BULL TERRIER STAFFORDSHIRE
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Judging the STAFFORDSHIRE BULL TERRIER
PHILIP BRIASCO I am from Ocala, Florida. I spend most of my time as President and Show Chairman for The Greater Ocala Dog Club and our beautiful forty acre show site. I’ve been in the dog world and showing dogs for 50 years. I’ve been judging for 9 years. ANN D. HEARN
judging. Then I’d be the one to touch and play with every dog in my ring! ALAN HEDGES I live in the midlands of the United Kingdom in a little town called Swadlincote. It is not famous for anything that I know of. Outside of dogs I produce breed yearbooks for Staffords and French bulldogs, so other than football, a lot of my life is dog related. I have been involved with Staffords since 1977 and judging since 1979. I am really a Stafford man through and through although I am very proud of the fact that I will be judging border terriers at champ show level for the first time this year. MARION MCPHERSON I live in Vista, CA. Outside of dogs, I enjoy gardening and reading, mostly fiction in my spare time. Showing and breed- ing over 40 years. Judging 32 years. DESI MURPHY
I live in a county that is part of the greater makeup of Atlanta. Beading has become one of my passions—I love bling, and now I can make my own. I knit, crewel and especially enjoy classical music. When I’m in town on the weekends that the New York Met streams their Saturday afternoon operas, believe me, I’m in that theater
seat listening and watching. I started in purebred dogs on our first wedding anniversary at least a hundred and three years ago. We got a Wire Fox Terrier from a pet breeder, real- ized he didn’t look much like the pictures of quality dogs, and so decided we should attend the Atlanta Kennel Club dog show in downtown Atlanta. What a shock! The dogs were gorgeous! And a man was in the middle of the ring with a dog on the table and, by golly, he was getting to touch and play with every one of them! I said right then and there. That’s what I want to do! And after about 25 years of breed- ing and exhibiting and grooming, I decided to try my hand at
I am fromMonroe, NY. I got my first dog, a Lakeland, 60 years ago. I started showing in 1958. I have been judging since 1976.
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1. Describe the breed in three words. PB: Compact, powerful and athletic. ADH: Powerful, amenable and vital. AH: Confident, engaging and intelligent MM: Strong, athletic and courageous. DM: Agile, active and alert.
stops too deep, heads too large with wrinkle and lacking the tight lip.)
MM: Head pieces over balance and athleticism. DM: Some are getting too large and exaggerated.
4. Do you think the dogs you see in this breed are better now than they were when you first started judging? Why or why not? PB: More often, I am seeing exhibits that are wispy and without substance. ADH: They are much better as the breeders have similar demands for their get. Every breeder has a preference and may breed in that direction, but this is a breed you can pretty much count on having some good level of quality. I am, of course, referring to conscientious breeders and not puppy producers for monetary gain. You can spot those folks in the ring in an instant. Talk about don’t-care attitudes!
2. What are your “must have” traits in this breed? PB: In the show ring: confidence and awareness. ADH: I dearly love seeing the defined muscles, especially knowing he’d never use them against people unless necessary for survival. The head is a picture of a clown, with sincerity, eagerness and attentiveness. And, I’m not looking for a tabletop topline. AH: Correct temperament and correct breed type. A Stafford, or Staffordshire Bull Terrier (no other term is correct) is a dog that is both very human friendly and not so dog friendly. Sadly it is my view that the temperament is being bred out of them due to the times we live in. A dog with a bit of life about it nowadays is somewhat frowned upon and in some countries actively excluded and that is simply not right. Type as in all breeds is very difficult to quantify, it lies in the size and stature, a certain look in the eye, the face, the chin, the condition, the never-say-die attitude, the color, especially in real brindles. I can point it out to you, but it is very difficult to put into words. MM: Balance, type and movement. DM: Happy, outgoing attitude with proper balance and good heads are my top properties. 3. Are there any traits in this breed you fear are becoming exaggerated? PB: No exaggerated traits. ADH: Actually, no. I truly feel the breeders are so protective of their breed standard and the results of their breedings that I don’t think they would let anything get out of hand. Yes, sometimes you may get a big one, and you may even want to show and champion him, but if there are pedigree reasons for not losing that particular line—so be it. You can’t always count on winning, but you can keep trying. However, I firmly say, making your own majors doesn’t really prove a blasted thing, now does it? AH: Size and weight are being ignored in too many instances and judges who know no better seem to mistake bulk for quality and who have patently not read the breed stan- dard. This is further illustrated when a number of judges who actually don’t recognize the breed, and so biggest is best? It’s a worry. In some places heads are being rewarded for exaggeration as well. (Muzzles too short,
“haPPy, outgoing attitude With ProPer Balance and good heads are My toP ProPerties.”
AH: I think the best ones are. It is very difficult to measure quality in the past especially in times when you eye is still very uneducated. Using films and videos of dogs I have seen in the flesh, but a long time ago, I think the dogs are more sound now; the heads are better and the best ones are more uniform. MM: By and large, they are better; they seem to conform to type. DM: I think the breed is improving in depth of quality worldwide. We are seeing good depth of quality in over- all type, balance, heads and movement. 5. What do you think new judges misunderstand about the breed? PB: I feel some new judges (as well as experienced judges), don’t realize the standard calls for proper lay back of
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shoulder and discernible drive from the rear. Therefore the Stafford should not be moved slowly, but at a fast enough speed to clearly see reach and drive. ADH: It is not a well-understood or well-received breed. They are pretty far out looking from the other Terriers. It only takes a little time and/or entries for a judge to jump onto the bandwagon of believers of this charming breed and then they’re hooked! Bring ’em a divine one and that entry just might go quite far under one of these judges— new or old. AH: Type and how the breed should be judged. The Stafford is not a generic dog, the construction is not just the same as lots of other dogs, the head is not like any other dog and it is cause of much dismay to many exhibitors who find that new judges treat it like every other dog. A look in the mouth, a stroke of the head and run it around is not what’s called for, nor is judging the breed on a table or ramp. The breed standard is being misinterpreted where it describes certain things to look for which seem vague such as “rather wide” or “distinct stop” which was originally meant to distinguish the breed from other Terriers, not describe exaggerations. Movement is also being ignored and the result is top awards going to dogs that paddle, roll and waddle. The original ‘bull’ which makes up this breed was not made like the British Bulldog but rather a long-legged and lean dog more similar to an American Bulldog in body style. There is a lack of balance being mistaken for correct. The Stafford is not a heavy, bulky Bulldog nor a slight and racy Terrier. The dog in the middle gets the job done. MM: They seem to have a problem seeing rear movement due to the necessary muscular thighs. DM: I think some judges tend to go with the overly exaggerated dogs. 6. Is there anything else you’d like to share about the breed? PB: Although the Stafford head is an important part of breed type, it should be judged equally with the rest of the dog. Please keep in mind that the Stafford breed is very diverse and there is not only one correct head type. Also, our toplines have gone to hell in a hand basket. The topline should be level and hold on the move—level means level. A roached back is not a muscle pad. We cannot weigh or measure our dogs in the ring, so let’s look for breed type, soundness and balance. Feel free to contact me for a telephone mentoring. ADH: The Staffie Bull is the best-kept secret of all Terriers. They have a fabulous laissez-faire attitude
to life, agreeable with any and everything, obedient (well, most of the time) and very eager to please. They are so much fun and love to play. AH: Judges would benefit from watching breed judging in the UK where the breed regularly gets entries of 100 and up to 400+ at the Champ level. Study the breed type being rewarded, the way the breed is presented and examined and fitness level. As for people seeking a Stafford for themselves as a pet, take more time to know the breed and its history. This is not a breed for everyone. Their energy level and interactions with other animals takes a certain type of person and those who rush in with only the desire stemming from how the breed looks will find themselves contributing to the ever increasing rescue situation. MM: I enjoy judging them as they are; it is a what-you-see-is- what-you-get breed! DM: I greatly enjoy judging the breed, because they are always such a happy, out going breed. In some foreign countries they have huge entries, with great depth of quality. 7. And, for a bit of humor: What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever experienced at a dog show? ADH: There are so many! Like the time the fabulous operatic contralto, Leontyne Price, sang the “Star Spangled Banner” at the Del Val show and the Beagles in the next ring just couldn’t stand not joining in with her at top voice. Or the time I bent over to go over a White Bull Terrier puppy and had on my newly knitted scarf that looked fabulous with my outfit. As I came down to the puppy all he saw was this floating thing swinging before his eyes. He grabbed it close to my neck and gave me a jerk that sent me to the floor. I was laughing so hard I couldn’t get back up! The handler—a very new nov- ice—let go of the lead and ran out of the ring. I guess she thought I was going to kill the puppy first then go after her! We finally got a little decorum back in the ring, and I’ve never worn a swingy scarf while judging since. But it was fun and hilarious! AH: Watching a young dog get very evident relief whilst my late wife chatted to her companion next to her in a class. Pale trousers are not ideal in this situation and a considerable period of time passed before either of them wondered what the laughter was all about. How she maintained her dignity through the class to win a second prize I have no idea, but it was very impressive on her part. MM: Showing in obedience and having my dog finish in front of the judge instead of me. It was very hot and the judge was standing in the shade!
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EVOLUTION OF THE STAFFORDSHIRE BULL TERRIER BREED STANDARD
By Jason Nicolai
he Sta ff ordshire Bull Terrier was accepted by the AKC for registra- tion in 1974 with show status granted the fol- lowing year. However,
taken directly from the original in 1935: “…great strength for his (its) size, and although muscular should be active and agile.” Th e interpretation of “active and agile” went from a mid-standard dog who carried approximately 2 pounds of weight per inch of height to one that now carries nearly 2.4 pounds per inch—a 20% increase in overall mass. It’s impor- tant to note that this evolution is very often misquoted and misunderstood. You may hear some incorrectly state that the current heights and weights that define proper substance were derived by the fighting fancy, so allowances should be made for our modern show dogs to carry more mass or to be conditioned to a weight considerably more than the breed standard call for. As a result you may see exhibits that are shown with an overall substance or a simple lack of con- ditioning resulting a weight that is well above today’s standard for their height. In reality, the modern standard already takes into consideration the breed’s transformation from a fighting dog to a show dog. Th e argument that it’s acceptable for our modern show dogs to carry more mass than the cur- rent standard calls for is an unfounded and unfortunate misinterpretation of the breed’s history. Some tolerance for varia- tion should certainly be given. Howev- er, remember that the current standard explicitly states under “Size, Proportion, Substance” that “non-conformity with
these limits is a fault.” Be careful not to consciously select for a fault just because it looks “impressive.” From 1935 through today, the Sta ff ord is still described as active and agile dog. In the 1949 revision, a “Characteris- tics” section was added. Today it appears verbatim in the AKC standard under “Temperament” which is still the only standard to mention a breed’s a ff ection for children. In 1935, there was no description for movement in the standard. In 1949, the parent club intended on adding move- ment as a portion of the old 100-point judging system, but the Kennel Club changed its policies and would not allow this scoring system to be published—no description was added at that time. Th e original AKC standard for the breed was taken directly from the 1949 UK standard, and thus also had no mention of gait. Essentially movement slipped through the cracks for the first 50 years of breed standard history. Th e first description did not appear until 1987 (UK) and consequently 1989 (US) where it remains as such, “Free, powerful and agile with economy of e ff ort. Legs mov- ing parallel when viewed from front or rear. Discernible drive from hind legs.” Th e language for Head, Body, Fore- quarters and Hindquarters catagories has also changed a bit over time with the addition of greater details, but many of the primary descriptors have remained
the breed standard was not rooted the US disco era. In the UK, there existed 40 years of evolution to the standard prior to AKC acceptance. It is important to consider this history not only to have a better understanding of today’s stan- dard, but ultimately to provide impor- tant context that will assist in our inter- pretation of the modern breed and our evaluation thereof. Th e first standard was written in the UK in 1935. It began by describing the ideal Sta ff ord as 15" to 18" tall. Dogs were to weigh 28-38 pounds with bitches 24-34 pounds. Compare this to our cur- rent standard which brings the heights down to 14"-16", yet leaves the weights exactly the same. Th is is by far the most significant change to the breed standard throughout its evolution in terms of how it impacts our interpretation of the bal- ance between bull and terrier as well as the subjective descriptors found through- out the rest of the standard. Th ese early show dogs came directly from fighting stock, hence the wider variation in size and rather e ffi cient proportions com- pared to our modern show dogs. At the same time the language under “General Appearance” in today’s standard was
“Be careful not to consciously select for a fault JUST BECAUSE IT LOOKS IMPRESSIVE.”
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“A Stafford in proper show condition exhibits what is OFTEN REFERRED TO AS ‘TUCK UP’ AT THE LOIN.”
the same throughout every revision of the standard for nearly 70 years. Head: “Short, deep through, broad skull, very pronounced cheek muscles, distinct stop, short foreface…” Th is par- ticular language is unchanged from the 1935 standard. Modern additions to this section include details of the correct scis- sor bite, tight, clean lips and dark eye rims with an allowance for pink on a dog with white around the eye. Body: Originally a separate section, it is now combined with Neck, Topline and Tail descriptors. “Deep brisket”, “level top line” and “[rather] light in loins” are all carried through from 1935 to today. “Short back” evolved into “close cou- pled” and “forelegs set rather wide apart” was simplified to “wide front.” Even though many of the adjectives that describe the Sta ff ordshire Bull Ter- rier have remained the same throughout the evolution of the standard; e.g. “deep”, “wide” and “broad”, the interpretations have changed. How we visualize subjec- tive words like these is mandated by the above referenced changes that were made to increase the overall substance of the dog. How wide is “wide”? In 1935, the same word was used, but as predicated by their original function the dogs from 70 years ago were more moderate compared to what today’s stan- dard call for. If you compare the 1935 standard to modern standards for other breeds you will find that the substance
of the original Sta ff ordshire Bull Terrier was something akin to today’s American Water Spaniel or in taller examples, the Wheaten. Th is shift in how we translate the descriptors found within the stan- dard does not suggest free, subjective interpretation today. Th e guidelines for substance are still given, and they are in fact referenced in today’s standard as “limits.” Non-conformity outside these limits is not a disqualification, but it is to be faulted. Th e modern show Sta ff ord should be exhibited in the condition out- lined in the breed standard: “although muscular, should be active and agile.” Th e standard call for him to be “rather light in the loins.” A Sta ff ord in proper show condition exhibits what is often referred to as “tuck up” at the loin. Th e relatively short history of the Sta ff ord- shire Bull Terrier in the US is that of a family companion, show dog, and per- formance sport animal. Fortunately he has never been a known as a fighting dog in this country, but he should never lose the strength, athleticism, and agility that is a reminder of that original purpose. One other significant change that occurred in the breed standard prior to the Sta ff ord ever making its way to the US was alluded to previously. Th is was the elimination of a 100 point judging system that weighted the importance of the various elements of the standard. Th is is of considerable interest in under- standing what the original architects of
the breed found to be most important. Originally adopted in 1935, the last pro- posed version that was to be submitted for approval in 1949, but by that time the Kennel Club (UK) had eliminated the 100-point scoring system from all breed standards, see Figure 1. Today, when people ask if the Sta ff ord is a “head breed” we can look back and see that even though it’s certainly not everything it was in fact quite impor- tant to those who originally decided how to prioritize the foundations of breed type. Th e original 1935 version of this scale actually had the head as 30 points before the revision was made attempting to address “movement.” Th e head was of particular importance to a group of people trying to standardize and obtain consistency with a new breed. Over the years breed type has tightened up as the standard has evolved. Th e purpose of the standard is, after all to describe the ideal specimen of the breed. Th e more strictly we adhere to it, the more consis- tency we will see as the breed continues to improve alongside the words that are used to outline its makeup.
General Appearance & Coat Condition
“OVER THE YEARS BREED TYPE HAS TIGHTENED UP AS THE STANDARD HAS EVOLVED.”
Legs & Feet
General Movement & Balance
Fig. 1: Last proposed 100-point scoring system version, c. 1949. 4 )08 4 *()5 . "(";*/& " 13*- t
STAFFORDSHIRE BULL TERRIER HEALTH
By Margo Milde SBTCA Health Chair
he Sta ff ordshire Bull Terrier (or, “Sta ff ords” as we informally call them) is a remarkably healthy and resilient breed of dog. However,
scene. Many Sta ff ords have a high prey drive, and unless very well trained, are inclined to chase wildlife, cats, and other small animals at any opportunity when they are not confined by a leash or fence. Th ese escapades may take them far away from the safety of their home, or into the path of heavy tra ffi c. Most Sta ff ords go through a long puppyhood of relentless chewing; their taste for chewing objects knows no safe bounds, and may include common household objects dangerous to gnaw on such as electric cords. For all of these reasons, always leash your dog when you are not in a secure fenced-in area, and always provide your Sta ff ord with a safe place in your home, such as a crate or secure dog run, when you are not directly watching him, especially when he is still a puppy or adolescent. Basic obedience training will help to guarantee your Staf- ford will come when called and walk nicely on a leash, further ensuring his safety and a long and happy life with you. “STAFFORDS ARE GENERALLY NOT HEAT TOLERANT.” Sta ff ords can be escape artists, and many have been known to tunnel under or climb over fences, or even—yes—barrel right through the less secure confinements. If you can’t supervise your Sta ff ord’s every moment in your fenced yard, make certain your fencing is “escape proof ”. Unfortu- nately, being occasionally misidentified as
American Pit Bull Terriers, Sta ff ords have been stolen from yards; make certain your gate is securely locked when you are not directly supervising your Sta ff ord in your yard. Because of their high pain tolerance, underground “invisible” electric fencing is often a poor choice for a Sta ff ord; such fencing also makes them even more prone to theft. Sta ff ords are generally not heat toler- ant. NEVER keep your Sta ff ord out in the direct sun on a warm day for more than a few minutes, and, on hot summer days, try to limit your Sta ff ord’s most boisterous activities, even in the shade, to the cool of the evening hours. Because of the structure of their head and airways, Sta ff ords can overheat very, very easily, with only a few minutes of brisk exercise on a warm day. Th e risk of overheating is especially severe on days of high humid- ity. Dark-coated Sta ff ords are even more prone to hyperthermia (overheating) than the predominantly white-coated Staf- fords. If you don’t have air conditioning, the liberal use of electric fans will help to keep your Sta ff ord comfortable indoors on those hot summer days. If your Staf- ford is kept in a kennel, the kennels should be situated in a breezy, shady area dur- ing the summer. Of course, you should always provide your dog with plenty of fresh water, but this is especially critical during the warmer months. While any dog can dangerously overheat in a parked car on a warm day, Sta ff ords are particu- larly at risk. In addition, because of their short coats, Sta ff ords do not tolerate cold temperatures, and are never to be kept as an outside dog or in an unheated kennel in areas where winter temperatures can get chilly. Older Sta ff ords can be espe- cially sensitive to cold. A warm, soft, cozy indoor bed at night is a pleasure which no older Sta ff ord should be denied!
all Sta ff ord owners and breeders must be aware of common Sta ff ord a ffl ictions in order to better care for this most wonder- ful breed! Th is article is a brief summary of medical conditions occasionally found in Sta ff ords. I have prepared a separate bib- liography entitled “Genetic-based Health Resources for Owners and Breeders of Staf- fordshire Bull Terriers” for further infor- mation on most of the topics described in this summary, as well as several additional topics related to Sta ff ord health concerns and general canine genetics. Th is article is for general information purposes only, and cannot take the place of an actual consul- tation or visit with your dog’s veterinarian. Sta ff ords only rarely act ill or injured. However, because of their stoic nature, we know that Sta ff ords only rarely choose to show pain. Th erefore, any Sta ff ord owner must immediately attend to their dog when it acts abnormally or otherwise in distress, since a Sta ff ord displaying discomfort is an ill or injured Sta ff ord indeed. Because of their bold, fearless, and irre- pressible nature, Sta ff ords are all too often injured. Jumping o ff balconies, being hit by cars, and run-ins with wild critters occur all too frequently with Sta ff ords. Due to their heavy muscular structure, Sta ff ords are prone to drowning since many can- not swim well or even stay afloat. While a proper Sta ff ord will rarely, if ever, initiate a dispute with another canine, if the other dog decides to pick on your Sta ff ord, you can be almost certain that your Sta ff ord will take up the challenge; severe injuries can result to both dogs if you don’t quickly step in and remove your Sta ff ord from the
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Almost all states and municipalities have laws and ordinances regarding rabies vaccinations. Make certain you know and obey these vaccination laws with your Sta ff ord! All Sta ff ords should be vacci- nated for common and serious canine ill- nesses, including parvovirus and distem- per, and your Sta ff ord’s fecal specimens should be checked by your vet for parasites at least yearly. Dog vaccination protocols are a current hotly debated issue, and are beyond the scope of this brief summary. However, one authoritative place to start is by reading the American Animal Hos- pital Association 2011 Canine Vaccina- tion Guidelines. Th is website gives a great deal of information which will serve as a sound basis for your future investigation of this fast-changing subject, and allow you, in partnership with your veterinari- an, to make the best vaccination decisions for your dog.
itself ameliorate this condition in milder cases. Contact allergies to pollens, dusts, molds, and other environmental allergens may be to blame. (One indoor allergen responsible for much atopic dermatitis in dogs, the feces of the ubiquitous house dust mite, is a major allergen for humans, as well.) Less frequently, food intolerances may play a role, and the dog must be rele- gated by the veterinarian to a strict dietary protocol. For milder cases, some dog own- ers and vets have seen improvement using fish oil supplements; the omega-3 fatty acids contained in fish oils act as a natu- ral anti-inflammatory and help to relieve the itching. Severe cases of atopic derma- titis can be di ffi cult to manage, and the advice and help of a veterinarian are need- ed to bring the a ffl icted dog relief. Often treatment to control the itching (such as antihistamines or even prednisone), iden- tification and removal of the source of the
typical), puppies of many breeds (includ- ing Sta ff ords) may develop a few quarter- sized bald patches on their face and chest; these usually resolve in time without treat- ment. Unfortunately, certain dogs are not so lucky; the condition becomes general- ized and wide-spread over the entire body. In these cases, veterinarians must be con- sulted for treatment, and the problem is often not easy to permanently resolve. Pre- viously, only rather toxic dips, usually con- taining the compound amitraz, would be used to control the mites in dogs with gen- eralized demodicosis. More recently, the heartworm preventive ivermectin has been successfully used to treat demodicosis; however, it is not yet approved by the FDA for this purpose, although it is licensed for use as a heartworm preventive in the dog. Ivermectin is highly toxic to many individ- uals of herding breeds, but most Sta ff ords appear to tolerate it well. Certain lines of
“CERTAIN STAFFORDS ARE PRONE TO VARIOUS SKIN ALLERGIES, CAUSING THEM TO BITE, SCRATCH, AND LICK THEIR ITCHY PLACES continually until the source of the problem is corrected by the owner or their vet.”
Following is a brief listing of illnesses which are known to occur in the Sta ff ord- shire Bull Terrier. Th is listing is not meant to be completely inclusive, and is provided for general information purposes only. Atopic Dermatitis (Skin Allergy) Certain Sta ff ords are prone to various skin allergies, causing them to bite, scratch, and lick their itchy places continually until the source of the problem is corrected by the owner or their vet. An a ffl icted dog may lose huge patches of hair or develop large “lick sores” in the process. Second- ary infections may then occur in the raw, exposed skin. A “flea bite allergy” often plays a considerable role in this condition; aggressive “flea control” measures (both on the dog and in the premises where the dog resides) throughout the year will often by
allergen from the dog’s environment, and treatment of the secondary skin infections are all necessary in order to control the condition in especially severe cases. While no studies have been done specifically on Sta ff ords, research with dogs in general show this condition to have, at least in part, a genetic mode of transmission.
Sta ff ords appear to be particularly prone to generalized demodicosis. Whether or not a Sta ff ord with generalized demodicosis should be used in a breeding program is a controversial subject at the moment, how- ever, the tendency towards the condition is thought be many to be an inherited one.
Demodectic Mange (Demodicosis)
Th e term Elbow Dysplasia is used to describe a degenerative disorder of the elbow joint caused by improper develop- ment of a portion of a particular bone in this joint (anconeal process of the ulna). Young dogs that have this condition often exhibit pain when jumping or turn- ing quickly, or may show variable foreleg lameness. It is thought to be hereditary in nature, and tends to run in canine fami- lies. However, exogenous causes, such as
Demodicosis is a skin condition caused by the tiny mite Demodex canis. Nearly all dogs carry this tiny skin parasite, but most adult dogs’ immune systems are able to keep the mite in check, and no symptoms are observed. (Even most humans carry this mite in limited numbers in their skin!) Frequently in puppyhood and adolescence (4 months to 18 months of age is most
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“...with 577 Staffords having been evaluated using hip x-rays, 17.2% ARE RATED ABNORMAL (DYSPLASTIC), AND 80.4% HAVE BOTH HIPS GRADED NORMAL.”
over-feeing a puppy into too-rapid growth, may be partially to blame as well, especial- ly if a genetic tendency is present. Injury to the joint might also be a cause. Depending upon the age of the dog, the actual cause, and the severity of the symptoms, treat- ment can include modalities ranging from anti-inflammatories medications up to surgery. According to the latest OFA statis- tics (2012), with 217 Sta ff ords having been evaluated using elbow x-rays, 16.6% of these Sta ff ords have elbow dysplasia, while 82.9% are rated as having normal elbows. Hereditary (Juvenile) Cataract Hereditary (Juvenile) Cataract is a hereditary condition that causes an opac- ity or cloudiness to develop in the lens of a dog’s eyes at a relatively early age. Although the eyes are normal at birth, bilateral cataracts form usually by several months of age. Th is condition often pro- gresses rapidly, leading to total blindness by three years of age. Surgery (canine lens extraction using phacoemulsification) can be used to restore sight to the a ff ected dog; however, it has only a 75% long term suc- cess rate in restoring useful vision. Heredi- tary cataract is now known to be transmit- ted by means of an autosomal recessive mode of inheritance. A simple DNA test, using a small sample of the dog’s blood, is now available which will identify carriers, clears, and a ff ecteds for this condition in the Sta ff ordshire Bull Terrier. A dog who is a carrier has one copy of the mutated gene, but does not itself show signs of the disease. Th e a ff ected dog has both mutated copies of the gene and develops cataracts, while the clear dog has two normal genes. A carrier, if bred to another carrier, will produce on average one a ff ected puppy, two carriers, and one clear puppy for every
four puppies produced. By using the new DNA test, breeders can test their breed- ing stock, and, based upon this test, breed appropriately to prevent a ff ected puppies from being produced. With limited testing in the U.S. approximately 8% of all U.S. Sta ff ords tested for Hereditary Cataract have been shown to be carriers when this test was first widely introduced in 2007. Hip Dysplasia Hip Dysplasia is a crippling condition in which laxness in the hip joint causes premature breakdown of the cartilage lining, leading to arthritis. Th e tendency to hip dysplasia can be passed on from one generation to the next; researchers believe that it is a polygenic-based disor- der, having more than one causative gene. Symptoms may include di ffi culty jump- ing or using stairs; unusual sti ff ness after exercise; and a peculiar “bunny-hopping” gait. While there is a strong hereditary component to this a ffl iction, many believe environmental factors, such as overfeed- ing leading to too-rapid growth in pup- pies, can cause the condition to progress much more rapidly if a genetic tendency is already present. Often, the e ff ects of mild hip dysplasia are not seen until the dog is middle-age or older, and can be managed by weight control and anti-inflammatory medications. Occasionally, however, pup- pies and young dogs can show symptoms of hip dysplasia which are rapidly pro- gressive and crippling; special surgical techniques have been developed for these dogs to help them lead a more normal and pain-free life. According to the latest OFA statistics (2012), with 577 Sta ff ords hav- ing been evaluated using hip x-rays, 17.2% are rated abnormal (dysplastic), and 80.4% have both hips graded normal. Since this
is at least partially a hereditary condition, careful breeding will reduce its incidence in a breed over time. If both parents have normal hips, there is a lessened possibility for one or more puppies in a litter to be later rated dysplastic. L-2-Hydroxyglutaric Aciduria (L-2-HGA) L-2-HGA is a metabolic condition of Sta ff ordshire Bull Terriers in which a ff ect- ed dogs lack an enzyme to properly break down a metabolic byproduct, an organic acid, L-2-hydroxyglutaric acid. Th is com- pound then builds up in the cerebrospi- nal fluid and plasma of the a ff ected dogs, causing the symptoms of this illness. Cen- tral nervous system symptoms include lack of coordination, tremors, personality disorders, poor learning abilities, and sei- zures. Th ese a ff ected dogs usually excrete high levels of the compound in their urine, hence the term “aciduria”. Unfor- tunately, treatment is entirely symptom- atic; there is no cure. A ff ected dogs often must be euthanized at an early age, and even the more mildly a ff ected will never behave like a “normal dog.” L-2-HGA is now known to be transmitted by means of an autosomal recessive mode of inheri- tance. A simple DNA test, using a small sample of the dog’s blood, is now available which will identify carriers, clears, and a ff ecteds for this condition in the Staf- fordshire Bull Terrier. A dog who is a car- rier has one copy of the mutated gene, but does not itself show signs of the disease. Th e a ff ected dog has both mutated cop- ies of the gene and develops L-2-HGA, while the clear dog has two normal genes. A carrier, if bred to another carrier, will produce on average one a ff ected puppy, two carriers, and one clear puppy for
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Persistent Hyperplastic Primary Vitreous (PHPV) Persistent Hyperplastic Primary Vitre- ous (PHPV) is an inherited eye condition found in Sta ff ords as well as other breeds. In PHPV, embryonic blood vessels in the eye persist abnormally after birth, usually on the posterior lens capsule, interfering with the dog’s vision. A posterior cortical cataract may sometimes form, as well. PHPB is con-
every four puppies produced. However, by using the new DNA test, breeders can test their breeding stock, and, based upon this test, breed appropriately to prevent a ff ected puppies from being produced. It is critical that all breeders use this new DNA test to screen their breeding stock for this mutation, since it is estimated (late 2006) that upwards of 15% of the Sta ff ords in the U.S. are carriers.
a generally small cataract which does not typically produce total blindness in the dog. It occurs in Sta ff ords, as well as a number of other breeds. Onset may be juvenile, or in adulthood. PPSC is thought to be hereditary, although the mode of transmission is still unknown. It is not related to Hereditary Cataracts. While PPSC can be readily detected on a standard eye exam, unfortunately the
“Staffords are, overall, much healthier than many other breeds, AND THEIR JOIE DE VIVRE MAKES THEM A REAL PLEASURE TO OWN.”
Patellar Luxation Patellar Luxation is a condition in which the patella, or kneecap, of the dog’s stifle joint frequently luxates or “pops” out of place. Depending upon the sever- ity, symptoms can be intermittent and mild throughout the dog’s life, with the only evidence of the condition an occa- sional funny “kick” of the dog’s hind leg, or it may eventually lead to severe, per- manent degenerative changes in the joint including arthritis. Infrequently, onset may appear to be sudden, leaving the dog unable to stand on the a ff ected hindleg(s). Patellar luxation is believed to be heredi- tary, as well, although the exact mode of transmission is uncertain. According to the latest OFA statistics (2012), with 72 Sta ff ords having been evaluated radio- graphically (using x-rays), 100% were evaluated as “normal.” However, these statistics are considered misleading, not only because of the small sample size eval- uated, but also because patellar luxation is known for certain to occasionally be found in this breed.
genital, and not acquired nor progressive. Th erefore, it can be detected on any eye exam performed at any age starting at six weeks or later, and it will not worsen from that point. While many cases are relatively mild, some can be quite severe and interfere materially with the dog’s vision. Mode of inheritance is unknown at this time, although some believe that it is autosomal dominant with incomplete penetrance. Surgery is available but it is not always entirely successful and can be very expensive. It is advised to limit the breeding of adult Sta ff ords with this con- dition, so that it does not become a serious problem in the breed. However, if it is found to have incomplete penetrance genetically, it would still be possible for a dog to transmit the PHPV mutation without itself showing symptoms. Th e Animal Health Trust in England is currently working to develop a genetic test for this condition.
eye exam cannot determine whether or not the “clear” dog will develop this con- dition. Here also, surgery is a possibil- ity but is not always successful, and can be very expensive. It is advisable to limit breeding of dogs known to have PPSC to ensure that this condition will not become a problem in the breed. Unfor- tunately, if onset is not until adulthood, it is possible that a breeder may still use such a dog in their program before the cataract develops and is observed. For this reason, eye exams are recommended annually for every Sta ff ord in a breed- ing program. Th ere is no genetic testing available for this condition at this time. Sta ff ords are, overall, much healthier than many other breeds, and their joie de vivre makes them a real pleasure to own. Knowledge about the health con- ditions occasionally found in the breed, combined with your veterinarian’s skill and knowledge, will help to ensure your Sta ff ord a long, happy, and active life in your company.
Posterior Polar Subcapsular Cataracts (PPSC)
Posterior Polar Subcapsular Cata- racts (PPSC) involves the formation of
“...EYE EXAMS ARE RECOMMENDED ANNUALLY FOR EVERY STAFFORD IN A BREEDING PROGRAM.”
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