Friday, 19 July 2013

Early Ancestry Part 1

From the book: this is the STAFFORDSHIRE BULL TERRIER by W.M. Morley 1982

Although it is possible to trace the early history of dogs - if somewhat tenuously - from about 3000 BC, the further we go back into time, the less accurate our information.
Some type of dog has presumably been kept by the human race since earliest times, but the Romans make the first recorded attempt to classify their dogs into categories which make sense even today.  The three groups were all entirely functional - hunting dogs, shepherding dogs and watch dogs.  It was probably much later when an official sporting group appeared, although no doubt dogs were used even at this time for some types of sporting activity.
Early Britain was supposed to be famed for a large breed know as a "mastyve" of "mastiff", which appears to have been an indigeneous breed, although some records indicate that the Bulldog existed at that time.  Whether or not they were variations of the same breed is difficult to determine.  Certainly Bulldogs, or "Butchers' Dogs" as they were sometimes known, existed during the twelfth century and were used for bull baiting, a sport which continued for over six hundred years.  Many changes occurred during this period, and the original large, mastiff-type animal, which was used to fight against an untethered bull, was replaced by a lighter dog, which attacked tethered bulls and relied on agility, as well as strength, to accomplish his task.
The term "terrier" appears to have been used somewhat generically to identify any smaller breed of dog that may have been used for a variety of purposes.  It is against this somewhat ragged backcloth that we must endeavour to trace the early history of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

Pennylane Litter #1

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