The Tudor rose is, of course, the most poignant symbol, and graphic propaganda as well, of the Tudor dynasty and what it stood for. The visuals are very well-known – the red rose and the white rose together. But what does it actually stand for and what is the significance of it?
A rose with red and white petals is the Tudor dynasty’s heraldic emblem (1485-1603). In the XV-XVI centuries symbols and emblems were very popular. Every English nobleman used one or few images as some kind of identification mark. Heraldic emblems used to adorn almost everything, ranging from nobleman’s personal banner to his housewares. Every wedded pair had his personal sign combining marrieds’ symbols. That’s exactly the way the Tudor rose appeared. In 1486 the founder of the House of Tudor, Henry VII, married king Eduard IV’s daughter (1461-1470; 1471-1483). Tudors traced their genealogy to the House of Lancaster. The latter had a red rose as his symbol. Eduard IV’s favorite emblem was also a rose, but a white one. Red-and-white rose signified a union between Henry VII and Elisabeth of York.
It has been suggested that the red rose “probably owes its popular usage to Henry VII quickly responding to the pre-existing Yorkist white rose in an age when signs and symbols could speak louder than words”. What this means is that it was believed the red rose was never really the symbol of the Lancastrian cause, but that Henry VII made it so because he wanted a symbol that represented the union of the houses. Personally, I do not believe this. I think that the red rose was the defining symbol of the House of Lancaster in order to contrast with the white rose of York. The red rose is now the symbol of Lancashire as a whole. The colour red implies danger, blood and battle. There certainly were battles, as Henry V won at Agincourt, and Henry VI lost his throne at the Battle of Towton.
The white rose is a different story. It was used to contrast with the red rose of the House of Lancaster in order to clearly define the two sides. It was definitely in use during the fifteenth century, even if the red rose was not. The white rose has since been adopted as the symbol for the whole of Yorkshire.
When Richard III was killed at the Battle of Bosworth Field, Henry Tudor took the throne as Henry VII. He was the Lancastrian heir at the time, and he married Elizabeth of York, daughter of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville. This ended the Wars of the Roses by uniting the two houses, and the two symbols were merged to create the iconic emblem of the House of Tudor.
The Red Rose of Lancaster and the White Rose of York, are combined to create the iconic Tudor Rose.
The combination of the red and white represents unity and mutual regard. It was supposed to demonstrate that England was united and that civil war was over. The Tudor rose was carved onto buildings and liveries in order to demonstrate their loyalty to the crown.
It is worth studying the history of the Tudor rose at least to understand that there are so much politics and so surprisingly little truth about it. Firstly, the White and the Red Roses were not the common symbols of the House of Yorks and the House of Lancaster, they were used just from time to time along with the others. Secondly, the idea underlying the Wars of the Roses is very far from being true. At that time people were not thinking about the period from 1450 to 1480th as of the confrontation between two Roses. Probably they did not even know that they were living during the period of a civil war. Plenty of frightening details were just invented by the court propagandists in order to support the reputation of the new dynasty. In the course of time, the legend of the War of the Roses has accumulated more and more details. Shakespeare has created the scene in which the House of Yorks has chosen the White rose as their symbol, while the Red was chosen by the House of Lancaster and both have sworn to hold these flowers ’till the death. The expression “War of the Roses” has appeared much later – in the 19th century. And it’s interesting to know that it has been spread not by a historian but by a writer – famous Walter Schott.
I am designing, with another artist, the graphics package for the SBTCA 50th Anniversary Jubilee Weekend celebration – We have chosen this iconic symbol to represent the much needed ‘coming together’ required in order to make possible what a clubs purpose is: “To Promote, Preserve, Protect” the Staffordshire Bull terrier in unison, as a strong group of enthusiasts who must work together to achieve this goal and to respect our history and traditions of the Stafford.
In the country of origin, UK, at the end of the written Breed Standard for the Staffordshire Bull Terrier it is stated:
“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 and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and on the dog’s ability to perform its traditional work.”
This is a good reminder to not only look for the balanced Stafford, remember its origin, but also to balance your judging when in the ring with the breed. The AKC Breed Standard for the Stafford lists only three ‘faults’ and only three ‘serious faults’. Fault judging is to be avoided but these six points should be kept in mind when you find yourself faced with similar virtuous examples in your ring from which to select from. The standard was written as a way to describe this particular breed as a blueprint to follow to differentiate the Stafford from other terriers.
“Non-conformity with heights to weights limits” – Our Standard calls for dogs 28-38lbs, bitches 24-34lbs with both dogs and bitches being 14” – 16” at withers. They should be balanced height to weight. BALANCE is the key word here. Get familiar with what 34lb bitches and 38lb dogs look and feel like. And remember a 14” dog is in Standard and is balanced at 28lbs just as a 16” bitch is in Standard and balanced at 34lbs.
“Dark eye preferred but may bear some relation to coat color. Light eyes or pink eye rims to be considered a fault, except that where the coat surrounding the eye is white the eye rim may be pink.” This means we prefer a dark eye but in a red or brindle dog, for example, there can be some consideration for a lighter brown eye. We do not want to see yellow, gray or blue eyes at all no matter what coat color.
“A tail that is too long or badly curled is a fault.” This is self explanatory but to be taken into consideration as to the above paragraph regarding degree and affect upon health. Also, in the original point system the tail was valued at only 5 points. I’ve heard it said that if the Stafford has one thats half the points right there.
“Pink (Dudley) nose to be considered a serious fault.” The Stafford nose needs to be black. Some argument of consideration could be made for the blue Stafford but even then we want the darkest possible pigmentation so that the nose appears black.
“Full drop or full prick to be considered a serious fault.” A small, thin leathered tight ear held back close to the head would be preferred and safest in its original function, however there is consideration for a half prick ear. This means half, not 3/4 and never full drop or full prick. Either of those not only would affect hazzard in its original fuunction, but also gives a foreign expression. As well this differentiates the breed from other terriers.
“The badly undershot or overshot bite is a serious fault.” The scissor bite is called for, and we want large well placed canines but as we also strive for a strong muzzle and underjaw, a slight under/over may not affect the original function – however – converging canines would affect the health and comfort of the Stafford.
Again, it is worth repeating – please keep in mind the exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and on the dog’s ability to perform its traditional work when judging this breed. With only these few faults mentioned they should be easy to keep in mind.
The phrase "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery" originated from Oscar Wilde's famous quote, "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness." The phrase has been used by many authors as early as the 18th century, but Colton's variation is the one English speakers still use today.
While flattery can influence a person's opinion, it is not always flattering.
In the world of commerce and intellectual property, such "flattery" can get you in serious trouble.
Oftentimes when a sincere person has the time and energy to put forth creative efforts, over time others may imitate those efforts. For over twenty years I have devoted my time, creativity and energy into all sorts of promotion and support for the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. If you are familiar with this blog, then you also have read this website and you know all the projects I have involved myself with for this breed. Let me highlight just a tiny percentage of what I have accomplished for this wonderful breed below.
From my earliest days I did not wait for others but instead I created ways to raise awareness for Breed Specific Legislation, raised money selling anti-BSL bracelets and fought to change laws, attended hearings, written letters, made calls and helped those caught in the middle of such bad legislation.
I created forums and websites with educational material about Staffords.
I promoted health testing in the breed, including being involved with SBTCA getting blood draws needed to locate markers for L2-HGA and HC and shipped to UK.
I published books and magazines about the breed.
I ran Responsible Dog Ownership events. I taught inner city dog owners how to live in big cities responsibly with their dogs. I taught handling lessons on my property and other locations.
I was immediately involved with Stafford rescue not just raising money but actively pulling from shelters, visiting hoarder situations to pull dogs, fostering and transporting, as well as vetting new homes. Many claim to be ‘involved with rescue’ when they only raise money or talk about it but never get their hands dirty. This is also needed but don’t inflate your involvement while putting down others who get in there and do the hard parts.
I have served on just about every club committee, have created a committee (Sunshine),
I started SBT Mentor. Sadly, after ten years I closed it down due to lack of interest. I was having trouble finding people willing to mentor and new people to this breed didn’t think they needed mentors. Thanks in part to social media, they knew it all already.
I have helped rewrite our COE and By-Laws to clarify them and I served on the BOD.
I helped create and edit an Illustrated Breed Standard and a Seminar and donated all the proceeds to rescue. My work is the base for the parent clubs book and seminar. I created The Stafford Knot, Inc 501(c)(3) and I run 3 online stores all with Stafford gear with proceeds donated to rescue I have imitators who mimic my work and put the money in their own pockets who could help by making small donations but instead put our work down in order to promote their own. My designs have been stolen and used worldwide!
I did all of the graphics, marketing, design, social media advertising, fund raising, trophy making (actually physically making them), did promotions, got sponsors, and I did much of the organization for one of the breeds largest National Specialties. You may not be aware that was me since another person takes credit for my hard work when at the time they were grateful and even said – “You could have done this show without me, but I could never have done it without you..”
I have traveled to get my hands on as many Staffords as possible while learning and studying because you never can learn too much about a breed. I photographed, listened, watched and learned from those with many more years experience than myself. Without them I would be lost because today people are not as open and willing to share knowledge. (That is one reason for this website and The Stafford Knot website).
All of this and then some just because I value, appreciate and honor this breed and its traditions and history. I didn’t do any of this for myself or to get a pat on the back. IDGAF whether or not you approve of what I have done and I certainly don’t need your approval to continue. So many others are desperate for that approval and praise. I did, and continue to do all of this for the breed.
I do not brag about my accomplishments or efforts, except perhaps in this blog. Not that it’s shameful to let others know what you do . . . if you are actually putting in the work. This, by the way, also includes talking about your failures and shortcomings and how you learn lessons with grace and dignity. It also includes being open to being wrong and listening to those who are also learning and doing. You don’t, however, get to opening publicly disparage others.
Peoples actions really do speak louder than their words. Actions, especially patterns of actions, show intent. A persons intent says everything. If you pay close attention you begin to stop listening to words and begin to find imitators actions amusing. If a persons intent is not pure, then they will fail at their actions. No matter what their words say, their intent will show through – if you are looking. Most people are not looking, only listening. If you truly are a legend, you don’t need to tell people you are a legend. And I am certainly NOT saying I am – but others who loudly boastfully claim to be just might not be if you watch them and stop listening to them. If they are either disparaging others, copying others or taking credit for others work then perhaps you may begin to wonder what the truth really is.
Is it flattery? I don’t feel that it is. I feel they may see others succeed and be well respected so they mimic in hopes to gain the same for themselves. But since it is not sincere then it fails. Start paying attention. Oscar Wilde was correct.
When going to select your Staffordshire Bull Terrier puppy, there are several very important questions to ask the breeder. These will help you determine if you have found a good and reputable person whom you are comfortable with. After discussing the following points with the seller, ask yourself, “Is this the right breeder for me?”
Regarding the Puppy’s Background:
Specifically, what health testing has been done on the parents and what are the results? (health testing should include Hips (either OFA or PennHip), OFA Elbows, OFA Patellas, OFA Thyroid, CERF, OFA Cardiac), DNA L2-HGA, DNA Hereditary Cataracts or proof of parents testing clear.
In this puppy’s pedigree, what is the incidence of hip dysplasia, heart defects, elbow/shoulder dysplasia, demodectic mange, thyroid dysfunction, seizures and allergies? (Genetic defects such as heart conditions, and diseases related to immune system dysfunction such as allergies or demodectic mange, are surfacing in alarming numbers. These problems are more evident now that more reputable breeders are openly discussing them and sharing their experiences in the hopes of reducing the occurrence of these defects. Seriously question the breeder about the appearance of any of these issues in the puppy’s ancestry.)
Are there any temperament problems in this puppy’s ancestry?
Have the sire and dam been temperament tested?
Do you offer Health/Temperament guarantees with your puppies?
Can you show me certificates proving that the sire and dam are OFA certified or PennHip evaluated? (this is important because it tells a lot about the dedication of the breeder to eliminate genetic problems in the breed), this info can also be verified for free at www.offa.org.
Will you provide me with the pedigree (at least 3 generations, and should be AKC or KC or reputable registry, not UKC), the puppy’s health record, and instructions on how to care for my new dog?
Regarding the Breeder:
How knowledgeable about Staffordshire Bull Terriers are you, and will you share that knowledge with me? (The breeder should be willing and able to answer most of your questions regarding medical care, feeding, diseases, training, what to expect as the puppy grows up, etc. If you have a question that the breeder cannot answer, he or she should have a network of sources available to get the answer for you.)
Does the breeder have more than one breed of breeding dogs?
Will you make yourself available to answer any concerns I may have at any time during the dog’s entire life?
Will you assist me if I cannot keep the dog? (Even with all the careful screening and education that breeders do, occasionally something happens where a purchaser must give up the dog. In the unlikely event that this should happen to you, the breeder should be willing to help place your dog in a suitable new home.)
What are the most important things you strive for in your breeding program? (this should be something to the effect of making the breed better) How much time do you spend planning litters and rearing the pups?
Do you require a spay/neuter agreement on the puppies you sell? (This is a good requirement and you want the breeder to say “yes” unless you are an experienced breeder and you BOTH agree the Stafford shouldnt be intact) Will you ask me a lot of questions during an “interview” process? (All reputable breeders will have lots and lots of questions to ask you. This helps them determine if you are suited to Staffordshire Bull Terriers in general, and to their line of dogs specifically. They need to be certain that you have what it takes to care for one of their dogs for the next dozen or more years. Don’t be offended by these questions. Be happy that the breeder is doing all that he or she can to find a perfect match between dog and your family.)
Is your breeder experienced?
HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOU ARE DEALING WITH AN EXPERIENCED, KNOWLEDGEABLE, AND REPUTABLE BREEDER? This question can best be answered by considering the conversation that takes place when you meet him or her. A good breeder will want to know things about you, will tell you things about himself, and will tell you things about the dogs in his or her kennel. Here is a guide to help you determine if you are dealing with a good breeder of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. Regarding You, the Breeder Should Ask Questions Such As:
Who are the members of your household? What is your lifestyle?
What kind of home do you live in?
Do you have a fenced in yard?
What do you know about Staffordshire Bull Terrier?
Regarding Him or Herself, the Breeder Should:
Belong to, and be active in the National and Regional Staffordshire Bull Terrier breed clubs.
Show his/her dogs in conformation and/or agility, nosework, dock diving, barn hunt, obedience or other performance sports.
Actively help with rescue and/or public education for the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
Require a spay/neuter contract with each sold puppy unless you are an experienced breeder and you BOTH agree the Stafford is a good specimen for producing.
Offer a contract which guarantees health and freedom from genetic defects. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of owning an Staffordshire Bull Terrie. Discuss general health matters and breed defects found in Staffordshire Bull Terriers. Require you to return the dog if you cannot keep it for some unforeseen reason. Be available to help you at anytime during the dog’s entire life.
Regarding the Dogs in the Breeder’s Kennel, You Should:
Be invited to the breeder’s home to see the dogs if possible or at the very least offer a FaceTime ‘visit’ or meet at a show.
See happy, friendly, outgoing, tail wagging puppies.
Find a clean, safely fenced in, warm, nurturing area for the dogs.
Be referred to previous purchasers to ask them about their satisfaction.
We are still on the road after the 2023 SBTCA National Specialty weekend in OKC but I wanted to make a quick blog post about Felix and his recognitions. I am being told there is some story twisting happening on FB which I am not on. Always a few in every hobby/sport who feel in order to be noticed they must put down others. Its a sad way to live but maybe that works for them.
Felix was the number one Staffordshire Bull Terrier in breed points from January 1, 2023 through May 28, 2023 and then again beginning in July. He also has made the cut and/or been in the ribbons at every Specialty he has been entered in. He was awarded SBTCA Top 20 Stafford and also Peoples Choice winner this year. Felix is our 5th Stafford to be Crufts Qualified and several of ours have qualified multiple times – and Marina showed at Crufts. These are not ‘fake’ or ‘made up’ achievements, nor do these negate the achievements of others. These are simply facts.
We love going to the large shows and seeing the beautiful Staffords from all over this country and those who bring dogs over from other countries. Its usually a welcoming atmosphere even though there is some drama sometimes, usually the drama is caused by the same few people so its easy to spot and avoid. We want nothing to do with that side of showing dogs.
We are thrilled that we were present to see so many wonderful Staffords get recognized this past weekend. Congratulations to Mary and Vivian who now are number one Stafford in breed points. There also were many more who went without awards who were just as deserving. Safe travels home to all and we look forward to seeing you at the next Specialty shows.
Interview with Jim & Lynn Caswell, Breeders of Wavemaker Staffords
Where do we live? How many years in dogs? How many years as breeders?
Living in South Florida makes it a long drive to travel to shows, but we have an RV which does make it a lot easier. I grew up with purebred dogs and, for many early years, my father and step-father were both involved in AKC Conformation and Field events. For about half my adult life I have been involved in Performance and Conformation. I am coming up on twenty years in Staffordshire Bull Terriers and close to 13 years as a breeder of this breed.
What is our kennel name? How many dogs do we currently keep?
Our kennel affix is Wavemaker Staffords. Right now, we are lucky to live with four generations. We have four at home and are looking forward to adding another, possibly next year.
Which breeders have provided the greatest influence on our decision to breed dogs?
I have been influenced most by several UK and Australian breeders who have mentored me over the years. I have also been influenced by longtime breeders in other breeds. We can all learn from one another. I am very lucky to have a widespread support group in Staffords and also in many other breeds.
Can we talk a bit about our foundation dogs? How have they influenced our breeding program?
It was in approximately our eighth year of Stafford ownership when we felt that we knew enough to feel confident to produce a litter. Our foundation bitch has the perfect Staffordshire Bull Terrier temperament. When you read the Standard’s paragraph on temperament, it describes her. This is very important to us.
She also possesses terrific movement, and in her day, a wonderful topline and nearly perfect bite. She turns 14 in September and is still quite active, and she is still in charge in the home. This breed has a long life expectancy (15-17 years), which is one of the reasons we chose to live with Staffords.
What about our facilities? Where are our puppies whelped? How are they raised?
All of our dogs live in our home as pets, and our puppies are whelped and raised in the home as well. We do not breed often, but when we do, we utilize several enrichment protocols and methods of socialization and positive training.
We are so lucky to now have many options to give the puppies the very best start in life that we can offer to them. Usually by Week 10-12, they leave us extremely confident and ready to fit into the lifestyle of their new owners. Each litter is different, and as such, the puppies have differing needs. We are both at home to apply whatever methods of raising them suits each puppy best.
Do we have a “process” for selecting show puppies? At what age do we make our decisions?
We look at puppies to evaluate them at around 8 weeks old, but aside from obvious faults or DQs, we do not know for certain at that age which will be that “show ring rock star.” I mean, we may have an idea from the moment they are born, but that’s hopeful thinking mostly, isn’t it?
We sell them all as pets first on a limited registration and then we may re-evaluate them at around six months to two years. If the owner wishes to show, and we feel the dog is worthy, then we discuss whether to change to a full registration.
We prefer ACTIVE companion homes so that the focus is on quality of life with a well-loved and spoiled pet, and we support and encourage participation in AKC performance events as long as it’s for fun and not the main reason for purchasing one of our dogs. Also, we encourage people to stop looking for a puppy—look for a BREEDER. Make a personal connection with a breeder whom you feel shares your top criteria, and then wait for a puppy from them.
How do we choose the homes for our puppies? Is puppy placement important to us as breeders?
We have an intensive interview process which may begin years before a litter is even planned. Our buyers become family in most cases. We look for owners who are like-minded. We are very transparent on our website about what our protocols are, and those coming to us for puppies are already familiar with them. I believe if you put out there what your goals and wishes are, it clears the air upfront as to what you expect in a new owner. This has worked for us very well in selling puppies and also in placing rescues. Placement is of utmost importance to us.
Can we share our thoughts on how our breed is currently presented in the show ring?
With great pleasure, I can proudly say that Staffordshire Bull Terriers are mostly owner- or breeder-handled. They are a working man’s breed and, as such, we aren’t so fancy. We are just regular people who love our Terriers and traditions, and we have a good respect for the Stafford’s history.
If you come to a Specialty, especially one judged by a breeder-judge, you will be in for a treat. Most of us will use traditional show equipment, and the judges have very breed-specific methods for selecting their favorites on the day. You will see lots of support and hear cheers from the crowd. As a breed, you may see different styles in the ring, but you won’t miss seeing that infectious Stafford smile!
Are there any health-related concerns within our breed? Any special nutritional needs?
You ask about health concerns in the breed. Yes, Staffordshire Bull Terriers should all be DNA tested for L2-HGA (L-2-hydroxyglutaric aciduria), which is a recessively inherited metabolic disorder. The disorder causes high levels of L2HGA which, in turn, result in neuromuscular symptoms such as seizures starting a young age.
Additionally, they should be DNA tested for HC (Hereditary Cataracts). We also test for Hip Dysplasia via PennHip, Cardiac, Patella, PHPV (as puppies prior to leaving us), Elbow Dysplasia (because our club CHIC requires it), and Thyroid and annual eye testing in any breeding dogs. I would also be aware of possible stenotic nares and overlong, soft palates in the breed. As for dentition issues in Staffords, be aware of converging canines being somewhat problematic.
Nutritionally speaking, we feed a complete, balanced, raw diet that is supplemented with macro and micro nutrients, minerals, pro- and prebiotics, and vitamins. Just as we try to avoid non-organic processed foods ourselves, we try to feed our dogs a species-appropriate diet which meets their individual needs as much as possible.
In our opinion, is our breed in good condition overall? Any trends that warrant concern?
It is my opinion that in the last 10-15 years or so, Staffordshire Bull Terriers have improved in condition and are healthier, fitter, and overall, better exemplify breed type. More people seem to be striving to produce fit for function, and taking pride in the history and traditions of this breed. Staffords are showing more balance and less exaggeration than in years past, but we still have a ways to go. Remember, the name explains what the breed should exemplify—Bull AND Terrier.
Is our breed well-suited to be a family dog? Who are the best candidates to own our breed?
Staffordshire Bull Terriers make fantastic family pets for experienced dog owners. They can be boisterous, mischievous, mouthy, and busy, but they do have an “off” switch. Staffords love their people and tend to be like velcro. They are quite strong, so caution must be taken around young children and anyone not prepared to hold their ground when a Stafford comes barreling at you from the top of the furniture when excited.
This is NOT a dog park breed! You must know what you have and always take the high road when keeping your Staffords out of any situation which may not suit them. Not all Staffords will get along with other animals. This is just part of the breed. As well, Staffords are super-willing to learn and are quite easy to train using positive methods. Corrective methods will shut them down quickly and this is one reason we get them into rescue.
People don’t understand that they look tough but are quite soft and get their feeling hurt if you raise your voice—and heaven forbid a hand is raised. Staffords tend to use their mouths as hands and this can be misinterpreted sometimes, but they usually grow out of this phase. They are funny and make us laugh every day. Staffords are terrific companions.
Do we feel that our breed is supported by a sufficient number of preservation breeders?
We have a growing number of serious breeders whom I would consider to be preservation breeders. We do work together and many of us are now also breeder-judges. I can see this getting stronger each year and I am hopeful this trend will help to improve the breed further. Sadly, they are also growing in popularity and there are some breeders who do not look for a balanced Bull AND Terrier, but instead go one way or the other.
The Breed Standard does refer to Staffordshire Bull Terrier as “a foremost all-purpose dog,” so many of us put titles on both ends. My involvement in performance in this breed has shown me that the popularity and success in sports has led to breeders breeding for sport only and losing breed type almost completely. On the other hand, there are also those who believe the breed to be “heavyweight athletes” and seem to produce more bulk, heavier bone, wrinkle, and overly muscled, courser dogs that are not balanced.
Extremes on either side of this pendulum (when purposely produced) mean moving further away from the balanced Stafford and the Breed Standard. I have heard it said this way: “There is only one type of Stafford, a balanced one.”
For a bit of fun, what’s the most amusing thing we’ve ever experienced with our breed?
You asked me to describe the most amusing thing I have experienced with Staffords and I would say to you, “Isn’t that describing every moment of every day with a Stafford?”
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.
Let’s discuss balance, type and movement in the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a balanced blend of Bull plus Terrier but when we say we strive for an equal blend, are we picturing in our mind the original breeds used or modern day versions in this recipe? Many people today are picturing the modern day version of the English/British Bulldog. This way of thinking is dangerous to the health and future of the Staﬀord. That type of animal was not intended as the athletic gladiator the Staﬀord was bred to be.
The original Bulldogs used to create the Staﬀord looked more like the athletic bodies of an American Bulldog, Boxer and similar breeds, without the exaggerations. This is not something that can be easily disputed as it is shown many times in book after book on the history of the Staﬀord. The original Bulldog used to create the Staﬀord didn’t resemble what we picture as a Bulldog of today. He was leggier, more athletic, less wrinkle, and in general a beautiful example of a gladiator. We can see why this breed was chosen, for he was portrayed to be powerful, courageous, tenacious and tough, but still a reliable guardian with an oﬀ duty quietness and aﬀection for humans.
The other half of the ‘mix‘ is said to have been either a now extinct breed known then as the “White English Terrier” or the ‘Black and Tan Terrier.” It may have resembled the Manchester Terrier which is one reason we have a disqualification (highly undesirable in other countries) in our AKC Breed Standard for Black & Tan as this pattern can possibly overtake a breed and we love our color variations we have today.
Keep in mind they did not have access to DNA coat color testing when the standard was written. You can find tan pointed Staffords in many patterns and colors actually – red with cream points, blue with tan points, black brindle with tan points under brindle pattern, piebald where the only points visible would be if a colored patch shows where a point might be. BUT one thing you will find in a tan point of any color is the tan color surrounding the anus of the animal. It’s a telltale sign the animal is affected with the tan point allele.
The first breed standard described a dog built much more like a modern American Pit Bull Terrier calling for an 18 inch dog to carry just 38 pounds (todays top end for weight). As time went on the show fraternity wished to further distance themselves from the underground world of dog fighters that still existed. Thus in 1948/49 the standard was changed to include the single most significant alteration to the breed’s makeup clearly defining the Staffordshire Bull Terrier as a show dog, not a fighter. The top end of the height range was reduced by 2 inches (14” – 16”), yet the weights remained the same (24-34lbs bitches – 28-38lbs dogs), thus calling for a more compact dog of greater substance, no longer ideal for the pit. This change would mark the show Stafford’s official severance of its ties to the fighting world.
The breed standard describes a dog which has a terrier attitude of course, although he is also unlike other terriers in many ways. His temperament is described as being bold, fearless and totally reliable. He shouldn’t spark off unless he feels he needs to but he also doesn’t shy away either. The reliable part of the description is that you can expect a true Stafford to be quietly in control, yet he also may respond as a terrier should if the need arises. In other words, he wont pick a fight, but he may just end one. Be aware of what you have and if his temperament is indeed reliable you should have control. The Stafford should always be manageable.
The physical descriptions in the breed standard are there to distinguish him from other terriers. He is described as being ‘wide’ which means he is wide for a terrier, as many terriers are not wide. He has a distinct stop, unlike many other terriers which have little to no stop, but not completely vertical. As well, he will not have the short upper arm many terriers have. His upper arm (humerus) will be equal length to his scapula. These points of the standard are to differentiate him from other terriers, not to ask for the widest, deepest, most distinct, etc.
“The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a smooth-coated dog. It should be of great strength for its size and, although muscular, should be active and agile.”
The Stafford is an efficient athlete. Everything about him should reflect this. There are to be no exaggerations in his make-up. Excess would inhibit the breed’s original function as well as its health.
He needs enough bone, enough muscle, and enough substance to support his powerful, athletic endeavors, but not an excess of any of these features. He will need strength and vigor, allied with speed and suppleness. The Stafford should have stamina in abundance. He should feel hard to the touch, never soft.
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier gait is described as “Free, powerful and agile with economy of effort. Legs moving parallel when viewed from front or rear. Discernible drive from hind legs.”
For Stafford movement there is no waste. This means legs moving straight from shoulder to toes with no paddling, hackney, nor stilted or kicking the rear feet up. The pendulum moves in a straight line, but there is of course much more forward travel from the shoulder, and the pasturns bend unlike the “typical” long-leg terrier movement. He wastes no energy getting from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’. The Stafford’s movement is clean and fairly simple. He should be able to easily gait without being run. The Breed Standard only says “discernible” drive from the rear. That’s at a fairly slow pace. It moves from discernible to powerful as the speed increases. Legs again moving in straight planes, with good width in proportion to the rear structure. When gaiting at a good clip there will be some converging to maintain a good center of balance. This is much more efficient that the literal interpretation some have that the Stafford’s legs move at the same width as they fall when standing. Maybe at a very slow pace, but not for long once you speed up. They shouldn’t track close, but they don’t have a true parallel movement as a Bulldog or Frenchie might because a Staffords ribs hold their front legs out making it difficult for them to converge much if any. He should never have any looseness of shoulder or elbow, nor should he have flat feet. His point of withers should never drop below his backline, nor show wrinkle behind.
The Stafford should be clean and free of wrinkle or lippiness. His lively and keen expression comes partly from his famous ‘smile’ and partly from his medium sized, dark eye (preferably dark, but can be in relation to coat color yet never yellow, gray or too light) which tends to show his delightful personality. He is constantly aware of his surroundings, he is playful and energetic, and also sometimes a bit naughty or mouthy. His tail will be a giveaway of his mood usually so you dont want to see a tucked tail indicating uncertainty. He has no problem moving around a show ring and should be happy to do so with his ‘person’ by his side.
The Stafford is not a brachycephalic breed. The ideal muzzle length can be described as 1/3 muzzle to 2/3 skull and approximately 1/2 the depth of the skull. Muzzle from tip of nose to base of stop should measure no less than 1/2 from stop to occipital bone. The ideal muzzle angle is a little less than parallel to the angle of the skull – slightly converging planes. His skull should be broad & deep through and nearly the same width as depth. The size & shape of the nose & nostril affect appearance and breathing ability. The Stafford should ideally have large open nostrils.
When judging the Staffordshire Bull Terrier one of the first questions that comes to mind is “How do I determine which parts of the standard are more important than others?” As mentioned, the Stafford was RE-established as a show dog in 1949. However, the basic answer to this question is the same as it is with most all other breeds: Always give priority considering the original function of the breed. As unsavory as it may be, those elements most important to the historic function as a fighting dog should not be forgotten. In fact, they are to be given the greatest attention. Breed Type – that most elusive concept that is yet so obvious when you see it! If you show your dog, or are involved in the world of dog breeding, you will often hear the phrase ‘typey’. You will read critiques telling you that a particular specimen has type in abundance. This topic generates hot debate and has been written about since people began crafting breed standards.
“Type is a very diﬃcult term to deﬁne –chapters in books have been devoted to the subject without a truly clear resolution.” Richard Beauchamp, in his book, Solving the Mysteries of Breed Type, asserts that “Knowing what was originally intended for our breeds is critical,” and that “If we pay respect to nothing else, it should at least be to what the creators of the breed intended.” He argues that following this principle will help avoid exaggeration, stating that breeders, “…seem in constant danger of believing that if a characteristic is called for at all, then the more of it a dog has the better!” We see this in the Stafford ring every weekend. Again, because its worth repeating – the Stafford should show no exaggeration at all.
The Stafford should be a balanced animal from nose to tip of tail. Nothing should be exaggerated or out of proportion. His head size should be in proportion to his body, not over or undersized but keep in mind that the original point system called for 25 points to asses the Stafford head. In the country of origin, UK, at the end of the written Breed Standard for the Staﬀordshire Bull Terrier it is stated:
“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 and its eﬀect upon the health and welfare of the dog and on the dog’s ability to perform its traditional work.”
This is a good reminder to not only look for the balanced Staﬀord, remember its origin, but also to balance your judging when in the ring with the breed. The AKC Breed Standard for the Staﬀord lists only three ‘faults’ and only three ‘serious faults’. Fault judging is to be avoided but these six points should be kept in mind when you ﬁnd yourself faced with similar virtuous examples in your ring from which to select from.
The clean outline of the athletic Stafford is distinctive and a delight to see.
He is indeed a breed like no other.
Lynn Caswell (Wavemaker Staffords, The Stafford Knot, Inc. 501(c)(3))
Excerpts from – The Stafford Knot, Jason Nicolai, Lorelei Craig, Alan Mitchell and Melanie Sinclair
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.