The Staffordshire Bull Terrier: A Key Element in the Authenticity of Peaky Blinders’ Setting.

The Peaky Blinders has been one of the most iconic British dramas to ever grace our screens. With its gripping storyline, talented cast, and period-accurate setting, the show has won over the hearts of millions of viewers worldwide. One key element that adds to the show’s authenticity is the presence of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier: A Brief History

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier, often referred to as “Staffies,” “Staffords,” or “Staffordshire Terriers,” is a breed of dog that originated in Staffordshire, England, during the 19th century. The breed was developed by breeding various bulldog and terrier breeds to create a dog that was agile, powerful, and had strong jaws.

Originally bred for dogfighting, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier was also used for bull-baiting, a bloodsport that involves dogs attacking and mauling bulls. The practice was heavily outlawed in the 19th century, and the breed’s popularity as a fighting dog declined. The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is now recognized as a loyal, friendly and highly intelligent companion dog.

The Role of Staffordshire Bull Terriers in Peaky Blinders

As a show set in early 20th century Birmingham, Peaky Blinders accurately portrays the working-class lifestyle of the era. During this time, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier was a popular and highly valued breed of dog among the working classes.

In the show, the lead character, Tommy Shelby, is often seen with his Staffordshire Bull Terrier, named “Polly.” Polly is seen as a symbol of Tommy’s strength, resolve, and loyalty to his family and gang. Throughout the show, we see other characters also owning Staffordshire Bull Terriers, reflecting the breed’s popularity among the working-class population.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier: Breed Characteristics and Personality

Staffordshire Bull Terriers are a medium-sized breed of dog, typically weighing between 13-17kg (28-38lbs), and stand between 35-40cm (14-16in) at the shoulder. The breed is known for its muscular build, short coat, and distinctive “egg-shaped” head.

Personality-wise, Staffordshire Bull Terriers are known for their loyalty, courage, and affectionate nature towards their owners. They are highly intelligent and trainable, although they can be prone to stubbornness if not trained properly. The breed is also known for its love of children and is often referred to as the “Nanny Dog” due to its caring and protective nature.

Are Staffordshire Bull Terriers Aggressive?

Despite their history as fighting dogs, Staffordshire Bull Terriers are not inherently aggressive. The breed’s temperament is largely dependent on their upbringing, socialization, and training. If properly socialized and trained, Staffordshire Bull Terriers can make wonderful family pets and are often recommended as a great choice for families with children.

Do Staffordshire Bull Terriers Need a Lot of Exercise?

Staffordshire Bull Terriers are an energetic breed and will require daily exercise to keep them content and healthy. This can include daily walks, off-leash playtime, and mental stimulation through training and interactive games. As with any breed, exercise requirements will depend on the individual dog’s age, weight, and overall health.

Are Staffordshire Bull Terriers Easy to Train?

Staffordshire Bull Terriers are extremely intelligent and enjoy learning. If trained with consistency and positive reinforcement, they are often quick learners and can excel in obedience and agility training. However, due to their stubborn nature, it is important to establish yourself as the pack leader early on and to keep training sessions short and engaging to maintain their interest.


The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a key element in the authenticity of Peaky Blinders’ setting, reflecting the breed’s popularity among the working-class population of early 20th century Birmingham. The breed’s loyalty, courage, and affectionate nature make them excellent family pets when properly trained and socialized. With their muscular build, distinctive head shape, and energetic personality, Staffordshire Bull Terriers are a unique and beloved breed that will always have a special place in our hearts and on our screens.

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