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Staffordshire Bull Terrier Dog Breed Information

Staffordshire Bull TerrierThe Staffordshire Bull Terrier is an old time breed of dog, originally bred for bull-baiting, lion fighting, and eventually dog fighting. He originated in the "Black Country" of England. The Staffordshire Bull Terrier evolved out of a "Proto-Stafford" that was originally bred for the beforementioned sports. At the time that he was being developed there were no written standards for his physical composition. Dogs proven in the pit were bred with others of like skill and ability and over time the Stafford was produced. In the early part of the 20th century he gained respectablity and was accepted into the Kennel Club of England as the Staffordshire Bull Terrier not to be confused with the White Bull Terrier. The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is an English breed of dog and should not be confused with his larger cousin theAmerican Staffordshire Terrier or the American Pit Bull Terrrier.

Appearance

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a stocky, muscular dog that exudes character, strength and athletic ability. His expressive countenance indicates his mood and intelligence. He has a broad head, defined occipital muscles, a relatively short foreface, defined stop and rose or half prick ears and a dark round eye a wide mouth with a clean scissor-like bite. The cheek muscles are usually pronounced and give the impression of strength. His lips show no looseness. . The head tapers down to a strong well muscled neck and shoulders placed on squarely spaced forelimbs. He is a square dog built of squares. His feet are neat and tight and with frequent excercise his nails should need little to no trimming. His rib cage is well sprung and is topped by a level top line. He is tucked up in his loin, and the last rib of his cage should be visible. His tail is carried like an old fashioned pump handle, is rat like in compostion not too long or too short. His hind quarters are well muscled and are the drive in the Stafford gait, being well let down in the hock. He should look like a train coming and going. He may be coloured black, brindle, red, blue(rare), white or any blending of these colors with white. White with any color over an eye is known as piebald or pied'. Liver-colored and black and tan dogs sometimes occur but these are considered an unacceptable color for the showring or any reputable breeding program. The coat is uniformly smooth and never trimmed. The dogs stand 14 to 16 inches at the withers and weigh 24 to 38 pounds with bitches on the lighter side and male dogs on the heavier side.

Temperament

The Stafford (Staffie or Staffy) is renowned for loyalty to their owners and stability of temperament, qualities which can make them an excellent family pet. When properly bred and socialised, they are naturally fond of people, playful, energetic, and have an affinity for children, which has give rise to their nickname of "Nanny Dog". Their medium size, off-duty quietness and easy to care for attitude adds to their appeal as a family pet. However, they are inherently dog aggressive toward other dogs and should never be left unleashed when around other unfamiliar dogs. Many find it difficult to resolve this aggression with their affable Stafford. It should be noted that through selective breeding over centuries the characteristics that made them fierce in the pit also made them devoted companions of humans, because any pit dog who showed any hint of human aggression was culled out of a breeding program. A "man-biter" was simply unacceptable. Conversely those early forebears who excelled in the pit were also at the hearths of their owners if not in their children's beds.

Because of its origins as a fighting breed, the Stafford owner should have some experience in managing dominance of their Stafford towards other dogs. Staffords (especially unneutered males) should not be brought into close contact with other same sex dogs, especially if the other dog has aggressive tendencies. It is wise to avoid such confrontations, bearing in mind the strength and fearlessness of the Stafford and the rise of breed specific legislation that targets the bull and terrier breeds. However, Staffords can be trained to cohabitate successfully with other dogs that are not aggressive, provided they are brought up together or closely watched by an experienced handler during the first weeks of introduction. Unfortunately the Stafford is not one of those breeds that will be seen running free off-lead in a dog park, but will be content in being an integral member of it's owner's life.

History

In the mid-1800s, Terriers or bull and terrier mixes of all kinds were bred to fight animals, such as bulls, bears, badgers, lions, rats and even monkeys. These early "proto-staffords" provided the ancestral foundation stock for the Staffordshire Bull Terrrier, the American Pit Bull Terrier and the American Staffordshire Terrier. These blood sports were not only for entertainment as they were an opportunity for a breeder to test his breeding stock. These early breeders were not breeding for the visual specimen of the breed today. They were breeding for an elusive and hard to define characteristic known as "gameness". The pitting of dog against beast tested the will, strength and skill of the dog. Those that excelled at these sports were selectively bred for these characteristics. The eventual elimintion of these bloodsports occurred in the mid 19th century as Britain began to recognize the need for reform in animal welfare laws. These breeders turned to pitting their dogs one against another in an effort to continue to test the gameness of their stock. Surprisingly the dogfighting was not in the initial animal welfare reform laws and continued. Dog fighting met its demise and only clandestinely took place in pockets of working class Britain. Many will be surprised to realize that it is this very nefarious history that has produced the breed temperament of the beloved Stafford today.

Kennel Club Recognition

The breed attained UK Kennel Club recognition on 25 May 1935. Much of the groundwork to attain this status can be attributed to Joseph Dunn and Joe Mallan. Dunn and Mallan invited friends to a stafford fanciers meeting at the Cross Guns Hotel, Cradley Heath, South Staffordshire (a hotel owned and managed by Mallan). About fifty breeders met at the hotel and formed the Original Staffordshire Bull Terrier Club. The name was shortly changed to Staffordshire Bull Terrier Club due to the Bull Terrier Club objecting the use of the word 'original'. Staffords were imported into the US during this time. Since that time the breed has grown to be one of the most popular breeds of dogs with a large repressentation at the Crufts Dog Show.

In the US many were imported by pit fighters and used in their breeding programs. Many were imported by British nationals who brought their dogs with them or US expatriates who fell in love with the breed in England and brought it home to the US. Eventually through the campaign of many people the Stafford was recognized in the US in 1976. He has a loyal following.

 

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