UKC STANDARD HIGH POINTS:
General Appearance This breed combines strength and athleticism with grace and agility and should never appear bulky or muscle-bound or fine-boned and rangy.
Color Any color, color pattern, or combination
of colors is acceptable, except for merle.
Height and Weight
Dwarfism occurs in dogs and can be "set" into a breed or bloodline. There are examples of dwarfism in Malamutes and German shepherds. Sadly, there are some people now intentionally crippling dogs by breeding this trait into American Bullies to get a more "extreme" look.
The blue coat color is the result of a "dilute" gene. Blue color dogs tend to have more skin issues than other colors. This blue and white dog is showing signs of Demodectic mange - a common problem with young blue Am Staffs.
Are blue am staffs rare? Not at all. This pup is in rescue, as are hundreds of blue staffs across the country. Many are snatched up by "rescues" who resale them.
It is a sad fact that when a dog breed becomes very popular with the public, a few individuals will prey upon both the public's ignorance and their desire for something "bigger and better" or "rare". Since these "fad breeders" seek to harm the breed by breeding away from the accepted standard, their motivation is purely monetary. One hallmark of a "fad breeder" is this: they haven't the talent to rise to the top of the dog game by legitimate means - such as winning real dog shows or performance trials - so they create their own "basement registries", complete with "shows" sometimes, in order to give themselves the awards they can't win in real life. They are horribly destructive to which ever breed they attach themselves to, and legitimate breeders abhor them. They are nothing new and as long as the American public allows itself to be led by the nose in its quest for "rare" dogs, these puppy peddlers will find a ready market.
I'm old enough to have seen it over and over. I remember when Dobermans rose to the number two position in AKC registrations, and the "bigger is better" folks bred great Danes with Dobermans and marketed them as "superior animals" called "Doberdanes". These dogs were neither good Dobermans nor good Danes, and they faded away. Another high priced off shoot of the "Doberdane" was the "Canis Panther", a Doberman/Dane/other breeds mix created by some inner city guys who admit on their site no legit breeders would sell them a dog. When the Jack Russell became wildly popular, fad breeders created "shorties" and crooked legged Jacks, giving them catchy names like "Irish Jacks" and "Shorty Jacks". These poor dogs were simply malformed terriers that should not have been bred. And the damage is done: today many people think the Jack Russell, once an active terrier able to follow behind horses with foxhounds, is supposed to be a short legged, long backed cripple.
The German shepherd wasn't spared by fad breeders. What is supposed to be an athletic, medium sized herding breed has been bred in many exaggerated forms such as the "shiloh shepherd", "king shepherd" and the "banana backed" European show shepherd, all of which fail to measure up to the usefulness and agility of the correctly bred German shepherd.
If "bigger is better" with larger breeds, it stands to reason that "smaller is better" with smaller breeds. The shih tzu is plagued by fad breeders producing dogs under nine pounds despite the health and whelping problems this brings to the animals. Those selling "imperial shih tzu" or "toy shih tzu" are selling you more than a dog - they are selling you "a bill of goods". Shih tzu under 9 pounds are out of the AKC standard.
THE AMERICAN PIT BULL
Mega-popularity always produces certain results among a breed's population. These are:
This has clearly been seen in the American pit bull, with shelters filled with generic looking and acting "pit bulls" as well as the breed now ranking shockingly high as suffering from hip dysplasia, eye problems and "allergies".
Since the early 1980s, fad breeders have produced three main non standard types of "pit bulls". The question remains - if they are not bred to the American pit bull standard, should they be called "American pit bulls"? I think not.
"Giant Pit Bull" A purebred, well bred American pit bulls range from 35 to 65 pounds. This is what the standard of the breed has traditionally dictated. Only very lately have some registries changed this in order to increase funds by registering larger, mixed breed dogs as "pure".
Obviously there will be those people who think that if owning a pit bull is cool - owning a BIG pit bull is COOLER. It is quite easy to create a dog which resembles a large American Staffordshire by breeding in cane corso mastiffs, Neapolitan mastiffs, presa canario, dogue de Bourdeaux mastiff and American bulldogs.
Try to find a breeder of "giant" pit bulls who can show you an honest progression over years of increasing size through selective breeding. You won't find one.
Instead, these breeders will have produced mastiff sized "pit bulls" in a suspiciously short amount of time. As well, "giant pit bulls" show mastiff characteristics - characteristics NOT seen in purebred pit bulls - such as heavy, hanging muzzles and loose skin around the neck (see the blue/white dog to left for example of mixed mastiff characteristics) long tails, often heavier fur than a pit bull, sometimes drooping eye lids, loose elbows and weak pasterns. From the mastiff breeds often is inherited shy or overly defensive temperaments.
"Pocket Pit" or "Shortie" What is hard to understand about those fad breeders who mix breeds to create a "small" pit bull is that the English have perfected the smaller Staffordshire bull terrier which is a wonderful dog with a top weight of 35 pounds. But since they can't become "famous" in Staffies, they create their own "breed".
Abnormally short "pit bulls" often have no American pit bull blood in them. Most are a result of the crossing of American Staffordshires with smaller breeds such as small lines of AKC show bulldog, Staffordshire bull terriers, French bulldog and Boston terriers. Puppy peddlers deemed them "pocket pits" and went to town producing dogs which suffered from a wide variety of physical unsoundness inherent from the smaller breeds used: hip and elbow dysplasia, straight and weak rears, knee issues and spine deformities. Again, cropping the dogs and selecting for those animals which resemble American Staffordshires, breeders are able to produce "purebred" and "registered" dogs of obvious mixed heritage.
"American Bully" According to one website peddling American Bullies, the "Bully" was created because "Like with the American Staffordshire Terrier, all the positive characteristics of the breed’s ancestry were kept like loyalty, stability with humans and other physical attributes; but traits of dog aggression and gameness were bred out of the breed because the breed had no future and purpose for those traits."
Gameness bred out? The MAIN characteristic of the American pit bull - the very essence of the breed - is gameness. Remove gameness and you have a Labra-doodle. If you don't LIKE the characteristics of a breed - chose another damn breed - don't dumb down a good one!
This inability to respect the very heart and essence of a breed is the hallmark of a "fad breeder". A person who puts money, greed and ego above the preservation and protection of a pure breed of dog.
© copyright Diane Jessup ALL