The following page was written by a good friend and very smart woman, Beret Walsh, whom I respect a great deal. She put into words the very important topic of Staffords and how they interact with other animals so eloquently. Many of us find ourselves answering these questions daily. If you don’t know this breed but you think they would be the perfect addition for you PLEASE read this and know she is correct on every point she makes. (Shared with permission – please DO NOT copy and use without reaching out to Beret yourself. Play nice. )
Staffordshire Bull Terriers & Other Dogs
First, one must understand that dog-dog sociability is a spectrum. Dogs can range from highly pro-social (love and enjoy interacting with every dog they meet) to truly dog-aggressive (wants to hurt every other dog they encounter) with a lot of space and nuance in between those two poles. Most well-socialized dogs will fall somewhere in the middle of the sociability spectrum around dog-tolerant to dog-selective, and their position on this spectrum will often shift away from the more social end as they continue to mature regardless of “how they were raised”.
The above graphic is the property of K9 Activity Club and used with permission.
Dog sociability is epigenetic, meaning it has a genetic component that may be influenced by environmental factors. Early negative experiences with other dogs can impact a dog’s tolerance for others in the future. Likewise, a dog with a genetic predisposition toward intolerance for other dogs need not be influenced by experience for intolerance to arise.
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier breed has origins in dog-on-dog combat. While the modern Stafford is no longer bred for such exploits, one cannot deny the foundation of the breed and how that history still may influence behavior today. For that reason, any responsible Stafford owner knows that the potential for conflict between dogs is always there and is well versed in body language, de-escalation, and management techniques should the need arise. Avoiding same-sex pairings can also help mitigate any issues that may arise.
Many people have the idea that breeders should specifically focus their efforts on eliminating the fire in the breed. As unsavory as their origins may be however, it also led to many wonderful qualities that make us love the breed today. Their tenacity, their versatility and above all, their bombproof nature with their humans in even the most volatile of situations. When the focus shifts from preservation to change, we risk losing the incredible virtues of the breed we hold most dear.
Most Staffordshire Bull Terriers will get on fine with trusted canine housemates and a close circle of friends, but may be far less accepting of a strange dog coming into their space. Typically however once there is hatred between dogs of any breed, there is no reconciliation to be had. Many take a “don’t start none, won’t be none” attitude and wouldn’t necessarily start a tiff, but also would not hesitate to step up to the plate and finish it if a challenge was presented.
A Staffordshire Bull Terrier not enjoying the company of other dogs is not incorrect or wrong, nor does their potential intolerance for certain other dogs have any bearing on their sociability with humans. A responsible Stafford owner knows and accepts the propensity for spice inherent in their dog, and keeps them out of situations wherein conflict may arise to set them up for success. This is not a breed well-suited for dog parks or doggy day care. While there certainly are Staffords who can do just fine in that type of environment, the dedicated owner recognizes that there are far better opportunities for bonding and play than a thunderdome-style canine free-for-all. The Staffordshire Bull Terrier needs human companionship more than it needs to be friends with other dogs.
Staffordshire Bull Terriers & Cats
Many Staffordshire Bull Terriers live successfully with cats inside the house provided they are given clear ground rules (no chasing, no rough play, etc.), kept under supervision, and the cats have ample space to get away from the dog when needed. A cat running away can spark predatory drift in a dog, whose natural instinct is to chase and grab the small furry thing moving away from it. Outside of the house, cats are often no longer seen as off-limits family members and the situation can easily sour.
For a dedicated and mindful owner, it is definitely possible to keep both Staffords and cats together in the house. However one must never forget the origins of the breed they own and always ensure the household is under their careful management.
Staffordshire Bull Terriers & Critters
As the name suggests, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a terrier, which is a type of dog originally used for catching and dispatching small critters and prey animals.
It is unreasonable to expect a Staffordshire Bull Terrier to live in harmony with rabbits, chickens, ferrets, etc. If a Stafford owner does keep small critters, they must be securely separated from the dogs. Never underestimate a Stafford’s ability to snatch up a mouse, a rabbit, or a chicken before you’ve even realized what’s going on.
It is both normal and expected for a Stafford to grab and kill a small animal. And in fact, they can make for great critter infestations control around the yard, garage, and shed. There are also wonderful ways to harness this natural instinct in a controlled setting, such as the sport of Barn Hunt.
See original article here → https://www.theatricstaffords.com/staffords-and-other-animals