Diesel was born October 1995 and was bred by my old friend JT Ellison from his Sinbad dog bred to a female called Elsa. At that time my sister had moved into a new place and was looking for a new Stafford, and with me living in a one bedroom flat with my girlfriend, knew just the place to find her one!
My friend at the time KK and I went over to pick up the pups (he was having one too). We met JT and then drove onto a little estate, knocked on the door and were greeted by a pleasant women who was very nice but you could see had lived a bit.
We went in to find Elsa with her pups under the stairs. Else was a strongly built female, rather low to the ground and long in the body. This is a common body type in this family, I saw this body style in others too. She jumped out the bed and made a fuss of everyone. I remember asking JT which one he would pick and he said “Any, they are all bred the same”. KK picked his, a rather small male and I picked my sisters male, we paid the lady our money and we were on our way.
JT never sold dogs, but was happy for others to sell his dogs. This happened again when I bought Hank from his nephew.
I went home to the flat first and my girlfriend at the time, my wife now, thought he was really cute. The next day I dropped him off at my sisters who lived about a mile away from me. He had the whole house and the run of the huge garden. He grew up into a lovely young dog who, typical of this family, would run all day, swim, hang on tree branches and would play tug of war all day long! A proper Stafford!
Most days I would cycle to my sisters to take Diesel (My sister named him this) out by the bike. We would go for miles. On a hot day in about June, when Diesel was about a year old, on returning from a good 4/5 mile ride, we were cooling down and walking home, we were nearly there, only to be confronted by a huge German Shepherd!
You see, along the street lived ‘Metal Mickey’ the scrap metal man. For those who are not familiar with this term, a ‘scrap man’ is a guy that owns a truck who drives around all day picking up any metal object from folk to load his truck with and weigh it in for money. The guys I know who are into this are lets say, colourful characters to say the least, and Mickey was one of these. He owned one of the old red staffords, bred from the dog Red, who I wrote about in a previous article. When his Stafford was getting on, he then brought the GSD and reared him with the Stafford… and this could plainly be seen in this encounter!
As we rounded the corner, Mickey’s dog (who was not on the lead) just launched into Diesel, I saw this and dropped Diesel’s lead so he could take on this huge brute! The GSD grabbed him by the ear and proceeded to shake him like a used shammy! Knowing how Diesel was bred, I being confident , slowly laid my bike down, and slowly asked Mickey to take his dog when I told him the time was right. The problem was, the GSD was shaking him around like he was an 80lbs Stafford, not a snapping snarling GSD as you would expect. It was clear that the GSD had been raised by another Stafford.
I have to admit I was disappointed in Diesel’s response. Not an ounce of fight in him. It wasn’t that he was scared or was trying to get away, moreover, a little curious and shell shocked. We got the GSD off him and as I walked away with Diesel, I must admit to feeling a little disappointed as by then I had been around staffords for 13yrs or more and none of those who I had, even the little ones, would ever take that kind of ragging from any dog without a response!
Soon after this, I went to live about 40 miles away for 6 months and my sister allowed me to take Diesel with me as a companion. He was a joy to own, and I would look forward to coming home every night and getting out in the fresh air with him. He would chase rabbits unendingly, but if I remember correctly, had to put him on the lead for horses and cattle.
His brother also grew into a lovely little dog, built like his mother, he was very bouncy and proved himself to be a good example of the breed. I have footage of both dogs on video, deep red with black masks.
Well after my six months away, I returned Diesel home to my sisters where he matured into a fine dog with quite a serious look about him. Diesel lived the good life and I did tried to breed him a couple of times with the female Jody. One such time I ended up being held up at gunpoint by gamekeepers as they thought all my messing about, was me poaching pheasants, but that;s another story.
Suffice to say there were never any pups from these brothers.
When Diesel was about 3 yrs old I got a call from my sister to say that there had been an ‘accident’ with him. At first I thought he may have been run over or choked on a bone or something, y’know the usual emergency type of things that crop up when owning staffords! But to my surprise my sister began to tell me the story.
Apparently, since his return, Diesel took an instant dislike to Metal Mickey’s GSD! He was constantly looking to push past legs, get out of the gate to get to him. When on walks past his house, the GSD, who had a kennel and lived mostly outdoors there, would invariably bark and Diesel would become very excited to get to him!
Well, this day he managed to get out and the gate to Mickey’s yard was open! Diesel wasted no time in running down the street, into the yard and flying straight into the GSD. They could hear the GSD from their house and on realising there was no Diesel, knew what was going on. My sister reported that he shook the unfortunate animal very hard and after about 10mins dragged him into his own kennel. Try as they might, Mickey or my sister could not get Diesel as he had dragged the GSD to the rear of the large kennel and proceeded to try to finish him. In fact, the GSD did go very quiet in there and my sister reported that they both thought he had killed it? Fortunately, Mickey was able to reach Diesel, pull him out and choke him of the now very limp and almost unconscious dog. The whole thing lasted 20mins as my sister kept an eye on the time.
The GSD was taken to the vets and over the coming weeks recovered from the ordeal. Diesel, hardly had a mark on him and continued to strain to get back at the GSD whenever possible! He lived until he was 10 and had to be PTS due to cancer. He was a grand old dog whom I think of fondly when I reminisce.
For readers reading this rather gruesome tale of canine revenge, I’m sure there will be many of you with such tales? But for me, the biggest lesson it taught me was patience with your dog, especially if they are family bred which he definitely was! You see, the purer that you breed them, often, not always but often, they take much longer to mature. Never write off a young dog for his temperament, when he has not yet fully developed his character into maturity. It’s a wise lesson!
Another lesson is to keep your dog’s secure! This story may bring a wry smile to some, but for the GSD this was no laughing matter. No-one in their right mind would wish something like that on an animal. One of these dogs has the ability to get someone into a lot of trouble should they not keep them secure on their property and so on both counts, I would urge anyone to do this. This breed has had its fair share of bad publicity, let’s not add to it. This family of staffords I am describing will, in the main, take on anything ( as I am sure many staffords would too) so you have to be very responsible in how you rear and keep them.
Accompanying this article will be a couple of pictures of Diesel, along with his pedigree that was written by JT himself.
I hope you have enjoyed reading this article.
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