Thursday, June 11, 2015

Origin of the American Pit Bull Terrier

"The Pit Bull Terrier was made from the Bulldog and the Old English White Terrier. It has been said that a cross of the old Spanish Pointer was used, but this has never been confirmed to be authentic. The exact proportion in which each breed was used to produce the Pit Bull Terrier is not known.

During the nineteenth century when bull-baiting and dog-fighting were active sports, the bulldog was found to be too slow for pit purposes, hence the need for a dog with more speed and a good strong, punishing jaw.This new breed met with success and was much superior to the bulldog for fighting in the pit. One of the first strains that was produced was noted for its gameness and fighting ability. One sire and his son were reputed to have won many battles and were undefeated. After the bill was passed declaring bull-baiting and dog-fighting illegal, the Pit Bull Terrier was associated with the smartly attired young man about town, the prizefighters and tavern keepers.

Most of the impromptu combats were staged in cellars of the taverns or at some secluded rendezvous in a small village. Little change has come about in the appearance of the Pit Bull Terrier. The most noticeable change that has appeared is the head. The present dogs lean more to the Terrier type than the bulldog type as was common among the early dogs of the nineteenth century.The writer has seen strong characteristics crop out from time to time divulging their ancestors. The more common characteristics are bench legs, screw tail, undershot jaw and low station. Yet there has been produced an exact replica of the old English White Terrier, in the hide of a Pit Bull Terrier. Although these characteristics seldom appear, they are more commonly found in dogs that have been inbred.

In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, dog fighting and bull-baiting were very active sports in England. During the nineteenth century, England passed a bill making the sports illegal. Soon after this bill was passed the Pit Bull Terrier started to disappear from the public eye, as no one felt a though he wanted to be known as the owner of a battle-scarred pit dog, due to the penalty the law prescribed for any one found guilty of fighting dogs in the pit. A few years later the breed seemed to revive and was given the name of the Staffordshire Terrier, by which the breed is still known today in England. However, when dog fighting was introduced into the United States, the old name of the Pit Bull Terrier stuck with the breed and it is the belief of the author that they will never be known by any name other than the American Pit Bull Terrier.When the Pit Bull Terrier was introduced into America, he was more commonly found to be owned by prize fighters, saloon keepers and habitues, sporting men and the like. From the start the breed earned an unjust reputation due to his fighting ability and the character of the owner. To this day he is still trying to live down an unjust and undeserved reputation.

At about the turn of the twentieth century the breed was fast becoming popular and the pit dog found his way into the homes of men from all walks of life. Dog magazines carried ads and illustrations of dogs that had earned a reputation in the pit and through this advertising many dogs were sold and fought for large sums of money.

Much of this popularity was due to the notoriety given Harry Krieger and his dog,"Crib", Cockney Charlie and his dog "Pilot" and Johnnie McDonald's "Grip," more commonly known as the Gashouse Dog; McGough's "Bob," better known as "Bob, the Fool"; Connor's Bismark, "Rock and Rye," and many other famous dogs with a reputation proven in the pit.

In as much as dog-fighting is an illegal sport, thousands of dollars are wagered each year at the pitside. As long as these dogs are bred, there will be pit contests to prove who owns the better fighting dog.

A few of the many fanciers of the past and present who were active in fighting and producing game pit dogs are: Tom O'Rourke, Hector Connor, Pat McDevitt, Johnnie McDonald, Ted Timoney, John Galvin, J. Edwards, Con Reardon, Jack Burke, the Farmer Brothers, Con Feely, Mike Redican, Noonan, Semmes, John P. Colby, George Armitage, William Shipley, Jack Wolf and Tom McGough. A few of the present day men that have been successful in producing game pit dogs are: Pete Donovan, Earl Tudor, Jim Williams, Al Brown, J. M. Corrington, Ham Morris, Joe Corvino, Walter Komosinski, Harry Turner, C. P. Delaney, Charles Smith and Harry Clark.

At the present writing the breed is advancing rapidly in popularity. The author predicts that within a few years there will be such a demand for game pit dogs for sporting purposes, that it will be beyond the production. Due to the fact that this breed has weathered the so-called depression that prevailed, is proof enough that there is a market for them, even though they have a bad reputation in the dog world. Dog fighting in the past two years has increased over fifty per cent as compared with the previous two years. Which proves that the sport still holds a fascination. New faces, new dogs, new breeders gain recognition each year, and the game is on an upward trend that will see no equal."

- J.L. Colby

The English Bull Terrier

"Now an affectionate companion, the Bull Terrier arose from the "Bull and Terrier" crosses, originally bred for dog-fighting. When bull-baiting was outlawed in England in 1835 the "sport" of dog-fighting became popular and a smaller dog breed was needed, that could be more easily hidden under one's coat at the arrival of the police. 

These dogs also had to be more agile and light as the dog fights usually lasted longer than bull fights. This new type of fighting dog was created by crossing the old type bulldog with different Terriers, among which the Manchester Terrier (or Black and Tan Terrier) - before it was dwarfed down. 

This Bull and Terrier cross combined the alertness and agility of the Terrier with the power, tenacity and high treshold of pain of the Bulldog.

It got the reputation of a 'canine gladiator' which would fight to the death to please his master. It was much leggier than the Bull Terrier we know today and its head more closely resembled that of the early Bulldog. 

In the early 1850, James Hinks, of Birmingham, England, first standardized the breed by selectively breeding the old type Bull Terrier with other breeds, including the White English Terrier (now extinct), to obtain a longer head and a more symmetrical body and get rid of the bowed legs, The result was an all white Bull Terrier with a cleaner outline, tight shoulders and well bent stifles.

For his entire life James Hinks only bred white dogs, which he called 'Bull Terrier', in order to definitely distinguish them from the Bull-and-Terrier which was very similar to today's Staffordshire Bull Terrier. The breed was first designated as the "Hinks Breed" and was also referred to as "The White Cavalier", as he was bred to defend himself and his human family but not to instigate hostiliy.

Which other breeds were further crossed along the generations to obtain the modern Bull Terrier with the unique egg-shaped head is still a matter of conjecture.


Most sources agree that Dalmatian blood was infused to confer the breed a more elegant look and gait and longer legs. Some authorities believe the Spanish Pointer, Greyhound, Foxhound and/or Whippet were crossed along the lines. Borzoi and Collie may also have been crossed into the gene pool to elongate the head even more and to arrive at a type of dog with a stop ever less marked.

Until 1895, when cropping was outlawed, the ears of the Bull Terriers were cut as closely as possible, so that they would not be torn by the dog's opponent during the fight. From that date on ear cropping became prohibited and breeders sought to breed exemplars whose ears were in harmony with the rest of their body. The breed suffered a setback while breeders attempted to obtain the required upright ears without losing other qualities.

In 1917, the first modern Bull Terrier, Lord Gladiator, was born. It was the first dog with a skull profile completely lacking a stop.

Due to problems associated with the white color coat (deafness, albinism) some experts suggested to introduce other colors in the breed. The man who is known for the development and acceptance of colored bull terriers in the ring is Ted Lyon, whose preferred color was brindle.

The first Bull Terrier Club was created in England in 1887. In 1888, the Bull Terrier Standard was published by the Bull Terrier Club. The breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1895. In 1992 the AKC recognized two different sizes, the Standard Bull Terrier and the Miniature Bull Terrier.

Today's Bull Terrier is athletic and always eager to play. Their clowning antics and energy make them delightful companions. They need a firm hand and consistent training, but most of them will tolerate other family pets. Their cute and photogenic face make them very popular subjects in dog photography and advertising."

The Gas House Dog aka McDonald's "Grip"

"One of the most famous and widely quoted dogs as the foundation stock of Pit-Bull Terriers in America was The Gas House Dog. The Gas House Dog, or to speak more properly, McDonald’s Grip, was a brindle dog with white blaze in face, white ring about neck, white breast and paws. He was the property of the late John McDonald, who at the time of ownership had charge of the gas-house stables in Boston, and who died in 1909. Grip was bred in Boston and was always owned there. He was whelped in the early seventies, dying about 1882. The Gas-House Dog was considered to have no superior in his class at 31 pounds. His most noted battle was with the no less celebrated Blind Dog, which ended in a draw, free fight and wrangle after the dogs had gone nearly three hours. The Blind Dog had previously beaten Burke’s Spring, who, though such a good fighter, was a pick-up of unknown breeding, and an utter failure as a stock dog. The Gas-House Dog, on the contrary, was one of the best as a stock dog, and the only dog that could be compared to him in pedigree was McGough’s Bob, commonly known as Bob, the Fool.
Sweeney’s Fly, dam of Grip, was probably the greatest bitch ever in America. In addition to the Gas-House Dog, she produced, when lined to Gallivan’s Old Prince, the great dog, Thornton’s Pete, who beat Jenning’s Croppy, and died immediately after. To the lining of imported Rafferty, she produced Quinn’s Tony, who was unapproachable in his time at 23 pounds, and Harrington’s Dick, a first-class 19-pound dog. Her last litter was by Burke’s Tanner, and but one bitch was saved from it. This bitch had but one litter of certified record, but in that litter was Gallivan’s Pup and Gallivan’s Young Prince, the dog who sired Turk, who defeated Con Feeley’s Jim at Chicago in four hours and fifty-eight minutes. This battle is mistakenly called the longest on record, but Tugman’s. Paddy and Lloyd’s Toby fought five hours and nine, minutes without a turn or a pickup.
In the summer of 1914, a personal letter from the famous pugilist, John L. Sullivan, advised us that he had purchased a young dog of the GasHouse strain, which breeding he considered the best in America, and referred to the breeders of this strain as John Quinn and the Burke brothers of South Boston, Mass. This letter in “The Dog Fancier” brought forth a reply from Mrs. M. G. McDonald Mahoney, daughter of the owner of the famous Gas-House dog, in which she wrote:
“The one best dog America ever had was raised, trained and fought by Johnnie McDonald of Charkstown, Mass. Just to refresh our friend, John L. Sullivan’s memory, I am going to ask him to recall the time, long ago, when he was known as the ‘Roxbury Strong Boy,’ that he went to Ferrin St, Charlestown, and received a puppy which he placed inside his undershirt as it was a cold day. This, I presume, was his first introduction to Gas-House stock and may recall Johnnie McDonald, who was the donor.”Now most of the old dog men are dead and gone and real sporting blood getting thin, but my statements here can be verified by some of the old timers still living. I take liberty to mention Tom O’Rourke, Pat. McDevitt, or Con Reardon. In conclusion I wish to congratulate Mr. Sullivan on his choice of stock;—the kin of my dear old playmate, the Gas House Dog, Grip, known to all real sports as the ‘one’ best fighting dog the world ever knew. Raised, owned and trained by Johnnie McDonald (ever on the square and a gentleman sport), at the Boston Gas Light Co’s stable, Commercial St., Boston, Mass., from whence the name, ‘Gas-House Dog.’ Out of justice to my late father’s memory, believe me, his devoted daughter, May G McDonald Mahoney, 42 Ditson St., Dorchester, Mass.”

DBL. Gr. Ch. "Tornado"

"On December 8th, 1991, GR CH Tornado made bulldog history. She became the first ten time winner and DOUBLE grand champion in history. With all great bulldogs there are people that detract from the achievements of these animals. Who Dbl. GR. CH. Tornado could have beat or couldn’t is a matter of one’s own opinion. Who she did beat and who she didn’t is a matter of record.
The pattern continued as Dbl GR CH Tornado beat D. Farve & JJ Hayward, Bobby Hall, Tant & Co., and Chicago Combine. A while later, GR CH Tornado came to Florida to claim her sixth win. She beat “Emma” in 1 hour, 17 mins. Tito of the Local Boys was next in line and his bitch did not last the half hour mark and T. Garner and Raheem’s bitch went out game in half that time. Rastaman brought opponent number nine in the form of Boone’s Sadie, she was wisely picked up at 45 mins. Her tenth and final match was against the Canadian Francois Shobinoe, a man that brought a very game and talented bitch. It officially went 2hours, 34 mins. A wager was made on Tornado’s gameness and ability to finish a dog. At 3 hours and 18 mins in 25 degree weather, she was broken off her expired foe and then scratched back to it without hesitation. (most dogs will not do this)The facts are that the list of notable dog people she beat is among the top the game has to offer today.  Her first match was into STP’s Miss Piggy. STP was quoted saying, by a close source, that if he could get the bet covered, he would mortgage his house that Ken’s 13 month old pup could not possibly beat Miss Piggy. Luckily for this proud fellow, the bet was not called as Miss Piggy was victim number one.
All of the above dogs failed to live under Dbl GR CH Tornado except for one. All of them scratched dead game. She won her first at 13 months, and her last at the age of seven years old. Tornado’s total fight time was 10 hours, 20 mins. She killed three of the dogs without getting one puncture in her skin. Her 8th and 9th matches were only 3 weeks apart from each other.
Many people say that Tornado did not produce. But what people don’t say is that she was only bred twice and many only took those and bred them back to her father whom was a ROM. Though, she did produce two known 2x’s including Ken Allen’s Movin On."

Why Own a Fighting Dog? - California Jack

"When a dog-man says “bulldog” he means a pit bull, a fighting dog, a hunting dog, or some kind of animal killer. In any attempt to understand the pit bull breed, one must come to terms with this simple fact: a pit bull is a KILL DOG. He was bred for one thing only: to defeat other animals in combat, most especially other dogs (or at least wild boar), and a pit bull has certain super capabilities to accomplish this. And he was also bred to be your BEST FRIEND. We will get into those capabilities later, but they ALL center around fighting/killing prowess, buffeted by a gentle disposition with people. 

The question is often asked: “Well, what kind of person would want a fighting dog?” This is a question I’ve been asked more times than I care to count. Let’s analyze this question, though, and see if we can come up with a legitimate answer. To answer this question, however, we must first answer the question, “What is a dog?” The answer to this question is, “A dog is a carnivorous predator designed to kill animals and eat them.” True, dogs are sometimes omnivorous, but they are largely animals that KILL AND EAT other creatures in the wild to survive. It doesn’t matter how “cute” your little toy poodle is, the fact remains he is designed to kill and eat meat. Or at least at one time he was. ALL dogs are PREDATORS. 

Once we come to terms with this fact, we come closer to understanding why someone would want to breed and perpetuate not just “a pure fighting dog,” but any truly valuable performance breed in general. 

Because, make no mistake, ALL performance breeds of dog have been created by humans, and humans have simply intensified various hunting and killing traits wild dogs have, by BREEDING FOR these traits above all others. Therefore, anything other than a performance dog, actually, is just a perversion of the natural wild dog into some sort of useless “stuffed animal,” and there are many such abominations labeled as “toy breeds,” etc. 

However, true dog-men don’t care about useless dogs, they want useful dogs, and so they have honed certain useful characteristics in wild dogs, way beyond what is natural, and way beyond what any wild dog has, and man has thus INVENTED specialized performance breeds via SELECTION. But again – and pay close attention to this – ALL specialized dogs that exist (from greyhounds, to coonhounds, to retrievers, etc.) have had their certain specialized characteristics intensified around KILLING PREY. 

In order to kill other animals in nature, wild dogs have to possess many traits. They need a sense of SMELL to find they prey; they need the ability to RUN and trail to wear down the prey; they must have the propensity to GIVE VOICE to alert and keep in union the other pack members; and yes, wild dogs need the ability to FIGHT AND KILL their prey once it is captured. 

Well, then, if a wild dog is simply a killer of meat, why did man domesticate it and try to make a “companion” out of it? Ah, here comes our answer. But let’s not rush. Wild dogs were first developed by man as domesticated animals in order to perform certain tasks. Again, those tasks were in relation to the many attributes and traits that wild dogs needed to have to hunt and kill effectively, so that they could help man kill effectively. It is really that simple. 

You see, most people today only keep dogs as “pets,” but that is not why man originally domesticated dogs. Yes, even though dogs can be intelligent and tractable “pets,” they were actually domesticated by man to help him survive, not to be cute & cuddly. Why? Because, simply there are many hunting tasks that dogs can do better than any man, and so man has utilized dogs to help him hunt and kill since antiquity, to help man survive, because dogs can also be sweet and gentle, they became companions and partners with man, to help him survive.

This man began to breed and train wild dogs to help him with said tasks, and he began to realize certain dogs performed certain tasks better than others. Again, those tasks were in relation to the many attributes and traits that wild dogs needed to kill (scenting, running, fighting, retrieving, etc.). 

Gradually, man began to specifically breed for some of these certain individual traits, thereby intensifying them beyond the means of any wild dog. By breeding only those dogs with the most acute sense of smell, Bloodhounds were eventually created as specialists in scenting to aid man in any number of ways. By breeding only the fastest of dogs, Greyhounds were eventually developed as specialists in running, originally to run down the swiftest of prey in the field, but now mostly to satisfy man’s competitive desire in the sport of racing. By breeding only those dogs that had the propensity to freeze and lift their front paws at the first sign of wild game, Pointers were eventually developed as specialists to signal to man where small game was. By breeding only those dogs that had the propensity to bring back killed game, RETRIEVERS were developed by man to bring back small game shot by man. On and on it goes. 

Well, by breeding only those dogs with the most intensity and ability for fighting and killing tracked-down prey, the kill dog was eventually developed as a specialist for conquering all creatures great and small. Yes, they were called “kill dogs” back then: bulldogs would finish the big game trailed by the trailing dogs. Eventually, man (being the way he is) would stage contests between such kill dogs to show whose kill dog was better than whose, and so eventually the “kill dogs” became pit dogs, who were bred and used primarily as sporting dogs to conquer other dogs in the pit. Yet, nonetheless, pit bulls are still used as kill dogs/hog dogs even today. 

But the point of all this is man originally domesticated wild dogs because of their hunting abilities and their bonding abilities... to be “Man's Best Friend” to guard him and help him survive. Each ability (scenting, running, fighting, retrieving, guarding, etc.) was then intensified by man, through selective breeding, to the exclusion of all other abilities, which is how the different breeds of dog originally evolved: based on what they could do! 

Nowadays, however, breed types are seldom maintained by performance standards, but instead based on a “look,” which is reflective of our new non-physical, pale, plastic society. Thus “conformation shows” are pretty much the only means by which the so-called “standards” of most breeds are maintained today. Their “look” being more important than their SUBSTANCE in our modern, limp-wristed society. It is easy to see why most people today simply have dogs as “pets”.... useless feed burners who can do nothing but eat, drool, and wag their tails. Most people today, who have no true understanding of dogs, can’t even imagine wanting a “fighting dog.” But, you see, when you really understand dogs, the real question isn’t “Why have a fighting dog?”.... or a performance dog of any kind - the real question is “Why have any dog that isn't developed to do something?” If analyzed by a knowing mind, it is actually the toy dogs, show dogs, mutts, lapdogs, etc. (that have lost their utility as beneficiaries to man and have become impotent, useless “stuffed animals”) who need to justify their existence. Think of it, what good are they? 

In reality it is the performance dogs (of all types) that are of a lasting, real value to man. This is not to say that toys and show dogs can’t be loving companions, they can. But unless there has been an equally earnest effort to keep the performance aspect of a dog intact, it is essentially a useless ornament that pales in value next to an equally-loyal, equally-loving performance dog... that can do a whole lot more than wag his tail, eat, sleep, and shit. Performance dogs will give you just as much love as any “pet” - but they offer a whole lot more than hugs and kisses should the need arise. Therefore, the kind of person who would want a “fighting dog” is the kind of person who understands canine history, loves dogs, and prefers to try to keep and perpetuate the fighting (or at least hunting) aspects of the toughest, most skilled fighting dog ever developed. The Pit Bull. 

But what is a fighting dog “good for” besides fighting? Well, many things. For starters, they are utilized as “catch dogs” on farms, where they grab and pin out-of-control cattle and pigs. They are likewise used by wild boar hunters to grab and control wild pigs until the hunter can get to the scene and either finish the pig or hog-tie it and take it home. Pit dogs have out-pulled huskies as sled dogs, they have out-swum Newfoundlands in swimming contests, and they have even out-trailed coonhounds in field trials. If bred and raised correctly, a pit bull is the ultimate all-around dog, because its standards for selection are the most stringent of ANY breed of dog, if selected by a knowledgeable breeder. 

The legal “spillover” benefits of selectively breeding pit dogs for fighting/hunting ability are they simply come out better all-around athletes/companions than any other dog. There are many superior traits that a good pit dog has to have, by being bred for the pit or hunting, that have transfer utility to man. Aside from strength, stamina, agility, indestructibility, and intelligence way."

- California Jack

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Article by Ed Faron

"In 1998, I visited James Crenshaw for a few days. One of the statements that he made to me during our many hours of talking dogs was "Ed, in the future, it's gonna be the blind leading the blind when it comes to the pit bulls." He went on to explain that the internet will enable people who are not qualified to give advice to feed their egos by acting like experts in various areas of Pit Bull care, conditioning, breeding, and everything involving Pit Bulls. He encouraged me to do all that I could to help the newcomers and said that he really thought that the "The Complete Game Dog" was a really big step in the right direction. I have opted off all the groups that have been set-up by well-meaning dog-men because I did not want to appear like some kind of geriatric asshole when I saw people making absolute ludicrous statements in areas of Pit Bull ownership where there are not absolutes. Well, this morning it was brought up to me about someone playing the role of an expert spewing some of the dumbest statements I have heard yet regarding genetics effecting sizes of litters combined with which heat cycle of the bitch also effecting the number of pups born. The frosting on the cake was when he stated that he knows he getting maximum coverage because he always breeds the 13th day of the heat cycle. Wow, where did he get this shit from? From 1989 to 1998, my ex-wife, Chris bought every book written related in anyway to canine reproduction, genetics, etc. Every year, she would purchase the newest one that came out and would point out how many of the facts stated in the earlier written books had no become myths or obsolete due to the results of research done since they were written. Many times, I would unintentionally offend people after I gave them advice, they would disagree and tell me that I was wrong because "Mr. so and so told them otherwise" and said "they've been doing this way for 20 years". I would come with anyone who has been doing things the same way for the last 20 years (except in the case of artisans, craftsmen, or a few other areas like hunting or tracking) are either morons or have egos too big to admit they are wrong and improve their methods pertaining to whatever they are involved in. Until 1988, when Chris and I split up, she would run vaginal smears on our bitches in-heat every other day. From the first day, we found any color when checking the ones that were due to come in-heat soon. We did not wait to see blood dripping because unless she is a house dog that doesn't clean herself, you can easily miss up to the first 3 days or even more. By checking for the cornification of the blood cells, she could be pretty well tracked when the bitches would be in that 2-3 day window of when the eggs are ready to be fertilized by the sperm. Just like all the reproduction books stated, the bitches varied from not only cycling different than each other, but at least a dozen or so varied from heat cycle to their own. Miss Prance was never ready to breed until her 15th to 16th day, about the same with Mean Jolene on her two heat cycles we bred her on. Working over-time varied on her heat-cycle, especially after she was 5 years old, we missed 2 heats in a row that we tried to get pupps off of. When we got pups off of her and Wildside and Radice's "Bandit", we bred her every 72 hours starting at her 12th day (she was flagging great and all other signs looked right) and bred her up to and including 22 days after she started bleeding. She had her pups 63 days from that breeding on the 22nd day. Guess no one told her she was supposedly to be bred on the 13th day and did not need to be bred after that because her eggs were ready! Haha. Sperm stays alive in the female from 5 to 7 days when coming from a good, healthy stud dog in his prime. We kept detailed records on all our litters and the data was consistent with pretty much everything in the best reproduction books. No difference in size of litters from bitches bred to their 1st, 2nd, or 3rd heats. No difference in size of litters from two closely related dogs (inbred litters), not to be confused with small litters from bitches tightly inbred to the extreme themselves displaying inbreeding depression by having low fertility! We always kept an open mind and listened to everyone. We would then sit back and sort out the BS from the morons! Listen to the people who are qualified to give out advice. Example of people we learned from: Tom Garner - Care, health, parasite control, breeding, and mechanics of breeding and a lot more! Mountain Man - What to look for when rolling or testing dogs. Dr. Kimsey Woods - Genetics. Mc. Nasty - Proper schooling and conditioning. V&B - Matched, conditioned, and handled Ch. Chinaman. Conditioning and nutrition as well. And every day, with an open mind, we listen to everyone we personally knew including two young brothers from the hood in Pittsburgh named Keith and Jay. Beware of the guy who constantly brags about himself and his lifelong history and accomplishments in the dog-game. Rarely, there are self-absorbed individuals who are nothing more than an insecure cyber dog-man who is taking advantage of newcomers on the internet to stroke his own ego. If he was what he claims to be, it would not be necessary to tell the world. The world would already know about him! God Bless you all, and take care of your bulldogs!"
- Ed Faron

"Hey! That Dawg Don't Look Purebred"

"Just where does the black and tan "Rottweiler looking" pattern come from, and is it a sign that an APBT is not purebred? Since this color pattern pops up more frequently in our bloodline than in some others, we have been asked about this on quite a few occasions. We thought we would take the time to write up a short article explaining this color pattern, how it is inherited, and where it comes from.

The tan point pattern is caused by a recessive gene on the Agouti series gene locus, the following are the alleles (variations) that are definitely known to occur in the American Pit Bull Terrier. There are also a couple of other genes on this same locus, but they are most likely not present in this breed, so we will ignore them in this article to try and keep things simple.

Agouti locus alleles present in the APBT A Dominant Black: produces a solid color (, chocolate or blue) see note below at Dominant Yellow - Produces reds and buckskins at Tan-Point (recessive)- produces solid color with tan 'points'

Note: There is strong evidence to suggest that there are either two separate genes causing a solid black coat, or possibly even just one gene that is NOT on the agouti locus, but that is a whole different matter we'll save for another article. If black is in fact not an agouti locus gene then Dominant Yellow should be expressed as Ay instead of ay.

A dog needs to inherit two copies of the tan-point gene to be a black & tan. If a pup inherits one copy of the tan-point gene and one copy of the dominant yellow gene, which causes a red or buckskin coloration, then the dog will be red or buckskin, not black and tan. If the dog inherits one copy of the tan-point gene and one of the dominant black gene, the result will be a solid black dog. Because of the recessive nature of the tan-point gene, it can actually remain hidden in the gene pool for many generations without expressing itself. In the case of our breed (where this is not a common color) this is what often happens, but it is important to realize that when the tan-point pattern does pop up it is not some new color mutation that appeared out of nowhere, but rather the manifestation of a gene that has been present in this breed all throughout the known history of the American Pit Bull Terrier. Though it is impossible to say for sure where the coloration originated, our best guess would be that it came from some sort of terrier blood that was introduced many, many years ago, probably during the early formation of the breed in the British Isles.

Actually, part of the reason the color is uncommon is that there has been a distinct prejudice against it by many people, either because they feel it is not a typical Pit Bull color, or even actually thought it was the result of a mixed breeding. The latter reason shows an ignorance of basic genetic principles, because the gene is recessive, there is no way you could breed a Rottweiler or a Doberman or Manchester Terrier to a Pit Bull and get puppies with the tan-point markings unless the Pit Bull was carrying the tan-point gene too. If in fact the black and tan color was not present in the APBT gene pool, you would have to breed to a dog of another tan-point breed, and then breed two offspring from such a breeding back together to get black & tan dogs, in the first generation you would get no tan-pointed offspring.

The tan point gene does not actually create a black & tan animal, the gene itself does not produce any color but rather a pattern of a solid color with light-colored 'points'. These 'points' always appear in specific places but the actual size and distribution of them is somewhat variable. The exact coloration that is produced by the tan-point gene is dependent on the color genes present at other loci, for instance if the pigmentation is black, the result will be a black & tan, but if the dog's pigmentation is chocolate or blue then the pattern would produce a chocolate & tan or a blue & tan, respectively.

White markings are caused by an entirely different set of genes, and appear the same way on a tan-point dog as they would on any other color, if present -- a tan-point dog may even be spotted, in which case the spots would be two different colors depending on whether the spots were over areas where the tan-point pattern was present. Brindling, if the dog is a brindle, will only be seen in the tan points, in fact if the tan-point dog is very heavily brindled then the brindled areas may make the dog appear to be a solid color instead of a tan-point.

Another interesting thing to keep in mind is that the dominant yellow gene does not always mask the tan-point gene entirely; this is known as 'incomplete dominance'. With incomplete dominance, a buckskin or red dog that is carrying the tan-point gene will have the tan-point pattern visible in the form of a pattern of black (or chocolate, or blue) hairs mixed into the coat in the places a tan-point dog would have been solid colored. This is referred to as 'sabling' in most breeds.

Our own first encounter (besides seeing pictures in various books) with a tan-pointed APBT was a litter we had off a half brother-sister breeding off a son and daughter of our old Bandit dog. Bandit himself never threw a black & tan, because the bitches we were breeding him to (mostly Nigerino, Honeybunch, and Snooty bitches) did not carry the gene. He did throw a fair number of sable pups, but at that time we were not that familiar with coat color genetics and it never occurred to us that these "dirty buckskins" as we called the color, were caused by the tan-point gene, as we had never seen a tan-pointed APBT firsthand. Then out of Renegade and Maggie came a litter of blacks and brindles -- and one big male marked just like a Rottweiler, except with brindling in the points. We picked him as our keeper because we thought his coloration was a novelty, in fact we named him "Wilside's Devil Dog" (call name Pitweiler) as a joke because of his markings; this attempt at humor would later cause us a bit of aggravation when someone who saw Pitweiler spread a rumor that we had a pet Rottweiler and were crossing it into our APBTs.

Anyway, Pitweiler was the first of numerous black & tans we have had since, plus a few chocolate & tans. Most of them came from doubling up on Bandit in some way or another, except for one breeding to an inbred Ch. Booker T bitch we made with Rapid Roy that resulted in a litter of mostly black & tans. We have also seen tan-pointed pups from several other bloodlines, so while the gene is fairly rare it is probably a lot more common than most people would think. Whether you find the tan-point pattern interesting and appealing, or think it makes a dog look like a "mutt", the fact is it has been a part of our breed for probably well over a century, and will continue to exist." - Ed Faron

Gameness - Gary Hammonds

Webster defines gameness as "the will to continue and never quit". Those of us who find it as a much more desirable trait, the general population realizes it is not as simple as the definition would lead us to believe. While I do not believe gameness is as a rare commodity as we might have been led to believe, I certainly do think that dead-game is very rare, indeed. So what I'm saying is, in essence, that gamness not only comes in varying degrees, but is relative to many things. I was recently enlightened to the fact that gameness wasn't all it was cracked up to be. This may be true to some, but it is still the trait that sets our breed apart from others in the canine world. Think for a minute if you will, of the certifiable game creatures on the planet..... there are even humans who are pretty game and have shown to be so in the battlefields and in the ring. The beatings I have seen taken by Troy Dorsey and Little Red Lopez would give you chill bumps. There are dog people, many of whom have shown high degrees of gameness. Jim Culbertson and Jean Carpenter, Jan and Jeff Rogers are some of the gamest humans beings I know of. Amongst the animal kingdom, there are only a few desperately game creatures. Some of the bears will take a killing against there own kind, it is said to be rare indeed and usually over breeding rights or territory. The wolverine is also a tenacious adversary against almost any other creature, including its own kind. His ability to run a wolf or a Grizzly bear off its kill is often referred to by those who study the beast, as a mad rage knowing no fear, but it sure looks like a form of gameness to me. There are factors involved in gameness that I feel also diminish the degree. Gamecocks, for example, have no interest in fighting certain times of the year. Female dogs in season often show lesser degrees of gameness and often show no desire for action during this time. You will often see a very different dog due to hormonal influence or fluctuations throughout the year. Working dogs of all kinds show varying degrees of gameness. Certain members of the terrier families show to be very game, but this is often varmint game rather than gameness to there own kind. 

The more I am around the Patterdale Terrier, the more convinced I am that they posses a very high degree of gameness, especially to any creature they end up in a hole with. They certainly show to be dead-game in a high percentage of cases where they should come out of the hole and just won't do it. The old time pack Airedale was notorious for running a big cat for 5 or 6 hours, the keeping him treed for another hour or so and maybe even engaging the cat, only to be killed before the cat could be killed. Many a hog dog has made a catch with its insides dragging the ground from a bad hog. All these things illustrate the most misunderstood traits I know of. On a recent nature show about the tiger, there was a story of a naturalist studying the tiger in India where he is considered the king of beasts. Seems there are wild dogs there similar to the cape dogs of Africa, which are considered to be the most effective pack hunters on the planet. A pack of fifteen of these Asian wild dogs came upon a mature make tiger, with a deer he had killed. The tiger would not relinquish his kill and killed several dogs before they had killed him. The observer was so amazed by this unusual and almost unheard of wild canine behavior that he observed them for several days. They didn't leave the kill until the deer, the tiger, and all the dead dogs were totally consumed and not one bite was shared with the buzzards. Pretty game pack of dogs when you consider their very existence depends on survival of the species where gameness acts as a negative factor. Another game dog of a different kind is the sled dog, not just the ones who run the Iditarod, but those who earn there keep in the harsh arctic conditions. While many bulldog people look down their noses at the weight pull dogs, I have seen instances when they showed a lot of heart by just breaking the cart, much less pulling it through. Gameness in our dogs often seems to be relative to time, place and condition of the dog. Many people who use game-dogs in working situations will leave them home when they see they are having an off day. I've seen all types of people in the dog game and all sorts of ideas on gameness. To the perfectionist, nothing short of crawling across while taking his last breathe is good enough. 

Gamenss is a subject surrounded by philosophy, ideas and misinformation. In spite of all this and the fact that dog fighting is illegal, I believe it is indeed a very important part of our dogs and any of us dumb enough to try and preserve our breed, should try and keep them game as possible. The second verse to this statement, is the fact that this is not only a very elusive trail, but one that seems to bounce around in the gene pool and the game ones seem to come where you find them. Probably the gamest families I've seen over the years are Walter Komosinski and Jim Usletons dog's. They seemed pretty consistent in there day, but certainly were not 100%. They are also all but gone today as far as I know. Like Floyd Boudreaux recently said in a group discussion we were having at a confirmation dog show in Louisiana, "They just don't breed true." In other words, you can breed the gamest bitch you know to the gamest male and not not get one offspring that is game. Many years ago, another very game dog-man I know, known as Danny Burton and myself, were observing and event where a spectator was calling a dog named Bad Billy a cur, etc. Big Danny turned to me in a voice everyone heard "You know that guy probably ain't one tenth as game as that dog, even if he does quit." I say, "Amen to that and long live the game American Pit Bull Terriers and those who appreciate him for what he is." Quote on gameness Joe Corvino said...."Expect them to quit son and when they don't, then think how glad you will be." Maurice Carver said on game fowl.... "You cant expect those hens to fight or even be game. They are just carrying the gene like your bulldog bitches." Gary Hammonds said.... "Heat and Fatigue will stop more dogs than injury."

- Gary Hammonds