Lavoro Amstaffs

All Round Supreme Amstaffs

Interesting Reading to all Fanciers

Just A Show Dog?

This is a quote that was taken form the 1978 STCA Year Book. This quote summaries what each and every Staffordshire Terrier breeder should be striving for. Enjoy!

The American Staffordshire Terrier is a unique breed in the family of dogs. Its history is rich and well documented and he remains one of the few unspoiled breeds retaining the courage, intelligence and tractability that have won for him wide acceptance as one of the most adaptable and capable of all dogs.

Through the years the Staf has only secondarily been a show dog. Breeders have traditionally considered the character and soundness of the breed to be of ultimate importance. After all is said and done, the best Staf is the one that possesses the traditional Staf capability and attributes. If that dog can also win in the show ring, then the owner and breeder are indeed fortunate. The show winner without these characteristics is no Staf at all no matter what his outward appearance might be. In this regard we are especially proud of the obedience Stafs as representing one aspect of our breed's adaptability and intelligence.

The future of the American Staffordshire Terrier depends above all else on breeders who are unwilling to use any dog in their program that does not meet the high mental and physical qualities implied in the following description given in the 1940 Year Book.

'Today the Staffordshire has emerged form his gladiatorial background as one of the finest of all dogs. He is proud and noble of bearing, he combines power with grace and agility, he is bright and alert, and his courage is not surpassed in any other animal on earth. He is intelligent, outstandingly amenable to training and discipline, and adaptable to almost any conditions. He is superbly gentle with children, intensely loyal and affectionate, and a wonderful watchdog.'

The Ideal American Staffordshire Terrier Temperament

 

      Temperament: The first and most important impression should be the dog’s temperament. No matter what the dog looks like, it cannot be a proper Am Staff without the proper temperament. The official standard is spare and is often faulted for not giving enough information to the student of the breed. However, the words used are beautifully descriptive of the breed’s temperament.

     "Keenly alive to his surroundings" describes a lively intelligent disposition that watches what is going on around him and misses nothing. Further, he not only watches, but interacts – he is quite aware of and very responsive to his surroundings. He is ready for whatever comes his way – in all the best sense of this term.

     " His courage is proverbial" : Proverbial, according the Webster’s dictionary is defined as follows: The embodiment or representation of some quality. The byword for it. A commonplace truth. A common reference for some quality. This is perfectly apt to describe the correct temperament of this breed. They are nothing if not courageous. This courage is inherent in their history. These dogs have faced death in all its forms, and have long ago had fear bred down. They should appear supremely confident in all situations. NO excuses can be made for a specimen that lacks this quality. Courage has no similarity to aggressiveness, which often masks insecurity. The ideal Am Staff should not display aggression toward other animals or humans. They should only appear confident and interested, prepared to deal with and take part in whatever situation develops. Many legends have grown surrounding this breed’s courage.

      The Ideal specimen must always display courage and confidence to a marked degree. Absolutely no consideration should be given to an exhibit that lacks this quality.

 

      Although not specifically addressed by the standard, this breed has been long domesticated, as a farmer’s and family dog, and even with the early fighting background, should absolutely never appear aggressive toward humans. They are not a guarding breed by nature, and trust most people to be their friends, confident in these relationships. They develop strong bonds with humans and are eager to please them – thanks to their working background. They are not solitary dog, preferring the company of humans. They are not subservient of fawning, but confident and friendly in dealings with humans

     The ideal specimen must always appear confident and friendly with humans. Absolutely no consideration should be given to an exhibit that appears aggressive, threatening, or shy toward humans. These are completely incorrect for the breed and are inexcusable.

 

 

 

Origins of the American Staffordshire Terrier

This article was written by the S.T.C.A breed study.

 

    The ancient ancestors of the Am Staff are the mastiff type dogs who appear in many breed histories. Although much of this information is lost in antiquity, we know from early art of the large, heavy-headed strong dogs who were used throughout history for their strength and guarding abilities. This early group of dogs has left genetic material for all the bulldog breeds and mastiff type dogs of today.

    In earlier days in England, mastiff types were bred down to smaller size and some became bulldogs (actually bulldogs were named because they were used to hold on to bulls or cattle/oxen). Originally the dogs were butchers dogs or farmers dogs who helped move the cattle around and held them still for their owners. They kept them still literally by holding on to them, usually by the nose. It became a customary entertainment in England to watch as the butcher’s dog caught the bull and held in while it was killed by the butcher. For some reason the common folk began to think that meat that had been harried by the dog before dying was tastier than the meat the had died peacefully. There was for a time an English law enacted that the butcher MUST bait the bull with a dog before butchering it ! The entertainment value was so great, that the Queen reportedly even forbid other butchers from killing their stock on the same day her royal butcher did, so that the commoners would watch her dogs work.

   Eventually this sport gave way to some other type of meat tenderizer and the dogs were used on other "game". One of these uses was rat killing. The English seem to have had lots of rats and folks amused themselves by watching dogs put into "pits" (arenas) with hundreds of rats. OF course betting was done on how many could be dispatched how fast. This called for a smaller, faster dog so some of the now extinct English terriers were crossed with the bulldog. These were probably Black and Tan terriers (similar to today’ Manchester) and the old White terrier. Rats were too easy, so these sporting souls were always thinking up new challenges for their dogs. These early bulldogs and now bull-and-terriers were used to fight bears, stage, badgers, and each other. Dogs were more easily come by than bears, which were probably getting kind of scarce in England, and dogs were probably easier to keep for a commoner than expensive cattle.

    The bull-and-terriers evolved into three of our modern breeds: the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, the Bull Terrier, and the American Staffordshire Terrier.

    The early bull-and-terrier came to America with immigrants from England and Ireland. Here some grew bigger and taller in response to their duties in a new and wilder country. Some stayed in cites and were kept by the same type of "sporting" owner as in England and Ireland. These were fought against each other around the pubs of New York, Chicago, and Boston (and other cities of course). A product of some of these dogs is the very American breed of Boston Bulldog, or Boston terrier as it is now known. These used to be 35-40 lb dogs, and except for the shorter bulldog face and screw tail were very similar to the early Am Staff (or Pit Bull, Bulldog, American Bulldog, Bull and Terrier, Yankee Terrier, some of the names these dogs were know under then).

    The Larger bull-and-terrier was still a farm dog and stockman’s dog. He followed the wagons west with the settlers and helped work stock and guarded the homestead. He was a general purpose homestead dog, much as the dog describe in the book and movie, Old Yeller. He ran with the hounds on hunting expeditions, exactly as depicted in the old movie, The Yearling, and although not as fleet or strong of nose as the hounds, he was still the "catch" dog who dispatched the animal when it turned at bay.

    By the late 1800’s a fighting dog registry was started in America to keep track of the prized pedigrees and publish the rules for fighting organization in the country. The United Kennel Club registered the dogs as American Pit Bull Terriers. Sometimes this was written as American (pit) Bull, or American Bull Terrier. Mostly they were known as bulldogs, or Pit Bulls.

    Although it is this dog fighting background that is mostly remembered, only a relatively small number of the dogs were fought. Most of them went on being farmer’s and general purpose countrymen’s dogs, and still worked stock, penning and guarding and helping, just as they had done in their earliest days.

    In the early 1930’s a group of fanciers petitioned the American Kennel Club to accept their dogs into the registry. These dogs already registered with the United Kennel Club, but their owners had no interest in dog fighting. They wanted to promote their breed as family dogs and show dogs. They formed a national breed club and wrote a standard for the breed. Much agonizing was done over the proper name for the breed, and the American Kennel Club was not inclined to register them with the same name as the United Kennel Club did. Finally they were accepted with the name of Staffordshire Terrier in 1936. This was just a year after the English bull-and-terriers under the same name of the Staffordshire Bull Terriers were recognized with the Kennel Club of England. The standards of both the English and American breeds were written similarly, and even contained some identical phrases. The authors of both kept in touch with each other, working toward their common goad of acceptance by their kennel clubs. At that time , the dogs described were more similar in size and structure than the breeds appear today.

    In the early 1970’s the name of the Staffordshire terrier was changed to American Staffordshire terrier with the American Kennel Club recognized the Staffordshire Bull Terrier breed.

    Even as the late as the 1960’s, the AKC stud books were opened to permit United Kennel Club registered American Pit Bull Terrier to compete in AKC shows as American Staffordshire Terriers. Some exceptional dogs were brought into the AKC registry at the time, some even winning the Staffordshire Terrier Club of America National Speciality and an all-breed best in Show. Their influence is still strong in some breeder’s lines today.

    The American Staffordshire Terrier has an amazing identity problem. The same dog can still be registered the Untied Kennel Club (which is no longer a fighting dogs registry, but an all breed registry similar to the American Kennel Club), and/or with the American Dog Breeder’s Association, as an American Pit Bull Terrier and if its parents were registered with the AKC, it can also be registered by the AKC under the name of the American Staffordshire Terrier.

    Some of the breeders of both American Staffordshire Terriers and American Pit Bull Terriers will tell you that they are not the same breed and the "the other registry group" is ruining the breed. However, the only real difference between these dogs is their name and registry, and the individual breeder’s selections and goals. There was no other breed of dog added to the bloodlines to create American Staffordshire Terriers.

    This breed, under several of its names, along with the Staffordshire Bull Terrier has been under attack by anti-dog groups and has been wrongly maligned by the media. The generic name of "pit bull" has now become a term to denote a dog used for fighting, no matter what its genetic background, much like saying "bird dog" or "guard dog". Most of the dogs now called that, we would all call mixed breeds. However, there is still a Breed of dog called American Pit Bull Terrier, and many of them trace their pedigrees back to the 1800’s. Many of them are still exactly where they have always been, working at their jobs and being faithful companions.

 The Ruffian History
By Richard Gray (President STCA)

If I try to tell the story of the Ruffian line without giving the founders some credit, I would feel like an Ingrate.  Even before Clayton Harriman, the Ruffian line was being formed.  The people chiefly responsible were Martin, Klump, Schroeder, and maybe even others should receive some credit.  In my opinion none of these follows had a complete concept that they were forming a line, but begin a line they did.

From my research I couldn't find a single entry In the AKC's Stud Book by Schroeder.  Floyd C. Klump had a few dogs entered Into the Stud Book.  Ed C. Martin had many dogs entered Into the Stud Book.  Martin's AKC involvement was from 1939 - 1949.  How long he was In the other registry I do not know, but all these men had an Impact.

In going through the AKC Stud Book I noticed a strange geographic coincidence. The first was a strong correlation between the states of Michigan Texas. and Colorado.  Martin, Klump, and later Harriman all resided In Michigan.  Harriman moved from Texas to Michigan.  He had a brief stay In Kansas City between Texas and Michigan.  While In Texas, Harriman met W. D. Harper.  Harper later developed her Har-Wyn strain.  William M. Whitaker lived In Colorado.  Whitaker, Harper, and Harriman seemed to work closely together.

Today Monske and Nowicki along with others Live In Michigan. Gigi and Jerry Rooney Lived In Michigan until they moved to Colorado.  Of course, I live In Texas.  This group with other Ruffian fans, cooperates very well together.

Mr. Harriman, from what I can determine by studying the AKC's stud book, did have a solid view of what he was doing.  I never met the man, but when you see the number of litters the man bred and how those litters were bred, I felt this was a gentleman Intent on developing a line.  He was successful, and his line has lasted over fifty years.  Of course, there have been Infusions of dogs from time to time, but each Infusion of this purest of strains was based on Ruffian dominated dogs.  Harriman's good dogs were too numerous to list, but The Ruffian himself was a landmark dog as was Ruffian Our Teenie, Ruffian Walkway, but I fell In love with the picture In Ormsby's book.  I find It strange that today none of the blood from Bubbling Over Is still In Am Staffs.

Even though I never saw Mr. Harriman's early dogs, from the pictures I did see that Mr. Harriman's stock was very stylish (type), and not over sized.  Even today when the purest of Ruffians are crossed with other lines the original style often holds true.  Unfortunately, I don't know how sound they were.

The first entry In the AKC's Stud Book by Clayton Harriman was in 1939.  His wife Letti seems to have taken over the kennel after Clayton passed on and the last entry I could find was in 1949 as well. 

Enter William Whitaker and Howard Hadley into the picture of developing the Ruffian Line.  Howard I don't think was in the least bit Interested In developing a Ruffian line.  Howard was developing the Mounthaven line from William's dogs.  However, Howard had used a dog-named Ruffian Scalawag.  Scalawag was as strong a Ruffian bred dog as one could find.  Howard also had a dog-named Mounthaven Tex of Har- Wyn, a littermate to Ruffian Grayboy of Har-Wyn So this was a powerfully bred Ruffian dog.  Ruffian dogs such as Ruffian Contact of Har-Wyn, Ruffian Rudy of Har-Wyn were intertwined into the west coast infusion of our brood so that I could not help but think of them as Ruffians.  Indian Doc was a result of this west coast style of dog.  If you have never heard of Indian Doc, he was special.

Howard produced a pair of females know as Ruffian Janet of Mounthaven and Ruffian Janet of Har-Wyn.  This pair was outstanding.  I do not think either was over shown, and I couldn't understand why they were not shown.  These two play a role In the development of Ruffian Red Rack of Har-Wyn.  Howard was Active In AKC dogs from 1943 to 1968 at least.

William Whitaker was developing his Jollyscamp line . However, his dogs were as pure Ruffian blood as a dog could be.  His most powerful Influence was the fine dog Jollyscamp Blueguard.  Blueguard Is as Important to the Ruffian strain as any single dog I can think of, save his sire Gallant Ruff.  In fact, the two may be the corner stones of the breed.  I am not sure of that last statement as I have not studied all the pedigrees for Am Staffs.  Mr. Whitaker may have been one of the three best Ruffian Breeders to this date.

While the basic style of dog Whitaker had was similar to Harriman, more size and variety were added.  Other Important dogs Whitaker was responsible for were Puddin Pie Pepper Duster, Puddin Pie Blue Smoke, and Jollyscamperpuss.  While Whitaker greatest activity In brooding AKC dogs was between 1945 and 11958.  He had profound Influence on the brood.

Ed Ringold kept the Gallant line In tack until his death.  Gallant Ruff was the corner stone for the Ruffian and Gallant line.  Gallant Kimbo I think was responsible for any phenotypical difference between Peggy's dogs and the Gallant line (Ed's dogs were very stocky for the most part) , but In fact, I see the two lines being Parallel lines.  Ed produced so many fine dogs and such a fine type that he needs more credit.  Some of Ed's finer Stock should be noted were Gallant Pistol Pete, Gallant Golden Girl, and Gallant J.R.. Mr. Ringold was active with the breed from World War One until his death In the mid 80's.

Charlie Lloyd was active helping Ed keep the Gallant strain alive.  Charlie was a mainstay In the breed from 1954 until very recently.  Charlie had some big winning dogs In his time.  He should receive the credit he deserves.

Ike and Joan Stinson brought his Crusader dogs Into the mix because they were such good show dogs.  Ed, Peggy and others couldn't resist using them and In fact the Crusader dogs had liberal doses of Ruffian blood from Gallant Ruff and Howards Hadley's stock.  Knight Crusader and Knight Bomber were Just outstanding and Knight Crusader for many years was the biggest winning Am Staff In the breeds history.  From the few Crusader dogs I did see, these dogs appeared to be based on soundness.

Some people to this day will say that Crusader was not a line just a kennel name.  These people do have a point, but the same fault can be made about many of the other famous lines In the breed.

Peggy Harper visited the line next and she scrambled the genes.  Peggy used Howard's dogs, some of Ed Ringold's dogs, Peggy used William Whitaker dogs , she even used Tacoma all- A- Blaze, she also put some of her fathers' pit bulls Into the Mix, and some Crusader blood.  Peggy broods The Ruffian of Har- Wyn, she used Ruffian Headlight Hal In large amounts.  Other major Impact dogs were Ruffian Sika, Ruffian Dreadnought, Ruffian High Ace, Ruffian Grayboy, Ruffian Chita, and others I am sure I have left out.  Peggy even produces Ruffian Hercules of Har-Wyn, for years the top producer In the history of the breed.  Ruffian Red Rock of Har-Wyn her most famous show dog, and for awhile, the top winning Staff In history, and he was one of the last Peggy bred.  The old Tacoma dogs trace their roots back to the same base as the Ruffian line does so All - A Blaze was not an out cross.

However, Peggy may be most remembered for Introducing Blitz and especially Sky King Into the Ruffian Mix.  Some would argue that Blitz and Sky Kings Impact changed from the Ruffian line to Har-Wyn line at this point and time.  I would agree that the Sky King Influence altered the line, It would not be too big of a stretch to suggest that the line could be called the Har-Wyn line Instead of Ruffian.

Blitz and Sky King were litter mates.  They were 5/8 Ruffian, 1/8 X-pert, l /8 Tacoma, and I /8 unrelated to any major line.  She did this because Sky King was such a sound dog and a big winner of his time.  He gave her dogs an edge In the show ring. A great female behind Sky King was Jones Gaye One Roxie. I've seen only the one picture, but what a picture.  I asked Peggy who was the best Am Staff she had ever seen not of her kennel.  Peggy replied " Jones Gage One Roxie."

I do not know that Peggy really knew what she was doing In so far as genetics were concerned, but she was doing It anyway.  Her method of breeding was based on numbers.  She had many different looks In her kennel.  Many were sound, some were not real sound physically, but what drew me to her line was the out going temperaments they had.  This was Important to me and no easy trick with a kennel of 60 + Am Staffs In her runs.  You know they had little or no socialization, and still they wanted to be your friend.

Peggy was one of a kind.  She would have made a fine Am Staff, Except she wasn't nearly as stable as our dogs.  She acquired Ruffian Headlight Hal from Whitaker for Just being willing to take the dog off his hands.  Hal was very dog aggressive and hard to control.  Peggy was maybe 5'1 ", Whitaker was a big man, but Peggy grabbed the leash from Whitaker, took Hal Into the ring, won , and then she took him home.  I heard other stories about other dogs and how Peggy acquired them, Including Tacoma All-A- Blaze.  Knowing Peggy It might have been true.  I still pray for her.

Peggy Harper or Winnie Doris Harper was In AKC dogs from 1947 to 1977.  Remember Stud Book entries will always be a gear or two behind.

After Peggy's death Melvin Powdery took over for at least 3 months.  Richard Bell became Melvin' partner and soon had all the dogs to himself.  Richard used his dog Ruffian Hercules of Har-Wyn and produced many dogs For a good length of time Hercules was a top producer of champions.  Richard was soon forced out of Am Staffs.

In the late 60's and In the early 70's many players were active In the Ruffian arena besides Richard Bell.  Among these were Susan Rogers, Walter Patton Jr., O.L. Hill, Mr. D Mrs. Hartnet, and others.  Shortly before this were Hendrix Harper, William F. Peterson, Richard Pascoe, myself, and Charlie Lloyd.

Richard Pascoe had Ruffian dogs.  This was not Important to Dick.  Dick wanted good obedience dogs and that he had . Dick' strain went heavily Into Indian Doc type dogs.  Doc was a big winner.  Indian Doc was a winner In more than one arena.  Dick then bred Into Ruffian Hercules . The dogs were Impressive and to my view he produced one of the very best I've ever seen, Whiterock Grover.  One of Grover's daughters, Penny, when bred to her uncle, Bomber, produced a group of dogs that made Dick famous for years.  Among these dogs were Whiterock Perry the Fridge and Rounder's Whiterock Azure Some remnants of that breading still exist.  Dick slowly Introduced Ruffian Rolls mixes along with some Tacoma Into his line.  Currently he has few, If any, of the purest Ruffians one can have.  However, Dick really likes what he Is producing, and can anyone fault that.

Wm. F. Peterson brought with him a strain of Crusader dogs That was as pure as driven snow.  Bill called his line Wlllynwood. 01 hill also used Ruffian Hercules as a stud.  Wow!  The offspring were just great Brae Bull Adam of Topstaff, Wlllynwood Liberty Belle, Wlllynwood Blue Lotus, and too many more to name.  Bill next bred Into Ruffian Red Rock of Har-Wyn and had good dogs, but not as good as Bill wanted.  Bill started brooding Into Ruffian Rolls Mixes and I think he Is happy with what he Is getting, but his pure Ruffians are no longer, at least I can't find them.

O.L. Hill, this man was not a show person first.  He did know how to be effective at showing.  In my view he was very Interested In what the breed was supposed to be " the original function".  He started off with a Ruffian dog Ruffian Harper of Har-Wyn.  Harper was out of Sky King and a Sky King daughter.  He bought Ruffian Chita from heavy old Ruffian blood.  Next he bought females from other lines ( Ruffian the line was not Important to Mr. Hill as function was) . Mr. Hill also used the dog Heffiers Maccaundo from my old line.  However, to stay on his place, the dog had to function and the Ruffians were the ones who stayed.  I think only one female from other strains was breed at O.L.'s place.  While the Ruffian line was not Important to O.L. his Concho dogs remained the strongest Ruffian till the end.

I think Susan Rogers had one of the better concepts concerning what the Ruffian line was, or at least as to how a dog should look (for the show anyway).  Susan's main dog was Ruffian Sky Bolt of Har Wyn (Ruffian Red Rack of Har-Wyn sire).  She picked him up as the Har Wyn kennel was being destroyed.  She also put Ruffian Hercules of Har-Wyn Into her line.  She didn't realize how closely related these two dogs were.  However, she may be responsible for as many good looking dogs as Anyone.  Some of her more impressive dogs were Herks Harper, Tryarr Strawberry Fields, and others.  Her Tryarr line was maintained pure for the relatively short time she was In Am Staffs. The Hartnets were not In dogs very long.  They did produce Mountshire's Barn Bass a fine dog.

Walter Patton Jr. did know who to listen to.  His major claims to fame were brooding Atchley's Fanny to Ruffian Red Rock of Har-Wyn.  This produced Skillet, Josephine, and Lucy Belle.  I think his pride presented him from repeating the brooding.  He had some other successes but nothing that matched his first litter.  He really didn't care about the Ruffian line just success.  Walter did a lot of brooding and spread his dogs around quite well.  At present he Is not In Am Staffs.

Ruth Alexander developed her Atta Boy and Atta Girl line from mingling the Har-Wyn strain with the Gallant Strain.  She produced many a good looking stylish dog.  She has more Gallant blood than any of us within the strain.
 

Rudy and Nancy Estevez owned Ruffian Red Rock of Har -Wyn.  They owned Ruffian Little Herc of Har-Wyn, a dog Hendrix and I took to help our Ruffian blood.

Hendrix Harper understands genetics as well or better than anyone.  In fact he Is the one that sold me on keeping the line pure.  He Introduced me to Dr. Roy Fangue, a Genetics professor at Texas A&M . Roy sold me on Quantitative Genetics . Hendrix was already using It.  Hendrix could predict things that did come true, and I was Impressed with the predictions, If not the offspring.

Hendrix was In part responsible for Ruffian Harper of Har-Wyn.  He was also the breeder of Ruffian Texas Queen.  Later he produced Tonkawa Big Tex.  Big Tex has been used over and over.  The results are still out on the dog, but I am betting on him.  His line Is the Tonkawa line and he maintains some Interest In the purest of Ruffians.  He has other dogs with backgrounds other than pure Ruffian.  No matter which dogs you ask Hendrix about, he Is pleased with where his dogs are. 

Gigi & Jerry Rooney had the Rowdytown line.  This line was based on Skillet.  They had branched off Into a strain that was not as pure (they were being successful with those dogs) as what could be, but realized what the Ruffian line was and came back to It.  This was a major show of faith.  These two made the Ruffian line popular again.  If the line Is to be maintained they should have major amounts of the credit.  These two were responsible for Rowdytown Hard Rock Cafe, Can Am's Iron Skillet, and too many others to mention.  Jerry Is out of Am Staffs right now but Gigi continues.

Now as to myself, I really had no clear cut vision of what I was doing In the mid/to late 60's as I showed, and from time to time bred my bitch.  However, after I listened to Dr. Ray Fangue at a seminars I began to formulate a plan of action.  Dr. Fangue, when asked about out crossing responded, "why would you want to." After listening to responses, Dr. Fangue countered with two basic answers.  One If you like the other guys dogs better than yours leave yours behind and get the other guys. ( You don't want to be Mixing up the hidden genes.) Two If your line Is lacking a trait find the best dog within your line ( Insofar as that trait Is concerned) and use that dog to improve your line slowly.  Now Dr. Fangue made a lot of other points about the form of genetics he works with (Quantitative Genetics) . but It would take too much space to put all his points down.  People have written books about the subject. To be blunt about this breeding program, It does have some down sides, but It h
as been fun trying to overcome the genetic bottle necks and polygenetic difficulties. 

While I do feel we are making progress, I must admit that progress will be cyclical and not always steady.

Now as to some ups and downs already experienced by me, Ruffian Gentleman's Gem (Man) was Best of Breed at the STCA specialty.  After Man I had few dogs that I was pleased with, some of the displeasure was due to some out crossing I did and some was due to poor selection on my part.  In fact, Hendrix and I were breeding dogs strictly on paper and we were very unsuccessful all because we put little emphasis on selection.  After that I realized It takes good dogs as well as a good program to have what you want.

Rounder's Top Sergeant was a big boost.  I admit Ruffian Gentleman's Gem was as much luck as skill, and at least as much of Peggy's planning as mine.  Sergeant was the result of breeding my best pal, Ruffian Sunset of Romar, to Whiterock Grover.  Sunset, or "Hope as I called her, can be traced back directly to Mr., Harriman and Whitaker dogs.  I used Hope and her daddy, Ruffian Little Herks of Har-Wyn as much as I could.  At that time I believed I could still salvage the old strain before Sky King and the other Infusions.  Unfortunately, I could create no Interest and the dream disappeared.

However, the line still was strong If you considered the west coast strains, Sky King, Crusader, and Gallant as part of the Ruffian strain.  I did. Now A dream Is born. As the Skillet, Lucy, and Josephine litter was Important for Walter Patton.  The breeding of Rounder's Dotty to Rounder's Casey was a life saver for Rounder's kennel.  In the early to mid 80's I had lost almost all of my stock to a virus.  I had only two pups left.  However, my brother had Dotty and a friend had Casey.  By a quirk of fate I was given both back.  The two produced the best litter I had up to that point (except perhaps Grover to Hope).  Not only were we alive, we were competitive.  Until that time we were holding on by the skin of our teeth.  We have had many good litters since Dotty to Casey, but most of these go back to Dotty &, Casey.

Dotty can be traced back to Ruffian Gentleman Gem (Man) who had a big dose of Sky King and the old Ruffian blood.  Dotty also has a dose of Concho blood which was very similar to Man.  Rounder's Casey Is the result of Lucy Belle and Stanley.  Stanley was the last of the old time Ruffians.

I did manage to pick up Dinah Girl from Mr. Bally's stock In Laredo, TX. ( I found out later what they were being used for the original function), Dinah went back to my old stock (Man).  Dinah produced some pups for us and led to a female ( Rounder's Pokey) who was what this breed should be, In the mind at least.

Rounder's White Rock Azure came from Dick Pascoe's kennel.  This was one of his last pure breeding  But Azure, while not being prolific, did produce Rounder's Blackheart, and this girl has a lot of what I want In an Am Staff.

Hendrix produced a male Tonkawa Big Tex and he may have even been too hot even  for me, but, oh my, was he good looking.  He had a look that was very Intense and you know he accepted no trash form any dog.  I bred him to as many of my bitches as I could

During the decade of the 80's I had few dogs and a smaller market.  The Ruffian line was down to about 25 dogs of the purest blood.  While Hendrix and Dick still had a few ( purest of Ruffians) It was obvious that their plans lay elsewhere.  I knew there were others, but where?  The answer came at a STCA specialty held In Louisville Ky.  In the Mid 80's.

I had searched for any who had these few purest of Ruffians none of the owners were Interested, except for Jerry &, Gigi Rooney.  These folks did a lot of work researching where the Ruffians were.  Sometimes we were successful, sometimes we were not.  One example of what happened was Jerry getting a female from Bill Harbor who had a number of these Ruffians from O.L. Hill, but was only mildly Interested In what we were doing.  Jerry also had great luck recruiting young, eager people to join the program, something I could not do.

The Rooney's sold to Ruth Prehn.  Ruth started a line known as Ledgerock.  Her dog Ledgerock's Copper Corn was a superior dog.  Unfortunately I have not found him In any of our purest of Ruffian pedigrees. Ruth's fabulous moving female Rowdytown's Jazz of Ledgerock Is behind much of the Rowdytown stock.  Ruth's stay In the breed was short, about ten gears In the 80's.  However, Ruth has gone on to become an AKC Judge.

I have built my line based on having physical and mental soundness.  I have been faulted on not having more type or on not even developing a type.  To me physical and mental soundness are the correct type and all else Is secondary.  I am at this time slowly developing a type but making sure that we don't lose soundness.

I should mention that Eric Jackson has brought some solid dogs that go back Into the Tryarr and Gallant strains.  This should make the line stronger.  Eric also has some of the remnants of the pure side of the Whiterock dogs.  Eric's Tryarr dogs were brought In from Jane Robello.  Eric acquired them after Jane died.  He also has a fraction of my stock.

Jerry and Gigi brought In Keith Monske, Lisa Jenkins, Jodi Petiach, Randi Holtzman, Eric Jackson and others.  These folks have recruited other bright face too numerous to mention. 

We have as many or more people with these Ruffian dogs now than we had Ruffian Dogs In the middle of the 80's . Things look good now with many young outstanding dogs on the way, but who knows what will happen next.  I can tell you this- I am excited about going down this chosen path with this group of people, they are quality.  

At present, I believe we are starting a period of Improvement.  How much, will be hard to predict.  We just do not know the limits of the line.  I am seeing a great number of good ones, and they should lead us to even better ones.  Whatever happens, I am satisfied that we have done the best job we could, and the effort was well worth making.

The History of The American Staffordshire Terrier
The American Staffordshire can be traced with reasonable certainty to late 18th Century England. Bull Baiting, a variety of other baiting sports, and dog fighting were all common pastimes. In an effort to produce ever more efficient fighting machines. Numerous crosses between bulldogs and working terriers were carried out over a period of several decades. The products of these crosses as early as 1806 bear a striking resemblance to today's American Staffordshire Terrier. Keep in mind that breeds as we know them today did not exist until well into the 19th century.

Bulldogs pictured in "The Sporting Magazine" from 1798 to 1824 also resemble today's American Staffordshire Terrier far more closely than the modern Bulldog. In 1835 with the passage of Cruelty to Animals Acts, Baiting, Dog Fighting and other blood sports were driven underground. About 1860, the white Bull Terrier emerged as a distinct off shoot of the basic Bull-and-Terrier. The originator of this cousin of our American Staffordshire Terrier was James Hinks. James Hinks bred the white Bull Terrier using a combination of bull and white terrier and Dalmatian, white English Terrier. Hinks had success in the pit with this "White Cavalier". There is no hard evidence however that the Bull Terrier has been used for that purpose more than occasionally since the mid-19th century. In the early 1900's the coloured Bull Terrier was developed by crossing the white Bull Terrier back to the Pit Bull.


The Breed in the United States
1850-1930
Many dog were brought to this country before 1860. For example, the great dog Spring was imported by McCaffrey in 1857. Abut 1880, "Cockney" Charlie Floy imported Paddy and Pilot. Both destined to win


fame in the fighting pits of the northeast. In 1898 the United Kennel Club was founded in Kalamazoo, Michigan, by C. Bennett for the purpose of registering the American Pit Bull Terrier. Owned by such famous persons as John L. Sullivan and Theodore Roosevelt, making the breed one of the most popular dogs during the first quarter of the Century."Pete" the famous dog with the ring around his eye of the "Our Gang Comedies" was the first staff registered by the American Kennel Club in 1936. The American Pit Bull Terrier Club, founded in 1921 in Clay Center, Kansas, published a standard from which our present day standard is derived. It should be noted that while the American Pit Bull Terrier and the American Bull Terrier was being developed in this country, the English continued to develop their version of the Pit Bull. This dog distinctively smaller and some what different type, was recognized in 1935 by the British Kennel Club under the name Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

Modern History
By 1930 a number of fanciers of the American Pit Bull Terrier began to work toward American Kennel club recognition. The man most responsible for achieving recognition was Wilfred T. Brandon. The original petition was under the name "American Bull Terrier" was denied, at least in part. At this time, Captain Will Judy, publisher of "Dog World" magazine proposed the name "Yankee Terrier" this was also denied. A compromise was therefore reached and the breed recognized in 1936 as the Staffordshire Terrier. The final step in this long evolution of names occurred in the early 1970's as a result of the coming recognition by AKC of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. Thus the name AKC offered "American Staffordshire Terrier" as the final designation of the breed.

Please Acknowledge; The American Staffordshire Terrier. Published in 1977 by: H.Richard Pascoe

Grooming
The American Staffordshire Terrier is an average shedder with a short, smooth coat. A bath or dry shampoo should only be given when necessary. Otherwise, daily brushing with a firm bristle brush followed by a wipe down with a towel will keep them clean and shiny.

Some Health Problems
Hip Dysplasia - (abnormal development of hip joints referred to as CHD Canine Hip and Elbow Dysplasia)

Life Expectancy - 10 – 12 years
Origin - United States ( 1800's )
Usage: Herding, hunting wild pigs, hogs,bears, and large game Bull baiting and dog fighting
Weight: 55 - 65 Pounds
Height - Males: 18 to 19 inches at shoulders
Bitches: 17-18 at shoulders

 

 

Joe Corvino

Joe Corvino was one of the most famous dogmen in the history of the breed. Joe began his breeding program in the late 1920's, he started from dogs of Feeley, Tudor's and Shipley's lines and also from Armitage x Tonn's crosses. He bred numerous outstanding specimens, his gamedogs played a very important role in the history of the American Staffordshire.

Some of Joe Corvino’s most notable American Staffordshire’s are Corvino's Braddock  Corvino's Shorty  Corvino's Thunder and Corvino's Gimp -  

Joe Corvino bred National Specilaty Winner of 1939, Westminster Winner of 1940 Ch. Sox of Chicago (Corvino's Dick x Corvino's Darky) that was whelped on March the 1st, 1938.

In H. Richard Pascoe’s (The Little Red Book) "The American Staffordshire Terrier" printed in 1977, he mentions that there are five major lines in the foundation of the American Staffordshire Terrier. Tacoma, X-pert, Ruffian, Crusader, and "California" which is not actually a line, but a combination of lines.

John Fonseca on the left, Al Brown of Tacoma Jack fame in the Middle and Howard Heinzel (Colby x Corvino) on the right.

The Tacoma line was developed by Charles Doyle of Winamac, Indiana and Al Brown of Modesto, California beginning with the whelping of Gr. Ch. Brown’s Tacomja Jack - in 1927. The Tacoma line was influenced by Corvino blood early in its history and was known for its courage and working ability.

Using Tacoma Jack and Brown’s Judy, Al Brown produced a number of outstanding dogs. Several of these, including Tacoma Jack’s Replica - were sent to Charles Doyle. Using Tacoma Jack’s Replica and other Tacoma dogs, Charles Doyle produced a long line of sound dogs with the infusion of Corvino’s Braddock  and Corvinos’s Shorty

Some of the best included Ch. Young Joe Braddock, Ch. Doyle’s Tacoma Disaster I, Ch. Doyle’s Tacoma Disaster II, AKC Ch. Kane Tacoma Blaze, and AKC Ch. Tacoma All-A-Blaze -  and Ch. Tacoma Frivolous Sal, owned by Howard and Janice Hadley, who won the National Specialty in 1954. Subsequently Tacoma crosses have been important in all other major American Staffordshire Terrier lines.

Al Brown and Gr. Ch. Brown's Tacoma Jack . Jack was born in 1927.

Tacoma Jack Replica . Jack Replica was born in 1936.

 

Mr. Doyle, who was active in the National Club both as a board member and long-time Secretary, strongly believed in keeping the American Staffordshire Terrier as game and functional as possible. Of all the American Staffordshire Terrier lines, the Tacoma dogs have easily the most outstanding record for courage and capability

 

God watches over all things."

 

 

The Character in Modern Am Staf - by Paco Zanoia

In 1956, W. T. Bill Brandon in his first book on the Breed of Cliff Ormsby quoted the following character description - the same which almost twenty years ago he used as the presentation in the American Kennel Club for the typical character of this very particular Terrier - in order to request the official recognition.

"The Stafs will hunt, go to ground with the same zest as any other terrier, make excellent guard dogs, good farm dogs, are not too large for the apartment; and the surprising part is that they seem almost immune to all the trivial dog ailments having exceptionally strong constitutions, because the breed has never been a pampered one, and has always been all dog.
The breed's unswerving loyalty to master and household is sufficient within itself to gain the admiration of the most demanding. They will guard your home or protect your car, and do it with an air of authority that counts. They crave their master's attention, and ask no better place than to be by his side. They thrive on affection and return it fourfold. While their determination of purpose never wavers, they have no competitors as pals and guardians for children. I know of no other breed of dog that I would rather trust with the care and protection of my children. They are unbelievably tolerant and dependable in this respect. They are large enough and strong enough so that the children can't pull them apart. With children they relish being part of the fun and want to be considered a companion to absorb the child's overflow of animation. They can bear the brunt of short tempers without resentment or without having their spirits broken, and they will always come back to lick the administrative hand. In no other breed is there present such a remarkable combination of gentleness, camaraderie, and reliability."



Almost 75 years has passed and for what I am concerned I will not change a word about the description of the ideal character for the modern Am Staf, on the contrary, I sympathize each word of the great Bill Brandon and of our

"Founding Fathers".

It is thanks to these men and others before them, the breeders of the first imported crossbreed, the famous

"Old Time Breeders"

of Pit Bull (E. Tudor, J. Corvino, J. Colby, Al Brown, etc.); people that had surely contributed to create the so call

"The Grand Old Breed"

, through the

"All-American Dog"

transmitted till today, in the modern American Staffordshire Terrier, the typical characteristics of temperament, courage and boldness which probably we would not have without the work, sometimes "uncivil" (from today's point of view) of these people of other time, and of different dog-loving vision.

The firm basic character of these dogs is surely due to the particular temperament. In order to understand the structure we absolutely need to assimilate this simple and at the same time complex concept: ' if your Am Staf is not "Gameness", it will never have the perfect temperament of its specie. Consequently, its character, as whole, will not be typical.'
Let me make an example. The famous musician Duke Ellington said that in order to descript the magic of the music masterpieces: 'which existed and is going to exist thanks to the fact that they have

"Swing"

and that all the others that does not possess this element has no meaning at all (It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing).'
The synonyms of Swing are: oscillation, rocking. For the people who are interested in art and music with knowledge, they will recognize the wording of Mr. Ellington the essence of something - which is not mathematically explainable. Describing the typical character of an Am Staf I agree and somehow also paraphrase the same concept:' it will have the ideal character and even more than typical one only if it can demonstrate that it possesses the "Gameness".'
In reality the word gameness in dog-loving jargon has a very wide interpretation. From the origin of our dogs, somebody would like limit the meaning to the capability and the ability of the dog to defeat each other in a fight. In fact, as some of us know and, after 50 years of breeding Am Staf my mentor Bill Peterson teaches us: "The gameness is the expression from the dog through the extreme confidence and the desire to please it human master. They are its own will, the capability and the readiness to complete a work, in spite of how it could be discouraging and painful, to make the dog gameness".
With this presumption, I write, without fear of being deny, that Am Staf possesses some psychological characteristic which very little other recognized dog breeds have, and thanks to the great versatility of work, it can be used as a household dog, guard dog, Civil Defence dog, defence dog, in Pet Therapy, and even used in the sport activities like Obedience and Agility. The objective of each serious breeder should be the one of never losing the temperament and consequently the typical character of the breed, and therefore preserving its reliability, stability, friendliness and, above all, typical reluctance of Am Staf to bite or to attack people.

The American Staffordshire Terrier should be totally reliable and loyal. It is not the type of dog that wags its tail and then bites, or gaze carefully with semi -closed eyes, with lowered ears, a face slightly turned away, the tail between the legs, the hair upright. Am Staf greets unknown people with attention, determination, not hostile but interested and thoughtful: it should be a direct glance, loyal, interrogative, and intelligent. The frankness of the dog transpires in the total faith in human. We could almost say that it is like an ingenuous young boy, ready to grant credit and affection to the people that present themselves as friends; sometimes it remains disappointed, it shows its disappointment with a surprised, interrogative and saddened glance. But its nice temperament will help it to overcome easily the bad experience, and it will return rapidly to be a cheerful and enthusiastic dog as always: only that the next time it will be more careful to grant its faith to the others. It is really the strong temperament that makes the Am Staf particularly balanced in its behaviour. A typical Am Staf will never refuse its own master, nor a child or a person with physical problem: due to this reason Am Staf has great result in the Pet Therapy.

An insecure, slothful, nipping, disloyal, neurotic American Staffordshire Terrier is to be considered

an atypical of the breed

, and is always to be penalized severely and anywhere it is found and it is to be removed from the reproduction. The intelligence of this breed is formidable. Averagely they are the dogs that understand all and are particularly predispose to training: not in the least they excel in the test where it is requested rapid comprehension and mnemonic capability, like Agility and Obedience. But Am Staf expresses its intelligence also in the daily life, in the cohabitation with human; it sometimes demonstrates in a surprising way its capability of reasoning. Other aspects which are common to all the Am Staf are love and happiness of living. The American Staffordshire Terrier is a cheerful dog, friendly, affectionate, exuberant, skittish. Above all it loves to be with its master, and it is even better if it can live in a family, where there is also children, with whom it loves to play with in proportion to the physical possibility of its little friends. Being in a family is important for your Am Staf, which will have way to develop its own formidable character. Each of them has its own personal characteristic, but all of them have a great love towards the family members, and, although expressing in a different intensity, they demonstrate their feelings in a clear way which sometimes, is also touching. There is the one that follows you everywhere, participate in the domestic life, it rubs itself continuously against your legs; another which might only follow you with its sweet and tender glance from its kennel, maybe waving its tail when you pass it by; another express all its affection by biting you delicately with its teeth. In any case, each of them has its way, but all of them will let you know unequivocally that they love you. Loyalty, courage, intelligence and love towards its master are the commune characters of all typical American Staffordshire Terrier; then, each individual will express itself according to its temperament. After more than twenty years with these marvellous dogs I feel that I can conclude also this note on their character defining it: "ideal for many people, but surely not for everybody."

 
Interview with Paco Zanoia - De Paco's Am Staf - by CEAST

1) FOR WHAT REASON AND WHEN DID YOU START TO KEEP AND BREED AM STAFF?

The precise motivation for which I have decided to breed this Dog was the consequence of the study of more then ten years and the attendance which I had from the late 80s in the USA. Attending the exhibition of AKC and in particular seeing some Am Stafs presented by John McCartney at that time, it was born and created, inside myself, something important and ambitious which bought me, after 10 years, to breed my first litter alone. Only after having evaluated my breeding program, guided by the mentors like my dear friend John.

2)COULD YOU DESCRIBE, FROM YOUR POINT OF VIEW, THE IDEAL TYPE OF AMERICAN STAFFORDSHIRE TERRIER?

I believe that my ideal Am Staf is reflected fully in the "moderate-type" of Am Staf that the seminar of STCA recommends to all the breeders to pursue, both as how it is prepresented in its designed tables, and also in the ideal description dictated in its comment for the standard. All the best Am Stafs that I have seen in my life are moderate type. The male should be of moderate type "but, mannish and the female should be moderate type "but, feminine" in no case in front of these specimens I have had the necessity of controlling the gender - under the tail ;-). After saying this, always according to my point of view, I can never accept any compromise in the Temperament of our dogs: reliability, sociability, playfulness and above all reluctance in attacking people are the essential components in my ideal type of Am Staf.

3)IN YOUR BREEDING PROGRAM DO YOU PREFER THE OPEN BLOOD OR THE INBREEDING?

Depends.

4) WHY?

Depends on what I want and the aims that I have fixed in a certain phase of my breeding program. Each genetic treaty explains how to use in the best way the various selection techniques in blood relationship, it is not the theoretic answer that will bring to success in breeding Am Staf, our breed is a strain in the strain and all that normally works for instance for the Doberman we cannot obtain a satisfactory result with Am Staf. I believe that it is fundamental for us to have a deep knowledge in our re-producers' phenotype blood-line progeny.

5)IN THE CASE THAT YOU DO THE PAIRING WITH THE BLOOD RELATIONSHIP, TILL WHICH LEVEL? INBREEDING OR LINEBREEDING?

As previously mentioned when we have the personal and physical knowledge of our ancestors (direct or indirect relatives) of at least the last three generations (F1-F2-F3) then we can decide the adequate technique of selection; linebreeding or inbreeding or outcrossing or top crossing. Consequently to our choice we will have the correspondent grade of blood line.

6)COULD YOU EXPLAIN TO US ABOUT THE BLOODLINES THAT YOU HAVE USED SINCE THE BEGINNING OF YOUR BREEDING PROGRAM?

In the beginning I have mostly used the Am Stafs which are the descents of the bloodline "Sky King" date back to Sky king of Har-Wyn: son of X-Pert Rowdy Rascal. I have crossed this progeny with the lines "Northern Yuma","Major Thor" and "Humes Texas Jack", and they also derive prevalently from dogs of Cliff Ormsby (X-Pert). Only recently I have inserted also a descent which I have wanted it from some time, the"Knight Crusader" through the bloodline Willynwood of my teacher Bill Peterson. In anyway, every three or four generations "De Paco", I use and will use a very well fixed subject in outcross and anyhow coming from the "transparent" bloodline of which I can obtain documentation and access information through the registration of the American Kennel Club.

7)WHAT IS THE REASON ON THE EXPLANATION OF THE USE OF YOUR LAST RE-PRODUCTORS IN YOUR BREEDING PROGRAM?

Currently I am using in linebreeding my Waco to reinforce and fix my "maternal line". The main reason is that the male has excellent temperament, its physical health, is officially tested FCI HD-A so as its parents, it has an ideal size of 49cm at wither and it is exactly where I want to direct my descent. Last explanation, I want all my Am Staf to have a tail like its. Short respect to the size, lowly attached, which reminds us of the handle of the water pump in the old fountains. Moreover, it has that protrusion under the eye, is really "...abruptly below eyes" as requested from the standard AKC.

8)COULD YOU PLEASE TELL US BRIEFLY THE OFA/HD TEST IN THE BREEDING PROGRAMS?

OFA: Orthopedic Foundation For Animals, Hip Database. It is the reading used in the USA. A specie of 24 months pictured by radiograph from a qualify vet could obtain the OFA number only if its result fits the rule: OFA-E (Excellent) - OFA-G (Good) - OFA-F (Fair). For the FCI the recognized interpretation for the dyplasia of flank is HD which should be ideally corresponding to the grade HD-A(0) -HD-B(1)- HD-C(2). Even though it is "not compulsory", since the very beginning I have always controlled the dysplasia grade of my reproducer, I have been cautious on pairing only between the lower grades. I have avoided in all possibly way to put together a OFA-F with a HD-C and also a HD-C with a HD-C or a OFA-F with a OFA-F. When I have used these grades of dysplasia -which still fit the rules - I have done exclusively within the HD-A and / or OFA-E. The other possible remaining variants between HD-A and / or HD-B with OFA-E and / or OFA-G paired among them represent an excellent breeding program. The ideal, as mentioned, is to pair the ones without dysplasia among them. If you have any doubt, always ask for an advise from a qualify Vet for each decision that you are going to take in this subject.

9) FROM YOUR POINT OF VIEW, IN A PAIRING, IT IS MORE IMPORTANT THE MALE OR THE FEMALE? WHY?

As for the most part of the successful breeders that I have known, I too agree on the decisive importance of the female. In reality the female is dominant in the descent of the phenotype of open pairing. But only some outstanding males have given as much contribution to the offspring in the open pairing. See Tryarr Diamondback Redbolt, Patton Red Rock Skillet and White Rock Lone Star Dallas, to mention some of the most famous.

10) FOR A BREEDING PROGRAM DO YOU PREFER "FEMININE" FEMALE OR "MASCULINE" FEMALE? WHY ?

For my way of seeing the breed, the "masculine" female does not exist. As I believe I have already said this way to describe the female Am Staf has bought "out type"(on the wrong way) many breeders in the whole world. For the time being the standard does not speak of "transsexual type" ;-)..

11) COULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR IDEAL MALE?

It does note exist. I can tell You some of these Am Staf has came near for their qualitative characteristic: Patton RedRock Skillet for the right type, White Rocker Groover, One Stone Sonny De Paco and Willynwood Rockefellar for the temperament. Fraja EC Ruff Rider for the style and the class, De Paco XZ Buster Rascal for the movement, Ruffian Sky King of Har-Wyn for how it has re-produced. In other words my ideal male is purely "ideal"and it is my dream in the Breed.

12) MANY BREEDER DEDICATE MOST PART OF THEIR ATTENTION AND USE, OF SPECIMEN WITH PEDIGREE FROMED BY FAMOUS NAMES; HOW CAN YOU DEFINE ALL THIS OR BETTER, DO YOU PREFER GENOTYPE-PHENOTYPE OR PEDIGREE?

Phenotype! My motto for the Am Staf is: "what you see is what you get". I believe in what I was presented, the temperament that I find and, what I can see basing on my personal knowledge (know-how). In our breed, specimen with renowned pedigree is checked case by case before using them. The control of the dysplasia, the heart, the thyroid and the dentition for me are more important then any other recognition obtained in an exhibition (dog show).

13) WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE DOG SHOWS, ARE THEY NECESSARY?

Yes, they are. They are indispensable the Breed Specialty awarded by Expert Judge. These Judges, in order to become what they are, they should have contributed to the progress of our Breed with the selection and with irrefutable result in the breed in which they are now considered as Expert. The usefulness of the dog show depends on the preparation of the Judge and on their judgment.

14) WHAT GRADE OF IMPORTANCE YOU WOULD ASSIGN TO: TYPE, TEMPERAMENT, SOUNDNESS AND HEALTH?

Temperament, health, type and soundness.

15) WHICH IS THE TYPE FOR YOU?

De Paco XZ Hollywood GoldBolt is the obvious example of typical Am Staf.

16) WHICH IS THE SIZE THAT YOU PREFER IN A MALE AND IN A FEMALE?

When an Am Staf is in the right size, I should not be impressed by neither height nor its shortness of its limb. In the moment in which I note "not balance", I consider it wrong independently from 2cm more or less. In any case I love the Am Staf that has no exaggeration in the size. If all the circumstances are the same, I prefer that dog which is near to the maximum limit for the standard size.

17) DO YOU THINK THAT THE JUDGE SHOULD PENALIZE THE SPECIMEN WHICH IS OUT OF THE SIZE RECOMMANDED IN THE STANDARD?

As previously written, I believe that all of us know that it is 43-46 cm ca. for the female e of 46-49 cm ca. for the male, therefore if we are the breeders and judges that are seriously concern about this breed we should try our best not to lost sight of the requested standard. We should not breed dogs which are out of size and if it is tolerated by the judges, this should not be a fixed regulation. And if the Judge award the World Champion to a male of 56 cm or a female of 52 cm of whiter, do not worry about it, they will be remember, both the breeder and judge, as well for this issue. It happens, it will happen and it has already happened even though it should not be happening.

18) HOW CAN THE SIZE INFLUENCE THE MOVEMENT?

The front and the back construction of the dog influence the movement, the length of the trunk is even more influential. Also the height is itself is a con-cause.

19) FOR YOUR POINT OF VIEW, WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN THE MOVEMENT OF THE DOG?

It should not be rolling or pace nor should it amble. Personally I love those Am Stafs which have stretched but controlled trot, as if they were "big cats in movement, (action of crossing the road) keenly alive to their surrounding and very certain in their gait".

20) HOW DO PHYSICAL ACTIVITY OR EXERCISE INFLUENCE AN AM STAF?

The Am Staf is a born athletic and as such it needs physical activity and exercise. Swimming is the best form of exercise. The Am Staf should never be fat - not even in one day of its life.

21) WHAT ARE THE RECOMMANDED FEATURES ON THE HEAD OF AN AM STAF?

The head should not have a muzzle which is too short but medium length. The correct cranial axis of the face is the ones that are parallel or very lightly convergent. The convergence of the Am Staf is determined by the temperate movement of the facial muscles when the dog contracts the muscles to pay attention.

22) WHAT IMPORTANCE DOES THAT LACK OF TEETH (THE PREMOLAR) HAS IN THE AM STAFF?

The standard does not mention the complete dentition but it only limit itself in indicating the type of closures of the teeth which should be orthogonal (like scissors). For me it is very important that my champions has all the premolar, I would say it is one of the priority.

23) AS A BREEDER WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE COLOR?

Black and white like my De Paco XZ Hollywood Dream which in this moment after about 25 years is one of the best color that I have even seen personally. Then, the brindle mahogany of Gold Rush Seargent Striker, the blue brindle of Willynwood Bluebonnet Lady and the red with white of Lobotown Gold Membber. They are the color that I prefer to use in my breeding program.

24) DO YOU THINK THAT THE SPECIMENT WITH SOME SPECIAL COLOR HAS MORE ADVANTAGE OVER THE OTHERS IN THE DOG SHOW?

I don't think so. Although almost all that is not fawn or red are penalized by most of the judge in the dog show. Especially the black and blue color. All this is absurd and deleterious for the breed, the standard admits almost all the color combination and different type of markings.

25) DO YOU DISAPPROVE ON THE STANDARD POINT WHERE IT TALKS ABOUT THE 80% WHITE IN OUR BREED?

Yes for the 80% and no for the 20%.

26) WHY?

It is because the Am Staf white is not albino and nevertheless, the white in our breed is a solid color, a real color. It is also really impossible and little practical to fix a percentage on this issue.

27) AS A BREEDER, WHAT ARE THE MAJOR FAULTS THAT WE CAN ENCOUNTER IN OUR BREED NOWADAYS?

Top line and shoulder, according to my opinion, remain the foremost faults that 70% of the Am Staf can encounter. It is followed by the wrong head and terrible tails and, this can be encountered in the whole world. I believe that there are too many Am Stafs that are born randomly and improvised by the breeders.

28) PROVIDING YOUR OPINION, WHAT ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT IMPROVEMENT TO BE BROUGHT TO THE BREED?

In the selection of the Am Staf it is very easy to lost a quality than to fix one. For example, many users of the "Fraja EC" line (of John McCartney) famous for the excellent "type" and for the "beautiful shoulder" of its well know champions in only one combination it has lost the angulations and later almost all the remaining. I write this to answer objectively to the question. The improvement will be possible only if the decision makers are persons which are qualified and guided by good mentors. There should not be any improvisation with "The Grand Old Breed" We should entrust this to the person who has already been in this field for at least 20-30-40 years.

29) ACCORDING TO YOUR CRITERIA, WHAT KIND OF JUDGE DO YOU PREFER SPECIALIST OR ALL-ROUNDER?

Specialist or all rounder makes no difference, the important issue is the preparation of the Judge and his capability to recognize the best subject basing on the quality that it possesses, respecting, other than "defect", also the aim for which Am Staf is being selected, placing therefore more attention to the temperament and to the functionality. Knowledge, integrity, incorruptibility and lucidity that are demonstrated in the rings make the difference between a normal judge and a Judge to be preferred, and to which I will always re-bring my dogs back for a judgment.

30) HOW DO YOU SEE THE LEVEL OF THE AM STAFF IN EUROPE?

Definitely high. I have the opportunity to attend some Europe Specialties in the past months and the thing that has impressed me most is that from each Country that it is represented, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria and Russia some specimen which has a very high level and surely they have great possibility to win at the STCA American National Specialty.

31)AND IN SPAIN?

Very high, the Spanish breeding has contributed together with Italian in an further quality development of all the European level through the excellence importation from the United State and with the production of magnificent specimen: Bravi, good job!!

32) WHAT ADVISE YOU CAN GIVE TO THE FUTURE BREEDER?

To the future breeder I will recommend them not to improvise. Without a qualified and authoritative teacher or a mentor you cannot be good student and in the future, your time and your sacrifice will not give you the right reward. You will remain disappointed from what you don't know. The advise that I give you is to find mentors beyond the ocean from positive and qualified person. Personally, I owe all to Bill Peterson, Dick Pascoe, Hendrix Harper, Richard Gray, Wayne Brown, John McCartney, Fred Sindelar and Gigi Sager. I will never stop thanking them. Am Staf is an All- American Dog and I think that it is good to import, beside the dogs also its centenarian tradition and culture.

33) WOULD YOU LIKE TO ADD ANY OTHER THING?

One last prayer to all the fanciers: we should behave well in the society and in the dog show. We should keep a appropriate behavior, well mannered and correct, we should not permit our dogs to be associated to the "people will mental illness behavior" and we shall try, with our good action, to guarantee a bright future to this marvelous and insuperable ancient race: the American Staffordshire Terrier. Thank You, it was an honor for me to be interviewed by Your Club.
 
ALL AMERICANS - by Paco Zanoia

Does a dog look like its master? This very common expression usually doesn't harm anyone - except the dog. For my breed of American Staffordshire Terriers (Am Staf), even more than for other breeds, it's crucial that the person who selects the dog in the first place, and later the owners, should be both qualified and experienced. So in this respect it's fundamental that the training for this particular breed of dog should take place be broad and serious. It's true that most of the so-called "breeders" in Italy, the rest of Europe and America have no idea why the dogs which they keep at home mate, but perhaps they do know what they can hope to earn from the sale "the upshot of the mating". Having made that clear, I'll now continue in order to be of assistance to the around 20 percent of real lovers of the Breed, those who really care about its future.

There's no breed on earth that can boast such a rich, genetic inheritance as ours, all of which is amply documented in a good number of publications. On several occasions I've had a chance to illustrate the paths of "The Grand Old Breed" has trodden in the last century in a bid to achieve recognition by the A.K.C. - F.C.I. which has given it its most recent name of American Staffordshire Terrier. Today, as I am writing this article on "an American dog", I am listening to American music, namely Jerry Lee Lewis's latest record called "Last Man Standing". You might find what you&'re about to read surprising, but I hope it will help you to understand the spirit and reason behind the Am Staf which really is an "All-American Dog".

At the beginning of the 1950's in Memphis (Tennessee) a man called Sam Phillips opened a small recording studio, Sun Records. While Sam didn't have much money he did have a great deal of passion and wished to encourage young, up and coming musicians. It was from his tiny recording studio some fifty years ago that "rock and roll" emerged. Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison, Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis, to name just a few, were among its pioneers. They all had enormous talent, some were men of genius, they had open minds and shared one big passion: music and more music.

At that time in the United States there was a lot of racism - it was in people's everyday lives. Just imagine, then, when Sun Records started making discs by Whites and Afro-Americans musicians, without any distinction whatsoever. Then white musicians and singers began going to church to listen to sermons, gospel music and spirituals. This was the unbelievable revolution that allowed a group of determined people, with deep cultural origins to blend Jazz, Blues, Country, Hillbilly and Sacred Music into an all American music style that was later taken up and shared the world over. While the development was not always easy and without hiccups, today we still talk about rock'n'roll even if in a modern way.

As I listen to Jerry Lee - he's over seventy nowadays - singing "The Last Man Standing" accompanied song after song by the famous rock stars of the '60s, '70s and '80s, he gives me hope that one day in my field there'll be future "breeders" of Am Stafs, who before "recording" a litter, will have taken the trouble to study the breed, its origins and pedigree, its history and genetic mapping, and why not, seeing that some experienced and successful breeders are still around, they&'ll ask them for advice. Present-day dog breeding has no other references, except the Judge's opinion at dog shows and he - more often than not - is like a deaf music critic, or even worse, he hasn't the slightest wish to make himself understood.

Here's a piece of advice: you've got to leave behind the darkness of commonplaces (they're growing steadily more frequent) and if you've got a dream of becoming a dog breeder, this is one of the best dogs in the world that can fulfil your dream. Still you have to be sure that this is your kind of "musicdog". As for me, I'm going to carry on breeding and rearing exclusively Am Stafs as well as listening to Rock'n'Roll, probably because I know where "these particular Americans" come from and what they want. Okay, it's only "Staf'n'Roll"... but I like it!!!
Gameness, Aggression, and Prey Drive in Dogs


Gameness, Aggression, and Prey Drive in Dogs

In the following paragraphs it is my intention to delineate gameness, aggression, and prey drive in game dogs, particularly the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Pit Bull Terrier, and American Staffordshire Terrier with an admitted personal bias for the game bred dogs that we have bred and designed primarily for combat with each other. This does not constitute an endorsement for any activity contrary to the Animal Welfare Act of 1973 and is based upon my personal observations, experiences, and research.

I have had the distinct pleasure of knowing many breeds of dogs during my lifetime. The game breeds that I have personally been in contact with or lived with include the: American Pit Bull Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Bull Terrier, Boston Terrier, Scottish Terrier, Jack Russell Terrier, Bulldog, American Bulldog, Black Mouthed Cur, Catahoula, Presa Canario, and Argentinean Dogo to name only some. I have also been in contact with and lived with many non-game dogs such as the Rottweiler, Pug, Cocker Spaniel, Pointer, Chow, Poodle, Dachshund, German Shepherd, Boxer, Labrador Retriever, and mutts of various lineage. Please note that Terriers are listed as game dogs. It is my contention that the difference between the Terrier and Sporting groups are the specific hunting chores they were assigned, with the major exception of the Bull and Terrier breeds previously mentioned.

The previous list is by no means complete, but provides a sample of my experience with dogs. All dog breeds can be game, aggressive and have prey drive to some extent, but the Bull and Terrier breeds have the greatest degree of gameness and thus the need for a greater understanding of its origin, use, and uniqueness.

All dogs have some form of prey drive, an instinctive reaction to chase something that moves. Its original purpose was for capturing prey as wolves, foxes, and wild dogs still do now. One of the benefits of the domestication of the dog was his instinct to chase, and thus aid in our capture of animals. Chasing a ball, flying disk, cat, or person are current examples of a dog's prey drive. What a dog does when it catches the object depends upon the training, breed of dog, and the object being chased by the dog.

I have seen a Pointer retrieve quail that were still alive with barely a feather ruffled and a Miniature Dachshund that would attempt to destroy any object that moved including golf balls and bowling balls. Many of us have seen a dog that will play fetch with a ball until all parties involved are exhausted while other dogs will only watch the toy roll away. I have seen Labradors that would retrieve until the pads on their feet were raw and bleeding, and yet would whine and cry about being taken out of the hunt. Prey drive can be related to a dog's level of desire or willingness to follow a scent or movement but is not indicative of the level of a dog's aggression or gameness.

The game dog's prey drive is usually equal to or greater than that of most hunting or herding breeds. They tend to enjoy the chase and are very attentive to anything that is running away. Their behavior upon the capture, however, has been modified less than that of other groups, in that, they still want to kill the prey rather than just locating, moving, or fetching it. My Staffords always shake their "prey" upon picking it up and will make a great show of killing it before giving it to me. This common trait survives in most dogs, but has been retained to a greater degree in game dogs. In training Retrievers and Pointers, one of the most difficult tasks is developing a "soft mouth" to prevent them from chewing or eating the prey before returning it to the hunter. I once worked with a fine Pointer that would inevitably eat the first bird retrieved. No amount of training ever got him to give up the first bird; however, he would deliver the other birds with barely a feather out of place. Prey drive is simply the manifestation of the dog's instinct to hunt for its food and has been retained or attenuated to some extent in particular breeds to meet our purposes.

Aggression in dogs, particularly aggression toward people, tends to be a learned or trained behavior. As domesticated animals, dogs have lost or repressed their instinctive fear of humans, and thus view us as their equals. We have enhanced this behavior with breeding and training programs to enhance certain dogs desire to dominate man, particularly in many of the working breeds that have been specifically developed with traits for protection against human adversaries. Aggression and its symptoms have been specifically bred out of the game dogs.

Instinctively dogs avoid hostile confrontation. In wolves, dogs direct ancestors, there are none of the typical signs of aggression when they are attacking and killing prey. The signs that we see as aggressive in dogs are usually an attempt to avoid confrontation; examples are snarling, growling, barking, raised hackles, lowered ears and a tucked tail, all generally signs that the dog wants to avoid a fight. In essence the dog is saying, "Leave me alone, I'm big and tough and you don't want to fight me, I'm the boss", or "I'm scared." all in the attempt to avoid a fight and prevent injury to himself. Within their own packs, dogs will typically defer to the higher-ranking member of the pack with submissive behaviors indicated with a wagging tail, lowered head, licking of the face, or exposure of the belly and throat. We, as dog owners, are surrogate pack members and, if properly established, even a small child will outrank a dog in the pack hierarchy and elicit these signs of submission.

In game dog breeds, aggression towards humans has been deliberately bred out. His entire purpose in life was to combat another animal, not a human being. Using the fighting dogs as an example, it would be impractical to handle a dog during the heat of battle if his attention was drawn away from his adversary to the human that was attempting to pick him up. The dog that bit a handler would be immediately killed for his transgression and would definitely not be given the opportunity to breed this trait back into the breed.

In the fighting dogs, the typical signs of aggression previously mentioned were interpreted as cowardly and were a death sentence. It may be helpful to visualize the actual, not the perceived, events in a dog match. The following description is from historical records and rules governing such matches. There are some excellent books and Internet sites that have a more complete description.

The dogs were brought to the match and washed by the opposing handler to wash away any noxious substance that may have been put on the dog that would irritate or poison its opponent. The dogs were then washed in the same water and with the same cleaner, then dried. The dogs and the handlers would enter the pit and face into the corners away from their opponent. Typically a pit was a wooden structure at least 14 feet square with a canvas flooring material and walls approximately 2-3 feet high. Approximately 2 feet from the corner would be a line marked on the canvas, "the scratch line." There would also be a line dividing the pit in half from corner to corner.

The dogs were faced and released upon the judge's command. At this point, the facing, the dogs would tend to whine, whimper, or yelp with excitement. The records indicate that there were very few indications or signs of aggression on the part of the contestants. The snarling, barking, and raised hackles that typically accompany the meeting between other breeds were not seen in truly game dogs. They wanted nothing more than to battle with each other.

(my Staffords' wrestling frightens many people. Even as puppies they enjoy scuffling and working each other. They are not being aggressive. They are simply playing a game that they both understand and enjoy.)

The dogs would meet and attempt to best their opponent. When one would get a major advantage or one would turn its head and shoulders away from his opponent, a turn would be called and the dogs would be separated for a scratch. The dog that turned or was at the disadvantage would be released while his opponent was held. The dog then typically had a ten count to get up to his opponent's scratch line and cross it. If and when one dog refused to "scratch," the contest was over. Sometimes one dog would "bolt the pit" or jump out to avoid the fight. Again the dog that bolted would be announced the loser. The contest in a dogfight was not which dog could kill the other as much as it was to see which dog would refuse to quit. It was a contest of gameness, not aggression. A dog that snarled, tucked its tail, or in any way attempted to avoid the fight was labeled a cur, typically along with its ancestors. This is not to say that dogs were never killed in the pit or died as a result of the injuries there from, but that it was not the intention of the contest. A dog that was killed or defeated, but never turned and always attempted to make scratch was considered "Dead Game" and was highly prized for his gameness if not his ability.

Thus, overall, aggression on the part of a dog is not an indication of prey drive and is the antithesis of gameness.

Gameness is a willingness to succeed or overcome, no matter what hardship must be endured. A game dog is determined to beat its opponent, no matter what odds are stacked against it, even unto death. The quality of gameness should not be confused with prey drive or aggression, in a nutshell gameness is simply the will to win. This trait cannot be taught to a dog or a man. It is an innate quality extremely difficult to reproduce in dogs, yet one of the easiest to lose. As we breed for conformation in the Bull and Terrier breeds, we should not sacrifice gameness for the sake of conformation. This invisible inherited trait makes our breeds unique. It also passes on the steadfast rock-steady temperament that has made our dogs such wonderful companions.

Gameness remains one of the most admired characteristics. The will of American fighting men to overcome hardship, adversity, and insurmountable odds has provided the freedoms that we enjoy and the successes we have achieved. In dogs, gameness shows up in their will to accomplish the tasks we assign to them. Whether it is finding a lost child in the wilderness for the Bloodhound, retrieving a downed bird in frigid water for the Retriever, making scratch with a broken stifle for the Bull and Terrier, or catching a wild boar for the American Bulldog; our faith is renewed and our admiration for "man's best friend" increases when our dogs are game enough to perform the duties for which they were bred.

Paul Skelton