Staffordshire Bull Terrier
|Domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris)|
Before the 19th century, blood sports such as bull baiting, bear baiting and cock fighting were common. At the cattle market, bulls were set upon by dogs purportedly as a way of tenderising the meat and providing entertainment for the spectators. Fights with bears and other animals were also organised as entertainment.
The early bull and terrier types were not bred to resemble the breeds of today, but rather for the characteristic known as gameness, with the pitting of dogs against bear or bull; testing the strength and skill of the dogs. Landrace working dogs crossbred with bulldogs provided the ancestral foundation stock for the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. These bloodsports were officially eliminated in 1835 as Britain began to introduce animal welfare laws. A dog fighting another dog was cheaper to organise and easier to conceal from the law. Dog fighting involved gambling and a way to continue to test the animal; dogs were released into a pit, and the last dog still fighting or surviving was recognised the winner.
The modern breed is one that has a temperament suitable as a companion dog. It is a dog worthy to show and was accepted by The Kennel Club as the Staffordshire Bull Terrier on 25 May 1935. The Staffordshire Bull Terrier Club was formed in June 1935. It is unusual for a breed to be recognised without a club in existence first, and even more unusual for there not to have been a breed standard in place. A standard was not drawn up until June 1935 at the Old Cross Guns, a Black Country pub in Cradley Heath. A group of 30 Stafford enthusiasts gathered there and devised the standard, as well as electing the club's first secretary, Joseph Dunn, a well-known figure connected with the breed.
Challenge certificates were awarded to the breed in 1938, and the first champions were Ch. Gentleman Jim (bred by Joseph Dunn) and Ch. Lady Eve (owned by Joseph Dunn), both taking titles in 1939. The breed was recognised in the U.S. by the American Kennel Club in 1975.
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a medium-sized, stocky, and very muscular dog, with a similar appearance to the much larger American Staffordshire Terrier and American Pit Bull Terrier. The coat is smooth and clings tightly to the body giving the dog a streamlined appearance. This dog has a broad, wedge-shaped head (male considerably more so than female), defined occipital muscles, a relatively short fore-face, dark round eyes and a wide mouth with a clean scissor-like bite (the top incisors slightly overlap the bottom incisors). The ears are small. The cheek muscles are very pronounced. The lips show no looseness. The teeth form a scissor bite. The head tapers down to a strong well-muscled neck and shoulders placed on squarely spaced forelimbs. They are tucked up into their loins and the last 1–2 ribs of the rib-cage are usually visible. The tail resembles an old fashioned pump handle. The hind quarters are well-muscled.
They are coloured brindle, black, red, fawn, blue, white, or any blending of these colours with white. White with any other colour broken up over the body is known as pied. Liver-coloured, black and tan dogs can occur but are rare and it is advised not to breed from either as well as those with light eyes. The exception to the light eye rule are Blue staffies; all others should have dark brown eyes even if they have a fawn coat. The coat is smooth and clings tightly to the body giving the dog a streamlined appearance.
Due to its breeding and history, common traits exist throughout; the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is known for its character of fearlessness and loyalty. This, coupled with its affection for its friends, its off-duty quietness and trustworthy stability, make it a foremost all-purpose dog.
The breed is naturally muscular and may appear intimidating; however, because of their natural fondness for people, most Staffords are temperamentally ill-suited for guard or attack-dog training. Staffordshire Bull Terrier puppies are very easy to house train.
Staffordshire Bull Terriers are friendly, enthusiastic and usually extremely affectionate towards humans. They express their affection through jumping up, nuzzling, licking and pawing, and even when trained can still be 'fussy' with owners and others. Staffordshires are perhaps not suitable pets for those who prefer more reserved dogs. Staffordshires are notably adaptable in terms of changing home or even owners, and unfortunately this can make them easy prey for dognappers.
RSPCA chief vet Mark Evans said: "Staffies have had a terrible press, but this is not of their own making–in fact they're wonderful dogs. If people think that Staffies have problems, they're looking at the wrong end of the dog lead! When well cared for and properly trained they can make brilliant companions. Our experience suggests that problems occur when bad owners exploit the Staffie's desire to please by training them to show aggression."
Staffordshire Bull Terriers are known to suffer from Hereditary Cataracts (HC) and L-2-hydroxyglutaric aciduria (L2HGA)—a metabolic disorder resulting in behavioural changes and dementia-like symptoms—both of which are detectable via DNA tests.
Distichiasis (commonly known as “double eyelash”) and Persistent Hyperplastic Primary Vitreous (or PHPV)—a condition whereby the blood supply to the ocular lens fails to regress and fibrovascular tissue forms, causing hazy vision—both of which are checked by way of an ocular examination throughout the life of a breeding stud or brood-bitch to minimise the transfer and spread of these conditions.
- "Breed Information Centre – Staffordshire Bull Terrier". The Kennel Club. Retrieved 13 November 2014.
- Campbell, Dana (July–August 2009). "Pit Bull Bans: The State of Breed–Specific Legislation". GP-Solo. American Bar Association. 26 (5). Retrieved 30 July 2009.
The American Kennel Club (AKC), the nation’s largest dog–breed registry, does not recognize a 'pit bull' breed per se. The AKC–recognized breeds most commonly included within current BSL are Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, and Staffordshire Bull Terriers
- Pit Bull Rescue Central. "Is a Staffordshire Terrier the same as a Pit Bull?". Retrieved 26 October 2015.
- Merriam-Webster. "Pit bull". Retrieved 26 October 2015.
a dog... of any of several breeds... that was developed and is now often trained for fighting and is noted for strength and stamina
- Dias v. City & County of Denver, 567 F.3d 1169, 1173 (10th Cir. Colo. 2009). http://definitions.uslegal.com/p/pit-bull/. Retrieved 26 October 2015.
A "pit bull" is defined as any dog that is an American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, or any dog displaying the majority of physical traits of any one (1) or more of the above breedsMissing or empty
- ASPCA. "The Truth About Pit Bulls". Retrieved 26 October 2015.
The term 'pit bull' is often misunderstood, because it does not apply to just one breed of dog. [This text is in the website's page description.]
- Foster, Ken (2012). I'm a Good Dog: Pit Bulls, America's Most Beautiful (and Misunderstood) Dog. New York: Viking Studio.
For some lovers of the American pit bull terrier... 'pit bull' is embraced as shorthand for their breed. However, fans of the American Staffordshire terrier and English Staffordshire terrier are usually quick to tell you that their breeds are not pit bulls. To the general public, all three dogs are perceived as pit bulls, along with variations of the American bulldog, bull terriers, bullmastiffs, and even boxers, as well as mixes of these breeds.
- American Kennel Club. "AKC Staffordshire Bull Terrier Breed History". www.akc.org. Retrieved 29 July 2008.
- "American Kennel Club – Staffordshire Bull Terrier". www.akc.org. Retrieved 16 February 2010.
- "Staffordshire Bull Terrier Breed Standard". The Kennel Club. September 2000. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
- Nicholas, Anna Katherine (2001). Staffordshire Bull Terriers. TFH Publications. p. 30. ISBN 0-7938-2335-8.
- "Breed Standard – Staffordshire Bull Terrier – Terrier". NZKC. Retrieved 13 November 2014.
- American Staffordshire Terrier, Meet the Breeds, American Kennel Club (AKC)
- "'Soft' Staffies sent to dog home". BBC News. 18 January 2005.
- Lee, Clare (1 January 1998). The Pet Owner's Guide to the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. Ringpress Books Ltd. ISBN 978-1-86054-082-0.
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