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The American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT) is a descendant of the original fighting dogs from Europe and has historically been bred with performance/working goals in mind. The challenge of describing the American Pit Bull Terrier inevitably invites a long sequence of superlatives.

 The APBT is a supremely athletic, highly versatile, adaptive, gushingly affectionate, eager to please, all-around family dog.
 In courage, resolve, indefatigableness, indifference to pain, and stubborn perseverance in overcoming any challenge, the APBT has no equal in the canine world.
 Although the APBT was once used as a national symbol of courage and pride, the breed is largely misunderstood today.
 Even though the APBT has historically been bred to excel in combat with other dogs, a well bred APBT has a rock steady temperament and contrary to popular belief, is NOT inherently aggressive towards humans.
 However, as adults, most APBTs may show aggression towards other dogs.
 This fact, along with the APBT's strength and determination, should be taken into account when considering if the APBT is the right breed for you.
 As with any companion dog, socialization and consistent fair minded training is a must from a very early age.

 Although some APBTs may be suspicious of strangers, as most dogs are, and will protect loved ones if necessary, in general they do not excel in protection/guard work. If your main reason for getting a dog is for protection/guard work, perhaps a Rottweiler, German Shepherd, or a Doberman Pinscher would suit you better. Or, if you really like the bulldog phenotype, look into an American Bulldog.

 There are several types of dogs that are commonly thought to be called "Pit Bulls."
 When in truth there is only one, The American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT).
 Primarily, these are the American Pit Bull Terrier, the American Staffordshire Terrier (AST), and
 the Staffordshire Bull Terrier (SBT).
 The American Staffordshire Terrier was created from the breed of American Pit Bull Terrier.
 The American Pit Bull Terrier and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier share some of the same ancestry.
 All three of these dogs share some common ancestry but have been subsequently bred emphasizing different breeding criteria and characteristics.
 Due to this divergence, most people feel that they are now different breeds.
 This FAQ is primarily about the American Pit Bull Terrier, specifically those dogs of relatively old time game bred ancestry. None of the material may ring true for the AST and the SBT, but the authors are biased against the APBT from performance bred lines.

 Among enthusiasts, the history of the APBT is as controversial as the breed itself is among the misled public.
 The breed's history is a recurrent subject of lively debate in the magazines devoted to the breed.
 In fact, this FAQ was hotly debated among the contributors before it reached its final form,
 and still everyone isn't 100% happy!

 Although the precise origin of the APBT is not known, we can reliably trace its roots back at least over 200 years or so to Europe. During the late 18th and early 19th centuries the sport of bull and rat baiting was very much alive and dogs were bred to excel in these endeavors. The same type of dog was also used by hunters to catch game and by butchers and farmers to bring down unruly cattle. These dogs were called "bulldogs." Historically, the word "Bulldog" did not mean a specific breed of dog per se, but rather it was applied to descendants of the ancient Mastiff/Hound type dogs that excelled in the task of a killer hound or catch dog. The "bulldogs" of yore were much different from, and should not be confused with, the loveable clowns of the show ring today. The old performance bred working bulldog was closer in phenotype and spirit to the APBT. The use of the word "bulldog" applied to APBT's persists even today among APBT fanciers.

 When bull and rat baitng was outlawed in England and Ireland, the sport of matching two dogs against one another in combat rose in popularity to fill the void.
 One point of contention about the history of the APBT is whether these pit fighting dogs were essentially a new breed of dog specially created for this popular pastime.
 Some authors, notably Richard Stratton, have theorized that the APBT is essentially the same breed as the Renaissance bull/rat baiting dogs, largely unmixed with any other kind of dog, specifically terriers.
 These authors consider the present name, American Pit Bull Terrier, is a misnomer, in their view,
 the breed is not a terrier.
 They explain the popular attribution of the breed's origin to a cross between bull/rat baiters and terriers as a retrospective confusion with the breeding history of the English Bull Terrier, which is a totally distinct breed that was never successful at pit fighting but whose origin is well documented.

 Other authors who have researched the topic, such as Dr. Carl Semencic, argue that the APBT is indeed the product of a cross between bull/rat baiting dogs and terriers and
 that the breed simply did not exist in its current form during the Renaissance.
 This hypothesis is total ridiculous because it is a known scientific fact
 Bulldogs were crossed with Hounds to make Terriers.
 Many ancient painting show the photogenic appearance more of today's APBT then any breed of dog which was created from a bulldog and terrier cross.
 They would argue that when we think of the terriers in the APBT's ancestry, we should not envision modern day show dogs like Yorkshire Terriers, Manchester Terriers, etc. but instead working terriers
 (which are still used today) that were bred for great tenacity in hunting.
 The problem of proof, which hangs over the discussion of any early breed history,
 is compounded in this case by the over exaggerated claim of extreme secrecy of the breeders of pit dogs.
 When in truth most were illiterate at a time when education was considered a wealthy privilege luxury.
 In the 19th century pedigrees, if committed to paper at all, were not divulged, since every breeder feared letting his rivals in on the secrets of his success and replicating it. When in truth, most were un-capable of explaining their luck of success, other then just breeding their best to best within their family of dogs.
 In any case, by no later than the mid-19th century, the breed had acquired all of the essential characteristics for which it is still prized for today: its awesome athletic abilities, its peerless gameness,
 and its easy going temperament.

 The ancient ancestors of the APBT were of mostly Irish and English pit fighting dogs imported to the States in the mid-19th century. Once in the United States, the breed diverged greatly from what was being produced back in England and Ireland. Other breeds of fighting dogs from Europe such as, the Blue Pauls (aka Blue Paulies) of the Scottish Mastiff/Bulldog type, the Black & Tans from the German Mastiff/Bulldog type, the buckskin French Mastiff/Bulldog type, the Black and Brindle Mastiff/Bulldog type dogs from the mountains of Spain and Italy were also imported with immigrants from those countries.

 In America, where these dogs were used not only as pit fighters, but also as catch dogs (for forcibly retrieving stray hogs and cattle) and as guardians of family, the novice breeders started producing a slightly larger, leggier dog. However, this gain in size and weight was small until very recently. The Old Family Red dogs in 19th century from Ireland were rarely above 25 lbs., and 15-lb. dogs were not uncommon.
 This information of this breed is simply untrue and it is common knowledge of one of the first and most important importers of the Irish Old Family Reds was William Lightner and his family. It is a well known fact Mr. Lightner started to cut back on using stock which were predominately made up of the Irish Old Family Reds because the stock was to large for his preference.

 In American books on the breed from the early part of this century, it is rare to find a specimen over 52 lbs conditioned pit weight. (with a few notable exceptions). From 1900 to 1975 or so, there was probably a very small and gradual increment in the average weight of APBTs over the years, without any corresponding loss in performance abilities. But now that the vast majority of APBTs are no longer performance bred to the traditional pit standard (understandably, since the traditional performance test, the pit contest itself is now a felony in most states), the American axiom of "Bigger is Better" has taken over in the breeding practices of the many neophyte breeders who joined the bandwagon of the dog's popularity in the 1980s.
 This has resulted in a ballooning of the average size of APBTs since 1980,
 a harmful phenomenon for the breed, in my opinion.

 Another much useless attempt of less visible modification of the breed since the 19th century was the selective intensification of genetically programmed fighting styles (such as frontend specialists, stifle specialists, etc.), as performance breeding became more sophisticated under competitive pressures. In spite of this utterly useless attempts of immature breeders for style changes, there has been a remarkable continuity in the breed for more than a century. Photos from a century ago show dogs indistinguishable from the dogs being bred today. Although, as in any performance breed, you will find a certain lateral (synchronic) variability in phenotype across different lines. You will nevertheless find uncanny chronological continuity in these types across decades. There are photos of pit dogs from the 1860s that are phenotypic (to judge by contemporary descriptions of pit matches), constitutionally identical to the APBTs of today.

 Throughout the 19th century, these dogs were known by a variety of names "American (pit) Bull Terriers", "Pit Terriers", "Pit Bull Terriers", "Half and Half's", "Staffordshire Fighting Dogs", "Old Family Red Fighting Dogs"(the Irish name), "Yankee Terriers"(a reference to Americans by English people), to name a few. In 1898, a man by the name of Chauncey Bennett formed the United Kennel Club (UKC) for the sole purpose of registering the breed, as the American Kennel Club wanted nothing to do with them. Originally the word "American" was used so the breed wouldn't be confused with the English Bull Terrier. The word "pit" or (pit) in parentheses was placed in the name to help identify the breed more clearly from other suppose fighting breeds of bulldog and terrier crosses.
 The parentheses were removed from the name back in the late 1970's circa. All other breeds that are registered with UKC were accepted into the UKC after the APBT.
 Another registry of APBTs is the American Dog Breeders Association (ADBA) which was started in September, 1909 by Guy McCord, a close friend of John P. Colby.
 Now under the ownership of the Greenwood family, the ADBA continues to register only APBTs and has the same general perception of the APBT as does UKC.
 The ADBA does sponsor conformations shows, but more importantly, it also sponsors weight pulling (so does UKC except, UKC weight pulls are all-breed pulls), competitions which test a dogs strength and stamina.
 It also publishes a quarterly magazine dedicated to the APBT called the American Pit Bull Terrier Gazette.
 UKC publishes a monthly magazine called Bloodline Journal.
 No one single registry is the flagship of APBT as others are doing just as much to help preserve the original characteristics of the breed.

 In 1936, thanks to "Pete the Pup" in the "Lil Rascals" and "Our Gang" who familiarized a wider audience with the APBT, the AKC jumped on the bandwagon and registered the breed as the "Staffordshire Terrier". This name was changed to "American Staffordshire Terrier" (AST) in 1972 to distinguish it from its smaller, English cousin the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. In 1936, for all intents and purposes, the AKC, UKC, and ADBA version of the "Pit Bull" were identical since the original AKC stock came from pit fighting dogs, which were UKC and ADBA registered. During this time period, and the years that preceded it, the APBT was a well-liked dog in America. At this time the APBT was considered an ideal family pet. Because of his fun loving and forgiving temperament, the breed was rightly considered an excellent dog for families with small children. Even if most of them couldn't identify the breed by name, kids of the Lil Rascals generation wanted a companion just like "Pete the Pup". During the First World War, there was an American propaganda poster that represented the rival European nations with their national dogs dressed in military uniforms; and in the center representing the United States was an APBT declaring in a caption below: "I'm neutral, but not afraid of any of them."

 Since 1936, due to different breeding goals, the American Staffordshire Terrier and the American Pit Bull Terrier have diverged in both phenotype of conformation to perform and spirit/temperament. The American Staffordshire Terrier also never had the full spectrum of different fighting breeds from Europe as did the American Pit Bull Terrier. The American Staffordshire Terrier Club of America would only allow certain strains and bloodlines from the American Pit Bull Terrier to be single registered with AKC. Thou the American Pit Bull Terrier continued to have an easy going, friendly disposition. Some folks in the fancy feel that after 70+ years of breeding for different goals, these two dogs are now entirely different breeds. Other people choose to view them as two different strains of the same breed (working and show). Either way, the gap continues to widen as breeders from both sides of the fence consider it undesirable to interbreed the two.
 When the conformation, temperament and most of all heritage is different,
 then you have two DIFFERENT breed of dogs!

 To the untrained eye, ASTs may look more impressive and fearsome, with a larger and more blocky head, with bulging jaw muscles, a wider chest and thicker neck. In general, however, they aren't nearly as "game" or athletic as game bred APBTs. Because of the standardization of their conformation for show purposes, ASTs tend to look alike, to a much greater degree than APBTs do. APBTs have a much wider phonotypical range, since the primary breeding goal, until fairly recently, has been not to produce a dog with a certain "look" or "type" but to produce one capable of winning pit contests, in which the looks of a dog counted for nothing. There are some game bred APBTs that are practically indistinguishable from typical ASTs, but in general they are leaner, leggier and lighter on their toes and have more stamina, agility, speed and explosive power.

 Following World War II, until the early 1980s, the APBT lapsed into relative obscurity. But those devoted few who knew the breed knew it in intimate detail. These devotees typically knew much more about their dogs' ancestry than about their own, they were often able to recite pedigrees back six or eight generations. When APBTs became popular with the public around 1980, nefarious individuals with little or no knowledge of the breed started to own and breed them and predictably, problems started to crop up. Many of these newcomers did not adhere to the traditional breeding goals of the old-time APBT breeders. In typical backyard fashion they began randomly breeding dogs in order to mass produce puppies as profitable commodities. Worse, some unscrupulous neophytes started selecting dogs for exactly the opposite criteria that had prevailed up to then: they began selectively breeding dogs for the trait of human aggressiveness. Before long, individuals who shouldn't have been allowed near dog were owning and producing poorly bred, human aggressive "Pit Bulls" for a mass market. This, coupled with the media's propensity for over simplification and sensationalizing, gave rise to the anti-"Pit Bull" hysteria that continues to this day. It should go without saying that, especially with this breed, you should avoid backyard breeders. Find a breeder with a national reputation; investigate, for example the breeders who advertise in one of the breed's flagship magazines.
 In spite of the introduction of some bad breeding practices since 1980 or so, the vast majority of APBTs remain very human friendly. The American Canine Temperament Testing Association, which sponsors tests for temperament titles for dogs, reported that 95% of all APBTs that take the test pass, compared with a 77% passing rate for all breeds on average.
 The APBT's passing rate was the fourth highest of all the breeds tested.

 The American Pit Bull Terrier are loyal, loving, companion dogs and family pets. One activity that has really grown in popularity among APBT fanciers is weight pulling contests. Weight Pulls retain something of the spirit of competition but without the sport of matching.. The APBT is ideally suited for these contests, in which the refusal to quit counts for as much as brute strength. Currently, APBTs hold world records in several weight classes. I have seen one 70-lb. APBT pull a mini van! Another activity that the APBT is ideally suited for is agility competition, where its athleticism and determination can be widely appreciated. Some APBTs have been trained and done well in Schutzhund sport. These dogs, however, are more the exception than the rule. The American Pit Bull Terrier should never be trained for bite work towards humans..
HISTORY of the A.p.B.T. and the OFRN STRAIN. / Color Explanation of Red Nose Dogs.
« Last post by D.M. Norrod on December 16, 2015, 09:53:27 AM »
Recently again I was reminded of a reference to a color.
 Which I think need to be explained.

 There is no such thing for red nose dogs as "Fawn or Buckskin"!

Fawn-light brown, color of a young deer, hence the reference name.
Buckskin-beige, color of male deer, again hence the name.

 Light red & yellow colored dogs are referred to as light red.

Here is the difference:

 Light Red & Yellow colored dogs compared to Fawn & Buckskin dogs;

 When a dog is Fawn or Buckskin color, whether they are indoor or outdoor and through out their life, young or old will stay the same shade of color.
 This color is common on black nose dogs.

 Light Red or Yellow colored dogs;

 If the dog is kept indoor it will darken in color and if kept outdoor, in the sun, it will lighten. When they are younger they will be darker and as they grow older they will lighten.

 So far on either forum of this billboard, there has not yet been a dog posted of light red, yellow, buckskin or fawn...
HISTORY of the A.p.B.T. and the OFRN STRAIN. / Black Nose from 2 Red Nose dogs?
« Last post by D.M. Norrod on December 16, 2015, 09:52:36 AM »
 It is genetically impossible!!
 If mutation occurs it will be fatal!!
 The pup will be born dead or die a day or two later.

 Now I won't go into the alphabet soup explanation of AA=BB or aa=bb and all the rest of the gene crap but basically it is like this:

 1. Two black nose can produce a red nose if the red nose recessive gene is in the pedigree.

 Red nose is a recessive trait. Black nose is dominant.

 2. When a red nose and a black nose are bred, on average, most of the pups will be black nose because black nose is the dominate trait.

3. When two red nose are bred, the absent of one of them being black nose then none of the pups can be black nose because black nose is a dominate trait not a recessive trait so none of the pups can be black nose off two red nose dogs.

 Often when two black nose produce a red nose dog it is referred to as chocolate.
 We are talking about the color of the nose, not the color of the dog.
 Red is red and all the shade in between. The genetics still apply.

 I have bred red nose dogs longer and more of them then anyone alive.
 I have bred dogs every way you can think of from different colors to different bloodlines.
 If you have doubt, then read a book on recessive and dominate genes and maybe then you will believe it after you read it in print because today no one believes what another person has learned from hands on experience, only what they have read in a book!!

 Some people want to believe things so bad they can't still except the truth and will believe anything told to them because they want the blood or that kind of breeding so bad, they will always be in denial....

When 2 red nose are bred to each other they then become what is called dominate recessive.
HISTORY of the A.p.B.T. and the OFRN STRAIN. / OFRN
« Last post by D.M. Norrod on December 16, 2015, 09:49:39 AM »
It has often been claimed that geniuses, whether scientific, mathematical, or musical, were touched by a divine fire that made them special, but it also could be a curse because it seemed that geniuses were more likely to be plagued by madness than those of us of normal intelligence. Actually, there is a certain controversy regarding the latter supposition. It may just be that the mental illness of an otherwise normal person goes more unnoticed than that of someone who is famous because of genius capabilities.

 But I am taking the phrase to refer to the Old Family Red Nose dogs. The red color of the nose and eyes is seemingly touched by a fire, albeit not divine, then maybe it was divine because God created all things.. Similarly, there is much controversy about the grand old red nosed dogs. And like geniuses, the Old Family Red dogs have been considered by many dog men, including this one, to be something truly special.

 One of the areas of misunderstanding is that many fanciers think that any Pit Bull which shows the red nose is a member of the Old Family Red Nose strain. Such is not the case, as many strains of dogs will occasionally throw a red-nosed pup or two because the red nose is a recessive gene back to the foundation breed of Irish Old Family Reds. The term Old Family Red Nose refers to a particular family of dogs that was especially successful during the 40s, 50s, and 60s of the American Pit Bull Terrier breed. They came from the old Lightner bloodline as well as from other importers of dogs from the Ireland of the early part of the century. In fact, they were often called Lightner dogs, rather than the term that began to be used in the early 40s. This is because Lightner was credited for popularizing the red nose dogs.

 At that time, they lived in Colorado Springs, but this was at the tail end of a career in dogs that started way back in the 19th century. Lightner’s father, grandfather, and his uncles had been raising a strain of dogs they had kept pure since before the Civil War. Mary Lightner was also a fan of the dogs, and she kept the pedigrees straight and handled the correspondence. Although the Lightner's were wonderful people and quite helpful to. Notables such as Bob Wallace, Bob Hemphill, Bert Clouse, and Leo Kinard, to mention just a few, were quite impressed with Bill Lightner.

 All of these people knew more than I did about the history of his dogs. They knew, for example, that there was a separate strain of dogs that Lightner had early in the century (having obtained them from his relatives), and these were very much sought after. Then there was what these dog men called the "latter day Lightner dogs." Even the most astute student wasn’t sure where the later strain came from, but they felt that it was testament to Lightner’s genius at breeding dogs that he could create yet another great strain. When asked about his first bloodline of dogs, he said that he had gotten rid of them because he didn’t like the color of the red nose. He also liked small dogs, and as far as he was concerned, the red-nosed dogs were running too large. Lightner was a giant of a man himself, and it had always been surprising the big men, including Bert Clouse and Ham Morris, who liked their pit dogs on the small size. As a matter of fact, Lightner had been a renowned prizefighter in his time, and he had been good friends with some of the great old-time boxers, such as Jim Corbett (famous for beating John L. Sullivan).

 It is believe Lightner's later dogs, that they had been a blend of his old strain with some other quality line, and the rumor was that it consisted primarily of Colby dogs. But we are concerned with the early dogs here, as that was what produced the Old Family Red Nose strain.

 While the Lightner family had never sold dogs, they sold off a few before World War I, as dog matching had subsided considerably in the area of Colorado in which they were living at that time. Al Dickinson of El Paso and Joe Peace were able to get some of these dogs, and they treasured them highly and kept the line going. These were primarily the large dogs that tended to show the red nose. When Joe Peace and Al Dickinson were both drafted during the World War, Red Howell took their dogs, and some of them went to Bourgeous in Louisiana. The men who used Lightner dogs to the extent that the Old Family Red Nose line became famous were Arthur Harvey and L. C. Owens of Amarillo, Texas. The breeding of these famous dog men produced many great dogs, including Hemphill’s Golddust and Hemphill’s Broke Jaw. A candidate for the best pit bitch of the century was Lightner’s Speed. In 1926, she was bred to Allen’s Fighting Tige to produce Harvey’s Red Devil. Red Devil was the sire of Centipede and Golddust. Centipede was generally considered the greatest dog of his time. And he was 54 pounds pit weight, quite large even for today’s dogs. With Lightner’s predilection for small dogs, I can only assume the look on his face at raising these large dogs! The interesting thing here is that it was a very inbred strain that was producing such large dogs. In fact, it was probably inbreeding which produced the red nose and red eyes. These are recessive traits, and they are more likely to come to the surface in a program of heavy inbreeding.

 Other dogs that helped make the red dogs famous were Ham Morris’s Pinkie, Howell’s Banjo, and William’s Cyclone. Since there were so many good dogs coming from this line, they were quite naturally bred along family lines, and this tended to perpetuated the red nose, the red eyes, and the red toe nails that so distinguished this strain.

 As you can imagine, dog men were not so sure how to take these most unusual-looking pit dogs. They were, after all, accustomed to small dogs of brindle and various other colorations. Some dog men, such as McClintock, Williams, Hemphill, and Wallace, came to specialize in this line. When dog men saw an entire kennel of such dogs, it was only natural to conclude that the dogs had been bred for appearance, but that was not the case. It was simply a matter of fact that a lot of great pit dogs of similar breeding had displayed the coloration. Since the colors were recessive to the more common colors, they were uniformly reproduced in all the progeny when these dogs were bred together.

 Besides color, the red dogs showed other traits. In the pit, they were considered great ring generals, pacing themselves very well. They were smart dogs, and they used their intelligence in the pit. They were not really well known for a hard bite, but they could beat the dogs that had that trait. With their defensive prowess, they gave the hardbiting dogs nothing to bite but air. They wore them down and then went in for the kill. Great endurance was also a trait of these dogs, but they were most renowned for their incredible gameness. Another trait they were know for was that they could be crossed with nearly any line and produce bone-crushing pit dogs. Because of this very trait, not many dog men elected to breed them pure.

 To this very day, the red nose dogs remain quite controversial. For one thing, they are nearly always popular with neophytes, as they don’t look like the "mongrels with the mumps" that pit dogs have been so often called. The red nose and concomitant coloration marks them as something special in anyone’s eyes. But that is not necessarily a good thing, for dog peddlers tend to breed dogs with this coloration that have no claim to even being related to the true Old Family Red Nose dogs.

 Bob Wallace used to refer to the red nose as a "badge of courage," and he mentioned friends that referred to them as "traffic stoppers.. There really is something special about the line. I’m not trying to say they are the best, but they are as good as the best. Sometimes it seems as though they truly were touched by a bit of magical fire.
HISTORY of the A.p.B.T. and the OFRN STRAIN. / Old Family Red Nose Story from 1975
« Last post by D.M. Norrod on December 16, 2015, 09:48:41 AM »
Written by Richard F. Stratton
 * Appeared in the January-February, 1975 issue of Bloodlines Journal*

 First, an overview. No one really knows when these dogs first came to this country, but the great breeder William J. Lightner once told me that his grandfather raised them before the Civil War. It is quite possible that they were even here during the Revolutionary War. In any case, it is clear that dogs of this breed came from various parts of Europe, specifically Spain and Sicily. But little is known about these earliest importations, because nothing was written about them. (Books and periodicals containing information about dogs were rare in those days.) Their existence can be inferred from artwork, however. The most famous importations were from Ireland, and were generally made by the Irish themselves after they emigrated to this country. (The bulk of the Irish pit dog importations coincides or closely follows the great Irish migration that resulted from the famous potato famine.) Most of the Irish dogs were small and very closely inbred, but their gameness was proverbial, especially that of the group of strains that was known as the Old Family. The following article I wrote on the Old Family Reds (just one segment of the Old Family bloodlines) is reprinted from Bloodlines Journal.


 It has always seemed to me that the good old Pit Bull is a breed that is at once primitive and futuristic. He looks no more out of place in the ancient landscapes of 16th century paintings than he does in the ultra-modern setting. It is beyond my capabilities to imagine an end to him, for every generation seems to supply a nucleus of hard core devotees completely committed to the breed. In any case, you can look into the murky past, and you will find it difficult to discern a beginning place for the breed, and, fortunately, the future seems to threaten no demise either.

 Ours is a breed that has a definite mystique. Part of it, no doubt, stems from the fact that it is an old breed and deeply steeped in tradition. Old strains are a particularly fascinating part of this tradition, and the Old Family Red Nose is one of the better-known old strains.

 The appearance of the red-nosed dogs always attracts attention, but it takes a little getting used to for some people to consider them truly beautiful. However, no one denies that they radiate "class." Characteristically, a dog of the red-nosed strain has a copper-red nose, red lips, red toe nails, and red or amber eyes. Some think the strain was bred for looks. Others consider any dog that just happens to have a red nose to be pure Old Family Red Nose. It is hoped that the following will dispel such notions.

 About the middle of the last century there was a family of pit dogs in Ireland bred and fought chiefly in the counties of Cork and Kerry that were known as the "Old Family." In those days, pedigrees were privately kept and jealously guarded. Purity of the strains was emphasized to the extent that breeders hardly recognized another strain as being the same breed. For that reason all the strains were closely inbred. And whenever you have a closed genetic pool of that type, you are likely to have a slide toward the recessive traits, because the dominants, once discarded, are never recaptured. Since red is recessive to all colors but white, the "Old Family" eventually became the "Old Family Reds." When the dogs began coming to America, many were already beginning to show the red nose.

 The "Old Family" dogs found their way to America mainly via immigrants. For example, Jim Corcoran came to this country to fight the world heavyweight champion John L. Sullivan, and stayed to become a Boston policeman. He sent for dogs from his parents back in Ireland, and his importations and expertise as a great breeder have earned him a prominent place in American (Pit) Bull Terrier history. Many other Irish immigrants also sent back to their families to request for dogs, and the "Old Family" and related strains became firmly established in the United States.

 At this point, there are several factors that are somewhat confusing to a student of the breed. For one thing, the term "family dogs" was used in two ways: It could mean a strain of dogs that was a family unto itself that was kept by a number of unrelated people in Ireland, or it could refer to a strain of dogs that was kept and preserved through the years by a family group. However, the old Family Reds seem to be of the first category. Another point that arises is that with all these importations from Ireland (and there were importations from other countries, too-including Spain), where do we get off calling our breed the American Bull Terrier! Well. ..that's a point! The breed does not really belong to anyone country or even anyone era! However, I don't believe many people are in favor of changing the name of the breed even though it is not strictly an American breed. For that matter, it is not really a Bull Terrier, either! But the name American (Pit) Bull Terrier has become part of that tradition we were talking about, and I think most of us prefer to keep it as a formal name for the breed.

 Back to the Old Family Reds. The first big splash made by the red noses was back around 1900 when the great breeder William J. Lightner, utilizing Old Family Red bloodlines, came up with some red-nosed dogs that really made a name for themselves. Now Lightner once told me that he did not breed for that red-nosed coloration. In fact, he did not even like it and he only put up with it because the individual dogs were of such high quality. Eventually Lightner gave up the red-nosed strain when he moved from Louisiana to Colorado, where he came up with a new strain that consisted of small dark-colored dogs with black noses. He had given up on the other strain because they were running too big for his taste and because he didn't like the red noses.

 At this point in our story we come upon a comical, but highly-respected, figure in the personage of Dan McCoy. I have heard old-time dog men from all over the country talk about this man. Apparently, he was an itinerant fry cook and not much of a success in life judged by normal standards, but he didn't care about that. What he did care about were Pit Bulldogs, and he had a wealth of knowledge about the breed. His uncanny ability to make breedings that "clicked" made him a respected breeding consultant and a most welcome guest at any dog man's house-even if he had just dropped off a freight train!

 Always with his ear to the ground regarding anything that involved APBT's, McCoy got wind of the fact that an old Frenchman in Louisiana by the name of Bourgeous had preserved the old Lightner red-nosed strain. So he and Bob Hemphill went to that area, and with the aid of Gaboon Trahan of Lafayette, they secured what was left of the dogs. McCoy took his share to the Panhandle of Texas and placed them with his associates L. C. Owens, Arthur Harvey and Buck Moon. He then played a principal role in directing the breedings that were made by these fanciers. And from this enclave came such celebrated dogs as Harvey's Red Devil and Owens (Ferguson's) Centipede. Hemphill eventually kept only dogs of the red-nosed strain. According to Hemphill, it was McCoy who first started using the term "Old Family Red Nose" for the strain.

 Another breeder who was almost synonymous with the red-nosed strain was Bob Wallace. However, Bob's basic bloodline was not pure Old Family Red Nose. But in the late 40's he was looking for the red-nosed strain in order to make an "outcross." (Bob was a scrupulously careful breeder who planned his breedings years in advance.) Unfortunately, he found that the strain was nearly gone, most of it having been ruined by careless breedings. He managed to obtain seven pure red-noses of high quality whose pedigrees he could authenticate. The strain was subsequently saved for posterity and in the 1950's became the fashionable strain in Pit Bull circles. In fact, it was Bob Wallace himself who wrote an article in 1953 called "There Is No Magic in Red Noses" in which he tried to put a damper on the overly enthusiastic claims being made by some of the admirers of the strain. No more fervent admirer of the Old Family Reds ever lived than Wallace, but he obviously felt that the strain could stand on its own merits.

 Many stains have been crossed with the Old Family Reds at some time in their existence. Consequently, nearly any strain will occasionally throw a red-nosed pup. To many fanciers, these red-nosed individuals are Old Family Red Noses even though the great preponderance of their blood is that of other strains. Sometimes such individuals will fail to measure up and thereby reflect undeserved discredit on the rcd-nosed strain. However, as Wallace said, the red noses should not be considered invincible either. They produce their share of bad ones as well as good ones-just as all strains do.

 As a strain, the Old Family Red Nose has several things going for it. First, it is renowned for its gameness. Second, some of the most reputable breeders in all Pit Bull history have contributed to the preservation and development of the strain. People like Lightner, McClintock. Menefee and Wallace, to mention just a few. Finally, as McNolty said in his 30-30 Journal (1967) "Regardless of one's historical perspective, these old amber-eyed, red-nosed, red-toe-nailed, red-coated dogs represent some of the most significant pit bull history and tradition that stands on four legs today."
HISTORY of the A.p.B.T. and the OFRN STRAIN. / OFRN 1967.
« Last post by D.M. Norrod on December 16, 2015, 09:46:43 AM »
"Regardless of one's historical perspective, these old amber-eyed, red-nosed, red-toe-nailed, red-coated dogs represent some of the most significant pit bull history and
 tradition that stands on four legs today."
 McNolty - 30-30 Journal (1967)
Pavle Barta I hope, that this is going to be interesting to someone. Smile Stoicevic Bojan mentioned me regarding the APBTs history, so I'll write a word or two...

Now how can someone speak about a breed when they aren't even from this country?

 Speaking about the origins of the APBT and two different general opinions, both of them are right in some way. How can it be so? I’ll try to explain. Naturally, we won’t agree on every aspect. Olde English Bulldogge was predominantly white dog with brindle or color patches. If you look at the old pictures, it is very rare that there are animals of different color (sometimes predominantly brindle).

The person is referring to the current breed of dog Olde English Bulldogge, the original English Bulldog was brindle. With a red or brown back ground behind the brindle strips. He look nothing like the breed you see today of Olde English Bulldogge as in the movie Turner and Hooch staring Tom Hanks.
 The colors marking he is referring often appear of the dogs from the county of Staffordshire England where they were brindle and white.

 There were no solid old English bulldogs, black bulldogs, red bulldogs, black and tan or fawn etc. You will also notice that the old working terriers were mostly black, fawn, yellow, black and ten and white with colored patches. I know that Richard Stratton said one thing, but on the other hand, John Colby said something completely different. I respect Richard Stratton of course, but in my
 opinion his point of view is rather romantic.
I described the color origin on my forum:

 What John Colby wrote was his confusion between the history of the English Bull Terrier (like Spuds McKenzie, Budweiser commercials) who descended from the English Bulldog and the English White Terrier, now extinct..
 John Colby was one of the founding members of the AST with AKC.
 They ban red, liver colored, red nose, black & tan, dogs with more then 80% white or all white on them.
 Years later these same dogs started to produce red/red nose dogs where the Irish influence had already been bred into them.

 Bull and Terriers started to show in greater numbers from 18th to 19th century in Britain. At that time, people started moving from the countryside to cities. In 1835 the Cruelty to Animal Act was declared. The bull-baiting was prohibited by law.
Animal Cruelty laws in US didn't start until the 1930's. Bull baiting was allowed up until the 1900. It was believe it help tenderize the meat.
 Industrialization didn't start until after the civil war and it started here in the US that is why we became the most powerful county in the world. It wasn't in Great Britain.

 You have to know that at that time only rich people (farmers) and nobility had the right to have bulldogs and hounds. Poor people had terriers. One more thing we have to consider is that at that time there were no breeds in present-day terms.

WHAT? farmers were rich? Since when?? They used the bulldog to control the bull! It had nothing to do with the class system. Often many hunters used Bulldogs as their kill dog. Yes there was dogs in the 1800's as known as purebred. Kennel Club of England had shows back in those times. English Bull Terrier was often showed at them. Remember Pilot and Crib match was in the 1850s.

 There were no “purebred” dogs. Old bulldogs were often crossed with Grayhounds to improve speed and agility, long before they were crossed with terriers. Poor people fought their terriers and “bull and terriers”, rich people fought their bulldogs with bulls, ‘cause it was a “noble” sport. When the sport of bull-baiting was banned, bulldogs started to fight in the pits. There they encountered a close relative who
 was smaller, faster, quicker, and more intelligent with more pronounced killer instinct.

Yes there was, there were dog shows put on by the Kennel Club of England in the 1800's. Bulldogs were never crossed. There was no need in it. They were used as kill dogs. Hounds were used for scent and sight for prey. Greyhounds wasn't even a known breed back then. Back then a lot of people mutt bred dogs. There was no grand scheme of things to create a breed.

 That guy was called “half and half” or “Bull and Terrier”. The irony is that Olde English Bulldogge descendant was guilty for its extinction. There was no need for such a dog (old bulldog in his bull-baiting form) anymore and it disappeared through those crosses. Of course, Olde English Bulldogge continued to live through “Bull and Terriers”. You have to also consider that the terriers of that time were entirely working dogs.
Here is the common mistake people make about the A(p)BT, is the belief the whole breed came only from Great Britain. The only time a reference was EVER made was with the Staffords from England. No other country or breed of fighting bulldogs made reference to a terrier cross. This was brought on because of the confusion of the 2 breeds and often it was thought the dogs from Staffordshire was created the same way as the English Bull Terrier. To this day no one can actually state what type of terrier was used to create the Staffords. So it has to be assumed, since they were different breeds, none was ever used but just to mutt breed.

 Nowadays, where you can find the gameness? There are no “game” mastiffs, but there are game German Jagdterriers, fox terriers, Jack Russell Terries, Patterdale terriers, Fell terriers, bull terriers etc. Someone will say: “Yes, because they have bulldog blood in them!”. Exactly! That is the point! All of them are descendants of “Bull and Terriers”.

There isn't? Oh yes there is. Gameness for a sport in hunting is instinctive same as fighting is for the Pit Dogs. Since we owned the number 3 rank hunting Jack Russell Terrier in North America for many years I can tell you this is a false statement to claim there is bulldog in them. This sentence is repetitive in the first place. Fox Terrier and Patterdale Terriers help create the Jack Russell. The Fell IS another name for the Patterdale Terrier! There has never been dogs produced by them which appeared to have bulldog in them. The author of this article must not be knowledgeable of the fact Hounds were crossed to Bulldogs to create the breed of dogs called Terriers!

 The point is that the crossing was done in that way that the phenotype
 remained as it was required. Hunting terriers had to be small enough to enter the hole, fast and light enough to kill as many rats as possible in a short period of time. You have to know that those terriers had been bred for their working abilities for centuries. In “Of English Dogges, by John Caius Doctor of Phisicke in the Universitie of Cambridge, 1576“ you can find descriptions of how the terriers of that time tore up foxes and badgers to pieces. What I want to say is that not only bulldogs were “game” dogs of that time. The fact is that the working terriers were more athletic dogs than old bulldogs. John Meyric, in his book “House Dogs and Sporting Dogs” (1861) writes about the same level of gameness in “Bull and Terriers” and bulldogs but emphasizes better agility and dexterity of the former. John Henry Walsh “Stonehenge” further described “bulldog to bulldog” fights (1859) where dogs gripped each other doing nothing else
 and compared that style to that of Bull and Terriers who were more ferocious, with much more variations in fights and he called them fighting dogs “par excellence“.

It needs to stay on topic, not old writings by people who never owned or fed fighting dogs, topic which is, is there any terrier in the A(p)BT? I have seen Brittney Spaniels and Springer Spaniels to Coon Dogs who's instinctive prey drive was so strong they would hunt themselves to death. Doesn't mean there is Terrier in those dogs or even the Bulldog breed.

 Fighting dogs had to have broader heads and more muscles, but not too heavy to compromise the stamina. Terriers were generally too small and light to fight bigger dogs, and they lacked defensive abilities, but they were more ferocious, quicker, and more intelligent in fighting than old bulldogs. Generally they were much better “dog to dog” fighters than the old bulldogs. They were better attackers.

Terriers won't fight dog to dog to the death like Pit Dogs will do. Bulldogs were known to be the "Killer Hounds".
 They didn't get this reputation by not being able to be quick, intelligence, ferocious attackers! They needed all this not to just survive but to conquer and win.

 So, the point is that old bulldogs and old terriers were not breeds, but working dogs bred to do their jobs best they could. The united traits of those old dogs created the perfection – APBT. A lot of dogmen use the term “bulldog” even today, but that name does not designate a breed but working dogs. You have to know that Olde English Bulldogge had been changing through time
‘because of the different crosses, it was never a “purebred” dog as some want to imply, but it stands as a cornerstone of the American Pit Bull Terrier. All kinds of fighting dogs came to US in the late 1800s. Bulldogs, terriers, bull terriers, Irish Old Family dogs… The best of that “bull and terrier” blood selected for fighting ability have created the dog we admire today.
This is true with most all mutt dogs of the pre 1800's.
 Why I say mutt dogs is because a true pure bred dog will reproduce its self and not revert back to one of the foundation breeds used in creating the mutt.
 The point is, there never has been writing from other countries about other fighting breeds that had terrier bred into them.
 Here is where a correction needs to be made. A(p)BT was known to be in the US in the 1700's. Not the late 1800's. I have posters of advertised dog fights in the middle 1800's.

DAN GIBSON'S "BUCK". Dan Gibson of Southern Pride Kennels.
Same family as Gr. Ch. Taffy R.O.M.'s mother Bentley's Suzie Que.
Dolly was Gr. Ch. Taffy's grandmother:
The American Pit Bull Terrier in the following story was owned by Dan Gibson of Southern Pride Kennels in 1972.

"Buck was an Old Family Red Nose.
 He was whelped on August 25, 1972. Buck's Dam was from Bentleys "Dolly" of the Williams "Red Jack" and Bill Decordovas' "Cocoa" bloodlines.
This is a true story, based upon Buck's short and tragic life.

 Buck was a beautiful red/red nosed American Pit Bull Terrier. He lived the latter part of his life on a farm in Bluemont, Virginia. As was his custom, Buck would walk Jerry and Peter to the end of their very long lane to the bus stop. It was his way of saying "goodbye" to them in the morning. He would watch as they boarded the bus each day and made their way down the mountain to school. Each afternoon, Buck knew exactly when to run to the end of the lane to greet the young children upon their arrival from school. Oh how he loved those children! He and the children would play together for endless hours; however, he was ever mindful not to be too rough with them as he seemed to be aware of their fragility.

 One morning, after the children boarded the school bus, instead of returning home immediately, Buck decided to investigate the area. He ventured up the winding dirt road for quite some distance and found nothing but birds, insects and trees. This was very boring, even for a dog who generally had no trouble entertaining himself. Thus it was that Buck decided to explore the opposite direction. He had walked for quite some time when he passed the only nearby house on their road. Buck suddenly stopped, stood stiffly and sniffed the air. He smelled the presence of another dog, yet he could not see him. There was a board fence surrounding the neighbors house, except for a narrow chain link gate. Without warning or even a single sound, a huge white German Shepherd male dog charged the chain link gate. He struck the gate with such force that he was bounced backward several feet. Buck stood perfectly still, as the raging white dog repeated his attempts to attack him. Buck sensed an evil presence with this dog, a dog who attacked with no barks or growls. Buck watched amusedly as the Shepherd continued his onslaught. Off in the distance, Buck heard his master wife's voice calling him and he could tell by the tone of her voice he was in deep trouble.

 Responding immediately to the call, he raced back up the road to home. Annabelle was very upset that Buck had wandered off the property and was concerned that he might have been hit by an automobile. "You're not allowed to follow the kids to the bus stop anymore", she said. And with those words, Buck was grounded. He watched each morning as the children disappeared down the lane to the bus stop. He was held captive in the house until the kids had caught the bus and were gone from sight. Only then, would he be allowed outside the confines of the house.
 One morning as the children were preparing to leave the house for school, Buck was very ill at ease.
 He sensed something terribly wrong was going to happen that morning, yet could not figure out the source of this awful premonition. Buck whined and scratched at the entrance to the door to see for himself what was the object of his concern. The children kissed their mother goodbye and started down the lane. Annabelle scolded Buck harshly for his unexplained behavior and told him to go lay down. Try as he might, Buck could not shake the horrible feeling of impending doom. He had to follow the children, he just had to! Annabelle started her morning chores and Buck continued his pacing back and forth. The garage door! Buck recalled the garage door was sometimes left open. Once there, he discovered the door, had, in fact, been left ajar, and Buck slipped out into the still morning air. He knew he was being disobedient, but he had to follow the children down the lane. Buck crouched low to help avoid detection by the children as he knew they would make him go home if they saw him. Still the horrid feeling was with him, although he knew not of the origin of his nightmare. The children had reached the end of the lane now, and were standing waiting for the bus. Out of the corner of his eye, Buck caught a movement in the bushes.

 It was the white German Shepherd. He was sneaking toward the children, eyes ablaze with hatred, and saliva dripping from his jowls. Buck now knew what he had sensed, the giant white dog had escaped his confines and was now preparing to attack his children! Buck speeded up his approach now, as he could tell the white dog was close to springing his attack on the defenseless children. Buck ran with all his strength, faster and faster to the defense of the children who had shown him so much love.

 The huge white dog leaped high into the air, mouth wide open, ready to tear the life from the human child called Jerry. Buck sprang simultaneously and hit the crazed dog only a millisecond before he impacted the child. The Shepherd was twice Buck's size, and threw him around like a rag doll. The white dog was slashing Buck and inflicting him grievous wounds, yet Buck knew he had to stop this dog from harming his beloved children.
 Driven by countless generations of his pit bull heritage, Buck knew he must get a hold on the colossus and not let go, less the dog harm the children.

 As they parried for position, Buck saw his opportunity and latched onto the back of the white dog. Try as he might, the Shepherd could not shake the little dog from his hold on him. The children stood horrified as the battle continued. Annabelle had heard the fighting and the children screaming and came running up the lane to see what the commotion was all about. When she arrived at the scene, she tried to call Buck off from his defense of the children. Buck would not let go as he knew the sinister intentions of this dog. By this time the neighbor who owned the Shepherd had arrived on the scene and tried to break up the fight, but to no avail. "RUN CHILDREN, RUN!", Buck thought, as he was weakening from the pounding his much larger opponent had given him. Suddenly, the neighbor appeared back on the scene with a gun, a shotgun and told Annabelle that if she did not make her dog stop he would shoot him. Buck was not about to free his hold on the white dog until the children were safe, and no amount of coaxing would make him release his hold on the German Shepherd. A shotgun blast rang out from the neighbors gun and Buck lay mortally wounded, his life blood flowing into red puddles onto the hard clay soil. Annabelle and the children, crying hysterically, ran down the lane back to their home. "I must hang on for just a little while longer." Buck thought. The darkness of the Grim Reaper descended upon him and he closed his eyes with a final vision of the children fleeing to safety. He released his hold on the German Shepherd and knowing that his beloved children were now secure, slowly closed his eyes in death and breathed his last breath."
Whether you want to refer to them as smut or widows peak, I'm still waiting for anyone to show me a dog or a line of dogs which carried this trait from any of the old noted OFRN breeders.
 Hemphill, Wallace, McCoy, Williams, DeCordvas, Trice, Cole, Corcoran, Feeley, Shipley, etc. NONE had this colorization in their dogs.
 It is not standard in the strain of Old Family Red Nose.

UC Davis of CA.

 "Grizzle (also called domino) is a pattern of dark pigment (eumelanin) on the dorsal surface of the head, body and tops of the legs; light pigment (pheomelanin) is present on the lower legs, undersides and up the face around the eyes. The distinctive face pattern is often referred to as a widow’s peak. This variant has only been seen in Afghan and Saluki hounds. Grizzle can only be expressed when the Dominant black gene is not present (N/N) and the agouti gene is at/at."

Take note:
"Grizzle can only be expressed when the Dominant black gene is not present"
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