I found this online. What are your thoughts? I like the concept but I prefer to mentor not simply sell and release….I do not control anyone. I have only ever asked one buyer to allow me to breed and get puppies back only b/c I was at the end of a twenty year quest without a future due to unforeseen circumstances – one other buyer asked to breed and I said of course no strings only allow me to help mentor. I believe we need to release our control and egos in order to truly PROTECT and PRESERVE.
Ok friends, buckle up for some more Raw thoughts of the day.
Except this time, from a breeders perspective.
Many of you know I breed Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers, I have along side my mother since 2011.
I bought my own foundation bitch after many years of showing and learning about the breed, when I was 15, from the INCOMPARABLE Sonya Urquhart of Marquee Wheatens.
She did what NO OTHER breeder would, she trusted me, she believed in me.
She did not use me, and she did not control me.
She allowed me to make my own decisions, she allowed me to make mistakes and learn from them.
She taught me to think and evaluate dogs, to use her as my advice and my guidance, not my controller.
EVERYONE is allowed to use my stud dogs, (assuming the bitches are healthy), even if I don’t like you. Your price is just higher.
EVERYONE is allowed to purchase a show puppy to add to their program or to start a program.
IF I TRUST YOU TO SELL YOU ONE, THEN I DONT NEED TO CONTROL YOU.
I don’t want ANY puppies back, I don’t want litters back, i don’t want you to wait 5 years to get started. You start the day you purchase that puppy.
My job is to preserve the breed, my job is to better the breed.
You aren’t doing that if you are controlling your new ambitious breeding families. You aren’t doing that if you won’t allow another program a way to expanded by adding one of your puppies.
The idea here is multiple minds are greater then one!
When i sell a intact show puppy, outright, my hopes are maybe they will find a dog or do a breeding I wouldn’t have thought of and it may produce greatness I can then breed to in the future or add back in my program one day.
With that being said,
I’m sure you’re wondering why I shared these particular photos of dogs?
They are dogs I no longer own, however, I bred them. They were purchased as additions to other programs. I have no co ownership, I have no litters back, I have ZERO control.
I want to see these dogs and new owners achieve great things and flourish.
They don’t need me to do that for them.
These dogs are owned by New breeders, Veteran Breeders, breeders looking for a new addition, and many other reasons inbetween.
Something I want to make loud and clear:
I make no decisions for them. Ever.
IF I want to breed a bitch/dog my way, I keep it.
IF I want to show a puppy my way, I KEEP IT.
IF I want to do anything with a show quality animal my way, I keep it. Me, myself and I.
If the dogs we keep work well with our family we keep them forever, if they grow to need more then my home can give them I place them.
On TWO occasions I have “co owned ” bitches I wanted to breed/show etc. One went well, one went horribly. So I no longer do it, ever.
Put your egos aside, and give someone the opportunity to grow or start.
Stop controlling people and using them.
If a successful breeder hadn’t taken a chance on me at 15, let me do things MY WAY, with a pick of the litter bitch, no big crazy contract requiring whole litters or 73 puppies back, etc etc I would not be where I am today.
Every so often, you hear people ask why some insist on calling Staffordshire Bull Terriers “Staffords,” avoiding the use of those other alternative short names for the breed. Most of the time you never get a serious answer, other than personal opinion: “That’s just the way it has always been!” And then it turns into an argument of semantics. However, there are actually a variety of reasons why “Stafford” was, and continues to be, the diehard go-to name for so many serious enthusiasts of the breed.
The oldest and simplest line of reasoning actually predates the dogs by about 500 years: Early people of Staffordshire, England carried the family name “Stafford.” Was the land named after them or were they named after the land? Who knows, but in the very early days (15th century), if you were a “Stafford” by name you were from, or of, the County of Staffordshire. The County Town (county seat) of Staffordshire is Stafford, and sometimes the entire county of Staffordshire is just referred to as “Stafford.” Items from the County of Staffordshire, like the region’s famous pottery, are often referred to by shortened common names, such as “Stafford pottery,” as opposed to the full “Staffordshire pottery,” which is what you will find printed on each piece. The Staffordshire Knot which appears on everything from the county seal to pub signs, family crests to hat pins, is commonly called the Stafford Knot. Some say the knot is named after Lady Joan de Stafford (“of Stafford” – Staffordshire) who used it in her family seal. There is at least a 600-year history of the term “Stafford” being the simple, abbreviated term for anything from or of Staffordshire County. This is one of the deep-rooted reasons some people still insist that the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is the “Stafford” and not the “Staffy” nor the “Staffy Bull.” Had it been “Lady Joan de Staffy” who brought her family crest to the land in the 15th century, perhaps history might direct the use of alternative nomenclature today.
There’s another reason that many people in the breed prefer the term Stafford. In the United States the most popular breed the “pit bull.” Wait a minute — no it isn’t. Not by any registry kept on this planet, at least. However, any mix of dog with a slightly blocky head, short coat and muscles that ends up in a shelter is called a “pit bull” in this country. Most of them have American Pit Bull Terrier in them somewhere, but the most commonly seen dog has become more of a style of cur dog, as my granddad who raised American Pit Bull Terriers would say, than a breed. No matter what they have been mixed with over the years, though, it’s always the pit bull part that becomes their identity. The shelters are full of them. The classifieds are full of them, and the internet is full of them, particularly when they bite something or someone. Now, let’s jump the pond.
In 1991 Britain’s Dangerous Dog Act banned pit bulls and effectively eliminated them from that country. The Staffordshire Bull Terrier, of course, was not a part of the ban. Still, the breed ended up facing a similar issue in Great Britain that we have with the American Pit Bull Terrier here. Take six to 10 generations of mostly Stafford, mixed with the occasional neighbor’s Jack Russell, throw in a small Lab-mix here or there, and what happens when they end up on the street, in the shelter, or on the news for biting someone? It’s one of those blocky-headed, short-haired muscly dogs you see everywhere – it’s a “Staffy.” The term has become a catch-all for any backyard dog that looks mostly like a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, or a mix thereof, just like “pit bull” is used in the United States.
This is particularly true amongst those who have experience working with shelters and rescues. The term has even caught on in the United States. I was watching one of those dog rehab shows on TV the other day. It was supposed to feature a Staffordshire Bull Terrier on the episode, but when I tuned in, it ended up being a small pit bull that they kept calling a “Staffy.” Because of the generalizations and how loosely the term “Staffy” is thrown about, you will often find conformation breeders in the UK have a preference for the more traditional term “Stafford,” which tends to remove their dogs from the image that comes to mind of the typical backyard or shelter dog. Whether or not a person thinks it’s pretentious to distance themselves from the common vision of a backyard pet or shelter dog by using the term traditionally passed down in conformation circles for fancy purebred Staffordshire Bull Terriers, well, that’s up to the individual.
The third reason I want to share for why the term Stafford is preferable is perhaps the least enthralling, but it’s the most important one to some people, for reasons that can’t be explained through history or sociolinguistics. At its core, it’s rather simple: Their mentor told them the breed is to be called “Stafford.” Out of respect for their mentors, and for that reason alone, they carry the name Stafford with honor.
Recently I have been hearing about some Stafford enthusiasts who are more concerned with making sure their egos are fed and their opinions are heard than they are about preserving, protecting and promoting this breed in unison with others. I am not on FB so thankfully I get to skip a lot of the drama there. FB is just an information gathering tool and a distraction therefore I have no need for that in my life – but people do from time to time send me screenshots. There are two long time Stafford breeders who often enjoy disparaging others for their own satisfaction. One has openly described other peoples dogs as “skinny black rats” and the other person referred to them as “crawling black spiders”.
What purpose does this serve the breed? How does this bring us together as a strong Stafford community? It does not. In fact, it only serves to make these people look foolish and immature. You do not have to like what I like but there is never a need to publicly criticize and belittle based upon your own opinion. To both of these Stafford folks – when or if I want to hear your opinion of my dogs I will pay an entry fee. Until then as long as you keep opening your mouth, more of the world will learn who you truly are. Carry on.
When I, along with other breeder judges, were asked to briefly speak on The State of the Stafford for an upcoming Zoom meeting. I originally wanted to discuss what has changed visually, structurally, temperamentally and health-wise. After some thought I figured others would be addressing their thoughts on this topic in that manner so I began to think more about the state of the Stafford community instead.
Many years ago when I first became a part of the Stafford world I was excited to join a community of like minded individuals. As many new people to the breed will do, I wanted to learn as much as possible and I put in the time and work to do just that. I became quickly immersed in SBTCA and I joined committees, I started a company dedicated to the breed, I volunteered for MTB booths, RDO days – I built websites, published a magazine, edited books and I wrote articles, designed graphics and sold merchandise to help rescue. I am not alone in my efforts. There are others doing what I was doing across the world, but it felt as though I was alone. There just did not exist a lot of organization.
It is naive to think that any group of individuals will agree on everything, but it’s mature to hope that they could work together despite having differing opinions and interpretations of the Standard. We do not have to live with, breed or even judge the same way to still be a strong supportive community to help grow the breed in positive directions. If we learn to control our ‘terrier tenacity’ we are far more likely to be successful. The saying “United we stand, divided we fall” comes to mind in this case. We need to support one another, create a community and work together. And this goes for support in mentoring new people, support in physically helping other Stafford owners and breeders, support financially for rescue or show fundraising when possible or even in emergency situations. Offering a little bit of your time to help is far more important than simply serving on a committee or making champions.
There are many many Stafford people doing exactly what I was doing but we were not united or organized yet. For a few years it seemed there was a group of enthusiasts working together to help unite the breed, promote the breed and preserve the breed. We had some good ideas and lofty goals to bring the Stafford community together and to improve the dogs in this country. It was not only about winning shows and selling puppies (all nice things) – but it was also a united push to get updated information out to the public, to judges, to breed enthusiasts, to improve health decisions, to help each other evaluate litters, to get more owners to join the club, etc.
It does not matter at all how many years you have owned, shown or bred Staffords. It does not matter how long you have been a judge, how many champions you have produced (or bought) but what matters is how you can do something positive for the Stafford community to actually – preserve, promote, protect the breed. We are all busy and we all have other important events happening in our lives, but when we decided to join the Stafford community I feel we should devote a little of our time to helping the breed together.
We all share the same passion. There is no ‘conflict of interest’ when people of all opinions share this passion and work together instead of beating each other down. It is the same interest – The preservation of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. Instead of dividing we must come together as community members. We must partially remove ourselves from individualism and place that emotional energy squarely on promoting this breed together. You do not have to like everything about the dogs I live with and you do not have to like everything about my judging or breeding decisions. I don’t have to like yours either – but we DO have to be supportive of the commonality, of the community, of the breed. We need to respect our differences and our sameness alike. We need to be kind and respectful to one another for the future of this breed. We need to set an example for people coming into the breed, for people in other breeds and for the general public.
The State of the Stafford should include the State of the Stafford Enthusiasts. Take advantage of every bit of information you can find. Listen to, ask questions of and talk with Stafford owners and breeders of all types. Everyone has something to offer. Everyone!
Every book, magazine, piece of artwork, and kennel has something valuable but we must be willing to drop our egos and look for and accept all of this as a collection of like minded groups of people with passion for the breed. I am not being naive in saying this as I am well aware of parts of the Stafford world which on the surface appears not to have anything but destruction to offer. We all know at least someone in Staffords who has been a constant thorn, troublemaker, disingenuous person – BUT there is value in there someplace. In saying that, there does also exist ‘negative value’ – thats still value. Negative value offers us the opportunity of learning from the decisions and mistakes of others (and our own mistakes as well). Be willing to recognize negative value and be a reason to choose positive value. Look for virtues. You can influence others in this way. I know because I have seen this firsthand! Your positive hard work and dedication can and will influence others. Not all, but some. Some are lost for sure, but the future of this wonderful addictive breed needs all of us to do our best to set aside a few minutes a week to support the breed and its enthusiasts.
I have finally learned that it is far more important to find value rather than simply judge and dismiss. So in closing my take on The State of the Stafford is – we MUST join as a community if we are to move forward as a breed. It’s not just the car, it’s the driver! It works best if we work together – which in my opinion also means working with other bull breeds.
Temperament: From the past history of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, the modern dog draws 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, makes it
a foremost all-purpose dog.
Nothing in this written breed standard states that a Stafford should get along with other animals. Yet, lately people request one who will get along with other dogs. That first sentence even begins with ‘from the past history’ which describes a time of blood sport. At no time in the history of this breed were they a pack dog. The ‘trustworthy stability’ is meant as totally reliable with people, not other animals. Where is the confusion? It is up to us, as breed preservationists, to educate people on the expected temperament. A Stafford should be reliable also in the sense that they shouldn’t start a fight, but when properly or directly challenged, or when play is escalated, a fight may occur. This should be the expected norm.
Owners should be aware, observant and prepared. Never put your Stafford in a position where they may need to resort to that behavior. This means, no off lead places where you do not know for a fact all other off lead animals involved are neutral and have known calming temperaments and owners using a watchful, responsible eye. This also means, in crowded places especially, no flexible leashes. Use a strong buckle collar and a 6′ lead so that you have control of your own dog. Be on the lookout for unexpected challenges you may encounter. Teach your Stafford to ignore other dogs and know a ‘leave it’ command. Be aware if your Stafford IS playing with other animals to watch for play escalation or over excitement. Stop it when you see it and remove your Stafford from the environment.
Play may get loud, and this is fine, just watch and understand body language so things do not get out of control. Loud wild play is normal. Should a situation get out of control do NOT put your hands in between to try to stop a fight. There are plenty of other internet sources you can learn how to break up dogs fights so I wont go there – just be aware that a Stafford should not be expected to get along with all other animals, just as you may not like all other humans.
If you breed, rescue or otherwise sell or place Staffords into homes you must educate new owners about this part of a Stafford temperament and know its acceptable, correct and expected.
The first thing a Stafford judge should do upon entering the ring is to have a quick overall look at the dogs in their ring. On first observation, which ones exhibit breed type – ie look like a Stafford, have the classic balanced athletic Stafford outline. Which ones have the Stafford temperament, ie bold and fearless, exuberant and not fearful. Which ones have the structural nuances our Standard calls for, ie in proportion the length of back shows equal distance from withers to tailset and withers to ground (not forechest to sacrum), shows great strength for its size and, although muscular, active and agile and not bunchy or heavy. Which are clean in outline, ie lacking wrinkle or fleshiness. Which are light in the loin, ie not thick and cloddy. Which have enough bone and substance, ie not racy or overdone. Balance is what you are seeking on first glance. Remember in all of the descriptions in our Standard to keep moderation and balance in mind. No extremes, no exaggerations. At all.
Now, within those entries which also offer correct basic canine structure outside of what the Standard calls for. You have already decided which follow the Standard structurally, now go back to your training and see which also have flowing parts without exaggeration. You want to see no looseness at shoulder or elbow, no roached backlines, no sloping croups, you want to see tight feet, no weakness at pastern and those front feet should turn out slightly and not toe in. You do not want to see cathedral or chippendale fronts. You do not want to see straight rears, or over angled rears nor slipping hocks. You do not want any exaggeration.
Now let’s look at movement. Remembering the blend which made up this original bull and Terrier you want to see no wasted energy on the move. Free, powerful and agile with economy of effort. You are looking for parallel movement coming and going. This means in either direction you should not see the other set of legs, it does not mean at a faster gait the legs cannot converge but this should be equal and kept at a minimum. The Stafford is not shown running, but at the gait which the exhibit moves freely with ease. Look for that perceptible drive when the dog moves away from you. Rear drive strongly propelling the dog forward with ease is what discernible drive means. You want to see the pads on those rear feet as the Stafford moves away from you. You want that front footfall to land below the nose when possible. As well, the withers shouldn’t dip below the backline on the move, nor should it show any wrinkle behind them. There is no rolling, choppiness or flip flopping at all. The blend was a bulldog resembling more of an athletic American Bulldog type, not a rolling cloddy British Bulldog. The Terrier resembled the Manchester therefore keeping the athleticism, enthusiasm and alertness.
Now you can begin to look at the details. Begin with the head, as in the old point system this was given 25 of the possible 100 points available and end with the tail which only was assigned 5 points. The head should have distinct cheek bumps, strong underjaw, tight lips, open nostrils, small thin tightly folded ears (or half prick, not 3/4), medium dark round eyes set looking forward, not almond or light (red or brindle dogs may have a lighter brown eye color but dark is preferred and never should eyes be yellow, gray or blue). The muzzle depth should be approximately one half the total head depth. (measure from underjaw/neck to occiput/topskull). The muzzle should be slightly blunt and square rather than an elongated point. The topskull is not to be exaggerated in height. The stop, while called for distinct, is meant to distinguish it from other Terriers such as the Fox or Bull Terriers, not a 90º angle and is in proportion to the head planes which should be approximately parallel to the muzzle plane. Remember, the stop is not the eye socket – you must get your thumb on it to feel the angle. Do not rely on visually looking at profile.
Keep in mind the health and original function of the Stafford also means the muzzle length should remain at approximately 1/3 the length of the skull length. No less, but can be slightly more. Listen for loud breathing, gasping if you see a Stafford with a very short muzzle or wrinkles. This could indicate breathing issues which we do not want to perpetuate in the breed (see post on BOAS from 31 Dec 2022). The Stafford is an athletic dog who should have no breathing issues in a show ring. Panting of course is normal, especially at outdoor shows or in humidity but never gasping, thick curled tongue or wheezing. As well, keep in mind in its original function, some Staffords may be overly excited in the ring showing some spiciness and challenge tails. This is totally normal as it would be in most Terrier rings but should never show any aggression towards people. Other dogs, possibly but kept in check, mostly quiet, alert and controllable. .
Examining the bite of the Stafford asks for a scissor bite in which the outer side of the lower incisors touches the inner side of the upper incisors. Only badly undershot or overshot bite is a serious fault. Simply part the lips to inspect. Look for large teeth and canines which do not press into the gums or the roof of the mouth. Look for dark pigment on the gums. The lips should be tight and clean.
The Stafford is not stuffy but rather clean, well muscled and hard to the touch but not a heavyweight. More of a middleweight. Strong for its size but not exaggerated. Do not forget, this is not a Bulldog nor is it a Whippet. The name explains the breed.
The rest of the Standard is very clear and probably most judges will understand it. The points made here are more nuances which those of us who have a passion for and who have studied the breed may find of importance and therefore may need further explanation. As well, upon observation, the points made in this article seem to be getting overlooked in the conformation ring and are of great importance. If you are seeking mentorship in this breed there are numerous resources available. The Stafford Knot website offers an illustrated Breed Standard as does the parent club, SBTCA. There are club approved mentors who would be happy to further explain some of the points made here or answer any questions.
Thankfully, we are mostly an owner or breeder handled breed and we are very down to earth and approachable. The owner handled Stafford seems to be changing rapidly for some reason, where more professional handlers have the breed which is unnecessary as the Stafford is very easily trained and is a wash-n-go breed requiring little grooming. People do sometimes hire handlers for different reasons, but this should remain a blue collar working mans breed as it was originally. The Stafford shouldn’t require a handler in order to be recognized in the conformation ring if it is correct. Come find a breeder or owner at a show, visit a Specialty show or send an email if you have any questions.
Brachycephalic airway syndrome (BAS), also sometimes referred to as Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (or BOAS) refers to a group of primary and secondary abnormalities (Table 1) that result in upper airway obstruction. Primary abnormalities cause an increase in negative pressure within the upper airways that can eventually lead to secondary abnormalities. We absolutely do NOT want the Staffordshire Bull Terrier to continue down the path of the BAS affected breeds such as French Bulldog or Pug. We are NOT a brachycephalic breed and we don’t wish to be in that category for many reasons. Aside from stenotic nares, BAS can also include Elongated Soft Palate, Everted Laryngeal Saccules, Hypoplastic Trachea and Everted Palatine Tonsils.
Any tissue that obstructs the airway lumen is a source of resistance. According to the laws of physics, resistance in a single tube is inversely related to the radius raised to the fourth power. For example, if an airway is 50% obstructed, it is 16× harder to breathe, and if the diameter of any component of the upper respiratory tract is increased by 50%, resistance encountered on inspiration is decreased 16×.
Typical clinical signs of BAS are listed in Table 2; dogs with these signs benefit from early surgical correction of existing primary abnormalities before secondary changes occur. For example, in puppies with stenotic nares it is recommended to perform rhinoplasty at 3 to 4 months of age, and at the same time perform a preliminary evaluation of the soft palate. Addressing these primary abnormalities at an early age may help avoid progression to secondary changes such as everted laryngeal saccules or laryngeal collapse. There are veterinarians across the country specializing in correcting these abnormalities.
It is possible to have your Stafford scoped so that you are aware of any BAS related issue which could be present. If you plan to breed your Stafford, I would highly recommend doing this anyway. You cannot see all issues visually and for reproductive responsibilities, this should be conducted. I had my stud dog scoped by an experience veterinarian. Not because he has stenotic or pinched nares but because he is very active in a hot, humid environment and I needed to know he was not going to have breathing issues while working out. I also feel that to be a responsible breeder, including stud owner, this was the prudent thing to have done, along with all other health testing available to us. He has zero issues by the way, but personally I would like to see his nares more wide open and a bit more leather on his nose. It would be quite helpful if these scopes could be given an OFA certificate/number so it can be posted and made available in the OFA Database, but you can make note of this in the SBT Pedigree Database. You can also include this information in any stud or sales agreement.
If you look at the profile of a Staffords muzzle and nose you will see slight differences in the shape and positioning of the nose leather itself in affected and not affected animals. Usually, not always, a Stafford with wide open nares will have a more rounded and forward sitting profile to the nose leather. A Stafford whose nares are pinched almost seem to be missing a little bit of nose leather at the upper tip from profile, therefore the profile appears ever so slightly edged back, flatter as if it’s missing tissue. Looking from the front its very easy to spot varying degrees of stenotic nares as they appear pinched. Staffords with elongated soft palate can be heard struggling to breathe, even in indoor cooler conditions. I have heard judges comment on how adorable that Stafford smile is when the dog in question is simply struggling to breathe. The smile they are so well known for shouldn’t be coupled with raspy breathing noises. That ‘cute’ snore you love could be a sign of this issue.
As mentioned above, there does exist corrective surgery for BAS and while certainly beneficial to the dogs health, is against AKC show policies and any dog known to have undergone any type of corrective surgery is to be banished from entering any conformation events. That being said, it is commonly performed despite being against AKC policy. Sometimes it is visible and can be detected, other times not so much. As a breed, Staffords worldwide are considered to be ‘at risk’ for this condition and awareness is just starting to spread. We, as preservationist breeders need to be more aware of this and possibly not breed from those affected if possible – or – look for a mating partner with wide open nostrils and a family history of same.
At any rate, more caution should be taken when exercising, especially on humid days. Keeping the affected Stafford in fit condition, not overweight (important regardless of nares status), and building up exercise tolerances are recommended. Keep plenty of cool water, cold coat, spray bottles and fans handy on those hotter days. Do not allow the dog to overheat and keeping them nice and trim should help. We see this in every shape, color and sized Stafford.
Since we know several different corrective surgeries are being performed, as a judge one would need to be able to show proof of an obviously corrected entry to excuse a dog from your ring. In other words, it’s simply not done. The only way you could prove this change has been made is if you judged the dog prior to, and post surgical procedure. Even then, you would need visual indisputable proof. The rules of no altering are in place of course for the health benefits of future generations hoping to discourage breeding of such affected animals. Say for instance, a dog is being campaigned and makes his way to be one of the top dogs in a breed. It is seen by many breeders who could be attracted, take notice and use this dog at stud therefore possibly passing down this deformity which affects the health of future generations. See photo below to visualize stenotic nares. Additionally, if the only examples being shown have stenotic nares and this is all judges and observers see, it quickly becomes the norm.
The corrective surgeries available for this condition are explained below:
In typical brachycephalic dog breeds, the veterinarian removes a wedge from the lateral aspect of the alar fold with a #11 surgical blade. This approach differs from other techniques, which remove a wedge of rostral alar cartilage, leaving only a small amount of tissue rostrally on the nares. By performing the lateral wedge, more of the rostral alar fold is spared, allowing a larger, deeper incision and easier suturing.
When performing laser ablation, the medioventral aspect of the dorsolateral nasal cartilage is removed . Set the laser at 4 to 5 watts (W) on the continuous cutting setting for best results. Angle the laser in a medial to lateral direction, which keeps the laser from affecting tissue outside the nostril, preventing visible depigmentation.
Corrective surgeries are still performed on show dogs despite the rules against this. Its quite common actually. Once you see it, its difficult to miss. Look at nares and study the shapes of the openings. Listen to the dogs breathing. If considering using this stud, ask to see relatives and progeny.
As with most policies, they are in place to give the appearance AKC cares about the health of each breed. And they do, but despite these policies, people correct bites, tails, ears, nares etc anyway. So start paying attention. You might be surprised.
References Aron DN, Crowe DT. – Upper airway obstruction: General principles and selected conditions in the dog and cat. Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract 1985; 15(5):891-916. Wykes PM. – Brachycephalic airway obstructive syndrome. Probl Vet Med 1991; 3(2):188-197. Koch DA, Arnold S, Hubler M, Montavon PM. – Brachycephalic syndrome in dogs. Compend Contin Educ Pract Vet 2003; 25(1):48-55. Evans HE, de Lahunta A. – Miller’s Guide to the Dissection of the Dog. Philadelphia: WB Sanders, 1996. Pink JJ, Doyle RS, Hughes JM, et al. – Laryngeal collapse in seven brachycephalic puppies. J Small Anim Pract 2006; 47(3):131-135. Seim HB. – Brachycephalic syndrome. Proc Atlantic Coast Vet Conf, 2001. Brdecka D, Rawlings C, Howerth E, et al. – A histopathological comparison of two techniques for soft palate resection in normal dogs. JAAHA 2007; 43:39-44. Hobson HP. – Brachycephalic syndrome. Semin Vet Med Surg Small Anim 1995; 10(2):109-114.
Recently I was ring stewarding for a provisional judge in Staffords who proceeded to excitedly tell me she was mentored at a Specialty show by a well known UK judge. I know. I was there. It was my own bitch who was used as the hands on for her mentorship. My bitch titled that day.
HOWEVER this judge completely didnt hear what was being told to her and she misunderstood what she absorbed and now repeats that incorrect information proudly. Watching her judge recently I can see how she is now applying what she thought she heard instead of the correct information DESPITE myself and others correcting her.
Now I know that some breeders and even some breeder judges with decades of experience STILL have no clue what they are doing yet they hold steadily to their opinions. I calmly presented facts to show her where she was wrong in her misunderstanding. I even showed her what that judge was trying to teach her using a Stafford who was ringside.
If you choose to accept assignments to judge Staffords PLEASE learn how to interpret our breed standard! We provide so much material and information that there is no excuse not to learn more. There are many SBTCA approved mentors who are willing to help you. We have books and materials for this purpose and we offer seminars. If you need to brush up – we encourage this! Please do not stop listening and learning once you get AKC approval. Its no wonder so many of us simply dont enter under all rounders. Whats the point?
If you are like this judge and act as if you know more than I know and you STILL get it wrong, then you will find yourself with a mostly empty ring come time to judge Staffords. Actually, no. I take that back. You will find yourself with a ring filled with pets and handlers. Maybe thats what you want – to be a judge of the mediocre. A judge of the average. A judge of the generic. I think the generic dogs do more winning because its easier to award a generic showdog than to learn the specifics of a breed.
Look, I will say what others are thinking – Usually pro handlers show mediocre generic well trained dogs. In this breed, a wash-and-show breed, the pro almost never has the better dog but it usually does show more generically and it is usually very well trained. We are not judging statues!
This last year there were more owners and breeders showing their own Staffords who reached the top 20. In my opinion this is a fantastic move forward for the breed. I would love to see all Staffords shown by their owners and breeders. There are very few reasons not to. We dont require hours of grooming and the breed is so easy to train. I know many peoples jobs do not allow them to travel enough to campaign dogs and this is likely the best reason to hire a handler to help you – but when you are able to take time off from your work show your own dog. The pleasure you will receive from a placement will be immensely more gratifying than getting a text Sunday night with a rundown on your placements on that circuit and a hefty invoice to pay as well.
All breed judges please LISTEN to us, the passionate breeders who show our own dogs and who also became Stafford judges! Many of us know a lot and want to share our passion with you! We want to see good examples in your group rings. We want the nice Staffords to get the recognition they deserve. We want the respect of the dog show community by earning it – showing great Staffords who exemplify the standard.