Welcome to the StaffordMall. This website is dedicated to the Staffordshire Bull Terrier breed of dog. We cover some of the history, breeding, training, feeding, care and conditioning of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
Among our some 200 pages of material, you'll also find dozens of pedigrees, interviews with Breed veterans, and insight into the best people dog on earth. Enter StaffordMall.com and discover "One of the finer things in life" - the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier
A born fighter, the Staffordshire was the perfect combination of the Bulldog and the Old English Terrier of the seventeenth century. He possessed the strength and gameness of the Bulldog with the speed and agility of the Terrier. The performance of this cross was tested in the dog pit and therefore, natural selection, over a period of decades produced the perfect fighting machine.
Prior to the formation of the Breed Club in 1935, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier was commonly known as the Bull and Terrier or the Pit Dog.
Today with the abolition of the barbarous sport of dog fighting, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier has taken on a different breed type.
With the formation of the first Staffordshire Bull Terrier club in 1935, a standard was drawn. Jim the Dandy owned by Jack S. Barnard, was chosen as the most perfect specimen of his time, and his breeding could be traced back thirty years or so. If we compare that standard with today's standard, and then compare the majority of today's show specimens with either standard, we can see that a contradiction of type exists, and that the Bulldog has been developed at the expense of the Terrier. We find this unacceptable, since the combination of both breeds was essential to producing a dog that was very unique and original.
Staffordshire Bull Terrier Characteristics:
- Sound temperament
- Indomitable courage and tenacity
- Exceptional athletic ability
- Quiet and gentle by nature
- Highly intelligent
- Wonderful with infants and small children
- Faithful companions
(The above from the opening home page of Stoutheart Staffordshire Bull Terriers - written by Carolyn Stewart)
ORIGINS - The Continuity of Breed Heritage
Chain makers in Staffordshire
Staffords were originally bred by unlettered men, mostly coal miners and chainmakers, from the English Midlands for the purpose of fighting in the pit. These men did not even know the word "genetics" but they did know blood sports, so they bred winner to winner for generations and eventually produced a canine that out-matched any other - pound for pound - in the universe: quick, powerful, tenacious.
For all those many canine generations, the dogs had to live with the workers' families in the close confinement of what we would call shanties. The dog, already blessed with the Bulldog's fabled love for children, had to get along with every family member (and there were usually many) under any circumstance. Any dog that was even remotely unreliable with people in any way was put under the ax - literally - and no second chances. An unreliable dog of such quickness and power could be a REAL menace if not dispatched. The coal miners and chainmakers did indeed love their dogs, but they loved their families more.
I guess that could be called genetic selection by the elimination method.
The upshot was that the old-timers produced a dog that differed radically from other canines which fight for three things and three things only: 1) food 2) territory and 3) sex. The difference was and is that Staffords fought for the love of fighting itself. When fighting, they were neither upset nor angry but perfectly calm for they were enjoying themselves enormously. In practical terms, a dog that could not be handled in the pit was a menace to its owner. As a result one could put his hands on or between their heads during combat in perfect safety whereas if one were to try that with, say, Cocker Spaniels one would end up with one's extremities in shreds.
Thus, the Stafford was bred to have and indeed does have a complete and permanent disconnect between his view of other canines and his view of people. Since I started the Breed in Finland in 1964 and in the States in 1967, the only incident I know of regarding improper Stafford behavior toward a person was a case in Illinois where a male Stafford I had sold as pup to be a guard on a Thoroughbred farm snapped at a child. Didn't lay a tooth on the child, just snapped (under some provocation I am told). I immediately sent a free replacement to the owner on the proviso that the Stafford in question be humanely destroyed.
A Stafford can be forgiven almost anything: oversize, undershot, gay tail - even, God forbid, reluctance to face other canines. But not bad temperament with people. Not once, not ever.
There is, indeed, one area in which I am perfectly willing to see the Stafford's strength, agility, and intensity put to use against a person: protection of my family. If someone were to attack a family member (foolish person!), I want my Stafford to exercise his heritage in our defense for such an attack constitutes "extreme provocation," utterly exculpating the dog. Further, if such a thing were to occur I would be at the scene, unhurt, able to disengage him while the intruder was still begging for mercy.