The Staffordshire Bull Terrier first cane into existence in or around the seventeenth century. As Bull baiting declined in popularity and dog fighting enjoyed a surge of interest, it became necessary to develop a dog which possessed a longer and more punishing head than the Bulldog and also to combine strength and agility. It is therefore believed that the Staffordshire Bull Terrier was derived from the fighting Bulldog of the day with some terrier blood introduced. This cross produced what was known as the Bull and Terrier or Pit Dog. These dogs were renowned for their courage and tenacity and despite their ferocity in the pit were excellent companions and good with children. In fact it was not unknown for an injured dog to be transported home in a pram with the baby! Although dog fighting and other barbaric pastimes of the day were patronised by the aristocracy - Lord Camelford reportedly owned a famous dog called 'Belcher' - fighting dogs were also owned by the poorest of families. The pit dog was a favourite with miners and steelworkers and was prevalent amongst the chainmakers of the "Black Country' where the dogs were not only fought for entertainment but provided a working man with valuable extra income when worked against badgers or as ratters. With the introduction of the Humane Act in 1835, baiting sports and dog fighting became unlawful and a group of men in the Staffordshire area endeavoured to preserve their breed by introducing them to the show world. After much discussion the Standard was written describing the dog's ohysical attributes and this dog was named the Staffordshire Bull Terrier to differentiate him from the English Bull Terrier. The Staffordshire Bull Terrier was officially registered by the Kennel Club in 1935 and the first club show for the breed took place in August 1935 at Cradley Health in the West Midlands where 60 dogs and bitches were entered. The founder club was named The Staffordshire Bull Terrier Club and is affectionately known as 'The Parent Club'. There are now a total of 18 clubs in Great Britain and Northern Ireland ranging from the North of Scotland to the West of England. The breed received championship status in 1938 when CC's were awarded for the first time at the Birmingham National. The first two Champions of the breed were Ch. Gentleman Jim and Ch. Lady Eve. The popularity of the breed has now spread abroad with well established clubs in many countries including Australia, Eire, France, Germany, Holland, Spain and the USA, to name but a few. Over the years the Staffordshire Bull Terrier has become a successful show dog and a serious contender in the Terrier Group, where they frequently have the highest number of entries of all dogs in the Terrier Group and are occasional winners of Best in Show. More inportantly the Stafford has become a popular pet retaining the attributes gained from generations of fighting dogs bred for courage, tenacity and most important: total reliability and affinity with people and in particular children.
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier Standard
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier are known to have great strength for their size. They are stocky and muscular, but should also be active and agile. The breed is the 5th most popular dog in the UK (its place of origin), and is the only breed to have the words 'totally reliable' in its breed standard. Furthermore, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is one of only two breeds from over 190 recognized by the UK Kennel Club to have a mention of the breed's subitability with children.
General Appearance: Smooth coated, well balanced, of great strength for his size. Muscular, active and agile.
Characteristics: Traditionally of indomitable courage and tenacity. Highly intelligent and affectionate especially with children.
Temperment: Bold, fearless and tatally reliable.
Head and skull: Short, deep through with a broad skull. Very pronounced cheek muscles, distinct stop, short foreface, nose black.
Ears: Rose or half pricked, not large or heavy. Full, drop or pricked ears highly undesirable.
Mouth: Lips tight and clean. Jaws strong, teeth large with perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping the lower teeth and set square to the jaws.
Neck: Muscular, rather short, clean in outline gradually widening torwards the shoulders.
Forequarters: Legs straight and well boned, set rather wide apart, showing no weakness at the pasterns, from which point feet turn out a little. Shoulders well laid back with no looseness at elbow.
Body: Close coupled, with level top-line, wide front, deep brisket, well sprung ribs; muscular and well defineed.
Hindquarters: Well muscled, hooks well let down and stifles well bent. Legs parallel when viewed from behind.
Feet: Well padded, strong and of medium size. Nails black in solid coloured dogs.
Tail: Medium length, low set, tapering to a point and carried rather low. Should not curl much and may be likened to an old fashioned pump handle.
Gait/Movement: Free, powerful and agile with economy of effort. Legs moving parallel when viewed from front or rear. Discernible drive from hind legs.
Coat: Short, smooth and close.
Colour: Red, Fawn, White, Black or Blue, or any of these colours with white. Any shade of brindle or any shade of brindle with white. Black and Tan or Liver colour highly undesirable.
Size: Weight: Dogs 12.7-17 kgs (28-38 pounds). Bitches 11-15.4 kgs (24-34 pounds). Desirable height (at withers) 14 to 16 inches, these heights being related to the weights.
Faults: Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree.
Note: Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.