Blues Are Not Rare!
Although blue is an acceptable colour as listed in the breed standard of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, it is not a colour that is particularly bred for by those enthusiast who have the breeds best interests at heart. First we must understand what it is that creates blue in our breed. It is a gene that influences hairs to form with larger, abnormal pigment granules due to abnormalities in melanin transfer and storage. This pigment clumping leads to washed out, or dilute colours. The gene is a recessive one and in order for a dog to have a dilute colour it must inherit the gene from both parents.
A black brindle dog (not carrying the dilute gene) that is mated to a black brindle bitch (not carrying the dilute gene) will produce black brindle pups that do not carry the dilute gene.
A black brindle dog (not carrying the dilute gene) that is mated to a blue bitch will produce black brindle pups but they will all carry the dilute gene.
A blue bitch mated to a black brindle dog that does carry the dilute gene will produce both blue and black brindle pups with all pups carrying the dilute gene.
A blue bitch mated to a blue dog will result in the entire litter being dilute.
Not too many years ago, on a very rare occasion, a blue pup would be born among black brindle siblings. There was little understanding then of the genetics that brought this about, and the fact that both parents were black brindle, breeders didn’t realise that there was a common dog on both sides of the pedigree that carried the dilute gene and had unknowingly put them together, resulting in the 1 randomly coloured pup in the litter. Reputable breeders didn’t charge any more for the uniquely coloured pup than they did for the others. It didn’t take long for less reputable breeders to catch on to the “rarity” factor and they soon figured out that when two blues were mated the resulting litter would be all blue. £££ Ch-aching! £££
Exorbitant prices were placed on these pups and, as if that wasn’t enough for the “Greeders”, they looked to finding a way to make even more money. There have been accounts of blue pit bull bitches being mated to blue stafford studs and the resulting pups registered together with another blue stafford litter born within the same time as one large litter and went on to be sold as purebred KC Staffordshire Bull Terriers. Pit bull terriers are known for having much larger litters, on average 10+ puppies, where staffords average litter size is 5-6. I don’t think it’s any coincidence that most blue staffords today have 9-12 pups.
Not all blue staffords are of this dubious beginning. There are some rare ones out there where their breeder has put in the time and effort to produce a much better quality blue, but these are very rare indeed.
Unfortunately irresponsible blue breeders do not have the health, temperament or type of the dogs they are producing at the forefront of their endeavours. It is all about colour and the high price they can charge for it. Most are not striving for proper pigment and they are producing dogs of light blue colour with yellow eyes and somewhat lavender coloured nails. This is totally incorrect. Due to the fact they are dilute, they cannot have deep brown eyes like the other colours of the breed, but they should have a deep amber/almost brown eyes and the nose and nails should be of such a dark colour as to appear black until closer inspection shows it is not. The coat should not be the silvery blue that is most often seen but in fact should be a deep slate blue.
Incorrect coat pigment & eye colour
Correct type, pigment & eye colour. Also note how dark the nose & nails are.
Blue coat colour in more recent years has been associated with some health issues such as Colour Dilution Alopecia (CDA).
It is not known if the colour dilution gene is directly responsible for the skin changes or if a linked gene codes for the associated follicular changes. The clumping of pigment leads to distortion of the hair shafts and fracture resulting in alopecia. Also, signals from melanocytes are important in initiating the anagen phase of hair growth and lack of signal might lead to resting, non-cycling follicles.
There is gradual onset of a dry, dull, brittle and poor quality hair coat. Hair shafts break and regrowth is poor, resulting in a progressive, partial, patchy alopecia and stubble that precedes a more complete hair loss. Lesions are usually more severe on the dorsal trunk.
Chronic cases can show hyperpigmentation, and scaling and secondary bacterial infections can occur. There is no effective treatment for this disorder. The disease is progressive and incurable.
Onset of the condition can vary from 6 months to 2-3 years of age.
Please also be aware, as with most disreputable breeders, there is often a lack of health testing of their breeding stock for inherited genetic disorders like L-2-Hga, HC, PHPV & PPSC (For further reference on these disorders that affect Staffordshire Bull Terriers please read relevant pages on this website).
BLUE IS NOT RARE!
There was a time that this was the case but the number of litters born and registered with the Kennel Club rises dramatically each year and now far outnumber non-blue staffords (All other recognised colours combined!) Below is displayed the statistics based on the Kennel Club registration data for the years 2011-2015 and you can clearly see the huge numbers of blues registered compared to other colours registered (not all are desirable and there is also mention of non- recognised colours). This is very alarming to those of us who have our breeds’ best interest at heart and strive to improve with our occasional litters.