innocent times a far cry from today’s society. No mobile phones or computers just ferrets
and pigeons on my estate. Days were spent walking the fields in search of rabbits or round
the local tips and streams ratting with the ferrets. I soon began to realise that I needed a
new addition to the team. I was sick of seeing rats escaping, I needed a dog! This wasn’t
going to be easy. My mum wasn’t keen on dogs in the slightest. I decided I would have to
work on it and wait for the right moment. In the meantime I decided I would get a book on
ratting and hunting etc and see what dog would best suit my needs. After what seemed an
age of saving pocket money I went into town and purchased my first book. I couldn’t wait to
get home, I was so excited. Chapters on rabbiting, ratting and the dog used for hunting.
Jack Russell's seemed to be the choice of many. Just when I thought Jack Russell’s it is I
flipped the page and my eyes lit up. The rat pits of London!! A chapter on the record
number of rats killed by a single dog in the least time. The various bull and terriers crosses
to produce these dogs. It went on to explain that these dogs became the ancestral
foundation stock for the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. From that day on I knew I had to have
one. I tried to find out as much as I could about the breed. These dogs were ticking all the
boxes for me. Their looks, temperament and willingness to please. They had it all!! It was
time to start working on my mum.
I think I drove her mad and eventually she finally cracked. I had to act quick before she
changed her mind. Back then the local paper had a pets for sale section, no internet in
those days. Every day I was off to the newsagents to buy the paper, praying a litter would
be advertised but nothing. I was getting despondent. Then out of the blue my wife to be
rang me all excited. There is a litter of staffs in the paper. I couldn’t ring them quick enough.
All sounded good. Even champion sired by Scarthwaite Coachman. We were soon on our
way. Luckily they were only in the next town. A little brindle bitch with white markings caught
my eye. I handed over my £100 and we set off back with my little girl Penny.
After a couple of sleepless nights she soon settled down. From the word go she was a
confident little girl and nothing phased her. I took her everywhere with me. We were
inseparable. As she approach the six months stage I thought it was time to take her out with
the ferrets (I had already broken her to stock). We headed to the tip for a bit of sport. Let’s
see what she has got, I thought. From the word go she was tossing rats in the air, shaking
them all over the place. She loved it. And so did I. Proud wasn’t the word. I couldn’t wait to
tell everyone. As she got older anything with fur was fair game to her. She had no reverse.
I had a good few years hunting with her and many fond memories. A twist of fate after a
mornings hunting resulted in her developing blood poisoning. Devastatingly, she had to be
put to sleep at the tender age of 5. She left a massive gap in our lives. She has never been
forgotten. Not only an excellent hunter but also a loyal family member.
I still carry out vermin control to this today for farmers and gamekeepers with lurchers and
terriers. The wife still has show line staffords but as you know todays watered down
Staffords are a million miles away from the old tyme dogs. I always knew that at some
stage when the time was right I would want what I would call a ‘proper staff’ again.
About a year ago I started browsing the internet. I came across a site Riskys staffords. As
soon as I saw the type of animal Riskys had, studied their pedigrees and noted the years of
breeding that had gone into creating the family I knew these were the dogs for me.
Unfortunately my circumstances changed and I had to put the idea on the backburner. Over
the following months I must have looked at the site a hundred times or more.
In July of last year I bit the bullet and contacted Gary. It must have been fate because a
litter had just been born. After a few phone calls and texts I secured a little white bitch, out
of Captain Barclay and Riskys Roxy Miss mating. Gary kept me updated with her progress
sending videos etc. The date was set to pick her up. My wife and I drove down from
Lancashire staying in a hotel overnight with arrangements made to pick her up the following
We arrived at Gary’s to a warm welcome and a brew. It wasn’t long before the conversation
turned to the creation of the Riskys family. I could tell that Gary lived and breathed for the
Stafford and was extremely passionate about his family. Brew finished we were off into the
garden to the kennels to meet some of the dogs. All I can say they are superb examples of
the breed and I could have quite happily taken any of them home with me.
Back to the house and my long wait was about to be over. Gary disappeared and a door
opened and in ran four little beauties. Instantly hanging off anything they could get hold of.
Sassy was the chosen name and it seemed quite fitting for our lovely little white bitch whose
tail never stopped wagging. As it was a long drive home it was time to thank Gary and say
our goodbyes. I was dreading the first 2-3 nights but to our surprise not a sound from her.
That’s how she has gone through life up to now. Took everything in her stride, nothing a big
deal to her. As you would expect from Riskys breeding she has a lovely temperament and
nature and tackles everything you throw at her. She is a very driven bitch and always finds
that extra gear when needed. What brought the biggest smile to my face was when she was
around 7 months she caught herself a big old rat on one of the allotments. No hesitation,
killing it instantly. At the time of writing she is coming up to 11 months, maturing very nicely.
A pleasure to own. As promised I have kept in touch with Gary and send him photos and
videos of her progress.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Gary for letting me take Sassy a true gent.
Many thanks to Tony for taking the time to write and send in his story for this months blog. Thank you for providing Sassy with a fantastic home and for all your support and friendship.
I look forward to seeing and hearing about her continued progress for the many years to come.
Please see a selection of pictures of Sassy below.
Regards Gary B..