The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a powerful and muscular dog, very strong for his size, yet agile, with a broad head and very strong jaws. The muzzle is short and the cheek muscles distinct. The stop is clearly defined. The eyes are round and preferably dark, but might have a color related to the coat color. Light eyes or pink eyelids are a fault, except that dogs whose coat is white surrounding the eyes might have pink eye rims. The nose is black. The teeth should form a scissors bite. The ears are either rose or half-pricked. The neck is short and muscular. The topline is level. The chest is broad with well-sprung ribs, and the front legs are set rather far apart. Rear dewclaws, if any, are generally removed, and front dewclaw removal is optional. The coat is smooth, short, and close to the skin, and show dogs should not be trimmed or de-whiskered. Approved colors are red, fawn, white, black, blue, or any shade of brindle. These may be solid colors or combined with white. Black and tan or liver-colored dogs may not compete in AKC conformation shows, though they may participate in other events.
The origins of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier can be traced from early Mastiff-like dogs, through the early Bulldog, to "Bull and Terrier" crosses in the British Isles. The ancestors of today's Staffordshire Bull Terrier participated in bull and bear baiting, dog fighting, ratting, and badger hunting. By 1850, two distinct branches of the Bull and Terrier breeds were in evidence. One branch became today's dapper, roman-nosed Bull Terrier, and the other became the Stafford. In 1935, fanciers met in England to form a Staffordshire Bull Terrier breed club and write a standard. Today's Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a very popular family pet and show dog in the British Isles, South Africa, and Australia, as well as in the United States. The breed was recognized by the AKC in 1974.