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THE STANDARD

 

HEREDITARY CATARACT

Hereditary Cataract in Staffordshire Bull Terriers has been recognised as an inherited condition since the late 1970’s. Affected dogs develop cataracts in both eyes at an early age. The condition is not congenital, so the lenses are normal at birth but cataracts appear at a few weeks to months in age, progressing to total cataract (and resulting blindness) by 2 to 3 years of age.

The mutation, or change to the structure of the gene, probably occurred spontaneously in a single dog but once in the population has been inherited from generation to generation like any other gene. The disorder shows an autosomal recessive mode of inheritance: two copies of the defective gene (one inherited from each parent) have to be present for a dog to be affected by the disease. Individuals with one copy of the defective gene and one copy of the normal gene - called carriers - show no symptoms but can pass the defective gene onto their offspring. When two apparently healthy carriers are crossed, 25% (on average) of the offspring will be affected by the disease, 25% will be clear and the remaining 50% will themselves be carriers

The mutation responsible for the disease has recently been identified at the Animal Health Trust. Using the information from this research, we have developed a DNA test for the disease. This test not only diagnoses dogs affected with the disease but can also detect those dogs which are carriers, displaying no symptoms of the disease but able to produce affected pups. Under most circumstances, there will be a much greater number of carriers than affected animals in a population. It is important to eliminate such carriers from a breeding population since they represent a hidden reservoir of the disease that can produce affected dogs at any time.

 

L-2 HYDROXYGLUTARIC ACIDURIA

L-2-HGA (L-2-hydroxyglutaric aciduria) in Staffordshire Bull Terriers is a neurometabolic disorder characterised by elevated levels of L-2-hydroxyglutaric acid in urine, plasma and cerebrospinal fluid.

L-2-HGA affects the central nervous system, with clinical signs usually apparent between 6 months and one year (although they can appear later). Symptoms include epileptic seizures, "wobbly" gait, tremors, muscle stiffness as a result of exercise or excitement and altered Behaviour.

The mutation, or change to the structure of the gene, probably occurred spontaneously in a single dog but once in the population has been inherited from generation to generation like any other gene. The disorder shows an autosomal recessive mode of inheritance: two copies of the defective gene (one inherited from each parent) have to be present for a dog to be affected by the disease. Individuals with one copy of the defective gene and one copy of the normal gene - called carriers - show no symptoms but can pass the defective gene onto their offspring. When two apparently healthy carriers are crossed, 25% (on average) of the offspring will be affected by the disease, 25% will be clear and the remaining 50% will themselves be carriers

The mutation responsible for the disease has recently been identified at the Animal Health Trust. Using the information from this research, we have developed a DNA test for the disease. This test not only diagnoses dogs affected with this disease but can also detect those dogs which are carriers, displaying no symptoms of the disease but able to produce affected pups. Carriers could not be detected by the tests previously available, which involved either a blood or urine test detecting elevated levels of L-2-hydroxyglutarate or magnetic resonance imaging. Under most circumstances, there will be a much greater number of carriers than affected animals in a population. It is important to eliminate such carriers from a breeding population since they represent a hidden reservoir of the disease that can produce affected dogs at any time

 

ORIGIN

Before the 19th 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 Bull Terrier, the American Pit Bull Terrier and American Staffordshire Terrier. This common ancestor was known as the "Bull and 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 against each other instead. Dog fighting was used as both a bloodsport (often involving gambling) and a way to continue to test the quality of their stock. For decades afterward, dog fighting clandestinely took place in pockets of working-class Britain and America. Dogs were released into 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".

The breed attained recognition to The Kennel Club on 25 May 1935. The Staffordshire Bull Terrier Club was formed in June 1935, a couple of months after the breed was recognised by the kennel club. It is unusual for a breed to be recognised without a club in existence first, and even more unusual for there not to have been a breed standard in place. A standard was not drawn up until June 1935 at the Old Cross Guns, a Black country pub in Cradley Heath in the west Midlands. A group of 30 Stafford enthusiasts gathered there and devised the standard, as well as electing the club's first secretary, Joseph Dunn, a well known figure in the breed. Challenge certificates were awarded to the breed in 1938, and the first champions were Ch. Gentleman Jim (bred by Joseph Dunn) and Ch. Lady Eve (owned by Joseph Dunn), both taking their titles in 1939.

 

STANDARD

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.

SIZE / WEIGHT & COLOUR
Weight:
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."

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.

 

 

A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE BLUE DOGS

The Blue Paul Terrier resembled contemporary pit dogs. They had a smooth coat and were powerfully built. They weighed about 20 kg and measured up to 50 cm at the withers. The head was large; the forehead was flat, muzzle short and square, large and broad but not receding like that of the Bulldog. The jaws and teeth were even with no overchanging flews. They had a slight dip between the eyes, which were dark hazel and not sunken, prominent, nor showing haw. The ears were small, thin, set on high, and invariably cropped, and the face was not wrinkled. The eyebrows contracted or knit. The facial expression of the Blue Paul has never been seen in any other breed and can frequently be recognized in mixed-breed dogs. The body was round and well ribbed up, its back short, broad, and ...muscular but not roached, and its chest deep and wide. The tail was set low and devoid of fringe, rather drooping and never rising above the back. The dog stood straight and firmly on its legs. Its forelegs were stout and muscular, showing no curve. The hind legs were very thick and strong, with well-developed muscles. The colour was dark blue as can be seen in Greyhounds; however, they sometimes produced brindles or reds, which were known as red smuts in Scotland.

No one seems to have full knowledge as to how the Blue Pauls were bred or from where they originally came. There was a story that John Paul Jones, the Scottish born American sailor, brought them from abroad and landed some when he visited his native town of Kirkcudbright about 1770. The Gypsies around the Kin Tilloch district kept Blue Pauls, which they fought for their own amusement. They were game to the death and could suffer much punishment. They were expert and tricky in their fighting tactics, which made them great favorites with those who indulged in this sport. They maintained that the breed originally came from the Galloway coast, which lends support to the Paul Jones legend. The first dogs to arrive in the United States with the English immigrants in the mid-19th century were the Blue Paul Terrier and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

With his excellent fighting skills, the Blue Paul was introduced as part of Staffordshire Bull Terrier breeding in the early 19th century and the blue colouring has appeared in Staffords ever since.