Posts Tagged ‘Staffordshire bull terrier’

dog of note

The answer to the question I asked nearly a month ago is that there are three correct answers.

This dog is Jock of the Bushveldt, not to be confused with Jock of the Bushveld, which is a novel by Sir Percy Fitzpatrick that details the life of a bull terrier type dog in the South African bush.

This dog was born in England in 1910.  The dog in the novel lived in the 1880’s.

And this, of course, leads to a lot of stupid debates on the internet. Many people actually believe the South African Jock was a Staffordshire bull terrier, because his father was purebred from England. However, in the 1880’s, the only bull terriers that were being registered and show with the Kennel Club were the Hinks-strain of bull terrier.  These were the white dogs that eventually became very popular throughout the world.  Jock’s mother was just a bull terrier, which means that she may have been derived from just generic bulldog and terrier crosses– which are also the source for the “pit bull” and “staffie” type dogs.

However, the dog in the photo is of more consequence than Jock.

This dog was actually a first cross between a brindle bulldog and a Manchester  (“black and tan”) terrier.

So the first correct answer is that he was a bulldog/Manchester terrier cross.

The second correct answer is that he was a Staffordshire bull terrier, for dogs derived from him became part of the Staffordshire bull terrier breed.

The third correct answer is “colored bull terrier,” for he was also an ancestor of the colored variety of bull terrier.

Black and tan and tricolor– often with brindling in the tan– are pretty common colors in bull and miniature bull terriers.

One of the Hinks-type bull terrier’s ancestors, the English white terrier, which was basically a white Manchester terrier, became extinct because deafness was so common in the breed.

And although the original color for all of these bull terriers was white, it was well-known  that breeding for the white color alone was clearly linked to increased deafness.

So it was decided to allow in blood from rougher strains of bull and terrier.

This was almost without controversy in the United Kingdom, but when it happened, many members of the Bull Terrier Club of America lost their minds.

For decades, American bull terrier fanciers refused to allow in any color but white. However, they eventually relented, but only if the “colored” dogs were show as a separate variety.

“Colored” is also a word that has a clear racial meaning, so I have often wondered if the distinction for “colored” bull terrier is actually meant to be some sort racial slur.

The white dogs bred by Hinks were meant for gentlemen.  All gentlemen in those days were white, so they should have a white dog to back them up. The dog’s nickname from that era even reflects a member of the white gentry– “the white cavalier.”

Cavaliers, of course, were the landed gentry who supported the king during the English Civil War. The Virginia planters, who themselves were actually rabble that rose to the status of gentlemen through their tobacco enterprises, backed the king in that war, which is one reason why the University of Virginia’s mascot is the cavalier.

The Staffordshire bull terrier type was pretty common long before James Hinks came along. They are really what you’d get if you crossed an old type bulldog with some sort of terrier. They are the basis for the pit bulls– which were usually called “bull terriers”– that have been in America for hundreds of years.

But they were the dogs of unrefined peasants and colonials.

They weren’t white cavaliers.

This same sort of bias exists in many parts of the country with BSL.  Pit bulls and staffies get the legislation; the egg-headed pig dogs usually don’t.

It is really amazing how class and race get mixed up in our discussions about dogs.

They are really reflections of what people were thinking about each other than the actually dogs themselves.


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Photo from Nara U. Amazing that these dogs were used to dig badgers! They haven’t been spanned! And bull and terrier types aren’t real terriers! (snark!)

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This film was based upon a book of the same name by Sir Percy Fitzpatrick. (I’ll warn you that this book is not politically correct, as could be expected from the time period. This lack of sensitivity particularly makes sense when one considers that Rudyard Kipling talked Fitzpatrick into writing, and we all know that Kipling was a bit of a racialist defender of imperialism.)

Although the video says that Jock was a Staffie. I’m not so sure. Staffordshire bull terriers were not recognized as distinct breed in the UK until 1935.

In the book, Jock is always referred to as a bull terrier, although his color is very different from the Hinks-strain of bull terrier that existed at the time. That breed came in only white in the 1880’s when Jock was alive.

I’m going to call Jock a bull and terrier. Staffies and pit bulls are derived from  bull and terrier types that were of the wrong color and head shape to be considered Hinks’s strain of bull terrier, which the South African call a Varkhond (pig dog) in Afrikaans.

From looks of his most common depiction, he looks like a meld of bulldog and terrier features, which is exactly what you’d expect to find in dogs that were hybrids of both bulldog and terrier.

The dog in the film doesn’t look like a pure staffie either. I think there is a touch of Boerboel in that particular animal. It is every bit as much a mixture of Boerboel features and staffie features as the depiction of Jock is a mixture of bulldog and terrier features.

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