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Message  Brian le Dim 9 Juin - 20:04

Stafford History Mayhem

Several so called “Staffordshire Bull Terrier Breeders and Show Fanciers” feel somewhat threatened by some of the athletic Staffords which resemble and are more closely related to the Staffords of old/Pitdogs. Despite all the comments made by not only show attendees, but also by people who ignore the true history of the Staffords of the past , which are no way near the Staffords of today, neither in body nor mind. It is very detrimental people are breeding for color, dwarfism and looks. The more I research, talk to dogmen and look at pictures of the past, the more I ask myself: where all these Staffords come from? The staffords of old were not so short legged and so bully looking as the majority of dogs of today. Evolution? I think not, one can only get a mule by crossing a donkey and a horse, right? Well... at least is what I have been taught at school, since I have never experienced the breeding first hand and zebras had never come out of this combination. Surely, there have been Staffords crossed with other breeds that do not resemble the breed originally either, something I also accept. Famous Staffords of the past like Gentleman Jim, Brinstock Brindle Bill, Fearless Red of Bandits, Firebrand, Red Charm of Bandits, Vindictive Monty, Red Rogerson and Ribchester Max come to mind as few among the pioneers of this wonderful breed and as foundation of the majority if not all the lines of today. So my question is how these dogs went from point A to B?, Selective breeding? That is what many want you to believe for their own benefit and financial gain. I don’t buy it. Stafford looks, stamina and capabilities just do not change overnight. Others can and have the right to believe it, I don’t.

English/British Bulldogs and Pugs for example, have retained their size and bulkiness for a very long time unless crossed with other breeds, regardless of inbreeding and/or line breeding. Staffords are no exception to this rule. Curly tail, bulging eyes, excessively boned and short legs were unheard of until a few got a hold of several dogs. Cradley is where all this non ending mess started. I know all they wanted to do was “to save the breed” of course, as easy as chinese arythmetic. Did they cross them with shorter, less capable and horribly winded breed(s)? I do not know the real truth, but let's say these short legged dogs came from the more athletic, better winded and more capable Staffords, one could only think these short legged Staffords would produce dogs as their ancestors, does it happen? Look around and draw your own conclusion, I already got mine; it is at plain sight. Or is it we are still waiting for another burst of quick evolution? I know it, clear as mud… can’t blame anyone is in the water, or perhaps the diet our Staffords eat nowadays, so different than 60+ years ago. That is where the problem of looking different lies as many fanciers swear by and want others to believe.

The new standard is a very lenient one. Again, some follow the height rigorously but tend to disregard the weight and vice versa, as long as such dog in the ring wins the ribbon, who cares right? Either the standard should be followed in its entirety or it should be dropped completely in all honesty. My approach to this always been that nobody will tell me how tall or how heavy my Stafford must be as no matter how, when, or why, standards are opinions and I am entitled to my own one as much as the person(s) making/writing such standard, but I tell you one thing : "There is not a more beautiful breed of dog and easier on the eyes than a well balanced Stafford with plenty of light underneath his body". Being Luke warm about something so serious for some is not fair for others, but again who cares as long as “my 45-50lbs 15 inch Stafford” is taking home the prize and ribbons. Heck, Nobody will know the truth about the weight unless I spill the beans!

Somewhere along the lines the standard invokes a canine of indomitable (unconquerable, determined, stubborn, tough, spirited) courage and tenacity, like what the pioneers had in mind, why people want to change or recreate that is beyond me. Wouldn’t be easier getting a different breed if these traits you couldn’t cope with? Or just admire the breed for what it is in other peoples' hands, very easy task, one doesn’t even have to feed, pick up after, worry about vet bills, and most important; worrying about the dogs true temperament.

Legal dog fights were abolished long time ago, we as humans know that, but dogs do not. In a real Stafford the fire will always be there no matter what. Some of us think we can change that and make the terrible mistake pretending the world is perfect and assume we have a susceptible lapdog just because the dog never acted out in front of another dog until that unexpected and terrible day. This dilemma can be avoided very easy: Do not get a dog with this kind of history and ancestry! Bull and Terriers true temperament is what makes them want to bond so much with humans from my own experience, but they are not a breed for everyone, they require true and legit devotion, dedication and love for the breed.

Staffords are very happy when exercising, hunting, digging, swimming, etc; activities nobody can force these canines do, one can only show them the path but cannot push them to enjoy doing these. Hunting with my dogs; a behavior which cannot be taught, is something I look forward to, but most importantly, my dogs look forward to it ten times more than me. My satisfaction is even greater when I see them enjoying to the fullest the moment in front of them. Moreover, it is very gratifying to see them being so passionate about something I like and they love performing on their own.

As a reader you may differ or agree with what is written above, but this modest piece of writing has been based on few years of firsthand experience with the breed, lots of research, lots of talk with knowledgeable dogmen, traveling overseas, unfortunate, frustrating and worthless visits to dog shows, visiting dog forums where freedom of speech is not existent, so no hearsay, an honest opinion or two but it is what I see or seen, not what “I” would want the breed to be.

"A Stafford without guts is like an angel without wings”
From point A!

To point B?

Why the Fuss?

Many aficionados of the Stafford understand or must understand the Apbt & SBT descend from the same pit dogs of the past. So, why all the fuss if the two are mixed together for the sake of one or the other. It's no secret most of the Staffords destined to the show ring are not the healthiest or best representatives of the breed; good outside appearance yes, but the ugliness of a mediocre dog comes out the minute its stamina, courage and determination is tested in legal venues.
I am the first one to oppose to a cross to American Pitbull Terrier, as there are Staffords which do not differ or lack in any department compare to their cousins, so there will be no need for foreign blood if we start acting pro this breed, but at the rate the Staffords are degenerating, they will need more than the few left staffords worth breeding from. In other words: A miracle!
The deceases staffords suffer from today are the result of negligent breedings. Breedings focused on pedigrees full of ring champion titles without regard of the dogs bred. The breathing problems among these dogs are a plague as a result of following a standard that calls for a disaster and unbalanced Staffords.
It is understandable that many Stafford show fanciers would disagree with the idea of crossing their beloved pets with the more athletic, robust, and healthier American Pitbull Terrier. This can only cause a decrease in sales of future show material pups, and an increase in interest of working homes. Although, for me this would be an act of deciphering who is in it for the fame, money or for legit love and affection for this working breed. After all, shows are for human satisfaction, no?
These former gladiators share many traits, to the extent of almost being the same. Then again, why the fuss if the staffords are bred back to American Pitbull Terriers?
According to many, staffords have only evolved in 70+ years from the pitdogs, others would say that American Pitbull Terriers are direct descendants of Staffordshire Bull Terriers, this I have heard even from show fanciers. So again why the fuss if they are crossbred? Wouldn’t a name brand butter mixed with different name brand butter, still be butter?
Unfortunately, people do not understand until is too late. I do not advocate all this to make enemies or to come across as if I invented the wheel or discovered America. If we do not start breeding healthier Staffords, physically and mentally balanced, might as well raise the white flag because our breed will end up in the same horrendous situation many registered breeds are suffering and is almost impossible to recover from.
The American Pitbull Terrier is one if not the healthiest breed on earth, and one would ask why or how a breed bred for performance first and beauty second can enjoy of such gift. In order for a dog to be a good performer needs to be in good health, and almost always is inherited from the parents. In other words, there is a better chance of producing better performance when health is abundant. This is a forgotten chapter in the practice of breeding Staffords for many years until now. When we breed to meet a standard, pedigree or to add another show champion to the family tree without regard for other important aspects, we are only putting another nail in the coffin.
Anyone can show and that’s fine, but what are you doing to fulfill your dog’s needs and not yours? Are you breeding to better your yard and your line of dogs or just to add another ribbon to your collection? A collection of prizes your dog could care less about!
Are you sacrificing your dog’s health life span so you can fit the bunch and be able to show him? I know of people that would go the extra mile to make sure their staffords do not grow pass the 16 inch mark, even if the dog is a wreck and weighs more than a ton.
Is really the standard that important? Or is it the show fame or the money to be gained the reason I have a Stafford? Maybe I wouldn’t even own one if the shows were not existent? Would I cross my show buddy with a pit or other breed to save the breed from the worst? Or would I rather keep him the way he/she is even if it means he/she will produce worse Staffords than the not so healthy one I got?
I cannot tell you what breed of dog you should buy but as long as I am alive I will not tolerate people ruining this breed I like very much, and that I am willing to do my best to keep the Stafford with the old day spirit and determination, and in order to do this one must breed to produce better dogs than the dogs used; a step forward many don’t understand, many others understand but is not beneficial for their plot to be understood by others.

Whose blame is it?
It is necessary to talk about what seems to be one of the excuses for breeding Staffords short and stocky. During many years the term leggier, more athletic or old type Staffords are accused and or assumed of being crossed with APBT blood. My question is how about of the Staffords of today? Is it okay to speculate they have English bulldog blood infused?
Breathing problems, excessively big heads with extremely short snouts, overly thick and short tails, could possibly be good signs of bulldog heritage?
So who is there to blame? Assuming these two situations are real, is it breeding to one foreign breed worse than breeding to the other? In my opinion driving under the influence without a license, is just as bad as driving with one.
Again, how can two breed of dogs, decendants from the same pit dogs can differ so greatly despite the breeding purpose?
Many still want to blame it on genetics, meticulous selection and or by the grace mother nature.
My question is how come APBT’s, although many litters tend to differ in size, never change so drastically as to the denigration or a step back to the breed?

I accept the variation in size, but not the exaggeration in head and body without an influx of another breed. Present dog shows and events are full of staffords which resemble other breeds more than a bull and terrier, but sadly more and more newcomers seek these mediocre representations, far from a true stafford.
Even within the size-variation of one litter in “old time staffords” and Apbt’s, the consistency on balance has been the same throughout the years.

In all fairness, people can talk and complaint all they want. If one believes in history and the pictures of the Staffords/pitdogs at beginning of the century did not look like the majority of Staffords of today. It will take more than a miracle for Staffords to evolve and to look like the ones winning and bred for the shows in such short period of time.
It is not a secret that the non-functional Staffords are sold for money and/or fame. Big registration entities do not care much about the well being of dogs of any breed unless it interferes with their bank-savings account.
In case this blood infusion is indeed real and if this mystery is ever solved, there will be a lot of upset people at the time of the findings, and we will be equally sinners.
Does it mean we will have to start all over again or do we need to get rid our line bred mongrels?


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Date d'inscription : 07/11/2008

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Re: Great Article

Message  Invité le Dim 9 Juin - 20:55


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