Now and then – Staffordshire Bull Terriers

Recently I had cause to go to Kelvin side in Glasgow and this took me back more than 38 years. i came to the S.K.C. At that time the two anual Championship shows were held at Waverly street market in Edinbrough and at Kelvin hall in Glasgow. Remerniscing on my journey up to Scotland got me thinking of the changes that have come about in the world of dog exhibiting, rules and regulations,purchasing forms and forms of travel.
I rejoined Royal Air Force at the age of 39 years old. My previous service of six years was taken into account and I was given a pension and choice of my last posting to the area were I would like to retier. The choice was not hard as I had been up here during 1939-1941 before I went overseas. I fell in love with both the people and the scenery so Scotland was my choice and Lechars was my home.
During ny last peroid in the R.A.F. I remarried and we got a nice little from Eve Hill, (Kinderlee). Later we were kindly given two bitches from Tommy Dix (Fistiana). Having to go overseas on detachment and doing several towers in the Gulf, we didnt get very involved with the Stafford world until I came out of the R.A.F. in 76. The two bitches Lucy and Bridget by now were to old for showing or breeding from and both died within a week of each other at 14yrs of age. We started going to shows again and I renuwed contacts with many of my old Stafford freinds.It was Eddie Pringle who put me onto Mem Sahib of Bellreophon and once more my great love of campaiging was stated again. This was when I discoverd the change.
I could not belive the price of Stafford puppies and the difference between the price of a puppy and a stud fee. Forty years ago it would be 5 guineas for a stud fee ( and that was for the service of a Champion) and five guineas for a pup. It was not unusual to recive a pup in liue of the of the service money, hence the equal amount for stud fee and puppy. By the way bitches were mostly a little cheaper than dogs and the transaction was always done in guineas.
Shows on Sunday were a new thing to me,and the Sanction show seems to have gone altogether. In the area were I lived on the West Yorkshire and Lanashire border,we could go to at least two Sanction shows a week through the winter and in the summer Agricultural shows would have an open show sponsoerd by the local canine society and these were numerous. The snag was travelling- but I will come to that later.At all the shows- sanction- open and Championship the dogs were vetted. Waiting in the queue to get to the little table with the white enamelled basin,towels and a frustrated vet was nerve racking – the smell of disinfectant I shall never forget.I must state that at large shows there would be a number of vets to cope with the enteries.
Exemption shows were few and far between and they were taken more seriously than they are to-day,especially the puppy class, as as the judge would almost always be a well known all rounder and the top breeders would enter there young stock to get a professional assesment. One show I remember of this calibre I remember. It was at Beverly – 54 miles from home. I had transport by then, a motorbike and sidecar. The judge was the late Macdonald Daly, a well known all rounder and columnist for our dogs. In his article he wrote(The first six puppies in the line up would be future Champions!). I cant remember all of them but Harold Wright and myself were at the top of the line and he tells me that they all made it. Bill, CH Bellerophon Billy boy was the only Stafford and he recived his first CC at Crufts under the late John F Gordon at 16 month old. Incidentally one did not have to qualify at that time this did not matter as Bill had 12 best puppies in shows and three best in show wins, most of them under all rounders, as they outweighed the specialist judges.
In the forties I was campaigning Miss Vengenance,traveling was a nightmare in those days. Private transport was none existent and few if one were lucky enough to get a lift, say four or five of us going in one car from our area to the parent club show, usualy turned out to be quite an adventure. The cars were mostely old bangers as they were pre-war and maintinance through the war years was in most cases was neglected. A journey of 75 miles to 90 miles without at least one breackdown was unheard of.
The popular mode of traveling was nearly always by train. I would entrain at Brighouse to get to the main line at Leeds and would probably be joined by Lenoard Cowgill who owend CH Quiz of Wyncroft would also join me as would Mr Thompson the Northern Counties secretery with Blandona Brandy Snap (who later became mine). Young Jim Squiers and his father were also there with Broadway Belle. Further down the line we would be joined by Bob Salisbury who was showing CH Nita’s Choice. After a few more miles we would pick up Mr Altoft who owend CH Goldwyns Leading Lad. The food and drink we had brought was shred by all and the conversation was both electric and very witty. The dogs were kept out of the conversation as all were all of very good quality. Mind you the judge would take some stick except by the one’s who had done well. The expeditions and that is what they were,seemed to be enjoyed by all and I am sure everyone looked forward to the next one.
This article was written by Mr Alan Greenwood

2 thoughts on “Now and then – Staffordshire Bull Terriers”

  1. I was born in Edinburgh in 1972. Growing up in Gorebridge Midlothian where my Father worked in the local coal mine Lady Victoria. Growing up we had a beautiful Stafford named Kim, I’ll always remember him as my first Stafford. I was eight years of age when we immigrated to Australia on 2/4/81. My Father continued to work in the coal mines in the NSW Illawarra area where we lived a very different life to that in Scotland. We always had Staffords in Australia all males of great quality but with no papers. When I left home with my future wife of 24 yeats, we contacted a breeder in our local area to purchase a Stafford of our own. I had no intentions of showing or breeding, but the breeder talked us into it. I thoroughly enjoyed showing our boy Chief ( Gandange The Chief ) who I Showed and gained his Australian Championship status. He won the 1999 NSW Staffordshire Terrier show. Best in show and I was extremely happy with that win. Chief passed away after 15 years of a beautiful life. We now have a beautiful bitch Pepper ( Quantumstaff live and let die ) who is now 2.5 years old. COVID has restricted me showing her but looks like the new year will be promising. Can’t wait to get her out there in the show ring and show off her awesome type. Reading the story of Jackalsoldcountryblood makes me so happy that we have and have had for so many years the beautiful breed that Staffords are.

  2. Loved reading this story. I remember meeting Alan Greenwood at a show in the eighties on a visit from Australia. Reminiscing is a wonderful thing.

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