Staffordshire Terriers are dogs that many people know by sight but maybe not by name. Affectionately called Staffies, some people could easily mistake them for a pitbull. Though the two are similar, Staffordshire Terriers are smaller in height and weight. Staffies also can have the beautiful brindle coat has has gained a lot of popularity over the years.
1. The word “brindle” is simply a term for a pattern, like strips or plaid.
It’s often described as tiger-striped, though the color variation is hardly as defined as tigers themselves. It’s actually the same color pattern that is called tortoiseshell on cats. We’re not sure why there aren’t tortoiseshell dogs or brindle cats, but that’s the way it is. Generally, it’s a brown background with black stripes. If it’s the opposite (which is possible) – a black background with brown stripes – it’s called reverse brindle.
2. Staffordshire Terriers are a relatively new breed in the sense that they’re well known (in the top 100 of most popular dogs, according to the AKC) but have only been bred into existence in the 19th century.
Bulldogs, humanely put out of work from the realm of blood sports (which were banned in 1835), were bred with terriers. In Staffordshire, England, a man named James Hinks popularized the new breed from whence it spread across the globe. Today, some bred in the U.S. are called American Staffordshire Terriers or Amstaffs.
The term brindle dates all the way back to the 1670s.
Even then it was uses to mean an animal “marked with streaks, streaked with a darker color.” It came from the Middle English word “brended.” “Bren” meant “brown color,” so by that logic “brended” means “brown colored.”
3. The existence of brindle coloring on a dog comes down to genetics.
If they carry the brindle gene, they’ll more than likely have a brindle coat. This isn’t guaranteed, though – they can carry the gene, but not express it (be a different color). Basically, to be brindle, a dog needs to carry the brindle gene (k) and another gene called Agouti (a). It’s the mix of the two that creates this beautiful pattern.
The Agouti gene comes in different variations. They are:
- sable (AyAy)
- tan points (atat)
- recessive black (aa)
- wolf gray (awaw)
Depending on which a the k mixes with, a dog a could be:
- solid brindle
- black with brindle points
- solid black, blue, liver, or Isabella
There is no clear answer as to the results of wolf gray mixing with brindle as it is super rare for these two genes to mix. It’s hypothesized that the brindle coat would be patchy, broken up by another color.
4. Unlike other unique coat patterns, brindle is one that is often received by the AKC as an acceptable color variation.
In the Breed Standard for Staffordshire Terriers, the AKC allows “[a]ny shade of brindle or any shade of brindle with white.”
5. The Staffordshire Terrier’s average expected lifespan in between 12 and 14 years.
6. Brindle Staffies can suffer from a fair few health problems.
Some may not appear until the dog has reached maturity, so don’t think you’ve been duped. That’s why health clearances aren’t given to Staffordshire Terriers younger than two years old and why breeders wait until their parent pups are older and have passed the health clearance before breeding. Even if the parents are clear, though, there’s no 100% guarantee that the puppies will grow up to be perfectly healthy.
Some of the problems Staffies can suffer from are bone-related. Hip and elbow dysplasia are common in dogs in general. Staffordshire Terriers are particular susceptible to patellar luxation, or in layman’s terms: when your kneecap pops out of place. They can also have skin allergies (including demodectic mange) and cataracts.
7. The biggest worry to look out for in your Staffy is L-2 Hydoxygluaric Aciduria.
It’s a genetic disease in which the dog lacks a certain enzyme which causes the uncurable disease. Signs of your dog having it are muscle tremors, lack of coordination, and seizures. Unfortunately, most dogs confirmed to have this disease tend to be euthanized at an early age as there’s little hope they’ll be able to lead a full and comfortable life. It isn’t particularly common, though, so don’t let it put you off adopting one!
8. Staffordshire Terriers are not shy. They’re courageous and tenacious, two traits which are accented by their friendly and affectionate nature.
Some joke that they’d make terrible watchdogs as they’d probably just let the burglar in to play. They’re known to be intelligent dogs (despite being friendly to a fault) which helps their training as long as you enforce it. Sometimes their intelligence can get the better of them and make them stubborn.
9. Brindle Staffordshire Terriers are very good family dogs.
Because they are so loveable, they are very good with children. They can be a bit tricky with other dogs though, so it is recommended to keep them on a lead when out for walks. At home or with friends’ dogs, it’s best if you can socialize them early on. This is especially important if you adopt a puppy, as that’s prime time to start training it up. Some may not take to it, though, and prove to be one-dog household pets. As we said: stubborn.
10. Staffordshire Terriers definitely have a lot of energy they need to work off.
It’s necessary to get them regular bouts of exercise. They’re on the high end of being active, enjoying rigorous games of fetch and happy to join you on your daily run or bike ride. Do keep an eye out in warmer weather, as they are sensitive to heat. They can easily overwork themselves in the summer or if it’s particularly humid out.
11. It’s not recommended to become a first time dog owner with a Staffordshire Terrier.
They are energetic, strong willed, and needy dogs. It takes someone with experience who’s not afraid of a firm hand to train them up right. Being timid with your Staffy can cause more problems than you’d think. People with better experience of knowing a dog’s limits or when they’re trying to get away with bad behavior will be able to handle a Staffordshire Terrier better.
12. Staffordshire Terriers are not big shedders.
We know some dogs who have sleek short coats can surprisingly shed enough hair to make a whole other animal. If you’re not keen on cleaning up, we’ve got good news: They’re just below average, meaning that they won’t be leaving a trail of brindle hairs on your couch. Especially if you brush them once a week, you won’t have to worry much.
13. You can adopt a puppy for $1,500 to $2,500.
Several breeders even say that anyone charging more is trying to rip you off. $1,800 seems to be the average price.
14. Because Staffies are AKC recognized, it’s as easy as going on the Club’s Marketplace to find reputable breeders with puppies currently available.
While they’re not the most popular dogs at the moment, they’re also not unheard of. There are plenty of breeders across the country offering beautiful puppies.
If for some reason you don’t want to go through the AKC Marketplace, a quick Google will bring up plenty of Staffordshire Terrier breeders. How do you know you can trust them? Just ask! Through communication, you’ll get a good sense of the breeder’s respect for their trade and the animals they’re responsible for. Though being with dogs all day seems pleasurable, they are running a business so they are required to have records of their breeding pairs and health histories for the two parents of a litter. It is perfectly normal and completely reasonable to ask for all this information and keep a dialogue going with a breeder before making any promises. If you feel any hesitation, go with your gut and decline their services. You can always find another breeder who has more reliable paperwork.
15. Brindle Staffordshire Terriers are not particularly rare.
This is probably because brindle is an easily recognized pattern on the Staffy. However, depending on how many dames and sires (or mating dogs) a breeder has, there may not be any brindle genes in their stock. They may only breed other colors. You’ll just have to find a Staffy breeder with brindle mating dogs.
Brindle Staffordshire Terriers are adorably compact dogs with a punch of personality. They can be quite hands-on, so they’re not for everyone. But a dog lover who has as much energy as these terriers? They’re the ideal best friend.