Some people only take the history as far back as 1936, when the Staffordshire Terrier was first registered with the AKC (American Kennel Club). I believe it is necessary to go back further, way back into the 1800’s in England. Man bred dogs for gripping large game like boars and bears. These dogs were later developed into what was commonly called the Butcher’s Dog.These dogs were 35 to 80 pounds, long of leg, sturdy in body, athletic with a strong head and muzzle. They were also used for all manner of work including stock work, hunting, and farm dogs as well as the ever faithful companion animal. These dogs showed unwavering loyalty and gentleness towards humans but were a breed which was required to demonstrate a certain level of animal directed aggression, but were routinely used in pairs to bait animals and hunt, so overt aggression towards others of the same species was not an extreme trait.In 1835, a law set in motion in England made the sport of bull baiting illegal and over the next few years the activity eventually died down. The people turned to another blood sport, dog fighting. Selective breeding produced a dog that had a tendency to exhibit dog directed aggression with a greater agility for performance in the pit. These dogs were called Pit Dogs.Although these dogs were used in the horrible sport of dog fighting, the dogs HAD to be friendly towards people. This meant that the breed was never really a threat to people, and hence became known as a people friendly dog, sometimes getting the term "nanny dog" as well as the ultimate warrior. Unfortunately this fighting heritage is what most people think of when talking about American Pitbull Terriers.Migrants from England (and surrounding areas) which settled in America brought with them dogs, that we know as Pit Dogs or Pit Bull Terriers.In America this breed was flourished. It was one of the most popular breeds, highly prized for its loyalty. The American Pitbull Terrier was used to represent the US Army in WW1 artwork, companies such as RCA. Lucenay’s Peter (UKC Registered Name) was famous as the dog of the Buster Brown ads and his more well known role in the Our Gang/ Little Rascals series. A American Pitbull Mix named Stubby became a decorated WWI hero. Laura Ingalls Wilder of the popular Little House books owned a American Pitbull name Jack. Theodore Roosevelt and Helen Keller also owned American Pitbull’s and the American Pitbull truly became America’s sweetheart breed, admired, respected and loved.In 1898 the United Kennel Club was formed with the intent of providing registration and fighting guidelines for the now official American Pitbull Terrier. One of the founders, C. Z. Bennett assigned the UKC registration number 1 to his own APBT, Bennett's Ring in 1898. From that moment on, cross breeding was no longer accepted.In 1935 those that wished to distance themselves from the fighting aspect of the breed petitioned the American Kennel Club for recognition of the American Pitbull Terrier so they could compete in Dog Shows and Performance events. The AKC conceded but under the stipulation that the dogs registered with them be called Staffordshire Terriers, the name of the province in England the breed supposedly originated in.Upon the AKC’s acceptance, many people dual-registered their dogs with the UKC and AKC. Lucenay’s Peter was one of the first dual registered American Pitbull Terrier/ Staffordshire Terrier. The AKC eventually closed it’s studbooks to the American Pitbull Terriers, they allowed registration only to those dogs with parents registered as Staffordshire Terriers, briefly reopening them in the 1970’s. In 1973 the American was added to the Staffordshire Terrier in an effort to distinguish it from the newly recognized Staffordshire Bull Terrier. These days only those with Amstaff parents are eligible for registration in the AKC studbooks.Today the Amstaff has evolved into a marvelous working and companion dog, used for various purposes as Police/ Armed services dogs, search and rescue dogs, therapy animals and livestock workers. They compete in all manner of organized dog sports such as herding, agility, conformation showing, obedience, Schutzhund and French ring.
Since the early 1900's breeders have moved away from the dog fighting heritage, and now concentrated on dogs with good stable temperaments, although it's the dogs history which gives the American Staffordshire of today it's admirable qualities.
The breed has suffered many set backs in recent times due to a minority of selfish breeders/owners who use this breed for fighting purposes, and other similar ones, as a vehicle to pursue their own personal narrow minded path to self gratification and glory. A minority of people use this dog in an aggressive fashion, and unfortunately also in underground dog fighting competitions. This could prove a major hurdle for those people who treat this breed with respect, as very strict laws, regarding dog ownership, are coming into place all over the world.The future of this breed requires the help of dedicated owners/breeders, who treat the American Staffordshire Terrier with respect and love, and who are willing to educate the public about this breed. The American Staffordshire Terrier was officially recognised in Australia on 1st January 1987.The first Amstaff was imported from Hawaii in November 1985 by Mr and Mrs Murdoch of Red Cliffs Victoria. They were to become the first breeders/exhibitors of the breed, their kennel prefix being "Amstaff". The basis of their future breeding programme was to start with this import, "Rockislands O’Omua O Hawaii". Bob and Ruths next import was the lovely brindle dog Ka Hanahou’s Lei O' Makana. He was to become the first Australian Champion, and with the earlier imported bitch was to produce the
first Australian bred litter.In 1989, in Queensland, Dr Glucina of the "Araganu" prefix began to import Amstaffs into Australia. Over a period of time he imported the American Champion dog "Steeltowns Diamond Boy", another dog "Ka Hanahou’s Seamist", a bitch "Cock N Bulls Poppycock" and another bitch Haw N Blue Knight Mist. All having cropped ears, so unfortunately were unable to be shown in Australia. From these imports Dr Glucina was to start his breeding program and produced his first litter in 1990.The Murdoch's next import was another male "Ka Hanahou’s Rojo’s Sam", a red dog. He was 8 ½ months old when released from quarantine on February 14th 1991.In October 1990 Mark and Wendy Evans, of Evastaff Kennels in Tasmania, were to purchase a brindle bitch from Hawaii. This was "Kalokos Lea", just 13 months old at time of purchase. She arrived in quarantine December 1990 and was released 12th April 1991. This bitch started her show career in August the same year and went through to her Australian title. Kalokos Lea was the first bitch to produce a litter with both parents being Australian Champions.Evastaff imported their second Amstaff in December 1992, released from quarantine May 1993. This was the striking black brindle dog "Hot Lava Indian at Evastaff". Jasper, as he is known, was to quickly gain his Australian title also.In the following years imported semen produced some worthy Amstaff litters. Lee Jenkins, of Bluesteel Kennel in Victoria, imported semen from two dogs. International Ch Willynwood Redneck and American Ch Rowdytowns Hardrock Café. In Queensland Greg Gordon imported frozen semen from Am Ch Pacific's Distant Thunder. And later, in partnership with Lynda Craw (Lyntiki), the lovely blue dog "Am Ch Pacific's Hot Pursuit", who was co-owned by Greg and Lynda.Lynda Craw also imported two Amstaffs from New Zealand in 1998, (originally imported from Hawaii into NZ). The dog, "Aust/NZ Ch Kupa’a Tama of Triskara" and the bitch "Triskara Mea Kau Ake (AI USA)". The bitch arrived in whelp. Other breeders are investigating importing worthy dogs and bitches as well as further importation of frozen semen from good American bred dogs.More dogs and frozen Semen have been imported into Australia since then making their mark on the Australian Amstaff.Interest in the Amstaff within Australia is steadily on the increase. This versatile breed can be utilised as a family companion, a show dog and as an obedience dog and are now seen in all fields of canine performance and therapy. The breed is continually creating interest in and out of the show ring, and this, combined with a responsible breeding program will ensure a steady development of the America Staffordshire Terrier in Australia.Written and compiled by Wendy Evens - Evastaff Kennels
Am Ch. Pacific's Distant Thunder Am Ch. Pacific's Hot Pursuit (Imp USA)