ARE YOU HOPING TO BUY A SBT PUPPY?
Ask yourself if a Staffordshire Bull Terrier is the right breed for you and your family. Do you understand the true nature of the breed? Staffords are not the right breed for everyone, they can be strong willed. You need to know, warts and all, what you are letting yourself in for. Speak to experienced owners before you decide.
- can you afford to have a dog, taking into account not only the initial cost of purchasing the dog, but also the on-going expenses such as food, veterinary fees and canine insurance?
- can you make a lifelong commitment to a dog? Average life span of a Stafford is 12 years.
- is your home big enough to house a Stafford? Is your garden totally secure?
- do you have time to exercise a dog every day? Staffords can become very naughty and destructive if they get bored or feel they aren’t getting the time they deserve. They’re a very people orientated breed and love human company.
- how long will the dog be left at home alone? Staffords get lonely just like humans.
- will you find time to train, groom and generally care for a Stafford? Staffords are a very clever breed but need lots of time and consistent training from puppyhood to adult to help them become well-adjusted and better behaved individuals.
- will you be able to answer YES to these questions every day of the year? Only you can answer that but please think hard before you make your mind up.
Breed Club secretaries will know of forth coming shows where you can meet Staffords and their owners. They may know planned litters from reputable breeders. They have first-hand experience with the breed so are a good source to answer questions about the breed’s health, temperament or anything Stafford related. Breed Clubs are found nationwide so there should be one fairly local. They should be the ‘first port of call’ for anyone looking for a Stafford puppy.
Buying a pedigree Stafford should not be done ‘on the cheap’ nor should it come from a bad breeder no matter how sorry you feel for the pups. By buying there you’re condemning more pups to the same fate. If the breeders can’t sell they’ll think twice before breeding again. By going to a responsible Staffordshire Bull Terrier breeder you stand the best chance of getting a dog that will enjoy a happy and healthy life.
Beware of ads selling pups in local papers and on various dog selling sites on the internet, there are no background checks so any dodgy dealer can advertise there. Think carefully is you see any of this advertising:
- rare blue – with more than 75% of all SBT pups registered now being blue they are clearly not rare. As blue is a genetic dilute in SBTs (it is really a washed out brindle) no reputable breeder will breed ‘blue’ to ‘blue’ as it affects the genetic diversity of the colours in the breed
- Red Nose Staffy, Long Legged Staffy – there is only one Kennel Club registered Stafford and that is the ‘Staffordshire Bull Terrier’, the other colourful names are given to various cross breeds. You can find the Breed Standard for the Staffordshire Bull Terrier here: https://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/services/public/breed/standard.aspx?id=3080
- rare Merle – the Merle is not genetically possible in this breed nor has it ever ever been. There is no option to have pups of this colour registered. So if you see a merle coloured Stafford ask yourself how did they manage that?
- blue Champion stud dog – currently there has never been a blue Champion (dog or bitch) in the UK.
- father sired 200 litters – this just means that the dog has been used at stud a lot……..another sales pitch.
- £2000 for one colour, £2500 for the ‘rare’ coloured puppies in the same litter – a reputable breeder will sell all pups at the same price regardless of colour or sex. For a well reared DNA clear and clinically health tested Stafford puppy the average price is around £1500
- ‘can deliver’ - before getting your pup you should have had the opportunity to visit first and see the litter in their home environment with their mother.
- don’t go for one that’s a bargain and/or dropped price because it is the last one left or the breeder has a holiday booked in a few days – that’s not the attitude of someone who cares about their puppies and where they go. Could they have also cut corners with rearing the litter?
Remember if something doesn’t seem right don’t be fooled to rush in and buy! Always give yourself time to think about making the right decision – a reputable breeder will not push you into having one of their pups. They will want to find out if you and their puppy will be well suited.
When you have found a litter consider these questions to ask the breeder before going to see them
- are the puppies Kennel Club registered? You have no way of verifying if they are purebred if not
- are both parents tested/hereditarily clear for L2-HGA? Don’t buy if untested
- are both parents hereditarily clear for HC? Don’t buy if untested
- are both parents clinically tested unaffected for PHPV/PPSC? Don’t buy if untested
- will the litter be clinically eye screened for PHPV? Don’t buy if untested
- are the puppies micro-chipped? From 2016 all dogs in the UK legally must be micro-chipped by the breeder
- have they been wormed regularly? if infested they won’t thrive.
- what are the parent’s temperaments like? Stafford temperament should be reliable; not human aggressive nor timid/nervous.
- has the litter been reared inside? Pups should be socialised with all the hustle and bustle of family life, they get used to being handled from an early age.
- will they have a contract? This is a legally binding document that you and the breeder sign if you both agree to the sale of the pup. Good breeders state that if you can’t keep the dog/bitch it is to be returned to them
- are there any endorsements on the puppy? Two endorsements can be placed 1. Export pedigree not allowed – this is to stop a dog being sold on abroad for showing/breeding purposes. 2. Progeny not eligible for registration - this means you can’t breed from your dog unless the breeder lifts the endorsement. Neither of these endorsements are a bad thing, in fact many reputable breeders use them but should be able to explain their reasoning to you
- does the breeder have all the paper work available to see? The breeder should show you the paper work and explain about health testing, the contract, endorsements placed and why when you visit
- tell the breeder about yourself, if you’ve had a dog before, if you want a family pet or have showing or agility aspirations. It will give the breeder an idea of what you’re looking for in your pup i.e. a lively character would be more suited to an agility home where the quieter litter mate would be ideal for a young family.
- expect questions to be asked, it’s only natural that the right homes are being sought by the breeder, just like you want the right pup.
- When you first meet the litter, you may be met by a rabble of over enthusiastic little characters with sharp teeth, fighting for attention and dangling off your clothes. Or they may have just been fed and are now a pile of sleepyheads that refuse to wake up. What you need to look out for: see them with their mother. If dad doesn’t live there, which is likely, ask for a photo and health information
- plump pups with clean, shiny coats, free from dirt, dandruff, fleas and not patchy.
- If they’re awake then bright, clear, alert eyes. Pups may get ‘sleep’ in their eyes when they have just woken up but shouldn’t have any green discharge or weepy eyes.
- clean ears that don’t smell. Pups that have been kept in a clean environment shouldn’t suffer from dirty or infected ears.
- check there is no mess or wet underneath or down back legs as this could indicate runny stools and possibly underlying illness, disease or a case of worms.
- is the bedding and play area clean with plenty of natural light? Bedding should be changed regularly; pups shouldn’t be playing in yesterday’s mess.
- Pups won’t thrive if living in filth or with parasites. If you buy from someone that would keep them like that you are condoning their actions; buying a pup from them will condemn more pups to be bred in those awful conditions and the bitch to be used as a money making machine
- At this stage when you go to visit pups you should ask to see documentary evidence of Kennel Club registration and health certificates – it is the opportunity for you to talk this through with the breeder. Don’t take any excuses for breeding stock not having known status for HC, L-2-HGA, PHPV and PPSC – all reputable breeders will do these tests as a minimum
- When you pick your puppy up, he/she should leave the breeder with:signed Kennel Club registration document which you complete and post or register online with the KC to transfer the pup to your name
- a photo copy of the litter eye screening certificate. This will have all siblings and their results listed.
- micro-chip information. The pup may have the breeder’s details assigned and need to have your details added by the micro-chip company. Many breeders ask for their details to be kept on the microchip database as an emergency back up.
- advice on vaccination
- information and dates when pup was wormed, wormer used and future worming dates
- diet sheet with information on the food that has been fed, how much and how often. Some breeders send enough food for the first few days and it is advisable to keep to the diet the puppy is used to. Any change in diet needs to be slowly to avoid an upset stomach.
- a reputable breeder will be happy to offer you any help and advice and will usually tell you they are there 24/7 if needed.
Staffordshire Bull Terrier Health Information
L-2-HGA (L-2-hydroxyglutaric aciduria) in Staffordshire Bull Terriers affects the central nervous system, with clinical signs usually apparent between 6-12 months (although they can appear later). Symptoms include epileptic seizures, unsteady gait, tremors, muscle stiffness as a result of exercise or excitement and altered behaviour
HC (Hereditary Cataract) in Staffordshire Bull Terriers has been recognised as an inherited condition since the late 1970’s. Affected dogs develop cataracts in both eyes at an early age
PHPV (Persistent Hyperplastic Primary Vitreous) It is a congenital condition (present at birth). This means that if a puppy is born with PHPV it can be detected by ophthalmic screening from 6 weeks of age
PPSC (Posterior Polar Subcapsular Cataract) This type of cataract usually remains as a small, punctuate cataract and doesn’t usually lead to sight problems. It has been placed on schedule 3 of the BVA/KC/ISDS Eye Scheme because a number of Staffords that have been through the Scheme have been found to have this type of cataract. It cannot be detected through litter screening. The mode of inheritance is unknown and has a variable age of onset.
Eye Screening Clinics
Litters should ALWAYS be clinically eye screened prior to leaving home and it is imperative for new puppy buyers to be aware and make sure ALL DNA and clinical health tests are in place for ALL of the above conditions.
You can go to the Kennel Club’s website and check any KC registered dog’s health status although litter eye screening is not recorded there.
SBT Breed Standard
Contact details for Staffordshire Bull Terrier Breed Clubs
DOWNLANDS STAFFORDSHIRE BULL TERRIER CLUB
Mrs Vickie Kemp firstname.lastname@example.org
EAST ANGLIAN STAFFORDSHIRE BULL TERRIER CLUB
Mrs Lesley McFadyen email@example.com
EAST MIDLANDS STAFFORDSHIRE BULL TERRIER CLUB
Mr Jay Rogers firstname.lastname@example.org
MERSEYSIDE STAFFORDSHIRE BULL TERRIER CLUB
Ms Michaela Riley email@example.com
MORECAMBE BAY & CUMBRIA STAFFORDSHIRE BULL TERRIER CLUB
Ms Elaine Pearson firstname.lastname@example.org
NORTH EASTERN STAFFORDSHIRE BULL TERRIER CLUB
Miss Jaci McLauchlan darcySBT@aol.com
NORTHERN COUNTIES STAFFORDSHIRE BULL TERRIER CLUB
Mrs Lorraine King. mailto:email@example.com
NORTHERN IRELAND STAFFORDSHIRE BULL TERRIER CLUB
Holly Carson. mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
NORTH OF SCOTLAND STAFFORDSHIRE BULL TERRIER CLUB
Mrs Julie Gray email@example.com
NORTH WEST STAFFORDSHIRE BULL TERRIER CLUB
Mrs Claire Crossman . mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
NOTTS & DERBY DISTRICT STAFFORDSHIRE BULL TERRIER CLUB
Ms Helen Reaney email@example.com
POTTERIES STAFFORDSHIRE BULL TERRIER CLUB
Mr Dave McKimm. mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
SCOTTISH STAFFORDSHIRE BULL TERRIER CLUB
Mr Gareth Owen. mailto:email@example.com
SOUTHERN COUNTIES STAFFORDSHIRE BULL TERRIER SOCIETY
Mr Ken Meneer. mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
STAFFORDSHIRE BULL TERRIER CLUB
Mrs Karon Jackson. mailto:email@example.com
STAFFORDSHIRE BULL TERRIER CLUB OF SOUTH WALES
Mrs Jo Norman. mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
WESTERN STAFFORDSHIRE BULL TERRIER SOCIETY
Mrs Lisa Emery mailto:email@example.com
The Kennel Club Assured Breeder Scheme comprises of anyone that breeds KC registered dogs and fulfils KC requirements: currently eye screening of litters is only a recommendation. Check the accolades to see if the breeder is a member of a SBT Club
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