Interview with Sandra Carter, Breeder of Shortyrock Staffords
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Where do you live? What is your breed? What is your kennel name? Do you have a website? How long have you been in dogs? How long have you been breeding dogs? Who are some of your best-known dogs?
Sandra Carter: My name is Sandra Carter and I live in Oregon City, Oregon. I am an AKC judge, Staffordshire Bull Terrier Club of America President and member of the Judges Education Committee. Also, I am involved with the Terrier Association of Oregon, Oregon Judges Association, and the Puget Sound, Potomac, and Northeast Staffordshire Bull Terrier Clubs. Our kennel name is Shortyrock Staffords. My sister, Michelle Bryant who lives in Florida, and I have bred and shown Staffordshire Bull Terriers since 1999 and recently we added a new partner, Darius McPhall. So, now Shortyrock Staffords are on the East and West Coasts.
We have had some very successful dogs: BIS MBISS GCHS Shortyrocks Jasper By Dumbriton; RBIS MBISS GCHS Shortyrocks The Vindicator; BIS MRBIS MBISS Seenworstaffs Lucky Me; and Staffordshire Bull Terrier National Championship Winners, CH Thrashers Reba Realdamcute and CH Thrashers Elliott Eversohandsome. We have won the SBTCA Top Twenty five times with three different dogs and have consistently kept our Staffords ranked among the top twenty Staffords in the country, plus, several Best of Opposite and Bred-By Exhibitor wins at National Specialties.
As a Breeder, can you share your thoughts on your breed today? Is breed type strong? Are there things to be concerned about? Are there any health-related issues? Have you worked with breeders overseas? Are pet homes typically available for your breed?
Sandra Carter: The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is bull-and-terrier blend and, as a breeder, we must breed toward this balanced type of dog. A breeder must not go toward a wispy type or the bulldog type; many breeders are following these directions in their breeding programs. Many breeders are reaching out to breeders outside the US. The overseas entries are larger and there is a larger gene pool to pull from.
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a very healthy dog. The most serious health issues in the breed, L2HGA and hereditary cataracts, have a DNA test to identify them. Responsible breeders test all breeding stock to avoid producing affected dogs. We have recommended health screenings on SBTCA.com. One concern is the breeding of exotic colors, like merle. This is not in the Stafford DNA, so a mix has been added somewhere along in the pedigree.
Breeders must take special care when placing puppies in pet homes; having previous dog experience is preferred by most. These dogs make perfect housedogs, but they need exercise and do not do well in dog parks. A game of ball or a long walk is perfect for this breed; however, special care is needed in hot weather so the dogs don’t overheat during play or while traveling in a car. The Stafford makes an excellent Performance Dog, and they excel in all disciplines.
As an Exhibitor, can you comment on recent entries in your breed? Are majors available in your area? Does your breed often participate in Companion and Performance events? How can newcomers in your breed be encouraged to join the sport of dogs?
Sandra Carter: It is my opinion that Staffords are stronger and better than ever here in the US. Entries are becoming larger. Many breeders have used dogs overseas where the Stafford entries are very large, using Champion bloodlines. Now when going to a show, I can see newcomers starting out with great dogs; instead of having to build a line, they have one readymade. One concern is that they may not know what to do with it, and sometimes, that’s the downfall. It takes a good mentor or good advice, but sometimes even that fails. It takes patience to be successful, to wait on a good show dog. If we have one or two outstanding show dogs in a litter, that’s a win for us.
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier can make a wonder companion. It has been known as the “nanny dog,” and it is great with children but it cannot raise a child. And like any dog, it must be monitored with children and treated with respect. People tend to forget this is a terrier and it has terrier attitude and tendencies. They do not make great kennel dogs. They want to be close to their owners, and having multiple Staffords takes real precautionary measures to keep a cohesive house.
What are the biggest challenges facing the dog show community as a whole and how can we address them? And finally, what are some of the positive changes you’ve seen in your breed and in the dog show community as a whole over the past decade?
Sandra Carter: One of the biggest challenges facing the Stafford community is educating judges. The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a fit, muscular dog that is agile. Too many dogs being rewarded are overdone and bulky. Even though the big, powerful dog in the ring may catch the judge’s eye, it’s the fit, smaller dog walking out of the ring that is correct.
One of the most positive things about our Stafford community is the majority are owner-handlers, which is very popular. Breeding and showing our own dogs is very rewarding. I have traveled all over the US participating in Stafford Specialties, judged by Breed Specialists, which draw some of the best dogs in the country, and most serious owners find it is a great accomplishment to win a Specialty.