The History of Ciera Staffords

How Ciera Staffords came to be

I have been enjoying the sport of Purebred dogs since the 1970s. I grew up with an Afghan Hound in the house and later enjoyed junior handling, conformation and obedience with our family's Borzoi. I remember participating in the first lure coursing competitions with out family dogs. We had one of the first Lure Coursing Champions. We also coursed jack rabbits with our Sight Hounds in the fields and cow pastures of California's central valley. As I grew older I spent many years working with horses at various ranches. Proper structure and nutrition and how it relates to overall health and performance became second nature to me.

Throughout my life I have personally owned a Borzoi, a working Australian Shepherd and a Schipperke, Miniature Bull Terriers and a few rescue dogs, as well as a handful of horses. But, the dog that got under my skin was an APBT named Tazzi. I have never been able to forget her and so it made sense that when I began to look for another purebred dog I looked at the Bull Breeds. I chose a Miniature Bull Terrier and got a nice white male I named Dino, who quickly became my first AKC Ch. Eventually I had to re-home Dino as he was not a good dog for a multi-dog household and luckily I had a great home for him. My last Mini Bull passed in February 2013, she was 14 years old. I recently acquired a Bull Terrier. Her name is Madison. I forgot how silly and single minded they are. This should be interesting.

Daphne is my first Stafford. I flew to North Carolina and brought her home August 3, 2007. My life has never been the same! Behind acquiring Daphne is many years of knowing what I want and my ability to wait for it. There was a ton of luck that led me to Homebrewed Staffords but I was willing to wait if all the conditions were not right. Luckily for me Jason seemed to be looking for a client like me for his pick bitch. So that brings me to the present. I did not plan to breed, nor get so involved in community rescue and responsible dog ownershpi but one thing leads to another and here I am. With a dog like Daphne it is impossible to sit on the sidelines. Now with Freya I look forward to breeding a few quality litters with emphasis on balance, type, health and good structure as it relates to the Official Standard. I will continue working in my community being proactive in regards to responsible dog ownership and our individual rights to own dogs. I will also continue to rescue one dog at a time as long as I am able.


Beliefs and Philosophies

Over the next months and beyond, I will be expanding on the topics noted below and on my blog "Ciera Reflections". It is my hope that Ciera Reflections will become the place where Ciera Staffords will share what I am learning and have learned and the knowledge gained thru my life with dogs. By doing this I will have an outlet to stop monologue'ing to my family and friends about what needs to be done to save the canine kingdom in every little corner and facet. I promise to be brave and post from the heart without worry what others may think.

I hope you will find what I write to be original and thought provoking as well as informative. I welcome all comments, suggestions and criticism!

Rescue, Rehab, Rehome - It does work.

If you find that you can no longer keep your dog it is important to understand that your dog’s best chance is you.   Here is what you should do and in this order:

  1. Contact the breeder or rescue group where you got the dog.  They should help you find a new home or take the dog back. 
  2. Contact the Pure Breed Rescue Groups locally and nationally for your breed.
  3. Lastly look for an area resource that lists rescues and shelters like this one:  Area Rescue and Shelter Resources or one that offers advice like Bad Rap

If you would like to try to rehome your dog on your own please check out my suggestions.  So you need to rehome a dog?
There is no quick fix and no substitute for putting in the effort to find a good home.  If you must go to the shelter bring all your health records, and other documents you have on the dog.   If the dog graduated from obedience class bring the certificate.   You never know what might save your dog’s life at a shelter. 

The Breed Standard

The only thing I can say here is to read it, over and over until it is memorized.   Don’t let anyone’s personal preference sway you from what the standard says no matter who they are.   Staffordshire Bull Terrier Official Standard

On Balance by Jason Nicolai (posted with permission from Homebrewed Staffords)

Take a look at my blog "The 5 Virtues" I am sort of uptight about faulting my own dogs to others and i have been that way for many years. I learned this from a very long time successful Borzoi breeder in the 70s. Sometimes I question this view of mine but I still think the point I try to make has value. Just like our dogs we need to be balanced, but we also need to be kind to others and never let fault judging rule us in or out of the ring. When our dog loses to a another dog you need find the virtue in the winner rather than looking for faults in either dog. In this way you will grow in this sport rather than stagnate and become bitter or jaded.

Health - Genetic and otherwise

When should I spay or neuter my dog? There are many schools of thought backed by scientific research as well as real life examples. I think this is a personal question but I will give you my thoughts. I believe all shelter animals should be spayed or neutered prior to being adopted regardless of the age but not before 10 weeks because the alternative is worse. I personally believe the best time to spay or neuter a pet is after the dog reaches sexual maturity which is somewhere between 6-12 months. As a breeder I would prefer to see all my puppies grow to be 3 years old prior to altering but that is a wish and I would never enforce that, in fact I am much more likely to enforce early spay and neuter. In this way I can ensure none of my "product" ever becomes a statistic or a burden on any community.

Genetic Health concerns: If you breed please health test and be open about all health issues with your puppy people for the life of the dog. I have owned and lived with 11 quality pure bred dogs in the last 20 years and 6 have had genetic health issues that were costly and heart breaking. This is serious business for pet people. Please think beyond your breeding program when it comes to health.

When it comes to regular health care, you know your dog best. Pay attention and watch for signs of distress and or a change in habits. Listen to and watch your dog and provide appropriate care immediately. You never know when something is life threatening. I have seen more tragic cases where a dog has died or lived in discomfort and had expensive vet bills because owners did not read signs and did not act or acted too late. Your dog's health and welfare depend on you.

Nutrition

If you want your dog to be healthy in their senior years feed good quality food through-out their life.  This potentially means fewer trips to the vet and lower vet bills during the senior years.  I recommend organic, human grade and home made food but do your research. Homemade food lacking in proper nutrtion is jsut as bad as poor quality kibble.   I also recommend vitamins and appropriate supplements.   I like Nature’s Farmacy a lot.  

Arthritis – structure verses activity

Without a doubt Staffords are ready, willing and able from a very early age but they should not be encouraged until their joints are closed which happens around 18 months.    I know from experience that there is plenty to do with a young maturing dog that does not require fast running and jumping and other hi-impact sports.  Take it easy on puppies no matter how much fun they are having. Additionally I often hear performance homes or physically active homes say they dont want a show quality dog. Some dogs that are sold as pets may have structural defects which would make them prone to injury if pushed too hard. Staffords have a heart of gold and want to work hard but that doesn't mean they can or should. For the benefit of your senior dog and check book take a look at this link Puppy Fitness that Fits the Puppy. Your older dog will thank you.

History of the Stafford

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier’s history is steeped in fighting, gambling and the blood of other animals as well as their own.   The past nefarious activities have been outlawed for a long time and the Breed Standard has been changed a handful of times since then to account for the pet, companion, and multi-purpose dog that has emerged. Today’s dog has enjoyed many decades of being a family pet but still carries some of the stigma of its past. Make sure your Stafford or any Bull Breed you own is a good member of the community, it reflects on all of us if you don't.

I like Jasons' description of a proper Stafford on his webpage. it goes into the history and how the breed was developed and what this means to us today. A refreshingly Brewed Stafford.

Raising your puppy to be a proper Stafford

Why is training your Stafford so Important? Let's face it, Bull breeds have a bad rap so it is imperative that your bully never catches the eye of animal control or annoys your neighbors. It is not necessary to walk your dog around and show everyone how wonderful the Bullies are but more importantly that you are responsible and your dog is a reflection of that. Staffords are smart and happy to please which make them easy to train. At minimum they should know, sit, stay, down, come, and focus. They should also be able to be in a back yard without fence fighting or barking. Although it can be cute for a puppy to chase the neighbor cat, trust me when I say it is not cute when they grow up. Puppy Culture DVD

What are critical imprint periods? These are moments in time of a puppy and young dogs life when they are very easily influenced by what happens to and around them. Puppies that are hand reared around children are likely to grow up loving kids more than those who were not handled much and never saw a child. Zero to sixteen weeks of age seems to be a very important time to teach your puppy good things and provide a very stimulating safe environment for them to learn. Dogs that have learned bad or scary things during this period will never forget those esperiences and it can take a lot of work to correct and often the effects linger for years. if you work very hard to train and socialize and reinforce good behavior in the first year of the dogs life you will have a much better companion for the rest of their life. If you slack off and leave the dog to its own devices or worse laugh at and encourage bad behavior beware what your dog may learn and become on its own.

Breed Specific Legislation - What does it mean to me?

It means everything to all dog lovers.   Breed Specific Legislation known as BSL is the making of laws and rules and restrictions for certain breed of dog.   Usually it relates to dogs deemed to be aggressive but lately I have noticed that high numbers of certain dogs in shelters, Chihuahua, for example are driving communities to create bans.   If you look up BSL on the internet you will learn more than you would ever want to know.   It does not matter what breed of dog you have if it comes to your community encourage your Leaders to enforce existing laws rather than layers new laws on top that don’t really hit the core of the problem which is irresponsible owners.  BSL is driving landlords, insurance companies and communities to create restrictions that are hard for us to navigate and live with. Please ask me about BSL and what you can do in your community.

To breed or not to breed?

To be written


Our Thanks

Thank you for visiting our website. If you would like to know more about our future plans for breeding or shows we will be attending, please send an email to: Lorelei Craig, Ciera Staffords or browse our website further through the image links on the left-hand column of this page. We look forward to hearing from you.