Another article gleaned from the Staffordshire Bull Terrier Forum E-mail List. This fledgling e-mail list dedicated to the Stafford has had more than its share of good and insightful posts. This is among the most on target to date.
In response to my request, here is a short introduction of the e-mail author, Paul H. Skelton.
First, I would like to thank you for the kind words and your wonderful web page. The pedigree section in particular is great to me. I love the old pedigrees. Second, feel free to reprint my diatribe on your page. I am flattered to be in such company.
am Paul Skelton, I live in Augusta, GA with my wife, 2 sons, 5 birds, Fish, turtles, frogs, 12 year old Pug, and 2 seven month old Staffords, Mojo (Intrepid Dr. Buzzards Bad Mojo) and Geechie (Intrepid Low Country Boil). I plan on showing them both if they have the inclination and turn out well. We stay busy, as most younger families do, with work, school, sports, church, etc... We love to spend time together with each other and the dogs.
I have been a dog person since birth I guess. I was raised around old county white Bulldogs, now American Bulldogs, Pit Bulls, hounds of every shape and denomination, and Bird Dogs. We always had house dogs as well. I came to the Stafford after a long period of deliberation and debate on what breed I wanted next. I lost my last American Bulldog to a congenital bone deformity, and I knew that our Pug couldn't take the rough and tumble of 2 young boys any longer. I looked at literally dozens that might have fit the bill and decided that the Stafford best met my desires and needs. For an all around dog, I felt that I wanted a breed that hadn't been over bred, over popularized or villanized, and most of all fit my families life style.
My pups are both sired by Ch. Nozac Intrepid Jet and both of their dams are heavy Trugrip Revolution. I was very interested in finding a dog that went back to Black Tusker or Red Atom, I got both. Mojo is more bully than I prefer, but will probably take the ring by storm. Geechie, on the other hand, is more terrier and fits the bill for what a Stafford used to be in my opinion. Both are black brindle and white. I can't explain how well they have met my expectations. They are great puppies and will be great dogs if I let them live through their adolescence. :-) They can be a handful. Thanks again for the wonderful work on your Web page. As always, I am...
Up to scratch.
Subject: Re: Re.Re. Ashtock Anotations and form follows function.
At 03:30 PM 5/16/98 -0400, you wrote:
Steve Stone requested something to debate and I guess I am going to jump up to scratch.:-) First this is not a reflection on anyone or any dog. It is simply my take.
Form follows function, aesthetics follow fashion. aesthetics follow fashion. The tendency of the Stafford toward his current "Bully" conformation is strictly due to the last hundred years or so of breeding for standard "show" conformation. If the Stafford were still being used as a working pit dog, he would not be the dog that he is; and thus, not the dog I wanted. If the Space Shuttle were a Crop Duster, it wouldn't need ceramic tiles.:-) If you will look at the old pictures of Staffords that were used in the pits, they bore a striking resemblance to today's American Pit Bull Terriers. Smaller heads, deeper chests, longer muscle, etc. etc. This was strictly due to their success in the pit, not because he had a perfect bite, topline, ears, and so on and so forth.
Conformations only contribution to the working pit dog was wrestling ability. Gameness, stamina, biting ability, and conditioning were all as important if not more important than what the dog looked like. His form followed his function until we, society, decided he had no legal, moral, or ethical function. From that point on, asthetics followed fashion. Today's Stafford could be bred back to his earlier days if he were used in the pits and Champion was bred to Champion for a few generations. The resulting dogs would not look like the barrel chested athlete asleep at my feet, nor would it have many of the characteristics that make my 1997 model Staffords different from the 1897, 1797, and 1697 models.
We cannot compromise our standard. We cannot breed bad attitude into a perfect shape. The 1997 Stafford is not a working pit dog as his ancestors were. He is my companion, my child's playmate, my wife's foot warmer, and my neighbor's poodles' worst nightmare. :-)
To sum it up, our dogs couldn't be made to last 2-3 hours in a pit today, and I don't want mine to. I also don't want my little barrel chested 1997 model Staffordshire Bull Terrier athlete turning into a 65 pound 20 inch show-stopping champion that is more Bulldog than Bull Terrier. I love dogs and I love the Stafford. We serve him best by keeping to our standard, "Jim the Dandy". If you love the Stafford, don't show, promote, condone, or for any reason breed an oversized, big headed, pot bellied, 65 pound 20 inch dog for aesthetics or profit. I hope this causes some response and discussion, Steve. As always, I am...
Up to scratch.