Bull Terrier
Breed Standards
Page updated on 10-08-2015
  AKC Conformation Standard


The Staffordshire Bull Terrier had its beginnings in England many centuries ago when the Bulldog and Mastiff were closely linked.
James Hinks, in about 1860, crossed the Old Pit Bull Terrier, now known as the Staffordshire Bull Terrier in, and produced the all-white English Bull Terrier.
Bullbaiting and bearbaiting in the Elizabethan era produced large dogs for these sports and later on the 100-120 pound animal gave way to a small, more agile breed of up to 90 pounds. The Bull Terrier obtained recognition by The Kennel Club in England in the last quarter of the 19th century, but the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, due to its reputation as a fighting dog, did not receive this blessing. Early in the 19th century the sport of dogfighting gained popularity and a smaller, faster dog was developed. It was called by names such as "Bulldog Terrier" and "Bull and Terrier." The Bulldog bred then was a larger dog than we know today and weighed about 60 pounds. In 1935 the Staffordshire Bull Terrier was recognized by the Kennel Club in England and enthusiasts were able to conduct conformation matches. The sport of dogfighting had long been made illegal and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier had evolved into a dog of such temperament as to make him a fine pet and companion and a worthy show dog. This dog was crossed with a small native terrier which appears in the history of the present-day Manchester Terrier. Bull and Terrier breeds were believed to have arrived in North America sometime in the 1880's. Here they developed along different lines with a heavier, taller dog being the end result. Today's American Staffordshire Terrier represents that breeding. The dog which this produced, averaging between 30 and 45 pounds, became the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. The Staffordshire Bull Terrier was admitted to registration in the American Kennel Club Stud Book effective October 1, 1974, with regular show classification in the Terrier Group at AKC shows available on and after March 5, 1975
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier was recognized by the Kennel Club of England in 1935. First club show for the breed took place in August 1935 at Cradley Heath in the West Midlands where 60 dogs and bitches were entered. The first two members of their sex to claim championships in England were the bitch, Lady Eve and the dog, Gentleman Jim in 1939. Authorities generally agree that the breed can be traced back to the Mastiff-like dogs through the old Bulldog which, when crossed with British terriers, produced the first "Bull and Terriers." The old-fashioned Bulldog was a fierce, courageous animal used in the sports of bear- and bull-baiting as early as the mid-sixteenth century.

AKC Conformation Standard

General Appearance

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a smooth-coated dog.
It should be of great strength for its size and, although muscular, should be active and agile

Official Standard of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier
General Appearance: The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a smooth-coated dog. It should be of great strength for its size and,
although muscular, should be active and agile.
Size, Proportion, Substance: Height at shoulder -
14 to 16 inches. Weight - Dogs, 28 to 38 pounds; bitches, 24 to 34 pounds
, these heights being related to weights. Non-conformity with these limits is a fault. In proportion, the length of back, from withers to tail set, is equal to the distance from withers to ground.

Short, deep through, broad skull, very pronounced cheek muscles, distinct stop, short foreface, black nose. Pink (Dudley) nose to be considered a serious fault.

Eyes -
Dark preferable, but may bear some relation to coat color. Round, of medium size, and set to look straight ahead. Light eyes or pink eye rims to be considered a fault, except that where the coat surrounding the eye is white the eye rim may be pink. Ears - Rose or half-pricked and not large. Full drop or full prick to be considered a serious fault.

Mouth -
A bite in which the outer side of the lower incisors touches the inner side of the upper incisors.

The lips
should be tight and clean. The badly undershot or overshot bite is a serious fault.

Neck, Topline, Body:
The neck is muscular, rather short, clean in outline and gradually widening toward the shoulders. The body is close coupled, with a level topline, wide front, deep brisket and well sprung ribs being rather light in the loins. The tail is undocked, of medium length, low set, tapering to a point and carried rather low. It should not curl much and may be likened to an old-fashioned pump handle. A tail that is too long or badly curled is a fault.

Legs straight and well boned, set rather far apart, without looseness at the shoulders and showing no weakness at the pasterns, from which point the feet turn out a little. Dewclaws on the forelegs may be removed. The feet should be well padded, strong and of medium size.

The hindquarters should be well muscled, hocks let down with stifles well bent. Legs should be parallel when viewed from behind. Dewclaws, if any, on the hind legs are generally removed. Feet as in front.

Smooth, short and close to the skin, not to be trimmed or de-whiskered.

Red, fawn, white, black or blue, or any of these colors with white. Any shade of brindle or any shade of brindle with white. Black-and-tan or liver color to be disqualified.

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

From the past history of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, the modern dog draws its character of indomitable courage, high intelligence, and tenacity. This, coupled with its affection for its friends, and children in particular, its off-duty quietness and trustworthy stability, makes it a foremost all-purpose dog.

Black-and-tan or liver color.

Training &Temperament
Staffies still resemble the powerful, pugnacious brawlers who ruled British fighting pits of the 19th century. But, happily, their appearance is deceiving. Today’s responsible breeders are producing sweet-natured, family-oriented Staffies so trustworthy that they’ve earned a reputation as a “nanny dog”: a child’s patient playmate and steady guardian. These affectionate companions bond closely and completely with their humans, but the old fighting instinct still lurks within—making it vital that Staffies be socialized with other dogs from puppyhood to learn good canine manners

  UKC Conformation Standard


The goals and purposes of this breed standard include: to furnish guidelines for breeders who wish to maintain the quality of their breed and to improve it; to advance this breed to a state of similarity throughout the world; and to act as a guide for judges.

Breeders and judges have the responsibility to avoid any conditions or exaggerations that are detrimental to the health, welfare, essence and soundness of this breed, and must take the responsibility to see that these are not perpetuated.

Any departure from the following 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 and on the dog’s ability to perform its traditional work.
UKC HISTORY of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a descendant of the Bull and Terrier crosses made in Great Britain in the late 1700's. It was given the name "Staffordshire" in reference to an area where it was very popular, to differentiate it from the other Bull and Terrier breeds.

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier was recognized by the United Kennel Club in 1975.

UKC Conformation Standard


The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a smooth coated dog that possesses great strength for its size. Although muscular, it is active and agile.


This breed has indomitable courage, high intelligence and tenacity. Coupled with its affection for its friends, and children in particular, its quietness and trustworthy stability make it an all-purpose dog.


The head is short and deep throughout with a distinct stop.

SKULL - The skull is broad and the cheek muscles are very pronounced.

MUZZLE - the foreface is short, with strong jaws and clean, tight lips.

TEETH - A full complement of strong, white teeth meet in a scissors bite; the outer side of the lower incisors touching the inner side of the upper incisors.

Serious Faults: Badly overshot or undershot bites.

EYES - Dark eyes are preferred, but may bear some relation to coat color. The round, medium size eyes are set on to look straight ahead. Dark eye rims are preferred.

The nose is black.

The rose or half-pricked ears are not large.

Serious Faults: Full drop ear. Full prick ear.


The muscular, rather short neck is clean in outline and widens gradually toward the shoulders.


The shoulders are well laid back.

FORELEGS - The straight, well-boned forelegs are set rather far apart at the shoulders, but show no looseness at the elbow. The pasterns are strong, and the feet turn out slightly.


The body is close-coupled with a broad, deep chest and well-sprung ribs. The loins are fairly light and the topline is level.


The hindquarters are well-muscled.

HIND LEGS - The stifles are well-bent. The hocks are well let down. The legs are parallel when viewed from behind. Dewclaws are generally removed from the hind legs.


The strong, medium-sized feet are well padded.


The medium-length tail is not docked. It is low-set, carried rather low and tapers to a point. It does not curl much, and may be likened to an old-fashioned pump handle.

Faults: Too long or badly curled tail.


The short, smooth coat is close to the skin. Neither the coat nor the whiskers are to be trimmed.


Acceptable colors include red, fawn, white, black, any shade of brindle, and blue, with or without white.

Serious Faults: Black and tan or liver.


Height, measured at the shoulders, ranges from 14 to 16 inches. Weight ranges are as follows: dogs, 28 to 38 pounds; bitches, 24 to 34 pounds. Weight depends on the height of the individual dog.


The free, powerful, agile movement is accomplished with an economy of effort. When viewed from the front or the rear, the legs move parallel. There is a noticeable drive from the hind legs.


(A dog with a Disqualification must not be considered for placement in a conformation event, and must be reported to UKC.)

Unilateral or bilateral cryptorchid. Viciousness or extreme shyness. Albinism.