Linking The Past To The Present - Part 1
LINKING THE PAST TO THE PRESENT
By Clare Robinson-Cox (HAMASON)
The origins of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier as a breed is somewhat shrouded in mystery. It is agreed that there is a mixture of different terrier breeds involved but there has been much debate over the years as to what those different terrier breeds are. A major factor in this quandary is that historically, dogs were bred primarily for fashion, to fulfil certain functions or to partake in various sports and there was little importance placed upon maintaining records such as pedigrees. Without pedigrees, dogs are unable to be registered with the Kennel Club and therefore cannot be recognised as a pure breed.
Joe Dunn, from Quarry Bank near Cradley Heath, Staffordshire - in the heart of The Black Country - had owned and bred dogs, including Staffordshire Bull Terriers, for many years and during 1932 and 1933 he decided to try to get them recognised as a pure breed by the Kennel Club.
At that time the Kennel Club ruling regarding registration of dogs was that dogs could be registered as a pure breed with the K.C. providing one or both parents were named on the pedigree, even if one or both of the parents were unregistered with the K.C.
Early in 1935, Mr Dunn sought permission from the Kennel Club to hold a variety show as a "feeler" to see how many Stafford owners would enter their then unregistered dogs. These dogs could not compete to beat other terrier breeds entered at the variety show so Mr Dunn offered cash specials to the Stafford owners to attract entries.
The show was held on the bowling green at the Conservative Club, Cradley Heath in April 1935 with Mr F.W. Holden as the judge.