This complete guide to the blue Staffordshire Bull Terrier takes a closer look at the genes behind grey fur in Staffies, and whether they can impact your dog’s health and temperament.
- Blue Saffordshire Bull Terrier color and genetics
- Are blue staffies friendly?
- Blue Staffordshire Terrier health and care
- Finding a blue Staffordshire Bull Terrier puppy
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a popular family companion that is very devoted to their family. This breed is known for getting along with adults and children alike, though they need good socialization from an early age. Staffies are medium dogs that come in a variety of coat colors, including blue or grey. They may have some white markings to accompany this, or could be solid.
What is a Blue Staffordshire Bull Terrier?
A blue Staffordshire Bull Terrier is simply a Staffie with a blue coat. Blue, in the canine world, actually means grey. So, a blue Staffie won’t be the colour of the sky! But, they’ll have a lovely grey coat. In some cases, these dogs will also have white patches.
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a medium sized, muscular breed that originated in 19th Century England as a fighting dog. Blood sports were eventually banned, but many Staffies continued to fight in underground, illegal rings. Recent years have seen the Staffie become a popular, and well-loved family companion. Though, some people may still negatively associate the Staffie breed with traits that made it so successful in dog fighting pits, such as dog-directed aggression.
Blue Staffordshire Bull Terrier Appearance
When they’re fully grown, the blue Staffie is a medium sized dogs. They will usually stand between 14 and 16 inches tall at the withers, weighing from 24 to 38 pounds. Like most breeds, females tend to be smaller and lighter than males. Staffies have a short, smooth coat that requires little grooming, and sheds infrequently.
These dogs have floppy, triangular ears, large eyes, and a wide, wedge-shaped head. In fact, many people compare their blue Staffordshire Bull Terriers to seals! Their overall appearance is stocky and muscular.
Blue Coloring and Genetics
Blue is just one of the many shades that Staffordshire Bull Terriers can come in. This coloring is actually caused by a gene that dilutes black fur. This gene is recessive, so Staffie puppies must receive a copy from each parent if they are going to have blue fur. If they only receive one copy, their fur will be black.
Are Blue Staffordshire Bull Terriers Friendly?
A major concern that many people have about Staffies is their temperament, due to their dog fighting histories. When bred to fight, Staffies were required to be aggressive to other dogs, but to have very strong bonds with their owners. It was vital to have a people-friendly dog, to prevent handler injuries in the ring.
Many studies have examined aggression in purebred dogs, including Staffordshire Bull Terriers. And, the results are often contradictory. For instance, one study found that most reported dog attacks were caused by Staffordshire Bull Terriers, but another found no difference in aggression between Staffies and other breeds. Most of these studies look at the breed as a whole, rather than any link to color.
It’s important to note that all dogs are individuals, and many Staffies are bred and raised to be friendly, loving dogs. But, some disreputable owners may encourage aggression in their Staffies, purchasing them simply because of their reputation and history. When looking at studies into canine aggression, it’s also important to consider the number of dogs used, including whether Staffies are grouped with other breeds into a much larger ‘Pitbull’ category.
Staffordshire Bull Terriers are strong dogs, with very strong jaws. So, their bites can do much more damage than a smaller dog, like the Chihuahua. Because of this, there’s a chance their bites will be reported more frequently. In fact, bites from smaller dogs may go unreported altogether, because they might not do much damage at all. This can mean results into canine aggression can be a little misleading.
But, it doesn’t mean that Staffies will never be aggressive. But, like all dog breeds, their breeding and early experiences can have a huge impact on their adult temperament.
Raising a Friendly Staffie
A major part of getting a friendly Staffordshire Bull Terrier is choosing a reputable breeder. The best breeders will only breed friendly, gentle dogs with good health. When you visit puppies, make sure to interact with the mother dog, and the father if possible. If the parent dogs are friendly to you – a stranger – as well as their own family, this is a good sign. If the parents are aggressive or nervous, you should look for puppies elsewhere.
As well as choosing a reputable breeder, you must socialize your Staffie well from a young age. Introduce them to plenty of new situations and environments, as well as different animals and people. Make sure these experiences are calm and positive, to reduce the chances of fear-based aggression as an adult dog. Socialization should take place before your puppy is 12 weeks old, but don’t put your puppy on the ground until they’re fully vaccinated. Investing in a puppy sling is usually best.
Are Blue Staffordshire Bull Terriers Healthy?
One major issue that is linked to the dilute gene in dogs is color-dilution alopecia. Dogs who suffer from this problem will experience fur thinning, and baldness in extreme cases. Examine your Staffordshire Bull Terrier’s fur during grooming sessions to watch out for any symptoms that could be a sign of color-dilution alopecia.
Other than this, your Staffie will be prone to any other health issues that are common for the breed. Some of these include: atopic dermatitis, joint issues such as osteoarthritis, and eye issues.
Grooming and Daily Care
Staffies, no matter what color their fur, are relatively low maintenance when it comes to grooming. They aren’t heavy shedders, but may shed during hotter times of the year. Since they have short, sleek coats, their fur doesn’t tend to get tangled. They may need an occasional bath, particularly if the roll in something smelly. But, it will mostly be down to your judgement!
When grooming, make sure you also check your Staffie’s ears for excess wax. Dry them thoroughly after bathing. And, make sure you keep their nails trimmed to a good length to reduce the risk of breakage.
Feed your Staffie a balanced, nutritious diet. Some owners prefer to make their own meals, whilst others prefer commercial options. If you’re ever unsure about your Terrier’s weight or health, the veterinarian is your best source of advice.
Finding a Blue Staffordshire Terrier Puppy
If your Staffordshire Terrier’s coat is caused by the dilute gene, they will have blue fur from the time they’re born. So, you’ll easily be able to see which puppies will grow up to be blue. Some breeders may specialize in certain coat colors. The price of Staffie puppies will depend on your location, demand for puppies, pedigree, and many other factors. But, as a general rule, these puppies will cost at least $1000.
It’s important to choose a reputable breeder in your search. The best breeders will health test dogs before breeding, and will show you evidence of this in person. They’ll be happy for you to see where the puppies are kept, and to meet at least the mother. They will also answer any questions you have. Avoid puppy mills and backyard breeders, as puppies from these places often have more health and behavioral issues.
Another option is to rescue a blue Staffy. A rescue dog is more likely to be older, but you can learn more about their personality from rescue staff. Make sure you’re bringing home a dog that’s the right fit for you – disclose information on kids, other pets, and anything else the staff can help to advise you on. Together, you can find the best blue Staffordshire Bull Terrier for you.
Do You Have a Blue Staffordshire Bull Terrier?
Are you getting ready to bring a blue Staffie puppy into your home? We would love to hear about them in the comments! Does your Staffordshire Bull Terrier have a solid coat, or have they got white patches amongst the blue?
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References and Resources
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- Duffy, D. (et al), ‘Breed Differences in Canine Aggression’, Applied Animal Behaviour Science (2008)
- Stafford, K. ‘Opinions of Veterinarians Regarding Aggression in Different Breeds of Dogs’, New Zealand Veterinary Journal (1996)
- Tamara Montrose, V. (et al), ‘Dog Bites Dog: The Use of News Media Articles to Investigate Dog-On-Dog Aggression’, Journal of Veterinary Behavior (2020)
- Pegram, C. (et al), ‘Staffordshire Bull Terriers in the UK: Their Disorder Predispositions and Protections’, Canine Medicine and Genetics (2020)
- Howell, T. (et al), ‘Puppy Parties and Beyond: The Role of Early Age Socialization Practices on Adult Dog Behavior’, Veterinary Medicine: Research and Reports (2015)
- Cutler, J. (et al), ‘Puppy Socialization Practices of a Sample of Dog Owners from Across Canada and the United States’, Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (2017)