Overseas Judging Adventures

Recently we had the opportunity to travel to Australia and New Zealand where Lynn was invited to judge Staffords. What an honor and opportunity this was!

The first show, The Staffordshire Bull Terrier Club of Victoria was to be held on Saturday morning 9th March but the weather did not cooperate and their KC canceled the weekend shows. Thankfully the fast thinking and very hard working committee made arrangements for us to begin the shows on Friday evening at 5:30. They held an Open Show along with my Champ Show inside the building. The temps were in the 90’sº F and it was simply sweltering indoors and out but we had fans, the dogs and people had water and as they say. . . . the show must go on.

I had no time to rest or catch up on jet lag as I had to spring into action and get to it – and what an amazing sight was in front of us as we entered the building! The trophy table was so loaded down I thought at any moment it would collapse! They had so many sponsors that my mind was taking notes since I am on our SBTCA 50th Golden Anniversary Jubilee committee. The tables were spectacular (on my show Friday evening and for Gary’s show which was moved to Monday morning).

Thank you all for this wonderful opportunity. What an honor it was to be invited to travel to Australia to judge your Champ show. I also wish to sincerely thank the hard working and well-organized committee and to Penni for answering all of my questions while we were organizing the travel and making me laugh so much. Thank you to all of the exhibitors for accommodating for the last-minute changes to our schedules and having the show on Friday evening instead of Saturday morning as was the plan prior to the extreme heat instead of canceling. Thank you to my amazing Ring Steward Belinda T., and ticket writer Carol who both kept me hydrated and on my feet despite jetlag and the heat. Further thanks also is extended to Belinda F. and Josh for all the support and laughs. Much appreciation to all who entered for accepting my decisions with grace and making the experience a fun one. A special thank you to Erica and Paul for the fantastic adventures after the shows.

I was pleased at the quality, especially your bitches, and extremely happy to see so many issues we see in our breed elsewhere not a true issue at this event. I saw only a couple with pinched nares, most had beautifully open nostrils and long enough muzzles. Very few exhibits had wrinkle, loose skin or short muzzles. There were some mouth issues, specifically converging canines and a couple with level bite. Most were in good fit condition, with only a few who lived a tad too close to the snack bin. There needs to be a look at improving movement, specifically too close in the rear, which tends to be an issue worldwide currently. Pay attention to fronts as well as there seemed to be a bell curve from pinched fronts to too wide with overloaded shoulders book casing many with good square and balanced fronts. Overall tail carriage was excellent, very close to the Standard as well. Thank you again to all.  

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier Club of Victoria

My critiques for Australia are as follows :

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier Club of Victoria

Champ Show. Friday 9th March, 2024

145 Entered/24 Absent


Baby Puppy –

1st: #3 Mr M & Mrs J Sing – Pranksta The Equalizer (AI)

BB with white on chest and rear toes, Beautiful puppy with correct rose ears set nicely on a well developed clean head for such a youngster, fun terrier attitude showing proper courage and fearless fun, nice development already showing lots of promise. Once he got going he moved well with drive and for one so young even had a showy attitude in the ring. Easily Baby Puppy in Show.

2nd: #2 Mr J & Mrs M Meredeth – Beddah Reign Of Fire (AI)

Red and white piebald, Super dark eyes with excellent eye rim pigment, dark pigment on nose and lips as well. Good under jaw and cheek bumps for a baby, nice head shape, good bone and straight front, already showing promise at this young age.

3rd: #1 Mr J & Mrs M Meredeth -Beddah Canadian Dreams

Red and white piebald, another super bold and fearless baby puppy showing what it takes to be a Stafford, confident in himself, nice dark eyes, open nostrils and good front. Adorable and full of himself.

Minor Puppy –

1st: #5 – Mr D Yates – Tiamostaff A Knights Tale

BB, Gorgeous head with 1/3 to 2/3 muzzle to skull ratio and distinct stop showing no wrinkle, neat ears allowing for keen expression, very nice front leading to perfect feet with correct turnout, good shoulder layback and lay in, short back and level topline leading to low tail set. Short coupling. Minor Puppy in Show.

2nd: #6 Shadowstaff Kennels – Shadowstaff Shoot To Thrill

BB, Pretty head, dark eye, good muzzle, open nostril, good length of upper arm and nice shoulder layback, nice front. With a bit more ring time this promising boy should have a bright future.

Puppy –

1st: #8 David and Bronwen Livingstone – Likalot Game Over

BB and white piebald, Gorgeous headed youngster with the best of expressions, neat rose ears well set on his head, good nares, great bone, feet and front, level topline and a tail that never stopped. Easily caught my eye.

2nd: #12 Mr F & Mrs M Coetzer – Zeracious Let It Be Me

BB with flashy white markings, masculine head with tight lip, very good expression and happy attitude, good front and tight feet, confident boy who should mature into himself nicely.

3rd: #9 J.L. & A.H. Griffin – Brookstreet All Jokes Aside (AI)

Red with white chest and toes, Gorgeous head with correct proportions of muzzle to skull ratio, darkest of eyes, pretty expression, good topline, longer in body than other placers.

Junior –

1st: #17 Melissa McLean – CH. Onahi Atticus (AI)

BB with white on chest and toes, The most gorgeous head which immediately caught my eye! His front is bang on to the Standard, nice depth to his chest and plenty of width in front. Loved a lot about this boy. Topline drops a tad at the croup but doesn’t distract from his virtues, nice bend of stifle, well-conditioned, moved with purpose.

2nd: #16 K. Lacey, S. Williams, J. Lacey – Toplace Company Of Strangers

BB with white chest and toes, Super promising boy who pushed hard for first, very good clean head free from wrinkle, tight lip housing nice scissor bite, darkest of eyes and good ear placement, good front on strong pastern with tight feet. Great expression, a lot to like about this boy!

3rd: #18 Mr. L & C Doorackers – Taino My Alibi

BB, nice breed type, good pigment, good angles fore and rear, nice low tail set, sure to improve with a bit more ring experience but promising at this young age.

Intermediate –

1st: #23 Mr. M & Mrs. J Sing – CH Pranksta The Devil Has A Name (AI)

BB with white on chest, this boy caught my eye on his style and ring presence which was big!  He is very balanced overall with nothing exaggerated. Love his masculine head with correct planes and proportions and especially his confident expression. Dark eye, clean lip, open nostril. Nice strong pasterns, tight feet, excellent topline. Handler got the most out of him which looked like fun. Great temperament overall! Pleased to award this handsome boy Intermediate in Show and on to my Dog Challenge Certificate.

2nd: #25 P Harrison – CH Skybreaker Not My Circus

BB with tiny white spot-on chest and on back toes, This boys head grabbed me immediately with the darkest of beautiful round eyes held on me the entire time in the ring! He seemed a bit naughty which of course appeals to my love for this breed. Perfect rose ears, dark pigment in his mouth including the roof housing a good scissor bite with wickedly large canines, wide open nostrils, Front bang on with excellent bone, good mover. This boy really pushed hard for first place in this competitive class. Happy to award him Reserve Dog CC knowing he will have a bright future ahead of him.

3rd: #20 K Roebig – CH Bxact Sumthng Wickd Thiswycoms

Brindle, Another competitive boy with a super head which I couldn’t take my eyes off of. Head planes and proportions on the money, great expression on a clean head free of wrinkle. Front straight with good bone and strong pasterns, feet turned out perfectly as asked for in Standard. Nicest of layback and lay in of scapula and level topline standing and on the move. This class was by far my most competitive one of the night and all of these boys pushed for their placements.

Graduate –

1st: #28 Ms K Stephenson – Shadowstaff Red Right Hand (AI)

Red with dark mask, top sized deep pigmented boy with a strong head and higher set ears which gave him a nice expression, evident pro sternum leading into a nice length of rib with good spring, good topline which he held on the move.

2nd: #26 Ireland – Stafflex Im Here So Move On

BB with white on chest and toes, pretty head with dark eye and nice expression. The heat was not this boys friend as it was evident he wasn’t keen on the exam portion but once he got going he settled down and moved well.

3rd: #27 Mr SP & Mrs TM Henderson – Calojo They Were Warned (AI)

Mahoghany brindle with white toes, Good length of muzzle and nice ears, straight front, moved well.

Limit –

1st: #30 Helen Lomax – Kaleida Lightnin Strikes Twice CA

White, top sized strong headed handsome boy with excellent pigment, dark round eyes well placed on a well-proportioned head, open nostrils and keen expression, nice strong masseter muscles and strong muzzle housing a good bite.  Good front with correct chest and rib, well boned without being overdone, excellent condition. He was my Limit in Show.

2nd: #31 Ireland Stafflex Heskeys Journey

BB with white on chest and toes, Beautiful balanced masculine head with the best of proportions from cheek to stop to muzzle/skull ratio. Large canines and tidy ears. Short bodied with nice low tail set. Pushed hard for first placement.

3rd: #29 Debra Radcliff – Borstaff Jack None Reacher

Brindle and white split faced, Gorgeous head with strong cheek bumps, good ears, dark eyes, giving him a lovely expression, good front, correct spring of rib and depth of chest. Would love to see in fitter condition as this flashy boy has many virtues which would benefit.

Australian Bred –

1st: #44 Susan Lambert – CH Wooloostaff Devils Undeniable (AI)

BB, Dark eye leading to keen expression with a strong head. Nice front and bone with correct layback and lay in of shoulder showing no looseness at all, This boy moved really well with purpose and had correct drive from the rear. Worked well with his handler.

2nd: #38 F. McBride / L. & C. Doorackers – CH Brohez Forge Of Empires (AI)

BB with white on chest, nice stop and through of skull with strong masseter muscles and clean, but a bit shorter muzzle than first. A tad higher set ear added to his lovely expression due to his excellent and quite happy temperament he showed in the ring. Nice straight front with correct feet, well placed neck widening to good layback of shoulder. Level topline standing and on the move.

3rd: #37 Craig Heard – Toploader Brindle Hustler (AI)

BB tiny white on chest, This dog pushed hard for a higher placement and on any given day any of these three in this class could have switched places. Loved his beautifully proportioned head featuring correct planes and proportions once again. Perfect ears which he used well. Good front, nice level topline and low set tail.

Open –

1st: #51 Koendidda Kennels – CH Koendidda Onya Birri ET.

BB and white piebald, Striking dog with class and beauty. Top sized but so well-balanced , excellent head housing large canines and a scissor bite, strong cheek bumps, rose ears, dark pigment and eyes which are so important for a piebald. Straight front with correct angles and depth. Good chest and rib spring and length leading to a nice hourglass shaped figure. Good mover and terrific confident temperament. He gave his all and earned this placement from a large strong class. 

2nd: #52 Linda Szirer – CH Borstaff Thunder Maker

Red with white on chest, deep dark red coat and dark eye, good head with correct length of muzzle to skull ratio, tight lip, good cheek bumps, beautiful front with enough pro sternum and strong pastern leading to nice tight well-padded feet. Good front angles with correct length of upper arm and nice rear angles helped him move with purpose. Would love to see a bit more conditioning to help define his many virtues better.

3rd: #60 Ms N Yates – CH Brohez Watcher On The Wall (AI)

BB with a little white on chest, nice balanced standard dog with plenty of virtue to appreciate! Good head, correct front, good depth of chest and plenty of rib spring. Correct sternum length, correct loin and nice rear. Good tail set and lovely confident happy temperament.

Neuter –

1st: #137 Mr S P & Mrs T M Henderson – CH NEUT. CH Calojo The Big Bang (AI)

Brindle with white chest and toes, gorgeous deep mahogany coloring, top sized boy with good cheek muscle a clean strong head with nice length of muzzle, nice front, good topline and rear with good bend of stifle, moves very well.

2nd: #136 Donna Treadwell – NEUT CH Kimbastaff Dooin It Solo

BB, Handsome classy in Standard boy with a nice clean head with wide open nostrils and dark eye, very good front showing good pro-sternum, nice angles front and rear, moved well with his handler. Pushed hard for first place getter and could exchange places on any day.

3rd: #138 Mrs C Sorensen – Keelford Zeppelins Demise WWPD JC

Red with white on chest, Lovely frosted faced top sized gentleman with the gentlest attitude, nice dark round eyes giving the sweetest of expressions, good angles front and rear.



Baby Puppy –

1st: #64 Mr J & Mrs M Meredith  – Beddah Elegant And Sassy (AI)

Red/white piebald, clean head, distinct stop, good pigment, dark eye, correct length of neck with gradual widening leading towards well laid-back shoulder, good fore chest, short coupling with correct low tail set and good rear angulation.

2nd: #65 Mr M & Mrs J Sing – Pranksta Cilla Black (AI)

BB with beautiful clean head with correct head planes, nice rose ears, good straight front with correct pro-sternum development, ample bone, short coupling leading to well angled rear, perfect tight feet. 

3rd: #68 Mrs A Wolf – Ourgang Untold Gold

Red with white toes and chest markings, dark pigment, tight lip, a bit larger than first two placements, correct front with strong pastern, beautiful level topline with correct low tailset and good rear angles.

Minor Puppy –

1st: #71 Annabel Wolf – Ourgang Unbelievable

BB, Beautifully balanced very promising young bitch, gorgeous head with distinct stop and very dark eyes, no wrinkle, Feminine expression you simply cannot miss, stands on strong front pastern and good bend of stifle with well boned legs in a perfectly balanced four squared manner. Fantastic expression.

2nd: #73 Mrs L Szirer – Borstaff Look At Moi

Red/White pied with head showing strong masseter muscles already for such a youngster, dark eyes with good expression, level topline, good front with a tad less pro-sternum than 1st place puppy but beautifully balanced coming and going. Worked well with handler.

3rd: #74 Ms D & K Edwards – Sookalott Star Struck

BB, stronger headed puppy who is well put together, lovely ears and neck, correct tail set and one who will find her way with a bit more practice.

Puppy –

1st: #85 S Clark & D Major – Kabere Faith Trust & Firedust (AI)

BB, distinct stop, darkest of eyes, ears a bit higher set but she used them perfectly to show alert expression, I loved how she showed her character in her ring presence, nice straight beautiful front on strong pastern with feet turning out as expected, nice topline, short. Promising puppy and in fact was Puppy in Show.

2nd: #80 Miss A Freeman – Echostaff Last Temptation

Red with white socks and chest/neck, This girl caught my eye with her beautiful front and topline, correct tail carriage, good rear angles, stronger head than 1st but good dark pigment and neat ears. She was alert and keen on her surroundings and has a bright future.

3rd: #77 David & Bronwen Livingstone – Likalot I Made you Look

BB with white on rear toes and one front toe, nice length of neck gradually widening into well laid back shoulder, lovely mover on beautiful tight feet.

Junior –

1st: #95 Ms J & Miss K Lacey – Toplace Im Gonna Getcha Good

BB tiny white on chest and toes, I fell in love with this young bitch the moment she entered the ring. She is so clean and balanced and well in Standard in so many ways. Beautiful feminine head with everything text book about it. Gorgeous front including correct pastern, great feet with plenty of padding and correct turnout, nice short coupling, good rear. Shown in excellent condition for her young age. Her movement won her placement on the day. She definitely has a bright future and won’t go unnoticed by many. Easily was my Junior in Show and well deserved!

2nd: #91 Mr S P & Mrs T M Henderson – CH Calojo My Little Rain Cloud (AI)

 White, Nice feminine young girl with very good head proportions, nice rose ears, dark eyes, correct neck placement widening to good shoulder layback and straight front. Nice rear angles and low tail set and carriage. Very nice mover showing plenty of drive from the rear. Held topline on the move.

3rd: #88 Katrina Coulson – Lilrock Never Da Devil

BB with white on chest, very feminine young girl with beautiful features including soft expression on a pretty head. Good ears and muzzle to head ratio. Nice front and feet, good conditioning for a youngster. She was happy and confident and worked really well with her handler.

Intermediate –

1st: #102 Koendidda Kennels – CH Jonthill Buckle Up Buttercup (AI) RN

Red, This top sized bitch has beautiful deep red coloring and the best personality demanding your attention the entire time in the ring. She is perfectly balanced and has gorgeous breed type. I love her intent connection with her handler using her dark eyes and perfect ears to show confidence and femininity. She is in excellent condition with long resilient hard muscles without being bunchy or overdone in the least.

2nd: #98 Craig Heard – Toploader Black Chrome (AI)

BB tiny white on fore chest, Good in standard bitch with excellent expression. Nice feminine head. Pretty front showing no weakness at pastern, good tight feet with nice padding, moved well and was happy to be there. Excellent conditioning with long resilient muscle.

3rd: #100 K Roebig – CH Bxact The Knockout

Red with small white on chest, Striking, yet feminine bitch in excellent hard fit condition but not overdone in the least. Clean head with no wrinkle, good muzzle housing nice bite, used her rose ears to her best showing her wonderful temperament, good mover. Pushed hard for further placement in this class.

Graduate –

1st: #111 Mr G & Mrs A Linsey – Borstaff Maggie May

Brindle with white neck, blaze and feet, This was another tough class but this girl stood out. Not only for her flash but for her wonderful terrier attitude. Feminine head, clean and free of wrinkle, framed by good ears which added to her expression nicely. Her low set tail never stopped moving and she gave her handler a workout for certain. She went on to Graduate in Show.

2nd: #113 Shadowstaff Kennels – Shadowstaff All Eyes On Us (AI)

Red with dark mask, Gorgeous feminine and very fit top sized girl with very good angles front and rear, nice muzzle to skull ratio, head without wrinkle, moved well and had correct low set tail with good carriage.

3rd: #109 K Roebig – Bxact Mistress Of Make Believe

Brindle with small white patch on chest, This fun girl was a spitfire and made her handler work, just as I like them to be! She has the prettiest of heads with near perfect proportions, in good shape and happy to be there.

Limit –

1st: #115 Ms N Yates – Yakindow Crazy Diamond (AI)

BB with small white patch on chest, Pretty very feminine head, good front and depth of chest, rib case well sprung leading to nice short loin, great topline which she held standing and on the move, good rear angles showing well bent stifle and low set hock. Good tail set and carriage.

2nd: #116 Shadowstaff Kennels – Shadowstaff Paint It Black (AI)

BB, super happy girl, higher set ears but added character to her pretty head with a distinct stop and lovely expression. Good angles front and rear.

3rd: #114 Miss TJ Amos – Verysharp Vision In Black (AI)

BB,  Short back, strong deep chest, gorgeous conditioning, good bend of stifle.

Australian Bred –

1st: #123 Ms F McBride – CH Brohez Queens Gambit (AI)

BB with small white on neck, chest and toes, Very classic style with good width to her muzzle leading to great fill below round eyes and distinct stop, excellent cheek bumps, expressive ears used well, good width to her front with well-boned legs representing columns of support leading to correct foot turnout. Nice short body, good level topline and good mover. Pleased to award Australian Bred in Show.

2nd: #124 Ms S McQuade – CH Waurstafford Eyes On You

Red white piebald, Very feminine and correct head with dark eyes and no wrinkle, good mouth, nice bone and correct straight front with slight turnout of feet. Correct depth of chest and rib spring leading to nice tuck up. Croup of correct angle helping with movement.

3rd: #120 K Roebig – CH Bxact Shake Datazz Forme

Red with white on chest and toes, good head with dark pigment, nice ears, wide open nostrils, level topline, nice conditioning, happy girl.

Open –

1st: #131 Mr Greg Brooks – CH Cyprustaff Villian In Disguise

Red with white on chest, Gorgeous balanced and feminine girl with so much attitude demanding my attention the moment she entered the ring. Loved how fit and well-conditioned she was showing no extremes at all. Pretty feminine head with great ear shape and placement which helped express her “terrier-ness”. Her head planes and ratios are spot on Standard, beautiful neck and fore chest, excellent layback and lay-in of scapula and equal length of upper arm allowed for her clean front movement. Tight well-padded feet, level topline, strong rear with low set well carried tail and good rear angles. Pleased to award her Open in Show and on to the Bitch CC and Best In Show.

2nd: #132 Mrs A Dean & Mr G Bator – CH Handpikd Miss Bombay

BB and white piebald, Such attitude this girl showed! So full of character and in tune with her handler! Gorgeous strong but feminine head, great masseter muscles, good stop, with excellent proportions and good strong muzzle housing a correct bite, dark pigment, strong neck, good topline, excellent conditioning and nothing exaggerated. Held her topline on the move. She was my Reserve Bitch CC and Runner Up Best in Show.

3rd: #135 Ms L K Reid – AUST SUP CH Zeracious Sudden Impact

White, Standard sized bitch with a very nice head with gorgeous expression, good front, level topline and very good angles both front and rear which carried her well on the move. Good fitness level!

Neuter –

1st: #140 Koendidda Kennels – Koendidda Dilly Dally JC. RA.

BB, Beautiful frosted faced very feminine bitch with the tightest of lips, clean head free of wrinkle, perfect length of muzzle and gorgeous dark eyes. Nice pro-sternum on a strong front with good width of chest and strong columns of support, good topline and stands four square on her own. Happy to award Neuter in Show.

2nd: #142 Mrs A Dean & Mr G Bator – GR CH NEUT CH Handpikd Queen Of Diamonds

BB and white piebald, Such a beautiful clean feminine head with just enough flash to catch your eye, gorgeous clean and balanced body all the way around, nice topline and good angles. Another who stood four square without assistance.

3rd: #144 Ms N Yates – N CH Brohez Protector Of The realm (AI)

BB, Very feminine bitch with pretty head, good angles and terrier attitude.

Mainland Staffordshire Bull Terrier Society

Trophy Show. Saturday 16th March, 2024

40 Entered/8 Absent

What a wonderful experience traveling to beautiful New Zealand to judge your Staffords was for me. I was so honored to have been invited and was happy to see your beautiful country and  Staffords. We were so well taken care of with spectacular accommodations with Kathy and Grant at their gorgeous B&B. Thank you to the committee members for putting on a wonderful show. Your hard work really paid off.  We could not have asked for a more perfect day to hold this event under blue skies and sunshine. Thank you to my ring steward, Kathryn, who kept everything running smoothly and efficiently. Special thank you also to Leana and Tim for sharing their home with us and Gary after the shows. We had many laughs and saw some beautiful parts of the area.

The quality of your Staffords is to be commended with most being in fit condition and in Standard size, with only a few exceptions. I saw several in exceptional condition and to those owners you are to be commended as I know what that takes to maintain. I only saw a couple of mouth faults, converging canines mainly. Please keep this in mind as it can lead to health issues. The quality of exhibits as far as closely meeting the Breed Standard was equal dogs and bitches as I saw it. I know its probably a bit more complicated maintaining strong pedigrees when you are more isolated, but from what I saw it seems that by the careful usage of both AI and importation you are finding success. Continue on in this manner and you will continue improving and having quality Staffords. I saw some truly lovely, typey Staffords in my ring.


Minor Puppy –

1st: #1 L Bartle – Oakamoor Revenge Of Dreams

Red with white on chest, handsome puppy with dark pigment and eyes, well placed rose ears giving him a keen expression, correct muzzle to skull ratio, tight lip and open nares, correct foot turnout, well boned with good length and spring of rib. Once settled he moved with purpose. Best Minor Puppy.

2nd: #2 L Bartle & N Duffield – Oakamoor Divine Revenge

Red with white chest and feet, standard sized compact puppy with very good head, distinct stop, rose ears, nice topline and loads of attitude.

Puppy –

1st: #3 J Croft – Corkscrew Gizmo At Westwood

BB, Standard sized handsome boy with a very good clean head, level topline, correct shoulder layback and lay in, good bend of stifle with low set hocks, this young dog stood four square and is quite balanced.

Junior –

1st:#5 L Evans – Lockmoah Borderline Boss

Brindle with white on chest/neck and toes, Good strong head with darker mask, lots of fill under eyes, good sternum length and drop of chest, good bone, nice ears which he used well. Tail never stopped wagging showing his happy attitude.

Intermediate –

1st: #7 S Vermeer – CH Takoda Game On At Chasewood

BB, strong headed boy, very good width to his front and close coupled in body, nice easy movement, shown in good condition with gleaming coat. Won his class on movement.

2nd: #6 B Waghorn – Redgem Blaze Of Glory

Red, top sized boy with beautiful clean head with no wrinkle, strong cheek muscles and good underjaw. Beautiful strong rear.

Limit –

1st: #8 J Evans-Freeman – Shadowstaff Jakabite Lad

BB with white on neck and chest and rear toes, handsome boy with the darkest of eyes, strong muzzle of correct length, wide open nares, tight lip, front meeting the standard well, close coupled, good bend of stifle and correct low set tail. Best Limit.

2nd: #9 S Smid & J Croft & S Hughes – Blackshot Gone Walkabout (IMP AUST) AI

Brindle with white chest, socks and toes, near perfect muzzle to skull ratio and strong underjaw  gives this boy terrific breed type. Shown in good condition, kudos to his owner for putting in the work.

New Zealand Bred –

1st: #12 J Dixon & K Morton – CH Myrah Simply Magic For Renegade

BB with white on chest, This boy stood out to me immediately upon entering the ring. His head meets the written standard well with tight lip, strong masseter muscles, distinct stop, muzzle to skull bang on, excellent fill, wide open nares. Great bone and correct turnout of front feet, excellent layback of shoulder leading to level topline standing and on the move, good rear, clean mover. Another shown with great fitness level! Easily my Best NZ Bred, Challenge Dog, Best Dog and Reserve Best of Breed.

2nd: #11 P Bartlett – Arrowriver Claim Jumper Jack

Red, Top sized with good head with balanced features, dark mask on muzzle, dark pigment around eyes and on ears, correct bite, plenty of bone, deep chest and good length of rib leading to nice light loin, another shown in good condition.

Veteran –

1st: #14 L Bartle – NZ CH Artisinal Ripple Effect (IMP AUST)

Brindle, Clean and balanced head with good length to muzzle, level topline standing and on the move, front and rear assemblies are well balanced leading to good movement overall, everything where it should be.

2nd: #15 S Vermeer – CH Takoda Class Act

BB, Really good length of muzzle on a clean head, well placed neck leading to good shoulders and straight front, clean and balanced all over, easy mover going effortlessly as they should.

3rd: #13 P Day & D Day – CH Challenger Shades Of Black

BB, top sized boy with a bit of frosting on his muzzle on his handsome head which brought a smile to my face, beautiful front, good bone, level topline.

Open –

1st: #16 M Sutton & C Sutton – Smartstaff No Limits

Brindle, top sized with plenty of bone, half prick ears which framed a strong head, excellent masseter muscle, good fill, nice nose leather with open nostril, nice expression, straight front and level topline, good rear. Reserve Challenge Dog

2nd: #18 S Smid & S Hughes – AUST & NZ CH Blackshot EZ On The Eye Warmaster (IMP-AUST)

BB with white chest and toes, beautiful clean head with correct ratio and planes, keen expression made even better with his attentiveness to handler, correct rib length and spring, good bend of stifle, nice level of fitness.

3rd: #17 T Treweek – NZ CH Koendidda Beta Latethan Never (IMP-AUST)

BB and white piebald, top sized strong headed boy with excellent masseter muscles and nice width to muzzle, nice bone, close coupling and calm cool look at me attitude.



Minor Puppy –

1st: #19 L Evans – Burwell Maia Blazen Tails

Brindle, Everything about this puppy is exactly where she should be for her age, nice head proportions with tight lip and good underjaw, clean and no wrinkle, good straight front, nice tight feet, level topline standing and on the move.

Puppy –

1st: #22 L Pryde – Southstaff Girl On Fire

Red, very clean and feminine head, balanced puppy, front matching rear with, well-conditioned and well presented,  Best Puppy.

2nd: #20 T Treweek – Zekiel April Fools Imposter

BB with white collar and socks, flashy girl with a strong head housing correct bite, nice width to her neck leading to correct shoulder layback and good topline. Well angled rear.

3rd: #21 Z Ryder – Corkscrew Peaches

BB, pretty girl who has a lovely outline and calm demeanor, presented in good condition.

Junior –

1st:#24 J Dixon & B Wadsworth – CH Myrah She Can Do Magic

BB, solid girl with good cheek muscles, nice ear placement and carriage, deep chest with longer ribcage leading to nice tuck up and level topline. Worked as a team with her handler.

Best Junior.

Intermediate –

1st: #27 L Pryde & N Nicholson – CH Stafflands Annie Getcha Gun At Southstaff

Brindle with small white patch on chest, good head shape with strong cheek bumps, distinct stop, tight lip, open nares, correct turnout of feet, moved with drive. Best Intermediate.

2nd: #26 M Sutton & C Hoeben – Mankoko Your Pace Or Mine

Brindle, Nice deep tiger brindle coloration, clean head and muzzle, rose ears with good shoulder and rear angles to match.

Limit –

1st: #32 M Abbott – Ashbek Out Of Ink

White, quite a strong headed bitch with gorgeous perfect bite with large canines in perfect position, very dark eye and good ears shape and set, a bit strong in shoulder but excellent overall condition, very good mover. Lovely body on this one.

2nd: #31 N Duffield – Oakamoor Autumn Dream

Red, very pretty girl in fabulous condition, feminine head, great mover, strong rear, good terrier attitude.

3rd: #29 J Johnson – Oakamoor Diamond In The Rough

Red, Good pigment, rose ears framing her pretty face, worked well with her handler

New Zealand Bred –

1st: #33 T Treweek – CH Sladestaff Bring The Noise NCS CGCB CGC B

Brindle with white on chest, Strong headed bitch with good fill beneath eyes, correct rose ears which are well placed, nice wide front showing good bone and correct foot turnout. Beautiful coat color!

Veteran –

1st: #35 L Bartle – CH Oakamoor Mystical Spell

Red and white piebald, this classy veteran won this class on her beautiful effortless movement, she had correct rear drive and wasted no energy which is not surprising considering her structure meets the standard as described. So happy to award her Best Veteran.

2nd: #37 S Carey – CH & NEUT CH Foxestown Bessie Adele

BB with white on chest, I would have taken this lady home in a heartbeat, loved her frosted face, her clean head that is still as balanced as it ever was if I were to guess, pretty front, good shoulders and rear. She pushed very hard to first in this class.

Open –

1st: #40 J Dixon & B Wadsworth – CH Myrah Million Dollar Monster

BB with white on chest and toes, This girl stole my heart with her gorgeous feminine head, smart expression, look at me attitude and beautiful front, well boned for her stature, beautiful outline that says Stafford all day long, level topline, good angles fore and rear, she stood four square yet also spent some time showing her naughty side. She worked well for her handler and moved with purpose, ease and drive. Gave me pleasure to award her Best Open, Best Bitch, Challenge Bitch and Best of Breed.

2nd: #39 B Waghorn – Myrah Monster Mash

Brindle with small white down front and on toes, very correct head with good fill and nice cheek bumps, dark eye and perfectly folded rose ears, nice width to front, level topline and good rear. She pushed hard for first in this class. Reserve Challenge Bitch.

Stafford Balance, Type and Movement

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 cloddy, heavy-boned, over muscled dog may look impressive but he’ll lack the speed, agility and stamina of the athlete. The racy, light-boned dog may be agile and athletic, but will lack strength and resilience. The one in the middle will get the job done. Efficiency is the key concept as the Stafford should be the best pound for pound athlete. Combat athlete specifically. Balance of strength and agility (Bull and Terrier) is repeated over and over in the standard. Not a body builder. Not a heavyweight fighter (where the ratio of strength is out of proportion to agility). Explosively quick, with immense strength and very long lasting athleticism. A balanced Stafford should be able to go all day. When the strength starts to get in the way of agility and stamina it’s too much. When the speed and agility sacrifice strength and impact it has gone too far. Fortunately the standard has an objective measure for that illusive ideal balance which is 16” and 38 pounds. – Alan Mitchell

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 eect 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

Latest Show News

Sunmaid KC Fresno California – Stafford Showdown weekend

Select Dog (SBTCA Supported) – Judge: Anita Zagraniczny
Best of Breed (SBTCA Specialty) – Judge: Eric Galvin
Terrier Group Two – Judge: Sally George
Select Dog (SBTCA Supported) Judge: Pete Hopgood

Watch your words

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.

Judging the Stafford

Part two

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.

From The Stafford Knot book –
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier – Interpretation & Illustration of the Written Breed Standard –
A Comparative Discussion – UK & USA
Crib and Rosa by Abraham Cooper 
These two are what the Bulldogs which make up the Stafford looked like
The now extinct White English Terrier

Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome

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.

Table 1

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.

Table 2

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:

Concerning Stenotic nares in a Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Mildly Stenotic Nares in a Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Post correction surgery on a Stafford. This one is fairly obvious when seen in person, which I have.

Wedge Resection

 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.

Laser Ablation

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.

Laser Ablation
Wedge Resection
Before and After correction surgery

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.

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.

Understanding Your Mentorship

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.

Judging the Stafford

Part One

I have recently been approved to judge my beloved breed, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. It’s not something I dreamt of doing, it just happened organically as part of the process – owning, showing, performance, running The Stafford Knot, breeding, rescue . . . now judging. I completed my provisional assignments in short order, easily passing observations and applied for full status. I feel, along with the work I have done for TSK, its part of giving back to a breed.

Additionally, I felt compelled to join others who have been in the breed in trying to show by example what judging was supposed to be about….. or what i thought it was about anyway. I grew up in the dog world and rather naively thought conformation was a way to select the most correct animals who most fit the written breed standards for breeding in order to maintain or better the future of each breed.

The Staffords name says everything – bull and terrier. The bull (https://thestaffordknot.com/the-original-recipe-bulldog-plus-terrier-equals-stafford/) meaning the old time bulldogs of the past who more resembled American Bulldogs, leggy, sporty and agile rather than the British Bulldog of today. Some folks seem not to know this bit of important fact.

Another fact I have discovered is most folks do not understand basic canine structure. They dont understand how the skeleton interacts with the muscles and tendons and how all of this put together makes a dog balanced when its made right. (https://thestaffordknot.com/canine-structure-and-compensations/)There is really no excuse not to know these details as there are numerous books, videos and study groups on this topic! Once you see poor structure you cant miss it in any breed. To ignore these basics is equivalent to burying your head in the sand and moving forward just for the ribbon or the puppy sales or your ego. (https://thestaffordknot.com/the-ostrich-syndrome/)

In Staffords we will see slipping hocks, cathedral fronts, short upper arm, toeing in, upright shoulder, lack of under jaw, wrinkle, short muzzle, lippiness, incorrect croup angle, short sternum and many more ‘faults’ which shouldn’t be ignored. I’m not saying to throw out these dogs what I am saying is learn to see these ‘faults’ and understand them. As an example, understand how a short upper arm can affect shoulder blade placement, front movement and even how the neck appears from profile.

The Stafford should not appear bulky, heavy, coarse, overdone, bunchy or squatty (as I was told by one judge). I see far too many of these heavy types in the hands of professional handlers and they are often rewarded because so many judges do not understand what the breed standard is asking for. Do not be fooled or impressed by that huge head or those bulging muscles. The Stafford is not a heavyweight. He is a middle weight. He is active. He is agile. He is bold. The Stafford is a balanced breed. (https://thestaffordknot.com/on-balance/)


I hope that I am a good judge. I feel I have a good eye and I have spent twenty years immersed in study of this breed. I hope that I can make thoughtful selections given what is brought into my ring. I am hopeful people who know me will understand the breed well and will bring me balanced Staffords.


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. 


  • “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. And of course we prefer some pigment on the white coated dogs eyes – in some countries Standards it asks for full pigment – AKC does not but its always best if a Stafford does show good pigment – we do not want pink rims.
  • 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. Make note that nowhere in our Standard does it mention short tails. It is worded as such: “The tail is undocked, of medium length, low set, tapering to a point and carried rather low. It should not curl much and may be likened to an old-fashioned pump handle. A tail that is too long or badly curled is a fault.”

Serious faults:

  • 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. At no time should there be any lacking of pigment on the nose leather on a dog of showing age.
  • 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 hazard in its original function, 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 even though it is not mentioned in the standard. Note the word ‘badly’ is mentioned here. A slightly under or overshot bite is a fault to be considered by the degree of misplacement.

All dogs have ‘faults’. Every. Single. One. Even those belonging to kennel blind breeders have faults. This is why we do not fault judge. Just assume they exist and find the virtues. I do a game called list 5 virtues with every dog and by doing that you will see things in a more positive light. I absolutely do not ignore the standard and I do take note of serious faults – but again even if I am presented with a badly undershot full drop eared spotted nosed Stafford in my ring there must be some virtue as well. That Stafford wont get far in the show ring but I still try to look for any virtue. That Stafford will lack breed type IMO which is one of the very first things I look for.

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 Name Explains The Breed

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? 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. If that is the blend one is attempting to reward in a show ring or produce as breeders, one will certainly find shorter legs/upper arm, straight stifles, barreled rib, short muzzles, wrinkles, bunchy muscle, buggy eyes, lippy muzzles, converging canines and overlong soft palate.  Aside from this we would find health issues that go along with that type of animal which 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 but without the exagerations seen today. 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 didnt 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 in our Standard for Black & Tan as this pattern can possibly overtake a breed and we love our color variations we have today. 

“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 exaggeration 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 cloddy, heavy-boned, over muscled, exaggerated dog may look impressive but he’ll lack the speed, agility and stamina of the athlete. The racy, light-boned dog may be agile and athletic, but will lack strength and resilience. 

The one in the middle will get the job done.