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Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Nicknames Staffy, Staff, SBT, Stafford, Staffy Bull, Staffross, Nanny Dog.
Country of origin England
Traits

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier (informally: Staffie, Stafford, Staffross, Staffy or Staff) is a medium-sized, short-coated, old-time breed of dog, originally bred for bull baiting[1]. In the early part of the twentieth century, the breed gained respectability, and it was accepted by the The Kennel Club of the United Kingdom as the Staffordshire bull terrier. It is an English breed of dog related to the bull terrier and its larger cousins the American Staffordshire terrier and the American pit bull terrier.

Contents

Description

Appearance

A puppy of the breed.

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a medium-sized, stocky, muscular dog with athletic ability. They have a broad head, defined occipital muscles, a relatively short foreface, 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. Their lips show no looseness, and they rarely drool. From above, the head loosely resembles a triangle. The head tapers down to a strong well-muscled neck and shoulders placed on squarely spaced forelimbs. They are tucked up in their loins and the last 1-2 ribs of their ribcage are usually visible. Their tail resembles an old fashioned pump handle. Their hind quarters are well-muscled and are what give the Staffy drive when baiting.

They are coloured brindle, black, red, fawn, blue, white, or any blending of these colors with white. White with any color over an eye is known as piebald or pied. Skewbald is white with red patches. Liver-colored and black and tan dogs sometimes occur. The coat is smooth and clings tightly to the body giving the dog a streamlined appearance.

The dogs stand 14 to 16 in (36 to 41 cm) at the withers and weigh 24 to 32 lb (11 to 15 kg) (male dogs are normally up to 6lb heavier).[2]

The 'Staffordshire Bull Terrier' can suffer from health problems common to other dog breeds such as cataracts, hip dysplasia and breathing problems but are overall a very healthy breed.

Temperament

Although individual differences in personality exist, common traits exist throughout the Staffords. Due to its breeding, the modern dog is known for its character of indomitable courage, high intelligence, and tenacity. This, coupled with its affection for its friends (and children in particular), its off-duty quietness and trustworthy stability, make it a foremost all-purpose dog [1]. It has been said that "No breed is more loving with its family"[3] Because of their affinity for children, Staffordshire Bull Terriers are sometimes known as “Nanny Dogs” in England[4].

The breed is naturally muscular and may appear intimidating; however, because of their natural fondness for people[citation needed], most Staffords are temperamentally ill-suited for guard or attack-dog training.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier puppies are very easy to house train. [5]

Courage

The most important characteristic of all the ancestors of the Stafford was their great courage. Aggression was necessary in a fighting dog - but, whereas a dog can be trained and conditioned to be aggressive, nothing can teach him courage. This is bred in him at birth. Breeders today value the courage of their dogs. Nobody is proud to own a timid Stafford, but no sensible breeder encourages aggression towards other animals. Responsible owners and breeders deliberately avoid confrontational experiences.

Courage is important in a pet dog because more dogs bite out of fear than for any other reason. A dog who is not alarmed can cope much better with the rough and tumble of a busy family home, one of the reasons the Stafford is such a success as a dog for children. He is as hardy and fun-loving, and fearless, as they are. [6]

Press on Bad Behaviour

Since the UK Dangerous Dogs Act made it illegal to own breeds such as the pit bull terrier, the press have reported many cases of attacks by Staffordshire Bull Terriers or dogs described as a 'Staffordshire bull terrier cross' on children, adults and family pets.[7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] The RSPCA fears that breeders are re-naming pit bulls as Staffordshire bull terriers to avoid prosecution.[13] Also, the description 'Staffordshire terrier cross' is frequently a euphemism for a dog such as the American Pit Bull Terrier.

However, the Staffordshire bull terrier is itself capable of dangerous behavior. A New South Wales state government report analysing 793 dog attacks in late 2009 identified the Staffordshire bull terrier as the leading breed of dog responsible for biting humans (ahead of the Australian Cattle Dog, German Shepherd and Jack Russell Terrier).[14] "Staffordshire" type dogs topped a similar NSW government report in 2006.[15] However, while the report identified 279 of the 2325 total recorded attacks as by "Staffordshire" dogs, only 1 of those 2325 reported attacks was positively identified by the report as by an "English Staffordshire" (A.K.A. Staffordshire Bull Terrier). In contrast, 58 of those attacks were positively identified as by an "American Staffordshire," a uniquely different breed that is about 1/3 larger than the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.[16][17]

Affinity with people

Staffordshire Bull Terriers are large-hearted and usually affectionate towards humans. They express their affection through jumping up, nuzzling and pawing, and even when trained can still be 'fussy' with owners and others. Staffordshires are perhaps not suitable pets for those who prefer quiet, reserved dogs. Staffordshires are notably adaptable in terms of changing home or even owners, and unfortunately this can make them easy prey for dognappers.[18]

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." [19].

Breed-specific legislation

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is often subject to breed bans worldwide that target the Bull and Terrier family. However, Australia, England, and New Zealand make clear a distinction between the American Pit Bull Terrier and Staffordshire Bull Terrier and thus are exempted[citation needed] from Breed Specific Legislation.

History

Before the nineteenth century, bloodsports such as bull baiting, bear baiting and cock fighting were common. Bulls brought to market were set upon by dogs as a way of tenderizing the meat and providing entertainment for the spectators; and dog fights with bears, bulls and other animals were often organized as entertainment for both royalty and commoners. Early Bull and Terriers were not bred for the handsome visual specimen of today, rather they were bred for the characteristic known as gameness. The pitting of dogs against bear or bull tested the gameness, strength and skill of the dog. These early "proto-staffords" provided the ancestral foundation stock for the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, the Bull Terrier, the American Pit Bull Terrier and American Staffordshire Terrier. This common ancestor was known as the "Bull and Terrier".

These bloodsports were officially eliminated in 1835 as Britain began to introduce animal welfare laws. Since dogfights were cheaper to organize and far easier to conceal from the law than bull or bear baits, bloodsport proponents turned to pitting their dogs against each other instead. Dog fighting was used as both a bloodsport (often involving gambling) and a way to continue to test the quality of their stock. For decades afterward, dog fighting clandestinely took place in pockets of working-class Britain and America. Dogs were released into a pit, and the last dog still fighting (or occasionally, the last dog surviving) was recognized as the winner. The quality of pluckiness or "gameness" was still highly prized, and dogs that gave up during a fight were reviled as "curs".

Breeding

Kennel clubs

The breed attained UK [Kennel Club] recognition on 25 May 1935.The staffordshire Bull Terrier Club was formed in June,1935,a couple of months after the breed was recognised by the kennel club. It is unusual for a breed to be recognised without a club in existence first, and even more unusual for their 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 in the west Midlands.A group of 30 Stafford enthusiasts gathered there and devised the standard, as well as electing the clubs first secetary, Joseph Dunn, a well known figure in 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 their titles in 1939.[20]

American

Staffordshires were imported into the US during this time. Though very popular in the United Kingdom, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier has not gained the same fame in the United States[citation needed].

In the US many were imported by pit fighters and used in their breeding programs to produce the American Pit Bull Terrier and American Staffordshire Terrier. Many were imported by British nationals who brought their dogs with them or U.S. expatriates who fell in love with the breed in England and brought it home[citation needed]. The Staffordshire breed was recognized in the U.S. in 1975.[21]

Common Health Problems

As with any breed, irresponsible breeding can cause the spread of hereditary genetic flaws. Tests are performed to screen for these conditions.

Two of the conditions that can be detected by DNA testing are L-2-hydroxyglutaric aciduria (L2HGA)[22] and Hereditary Cataracts (HC). This testing need only be done once. There are another two conditions which can be checked by way of an ocular examination throughout the life of a breeding stud or brood-bitch to minimize the transfer & spread of these conditions. The first is distachiasis (commonly known as “double eyelash”) where eyelashes are misdirected and begin to rub against the eye, particularly the cornea, causing ocular surface damage. The second is Persistent Hyperplastic Primary Vitreous (or PHPV) which is a condition whereby the blood supply to the ocular lens fails to regress and fibrovascular tissue forms causing hazy vision.

The breed is known to be at risk from melanoma[23], often seen in the stomach area as Staffies love to sunbathe on their backs.

Puppies should be wormed at two to three weeks and no later. There are simple, liquid forms of wormer that are easy to give at this early age. Because the bitch has been clearing up after them, remember it will be necessary to worm her as well. The pups will need to be wormed at least twice more before they go to their new homes at around eight weeks of age. Always weigh the puppies and follow the instructions exactly.[24]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b American Kennel Club. "AKC Staffordshire Bull Terrier Breed History". www.akc.org. http://www.akc.org/breeds/staffordshire_bull_terrier/history.cfm. Retrieved 07/29 2008. 
  2. ^ Fogle, Bruce (2002) Dogalog, Dorling Kinderley Ltd., London, pp. 183
  3. ^ Fogle, Bruce (2002) Dogalog, Dorling Kinderley Ltd., London, pp. 182
  4. ^ :Mifflin, Krista, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, http://dogs.about.com/cs/breedprofiles/p/staffordshire.htm, retrieved 2010-03-04 
  5. ^ "Breed Standard - Staffordshire Bull Terrier - Terrier". NZKC. http://www.nzkc.org.nz/br280.html. Retrieved 2009-02-12. 
  6. ^ (Pet Owners Guide To The, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Clare Lee )
  7. ^ Attack on baby in Wales
  8. ^ Bull terriers kill cat and chase caretaker
  9. ^ Dog killed in Limavady
  10. ^ 16yr old girl attacked in Preston
  11. ^ 4yr old girl attacked in Dorset
  12. ^ 11yr old boy attcaked in Belfast
  13. ^ Maurice Chittenden (8 February 2009) Sleeping baby Jaden Mack mauled to death by family terriers, The Sunday Times
  14. ^ ABC news article about a 2009 NSW government report on dog bite attacks
  15. ^ Daily Telegraph news article about a 2006 NSW government report on dog bite attacks
  16. ^ [1]
  17. ^ [2]
  18. ^ Lee, Clare (January 01 1998). The Pet Owner's Guide to the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. Ringpress Books Ltd. ISBN 978-1860540820. 
  19. ^ K9 Magazine Article
  20. ^ (Staffordshire Bull Terriers..Tracy Libby..2007..Interpet Publishing)
  21. ^ "American Kennel Club - Staffordshire Bull Terrier". www.akc.org. http://www.akc.org/breeds/staffordshire_bull_terrier/index.cfm. Retrieved 2010-02-16. 
  22. ^ "Currently Available DNA Tests". Caninegeneticdiseases.net. http://www.caninegeneticdiseases.net/DNAtests/TESTSnow.htm. Retrieved 2008-12-25. 
  23. ^ "Percentage of deaths due to cancer suffered by dogs of different breeds compared with the percentage of the breed in the survey population (adapted from Michell, 1999)". Vetstreamcanis.co.uk. http://www.vetstreamcanis.co.uk/%5Ccorporate%5Chtml%5CBreed-relatedcancer%5CBreed-relatedcancer.htm. Retrieved 2008-12-25. 
  24. ^ (Pet Owners Guide To The, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Clare Lee )

External links


Simple English

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is an English dog breed. It is a medium-sized dog, originally it was bred for dog fighting. It is related to the bull terrier. Its appearance is similar to the American Staffordshire Terrier and American pit bull terrier, but it is smaller than both of them. It grows to a wrist height of 12-17cm, and a weight of about 11-17kg.

In Great Britain the dog is often kept as a "family dog". Staffordshire Bull Terriers have been trained as search and rescue dogs.

In other countries, such as Germany, this dog breed is seen as problematic; these countries may have put restrictions in place regarding the breeding and keeping such dogs. The people keeping such dogs may need to undergo tests to determine whether they are allowed to keep the dog.








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