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About Staffordshire Bull Terriers: Meet Our Breed

We would like to introduce you to the best kept secret in the dog world (in North America)...

 

If you have never heard of a Staffordshire Bull Terrier before the government announced that they were to be banned that is no accident. Staffordshire Bull Terrier owners are fiercely protective of our wonderfulbreed, because we have seen the damage done to other breeds like the Golden Retriever, Labradors and Dalmatians when they become popular. We have made an effort to ensure that our breed is not popularized in the same way as these and other breeds have been.

With Bill 132 threatening the very existence of our breed, we have decided that it is time to share its many virtues with Canadians. The 'masses' often make unilateral opinions with little knowledge and this is certainly the case for those who support the banning of our Staffords. Before you judge our breed, we would ask you to consider its virtues.

 

Why Staffords are one of the best breeds around


Temperament

When we say that Staffordshire Bull Terriers are a breed apart this is not just the biased opinion of dog owners; it is actually true! There are only 2 out of 164 registered CKC breeds that by their very breed standard must be good with children: Staffordshire Bull Terriers and Schipperkes.

When university researchers in the UK were asked to rate the best 10 breeds for children they selected the Staffordshire Bull Terrier for their list based on its "bomb-proof" nature.

Most importantly, when researchers in Germany studied inappropriate aggression in several breeds they found the same level of inappropriate displays of aggression across all the dogs in the studies with one "notable" exception. None of the Staffordshire Bull Terriers displayed any types of aggression disorders. (The same could not be said for the test group of Golden Retrievers.)


Meet Staffords

Character

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a one of the friendliest and silliest breeds in the dog world. They are highly intelligent and extremely submissive to people.It is this submission to their families and their intelligence that has earned them the title of the "nanny dog". The breed's wonderful character is also the thing that caused Brits to select the Stafford as the "favourite pedigree pooch" in a census of 118,000 dog owners.It is not uncommon for someone meeting an older Stafford to ask if the dog is a puppy, when the dog might be 7-10 years of age (after that the gray starts to show!) The reason is that this breed keeps its joyful love for life and people throughout its entire life. Like a good wine Staffies get better as they mature. (We even know one owner whose 7 year old Stafford is so popular with her friends that they schedule appointments for people to come over and play with the dog!)But what really sets the breed apart is their instinctive love for children. They have earned the title of "nanny dog".


Size

One of the most convenient things about the Stafford is that you get a big dog in a little package. The breed is quite small, with the average dog standing just below the knee at 15" inches and weighing 36 pounds.

Picture a standard size milk crate. Now imagine a dog sitting in that crate with room to spare and the head coming up a bit past the top of the crate. Add to that the zest for life that you often find in a larger breed and you have your Staffordshire Bull Terrier.


Coat

One advantage of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is its short coat. The breed does shed, but caring for a Stafford requires little more than an occassional bath (and of course lots of love and attention!).


Health

At a time when serious health problems are affecting dogs of other breeds at very young ages the Staffordshire Bull Terrier remains an incredibly healthy breed. Occassionally problems do occur, but not nearly at the rates that are being reported for other breeds. Common issues like hip dysplasia are rarely seen as a problem in this breed.

The best way to judge the health of the breed is by the way it ages; the vast majority of Staffords enjoy a healthy life until they reach their final years (typically around age 11-13). Allergies are the one thing that sometimes can be a problem in the breed.


The History

The history of this breed does go back to dog fighting in the 1800s. However, this does not make them fundamentally different from other breeds. In fact, 88 of the 164 recognized CKC breeds were originally bred to something of equal severity, from hunting and killing fierce predators (including bears, badgers and lions) to biting or attacking people.

Few realize that all of the "bully" breeds were killed without hesitation (culled) if they showed any sign of human aggression. These dogs lived in the family homes of poor people; because of this they had to be excellent around families and children in particular. This resulted in a dog of exceptional intelligence and temperament.

 

Why we kept our great breed a secret until now ...

When a breed becomes popular backyard breeders abound. A popular myth is that inbreeding ruins breeds, but this is not true. Indiscriminate breeding for profit without consideration of health and temperament ruin breeds. One Stafford owner spoke to her vet who runs a busy clinic in downtown Toronto. She was shocked to learn that in this clinic, where they see over 14,000 dogs a year, the breed with the biggest biting problem right now is the Golden Retriever. Because of bad breeding, explained the vet, 7 full lines of Goldens had to be euthanized for unprovoked aggression in the family home.

You should never purchase a breed without researching the breed and the breeder carefully first. Selecting a dog without consideration for its virtues and its faults is the first step towards disaster in dog ownership. This is where many bite problems begin.

We implore you, regardless of the type of dog you own, to take time to carefully consider your lifestyle and experience as a dog owner before buying a dog. Some breeds are perfect for the novice pet owners, but many or not. The most important thing you can do for your family and neighbours is to do your research, select the right breed for your family and invest in a foundation of obedience training. (Dr. Stanley Coren has found that obedience training combined with just a few hours of education for children can reduce dog bites by 98%.)

 
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