Does a dog look like its master? This very common expression usually doesn't harm anyone - except the dog. For my breed of American Staffordshire Terriers (Am Staf), even more than for other breeds, it's crucial that the person who selects the dog in the first place, and later the owners, should be both qualified and experienced. So in this respect it's fundamental that the training for this particular breed of dog should take place be broad and serious. It's true that most of the so-called "breeders" in Italy, the rest of Europe and America have no idea why the dogs which they keep at home mate, but perhaps they do know what they can hope to earn from the sale "the upshot of the mating". Having made that clear, I'll now continue in order to be of assistance to the around 20 percent of real lovers of the Breed, those who really care about its future.
There's no breed on earth that can boast such a rich, genetic inheritance as ours, all of which is amply documented in a good number of publications. On several occasions I've had a chance to illustrate the paths of "The Grand Old Breed" has trodden in the last century in a bid to achieve recognition by the A.K.C. - F.C.I. which has given it its most recent name of American Staffordshire Terrier. Today, as I am writing this article on "an American dog", I am listening to American music, namely Jerry Lee Lewis's latest record called "Last Man Standing". You might find what you&'re about to read surprising, but I hope it will help you to understand the spirit and reason behind the Am Staf which really is an "All-American Dog".
At the beginning of the 1950's in Memphis (Tennessee) a man called Sam Phillips opened a small recording studio, Sun Records. While Sam didn't have much money he did have a great deal of passion and wished to encourage young, up and coming musicians. It was from his tiny recording studio some fifty years ago that "rock and roll" emerged. Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison, Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis, to name just a few, were among its pioneers. They all had enormous talent, some were men of genius, they had open minds and shared one big passion: music and more music.
At that time in the United States there was a lot of racism - it was in people's everyday lives. Just imagine, then, when Sun Records started making discs by Whites and Afro-Americans musicians, without any distinction whatsoever. Then white musicians and singers began going to church to listen to sermons, gospel music and spirituals. This was the unbelievable revolution that allowed a group of determined people, with deep cultural origins to blend Jazz, Blues, Country, Hillbilly and Sacred Music into an all American music style that was later taken up and shared the world over. While the development was not always easy and without hiccups, today we still talk about rock'n'roll even if in a modern way.
As I listen to Jerry Lee - he's over seventy nowadays - singing "The Last Man Standing" accompanied song after song by the famous rock stars of the '60s, '70s and '80s, he gives me hope that one day in my field there'll be future "breeders" of Am Stafs, who before "recording" a litter, will have taken the trouble to study the breed, its origins and pedigree, its history and genetic mapping, and why not, seeing that some experienced and successful breeders are still around, they&'ll ask them for advice. Present-day dog breeding has no other references, except the Judge's opinion at dog shows and he - more often than not - is like a deaf music critic, or even worse, he hasn't the slightest wish to make himself understood.
Here's a piece of advice: you've got to leave behind the darkness of commonplaces (they're growing steadily more frequent) and if you've got a dream of becoming a dog breeder, this is one of the best dogs in the world that can fulfil your dream. Still you have to be sure that this is your kind of "musicdog". As for me, I'm going to carry on breeding and rearing exclusively Am Stafs as well as listening to Rock'n'Roll, probably because I know where "these particular Americans" come from and what they want.
Okay, it's only "Staf'n'Roll"... but I like it!!!