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APBT blood in "old time" Staffordshire bull terriers

Discussion in 'Staffordshire Bull Terriers' started by JBL, Jan 31, 2014.



    Re: APBT blood in "old time" Staffordshire bull terriers

    ...some people are trying to breed the big roman nose back out (which could be done over time).....can be interesting all-right....
  2. Chris S

    Chris S Pup

    Re: APBT blood in "old time" Staffordshire bull terriers

    Some of the best EBT I've seen recently are at a place called California catchers. He hunts with everything he has. Nice dogs.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  3. Tigerlines

    Tigerlines Banned

    Re: APBT blood in "old time" Staffordshire bull terriers

    Not true, "American" was added as a prefix to the "pit bull terrier" by a for profit invented American registry dating back to 1898.

    The "Stafford" as a prefix associated with both the "bull dog" and the "pit bull and terrier" is on record much earlier than 1898.

    The reason why the "Staffordshire" prefix wasnt added to the "bull terrier" name until 1935 was that it was an outlawed breed for a long since outlawed sport(1835),it was added to denote the original "bull terrier" the "pit bull & terrier" from its all white cousin.

    The reason why this was even necessary by 1935, to seek recognition from a registry, is that the their had been considerable cross breeding between the Stafford and the white Bull Terrier to produce the coloured Bull Terrier which was a very profitable business for both the Bull Terrier breeders who had long held sway in the KC and peddlers looking for profit, to export to Great Britains former colonies America,Canada,Australia,South Africa,India,Pakistan ect,which is where you get the name EBT from as well the APBT and the AST ,as well as jock of the bushveld and the Pakistani gull terr and the kohati bull terrier.

    This forced the non KC affiliated private club to issue a standard of points in identity(which later became the first standard),to distinguish the original from the White Bull Terrier and the coloured Bull Terrier.

    If you look at the foundation dogs of the APBT they are very close to the original SBT standard, and many of the original white and coloured Bull Terriers are very close to the ADBA APBT standard.
    david63 likes this.
  4. Dusty Road

    Dusty Road CH Dog

    Re: APBT blood in "old time" Staffordshire bull terriers

    Staff bull terrier is a made up KC name to do with the show people who campaigned to have dog recognized .... you think the dog only came from Staffordshire ,,,? they ware in every big city in Britain and Ireland ,,,the KC history of most dogs is always took as truth as books ware mostly written by show people ,,,when KC history is mostly made up ,..
    david63 likes this.


    Re: APBT blood in "old time" Staffordshire bull terriers

    ...there was pit-dog's around of all shapes and size's .....long before any kennel club was founded....the staff in the islands was fecked up,cause fashion dictated the size to get smaller/etc/no game-test/etc...if you look at the first staf's to be registered in uk/ireland....there is a major difference than those to-day,they have some of the old guy's turning in there graves.....????...the standards were the same basicly back in the 30's..for the ast and the sbt...the american standard was taken off a colby dog...which was a pit-dog...???
  6. Tigerlines

    Tigerlines Banned

    Re: APBT blood in "old time" Staffordshire bull terriers

    If you use the search function, you will find the name "Staffordshire Bull Terrier" pre dates 1898 disproving your theory.

    If you wish to make the claim dogs were in every major city in Britain and Ireland,for your point to have any relevance,you must prove from authentic sources they were distinct from Staffords.

    Who were these show breeders pushing for recognition pre 35?
    david63 likes this.
  7. Tigerlines

    Tigerlines Banned

    Re: APBT blood in "old time" Staffordshire bull terriers



    I have often be asked this question by people who have corresponded me over the past few years.Basically by those who have been introduced to the breed by friends who happen to own one.

    To answer this question i can only give my own opinion from my own experiences with the breed,and from the experience and knowledge of the old timers of the present day and before my time.

    The staffordshire Bull Terrier is of ancient origin and descends from the bulldog and the white English terrier of the late 17th century,and in early days was referred to as the bull and terrier or pit dog.

    In those early days the dog was used chiefly for sport,such as dog fights, organised by strict rules,which were carried out by those taking part.Rat killing contests,bull baiting, and badger baiting.

    So callous were the methods used by these Bull and Terrier owners that the authorities began to take notice, to the extent of banning all such forms of sport in the early 19th century.

    This so called sport of organised dog fights,although having been made illegal since those days,it has still been carried on in isolated cases,and is still being carried on even in these present times.

    So secretly are these organised dogs fights carried on,it is extremely difficult for those taking part to get found out.

    The penalties are very severe,but their are people who risk it, even today.

    It is such that this has turned many a would be owner against the breed in its rise to popularity.

    I have heard many stories about this noble breed,which have caused many intending owners to be wary of obtaining one, owing to their so called fighting instincts,which have in some cases been detrimental to the true character of the breed.

    The Staffordshire bull terrier has only received this title since around the year 1928.Previous to this he was known outside the Black country as the Fighting Terrier,Bull and Terrier and Pit Dog.

    In the surrounding districts of the Black country he was commonly known as the Stafford or Bull and Terrier.

    Without doubt he is one of our oldest British breeds and can be traced back well into the 18th century by the present generation,now residing in various districts of the Black Country,such as Halesowen or Yelse,Brockmoor,Harts Hill,Lye,Cradley Heath,Quarry Bank,Bilston,Darlaston,Dudley,Gornal,Blackheath and Netherton.All these areas had their iron works and chain factories.

    The Stafford was mostly owned by these workers,and it has been common to see them going to work,accompanied by their dog,he being tied up to the block or beneath the fire hole while work was being done.

    These men were great lovers of this particular breed of dogs no sacrifice being too great with regard its welfare.

    All they required was a game intelligent dog with plenty of pluck, as a companion and in the Staffordshire Bull Terrier they had all their requirements.

    I have been fully aware and acquainted with all the qualities, and especially the character of this particular breed of dog all my life.

    The chief breeders i knew during the period 1910 to 1934 were the Skidamores of Brockmoor,the Woods of Amblecote,The Timmingtons of Halesowen,the Gowers of Netherton,Robinsons of Dunns Bank,the Ness's of Mushroom Green,the Smiths of Dudley Wood,the Grews of Bilston,the Smiths of Cradley Heath and Lye,the Garretts of Old Hill.These families were well known prior to 1910 and upto 1920,others in these locations came in afterwards up till 1934,and these are still breeding up to the present time.

    During the years 1928 to 1934 the breed was mentioned in periodicals devoted to dogs.In those days pedigrees were unheard of,the dogs and the sires dams,G sires and G dams where only known by their pet names.

    In 1932 and 1933 i decided to try get them them recognised as a pure breed by the Kennel Club.

    I was fully aware of the difficulties,especially with regard to pedigrees,and i was often ridiculed concerning my efforts,but i was convinced if i could get the backing of the breeders in my own locality,something could be done.

    Kennel Club ruling with regard the registration of dogs at this period,was that dogs could be registered at K.C. with one or both parents registered at a 10/- fee,and some of the earliest dogs that were registered were "Fearless Joe",sire "Monty", dam "Nell".Previous to being registered he was known as "Pegs Joe" then "Shaws Jim",registered "Jim the Dandy", sire " Fearless Joe", dam "Silvers Queenie" and "Game Lad".

    During the years preceding 1935,perhaps as far back as 1928,when i kept a large variety of dogs at my kennels in "Quarry Bank", i purchased at various times litters of Bull and Terriers and occasionally young adults,which i sold as companions and watch dogs to people in various parts of the country.These i used to advertise as Bull and Terriers and Pit Dogs, and they appeared under these "headings" in doggy journals.

    In those days, people who purchased these dogs got confused in distinguishing the difference between the Pit Bull and Terrier and the English Bull Terrier.

    It was about the year 1930 that the Pit Bull and Terrier was advertised as the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

    Since then the name has stuck, and people who required one enquired for one in this name.Prices for the breed then were 10/- to 35/- each for puppies, and £3-£5 for adults, although in those times they were without pedigrees,but i have known them to be have been called Coloured Bull Terriers and of their crossing of the English White Bull terrier to produce Brindles and Colour Reds.
  8. Tigerlines

    Tigerlines Banned

    Re: APBT blood in "old time" Staffordshire bull terriers


    Short ,deep through broad skull,very pronounced cheek muscles,distinct stop,short foreface,mouth level

    Short ,thick set

    Semi erect and rose

    Short back,deep brisket,light in loins,tail set low,must be short and taper to a point


    Wide and muscular

    Straight ,feet well padded,to turn out a little

    Hindquaters well muscled,let down at hocks like a terrier

    Short smooth and close to the skin

    Dogs 28 to 33 lbs, Bitches 22 to 26 lbs,in hard condition

    Dark brindle,light brindle,red,fawn,fawn smut,all white,red and white,fawn and white,brindle and white ,the colours mentioned are most preffered.

    Dudley nose,light or pink eyes,long tails,prick ear,badley overshot or undershot mouths.

    Dogs 16 to 18 inches at the shoulder,Bitches 14 to 17 inches at the shoulder
  9. Tigerlines

    Tigerlines Banned

    Re: APBT blood in "old time" Staffordshire bull terriers

    BULL TERRIER STANDARD (1861) J Meyrick

    It is a current axiom among dog fanciers that no gameness can be got in any dog, without a taint or cross, of the Bulldog. The Bull-terrier is a signal proof of this theory; for the pure Terrier, though active, is by no means distinguished for pluck; whereas the Bull-terrier is scarcely inferior in this quality to the Bulldog himself, and in vivacity and activity he surpasses him.

    The Bull-terrier varies greatly, according to the predominance of either the Terrier or the Bulldog blood. It is difficult, however, to decide from the appearance of the dog, how much he owes to each breed. As a rule, when the nose is short, and the jaw much underhung, the Bulldog predominates; but this in not invariable, for it is no unusual to see both long and short faced puppies in the same litter of Bull-terriers.

    There are certain marks by which the Bull-terrier may always be distinguished: namely, a great breadth of jowl, which gives enormous power to the grip; depth in the brisket and chest; a peculiar roundness of the stifle-joint, which is slightly turned out, accompanied by a well-let-down hock; but the most characteristic and unmistakeable point is the small eye, which becomes round the moment that the dog's attention is excited; the pure terrier's eye always remains long and narrow. A Bull-terrier, in addition to these points, should have straight legs, and strong, well developed hind quarters.

    His shoulders should be particularly well covered with muscle; his neck should be lean and hard; his loins strong; and his tail fine, and not carried high. His height varies from 10 to 20 inches, and he weighs from 10 to 30 lbs. or even more. The best colours are pure white, and pure red, or white with patches of brindle. Black and tan, white and tan, and brindle, are often seen.

    For every quality which makes the dog a valued companion to man, the Bull-terrier is unsurpassed by any other breed. He will hunt for him, watch his house, and fight for him; he is teachable and intelligent; he is the best-tempered companion and the most faithful friend.
  10. Tigerlines

    Tigerlines Banned

    Re: APBT blood in "old time" Staffordshire bull terriers


    Bill Boylan: As a boy, born and raised in the Black Country, I was brought up amongst people who owned Staffords. I got my first pup when about six years of age (around 1905), but as my father didn't consider it to be a good one, he gave it away.

    After three years in the 9th East Surrey Regiment (24th Division) during the 1914-18 war, which included twelve months as a prisoner of war, I returned to work in the engineering industry, being still under twenty-one years of age, and an apprentice. When I came of age, I went to Cannock as a maintenance engineer at the pits where I saw a lovely pied Staff. - who was a terror! - his food needed to be pushed to him from a distance - using a broomstick!. We eventually became pals, and having decided to leave the Black Country, I thought I would like to take a Stafford with me - just to keep in touch with the old place. I therefore came to St. Albans with a Stafford and my wife (whom I had met during my, army days). We both admired these dogs, and have never regretted it.

    The breed was not, at that time, recognised by the Kennel Club, and in the early 1930's much was being written in 'Our Dogs' about the merits of Staffords. There was talk of seeking recognition by the K.C, which would enable them to be exhibited at dog shows. I was against it at the time, firmly believing that 'showing' would result in certain characteristics - e.g. the fighting spirit - being gradually bred out of them for the purposes of the show ring. I believe I was right, because there are not many Staffords around to-day who could in any way live with those I remember in the early days. Although I did think it a good idea for them to be registered, and described, for those who wanted to know more about them. I knew of instances where newcomers had been sold any old types - mixed breeds etc, - which weren't real Staffords at all!. That to my mind was wrong. If registration would help prevent and eliminate that sort of transaction, then I was all for it. That was 'way back in the early 1930's

    Sometime during 1934, a letter appeared in 'Our Dogs' inviting anyone interested in the formation of a Club for our breed to contact Stuart Poole, at Tipton. I did so, but because only seven people replied, the idea was dropped. Later on, when Joe Dunn pursued the matter, he was successful in organising a Club, of which I was a founder member, to be known as "The Staffordshire Bull Terrier Club".

    Before becoming involved in the actual showing of these dogs, I expressed my views on the showing aspect via the columns of 'Our Dogs', during 1934, some clippings of which are as follows

    March 29th
    STAFFORDSHIRE BULL TERRIERS (To the Editor of "Our Dogs")

    I see that there is a move on foot to get the Staffordshire Bull Terrier acknowledged. This is good in some ways, but do we realise that the real Staffordshires are of such a character among*other dogs as to make it impossible to talk of them walking- round the ring? I would not care to take mine into a show; either the show or the dog would be ruined. However, I do think that there should be some safeguard for buyers so as to ensure their getting a genuine Staffordshire, as there is no written pedigree with these dogs, 'and one has to chance what one gains unless the purchaser is conversant with the breed and is able to see the parents. Let us hope the buyer will get some guarantee of satisfaction.
    Yours etc, W.A. Boylan .

    ....... a subsequent letter reads.

    Could we not get the question of pedigrees settled satisfactorily? Twelve months ago Mr. Heald (who we know as an expert on the breed) stated in 'Our Dogs' that there was no written pedigree with the breed. Recently Mr. Tom Walls had three of his Staffordshires on exhibition at a show, and they were catalogued as 'pedigrees unknown', but it was afterwards explained that this was a mistake in the catalogue. .

    Now Mr. Moseley states that Staffordshires have pedigrees.

    This is all very perplexing to the buyer.

    I know lots of 'old timers' who would smile if asked for a pedigree. The dog's only pedigree is his ability to fight, and no amount of pen, ink and paper, can make a real Staffordshire if his fighting instinct is bred out of him, which would be the case were he to be shown.

    Returning to our popular sporting friend, Mr. Tom Walls, I have a copy of the book "The Bull-terrier, and All About It" by Major Count V.C. Hollender, in the paragraph on Staffordshires he states: "Mr. Tom Walls has bred many, but has unfortunately mixed them occasionally with coloured Bull-terriers, resulting in a fifty-fifty product". If this is the case, it would seem that we are taking away the true Stafford character to get them into the ring. The author also strongly advises people never to buy Staffordshires until they are developed.
    Yours etc., W.A.BOYLAN.

    (The letter from Mr. Heald referred to above is reprinted below In its entirety)

    Dear Sir,
    I may as well begin by saying that I have had show Bull-terriers, coloured ones, and eventually I returned to my original love, the Staffordshire.

    Now, the ordinary dog-man has no more idea than the man in the moon what the Staffordshire looks like, or even what it is. I have been out with one, and have been asked "what's that?". There is some ridiculous talk of a Staffordshire Bull Terrier Club being formed. There is an equally absurd rumour that they might one day be put on the show-bench. If, which is almost impossible, this latter should occur, the same result as happened in another well-know breed, i.e. the utter ruination of the character of the dog, will occur.

    There are not 50 real Staffordshires in England - not 25 under 201bs.

    They are a unique breed, whose history goes back into the really early days of the Black Country - the chainmaker's dogs of Cradley Heath. They have one job, and one only - to fight. To fight one another; not to be set upon wretched rats in a pit, etc, They have been bred for generations as dog fighters, and dog fighters alone. They go to Norway and Germany, Hamburg being a great centre. The genuine Staffordshire is a highly intelligent, sensible, clever dog, but his one idea in life is to have a scrap. If the alleged Staffordshire has-not that idea, and weighs much over 20lbs. fit in his collar, then he is a coloured Bull-terrier, or as a close cross to that blood.

    A genuine Staffordshire, in my opinion, weighs about 20 Ibs, has a head like a coal scuttle, has a jaw like a shark, turns his toes out, lies down on his tummy with his hind legs flat out behind him, and once IN never lets go of his own free will. Colour, all red, or all brindle, practically no white or fawn. I have seen a blue Staffordshire dog, 17 Ibs, pigeon-blue - he is dead now.

    Lastly, let me emphasise that a Stafford has no written pedigree. He is bred game to game. Bill X's Fly to so and so's Betsy.They will tell you, the old-timers, "and some of the new-timers" what the forebears did, and what their descendants can do to-day. Also the Staffordshire is emphatically not a coloured white. He is an entirely separate breed. Some Club who's main idea is to "cultivate" the breed will therefore, kill it, once and for all.
    Yours etc, ARTHUR HEALD.
  11. Tigerlines

    Tigerlines Banned

    Re: APBT blood in "old time" Staffordshire bull terriers

    THE DOG IN SPORT 1938 (J. Wentworth Day)

    "A year or two ago, when I was editing a well-known weekly sporting paper, I happened to write an article in one of the evening dailies upon the Staffordshire Bull. This tickled the dog-fighter*s imagination, and he wrote to me to say that I was obviously one of the ‘fancy,* and he considered that he possessed the only true fighting dogs in England. He ended his letter by remarking, “I could tell you how I got them, but-------“

    Suspecting the worst, I wrote a letter to draw him out. The result is enough to make any reasonably minded Englishman quite sick. It was this:

    “I have noticed several letters in one of your daily contemporaries dealing with our breed * the Staffordshire bull-terrier * ‘bottomed to the last hair.* Now, sir, there has been a great deal of nonsense written and spoken about this fast dying breed. One individual compared them to a barge dog. (Mine simply blushed when they heard this * and went and hid.)

    “This dog above is now * a month ago * dead. He went 23 ½ lb. fit in his collar. He has killed an Alsatian dog in twelve minutes, and a hundred rats in nine minutes, forty seconds.”

    “They are bred simply and solely to fight * each other preferably, or any other dog * if it so happens. They are entirely useless for badgers as they almost invariably get an unsuitable hold and get killed. A true Staffordshire has no written pedigree, verbal only, never weighs over 25lb., has a jaw like a shark, is never fawn or part white (these are nearly as soft as an ordinary show bull-terrier), a head relatively like a coal-scuttle * never, never squeaks and fights in silence. I doubt whether there are fifty in England.

    “A six-month pup will never snarl and ‘walk round* another dog. He will go straight in, with no warning. They are delightful with children, cats, and stock.

    “Unreliable with horses * for they are liable at any time to ‘snout* them and it is not easy to get one off a milk-float horse either. He hangs in silence, and you can cut an inch off his tail with a chopper and he will still hang.

    “They are from the Black Country. There are dozens up there for sale * of half-breed whippets * 45-50lb. But let anyone go and try and buy a ‘reight red*un* and see how he gets on. I am not a dealer, and I have non for sale.

    A little further correspondence followed, and then came this:

    “Thank you for your letter. Yes, this letter of mine will create a lot of controversy! I have pitted more bull-terriers than most people in England and abroad. We had a main here last week * and I saw a most curious thing that I have never seen before.

    “I saw a dead dog win a fight. I set him up * and he crawled up to the white line, snarled, and died.

    “The other had two hind-legs broke, and would not come to scratch. (They were in holds for just an hour.) The dead dog (mine), of course, got the decision. Most interesting.(ARTHUR HEALD)
  12. Tigerlines

    Tigerlines Banned

    Re: APBT blood in "old time" Staffordshire bull terriers


    He [Big Jack Taylor] was -again like the rest of his kind- intensely proud of his forbears. "Bin here abouts ower five centuries, we Taylors," he would say. "One of the owdest families in Rowley. Or anywhere round. Seen four churches from this very window, we have . And we've had the same strain of cocks and 'tarriers' since my grandfather's time." Now the last is very unusual. I have found that nowhere is prejudice against inbreeding stronger than with the men of the Black Country. The "gentry" may say what they like, but they are certain that you will get a "runner" if you don't use fresh blood.

    The dogs they used for fighting have become so localized that they are known all over the world as Staffordshire terriers or, more recently, as Staffordshire bull terriers. There were nearly always one or two in Big Jack's on a Sunday morning. They would lie between their owner's feet, under the oak settle, and growl and rumble challenges at the dog across the room. But no one took much notice. Sometimes one would really mean business. It was easy to tell, for he would begin to lick his lips, as though his mouth were dry, and probably start that staccato barking which is so characteristic of the breed when trouble is wanted. "Tak 'im i' the back and tie 'im i' the brew 'us. Thee costn't hear theesen think, " old Jack would say. And the culprit would be led away and tied in what would pass as the scullery in other parts of the country. In this land of beer it is not only called the brewhouse but is still used for its original purpose.

    They have altered a lot in the last fifty years, those Staffords. When bull-baiting was suppressed, and attention veered more and more to dog fighting, the original terriers were small. They had been produced by crossing the little rat-pit terriers with bulldogs, and the favourite size was about about twenty-four pounds. Old Tom Southall, who also lived at Rowley, was very scathing about the big forty-pound dogs lately made fashionable by the Kennel Club and dog showing. "Why," he would say, "if anyone came into my father's boozer with a dog ower twenty-six pun they would soon want to know what he was crossed with." He was a very merry old chap, and nobody loved a good cock and a good dog better than Tom. He had been talking of the old days and he once made a remark that I shall never forget. "In them days," he said, "everybody in Rowley loved a good tarrier. Even the women. Tha knowst this. If the Saviour had come to Rowley thenadays and said, 'Thee mun get shut on all thim dogs,' they'd have bolted fra the nail shaps and 'ommered 'Im to death." And I think old Tom would have led them.

    Mention of bull-baiting reminds me that Staffordshire had the doubtful privilege of witnessing the last recorded bull bait. At one time it was compulsory for butchers to bait their bulls before slaughter, as it was thought that baiting made the meat more tender. (In the same way that a coursed hare or rabbit is supposed to be more tender than one which has met a a more sudden end.) Baiting became so popular that it became a national sport, and English bulldogs as famous the world over for their courage as English men. By the beginning of the nineteenth century, however, bull-baiting had almost died out, except in Staffordshire. But many Staffordshire towns still have their "Bull ring" or "Bull stake," and the last recorded bait took place at Handsworth in 1825. At least, it started near Handsworth but finished in Soho, because the crowd was disturbed by the runners.

    Although bull-baiting lasted longer in Staffordshire than in other parts, it was never really anything but a national sport. Dog fighting, on the other hand, was almost purely local. Of course it spread to London and other big centres of sport in the heyday of prize fighting and similar sports. But it remained, nevertheless, essentially a Staffordshire sport. The rules were extraordinarily simple. Two dogs were matched to fight by weight, and the weights were always very even. I have heard some people say that their little dog will kill dogs twice as big. All I can say is that the big dog must be of some breed which is allergic to fighting. In practice bull terriers were usually matched at a stipulated weight "give or take a take a pound." A dog which was brought to the pit heavier than this was disqualified. An old saying in the Black Country was that "an ounce to a cock is a pound to a dog or a stone to a man."

    When the match had been made the stakes were put in the hands of a neutral stakeholder, who held them until after the referee's decision, and a place fixed for the battle. And after dog fighting became illegal, some queer places for battles were fixed. One that; I know of took place in a chapel at Goscote, which is just outside Walsall. And who would think of looking in a chapel, on a Saturday night, for a dog fight? Others have taken place in empty railway trucks (which are about the right size and have conveniently deep sides) and cellars and bedrooms and a hundred odd places where one would not think of searching. But never in the same place twice.

    Sometimes there was a certain amount of jiggery-pokery. That was almost inevitable, when stakes and bets were often surprisingly high. Before fighting, the dog was washed in milk. That was in case someone had rubbed a little acid into his neck or shoulders to discourage his opponent from biting him. It was specifically stated in the rules that a handler could "taste" his opponent's dog, either before or after a battle, to satisfy himself that there had been no doping. The washing in milk was simply an additional safeguard. But do not think there was more foul play than in modern sports : no more, for instance, than there would seem to be in modern greyhound racing - if prosecutions are any criterion. After the dogs had been weighed, and if necessary washed, the battle began. A mark, or scratch, was drawn diagonally across the pit, and each dog had a corner opposite the scratch.

    Each dog had a setter or " 'ondler." Now " 'ondle" is a very favourite Staffordshire word. A Staffordshire man is quite incapable of judging a dog or a cock, or even an inanimate object, like a vase, by eye alone. Looks, he feels, are too often deceptive. He likes to pick it up ; to feel its muscles or its feathers or its shape. He likes, in a word, to " 'ondle" it. It was not necessary, nor even usual, to 'ondle one's own dog in a battle. Certain men gained reputations for being "cliver i' the pit," and it was considered half the battle to employ a reputed 'ondler. Experience was needed to restrain a dog tending to be "too fast across the scratch" or to incite one with the opposite tendency. Experience, call it flair if you will, was needed in helping a dog that was getting tired. Experience was needed to watch for the tricks of the opposing 'ondler which scarcely came within the rules.

    A referee was chosen by mutual consent or the spin of the coin and the handlers, or setters, took their dogs to opposite corners of the pit. At a signal both dogs were loosed and rushed across at each other, for experienced dogs needed little or no incitement. The setters were not allowed to leave the pit until they had started the fight and, in the unusual event of a refusal the match was void. When once they had begun to fight, no one could touch them until they had both left off, which they would eventually do through weakness or fatigue. (This constituted a round and might take anything from a few seconds to half an hour or more depending on the mettle and condition of the dogs. ) A minute was then allowed for washing and first aid, after which the dog which first stopped fighting was loosed. If he "went across the scratch," all was well and the process was repeated until one failed to go to scratch in his turn, which occurred when one had had enough or was too weak or dead. The important thing was not so much to kill the opposing dog as to be willing to try. In fact, it was technically possible for a dead dog to win the battle, supposing it was his opponent's turn to go to scratch and he was either too weak or unwilling to go - the first dog who did not go to scratch, when it was his turn, no matter what the state of his opponent, lost the battle.

    Because some of the last of the bull terrier men used to foregather at Big Jack's, I do not want to convey that Rowley was more noted for bull terriers than other towns. Willenhall was almost as famous for fighting dogs (and you had to be a "fighting mon" to keep a fighting dog) as for its locks. Bilston and Darlaston, Cradley and Ruiton, Gornal and Lye, all were famous for their "tarriers." Or should it be notorious ? But long after dog fighting ceased it was customary to gather from miles around to drink beer and talk of old times at Big Jack's. The beer was free, but the atmosphere and spirit of the place were beyond price. Some idea of what they thought of Big Jack in the Black Country can be gleaned from the fact that after he died one of his friends bought his cottage, lock, stock and barrel. He put no tenants in, but paid the little man who used to be potman to keep it exactly as it had always been. And anyone who had known Big Jack could gather there at will, as in the old days. There was no Big Jack, and there was none of the beer he used to brew, but in the atmosphere of the place was the same friendly bond that flourishes among men who love the same things. "Sentimental" you say? Perhaps. But it is a sentiment I have rarely found in men addicted to more "civilized" pleasures.
  13. Tigerlines

    Tigerlines Banned

    Re: APBT blood in "old time" Staffordshire bull terriers


    I mentioned that one of the sights of the Wake were the be-ribboned bull terriers, grunting gruff challenges at all the doggy world. They were, and indeed still are, an extremely important facet of life in these parts, and did we ever decide to adopt a crest, nothing could be more appropriate than a Stafford Rampant. The breed had its birth just as the district was becoming really famous. Bull-baiting was dying out by about 1835 and its votaries searched round for a less conspicuous sport. The old bulldogs were as willing to tackle each other as they were to bait a bull. But they were a little too slow and cloddy to be really spectacular.

    Our miners and ironworkers have always been almost superstitiously allergic to anything approaching inbreeding, and they needed little or no encouragement to mate their bulldogs to almost anything aggressive. The most popular cross was with various forms of terrier, and the "bull-and-terrier" produced combined the strength and courage of the bulldog with the dash and gaiety of the terrier - or a lot of them did. Those were days of the survival of the fittest and any which didn't prove game were ruthlessly destroyed. The best of these old "bull-and-terriers" loved nothing in the world so much as dog-fight. When once they laid hold they hung on with all the grimness of a bulldog, only changing their hold when they got the opportunity of a better. And all the time they shook and shook (or "worked"), tearing their adversaries to pieces in mouthfuls.

    One strain of these bull-and-terriers, the Birmingham breed, were registered for show under the title of English Bull Terrier, and quickly deteriorated into pig-faced show dogs. But the old breed continued as fighting dogs and they became synonymous with the Black Country. Until very modern times they varied in weight enormously. Some of them, taking after the terrier in their forebears, scaled no more than eighteen or twenty pounds, whilst others might be seventy. The little ones were prick-eared - once they were all crop-eared, of course - and rather foxy-faced, like terriers. The bigger they got the more they resembled the old-fashioned bulldogs. But whatever their size, they would literally fight to the death.

    Dog-fights were held in all sorts of arenas, called pits, and the one essential was that there should be a "scratch" or line drawn across the centre. At the beginning of a battle, both dogs were loosed simultaneously by their handlers from opposite corners. From the time they commenced fighting, or "got a mouth on", until they both let go for a moment, nobody could touch them. But when they were free - usually gasping for breath - their handlers could pick them up, and a minute was allowed to wash them down and furbish them for the next round.

    The first dog to be "handled" had to "go to scratch" first next time, and then they went alternately until one or other could not or would not go across when his turn came. Not a very edifying sport, perhaps. But the dogs it produced are absolutely peerless.

    Their modern name is Stafford Bull Terrier, a tide dubbed on them in 1935, when the Kennel Club recognized them as an "official" breed. Since then they have, unfortunately, deteriorated, because some of them have become mere show dogs, to be bought and sold and prostituted by dog- dealers. These gentry are "standardizing" the breed. That is to say, they decide amongst themselves what a "typical" Stafford should look like, though few of them have ever seen two fight, and then declare all other types are "wrong". So the little dogs of Darlaston and the lankier dogs of Walsall (many had a cross of whippet in their forebears) are all "no good". Not, that is, if you would make money from them. So, naturally, they are gradually getting scarcer than the show type. The only sort that pass muster nowadays (commercially anyhow) are the stocky barrel-chested dogs that happened to be fashionable at Cradley Heath when the standard was laid down. Not that there was anything wrong with them originally, far from it. Gentleman Jim, the first champion in the world, was as grand a dog as ever breathed. The thing that I deplore is the myth that none of the other types can be Staffords at all; that dealing, money-grubbing show men should claim the sole right of declaring what a Stafford is.

    Even they haven't managed to ruin the breed yet, though. There hasn't been time to standardize appearance into dull uniformity and there hasn't been time to dissipate character and gameness. So Staffords are still typical Black Countrymen, so like the men who own them that they often seem to look the same. They aren't naturally aggressive, but will mill and mill when they do start, with no thoughts at all of defeat. No Black Countryman loves his fire more, and none is more faithful to his friends or indifferent to strangers.
  14. Tigerlines

    Tigerlines Banned

    Re: APBT blood in "old time" Staffordshire bull terriers


    Mr John Crook Birmingahm 1829.

    "Hundreds of bulldogs were around the inner ring(with their owners)all trying to get at the bull.The owners of the bull charged 8 pence for each dog that baited the bull, about 4 or 5 min being allowed for the dog to run at him.When money got scarce with the owners of the dogs,and no baiting was going on,a few of them would go round the ring with their hats collecting pence until they got sufficient for the dogs to run at the bull.When they could not collect enough the stake was taken up and moved to another part of the town.Their were 3 places in Wendsbury for them to pitch the stake,one in the Wednesbury market place,one at High Bullen,and the other at the Bull Hole near Wednesbury Church.By the time the wake week was over the poor bulls face was a complete running mass, the wounds of the previous days being torn open and fresh ones made."

    In 1835 Parliament at last passed an effective Act to put a stop to Bull baiting. This enactment distinctly forbade the keeping of any "house,pit, or other place for baiting or fighting any bull,bear,dog,or other animal."

    But the practice died hard,and bull baitings were held subsequent to this enactment;notably at Brierley Hill Wake 1835,Willenhall Wake 1836, Tipton Wake 1837, and at Bilston in 1838 - for such were the Saturnarian celebrations that for centuries had marked the annual reacurrence of these local Carnivals, to the utter demoralisation of the populace, and the blunting of the public conscience. Hackwood 1907


    The brindled bulldog often had a fifth claw to the hind foot - this was the old Wednesbury variety, so famous for its ferocity and obstinacy in retaining its grip. The colliers who bred these dogs always drew the incisor teeth to enable the dog to bite deeper. Hackwood 1907


    Their was a Birmingham champion dog named "Madman"some 60 years ago,which became celebrated for the scientific way in which he vanquished every antagonist placed before him,he was a long faced Bull Terrier, and one one occasion fought for ten minutes inside a screen in front of a roaring fire,which was considered the most trying ordeal to which any fighting dog could be submitted.

    This celebrated dog and another brute of equal merit named Old Victor, were the property of Mr James Hinks, of Birmingham,
    who did more to improve the Bull Terrier than any other breeder; in fact, all of the good dogs of this breed at the present day derive their pedigree from either Madman or Old Victor,the latter strain being at the moment more "fashionable". Hackwood 1907
    david63 likes this.
  15. metal6501

    metal6501 Pup

    Re: APBT blood in "old time" Staffordshire bull terriers

    excellent read tigerlines thanks
  16. kitchener

    kitchener Pup

    Re: APBT blood in "old time" Staffordshire bull terriers

    Tigerlines, thanks for taking the time to post these fantastic period documents, which seem relevant to this entire bull-and-terrier fancy, not simply the Staffords. And the above musings by Phil Drabble (who was he?) caught my attention most of all. How prescient.
  17. kitchener

    kitchener Pup

    Re: APBT blood in "old time" Staffordshire bull terriers

    Off topic, I always enjoy catching unexpected glimpses from primary sources (almost an oral history here) of seminal events that occurred in their lifetimes. I find it interesting he refers here to the First World War (or in its time preceding the Second World War, the Great War) as "the 1914-18 war." That's a reference nearly lost to time.
  18. JBL

    JBL Big Dog

    Re: APBT blood in "old time" Staffordshire bull terriers

    That's some good historical information on bull and terriers and the 'sports' they were bred for.

    Just wondering if you knew the true history of the bulldog itself? I know mastiffs had been in Britain since Saxon times, and were taken from the Celts when the Romans invaded to be used as war dogs and fighters. I am sure I heard that the original working bulldog was a mix between mastiffs and terriers in the first place?

    Anyone got any reliable information on the extinct blue Paul terrier and where that went.

    The simple question I was sort of asking was are the working and Irish Staffordshire bull terriers resembling their American cousins natives to the British isles, or imported and cross bred American dogs sold as something else to prevent bsl in the 1990's?

    I am however very impressed by the history this has brought up,
  19. JBL

    JBL Big Dog

    Re: APBT blood in "old time" Staffordshire bull terriers

    As in were all the pit dogs bred down in size for the kennel club or were some left in there true form in Britain and Ireland before the pitbull started getting imported back here in the 1970's?
  20. Dusty Road

    Dusty Road CH Dog

    Re: APBT blood in "old time" Staffordshire bull terriers

    who are the show people , there names are in every SBT book done at the time ,,some kept and show dogs before the SBT got recognized,,, there was 1/2 dozen names put forward at the time ,,kc agreed on SBT ,,,,,

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