never thought I would love a staffie until toyah came us as a Foster dog and was never reclaimed. She is the most gentle, devoted companion. If you train and devote yourself to them staffie are amazing

  3. Hi There,
    My staffy recently got attacked by a pitbull on his ear, it wasn’t too serious. Although I am a bit concerned that he is going to be scared of other dogs what would be the best way to start walking him again? I don’t want to make it even worse.

    • As an experienced dog handler (amateur, not qualified), I would suggest enlisting the help of a friend with a calm dog.

      Both dogs on a lead, just stand with your dog relaxed and standing, but on a lead.
      Now get your friend to walk their calm dog past your dog at about twenty feet distance.
      Don’t speak to your dog, just observe. Any aggression from your dog, get your friend to walk their dog away out of sight and regroup – this time with the walk-by dog at twenty-five feet if needed.

      If no reaction from your dog, then gradually close the pass-by distance from twenty to fifteen, to ten, to five, four and so on.

      The aim of this exercise is to gradually get your dog to be relaxed around other dogs and realise that not all dogs are going to attack him and he can drop his guard.

      It is an exercise I have used with fear-aggressive dogs in the past and the time spent doing this really pays back.

      I wish you the best.


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