NEWSLETTER NUMBER 21
Mrs Cordingley with BOWSTAFF
PRINCESS REGIS, Best In Show at
EDITORIAL by Ann Gatenby
WELCOME TO OUR NEW PRESIDENT - PAT PRITCHARD by Ann Gatenby
PUPPY CO-ORDINATOR by Elaine Bruton
STANDING ORDERS by Vickie Kemp
ROSIE by Ann Gatenby
CRUFTS 1999 by Ben Kemp
CHRISTMAS PARTY 1998 by Ben Kemp
DOWNLANDS BREED SEMINAR by Barbara Smart
MILLENNIUM BUG by Ben Kemp
SWIMMING WITH MR. JACK by Veronica Brown
VENUES IN THE WEST by Ben Kemp
THAT SUMS IT UP! by Paul Cateno
OBITUARY: JILORELLE LUCK ZAK by Chris, Elaine, Christopher and Neil Bruton
TOP DOGS 1998 - THE FINAL RESULTS points compiled by Vickie Kemp
First of all, I must apologise for not sending you a Newsletter for such a long time. There have been several changes of personnel on the committee, and we have also had problems with the printing, but I have to say it is mainly due to lack of copy. We really do need articles, poems, stories, adverts - in fact anything pertaining to the SBT which you think might be of interest to SBT lovers. Come on now, we have a very hardworking committee but we also need an active membership, and providing it is not libellous or copyrighted, we will print anything.
I hope you have had a good Summer, and are now ready to face the Millenium’s shows with confidence. Do please try to support local open shows as well as Championship Shows. They were once the backbone of the dog showing world, and quite honestly there are dogs being shown at Championship Shows which should really only be at Open Shows, where they would probably do quite well. If you are selling puppies, don’t try to tell the new owners the puppy should be shown, when it is obviously just going to be a much-loved pet (not all puppies are show quality, and it really doesn’t matter as long as they have the right Stafford qualities such as good temperaments and are sound in wind and limb).
On the subject of Rescue, I don't do as much as I used to when there were only a handful of us doing it, but it staggers me when I get phone calls from people who have bought TWO DOG PUPPIES from the same litter, and when they get to about 18 months they want to kill each other. A good breeder with a concern for the breed would never sell two dogs from the same litter to the same home, and consequently one of the dogs ends up on rescue, for being just what he is - a typical Stafford. In fact, I don’t think it is a good idea to buy two puppies of either sex from the same litter, as they always relate to each other, and not to the "boss" - their owner. Some people may think quite differently - this is just my humble opinion.
The new Judges Working Party is putting a lot of stress and strain on club secretaries, and they need all the help and co-operation they can get in these difficult times. Try to think carefully when filling in judging forms, and of course we have to remember that the Kennel Club require us to have at least 20% of all-rounders on the list. I think that very soon, the Kennel Club will shoot themselves in the foot, and things will go badly wrong.
Anyway, that’s enough from me. I hope you have all had a good season, and if you didn’t win, just remember you take the same dog home as you took to the show and he/she is, in your eyes, the best dog that ever set paws on this Earth. Enjoy your day out, and make sure your dogs do the same.
To be elected the president of a club is an honour given to someone who has supported the club over the years and has worked tirelessly for the betterment of the club, and I can say with all my heart that I feel that Pat has fulfilled these conditions with all her strength. Not only that, but she has given all the love and care she can to hundreds of dogs that have fallen on hard times over the years, and has indeed rescued dogs from homes where they have been placed by OTHER STAFFORD RESCUE SERVICES!
All I can say is three cheers that we have someone like Pat in our club, and more "power to her elbow" in the years to come.
Enjoy your presidency, Pat. You deserve it.
If anyone has a litter of puppies they wish to register with
me, I shall be pleased to pass information on to potential homes.
Elaine Bruton (0208 7158358)
The committee hope that in this way members will be spared the bother of remembering to renew their membership, as it will now continue into the next year without a break.
Vickie Kemp (Treasurer & Membership Secretary)
Back to a warm, dry kitchen, the dogs have a good rub down, and Mum gets the kettle on because it's coffee (for mum) and chews (for dogs) time. Ruby, Alice and Isla retreat to their beds for a good chew, and Mum sits by the fire with a welcome cup of coffee. Then on to the scene comes Rose.
Dear Rose, aged 11½, is the matriarch in the household, but unfortunately the big "C" has caught up with her. She slowly makes her way over to the hearth rug and lies down by my feet. She gazes into the flickering flames of the fire, and I wonder - what is going on in her mind. Is she remembering the days of long ago, when she would follow me down the garden to feed the chickens, which she absolutely hated, and would do anything (even nip me on the bum) to stop me feeding them? Or is she thinking of the warm summer days when she would lie upside down on the grass, so that the warm sun would pour down on to her smooth tummy? Happily we have a photograph of her doing this, at the same time feeding three puppies (two Border Terriers and one Stafford) who were born at the same time. On the other hand, could she be thinking of the time we introduced her to the bagpipes, and looked down to see a wobbling jelly saying "Please mum, take me back to the car, away from these monsters in tartan."
Suddenly she sits up. The postman has arrived, and while the other dogs are barking their heads off, Rose gives a little rumble, but she knows that "Postie" is no threat to the household. The vet says "Let her do her own thing. While she is not suffering, and is eating well, let her be." However I have been through this situation so many times, I get a gut instinct of how long - not yet.
She looks up at me, asking for her head to be stroked and I know the time has not yet come, but my tears are beginning to flow, and I must stop reminiscing. Her time is precious to me. I must make the most of it.
The Newsletter Sub-committee regrets to report that, sadly, Rosie (Beaconmoor Be Off) was put to sleep on January 8th 1999.
There is definitely something about Crufts. The sheer scale
of the event? Is it be the thousands of classes and tens of thousands of Dogs?
Or the hundreds of thousands of people? Perhaps it is the National Exhibition
Centre at Birmingham? Maybe that it really is "the Best of the Very
Well, at half past five in the morning on the day, I can tell you, I was still wondering exactly what it was, and struggling to find an answer. A tiring week at work, a few jars on the Friday night "to help me relax". The hangover..... the hammering in my head ...... uurggghhhhh...... who am I? And more importantly, why am I awake?
With only few sharp words and an elbow in the ribs from my fiancée, I stumble into the shower. I remember! Crufts! The excitement! The canine highlight of the year!
Three and a half hours later and we’re in Birmingham after an easy journey (far removed from the previous fog-bound journey last time I went). The Newbury bypass works well, although I couldn’t help feeling a little bit guilty about the ecological damage at the expense of speed and convenience. There was no traffic jam as we approached the NEC, but the car park was a good five minute walk away from Hall no. 1. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I seem to remember the car parks being practically muddy fields. Not so this year, hedge-to-hedge tarmac and well-laid out parking spaces almost justified the £4 parking fee.
For the first time, Crufts was a no smoking venue, although this made no difference whatsover to those lighting up regardless! The benches were quite close to the rings, and the crowds thronged three or four deep around them, which did make some of the "action" a bit difficult to see. I don’t know if the organisers were telling us something, but the Stafford rings (appropriately numbered 1 and 2) were also directly outside a bar. In the interest of research I ventured in. It was crowded, expensive, and staffed by surly females who took scant regard for how long people had been waiting and served whoever shouted loudest.
The judges were Derek Smart (bitches) and Tony Lee (dogs) and Downlands members fared well. Members that performed well included:
Special Puppy Dog Winner : Pocknell’s Blunoosa Rug Rat
I look forward to seeing these splendid specimens at our next Downlands Show. Hello to everyone else from the Downlands and apologies if I’ve missed anyone. We’ll publish a full list of winners in the next newsletter and also some photographs of those people our photographer managed to catch.
Another hugely successful Christmas Party -
my fourth in a row. Rake Village Hall as usual was the venue, and a
thoroughly enjoyable time was had by all who attended on Sunday 6th December
(not "Sunday 6th November" as the catalogue at the November show
erroneously stated - which took place two days after the supposed date!)
I'm looking forward to the next one already. Anyone who didn't make it - where were you? You don't know what you missed!
Dear Readers and Stafford Lovers
Well, what can we say, having watched our friends, Kenny and Karen ring up their Stafford, Joe (bitch) - who, I would like to say, is the most delightful Stafford with a beautiful nature. After what must be eight years, and thinking at the beginning of her life, like most ignorant people, that this was going to grow into the most grotesque fighting machine, how wrong could we have been.
Eight years on we have just, well five months ago, bought the most wonderful Stafford that has ever been bred (well we have tp say that - she's ours!), Millie - what a beauty - she is as good as gold and we mean that, she has executed no damage on our house or furniture, well she pulled some threads on the kitchen carpet - I actually think the hoover had done more damage than her.
She is obedient and walks to heel already - loves other dogs and everyone that walks her way, you all know what I mean, even Joe Bloggs and Fred Smith the burglar are all her best friends.
We were at the recent dog show in Romsey, we met some wonderful people and the most adorable dogs, Staffords of course.
We felt compelled to write this short note to you all because we are now looking at ourselves, as we mentioned above, and eating every derogatory remark we could ever have made about the most loving. caring and affectionate dogs in the world.
Signing off now,
Sue and Terry Page.
After reading Ann Gatenby's article in the last Downlands Newsletter regarding "faces" at Shows, I felt compelled to put pen to paper. Having only been on the Show Circuit for a very short time which, incidentally, I am thoroughly enjoying, I can only agree with her comments.
Whilst at one of the several Championship shows last year, the Judge stood in front of me, looked me up and down, no look at the dog and walked straight past - how humiliating! In my naiveté (perhaps) I thought I had entered a dog show and not a people show!
Understandably, the attraction therefore of having your dog handled by a "face" is enormous and, whilst I appreciate that "apprenticeships" have to be served in life, surely with our wonderful breed newcomers should be encouraged and dogs always judged on their merits and not their owner’s faces.
Surely too I have heard whilst standing round the ring, talk of knowing where the tickets were going on that day and, sure enough, they did - it can be very disconcerting and downright unfair. We all pay a lot of money for entries, at least give us a fair chance.
Some of you who read this will laugh - and some (and I suspect far too many), will have experienced the same things. If more people were to air their feelings hopefully more notice would be taken and our dogs would prevail, not our faces.
In March 1999 The Downlands SBT Club did the breed a huge service in the provision of its seminar. A major feature of the seminar was the Head-to-Head involving Tony Brindley and Alan Hedges. The great service to the breed was the demonstration that prominent people in the breed can have a radical difference of opinion, and these two guys certainly do, and it does not need to deteriorate into a personal slanging match. Both sides put their point of view forward, both sides were listened to intently by the audience of over 120, and then a lively debate ensued, ably chaired by Dave Harris.
Over a period of years the right to hold a different view to the mainstream has
gradually been eroded, and with it "straight talking". The breed has
suffered and become more "PC" as a result. What the Downlands have
demonstrated is that debate and argument is not dead, and when conducted on a
civilised level it has all round benefits. Certainly Messrs Brindley and Hedges
parted on the best of terms and more able to see the other’s point of view.
They may not have been any closer to agreement, but the public airing of the
differences was very healthy and made up part of a hugely enjoyable day. Roll on
the next Head-to-head.
Dave Harris (Club Chairman)
Around one hundred people
attended the first Downlands Staffordshire Bull Terrier Club Breed Seminar held
on Sunday 28th March 1999 at the Petersfield Community Centre in Hampshire, and
at the end of the day everybody agreed that it had been a considerable success.
They had enjoyed meeting folk, had learned something, been well fed, and found
it good value for money.
He always read the Breed Standard carefully on the night prior to his appointment; reminding himself that this was what he was judging to. He arrived early and met up with his Stewards. He wore comfortable clothing and shoes and if judging outside took the weather into consideration. If possible he avoided having dogs facing the sun and the wind behind their tails. Above all he kept in mind that the onlookers wanted to see the dogs.
With regard to the actual judging, he stressed the importance of the first look after the dogs had entered the ring. Time was of the essence and there was no need to be long-winded. Over handling was not necessary but he needed to confirm what he had seen. He followed a fixed routine, avoided fussing around and used a triangle wherever possible. He didn’t believe in doing the Steward’s job and stressed the importance of absolute concentration and ignoring distractions as far as possible.
He wrote his Show Report as soon as possible, trying to avoid a ‘Railway Timetable’ and doing his best to vary his words. He always expressed the usual courtesies and appreciation and in his general assessment of the dogs present he didn’t believe in criticising the breed in general, but if he had noted a ‘trend’ he said so. He felt that the report should make clear why he had placed a dog or dogs first, second or third. He advised any aspiring judge to be accurate above all and not to make things up if they had not mentioned them on the tape recorder. This was a most enjoyable and well-presented talk.
The second speaker was Mr Norman Berry, like Mr Mitchell too well known in the breed to need much introduction. His topic was ‘Your Breeding Programme From A to Z’. Amongst much valuable information imparted, most of those present were delighted to hear him give priority to Temperament. He said that bad temperaments in the breed were not new, but should be bred out wherever possible - a child could be the victim. He said there were no fixed lines in the breed. The Stafford was a family dog and everyone had their own ideas. He stressed the advisability of having a programme; some breeding was pretty haphazard. He warned the novice breeder selecting a pup not to buy on the Sire’s strength alone. Pedigree documents were often covered with red writing but many Champions did not throw good progeny. Find out what is behind the Sire; is he a pre-potent dominant dog producing good, sound stock? Learn as much as you can, obtain photographs, ask, take time. And what about the Bitch? She may look good, but is she well-bred? An interesting aside here was that Ch. Black Tusker was the result of experimentation. He had a pocket of genes that made him dominant and he had some good dogs behind him but he didn’t have a particularly good line-breeding pedigree.
As well as choosing the best puppy Bitch in the litter, keep the second best Bitch if you can - you can never be sure what will happen. Amongst other points he stressed the advisability of pre-mating tests for Bitches. He also warned that any faults were very difficult to shift. He himself had started with inferior stock and it had taken him fifteen years to sort things out. This admission from such a distinguished breeder must have kindled hope in many a breast!
Following this informative
talk, as in the case of Mr. Mitchell, a lively question and answer session took
As always, there were a variety of reasons for dogs coming into Rescue and Norma mentioned the common problem of partners splitting up and the dog being left to fend for itself. But alas, there were darker reasons, and she was rightly concerned about the growing despicable trend of dogs being thrown from cars. Her final case history concerned a little dog found "crabbing along a road," in a state of gross neglect with "limbs swollen to the size of arms" and "discharges from every orifice". Despite a foster home and Veterinary care he was eventually and mercifully put to sleep. This was harrowing in the extreme, and the photos that Norma displayed of this poor dog no less so.
During the following break for lunch, there was general agreement that we should all play a greater rôle in helping to reduce the appalling numbers of Staffords coming into Rescue and other organisations throughout the Country. Thank Heavens for these dedicated people who are doing so much for our breed.
Lunch, provided by a young Petersfield-based Catering Company, Town and Country, and supervised by members of the committee was most enjoyable with an excellent spread of cold fare, delicious desserts and wine and soft drinks for all.
The afternoon session started with Dr. Ian Mason, a Veterinary Ophthalmologist working with the Animal Health Trust and in Southampton talking about Eye Problems in the Staffordshire Bull Terrier with the help of some excellent slides. Dr. Mason said few Staffords with Hereditary Cataract and Persistent Hyper plastic Vitreous (PHPV) were seen under the BVA/KC Eye Scheme but more presented with problems in the surgery. The Hereditary Cataract begins at the back of the lens and causes progressively poorer vision and eventual blindness. Surgery is now available. Manifestations are usually evident by eighteen months at the latest, and both eyes will be affected. The countrywide incidence is not known, but Dr. Mason saw twenty two Staffords in 1998. Our dogs are not the only breed affected; this is a problem with twenty or so other breeds.
Persistent Hyper plastic Vitreous occurs behind the lens. The vitreous formed in the embryo and occupying much space usually disappears in the early weeks of life, leaving only a small channel and a ‘T’-shape behind the lens, but in affected dogs (the problem is also found in Dobermans and other breeds) this doesn’t happen. In milder cases there is some retention of sight, but if the amount of vitreous is large, there is significant impairment. Dr. Mason was categorical in saying that animals with Hereditary Cataracts and Persistent Hyper plastic Vitreous should NOT be bred from.
He then went on to say that
increasing numbers of Staffords (as well as Boxers and Corgis) were being seen
with corneal ulceration. This is due to a degeneration of the cornea, possibly
congenital, and affects middle-aged dogs. (This was of interest to at least one
listener, whose dog had had four ulcers in the past nine months. Dr. Mason said
that even dust could cause this painful ulceration. Contact lenses could be
fitted, but they needed changing, and it was not easy to position them
correctly. Vitamin A drops had been used in Boxers, but he could offer little
comfort to owners at present. After dealing briefly with other abnormalities
such as Entropian and Ectropian, Third Eyelid Eversion and Gland Prolapse,
Abnormal Lashes and Dermoids, Dr. Mason invited questions from those present. It
had been an excellent talk, enjoyed by all.
Mr. Hedges said that no perfect dog existed. We were looking for a dog with virtue. The Breed Standard was far from explicit and most things were a matter of degree. But he was a firm believer in judging to that standard - in fact, Judges sign a written contract to that effect under Kennel Club rules.
In the forty minutes available for the question and answer session both speakers faced a barrage of questions from the floor. Mr Brindley, judging a fairly recent Championship show, had awarded a C.C. to a dog standing 17½ inches and weighing approximately 48 lbs. He could hardly escape a question or two on that, and so it turned out, but he defended and explained his decisions in good-natured fashion. Discussion inevitably turned to the height and weight clause (what would we do without it - we’d have to invent it!) and Alan broadly agreed with a suggestion of measuring tape and scales in the ring. In response to a question on Converging Canines, he said that he had recently seen an American Study suggesting that milk teeth are being retained too long and that this could be a contributing factor. Others wondered if the breeding out of the undershot mouth, resulting in a weaker under jaw, could be a cause. Then onto muzzles - were they getting too short - and so on and on. All extremely interesting and all conducted in an atmosphere of good humour and tolerance. However, all good things come to an end, and Dave called a halt to proceedings shortly after 4.30 PM. Everyone received a diploma certifying their attendance at the seminar, and each speaker was presented with a small Staffordshire Bull Terrier figurine of Ch. Kerrisdale Orchid’s Fancy as a mark of appreciation. After a final cup of tea and a good deal more discussion, all agreed that it had been a marvellous day and praise was given to the Downlands committee for organising such a successful event.
Even the Downlands Staffordshire Bull Terrier Club is not totally immune from the so-called "Millennium Bug". For anyone who isn’t aware of what this is - which surely can’t be many of you, unless you’ve been incommunicado for some centuries - this is the popular name for the phenomenon expected to hit any item of machinery containing a micro processing chip as we enter the year 2000.
No-one knows what the impact of this will be throughout society, but many large companies have been working on solutions to these problems for some years now. Some people forecast widespread chaos, and some believe that there will be no impact whatsoever.
Essentially, the question is whether computers will be able to determine the date correctly. Due to the popular practice of denoting the date using only the last two characters (i.e. "99" instead of "1999") it is uncertain of whether a computer chip will be able to recognise that "00" comes after "99". Another potential manifestation is where programs process dates, and where data contains only two-character dates. Without going into too much detail, but as an example, it’s possible that someone who joined the club in 1995 wouldn’t show up as having been a member of the club for five years, but for minus ninety five.
The good news is that this is of limited impact to Downlands members. However, as you are all aware, since January 1996 the membership records for the Downlands have been held on the membership secretary’s personal computer (see Newsletter number 16, page 7).
After approval was given for the initiative to transfer the membership records from the rather cumbersome card system to the computer, a program to maintain the membership records was specially commissioned. Called Clubfile, this has served the club well. However, recently concerns have been raised whether Clubfile is Year-2000 compliant (i.e. will function correctly in the year 2000).
In addition to this, the design process for Clubfile was not all it could have been, and as a result is not as functionally rich as it might be. The program is also DOS based - which has effectively been replaced by Microsoft’s Windows software products - and consequently there are occasional problems with printing and with running it.
To circumvent these problems, it was decided to convert the membership database to use Microsoft’s database application, Access. This is Year-2000 compliant and runs under Windows 9x. It is more readily customised, meaning that the membership secretary will be able to summarise data and generate reports to assist in administering the membership.
This was not an insignificant
piece of work, but the conversion process was completed by mid-year. So whatever
else happens to other computers, programs and databases shortly after 23:59:59
on December 31st 1999, Downlands members can be secure in the knowledge that
their important membership information is safe, and being well looked after.
Last year, I found out that
our young dog Mr. Jack was a natural swimmer, he had tried to follow me out to
sea when I was on the coast with my family. As the two bitches he lives with
will only paddle up to their chests, to have a dog that swam was a joy to watch.
Finally, I will let Mr. Jack
have the last word. He tolerates the pool but would rather it was a lake or pond
etc, but loves the crisps he has in the pub afterwards with his chums!!
Amongst the submissions for this Newsletter was a beautiful poem, by Rudyard Kipling, entitled "The Power of the Dog". After some consideration - and please believe us, we really would have liked to publish it - we have decided that as our understanding of the copyright laws is a bit hazy, and as there was no indication that any sort of clearances had been gained, it would be safer not to reproduce it here.
Admittedly it is fairly unlikely that a major publishing company is going to complain too much about it, but stranger things have happened, and the Newsletter has no desire to fall foul of copyright laws, potentially involving the Downlands or the Newsletter sub-committee in possibly lengthy and expensive litigation. So - apologies to our contributor, but far better to err on the side of caution.
Many of you will of course be aware that the Downlands Staffordshire Bull Terrier Club operates across a very sizeable area which stretches approximately from Portland Bill in the West to Dymchurch in the East - a distance of between 190 - 210 miles by road, depending on the route (source: AutoRoute Plus, 1993). Since the unfortunate loss of the Hayward’s Heath venue some years ago all shows have been held at the Bohunt Community School in Liphook, a central location. However, in the interests of serving the needs of the members of the Downlands, the committee is investigating other venues in different geographical locations. One promising line of enquiry is being conducted at Bexhill, in East Sussex. However, to be fair to our westerly-based members we need to try to find a venue in the west of the Region. At present, none of the committee is based in the west, so there are real problems with finding such a venue. What we would ask our western-based members is to think very carefully about any potentially suitable venues in their area. The main criteria is sufficient space, but consideration needs to be given to disabled access, parking facilities, etc. If you think there’s somewhere that would make an ideal venue close to you, please write or call and let us know. Obviously we can’t promise anything, it would need to be available on a date that the Kennel Club had licensed the Downlands for a show, and the hire charges would have to be within reason! Facilities for a canteen would be a great help. Please give it some thought. You could be lucky enough to have a Downlands show in your town!
If you are interested in stewarding at one of our future shows, please contact either the Show manager Jamie Mace on 01243 855609, or the Chief Ring Steward Alan Muir on 0181 669 2934. Every steward receives a diploma from the Club, as proof of having officiated. This is an excellent development opportunity for those of you interested in making the eventual transition to judging.
Congratulations are in order as we reveal that no less than four members of our committee have taken matrimonial vows over the course of the Summer. First down the aisle was Show Manager Jamie Mace, who married his bride Sarah in Felpham, near Bognor Regis on Saturday the 12th of June. Next to take the plunge were Membership Secretary/Treasurer Vickie Robinson and Newsletter co-ordinator Ben Kemp, who were married to each other at the Alton House Hotel on Thursday August 5th. Shortly after, on Saturday 7th August Paul Caetano married Jocelyn Sutton. Our warmest congratulations and best of luck to all three couples.
All Stafford owners - have you ever bred a litter and, when people ask what a Stafford puppy is like, found yourself at a loss to explain because a Stafford puppy isn’t like any other breed?
I think these four words sum it up nicely: Rechargable battery with teeth.
25.5.86 - 28.2.99
It is with great sadness that we report the passing away of our old boy "Zak". He was the first puppy we bred, the sole survivor of a litter of four. He was a great ambassador of our breed and will be sadly missed by us all.
Chris, Elaine, Christopher and Neil Bruton
We’re pleased to be able to bring you the final placings in the competitions for the Perleen Shield and the Oakshire Salver.
Our congratulations go to Mr Alex Day and Bragbury Proud Image who won the Perleen Shield for Dog or Bitch gaining the most points at Downlands Shows, after being narrowly pipped last year, and to Mr and Mrs Sheehan’s Kenwu Dixies Delight who won the Oakshire Salver for bitch gaining the most points in a year at Downlands Shows.
BITCHES (OAKSHIRE SALVER)
Points Compiled by Vickie Kemp