Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Early Ancestry Part 4/End

At the risk of stating the obvious, the Bull Terrier differs significantly from the Staffordshire Bull Terrier both physically and mentally.  While neither height nor weight limits are specified for the Bull Terrier, the breed is generally taller and heavier than the Stafford.  The heads are completely different; the Stafford has a distinct stop between the skull and muzzle; the Bull Terrier is downed face.  The Stafford has round eyes set to look ahead and rose ears; the Bull Terrier's eyes are placed obliquely, are triangular and deep-set, and it has prick ears.
Bull Terrier enthusiasts tell us that their breed's type of eye is preferable in a fighting dog and that the Bull Terrier's head is more suitable for fighting.  I doubt it.  Although, in theory, the eye of the Stafford may appear more vulnerable, the general head conformation, with its broad skull and pronounced cheek muscles, make it a harder-biting dog; it also has greater agility and tenacity.
During the early part of the twentieth century there certainly appears to have been a great deal of crossing the two breeds, and photographs of this period show numerous specimens which seem to have Stafford bodies and Bull Terrier heads.  This is one of the reasons why even today we produce the occasional Stafford noticeable lacking the necessary 'stop' between skull and muzzle.
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier Club's first officers were two breeders who were later to influence the progress of not only the club, but also the breed; Jack Barnard was elected president and Joe Dunn became secretary.  Jack Barnard divided his canine interests between Staffords and Bull Mastiffs and was always willing to share his firsthand knowledge of the early days of the breed.  Although not universally acknowledged, Barnard affirmed that it was his dog Jim the Dandy which became the blueprint from which the first Breed Standard derived.  At this time Jim the Dandy was a mature dog, nearly 3 years old, standing 17.5 in at the shoulder and weighing 33 lbs.  The circumference of his skull was 17 in, which is relatively small compared with today's dogs; indeed, not only was the original Standard amended in 1948 but a different type of dog has evolved in the forty-six years since the Club was originally formed.
Ch Gentleman Jim, the breeds first dog champion

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