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"Zimba" A Working Stafford

Discussion in 'SBT History' started by Vicki, Apr 10, 2010.

  1. Vicki

    Vicki Administrator Administrator

    "Zimba" A Working Stafford

    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 dispatch. 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, determination and intelligence to work like real dogs.

    Source: Sporting Dog Bull Terrier Times
     
  2. Bully_UK

    Bully_UK Little Dog

    Great read!.
     
  3. dogeatdog

    dogeatdog Good Dog

    Great read !!
     
  4. MsAcer

    MsAcer Good Dog

    "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, determination and intelligence to work like real dogs."



    W
    hat a good post!!!! Loved it!
     
  5. Sandi

    Sandi Big Dog

    Wow, thanks for posting. I'm from the Border region of the UK & a lot of the Cheviot & Pennine sheep farmers still have hard, working terriers in their kennels for earth work.
     

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