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An illustration of the breed standard with main points highlighted.

| See also FACTS .... |

"The Nanny Dog"

The breed standard is the criteria by which all breeds of dogs are judged. It's purpose is to describe the "Perfect" Staffordshire Bull Terrier ( I know that we all have the "perfect specimen" in our own back yards ) but realistically it doesn't exist. When breeding we all strive to breed an active and agile, great strength for his size overall well balanced healthy Staffordshire Bull Terrier with conformation as close as possible to the standard. However I believe temperament is equally important when considering any breeding programme. True Stafford temperament is becoming increasingly more important with the "dangerous dog legislation" raising its ugly head both locally and overseas.

Generally speaking the Stafford will not be indiscriminately aggressive towards other dogs (and never with people ) however if provoked they will retaliate and usually win. It is not in the nature of true Stafford temperament to back away if challenged nor would you want it to be. He never forgets and if he should have a run in with a particular breed will usually harbour a grudge long after you have forgotten about the incident.In these times of increased awareness of dog attacks and so called dangerous dog incidents it is so very important that we all have our dogs well behaved in public places. You often hear the expression "Terrier Temperament" in cases where dogs are creating a bit of a ruckus and personally I don't believe that this is a good public image for our breed and every endeavour should be made to calm the situation.

Socialisation from an early age is an important development in the Stafford temperament and obedience classes are an excellent way for the family to bond with their Stafford and more importantly learn how to train the dog to behave as you want it to. Staffords can be very strong willed and with a little professional training early you can learn how to correctly control their great enthusiasm for life. The Staffords great aim in life is to please you and accordingly be rewarded by you with praise and affection.

Originally the Staffordshire was bred to fight however even then they were owned by the hardworking coal mining men and kept as a family pet associating with and living in harmony with all members of the family.

The standard for characteristics of the breed reads: Traditionally of indomitable courage and tenacity. Highly intelligent and affectionate with children. There was a change to the breed standard in 1987 and the following important clause was deleted: This coupled with his affection for his friends, and children in particular, his off duty quietness and trustworthy stability makes him the foremost all purpose dog. (What a shame it was deleted). To my knowledge this is the only breed standard that makes reference to suitability with children and in the past the Staffordshire has been referred to as "the Nanny dog."

In recent times the Staffordshire Bull Terrier has been widely promoted as the ideal family dog - And they are! They are excellent with children HOWEVER THEY ARE NOT A CHILDS DOG.

The Stafford has a wonderful temperament for children with all the patience in the world but children also need to be taught how to treat a puppy & or adult dog with respect and young children should never be allowed to PLAY UN-SUPERVISED with any breed of dog - no matter how large or small. Staffords have GREAT STRENGTH FOR THEIR SIZE and are not a suitable dog for your child to take for a walk to the local milk bar. There might be a cat on the other side of the road or an angry dog come rushing from behind a fence and a child would not have the strength to control the Stafford correctly.

They are a dog that needs to live and be closely involved in all your family activities. To care for your Stafford and obtain the best possible rewards from having one as your family pet you need to treat this dog as another child in your family. You see they have a problem - A Stafford does not believe it is a dog.

The Stafford is a time consuming dog and you must be prepared to include the dog in your home and leisure activities. They are not a dog that can simply be left in the back yard fed once a day with a pat on the head. The dog will suffer from boredom and believe me you will suffer as well! Your Stafford will quite soon become destructive: digging holes, chewing garden furniture, pot plants and even escaping from your yard to find someone to play with.

Before purchasing a Staffordshire Bull Terrier I would ask all prospective purchasers to think about their requirements and lifestyle and what you expect from your new family pet. If you don't have time for another child in your life then perhaps a Stafford is not for you. Remember you will have this dog in your family for the next 12 - 14 years. (The average life span of a Staffordshire Bull Terrier )


BACKGROUND - The Staffordshire Bull Terrier was brought into existence in the early 1800's and is a cross between the Bulldog of the day and the old English Terrier ( now extinct) . It was produces with the sole purpose of obtaining a dog with a longer more punishing head than the Bulldog and also able to combine strenght and agility. The early dogs did not have very specific pedigrees because the importance was a game fighting dog. The miners and ironworkers of Staffordshire began to foster the breed and the qualities of gameness, intelligence and loyalty were developed.

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier was first recognised as a breed by the English Kennel Club in 1935.

The first two members of their sex to claim championships in England were the bitch, Lady Eve (far left) and the dog, Gentleman Jim (near left) in 1939.

AVERAGE LIFESPAN - When considering a Stafford for your pet remember it will be part of your family for an average of 12 - 14 years. The Stafford is a relatively healthy dog with no inherited life threatening diseases.

Dogs 12.7 - 17 kgs (28-38lbs)
Bitches 11-15.4 kgs ( 24-34 lbs)
Desirable height at withers 14 - 16 inches, these heights related to the weights
Colour - Red, fawn, white, black or blue, or any of these colours with white. Any shade of brindle or any shade of brindle with white. Black & tan or liver colour highly undesirable.

BREED CHARACTERISTICS/ TEMPERAMENT - You must never forget the Staffords past as a fighting dog as that game spirit is still present in most Staffords today. Their boisterous nature and spirit give credit to the statement that "Staffords are the loveable rogues of the dog world." Always be a responsible Stafford owner and never have your dog off lead in a public place.

You have nothing to fear personally from a Staffordshire Bull Terrier as his fighting past was purely as a combatant and not as an aggressor to man. Staffords will do anything to please their human friends and can be relied upon to uphold their breed standard at all times. Highly intelligent and affectionate especially with children, Bold, fearless & totally reliable.

IDEAL OWNERS - Staffords are a dog that very much needs to be a member of the family. They are not a dog that can be left alone in the back yard to amuse themselves. They love to have a regular walk , a ride in the car and in general be included in your family's day to day activities. Exercise , affection and discipline are all needed to keep your dog functioning as a happy and healthy pet who gives back a lot more than he receives. Staffords need attention on a constant basis and if neglected can become bored and problematic. Also keep in mind that whilst they are a loyal & devoted family pet they are also a very strong active dog that require regular exercise.

CARE REQUIREMENTS - The Stafford is a low maintenance breed , the short coat requiring little more than a regular brushing and the occasional bath. Depending on the amount of exercise your dog has on a hard surface will determine if nails need clipping to keep them short and tidy.

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a healthy dog however as with all pure bred dogs it does have its share of hereditary diseases. ie. skin problems, eye diseases. Check with the breeder to ascertain if they are aware of any hereditary problems that exist in your puppies bloodlines as this may save you heartache , frustration and money in the long term.

COMPATIBILITY WITH OTHER PETS - Staffords live happily with other pets provided that they are trained and socialised from an early age. Puppies can be easily trained to obey house rules and obedience training can be an excellent avenue to provide socialisation with other animals.

Obedience is a fun way to develop a close bond of friendship and respect with your Stafford. They love to be with you and take great delight in pleasing you. Obedience training is where they excel using their high intelligence to negotiate the demanding and often difficult exercises involved. The level of obedience you wish to attain is entirely up to you. It may simply be to walk at heel on a lead, sit on command and stay when told. As a part of responsible dog ownership you owe it to your Stafford to train them to behave in public and to relate well and respect other dogs. Always be aware that whilst a Stafford should not be the aggressor he will respond if challenged by another dog

IN CONCLUSION - It is strongly recommended that you purchase only a pedigree Staffordshire Bull Terrier registered with your State Canine Association. DO NOT purchase unregistered puppies from pet shops, markets or via advertisements in newspapers. Contact your State Association or Breed Club to obtain information of puppies available, breeder contacts and also details of dog shows that you could attend to gain first hand knowledge on the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

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The Perfect Nanny - from Mary Poppins

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