Although the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a cousin to the Pit Bull, this variety of canine has been deemed The Children' Dog or The Nanny Dog; a name that certainly conflicts with their reputation as a ferocious animal. While the Staffordshire Bull Terrier looks somewhat like its Pit Bull Terrier cousin, there has been no recorded attacks by the Staffie for over 60 years. Though the breed was used in earlier times for bullbaiting, most handlers preferred the dog for its ferociousness towards other animals and its immediate obedience to humans. However, this history is nearly 400 years old. While its days of baiting dangerous animals are long gone, the Staffie's affection for human companionship remains the same.
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is known to be an excellent guard dog and is said to have a protective stance towards its property and all those who live on it. They generally tend to stick close to children, keeping a watchful eye on them as well as any approaching danger. When faced with an uncertain situation or a stranger, the Staffie is well known for putting itself between its human counterpart and the perceived threat. Because the Staffie itself is an alert personality, the high level of energy that often comes with children is no problem. They are known to be able to have an extremely high tolerance for pain which is why they may deal better with being poked and prodded by younger children. However, the two should never be left unattended.
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier requires a good amount of human interaction and attention, something that children are often more than willing to give. The more interaction there is, the more the dog and its owners will learn each other's likes and dislikes. This also creates a stronger bond. Like children, the Staffie also has an amazing amount of stamina; something that only children may have the staying power to match. The Staffie is one that loves to stay active and dislikes routine. Children are rarely anything but boring and the enthusiastic Staffie enjoys the opportunity to be included at every turn.
Having a tolerant dog for children lies not only in raising and socializing the two together from the beginning but teaching young children how to respect boundaries. Children younger than seven years of age should never be left unattended with any type of dog. The responsible pet owner will socialize their dog early and provide obedience training early as well. At the same time, a responsible parent will teach their child the difference between playing and teasing, as well as what is acceptable treatment of animals and what is hurtful or unkind. In general, the natures of children and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier have proven to be an exceptional match.