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I N T R O D U C T I O N

From childhood, i've always been passionate about animals to the point of being looked at differently by family due to my inherent preference to watching snails over pampering plastic dolls. This natural passion of mine only grew stronger over the years, at 5 years of age I was watching The Whiskers on Animal planet every night like a religious ritual. I've become familiar with the beauty and balance of nature as well as the brutality and savagery of it very early in life, but I loved it for it's entirety. My passion for canines always stood out, though. Today, I am obsessed with Animal Behavior and Biology, especially Evolutionary Biology, and i've come to view (good) breeding as evolution in a small scale, happening right before your eyes, and I find that absolutely beautiful. My kennel is a small, personal breeding program specialized in the incredible Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

I, above all, focus on producing healthy dogs, with healthy minds inside healthy bodies, a true canine unit and a loving and dedicated companion for active and engaged owners who are willing to dedicate the time to grow alongside their dogs as a team.

 

When it comes to my breeding program, everything I do is true to my own, individual set of beliefs and philosophies. My views on the stafford go much deeper than a couple pages with a very up-to-interpretation standard written on it, or opinions of so called specialist judges who never saw a dog performing anything in their entire careers. I look to the standard critically, rather than religiously, and while I always seek to stay authentic and true to the breed's standard, my priority will always be functional conformation, and I will never sacrifice the health and mobility of the dogs to try and appeal to whatever's in fashion for shows at a given time. First and foremost I seek to preserve the stafford's functional structural and temperamental qualities, and this is why I use primarily sports as a means to evaluate the dogs I use in breeding, putting them to the test physically and mentally in a humane way in the hopes replicating nature's selection for the fittest to the best of my human abilities.

Showing is to me a case of bad habits die hard, while I believe in good structure I do not believe that's what ends up selected in show rings in the way they are run today, not to say there's no good show dogs or show breeders, but they are unfortunately the exception and not the rule. There's a long history of historic dog breeds loosing their traditional look and character for rosettes in the rings, by it's track record, it is a method I believe has proven ineffective in the preservation of dog breed's historic authenticity. I avoid hypertypes like the plague and am not dictated by a thirst for show titles. It is at most a past-time, not at all my means of selection.​​​

I don't have many litters, each breeding is done with the ultimate caution and care with the goal of producing a new generation of dogs that will be better equipped to succeed in life than the previous, with better health and vigor, stronger nerves and stronger all round temperaments... Not the other way around! The timing of the breedings is also key for me to guarantee the best care for mother and pups during the delicate moment. 

Each dog in my program is a full time member of my family. I only keep with me as many dogs as I am able to offer quality nutrition, exercise, training and companionship to, including them in the very core of my daily life. I don't just love the written, abstract concept of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, but the living, breathing individuals that represent it in my life.​

All of my dogs are health tested, physical exams and x rays as well as genetic screening for heritable diseases.  The intel gathered from these tests is taken into account when deciding compatible pairings.

In order to preserve the breed's authenticity, I prefer to follow the original breed standard, written in 1935 when the breed was officially recognized.

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I N T E R E S T E D ?

I have relatively few litters, roughtly once or twice a year, and when I do have them, there is usually homes lined up in advance waiting for their dog, so please, make sure you contact me well in advance to when you want your dog, or otherwide, be willing to wait your turn, as I don't have dogs readily available fresh out the oven like a pair of shoes right when you ask me for one (or at least, it is highly, highly unlikely), and priority will always be given to the top of the waiting list. 

It is also important that you communicate to me as clearly and honestly as you can, what your goals with the dog are, so I can then do my job as the breeder to pair you with the individual puppy that is the best fit for your lifestyle and expectations, or otherwise guide you towards the particular mating that has the highest probability of producing a suitable dog for you. 

Litters will stay with me at least until the age of 4 months old, and will be ready to go home after they complete their entire vaccination protocol. In some cases I may hold the litter for a longer period to better evaluate pups and make my own pick of the litter.

E X P O R T A T I O N

I am asked often if I am open to exporting a puppy, yes! I am. I'll go to any length to ensure the right pup goes to the right home, even if that home is across the seas. But, it comes with a catch; exportation regulations usually mean the dog cannot travel prior to 6 months, sometimes they will only be able to travel home at the age of 9 months.

 

It is a serious commitment for both parties. My end involves most of the paperwork and logistics, as well as caring for the puppy until it is able to go home and compensating for some of your lost time by giving the dog a bit of a startup in preparation and exposition to the lifestyle you intend to give them. All of this demands a lot of my time and resources, so I only ask that potential buyers abroad are very considerate and only start this journey with me if they are serious and intend to see it through.

The total cost of puppy + import documentation, taxes, & logistics, can total up to 3500-4000 USD. Although it can be a bit more or less, depending on the country you're in and it's regulations at the time.

H O W    I T    S T A R T E D

This gets very personal. I'll start this the most unconventional way; I don't even know. My interest (or rather, my obsession) with Bull & Terrier breeds, primarily American Pit Bull Terriers, started while I was still in High School, at around 12-13 years of age. I wanted one of these dogs badly, but back then I had a much bigger obsession, with wild canids, wolves, coyotes, african wild dogs, etc. My life's goal was to work with the conservation of these species,  study the behaviors of wild canids and preserve the existing populations of wolves, primarily. That's what I was about.  A child with big dreams in the field of biology.

Unfortunately, due to life circumstances, I fell into a major depression and state of paranoia and generalized anxiety, that started to really take it's tool when I was 16 years, and at 17 after a particular event, my life came to a halt, and fully isolated myself from the world in my home. I'm not partcularly sensitive about this and am not phased by saying, after almost two years in the confines of an apartment with a paralyzing fear of going outside, I was more ready than ever to end my life, but I gave myself 3 more years, 3 years was the time frame I had to find something in this life that sparked joy in me again, and that's when I fell back to the Bull & Terrier breeds, maybe getting one of these dogs would be the key to give me meaning in life again as well as make me feel safe outside.

It was a gamble, the last bright idea I had to save myself and years later i'm happy to say it has worked wonders.

Back to the past, I started my research on local Stafford breeders, found only one who had dogs of a capable type and I reached out to her, went for a visit, met the dogs, met the family, and then, met the dog itself, Olivia, I cannot begin to describe what this dog did for my life and what she means to me. 

Through her I fell in love with the breed, and through meeting her mental and physical requirements I started training sports, which gave me a new hobby and something that did bring me joy. Over time I came to meet more people who practiced sports with their dogs, we came together as a community and together brought the Stafford Athletics to Brazil. I had a passion again, to preserve the breed that saved my life, and the legacy of my lovely Olivia.

Today, saving the traditional essence of the dogs that brought joy back into my life, and keeping their racial dignity intact and preserved for the future has become a full on passion and the fuel that keeps my life's fire burning. I love every second I am with these dogs.

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C O - O W N E R S H I P

Most of the dogs that contribute to my breeding program and my "breeding stock" are my own dogs, who live with me in the house and daily life. Some dogs however are kept in Co-Ownership with good families and handlers who are active with their dogs and allow me to use these dogs in my breeding program. I am always looking for good  potential owners and handlers who'd like to participate in Co-Ownership of a dog with me.  Co-Ownership might be a scary word for many, but it is a system which is used to benefit the dogs, their families, and the preservation of the breed as a whole. My priority is always the quality of life and wellbeing of the dogs on an individual basis, which means there is a limit to how many dogs I can own and keep as strictly mine whilst keeping them as full-time pets and family dogs as well as breeding and competitive dogs, however, having a diversity of dogs from different bloodlines and types is important to preserve genetic diversity in the breeding program and the Staffordshire Bull terrier breed. With the Co-Ownership system I am able to pick dogs which I deem to be of high breeding quality (temperament, structure, type, and bloodline) ultimately dogs which would benefit my breeding program even if I may not be able to keep them in my home, Co-Ownership guarantees they'll receive individual attention on a daily basis and be fully integrated into a family system, while still contributing to the breed's health of the breed's genepool.

 

There's also the safety of knowing that in the absence of one owner there will always be me to care for the dog should it ever be necessary. The dog has two families, and you support the responsible breeding and preservation of the Staffordshire Bull terrier.

Co-ownership is an agreement between both parties that's officialized by a contract. The co-owned dogs are a full term member of YOUR family as normal, and unless in cases of mistreatment, neglect, or abuse on behalf of the co-owner, I do not have or exert a right to take the dog back from you. Ultimately, I own the dog's reproductive rights, I choose when they will be bred and to whom. I'm responsible for the costs of all health testing related to their reproductive career. As per contract, females may be bred between 1-3 times (this is up for negotiation with the co-owner and their preferences) whilst males may be bred up to 5 times, unnegotiable.

This is a cool system for people who wish to see their dog's genetic legacy go on, who wish to see them have pups of their own, but who have no interest in being a breeder and all the responsibilities that come with it.

Co-Owners must be local to me. Should you have interest in Co-Owning a dog with me, contact me for more details.

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Thank you for visiting the site! I invite you to take a look around at the dog's individual profiles, videos, galleries, etc. I dive deeper into the Staffordshire Bull Terrier as a breed and my individual dogs. I'm always happy to talk about the breed and the dogs, so should you have any questions not answered in the site, you're welcome to contact me directly, i'll get back to you as soon as possible!

Note that due to constant updating of the dog's individual profiles I have decided not to translate those pages.

-   R A F A E L L A     P.     A B R E U

Email  -  highfyrestaffords@gmail.com

Instagram  -  @highfyre.staffords

Artwork by @lu_arteanimal

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