Our latest pet owner, visionary stylist Katy England, holds a special place among the AnOther team, having worked as fashion director of AnOther. Here we find out more about England and husband Bobby Gillespie's blue Staffordshire bull terrier,
Our latest pet owner, visionary stylist Katy England, holds a special place among the AnOther team, having worked as fashion director of both Dazed & Confused and AnOther Magazine earlier in her career. England and her musician husband Bobby Gillespie live in Islington with their two sons Wolf and Lux, as well as the newest edition to their clan, Reggie: a 5-month-old blue Staffordshire bull terrier. Described by England as "a handsome, little devil", Reggie is the family's first dog – although, prior to their marriage, Gillespie owned two mongrels, a mother and son called Clancy and Roy, while England owned a white English bull terrier named Mouse.
Staffordshire bull terriers (often referred to as Staffies) are descendants of the Bull and Terrier – a now extinct English crossbreed, bred for fighting bulls, bears and other animals, before such blood sports were banned in 1835. Over time, the modern breed has gained respectability, finding favour as both a pet and a show dog – the Kennel Club accepted it as the Staffordshire bull terrier in 1935. Staffies are medium sized, stocky dogs with broad triangular heads, small ears and a tail that resembles an old-fashioned pump handle. They can be brindle, black, red, fawn, blue, white, or any blending of these colours with white. Their coat is smooth and clings tightly to their bodies. Despite the recent bad press surrounding their supposedly violent nature – often the result of hideous mistreatment or crossbreeding with the illegal pit bull terrier – Staffies are intelligent, fearless and remarkably loyal dogs that crave human affection.
"I had a quiet giggle when I caught Reggie chewing the corner of one of Bobby's albums"
England's Staffie, on his part, is playful and fun loving. "He wants to be friends with everyone, particularly kids and other dogs," England tells us. England and Gillespie got Reggie when he was 10-weeks-old from a mechanic in Watford Gap – "not a breeder as such, just someone who decided to breed his lovely dog, Sky". While looks-wise he's "a bit of a tough boy", Reggie enjoys cuddling up with England when he's sleepy: "he's just like a baby". Equally, Reggie is prone to mischief. "When he's quiet you know he's up to something," England expands. "Normally he has disappeared upstairs to the kids' bedroom and is chewing one of their plastic toys".
Chewing is in fact Reggie's favourite pastime. When asked her favourite memory of her garrulous pup to date, England recounts gleefully, "Bobby has an extremely precious record collection and likes to display his albums in the lounge, much to my annoyance. I had a quiet giggle when I caught Reggie chewing the corner of one…it's been hidden now of course." But, prized-record-wrecking aside, Reggie brings a lot of happiness to the England/Gillespie household. "He's like Wolf and Lux's younger brother," his proud owner extols, "a proper family member who, even though we've had him such a short time, we don't feel complete without."
Text by Daisy Woodward