Main "Lines" - A to Z
There has been some discussion on The Staffordshire Bull Terrier Forum about the main lines of the Stafford. Most Stafford owners, especially the new ones to the breed, probably don't have access to many published works on the Stafford. Below is a reconstruction on this web page of Chapters IV and V, from the book "The Staffordshire Bull Terrier" written by H. N. Beilby, B.Sc, first published in 1943 and now reproduced by Beech Publishing House, The Bindery, Sawmill Buildings, Stedham, Midhurst, West Sussex, GU29 ONY, England. This is one of the best books written about the early breeding stock of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier (possibly the best).
Although the Staffordshire has been in existence for such a long period, it is only comparatively recently that any authentic and reliable records have been kept, and it is next to impossible to trace back the pedigrees of individual dogs further than ten to fifteen years. In order, therefore, to establish as far as possible the descent and breeding of the present leading strains, I first of all examined the registrations of Staffordshires with the Kennel Club for the two and a half years -- May, 1935, to Dec., 1937 -- during which period most of the leading dogs of the time were registered, and I have tabulated those which have produced the largest number of registered progeny during this period. This gave the following result:
About 580 dogs were registered -- 225 from unregistered sires and 355 from registered sires. Of the latter, 146 were sired by well-known dogs, which is just one quarter of the total registrations.
The 6 sires with the largest numbers to their credit were:
|Jim the Dandy||30|
|Fearless Joe||17 (Died in 1936)|
The first and second were both sired by the fifth, who was therefore the direct male ancestor of 82 of the dogs registered in the period.
In order to ascertain the value of the strain represented by the three other dogs on the list, I have extended the chart up to the end of 1943, to cover all Staffordshires that have ever been registered with the Kennel Club.
In discussing these strains I shall adopt standard practice and refer to the sire's male ancestry as the "line", and the dam's female ancestors as the "family".
This extended chart has revealed many interesting points, and shows that of the original six "Game Lad" and "Rum Bottle" are also entitled to rank as founders of "lines", as well as "Brindle Mick" (brother to "Cross Guns Johnson").
It therefore appeared that there were so far at least four distinct lines of Staffordshire Bull Terriers:
J. Fearless Joe and his male descendants, with about 300 registrations.
L. Game Lad and his male descendants, with about 120 registrations.
M. Brindle Mick and his male descendants, with about 300 registrations.
B. Rum Bottle (The Westall Strain) and his male descendants, with about 100 registrations.
This was the position at the end of 1943. The chart has now been extended to cover all Staffordshires registered up to the end of 1946. In the Three years that have elapsed, two more male lines have justified their inclusion, namely, the "R" line, founded by "Ribchester Bob", born about 1931, and the "C" line, which descends from "Cinderbank Beauty", through "Togo". The numerical strength of the six lines is now roughly as follows:
|J line||1200 registrations|
|M line||1500 registrations|
|L line||500 registrations|
|B line||300 registrations|
|R line||500 registrations|
|C line||100 registrations|
or, putting it another way, two-thirds of all registered Staffordshires belong to one or other lines listed.
A study of the chart reveals a number of interesting points. It will be noticed that out of 65 dogs:
|J line||23 representatives||775 progeny registrations|
|M line||21 representatives||923 progeny registrations|
|L line||5 representatives||298 progeny registrations|
|B line||4 representatives||183 progeny registrations|
|R line||3 representatives||304 progeny registrations|
|C line||3 representatives||54 progeny registrations|
|Misc.||6 representatives||177 progeny registrations|
It will be realized that (in the case of the "J" line, for instance) the difference between the figure of 775 and 1200 is accounted for by the comparatively large number of registrations which stand to the credit of sires of the line who have not sired more than a few dogs each, and do not therefore appear in the chart. The same applies to the other lines.
The performance of certain sires attracts attention, Ch. "Gentleman Jim", who has been producing stock for eight years, easily heads the list with 255, while our other Champion, "Game Laddie", can claim nine years of stud service (72). "Ribchester Max" stands high with 173 registrations in eight years. Among the younger dogs, with not more than two years at stud, "Brigands Bosun" easily heads the list (86), with "Jolly Roger" runner-up (48).
In 1937 there were five "line" dogs at stud, by 1941 this number had increased to twenty-two, and in 1946 there were at least fifty-six available to breeders. This is real progress.
The first Staffordshire Bull Terrier was registered in 1931. He must have felt rather lonely for it was not until 1933 that two more joined him. A further twelve were added to the Register in 1934.
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier Club was formed in May, 1935, and by the end of that year a further 159 dogs had been registered with the Kennel Club. The annual additions thereafter were as follows:
|To the end of:||Registrations|
In 1938 there were twenty breeds of sporting dog with a greater number of Kennel Club registrations than the Staffordshire; in 1943 Staffordshires came twelfth on the official Kennel Club list. Some jump!
I omitted one chart from the Chapter IV copy above. This chart was of all of the individual studs and the number of progeny each produced from 1937 through 1946. If you just have to see that chart, then find the book and buy it.
Chapter IV sets up the meat of the "lines" discussion. Now you know where all of this originated and with whom. Now let's get to the stud dogs and the lines they produced. Maybe you can find some of your dogs ancient ancestors listed - then you can claim "R" line or "M" line decendency. Chapter V.
Chapter V - Main "Lines"
The "J" Line
Dealing first with the "J" line:
"Fearless Joe" had some half-dozen good registered sons, but it is mainly upon two of these that his reputation depends. By his mating with "Queenie", one of our most important foundation bitches, he produced "Vindictive Monty", a good bodied fawn with strong skull and jaw, a shade heavy in shoulder, and perhaps a trifle long in muzzle, although in no sense weak. Joe's other notable son was "Jim the Dandy", a dark brindle with a well ribbed body, glorious head and expression, bone adequate, perhaps slightly weak in pasterns. His dam did not hold the high record of "Queenie".
It will be convenient to consider the progeny of Monty and Jim separately.
Referring to chart on p. 29, "Vindictive Monty" sired about thirty registered sons of which, again, two only have played a specially important part in Staffordshire history. "Vindictive Montyson" has won one C.C., and is a strong well-proportioned fawn who inherits to some extent his sire's muzzle properties; bone and rib excellent. He has produced two good fawn sons in "Beecher Prince" and "Montyson Again", both of which have produced decent stock. "Spring Heeled Jack" is very possibly the sire through which the "J" line will go down to posterity, through his sons "Thunderbolt", "The Great Bomber" and "Boy Dan". "Thunderbolt" is a sturdily built fawn brindle which won well as a youngster and was then sold to a leading breeder in the north, where he is now a recognized sire. "The Great Bomber" was a heavy fawn dog, excelling in head properties, who did a lot of winning. He sired many good sons, some of which (not shown on the chart) may eventually prove to be pillars of the "line". So far, only two or three of these have themselves produced exceptional winning stock, and are therefore included in the chart.
"Bomber Command" has a good son in "Sandras Boy", a promising white and brindle youngster. "Red Turk" is sire of "Sans Cooper", a very handsome and stylish dark red dog and a great winner, whose son "Red Cholmondly" is (in my opinion) one of the best living representatives of the "J" line at present; he is a red brindle with few faults and many good points.
"Spring Heeled Jack's" remaining son that calls for special mention is "Boy Dan". This little fawn dog excels in head and body properties -- legs fair. He has proved to be a prolific sire and has some good sons to his credit, among which are "Brinstock Pimpernel", a sound fawn, well balanced, with good legs and feet; "Royalist Joe", a grand little brindle, closely resembling his sire in make and shape -- but better! and "Buss Bomb", who has done a lot of winning recently. "Boy Dan" will leave his mark on the line.
"Jim the Dandy" had about 30/40 registered sons, of which some four or five have made substantial contribution to the line. "Tackle" was a dark brindle with good head and legs, rather light in rib. He sire "O'Boy" (who is not unlike his sire but a size larger), "Tactful Steve", "Emden Convoy" and about twenty others that were registered. "O'Boy's" son, "Brigands Benson", has won well and has produced a good son in "The Tackler", a present-day winning dark brindle. "Chestonian Overdraft" was another brindle son of Jim's that has himself produced a large number of typical sons. "Barney" is a very well built brindle that has won 1 C.C. "Chestonian Security" has sired some useful stock, including "Maginot Dandy".
Up to the present it would appear that "Vindictive Monty's" descendants have played a more important part in the breed's history than "Jim the Dandy's". This is rather unexpected, as Jim was the better show specimen, and is probably accounted for by their inheritance through their dams, which was first class in Monty's case, but only "so-so" in Jim's. It is interesting to note that most of Monty's notable descendants were reds or fawns, and the Jim's were mainly brindles.
I would hazard a guess that the future of this line will rest very largely on the progeny of the litter brothers "The Great Bomber" and "Boy Dan", and I base this on the fact that they are descended on the female side from at least three generations of outstanding bitches.
It will nearly always be found that the dam of a great stud proposition (in any kind of animal) springs from a family of good females.
According to Kennel Club registrations, about twenty "J" line dogs have proved themselves to be sires of importance.
The "M" Line
The virtual founder of the "M" line was "Brindle Mick" whelped in 1934, by "Tigr" ex "Brave Nell". Mick was a brindle of great power and substance, slightly over medium size, with well-developed body, good bone, strong jaw and skull, the muzzle being of medium length and weight. In general configuration he is greatly resembled by his son "Gentleman Jim". Mick was slightly undershot. He sired some other important sons in "Brindle Bill", "Furnace Jake", the "Bandit" and "Red Ruin".
"Gentleman Jim", who is now ten years old, is the outstanding Staffordshire of his decade, both as a winner and a sire. He won his challenge certificates at Crufts 1939 (H. Pegg), Cheltenham 1939 (H. N. Beilby) and Bath 1939 (A. W. Fullwood). In temperament he is friendly, but fearless, and I know that he has tackled certain enemies (not canine ones) which a number of other Staffordshires had refused to face. He has sired 255 sons and daughters in the eight years 1939/1946, according to Kennel Club records, which is an unusually long period for a dog to remain a successful sire of good stock. Of these, about 10 per cent have proved to be winners to a greater or less extent, and about six of his sons have themselves established a reputation as sires; these are shown on the chart.
"Son o' Jim" is probably his best son to date and has won one post-war C.C. He is a white dog with brindle markings and very closely resembles his sire (and grandsire) in general configuration. "Son o' Jim's" son, "Jolly Roger" is a dark brindle that has done a lot of winning, but the interesting point is that he also strongly resembles his sire and grandsire, in shape and build. Here then is an example of "stability of strain" as the four generations, beginning with "Brindle Mick" and ending (so far) with "Jolly Roger" show a marked similarity in the way in which they are proportioned and built together. I shall watch with the greatest interest to see if "Roger" produces a son worthy to carry on this sequence. "Son o' Jim" also sired "Primrose Bill", who has already sired at least one outstanding young dog and bitch.
As regards "Gentleman Jim's" other notable sons, "Lofafella" is a white dog, built on much the same lines as his sire, except for being rather shorter in muzzle, a property which he appears to transmit to some of his best progeny. "Emden Conqueror" has produced a very attractive little brindle in "Markton Smasher". "Noble Prince" claims "Bwana Bulawayo" who is a well-bodied dog, very short in muzzle. "Red Prince" and "Black Knight" have each produced at least one outstanding young bitch, and they have plenty of time yet. The two youngsters "Fearless Red" and "Kim" are big winners but have not yet had sufficient time to prove their value at stud.
It is of interest to note that "Gentleman Jim" has produced just as good stock (in fact I think rather better) towards the end of his stud life as he did in his earlier years.
"Brindle Mick's" next notable son is "Brindle Bill", who was whelped in 1939. Unfortunately there is no really good photo of him. But the sketch is a very faithful attempt to portray his general appearance. He is now dead. A smallish, heavily built mahogany brindle, rather low on leg and a shade long in back, with grand rib and bone and a massive head, somewhat shorter in face than his sire.
Among other good stock he produced two outstanding litters, the first when mated to "Little Gem's Pride", which resulted in a litter of six winners, including "Show Boy" and "Primrose Floss", and the second by his mating with "Fredancer", which produced a litter of five winners, including "Brigands Bosun", "Bucks Mick" and "Nib's Pal".
"Brigands Bosun" is a lightish brindle, strongly resembling his sire in head, rib, and bone, but shorter in body. Although he has been at stud for only two or three years, he has already 86 registrations to his credit and is proving a most popular sire. Two of his best sons are "Widneyland Brutus" and Bosun Again".
"Show Boy", a grandly built read, full of the joy of life, is promising well as a sire.
"Tenacious Pete" is out of that good bitch "Little Gem" and inherits his dam's grand head, with his sire's good rib and bone. Other good sons of "Brindle Bill" have not yet had time to make their mark at stud, but should be given every opportunity to do so.
Mick's third son to claim attention is "Furnace Jake"; this grand brindle has 55 registrations against his name and has sired some good bitches.
"Bandit" -- litter brother to "Gentleman Jim" -- produced "The Road Agent" and other good ones. "Red Ruin" was one of a litter of seven, at least three of which were winners. His son "Kongo" has sired some good stock in the London area.
The "M' line owes its ascendancy largely to the stud success of "Gentleman Jim" and "Brindle Bill", to either or both of which we may look for the continued prosperity of the line. The "L" line now claims attention. It was founded by "Game Lad", who was born about 18 years ago and is therefore one of the oldest lines of which there is a record. After doing some winning in the Black Country where he was born, he went to London, where he proved a popular sire. Smallish medium in size, he was a darkish brindle in colour, with a compact body, nice round bone, good skull and an exceptionally clean muzzle. He had one peculiarity, which was that he did not like his tail to be handled.
The "L" Line
Although this is not one of the largest lines, it has produce two champions, which no other line has so far done.
His most important sons are Ch. "Game Laddie", "Our Ben", and "Billy". "Game Laddie" has four challenge certificates, won at The Kennel Club (Holland Buckley)(, Windsor (Blacklock), Blackpool (F. W. Holden) and Richmond (Naden). Although he has several good sons, "Laddie" is probably outstanding as a sire of bitches; he has 72 registered offspring. He is a darkish brindle of intense quality and exemplary balance and his imperfections are trifling. Three of his sons are "Brinstock Aristocrat", "Brinstock Democrat", and "Nunsoe Fighter Pilot". "Democrat" is proving an useful sire and has 39 registered progeny, including the black-and-white dog "Dynamite Jim", who strongly resembles his sire in make and shape.
Another son of "Game Lad" was "Billy", whose son "Belted Hero" produced "Brigands Bash'em". Bash'em has been used extensively at stud and has proved a successful sire with 128 K.C. registrations to his credit. He is a brindle of medium size, owning excellent bone, legs and feet. Apart from a tendency to carry his ears rather high, I consider that the moulding of his head is truly typical, and with this goes the alert expression that is so desirable.
Perhaps his two most notable sons are "Prince St. John" and "Thonock Lad". "Prince" is a smallish, very sturdily built brindle with a good Show record. "Thonock Lad" is still quite a youngster, and is strikingly like his sire in build and head properties, except that he is better ribbed, and as his mother is a very sound brood bitch, belonging to one of our best bitch families, it would not be surprising if he proves to be a successful stud dog, especially if mated to good family III bitches.
"Brinstock Democrat" and "Thonock Lad" can be expected to do much towards the future success of this line.
"Ribchester Joe" was helped in 1931. His son "Ribchester Max" was a brindle of medium size, well proportioned, with good bone and feet and a great winner. He has produced a number of excellent bitches and five of his sons are shown on the chart.
"Billy Bhoy" has the distinction of being a foreign champion, but Max's best son is undoubtedly "Vindictive Monty of Wyncroft". (What a pity that this good Staffordshire has not got a more distinctive name -- I have already corrected quite a few people who have confused him with "Vindictive Monty" of the "J" line.)
"Monty" is a deep red dog of medium size, sturdily built, with good bone, ribs and skull and a great winner. He claims 116 registered progeny up to the end of 1946. He has a number of good sons, the best of which (so far) is undoubtedly "Head Lad of Villmar". This red brindle pied dog is very close to the required standard; he is very short coupled, and although not more than medium size, is powerfully built, with well developed rib, strong straight bone, and a big well proportioned head. He does not always appear to take a very keen interest in life -- but his may only be so at Dog Shows! If he proves to be as good at stud as he is in appearance he will be a great asset to the breed. He took the challenge certificate at the Southern Counties S.B.T. Society's Show in June, 1946, under Mr. R. H. Voss.
The "B & C" Lines
The "B" and "C" lines are the last to be considered.
The former has been called the "B" line (B for Bottle). "R" might have been the more obvious letter to use but it has already been allocated to the "Ribchester" line, and in any case "Rum Bottle", with 49 K.C. registrations, is really its founder. He was a red dog, as were most members of this line. Mr. Westall, to whom the pre-war development of this line is due, is of the opinion that red dogs are tougher in hide than brindles, which probably accounts for their preponderance. The line is of special interest as up to 1935 it had been developed almost independently of all the other lines and there were certain fairly well defined differences, chiefly in formation of head, where the muzzle appears to have been somewhat lighter than that of "black country" dogs.
Three of "Rum Bottle's" sons were "Invincible Lad", "Eager Lad" and "Tough Guy", the last of which was a well-known pre-war winner and captured one challenge certificate. The line will go down to posterity, however, through "Eager Lad" and his son "Tornado". "Lad" has about 30 registered progeny and is a very cleanly built terrier with exemplary feet and bone and a well-balanced head. "Tornado" (a brindle) has 86 registered offspring and is a great winner; on his dam's side he comes from that branch of family III which produced Ch. "Midnight Gift". Of his many sons, two of the best are "Bomber of Roundcroft" and "Burland Tornado".
The "T" Line
The last line that calls for mention is a comparatively small one and has been referred to as the "T" line. Recent information, however, suggests that this is not a correct initial and that "C" would be more appropriate.
"Cinderbank Beauty" was a small tiger brindle, and my recollection of him is that he was compact, sturdy and well proportioned.
"Togo" is a shade larger -- just about medium size -- and is a very fine model of a Staffordshire, with massive and well-proportioned head and (in my opinion) true Staffordshire expression.
"Rambling Prince" is an almost exact replica of his sire, but perhaps a shade better in stifle, a very attractive little terrier.
"Pike Land Spitfire' is a biggish dog, again built on the same excellent pattern, indeed the resemblance between "Togo" and these two sons is quite remarkable, and unlike anything I have seen in Staffordshires before.
"Mapleton Pride" is mostly white, built on sturdy lines and a beautiful mover. "Rambling Knight" is an all-white, low to ground but with tremendous substance and bone like an elephant's!
In conclusion, it is impossible to forecast what contribution these six lines will make to posterity, but it would appear extremely improbable that any of them will ever completely disappear. It is, however, not at all improbable that one or more new lines may develop -- indeed there are already some indications -- but that would just be guessing!