This article was written by the S.T.C.A breed study.
The ancient ancestors of the Am Staff are the mastiff type dogs who appear in many breed histories. Although much of this information is lost in antiquity, we know from early art of the large, heavy-headed strong dogs who were used throughout history for their strength and guarding abilities. This early group of dogs has left genetic material for all the bulldog breeds and mastiff type dogs of today.
In earlier days in England, mastiff types were bred down to smaller size and some became bulldogs (actually bulldogs were named because they were used to hold on to bulls or cattle/oxen). Originally the dogs were butchers dogs or farmers dogs who helped move the cattle around and held them still for their owners. They kept them still literally by holding on to them, usually by the nose. It became a customary entertainment in England to watch as the butcher’s dog caught the bull and held in while it was killed by the butcher. For some reason the common folk began to think that meat that had been harried by the dog before dying was tastier than the meat the had died peacefully. There was for a time an English law enacted that the butcher MUST bait the bull with a dog before butchering it ! The entertainment value was so great, that the Queen reportedly even forbid other butchers from killing their stock on the same day her royal butcher did, so that the commoners would watch her dogs work.
Eventually this sport gave way to some other type of meat tenderizer and the dogs were used on other “game”. One of these uses was rat killing. The English seem to have had lots of rats and folks amused themselves by watching dogs put into “pits” (arenas) with hundreds of rats. OF course betting was done on how many could be dispatched how fast. This called for a smaller, faster dog so some of the now extinct English terriers were crossed with the bulldog. These were probably Black and Tan terriers (similar to today’ Manchester) and the old White terrier. Rats were too easy, so these sporting souls were always thinking up new challenges for their dogs. These early bulldogs and now bull-and-terriers were used to fight bears, stage, badgers, and each other. Dogs were more easily come by than bears, which were probably getting kind of scarce in England, and dogs were probably easier to keep for a commoner than expensive cattle.
The bull-and-terriers evolved into three of our modern breeds: the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, the Bull Terrier, and the American Staffordshire Terrier.
|Colby’s Galtie “The Irish Dog”
The early bull-and-terrier came to America with immigrants from England and Ireland. Here some grew bigger and taller in response to their duties in a new and wilder country. Some stayed in cites and were kept by the same type of “sporting” owner as in England and Ireland. These were fought against each other around the pubs of New York, Chicago, and Boston (and other cities of course). A product of some of these dogs is the very American breed of Boston Bulldog, or Boston terrier as it is now known. These used to be 35-40 lb dogs, and except for the shorter bulldog face and screw tail were very similar to the early Am Staff (or Pit Bull, Bulldog, American Bulldog, Bull and Terrier, Yankee Terrier, some of the names these dogs were know under then).
The Larger bull-and-terrier was still a farm dog and stockman’s dog. He followed the wagons west with the settlers and helped work stock and guarded the homestead. He was a general purpose homestead dog, much as the dog describe in the book and movie, Old Yeller. He ran with the hounds on hunting expeditions, exactly as depicted in the old movie, The Yearling, and although not as fleet or strong of nose as the hounds, he was still the “catch” dog who dispatched the animal when it turned at bay.
By the late 1800’s a fighting dog registry was started in America to keep track of the prized pedigrees and publish the rules for fighting organization in the country. The United Kennel Club registered the dogs as American Pit Bull Terriers. Sometimes this was written as American (pit) Bull, or American Bull Terrier. Mostly they were known as bulldogs, or Pit Bulls.
Although it is this dog fighting background that is mostly remembered, only a relatively small number of the dogs were fought. Most of them went on being farmer’s and general purpose countrymen’s dogs, and still worked stock, penning and guarding and helping, just as they had done in their earliest days.
In the early 1930’s a group of fanciers petitioned the American Kennel Club to accept their dogs into the registry. These dogs already registered with the United Kennel Club, but their owners had no interest in dog fighting. They wanted to promote their breed as family dogs and show dogs. They formed a national breed club and wrote a standard for the breed. Much agonizing was done over the proper name for the breed, and the American Kennel Club was not inclined to register them with the same name as the United Kennel Club did. Finally they were accepted with the name of Staffordshire Terrier in 1936. This was just a year after the English bull-and-terriers under the same name of the Staffordshire Bull Terriers were recognized with the Kennel Club of England.
The standards of both the English and American breeds were written similarly, and even contained some identical phrases. The authors of both kept in touch with each other, working toward their common goad of acceptance by their kennel clubs. At that time , the dogs described were more similar in size and structure than the breeds appear today.
In the early 1970’s the name of the Staffordshire terrier was changed to American Staffordshire terrier with the American Kennel Club recognized the Staffordshire Bull Terrier breed.
Even as the late as the 1960’s, the AKC stud books were opened to permit United Kennel Club registered American Pit Bull Terrier to compete in AKC shows as American Staffordshire Terriers. Some exceptional dogs were brought into the AKC registry at the time, some even winning the Staffordshire Terrier Club of America National Speciality and an all-breed best in Show. Their influence is still strong in some breeder’s lines today.
The American Staffordshire Terrier has an amazing identity problem. The same dog can still be registered the Untied Kennel Club (which is no longer a fighting dogs registry, but an all breed registry similar to the American Kennel Club), and/or with the American Dog Breeder’s Association, as an American Pit Bull Terrier and if its parents were registered with the AKC, it can also be registered by the AKC under the name of the American Staffordshire Terrier.
Some of the breeders of both American Staffordshire Terriers and American Pit Bull Terriers will tell you that they are not the same breed and the “the other registry group” is ruining the breed. However, the only real difference between these dogs is their name and registry, and the individual breeder’s selections and goals. There was no other breed of dog added to the bloodlines to create American Staffordshire Terriers.
This breed, under several of its names, along with the Staffordshire Bull Terrier has been under attack by anti-dog groups and has been wrongly maligned by the media. The generic name of “pit bull” has now become a term to denote a dog used for fighting, no matter what its genetic background, much like saying “bird dog” or “guard dog”. Most of the dogs now called that, we would all call mixed breeds. However, there is still a Breed of dog called American Pit Bull Terrier, and many of them trace their pedigrees back to the 1800’s. Many of them are still exactly where they have always been, working at their jobs and being faithful companions.
In Wayne D. Brown’s book HISTORY OF THE AMERICAN PIT BULL TERRIER, on pages 25 and 26 he note’s that in the late 1930’s one of the most important bloodlines of Pit Bulls were the Lightner dogs. He illustrates that in the conventions of 1936 and 1937, there were Lightner dogs of the dark variety and Lightner dogs of the red nose variety, and a classic confrontation of the two. When Bob Hemphill wrote Lightner that they were going to use Hall’s Searcy Jeff, of the red nose Lightner strain, in the Oklahoma Convention of 1936 at Medicine Park Oklahoma, Lightner wrote back that the red nose blood in Jeff was as game was would ever be bred, and, further that the black and blue breeding in (Runyon’s Colorado) Imp (II) was as game as would ever be bred…So, the contest between Hall’s Searcy Jeff and Runyon’s Colorado Imp II at the Oklahoma Convention of 1936 was a classic confrontation between the red nose Lightner dogs and the dark Lightner dogs. Earl Tudor handled Imp and he proved to be game. Jeff had punished Imp severely around the head and nose and Tudor picked him up. However, he scratched Imp and he went across with his nose bumping the ground, unable to get his head up, but he took a foothold on Jeff. Jeff beat Imp in 54 minutes. Later, Hall’s Searcy Jeff was to beat Imp’s brother Colorado Dan, also…After Searcy Jeff had beaten Colorado Imp II and Colorado Dan, their owner, Jeff Runyon, quit the game and sold his dogs. This is one of the few times I have ever found in literature, blue dogs before 1936. The year 1936 was the year the AKC finally recognized the, as it was then known, Staffordshire Terrier. This was the year that the red nose dogs defeated the blue blooded dogs. The dogs of this blood was sold but it is not said who to, although it is mentioned that at least some of these dogs found their way to Joe Corvino who, for a time at least, was involved in the formation of the AKC American Staffordshire Terriers. Dogmen wanted winning GAME dogs back then, and Imp certainly proved his gameness that day against Jeff, in a stumbling scratch. Many a true dogmen would have been more than happy to have an Imp bred dog in their yard. Back then game losers weren’t penalized, and were worthy of being bred. I know that AmStaff people regard the red noses with abhorrence, and I also know that Game folks today don’t care for the blue color. Actually most of them can’t stand it at all because most of the time (but not always) a blue dog stands for being bred for looks and looks alone. I do have to wonder though what the American Pit Bull Terrier would look like today if Imp II had won that fight compared to the American Staffordshire Terrier?
Whether or not people want to believe it, blue is a legitimate color in the American Pit Bull Terrier gene pool as evidenced and show further more by the Blue Paul, or sometimes called blue Poll. A Scottish strain now extinct, but whose descendants clearly live on in today’s blue dogs.
These solid blue or solid red Scottish gladiators resembled the fighting Staffordshire’s of England but could weigh twice as much. The blue dogs were known in Scotland as Blue Pauls, and the reds as Red Smuts. The name Blue Paul derives from a Scottish yarn about the pirate Paul Jones who reportedly brought the dogs from abroad to the district of Kirkintilloch.
The dogs were popular with the gypsies of that district who maintained that the dogs originally came from the Galloway coast, lending more color than blue to the Paul Jones tale. Like the bull and terrier breeds from which they derived, the Blue Pauls were game to the death in the ring. These dogs remained mute even at the height of battle, very much like the Tosa of Japan.
|Blue Paul Terrier
In appearance, the Blue Paul was similar in appearance to the Bullmastiff of the late 1800s. The dog was a smooth coated cobby dog weighing about 45 lbs (20.5 kg), standing 20 inches (51 cm) at the shoulder. The head was large, the muzzle short and square. The jaws and lips were even, without overhanging flews. The stop was slight: eyes, dark hazel. The ears, set on high, were invariably cropped. The face was wrinkleless but the eyebrows were contracted or knit. Mr. James B. Morrison of Greenock, England reported that the last Blue Paul exhibited was shown in the late 1880s.”
Many people claim that the Blue Paul is now extinct. It may very well be extinct in its pure form, but they were probably crossed with The Pit Bull Terriers in England and Ireland, and the Pit Bull Terriers were brought to America from Scotland. In 1857, McCaffrey imported the dog Spring from Glasgow, Scotland to America. At that time Glasgow was the center of Blue Paul activity. In 1858, in Rhode Island, Spring won a fight in 1 hour, 35 minutes. In 1859 he won a fight in 2 hours 15 minutes. In 1860, in Boston, he beat Tom Story’s dog in 2 hours 40 minutes. Spring was bred to Maid of Erin, who was an imported bitch from Dublin Ireland and produced Young Spring. Young Spring won a fight in 1 hour 15 minutes. In 1862 he beat Sheffield George’s dog in 3 hours 17 minutes, in New York. When Spring was bred to John Mahon’s imported bitch he produced Jeff who won a fight in Providence, Rhode Island in 1 hour. He later won against miller’s dog in 1 hour 10 minutes. In 1864 he won another fight in 1 hour 10 minutes. Dick, another son of Spring, won a fight against Spring’s Hope in 1 hour 17 minutes. Power’s Violet was imported to America from Scotland by her Scottish owner and, on January 10, 1892, beat a dog named Spright in Massachusetts. They fought at Catch weight. Her size, plus her name which indicates a dark blue color, leads to the possibility that she might have been a Blue Paul.
If the above dogs were Blue Pauls, their bloodline was surly continued in America and others were probably imported to America, England, and Ireland as well.
Brown also writes in his book that W.C. Roper bred some game dogs from stock sent to him by Jim Williams and Bob Wallace. Some of Roper’s dogs were silver buckskin in color, such as Silver Jack and Roper’s (William’s) Silver. Roper’s Silver won 4 fights at 58 pounds, and another Tudor’s Black Jack (16xW) was, according to Earl Tudor, from a Delihant’s Paddy/Wichita Mike bloodline. His sire was Black Tige who was sired by Blue Mike. Blue Mike was out of Miss Blue who was sired by Imported Roger out of Henry’s Blue Mary. The sire of Blue Mike was Wichita Mike who was out of Henry’s Blue Madge and sired by Henry’s Black Demon. Several pages later he writes “As we have seen, Tudor’s Black Jack was important to the Tacoma line but he was also important to the Ruffian line of American Staffordshire Terriers. He was not only important in the development of pit dogs, including the Dibo line, but he formed the basis for the Ruffian line”.
Someone new to the breed always ask what the difference is between an AKC American Staffordshire Terrier, and a UKC or ADBA American Pit Bull Terrier? When told to the truth, the true history behind the breed most say they don’t fight their dogs so why should they even have to know all that stuff? The truth is, if you own a Staffordshire or a American Pit Bull Terrier, it is irresponsible of you not to know the truth, the true history behind the breed.
In Richard Pascoe’s book, “The American Staffordshire Terrier” he mentions that there are five major lines in the foundation of the American Staffordshire Terrier. Tacoma, X-pert, Ruffian, Crusader, and “California” which is not actually a line, but a combination of lines. The Tacoma was developed by Charles Doyle and Al Brown beginning with the whelping of Tacoma Jack in 1927. The Tacoma line is influenced by Corvino blood early in its history. The Tacoma line is known for its courage and working ability.
The X-Pert line traces its pedigrees back to Colby, Feeley, Corrington, Tudor and Morris. Alberta and Cliff Ormsby began the line with the whelping of Ormsby’s Madge in 1930. The Ruffian line was started by Clayton Harriman in 1938 with the whelping of The Ruffian, bred by F C Klump. The Ruffian line was influential in the development of many other lines, notably E C Ringold’s Gallant line, beginning with CH Gallant Ruff and the Har-wyn line of Peggy Harper which finds its foundations in the breeding efforts of Harriman and Whittaker. One of her greats was CH Sky King of Har-Wyn (half X-Pert). The California lines were strongly influenced by Ruffian and Gallant. Early breeders appearing in California pedigrees include Steele, Gregory, Freese, Farley, Wiswall and Harrison. CH Harrison’s Bozo boy was bred by RC Steele and whelped in 1936. The Chatworth Kennels of Ray and Ina Harris include dogs of Freese, Harrison and Wakefield derivation. Rossmore’s Naughty Knight, who sired the foundation of the Crusader line, was bred by Gladys Smith. The Crusader line was started in 1950 by Ike and Jean Stinson. In 1955, Smith’s breeding of CH Rossmore’s Naughty Knight x CH Gallant Susie Q produced CH Knight Crusader, CH Knight Bomber and CH Knight Patroller. All of these dogs played a major role in the development of the Crusader line. The development of all other kennels in the breed come from combinations of these original foundation lines. Notably Sertoma, Archer, Sierra, Tryarr, Willynwood, White Rock, to name a few.
The foundation of the X-Pert line began in 1932 with Bennett’s Buck x Ormsby’s Madge. Ormsby’s Madge (Corrington’s Bennetts Mack x Bennetts Queen) Corringtons Bennetts Mack (Corringtons Tiger Jim Jr x Corringtons Mae Rose) Corringtons Mae Rose was a Tudors Jack II daughter. Her dam, Corrington’s Jenny Queen was a Colby bitch. (Colby’s Dan x Colbys Blinkey). Bennetts Queen was Colby through her dam, Sharon Madge (Pitts Duke x Pitts Bebe) If you trace the pedigree back two or three generations from there, you will find Colbys Disby, Colbys Bess, Colbys Galtie, Colbys Nancy, Colbys Roger, Colbys Pansy, and Colbys Sally. The X-Pert bloodline is one of oldest in AmStaffs. It was started in 1930 by Clifford & Alberta Ormsby. They lived in Hornell, NY. Clifford Ormsby was 25 years old, and Alberta was 22 when they began their breeding program. The foundation bitch of the X-Pert bloodline is Ormsby’s Madge. Cliff bought her in Texas.
Clifford Ormsby: “…I started with this great breed when you could buy a pit bull pup for $5.00. Many times this pup had flat feet, narrow chest, no brisket, bowed legs, fiddle front, cow-hocks, was undershot and had an unreliable temperament. You could shop around and find some desirable ones but it was a problem to find good dominant breeders of quality….”
Ormsby’s Madge was sired by famous pit bull Bennett’s Mack, who was also known as Corrington’s Mack C. Bennett’s Mack was Corrington breeding. His bloods was a cross of Smith and Tudor’s lines. Both lines had influence of old Henry bloodline, that was developed by Frank G.Henry in 1890’s. But Tudor’s dogs were mostly black part of the Henry line, when Charles Smith’s dogs were more of the red part of the Henry line and more out-crossed than Tudor’s. Tudor’s part of Bennett’s Mack pedigree was Tudor’s Jack II, son of the great Tudor’s Black Jack 16xw. In 1930’s Tudor’s game-dogs were as a sign of success. Earl Tudor of Oklahoma, or Oklahoma Kid as most dogmen of that time called him, was just 22 years old in 1915 when he won with Jack Swift. Earl became a well known dogman all over the country in 1920’s with his 16 times winner Black Jack dog and 9 times winner Black Jack Jr. There were many breeders in that time who decide to use Tudor’s stuff in their breedings. Corrington was one of these breeders of that time. Ok, back to Ormsby’s Madge… Her dam was Bennett’s Queen, a cross of Hogan’s and Pitts’ lines. Hogan line was built on Henry blood. Some of Charles Smith’s breedings are behind Hogan’s too. Pitts’ line was mostly old Colby’s bloods with some Henry.
Clifford Ormsby was born in Hornell, NY on August 24, 1905. Alberta also was born in Hornell 3 years later, on June 29, 1908. They were good friends in fact they grew up together a couple of streets apart. Young Cliff had about every animal there was to have. His first dogs were not purebred, and Cliff wanted to have a purebred dog that had spirit. Shortly after they were married Clifford and Alberta decided to take a pure pit bull. In 1930 Cliff went to Leonard, Texas, he took the dog, that he wanted. This was a female from W.F. Bennett’s breeding, out of the famous pit bull dog Bennett Mack and Bennett Queen. The name of this female pup is well known to many AmStaff breeders, Ormsby’s Madge. It was the start, a Great start!
In 1938 Clifford built a kennel. It was the very modern kennel for that time. There was a water heating system in the kennel floor. He put hot water system himself. When Clifford spoke about his kennel, he said: “Dr. Byer ( Ormsby’s veterinarian) come down and asked, “Who built this kennel, who made this kennel for you?” I said, “I did!” He said that,” this is a good layout for a small kennel.” The heating in the floor, that’s the most economical heating too. You see, you’ve got to put it in right. This is six to eight inches on center, I think three quarter inch wide. I know there’s about seventy elbows in it. It has two units, there was no sense in that becouse I never divided it. I always used the whole thing. I have a pressure pump. I can put it on automatically…… “
In the beginning of Cliff and Bert’s Staffordshire Terrier breeding, Cliff wasn’t interested in “showing” of their dogs. Alberta changed his mind though. She said, ” If we’re going to have dogs, I’m going to show”. The first dogs they shipped to Willfred Brandon. Alberta was very interested in handling their dogs herself. And the first super champion of the X-Pert family, shown by Alberta in many dog shows was the legendary Ch. X-Pert Brindle Biff. He was the favorite dog of Clifford, Alberta and their daughter, Dorothy. When Peggy Doster asked Alberta, “What is the name of the best dog or bitch you ever bred?” Alberta said: “Biff. He was my first dog. I suppose I’m partial. You know, first show dog. I took him to shows all over the country. I showed him all over. I took him all over the place and he won all over the country. I’d go in the ring and people would say: “There goes that woman, again, with that dog”.
Alberta was licensed to judge Staffs and Boxers. She began to judging in ’40’. In 1995 Peggy Doster asked Alberta: “Why did you decide to begin judging?”. Alberta said this: “It got me out to California and it got me away from cleaning up kennels at home. It wasn’t long ago that they wanted to know if I would come out there and judge the dogs. They had read on their catalog that I had been out there in 1979. Wouldn’t I look cute….trying to judge dogs. …..Boxers and Staffs and any breed I can quality for, but I don’t want to. You know, too much for me, I don’t want to get out there and get sick or something, you know.”
Alberta: “I was out in California, judging, and I had AmStaff in the ring that was all chewed up in his head. I said, “This dog was in a fight. That was in 49′, I think. And he said: “Yes, he had a fight yesterday, they fought him.” And I said “He did? He’s all chewed up.” I said, “Will he shake hands with me?” He said, “Yeah, but he shakes with his hind leg.” He stuck his hind leg up to me and shook hands.”