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.