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Some Misconceptions – The Staffordshire Bull Terrier

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242 – August, 2017

by Phil Briasco, Breeder/Judge

As a breeder-judge, I feel it is very important to clear up some misconceptions about my breed. Over the past thirty years I have observed many judges, as well as handlers and exhibitors, simply not understand some of the important features of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

First, let’s define topline as it relates to the Stafford. This would run from the back edge of the withers to the croup. Whether you call it a topline or a backline, this is the section we are talking about. Although the withers is not included in the topline, there is on most STB’s a pad over the withers. This exists because where the vertebre intersects the withers, the spines on these vertebre are the longest. These longer spines are what allow more muscle to grow and attach to that area. Again, the rear part of this pad is where the topline begins.

When the standard was written in the 1930s, these men knew what the word ‘level’ meant as they were comparing their new breed to the terriers of their day–the Smooth Fox, Wire Fox and Airedale, to mention a few. I think our biggest problem lies in the fact that most of the exhibits that we see in the show ring today do not have a correct topline. The standard states “LEVEL”. There are some in the breed that will tell you that a rise over the loin is acceptable because it is a muscle pad. This is simply nonsense. Yes, there is a muscle, but it runs along the spine on both sides equally, creating a slight ridge, but not distorting a ‘level’ topline. I would guess that approximately sev- enty percent of AKC breeds call for a level topline. None, that I know, would consider a rise over the loin acceptable. Remember, when on the move this correct topline will hold level.

Ah yes, now let’s discuss movement. About twenty years ago a very prominent Terrier judge told me to move very slowly with my Stafford. When I asked him afterward why he asked me to move my dog at a slow pace, he replied, and I quote, as I will never forget those exact words, “You have to remember, these are small, chunky little dogs and they are not supposed to be able to move!” I then asked what he did not like about my dog and he replied, “when he comes at me, he converges some.” These two statements made by that judge that day made me realize that I definitely had to get involved with Stafford breed education.

Click here to read the complete article
242 – August, 2017

Short URL: http://caninechronicle.com/?p=130202

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