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The John F. Gordon Letters

Reprinted here are selected excerpts from just a few of the many letters to me from John F. Gordon, Romford, England, about the early days of the Breed in the U.S., which followed voluminous earlier correspondence in aid of starting Staffords in Finland and several person-to-person meetings in England in 1965 and1966.

I found Mr. Gordon's personal and business integrity beyond reproach and his eye for a Stafford puppy little short of phenomenal. I seriously doubt that Staffordshire Bull Terriers could have made it from zero to sixty (from 14 Staffords on January 14, 1966, to 200 by December 31,1969) in twice the time without John Gordon's good offices. He was clearly a key element in the Stafford's rapid rise to AKC acceptance.

24 August, 1966.

Dear Steve,

Thank you for your letter and I am glad I was able to see you with Mrs. Stone on Monday. I very much enjoyed the lunchtime.

Thank you for the check. I appreciate very much the manner in which you have conducted business... The crates you detail sound fine and I would consider them ideal. I do think however, that possibly some handles might be affixed either end to simplify handling by air staff...

9 October, 1966.

Dear Steve,

...Regarding Stafford fanciers in the US, I know only of a few:

Reginald Morgan (address)
Joseph Orday (address)
Mr. S.C. Bird (address)
Claude Williams (address)

19 November, 1966.

Dear Steve,

I was very pleased to hear from you and to know that you are already 'on the ball' getting a bit of interest aroused with the USA Stafford fanciers. I am sure that before long you'll have club in being...

16 January, 1967.

Dear Steve,

...I am delighted to hear about the Club. Once you have it all fixed up well, let me know so that I can put the details in the forthcoming encyclopedia... I will be a founding member of the club...

9 April, 1976.

Dear Steve,

...I hope the Brutus/Bella mating works out well for you. It should be excellent...I had a phone call from a Mr. De Legge of Chicago yesterday... You will also have seen a letter from Dr. Cooke (Canada)....

28 June, 1976.

Dear Steve,

...I am glad the club seems to progress well and I fancy you will have a hard job to keep enthusiasm going with so few members and so many miles dividing everybody... Congratulations on getting your MA in a few months...

12 August, 1967.

Dear Steve,

I have almost managed to secure two bitches for your clients... they are very nice. .. but warn the Harrisons that theirs may not have all the white on it that they fancy. ...

De Legge's pair seem to have settled down... he is delighted with his purchases....

18 August, 1967

Dear Steve,

The two puppies have been selected. They are:
MAID MAUREEN OF BANKDAMS, Red Fawn to Mrs. D. Wendell
LADY PENELOPE OF BANKDAMS, Dk. Brind. to Mr./Mrs. J. Harrison
.. ETA Los Angeles is 16.15 local time.
Now, regarding the brindle, which the Harrisons want. We had two here, one with a copious splash of white which was not as good as the second one without so much white. I just cannot bring myself to send the former when the latter is the better puppy. Please explain this to the Harrisons...

23 September, 1967.

Dear Steve,

Mr. and Mrs. Rant called to-day and very nice people they are too -- thanks for asking them to call. They saw the red and white bitch for Davlantes and they will tell you what a beauty she is... Mr. and Mrs. Rant... saw a nice little red dog [ Tinkinswood Imperial ] here... and bought it... I think you will like the puppy.

19 September, 1967.

Dear Steve,

Thank you for the letter and payment for the bitch puppy to Mr. Davlantes... he will be more than pleased with the puppy as she is a little beauty with loads of character... she is registered as Bandits Red Rochette.

11 November, 1976.

Dear Steve,

...We had a nice letter from Davlantes being delighted with their puppy, also a phone call last night from De Legge...

7 April, 1968.

Dear Steve,

Mr. R. Dodd called to-day and has purchased a nice brindle and white bitch puppy by Ashstock Dandy Badger... He took the puppy away... and returns to the USA in less than 3 weeks...

16 April, 1968.

Dear Steve,

Thank you for your letter... [Sam] Farris has been in touch with me and we are at the moment sorting out a bitch for him. We will have decided which one to send by the coming Wednesday. He seems a very keen chap.

8 June, 1968.

Dear Steve,

...I am glad that Dodd's Stafford looked O.K. at Griffith Park. I had a letter from him and he seems very pleased with the puppy.

26 July, 1968.

Dear Steve,

...I sent a red dog [ Bandits Ashstock Sergeant Nimrod ] to De Legge... The dog, a 9 month old red, bred by Alec Waters, was one I would have kept myself if I had wanted a potential champion. I showed it to Alec Waters and he wanted to buy it, but he has five Staffords in the house and Mrs. Waters would not stand another one. He tried hard to find a partner to look after the dog, with no success...

9 August, 1968.

Dear Steve,

The puppies will be sent 20 AUGUST 68. Flight PA.121 which arrives in L.A. Airport 17.35 hrs. I hope this suits you.

  1. Sam Farris - Bandits Golden Shot. Red dog to match his other for breeding.
  2. F. McNolty - Bandits Game Hector. Brindle and white dog.
  3. Dr. H. Carlson - Bandits Bavarian Boy. Brindle dog, no white.
  4. V. Oriente - Bandits Quick Jane. Red and white bitch.
  5. R. Kooch - Bandits Lively Lady. Tiger brindle and white patch on muzzle.
  6. J. Crowther - Bandits Girl Patsy. Dark brindle and white patch on muzzle.

PS - Pedigrees/Export Peds/KC documents will all come... by airmail.

17 August, 1968.

Dear Steve,

...your pups are truly a first class lot. A deal of care has been given to their selection and in many ways you can thank Marjorie for this as it has been almost like a Miss World or Mr. Universe contest...

5 October, 1968.

Dear Steve,

Thank you for your letter... requesting the name Bastante Grande , which will be done for the Easley's puppy.

...I am glad you like 'Bandit' [ Bandits Ashstock Sergeant Nimrod ]. He should make a good one and you should use him while he is your way...

12 October, 1968.

Dear Steve,

...I feel that I have to be quite frank and ask you to wait and try and persuade your customers to wait. The puppies immediately to hand are not for you. They are all right, but not up to the standard we endeavour to aim at for you... Mrs. Gordon in particular is most punctilious about finding you the best...

28 October, 1968.

Dear Steve,

...Can your client possibly be wider in preference and allow us to select a puppy putting quality and type first and colour second? This will mean a brindle or a red or a pied. I need to know soon, but if he insists on white it means that I must have either permission to make a delivery which might mean after Christmas, or merely refund his remittance...

4 April, 1970.

Dear Steve,

Delighted to hear from you. Your new home sounds fine and it must be a pleasure to come home to after a day at the College. Glad to know you are once again getting yourself going in the breed...

...I have written 3 books, Boxer, Cocker and Staffords in the last year and that is more of interest to me than becoming involved with a lot of breed kids. I have never known such acrimony, such breed jealousy and general pettiness than these people seem to erupt... but to watch it all going on is sickening... I'm sorry they have started again in this fashion. I suppose you won't get this sort of thing in the States for a few years -- but it will come -- mark my words...

31 May, 1970.

Dear Steve,

Thank you for your letter and I am glad to learn that the puppies [ Maori Chief and two Bulldog bitch puppies] were well received. Glad too to see you all and to hear you had a good trip back. I have answered Colin Smith's letter. He seems to be getting on well in Finland...

26 August, 1970.

Dear Steve,

Sorry to note you are having USA/Stafford bothers, although as you have commented your goodself - I did forecast them! Surprised, however, to learn that Rs are involved... you play straight and you talk straight and one knows what you want and recognizes that you appreciate good dealing - which I endeavour to do... In Britain, we have a saying when neighbors get 'thick' with each other that they are 'wearing hats alike'. This sort of false camradarie only goes on for a short time, then the once friends fall out and start fighting.... If the USA club is starting this type of vis-a-vis they will soon go wrong. I hope it never occurs to any great extent. You may well be jolly glad you are in Nebraska and not California if it does!

9 October, 1970.

Dear Steve,

Thank you for your letter and the Bulletin, which we think very good and the right thing to do. Anyone who complains about that is merely jealous of you...

14 November, 1970.

Dear Steve,

Sorry to hear of the fracas in the USA. A pity, but it will never really heal up -- they never do. It sounded a bit stark what you were told about the autographed [book] copies. I said quite innocently that you did this 'off your own bat' then indicated OK by me as 'Steve is a great enthusiast'!

26 March, 1971.

Dear Steve,

Sorry to hear chaos exists in the once happy ranks of the SBTC/USA. You should have your finger on the pulse of the matter, so no doubt you will be able to sort it out. It seems such a pity that a thriving club has such internal troubles. The main trouble is of course that only a few really care. The rest swing from side to side as the mood takes them. This happens here too, and it depends largely on which orator employs the most effective rhetoric!

19 August, 1971.

Dear Steve,

Thank you for your letter of the 13th... the books have already been posted with the exception of the Foyles book.

Your club is certainly rising well. I wish you every success...

All letters signed: John F. Gordon