The standard.. what does it mean and why do we need it?.

This is a question ethical breeders hear all the time, along with “oh that’s a show thing” then they go on to say  “does not mean much outside of the show world”. Often inexperienced breeder,  puppy farmers and commercial puppy mills, will perpetuate the belief that the standard is of little consequence. They will reason, “dogs have breed naturally without a standard for thousands of years”.

The standard is very important, as it is what defines one breed from another  “a blue print”.  The standard was developed in the early 1900’s by the founders of the breed, The look at the dog and gave it a set of plans to ensure it would be around in the future.  The Standard  made the courageous Staffordshire Bull Terrier (SBT) a recognized breed, that was fit for the function of the day.

While today we do not use our Stafford’s to bull bait or catch rodents, and we certainly do not fight them,  we do try to keep the integrity of the breed and that is why good breeders still try to breed them to the standard that defined them.

Have you ever walked down the street and see a dog that looks like one dog only to be told it is another?. Well this is what happens, when people do not breed with the standard in mind.


Ch Southstock Pot Black a balanced standard  Staffordshire Bull Terrier

  • General Appearance:

    Smooth coated, well balanced, of great strength for his size. Muscular, active and agile.

    What does this mean? 

    Smooth coated  the coat must be close to skin short and not matted or waved.

    Well balanced:  This means that the stafford is in proportion, has no feature that stands out as exaggerated, the dog as a package looks like it is fits together like a jigsaw puzzle perfectly proportion.  So the head should not be exaggerated and the body not as impressive.  the head should look like it belongs to the body it is on.  the dog should not look long, or tall.  as width length and thickness should also be balanced.  The chest should be impressive but it should not standout being obviously Deep or wide   a well balanced dog will grab your attention because it is balanced not because of an exaggerated feature.

    Of great strength The SBT is a big dog in a small space and should be strong and capable of moving and pulling objects much greater then their own body weight due to the core muscularity of the stafford it can carry fence post in its mouth. SBT are starting to show this part of the standard in weight pull competitions in Australia

    Muscular, active and agile  this part of the standard is about fit for function, your stafford should be muscular and agile like a fine tuned athlete. 

  • Characteristics:

    Traditionally of indomitable courage and tenacity. Highly intelligent and affectionate especially with children.

    Of indomitable courage and tenacity , An SBT who is true to this will be like a brave warrior the SBT will not back down, they will not be subdued or overcome by another.  They will stand their ground and never give up and fight to the death if it was needed , (not condoning dog fighting in any way).

    Highly intelligent and affectionate especially with children. The SBT who has been bred to meet this part of the standard,  is an intelligent dog. He is a thinker, he will solve problems and barriers that prevent it from completing a task. This also makes an SBT a stubborn dog, as most intelligent beings are.  The SBT is a quick study and will learn how to get what it wants very quickly, but will also train easy so long as you train consistently.   The SBT is a very perceptive animal and can very easily differentiate between the big kid who can rough house with them in the yard and the little child who needs them to be protectors.The SBT is often referred to as the nanny dog. In saying that you should never leave small children and any dog unsupervised.  The SBT also understands that the elderly need them to be gentle.  They are affectionate animals that love to be loved and give love back.

  • Temperament:

    Bold, fearless and totally reliable.

    This part of the standard speaks for itself, the stafford who is bred to this,  will present herself as bold and show no fear in the face of danger or adversity. The SBT will prove that she is reliable, predictable and trustworthy. It is a creature of habit and will not let those it loves down.

  • Head And Skull:

    Short, deep though with broad skull. Very pronounced cheek muscles, distinct stoliverop, short fore face, nose black.

    inco head

    Incorrect muzzle length; Head not symmetrical; Lack of stop

    Short head, should be compact and symmetrical, rule of thumb 1:3 ratio   nose should be 1/3 of head length. from stop to crown 1/3, crown to back head 1/3. There should be no exaggeration. Stop should be well defined making a center point between eyes and nose. The stop should be the start of a nice definition line, going up through the center of the head as pictured (often referred to as  the crack, although, the head does not actually crack, the muscle in the head develops giving an appearance of a crack. Most breed enthusiast will not use the term). Skull should be broad and balanced with head length.  Cheek muscles should be seen when mouth is closed. Fore face should be short, however, that does not mean shorter is better. Too short will have many issues including respiratory and temperature intolerance.  Nose should be black,  no other colour is acceptable for breeding.  Even a blue dog should have a nose that appears black (I say appears as it is not genetically possible for the nose of  a blue dog to have a true black nose) The blue  SBT should have a slate blue nose examples below.

    bbnose     gbnose bnose brnose pnnose dnose
    Correct Black nose Correct
    Slate Blue

  • Eyes:

    Dark preferred but may bear some relation to coat colour. Round, of medium size, and set to look straight ahead. Eye rims dark.

    The eyes of an SBT should be very dark, although they can be in relative to colour that means a white may have slightly lighter eyes then a black dog. Eyes should not be light and should have good pigment around the eyes rims. A white dog may have pink eye rims however this is not acceptable for any other colour dog.

    ddeyes lleyes blueeyes

    Very desirable eye colour
    Excellent pigment around eyes

    on a red dog very good
    pigment around eyes
    Not acceptable
    Eyes must be brown and
    very dark on solid coat dog
    eyerims should be slate
    blue same as nose on
    blue SBT
  • Ears:

    Rose or half pricked, not large or heavy. Full, drop or pricked ears highly undesirable.

  • Mouth:

    Lips tight and clean. Jaws strong, teeth large, with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping the lower teeth and set square to the jaws.

  • Neck:

    Muscular, rather short, clean in outline gradually widening towards shoulder.

  • Forequarters:

    Legs straight and well boned, set rather wide apart, showing no weakness at the pasterns, from which point feet turn out a little. Shoulders well laid back with no looseness at elbow.

  • Body:

    Close coupled, with level topline, wide front, deep brisket, well sprung ribs; muscular and well defined.

  • Hindquarters:

    Well muscled, hocks well let down with stifles well bent. Legs parallel when viewed from behind.

  • Feet:

    Well padded, strong and of medium size. Nails black in solid coloured dogs.

  • Tail:

    Medium length, low set, tapering to a point and carried rather low. Should not curl much and may be likened to an old fashioned pump handle.

  • Gait/Movement:

    Free, powerful and agile with economy of effort. Legs moving parallel when viewed from front or rear. Discernible drive from hindlegs.

  • Coat:

    Smooth, short and close.

  • Colour:

    Red, fawn, white, black or blue, or any one of these colours with white. Any shade of brindle or any shade of brindle with white. Black and tan or liver colour highly undesirable.

    Q Bonzared Roo Ch






    Koendidda Blue Diamond

    Blue Pied

    Q Borolo Red Belly Black Gr Ch

    Brindle White

    Q Linkman Bold Oxley

    Fawn Pied

    Koendidda Icee


    Keelford Blaze Of Glory

    Black Brindle and White

  • Sizes:

    Desirable height at withers 36-41 cms (14 to 16 ins), these heights being related to the weights. Weight: dogs: 13-17 kgs (28-38 lbs); bitches 11-15.4 kgs.

  • Faults:

    Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog.

  • Notes:

    Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.