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The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a medium sized stocky, muscular and athletic ability. They have a broad head, defined occipital muscles, a relatively short foreface, half prick ears, dark round eyes and a wide mouth with a clean scissor-like bite. The ears are small and either rose or half-prick. Drop ears are seen however they are faulted in the show ring. The cheek muscles should be pronounced. Their lips show no looseness, and they rarely drool. The head tapers down to a strong well muscled neck and shoulders placed on squarely spaced forelimbs. Their rib cage is well sprung and is topped by a level top line. They are tucked up in their loins and the last rib of their cage should be visible. Their tail is carried like an old fashioned pump handle and should be neither too long nor too short. Their hind quarters are well muscled and are what gives the Staffordshire drive when gaiting. They are well let down in the hock. They may be colored black, brindle, red, fawn, blue, white, or any blending of these colors with white. White with any color over an eye is known as piebald or pied. Skewbald is white with red patches. Liver-colored and black and tan dogs sometimes occur but these are considered an unacceptable color for the show ring or any reputable breeding program. The coat is smooth and clings tightly to the body giving the dog a streamline appearance. The dogs stand 35–40 cm (14–16 in) at the withers and weighs 24 to 32 pounds (with male dogs heavier). Like many breeds the 'Staffordshire Bull Terrier' can suffer from several health problems including cataracts and breathing problems. Overall they are a very healthy breed...
The breed is very human-oriented and loyal, although they can be aggressive to other dogs. It is important that between eight and 18 weeks pups are well socialised, especially with children and other dogs. Breeders warn, too, that the friendly nature of most Staffies means they go to strangers readily and risk being stolen for use in illegal dog fights.
While a hardy little animal, breeders report that up to 50 per cent of births are by caesarean section. There are usually six to eight pups per litters. Like most members of the Bulldog/Bull terrier group, Staffies rush in where angels fear to tread leading to accident-prone behaviour, and they rarely develop road sense. Some Staffies can suffer from hip dysplasia (degenerative bone disease), luxating patellas (slipping kneecaps) and entropion (an eye disease), but none are common in the breed. Pale-coloured dogs, or dogs with pale noses, are susceptible to sunburn and skin cancer. Breeders also report that up to 50 per cent of births are by caesarean section, possibly due to their broad skull and narrow pelvis. There are usually six to eight pups per litter.
Staffies are happiest indoors with the family; they shed little hair and are easily house-trained. Fortnightly bathing is adequate if the dog spends most of its time indoors. While they enjoy a walk (20 minutes is ideal), most are also happy lounge lizards.
Before the nineteenth century, bloodsports such as bull baiting, bear baiting and cock fighting were common. Bulls brought to market were set upon by dogs as a way of tenderizing the meat and providing entertainment for the spectators; and dog fights with bears, bulls and other animals were often organized as entertainment for both royalty and commoners. Early Bull and Terriers were not bred for the handsome visual specimen of today, rather they were bred for the characteristic known as gameness. The pitting of dogs against bear or bull tested the gameness, strength and skill of the dog. These early "proto-staffords" provided the ancestral foundation stock for the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, the American Pit Bull Terrier with the exception of the American Staffordshire Terrier. These bloodsports were officially eliminated in 1835 as Britain began to introduce animal welfare laws. Since dogfights were cheaper to organize and far easier to conceal from the law than bull or bear baits, bloodsport proponents turned to pitting their dogs one against another instead. Dog fighting was used as both a bloodsport (often involving gambling) and as an effort to continue to test the quality of their stock. For decades afterwards, dog fighting clandestinely took place in pockets of working-class Britain and America. Dogs were released in a pit, and the last dog still fighting (or occasionally, the last dog surviving) was recognized as the winner. The quality of pluckiness or "gameness" was still highly prized, and dogs that gave up during a fight were reviled as "curs". As an important aside, fighting dogs were often handled in the pit during fights, by both their owners and the judge, so were bred to be as trustworthy with humans as they were aggressive towards other dogs. It is this nefarious history that gives the Staffordshire his celebrated temperament, as in the breed standard of the American Kennel Club: "from the past history of the Staffordshire Terrier, the modern dog draws its character of indomitable courage, high intelligence, and tenacity. This, coupled with its affection for its friends, and children in particular, its off-duty quietness and trustworthy stability, makes it a foremost all-purpose dog."
The British colloquial name "Nanny-dog" reflects the breeds' gentle disposition with children. The breed attained UK Kennel Club recognition on 25 May 1935. Much of the groundwork to attain this status can be attributed to Joseph Dunn and Joe Mallen. Dunn and Mallen invited friends to a Staffordshire fanciers meeting at the Cross Guns Hotel, Cradley Heath, South Staffordshire (a hotel owned and managed by Mallen). About fifty breeders met at the hotel and formed the Original Staffordshire Terrier Club. The name was shortly changed to Staffordshire Terrier Club due to the Bull Terrier Club objecting the use of the word 'original'. Staffordshires were imported into the US during this time. Though very popular in the United Kingdom, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier has not gained the same fame in the United States. In the US many were imported by pit fighters and used in their breeding programs to produce the American Pit Bull Terrier and American Staffordshire Terrier. Many were imported by British nationals who brought their dogs with them or U.S. expatriates who fell in love with the breed in England and brought it home. Eventually through the campaign of many people the Staffordshire was recognized in the U.S. in 1976. The breed has a loyal following.
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