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A Working Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Discussion in 'Staffordshire Bull Terriers' started by F.W.K., Sep 4, 2017.

  1. F.W.K.

    F.W.K. Top Dog

    ZIMBA a working Staffordshire Bull Terrier
    This is a very difficult article to write. We are now light years removed from the era I am about to describe and the climate of public opinion today, brainwashed by an irresponsible, hysterical media, which would lead one to believe that any dog with 'bull' in its name or in its bloodline, is a potential menace, a lethal weapon, a coiled spring of a killer, or a time bomb waiting to explode and maim all and sundry.

    Those of us that know, those of us that are able to raise, train and handle real dogs, working dogs, know differently. This is the tale of a working Staffordshire Bull Terrier. A sensible terrier with a superb temperament and a real presence, with a proud, calm bearing.

    He was the only dog in a litter of five. There were four black bitches and a lone male, mainly white but with brindle markings. He was as bold as brass in the litter and that's why I selected him. He stayed that way all of his life, but he was calm and intelligent with it. A dog of power, of strength, needs to be, for these qualities balance each other and make for a well adjusted animal. Particularly, if he belongs to a team of working terriers, as this one did, working week in, week out for six full seasons, gaining I am sure pleasure, pride and satisfaction from his contribution.

    He began his career at the tender age of 6 months, as a seizer dog, holding foxes, drawing from stop ends for quick and humane despatch. At 14 months, he graduated to heavier quarry. This means Badger of course, and I can imagine many readers throwing their hands up in horror and disgust. Read on with a fair and open mind. It is not what it seems.

    At the time, it was all perfectly legal and no-one gave it a second thought. Badgers were widely regarded as pests, carriers of disease, to be gassed, trapped or snared, but to be controlled or got rid of. They were looked upon as a threat to the dairy stockman and a real nuisance to the arable farmer and they were, and one day soon, will probably become so again.Their status was almost, but not quite, that of a complete pest, to be removed or eliminated whenever possible and the Ministry of Agriculture and the Farmers Unions all supported or pursued population control. Usually, this was carried out with as little suffering as possible to the animal, but unfortunately, this was not always the case and it must be said that the people who ignored the unwritten code of practice which eliminated cruelty, were the very people who brought about the great campaign against terrier men.

    When this dog was given his introduction to "Brock", it took him a while to develop his technique. The Badger posed him many problems, more than he had been used to in his young life and he learned some bitter lessons, though he was never unduly punished or distressed. By the time he was 2 years old, he had overcome or solved these problems and from then on, almost until his retirement, he would do his work with the very minimum of fuss and hardly any bother. He would wait quietly, for his moment and then take hold, drawing the Badger for capture and later release, or for humane destruction. There would be no blood and gore or terror and torture. Just the simple quick routine of a potentially difficult and hazardous task accomplished with supreme ease. For the record, it should be stated that it was perfectly possible to dig without the need of a seize dog. Indeed, most people did not use one. It was simply the fact, that I had the perfect animal for the job and, when required, he made the end of a dig an easily controlled affair.

    He was never tied or restrained at an earth. There was never any need. He was never a threat to any other dog, or livestock. The dog was too intelligent and knew his job and would bide his time with silent, unobtrusive patience until his moment came.

    Only one time did he deviate from his normal practice. It had been a long day at a large earth and a small bitch had been having great difficulty in bottling up her quarry. Several times we had started to dig, only for the terrier to be forced to move and soon we noticed that the 'strong' dog was missing. There was no sound to be heard from the earth and so we briefly searched the surrounding area, calling his name in case he had wandered off. In our hearts we knew that this was not the case. He would never consider such an action as to leave the site when a dig was in progress. There was nothing to be done however. It was in pre-bleeper days and the wind was high and the noise as it rustled through the trees, effectively cut out every sound and so we just sat and waited, with an occasional, hopeful search and the odd turn at listening at various holes. Three hours later, this dog drew his quarry to us, complete with the little bitch. All were unmarked and apparently unharmed and the farmer, who had been obliged to destroy cattle because of Badger bourne TB was delighted when we were able to show such a result, from a place which was practically impossible for gassing. It had all be done without suffering, as far as possible and with all potential distress kept to an absolute minimum level. It was a day that those present, terriermen and landowner alike, will never forget.

    This honest Staff would mark an earth as true as any and saved many a day when a fair depth had been dug, only for all sound to cease. The heavy dog would guide our way in his own style, pushing his nose hard into the soil and snorting like an old porker. He was never wrong and would mark and dig furiously to get there, which he often did. Perhaps the most important value of this working Staff, lay not in his use at the dig, but in the abilities or properties that he imparted to his progeny and their descendants. Dogs like this, were often used as the 'stiffener' for many old earth dog strains, imparting bone, strength, courage and yes, sense, for he was the equal of any in the brain-box department, having not only super intelligence but also commonsense, a quality often sadly lacking in humans, when MENSA-type brain power and IQ inhabit academic craniums. It need hardly be said that that the size and strength of the head also benefited, for the average working Staff has a great lumpy, chunky head. Please note that this article is about Staffs and not English Bull Terriers, which are an entirely different dog in size, shape and temperament.

    The use of bull blooded dogs is often condemned for imparting qualities of muteness and stupidity to a strain. But criticism such as this often came from 'part-time' terrier men who took a dog out once a month (or less) and expected it to be a world beater, without giving it the chance to learn steadiness and develop its abilities under conditions of great effort. When the great working terriers were being forged into established strains and breeds, didn't our forefathers use such methods to reach their goals? A dog, if he has the necessary qualities inbred, can learn, becoming steadfast and stable.

    When this Staff was mated to working terrier bitches, most of the resulting pups would breed much smaller than himself but with similar structure and appetite. Today, in the quest for 'show-purity', bloodlines such as these are contemptuously disregarded and discarded. What a crime!. Once they are lost, they are gone forever, for it is now increasingly difficult to find even a Staff with the right aptitude and attitude. I believe it to be impossible for shows to have any beneficial effect on working terriers. They can only be harmful and working terrier men would be well advised to boycott them and leave them to the 'posers' who have almost completely taken over. To hell with rosettes! Let our 'workers' be ugly. (Though personally, I don't see them as ugly. To me they are things of beauty. It's the 'tarted-up', tit-bit guzzling, posing show types that strike me as being ugly, obscene and offensive)

    Let's make sure that terriers, real terriers, working terriers are real dogs and look like real dogs and have the courage, dtermination and intelligence to work like real dogs.
  2. Smuggler

    Smuggler Pup

    So lets get this right , a stafford goes into a badger set for 3 hours and draws one but remains unmarked ....
    Lrs and Dusty Road like this.
  3. stedz

    stedz Top Dog

    My grandfather and his brother were terriermen back in the day,and both used staffords for digging,i know they obtained some dogs back then from a man called tom walls who was an old time actor,in fact thers a photo of my grandfather in one of the old erd mags,with a dog called buller ,who was apparently a real demon of a dog.I think back then the dogs were closer to thier original purpose.you cant compare these staffords today to the ones back then,total lack of prey drive.
    oakgrove likes this.
  4. F.W.K.

    F.W.K. Top Dog

    Tom Walls and Ch. Buller
    oakgrove and david63 like this.
  5. stedz

    stedz Top Dog

    yes seen that photo before,and always assumed that this dog was somewhere in the ped,and they named the dog after it.may even have been its sire,who knows.
  6. stedz

    stedz Top Dog

    Its strange in working dog circles,how quickly strains and even breeds can disapear,my uncle for example kept a strain of terrier back in the 70s that can only be described as sealyham russell types,rough coated real mongrely looking dogs,and despite the fact he dug everything with them,as soon as the patterdales came on the seen,he left the strain die out.There were other men in my area that had these dogs as well but its like they have become extinct.in the book of pedigree unknown there is a photo of a man called Bert Gripton and his dogs, and that is the type of terrier im talking about.
    F.W.K. and palooka like this.
  7. palooka

    palooka Premium Member Premium Member

    i think locators had a lot to do with the change in the type of terrier being used, prior to them hard mute dogs wouldn't have been much use
  8. Lrs

    Lrs Big Dog

    Agree with the above sounders started to disappear in favour of hard nut cases when lads got hold of locators.
  9. CockneyRebel

    CockneyRebel Big Dog

    That and laziness, breeding a hard Terrier isn't that hard if you're adding a lot of Bull to the mix. Folk think they're Brian Nuttall after 5 mins of being in the game.
    david63 likes this.
  10. F.W.K.

    F.W.K. Top Dog

    Tom_Walls2.jpg Tom_Walls2.jpg The biggest cur have more gameness in his toenail then the strongest man of the block in his whole bofy.
    And....the one man's gamedog is another man's cur.
    Not seldom a dog is labelled to quick a cur just as a dog is not seldom labelled to quick a game one.
    One of the things what I've learned in these dogs is '' to many chiefs and to less indians''.

    The best hunter I ever owned was an crossbred Bull Terrier dam was an English Bull Terrier sire was half American Pit Bull half English Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

    Tom Walls (1883 - 1949)
    Tom Walls is virtually forgotten by cinema fans these days, yet in his day he was hugely successful, and has claim to be one of the most influential figures in British comedy.

    He was born in Northampton, the son of a plumber. After he left school he drifted a little, spending a year in Canada and joining the police on his return. After these false starts, he took to the boards as part of a Brighton concert party and found his career. Over the next few years he worked steadily, appearing in the West End as well as touring Britain, Australia and North America. By 1912 he was firmly established as a West End star.

    In 1922 he and Leslie Henson co-produced and starred in the farce Tons of Money at the Shaftesbury Theatre. It was a smash hit. Their next project was It Pays to Advertise. They moved to the Aldwych Theatre for this one and thus inaugurated the Aldwych Farce series of comedies. With its regular team of Henson, Walls, Mary Brough, Ralph Lynn, Robertson Hare ,Yvonne Arnaud, Winifred Shotter and others, and its usual writer Ben Travers, the series developed a strain of British comedy which featured silly-asses, henpecked husbands, battleaxe mothers-in-law and lots of innocent misunderstandings.

    He made an early foray into the cinema in 1924 when he co-produced a film version of Tons of Money, though he didn't reprise his role. When the talkies arrived there was no stopping him, and he moved his focus away from the theatre and to the movies. He directed seventeen films between 1930 and 1938, acting in most of them. The majority of these films were Aldwych farces.

    When the economics of the industry changed with the new Cinematography Act, Walls went back to the theatre. He returned to films as an actor only.

    His productions made him very rich and by 1927 he had his own racing stable. His horse April the Fifth won the Derby, but this expensive hobby took its toll and by the time of his death he was insolvent.
    He had also a passion for Staffordshire Bull Terriƫrs.
  11. F.W.K.

    F.W.K. Top Dog

  12. Was Bert a Youkshire man Stedz???
    and was he freinds with Drabble??

    I remember seeing Bert on one of Drabbles progams when i was a very young boy..(i think...its a long time ago)
    im sure in the program i seen,Berts dogs were white baying types.but smooth coated?

    Nuttall says in his interview with Darcy that Bert was a big influece in his life.
    he also says his dogs were very good at both fox and badger,and he (Bert)was never in a rush to start them.

    All the best.....
    did he ever right a book mate?(Bert)
    david63 likes this.
  13. stedz

    stedz Top Dog

    gripton was from shropshire.he never wrote a book,but there was a chapter on him in drabbles book of pedigree unknown,his dogs were the old sealyham russell type.
    david63 and Soze the killer like this.
  14. Thanks Stedz...
    a great man with the terriers.
  15. Found it Stedz...found the program i was on about.
    its on Youetube..just seen it.
    type in Bert Grifton and its the only thing what comes up about him on there...
    its well worth a watch mate...
    it was Drabble show.Drabble is on it to...

    Is of pedigree unkonwn a good book Stedz?
    I think you can get it for a fiver on Angle books mate.
    i think Drabble wrote a few books..im sure he wrote one about Badgers.

    But yeah Bert Griffton Terrier man its called.check it out..
    youll like it mate.

    All the best.
    david63 and stedz like this.
  16. stedz

    stedz Top Dog

    yes it is a good read soze,i will try and put a picture of gripton and some of his dogs from it on weekend.
    david63 and Soze the killer like this.
  17. stedz

    stedz Top Dog

  18. Even tho i still cant enlarge photos i can spot Bert on the left with some of his little white terriers..
    i cant tell if his dog is faceing a fox or a badger?tho it looks like a fox..

    what dose Bert say in Drabbles book about his terriers Stedz?
    I keep meaning to get that book(and i million others).....
    hey Stedz have you read "the great game"by Harold Whyman?
    he also wrote a book about Snaring.
    he was a great old Welsh poacher...
    in his great game book he makes mention of the eel bobbers..a curios group of old eel poachers that i just happen to no.and,learnt the art of eel bobbing through..tho i aint in no way masterd the art i might add.
    but yeah,i just thought you might of read it mate?.

    did you ever get round to hunting sqirrels mate?
    pm me if ya want.
    All the best.
    david63 likes this.
  19. stedz

    stedz Top Dog

    yeah i dont know why,i cant enlarge them either,Drabble talks about gripton in the book,yeah i got the wyman book too,great read.another good one is a poachers tale by fred speakman.im getting a air gun this week so the tree rats can look out lol.
    david63 and Soze the killer like this.
  20. stedz

    stedz Top Dog

    "in a certain part of the island there is a people called welsh , so bold and ferocious that, when unarmed, they do not fear to encounter an armed force: being ready to shed their blood in defence of their country, and to sacrifice their lives for renown" quoting Henry ll of england" from The great game by Harold Wyman.great book !
    Soze the killer likes this.

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