Both Staffies and Labradors appear to have opposite traits that don’t make them suitable pairs for parent owners but looks can be very deceiving.
On the flipside, you’d be amazed by how much both of these breeds have in common with each other given how extremely loving and playful they are by nature.
However, there are subtle nuances between these two breeds that are worth paying attention to if you’re interested in settling both of these breeds together.
Here’s whether or not Labradors and Staffies get along well:
Labrador and Staffies have different characteristics that generally make them incompatible for each other. However, both of these breeds do stand a chance in getting along well provided that a puppy Staffy grows up with an existing young Labrador dog with proper socialization and training early on. The compatibility between the two also depends on other factors such as temperament, gender, age as well as their sizes.
Keep reading on to have a better grasp on the detailed factors, reasons and tips behind their compatibility before you ever decide to co-exist these two breeds together.
We must examine their breed compatibility from a wide array of factors to affirm the camaraderie between a Lab and a Staffy. Amongst the factors that we’ll dive into are as follows:
- Breed history
- Level of devotion to owners/Possessiveness
- Prey drive
- Intellect and trainability
Note: Our articles are comprehensive and in-depth. Feel free to expand the table of contents below and skip ahead to sections that interest you.
These labradors rose to popularity for their extraordinary skills with water, including their diving skills. They are also well versed with waterfowl hunting given their exceptional aptitude for water. And with proper training, labs would make exceptional bird hunting dogs as well.
On the other hand, Staffies were cross-bred between a Pitbull and a terrier breed in the 1800s to be smaller with more agility for dogfighting purposes. Their muscular and stocky built features have since then been passed down to future generations to this day.
Despite its rather dark past, they have then transitioned into an excellent companion dog for how affectionate, friendly extremely loyal they were to their human ring handlers after dogfighting was outlawed.
However, their natural aggression towards other dogs and creatures have remained deeply ingrained within them due to their past. Considering how both of these breeds have contrasting backgrounds, an adult or a young Staffy adult and a Labrador are less likely to form a close bond and get along right away.
It’s best to instead socialize and train a Staffy puppy early on to get along with a second dog in order to tame their natural instincts of aggression towards other dogs.
Labradors are well known for their good-natured amiability with just about everybody as it’s in their DNA to be loving, affectionate. Hence, they are a top choice for first time owners for how laid back and easy-going labs are for the most part.
Labs are generally extremely sociable dogs as they are highly adaptable and obedient, as long as they were trained well. Any incompatibility with other breeds are rare as it’s in their genes to be predisposed for socialization and bondings with both humans and dogs alike.
Staffies, however, are just as friendly to strangers as labs are. They do have an innate sense to please people and in turn seek their approval but that is always the case with their parent owners and humans in particular.
Also, Staffies aren’t as adaptable as labradors are in terms of sociability and it may take some time for these “nanny” dogs to be accustomed to changes. Therefore, socialization training is an absolute must for dachshunds if they were to quickly bond with another dog.
With that said, both of these breeds are highly unlikely to be cordial to each other if they introduced as adults. For better compatibility, Staffies should be raised as a puppy together with an already existing Labrador for a harmonious home.
Both Labradors and Staffies are immensely loyal to their parent owners as they are natural pleasers and affectionate by nature. Their ease of bonding coupled with their ingrained lively and bubbly tendencies do make them easily devoted to their owners. And that alone facilitates the compatibility of these two breeds together if the Staffies are properly socialized and raised together from early on with a Labrador Retriever.
Both breeds almost always tend to have a favourite person who dedicates the most time with it, though they may appear devoted to every family members on a surface level.
For both of these breeds, It’s important to note that their casual interactions and exceeding friendliness with strangers should never be taken as a sign of their dissatisfaction or disloyalty because they’re social butterflies and curious creatures by nature. They’ll only follow your commands and stick by your side after all.
With that said, both of these breeds will usually perceive each each other as a part of the pack when completely socialized and raised together early on – and will in turn be loyal to one another and to the family as a whole. Thus, these two breeds will get along just fine if the above conditions are met.
Related Article: Do Labs and Pitbulls Get Along? (Complete Guide)
Staffies have an overall higher prey drive than a labrador does. This is because these terrier dogs' chasing and fighting instincts are deeply embedded in their genes and the remnant of these tendencies are prevalent to this day.
These staffies are infamous for their natural inclination to chase any smaller animals or animals that resembles their preys.
Labradors on the other hand have a much lower prey drive than a terrier does because the latter hunting instincts are deeply embedded in their genes and they are born to hunt, so to speak. Unlike a labrador who may have a relatively dormant high prey drive but they require an extensive training to be efficient in hunting.
These polarizing characteristics are generally not a suitable match for both Labs and Staffies when introduced for the first time as adults.
This is because both of these breeds are likely to fight each other for dominance as Staffies will see the other dog as a threat and a fighting competitor, so to speak.
Intellect & Trainability
Labs are generally smarter and sharper than Staffies because of their innate instinctual intelligence which is contingent upon their obedience, as well as their brilliant adaptability skills.
Meanwhile, Staffies are known to be extremely tenacious, hard-headed and lacks a much longer attention span as they get easily swayed away by your presence and affection.
Thus, they have a much lower intelligence than a lab does due to their stubbornness which explains their substandard trainability track record. Training these terriers require patience, consistency and firmness.
They also do have a knack for thinking independently and aren’t as susceptible to adaptability as labs are. Hence why it can be hard to obedience-train these staffies.
Thus, their breed intelligence levels are complementary and conducive for a harmonious home. The last thing you’ll ever want is two highly intelligent dogs trying to constantly outsmart one another for attention and treats. With proper training and socialization of the staffy with an existing labrador, coupled with patience; they will get along just fine over time.
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Upon affirming each of the breed’s general characteristics compatibility, further scrutiny on the factors of individual temperament and personalities are of paramount importance.
This is due to the fact that are outliers within a breed, and a dog may or may not bond well with other suitable breeds based on their:
- Individual temperament
- Gender of the breeds
I’ll also incorporate multiple tips and useful guidelines in the factors mentioned above that further helps in facilitating their compatibility.
Temperament & Energy Levels
Adult Staffies are typically averse to bonding with dogs of other breeds, especially with dogs that are of different size than them. But with proper socialization and training early on as a puppy alongside an existing dog at home, it can be manageable.
Labradors on the other hand are laid back and sociable with just about any breed thanks to their exceptional adaptability skill, and hence it wouldn’t be a hassle in training labs for a faster bonding. Labs are hands-down a neutral compatible breed for the most part.
It’s advisable to only pair up a Staffy puppy with an already existing Labrador. One of the metrics you can use to determine the compatibility of a future Staffy dog together with an existing Labrador is to observe the Staffy puppy behavior in its litter.
Be sure to pick the middle-of-the-road pup that is neither aggressive or weak in its litter.
Also it does help a lot in observing the behavior of its mother dog just to get a rough idea on how it will turn out as an adult later.
Nevertheless, these breeds will bond quickly if they are properly socialized and well trained together with patience in accordance to your labrador’s temperament. The temperament of any kind of puppy can easily be molded from an early age and it’s advisable to train the pups to complement the behavior of the existing Labrador.
That is because Labradors thrive on having a company dog that is well-mannered as well as with the one that shares the same vibe as it does — rather than having mismatched energy levels where they wouldn’t enjoy each other’s presence.
As far as the genders are concerned, Labradors and Staffies of the opposite sexes are your best bet for a harmonious home.
According to the experts and from my anecdotal experiences, neutered breeds of the opposite sexes tend to get along much better compared to breeds of the same gender. A combination of two female would incite more violence compared to two males.
The presence of two males would inevitably lead to the need of forming a stable pack order — an establishment of dominance and submissiveness between the two.
Fights will always erupt if neither one decides to cave in, and it may permanently change their personalities. This is because your pooch may become more overtly dominant than it could have otherwise been, and the same applies vice versa in terms of submission. This may lead to distress over time.
On the other hand, two female dogs would lead to a much more brutal fight that would sometimes lead to death. This is due to the fact that neither female dogs would usually compromise to form a stable pack order as they are slightly more independent in nature.
Also dog scuffles among females always spill blood and you’d almost always end up with a high vet bill, compared to male dog fights where it’s usually posturing/scrappy fights to lead.
Of course there are always exceptions to the rule, and some female dogs have formed amicable life-long bonds with one another but exceptions aren’t the norm.
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As for the size, you’ll have to keep in mind what size of a dog your pooch naturally gravitates to. Most labs are familiar with any breeds of any size.
As for a Staffy, you’ll have to make sure they’re not intimidated by a bigger dog. However, this can be toned down by a proper socialization, training and introduction early on as a puppy.
Furthermore, it’s also important to keep in mind that the size disparity between a lab and a Staffy may render excessive playfulness very risky between the two.
This is because Staffies are prone to Canine Hip & Elbow Dysplasia if they constantly get hit or knocked down accidentally by much larger dog in their playtime together.
Hence, it’s crucial to supervise and keep a constant eye on their playtime together to make sure those terrier dogs don’t get hurt.
An extra tip for taking care of both these Staffies and labradors is to never overfeed them or otherwise they’ll be prone to their common predisposed disease —hip dysplasia in both breeds.
Speaking of accidental knocks, you might also want to consider reading this article that touches on why Labradors are so clumsy. And what you can do about it.
It's highly advisable for you to get a second Staffy puppy once your current Labrador is fully grown at minimum 2~3 years of age. This is because this is the age when your existing pooch is physically mature and coincides well with the development of dog selectivity, reactivity and aggression.
That way you’ll know your current dog’s temparament like the back of your hand and you’d be wise enough to pick a second companion that matches your dog’s breed and personality. Or you could easily train a second puppy to get along well with your current dog which always works out great.
Hence, you shouldn’t get both labs and Jack Russells as puppies as they might grow up to be total opposites and not get along despite being close as puppies. They may also suffer from littermate syndrome if raised as puppies together.
Furthermore, it will be best for you to fully train and socialize your current dog in order for it to be well mannered and friendly for a second dog later.
Fully trained dogs are more likely to bond well with other dogs of different breeds, and plus they have many more good habits to teach young dogs. Besides, they can be a little less high maintenance if you ever decide to get a second puppy.
However, you should never introduce a second young dog/puppy to a current old Labrador has past its prime years. Senior dogs and young puppies don’t get along well in the slightest. Those rambunctious pups will be too much for an old dog with health issues to handle.
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