As bull baiting declined in popularity and dog fighting enjoyed a surge of interest, it became necessary to develop a dog which possessed a longer and more punishing head than the Bulldog and also to combine strength and agility. It is therefore believed that the Staffordshire Bull Terrier was derived from the fighting Bulldog of the day with some terrier blood introduced. This cross produced what was known as the Bull and Terrier or Pit Dog.
These dogs were renowned for their courage and tenacity and despite their ferocity in the pit were excellent companions and good with children.
Although dog fighting and other barbaric pastimes of the day were patronised by the aristocracy fighting dogs were also owned by the poorest of families.
The pit dog was a favourite with miners and steelworkers and was prevalent amongst the chainmakers of the " Black Country " where the dogs were not only fought for entertainment but provided a working man with valuable extra income when worked against badgers or as ratters.
With the introduction of the Humane Act in 1835, baiting sports and dog fighting became unlawful and a group of men in the Staffordshire area endeavoured to preserve their breed by introducing them to the show world. After much discussion the Standard was written describing the dog's physical attributes and this dog was named the Staffordshire Bull Terrier to differentiate him from the English Bull Terrier.
Over the years the Staffordshire Bull Terrier has become a successful show dog and a serious contender in the Terrier Group, where they frequently have the highest number of entries of all dogs in the Terrier Group and are occasional winners of Best in Show
More importantly the Stafford has become a popular pet retaining the attributes gained from generations of fighting dogs bred for courage, tenacity and most important: total reliability and affinity with people and in particular children.
Unfortunately it is true that chavs tend to own these dogs for image value only but please remember that the dog unfortunately can not choose its owner.
It is also believed that the instinct to bite humans was considered unfavourable by the owners of fighting dogs in the 17th and 18th century as it was required that the dogs be lifted from the ring if either animal was injured. Animals that bit their owners (even in extreme conditions) were not bred from to eliminate this charateristic.