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Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier Dog Breed: Pictures, Guide, Info, Care & More

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on May 16, 2024 by Dogster Team

staffordshire bull terrier

Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier Dog Breed: Pictures, Guide, Info, Care & More

The Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a medium-sized dog whose origins are not fully known. We are quite familiar with the American Staffordshire Bull Terrier and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier that originates from England.

There is debate as to how the Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier came to exist. Some believe that this breed doesn’t exist and they are simply American Pit Bull Terriers, just named differently to circumnavigate breed-specific legislation in Europe.

Breed Overview

Height:

17 – 24 inches

Weight:

55 – 75 pounds

Lifespan:

10 – 15 years

Colors:

Black, blue, fawn, red, white, or brindle, often with markings

Suitable for:

Active families, houses with yards, guard duty, those looking for a low-shedding dog, experienced dog owners

Temperament:

Friendly, loyal, docile, playful, tenacious, protective, powerful

The Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier comes in a variety of coat colors and patterns and is an overall healthy breed that can live up to 15 years. They have a stocky, muscular appearance standing no more than 24 inches at the shoulder and weighing anywhere from 55 to 75 pounds.

Irish Staffordshire Bull Terriers, like all the other versions of Bull Terrier, are misunderstood because they were originally bred for fighting and are often victims of poor socialization and lack of training. These beautiful, muscular dogs can grow up to be wonderful pets. They are loyal, playful, friendly, and protective of their people. They can even be docile couch potatoes once they get their daily exercise in.

Energy
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High-energy dogs will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy dogs require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a dog to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Trainability
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Easy-to-train dogs are more skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Dogs that are harder to train will require a bit more patience and practice.
Health
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Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Lifespan
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Some dog breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every dog will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Sociability
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Some dog breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other dogs. More social dogs have a tendency to run up to strangers for pets and scratches, while less social dogs shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your dog and expose them to lots of different situations.

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Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier Puppies

The Irish Staffordshire Terrier is not a breed for everyone. To be the best companions and live up to their wonderful family-dog potential, these dogs will require more experienced owners that have the time and patience to put into proper socialization and training.

Because they were bred to fight, they don’t always do well with other dogs and pets. You must socialize them from early puppyhood and remain consistent throughout their lives.

Additionally, due to their athleticism, they are not a great choice for those who live in small apartments or have a busy lifestyle. They will do best with owners that have time to dedicate to their exercise needs.

This breed is also very attached to its family and is known to experience separation anxiety. You’ll want to train them early to feel comfortable with you leaving the home to avoid the stress and anxiety they can experience.

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Temperament & Intelligence of the Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Irish Staffordshire Bull Terriers are loyal dogs that will go to great lengths to defend their family. A protector by nature, this breed will fight to protect its family and will be very committed to doing so. If it feels anything is threatening its family, it can become aggressive toward the perceived threat.

They are a very social breed and love to interact with people. They usually take very well to strangers and are only defensive and protective if they feel there is a threat present. There have been poor breeding practices that have resulted in aggression and behavioral issues.

Though they were bred to be fighters and it is best to be cautious around other animals, they were also bred to be submissive and responsive to humans and are very eager to please. They are incredibly loving and affectionate with their families. You can also expect them to be a bit silly. Their goofy personalities can be quite entertaining!

Despite their reputation, if given the proper socialization and training they can make great pets that will work their way into your heart almost immediately.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪

The Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier has the potential to be great with kids. As with any dog, it is best to socialize them from an early age. This breed is very friendly, playful, and lovable. They are known to take children in as part of their pack and stop at nothing to protect them.

That being said, Irish Staffordshire Bull Terriers are very muscular and powerful. You’ll want to watch them around young children, as accidents can happen. You don’t want your little one being knocked over or injured by a large and energetic dog.

It is important to note that this breed won’t be for everyone. There may be individual dogs that may not do well with children so you’ll either want to bring home a puppy or get to know the dog very well before bringing them home.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets? 🐶 😽 

It is so very important to train these dogs from puppyhood to interact properly with other dogs and pets. They are prone to dog aggression and if not socialized early with small animals such as cats, can have an intense prey drive.

The Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier will not give up during a fight. Some individuals will just naturally not do well with other animals and it is important to recognize this and ensure their lifestyle prevents interaction and any possible incidents.

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Things to Know When Owning an Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

Like all dogs, the Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier will require a well-balanced and high-quality diet to stay in good health. You will want a dog food that is suitable for their age and activity levels. They can be prone to food allergies so it is important to discuss proper feeding with your veterinarian if any symptoms show up.

Exercise 🐕

The muscle-bound Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier is quite an athletic breed. They will require some form of exercise and regular activity to be at their best. They typically enjoy high-energy play or going on walks and jogs. They love to play fetch and tug-of-war, so there will be no shortage of possibilities that will keep your Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier entertained and happy.

You won’t want them to go without their needed exercise, as it will result in boredom and pent-up energy that could lead to unwanted behaviors and the possibility of them becoming destructive in your home. It’s recommended that you exercise this breed anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes per day. Once they spend their energy, they make incredible couch potatoes and tend to think they are lap dogs.

Training 🎾

As mentioned, this breed will require more experienced owners that have the time, patience, and knowledge to train them. Anyone training the Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier will need to be firm and willing to show the dog who is in charge. They are generally very eager to please and pick up on training surprisingly well. They do best with positive reinforcement, as they love knowing they’ve made their handler happy.

As with any training method, discipline and consistency are extremely important. Not only is it important to train your dog in typical obedience, but it’s also best to socialize them and train them how to interact with other animals and people. Starting your training around 8 weeks of age is ideal, or as soon as you can bring them home. Remember that you’ll need to dedicate yourself to training to get a well-rounded and well-mannered family pet.

Grooming ✂️

Irish Staffordshire Bull Terriers have low-maintenance, short, shiny coats. They will shed their coat so you can expect to find short hairs all over the house, especially during periods of high shedding, such as springtime. Occasional brushing will suffice and can help with loose hairs. This breed will do fine with occasional baths, but it won’t be a frequent requirement.

It’s a good idea to have your dog accustomed to getting its teeth brushed weekly and its nails trimmed every month. Many owners are apprehensive about trimming a dog’s nails but with proper tools and practice, it can be a very simple task. You’ll want to make sure you check your dog’s ears for any dirt or debris. It’s not uncommon for Irish Staffordshire Bull Terriers to get ear infections.

Health and Conditions 🏥

The life expectancy of an Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier is typically 10–15 years with proper care and nutrition. This breed is vulnerable to allergies so it’s important to keep an eye on that. They can be prone to obesity, hip and elbow dysplasia, and knee problems. They have been known to acquire cancers, typically later in life. A well-balanced diet and regular veterinary check-ups are very important for your dog.

Minor Conditions

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Male vs Female

It is not uncommon for these dogs to exhibit dog aggression toward other dogs of the same sex. Neutering a male before one year of age will help to alleviate problems associated with being intact, such as being territorial and aggressive. Neutering will also eliminate their risk of testicular cancer later in life.

Females are known to fight with other females and typically do better with male companions. It’s also very important to spay your female, as it can help prevent diseases, such as cancer as they get older. Females tend to be very motherly and protective with children. They also have a knack for picking up on your emotions.

Temperamentally, there is little difference between male and female Irish Staffordshire Bull Terriers other than the males may act more like bulldozers than the females. Males and females are typically easy to train, equally intelligent, and loving dogs.

3 Little-Known Facts About the Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier

1. They Are Not Recognized By The Irish Kennel Club

There’s no mistaking the fact that the Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier is related to the English Staffordshire Bull Terrier and the American Staffordshire Bull Terrier. Considering the breed has “Irish” in its name, you’d think it would have recognition from the country, but they do not.

This breed has never been recognized by the Irish Kennel Club. You probably won’t have any luck finding an Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier in the United States due to the controversy over their breed origins. They are just grouped in with Pit Bulls and other Staffordshire Bull Terriers.


2. They Weren’t Considered As Family Pets Until Dog Fighting Was Outlawed

In 1835, dogfighting was outlawed in England by the Humane Act. This legislation outlawed dogfighting, bull-baiting, and even bear-baiting. They were not commonly kept as companion dogs until after this legislation passed. Their history as fighters made it difficult for the breed to gain recognition by the British Kennel Club but was eventually recognized in 1935.


3. They Are Victims of Breed Specific Legislation All Over the World

Bully breeds of any origin are generally classified as Pit Bull-type dogs. Due to this, there will inevitably be places that have breed restrictions against them. You even have to check with your homeowner’s insurance to ensure you don’t have to pay extra to own this breed, as they are deemed an aggressive dog along with other breeds such as Rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers, and German Shepherds.

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Final Thoughts

The Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier, whether a disguised breed to avoid legislation or a legitimate descendant of other Staffordshire Bull Terriers in Europe, has the potential to make excellent family dogs. They will need a more experienced owner that is prepared for the commitment of training and socialization.

It’s important to be aware of their history as fighting dogs and their tendencies to not do so well with other animals if not socialized properly. With all the right ingredients and the right family, Irish Staffordshire Bull Terriers will make a loving, loyal, protective family member that will be sure to give you a lot of laughs and snuggles.

See also:


Featured Image Credit: Javier Fuentes, Pixabay

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