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Raising pit bulls to produce the match dog is extremely expensive and time consuming. With this thought in mind, one needs to set their goals in perspective if one wants to breed game dogs. Some families of dogs have a better rate of producing match and brood dogs than others produce. So, read the match reports, championships notice who uses what blood, which has been winning and producing winners. Also, even if a dog loses, consider how he loss. Did he try to make that tear-jerking crawl across or did he take the easy way out, by jumping the wall. Remember that a dog who loses a match because he couldn’t go across is a whole lot better than a dog that loses because he wouldn’t go across.
A great majority of these dog people are using dogs that come from successful, dog people. Pay close attention to the R.O.M. (Register Of Merit) list, and see how these dogs were bred, to produce these champions. For those that are not familiar with the term R.O.M. it is a title that is given to a dog or a bitch that has produced champions by ’The Sporting Dog Journal’. This magazine keeps a running record of dogs receiving this title and publishes this list in each issue. Aimed principally at the breeders of the American Pit Bull Terrier, the title of Register Of Merit is cherished by the owners of the sires and dams. To receive the title of R.O.M. a male must produce at least four champions and a female must produce at least three. Why four for the males and only three for the females? Is this some kind of sexual favoritism? No. Simply put, a male is physically capable of producing more offspring than a female. Each dog receives a point for each champion they produce and in addition, should any of these registered champions go on to become grand champions, they are awarded an additional point. Other magazines have implemented another title P.O.R. (Producer Of Record), which issues a point for every win recorded by the offspring of a sire and / or dam, with additional points for both champions and grand champions. At the time of this writing Garrett’s Ch. Jeep holds the lead on the R.O.M. list with 17 points.
Breeders of the game American Pit Bull Terrier breed for one of two reasons; to produce match dogs or for brood stock. With that in mind, we’ll look at the different techniques that are used in breeding the game bulldog. There are several different philosophies to breeding the American Pit Bull, these include; Best to Best, Inbreeding, Line Breeding, and the Out Cross. With any of these methods, success depends on being selective and hard culling. The best breeding are usually the result of a combination of all these philosophies.
BEST TO BEST
Some breeders believe in breeding the best to the best, regardless of pedigrees to get great dogs. This method usually involves breeding unrelated dogs, which happen to be considered great match dogs, in an attempt to get “chips off the old block.” While you can end up with some real aces by breeding this way, the results usually are the opposite. Best to best breeding that involve totally different bloodlines seldom establish themselves as solid families of winning bulldogs. At present, there are over one hundred males and thirty females, registered as grand champions in The Sporting Dog Journal. Of those one hundred and thirty plus, ten have Register Of Merit status; none of them are females. Remember that you are breeding to the entire ancestry of a dog. So the dog himself, or herself, and their characteristics are only part of the equation. You must also take into account the kind of animals in back of your breeding prospect. The same breeding combined with, to some degree of, inbreeding or line breeding can be the catalyst of a good bloodline.
Here’s an example of best to best breeding with a negative result:
Zebo/ Eli Litter Adam’s GR. CH. ZEBO ROM Lonzo’s ANDY
CH. HONEYBUNCH ROM Walling’s BULLYSON
Zebo was a grand champion and destroyed every dog set in front of him. He was also an R.O.M. and produced destroyer type bulldogs. Honeybunch was a champion, killing her first two opponents, and also a producer of champions. As a matter of fact, she is presently leading all females of the Register Of Merit list. This breeding had had all the makings of possibly being one of the all time greats. When in actuality it was nothing more than a great disappointment. None of the pups out of this breeding ever matured into anything note worthy, as either match or brood material.
Now let’s take a look at a similar breeding:
Zebo/ Eli Litter Adam’s GR. CH. ZEBO ROM Lonzo’s ANDY
Clemmon’s PEPPER Cummings’ ELI III
Cummings’ DEAR ABBEY
This breeding is similar to the previous one as Pepper and Honeybunch were both Eli / Carver bred bitches. (Pepper was by no means anywhere near the match dog or the producer as Honeybunch was, which is where the similarity ends). This breeding of Zebo to Pepper produced Clemmon’s Nigger Tobe. When Nigger Tobe was bred to tight Eli bitches he produced winners like High Pocket’s Ch. Dahmer and producers like Clemmon’s Eli Shadow. Zebo was also bred to another Eli bred bitch, named Colopy’s Sea Train, and produced STP’s My Little Margie. Margie was later bred to McGee’s Monzon, who was a son of Zebo’s half brother Mike, and produced a destroyer, by the name of Panther. Panther also went on to produce numerous winners, champions and a grand champion.
Much to the trepidation of many dog men, most pit aces failed to produce aces like themselves. I can’t think of any best to best breeding that produced exceptional match dogs that resembled anything like their parents as far as pit material, and believe me there have been many; Gr. Ch. Snake / Gr. Ch. Miss Rage, Gr. Ch. Hell Ben / Ch. Kinki, Gr. Ch. Buster Brown / Gr. Ch. Candy, Gr. Ch. Gabe / Gr. Ch. B.B. Red, Gr. Ch. Banjo ROM/ Gr. Ch. Tina, and Gr. Ch. May Day ROM / Ch. Dragon Lady just to name a few. All of these dogs were considered put aces, but when these aces were bred together, they produced average bulldogs. It‘s has been said, “just because a dog is a good match dog…that doesn’t make him a good producer.” Sometimes, the genes that made these dogs fell into place to make them great match dogs. These same genes, unfortunately, didn’t fall into the right place to make them equally as great at producing. On a whole dogs tend to produce the average of the traits of themselves and of their ancestry. Very rarely do we see an ace that is the descendant of a pedigree of mostly aces. Therefore, we should not be disheartened when we get average dogs from them. So, the more aces there are in the pedigree, the higher the contingency of getting an ace.
By now you breeders are undoubtedly aware that inbreeding is the breeding of closely related animals. Examples of which are: father to daughter, mother to son, and brother to sister. The purpose of inbreeding is to attempt to capture and preserve desired genes. The favorite argument against inbreeding is, of course, the case of humans, the fear of bringing into the world physically deformed and mentally lacking individuals. Fortunately for us, breeders through the centuries have not been afraid to rule out inbreeding as a means of solidifying genes in our breed of dog. Every breed of dog in existence today has been developed for a specific purpose through inbreeding. In any breeding, one or more trait will invariably be lost “in the shuffle” of genes. But with inbreeding, you may also intensify other traits as well. Certainly, when you undertake to develop a similar set of genes from different dogs, the poor and undesirable qualities can also become dominant. Lack of endurance, weak bones, brittle teeth, zero biting ability, loss of fertility, and a lack of resistance to parasites and diseases is often the results of inbreeding, known as FILIAL DEGENERATION. At what point does filial degeneration appear depends on the species and genealogies. Most American Pit Bull Terriers can tolerate a significant amount of inbreeding without any ill effects. A seemingly perfect bulldog, in appearance, may have some or all these undesirable traits in his genetic make up. Inbreeding this dog could bring these unwanted traits to the surface and suppress the desirable genes the breeder had hoped to preserve. Unfortunately, genes are not visible to the naked eye, therefore the sounder the dogs, the less chance of undesirable specimens turning up.
There is, as with everything, some debate as to which type of inbreeding produces the best progeny. I for one farther to daughter breeding have produced the best match and brood dogs. My reason is, the majority of great match dogs are males and if bred to their daughters, the gene of the sire then becomes intensified, If the same match dogs was bred to his dam, the genes of the resulting litter would center on the mother and not the match dog’s. Many breeders fail to realize that inbreeding to a great producing bitch doesn’t yield offspring that make for great match dogs, but brood stock like the dam.
Norrod’s CH. GAMBLER
Merit’s Bud Mark’s DO MAN Miller’s RED MAN Bass’ TRAMP RED BOY
Miller’s HONEY Bass’ TRAMP RED BOY
Merit’s SILVER BELLE Marlowe’s CH. BRITCHES Marlowe’s RATTLER
Marlowe’s BRANDY GIRL
Marlowe’s AMBER Bass’ TRAMP RED BOY
Norrod’s IRON JUDY
Norrod’s CH. IRON BOBCAT
Norrod’s Iron Spike ROM Wise’s MAXIMILLIAN
Norrod’s IRON TAFFY Wise’s MAXIMILLIAN
Bentley’s SUSIE Q
Norrod’s IRON JOSEY
Norrod’s CH. IRON BEAR Norrod’s Iron Spike ROM
Norrod’s IRON TAFFY
Norrod’s HEMPHILL BABE Norrod’s Iron Spike ROM
Breeding is the simplest of concepts, yet it is the most widely misunderstood. Simply put, all you are doing, by breeding, is producing more dogs than you intend to use as either brood stock or performance dogs. Those that exhibit the qualities that you are looking for remain as part of your breeding program; those that don’t should be culled or sold.
Snakeman once told me “every breeding you make should have a purpose”. There should be a specific reason as to why you are making this and every breeding. Are you breeding for brood stock or to create performance dogs?
Research your line of dogs before you make these breeding so you can have an idea as to what to expect from the ensuing litter. Going into a breeding half knowledge, is going into it half hearted. Research requires talking to other breeders, of the same line(s) that you are interested in, studying pedigrees, and finding out as much information about each and every dog that makes up your dog’s ancestry. Keeping you eyes on match reports is also important, so you can see how and to who are these dogs winning and losing.
Be selective, breeding to a Grand Champion’s ‘cur’ brother, because he is closer and his stud fee is less, is no better than breeding to Fido from around the corner. Remember that the low quality animals that appear in a dog’s pedigree also play a role in the pup’s characteristics. This is why it is important to have as few as possible and preferably none at all. My philosophy is quite simple when it comes to breeding. I look at the pedigrees of each, the sire and dam, and go back four generations. As I look at the thirty dogs that make up those four generations, I then begin to search for dogs that I would (and would not) like to have as the result of the breeding. If I can say I wouldn’t mind owning a dog like the sire/ dam, the grandsires/ grand dams, and on down the line then I’d be pleased with the breeding. If after all of this, I come up with more dogs that I wouldn’t care to own, then I wouldn’t make this breeding. This is why I keep repeating the point about a dog’s entire ancestry, as the resulting litters my turn out to be just like that individual you were hoping it would not.
Best to best (without regard to pedigrees) is like rolling dice hoping luck will prevail, and as most gamblers will tell you…most of the time it doesn’t. Old timers used to say “don’t breed to the world-beater…breed to the one that created him.” This statement has some validity, if the parents have produced other great performers and comes from a line of great match dogs. Or, was this dog just an exception?
Inbreeding is an attempt to reproduce a specific ancestor by capturing and preserving desired genes. The more a desired dog appears and the closer, within a pedigree, the more likely the resulting litter will mirror this individual’s characteristics. In retrospect, you may also be bringing forth his undesirables. Inbreeding also requires more culling than any other breeding method, because of the fact that filial degeneration is prevalent in this type of breeding.
Line breeding is an attempt to recreate a specific ancestor. It is also a compromise between inbreeding and out crossing and should be done ‘selectively’. The ancestors that make up a dog’s pedigree should all contain the characteristics you wish to capture. With the large number of genes in a pit bull’s make up, line breeding brings out the desirable traits, as well as the undesirable ones, to a higher degree. Thus, positive results tend to come quicker than any other type of breeding technique and also failure, just as fast.
Out crossing can, sometimes, produce great match dogs, but they are a challenge to breed inasmuch as they rarely will reproduce themselves consistently. Not to say an out crossed dog cannot be a good producer or a valuable part of any breeding program, but if you just keep making out crosses indiscriminately you are unlikely to retain any of the traits that made the dog good in the first place. It is interesting to note which dogs carried on the genes of Bullyson, Eli, Jr. Toot, Ch. Homer and other great studs. The out crosses, like Gr. Ch. Art, Ch. Honeybunch, Tombstone, and Gr. Ch. Virgil, these dogs went on to produce the characteristics of those great dogs that sired them.
THE BROOD BITCH
The brood bitch is probably the most important ingredient in any breeding program, if your aim is to be a successful breeder of game American Pit Bull Terriers. If you have a brood matron that produces consistently good dogs and does so regardless of which stud dog she is bred to. Then you have something every dog man in this game is looking for. It is very rare to see a bitch like this, to own her is even rarer. Now what separates a top brood bitch from every other bitch? First, the basics, a bitch must come into heat (season) on a reasonably regular schedule. She must be physically capable of producing puppies. Possess the motherly instinct to care and nurture for her pups. This is all that is required of a bitch to produce puppies. What makes for a brood bitch is her ability to produce high quality bulldogs. No dog has ever produced high quality bulldogs in every litter. There are usually a few good ones, average ones, and of course you will have some bad ones. With that in mind let’s look at some of these famous producers. We’ll start at the top, with Irish Jerry’s (Crenshaw’s) Ch. Honeybunch ROM, she was a daughter of Walling’s Bullyson out of Carver’s Amber. She, herself, was a talented match dog and producer. There was at least one exceptional dog in each litter she whelped, except the one by Gr. Ch. Zebo ROM, and she was bred to some of the best, and questionable, studs of her time. Her most famous litter came from breeding to a dog that had quit, Finley’s Ch. Bo ROM, this breeding produced Champions Jeep, Holly, Missy, and Charlie. She was also bred to another male that had quit, by the name of Crenshaw’s Ch. Otis ROM, and produced Brabham and Singleton’s Gr. Ch. Snake. All this proves she was a potent brood bitch and was able to dominate the genes of some of the sires to produce high quality progeny. Of course there were some in each litter that didn’t turn out, but that could be expected. Another bitch who was able to produce quality offspring in almost every breeding, and is one of my favorites, was Greenwood’s Ms. Holladay. She whelped only a few litters, that are as follow: when bred to Greenwood’s Oakie, she produced Kuemmerling’s Ch. Freddie (won four and lost two, one to Stepp’s Gr. Ch. Angus), O. Stevens’ Ch. Homer ROM (won four and lost dead game to Ch. Jeep), Greenwood’s Holladay Hannah (who produced Jessup’s three time winner Spitfire) and Greenwood’s Mountain Boy (four time winner). In her second litter, this one sired by Maloney’s Davis, she produced Greenwood’s Black Sabbath (won four and lost dead game to Smith & Walton’s Ch. Bad Billy), Greenwood’s Cobra (she won three), and Greenwood’s Jay Dee (who sired Ch. Nino). She was also bred to Giroux’ Ch. Milou, this litter didn’t have the impact or notoriety of the previous breeding. To my knowledge, I’ve only come across one of those dogs ever being matched, her name was Penny and she was picked up in :31. The following litter, second by Davis, produced several excellent bulldogs, most of which were never matched, but used as brood stock. Of these, there was Greenwood’s Martha White (she was the dam of the three time winner Giroux’ Ch. Booger ROM), Greenwood’s Scarlet (dam of Frank & Al’s Gr. Ch. Booker), and then there was Greenwood’s Delta (dam of Stiltner’s one time winner Laverne). These dogs distinguished themselves, not only by beating and competing against excellent competition and demonstrating that crawling back gameness that is so rarely found, but had the ability to pass these traits on generation after generation. Unfortunately, Ms. Holladay died in a kennel accident with a belly full of pups by Oakie.
This is just one exhibit of the point that there are a lot of bitches who may never receive the notoriety of being a champion, nor the opportunity to be bred to anything outside of her owner’s yard, and still can make ROM status. More recently, Ozzie Stevens’ Ramona was born, raised, and bred on the yard of Ozzie’s, never once leaving and made the ROM list in just one breeding, to Castillo’s (O. Stevens’) Troll ROM. Troll was never matched, because he had a habit of chewing rocks and lost his teeth at an early age. This litter produced a two-time winner, two champions, and a grand champion. Which tells us very little of pragmatic breeding procedures. We can go to a higher extreme and find that there are even some of these great producing bitches that were ’cold’, for some reason or another, they wouldn’t fight when a dog was put on them, that made the ROM list. Some of these bitches wouldn’t be fed, no less bred, on some dog men’s yards. For instance: C. Hall’s Sugar Red (produced Wardt’s Ch. Thunder), Losco’s Coleen ROM (produced Champions Coco, Crush and Stryker), and then there was Heinzl’s Bambi (she produced Tudor’s Dibo, who is considered to be the greatest dog of all time). Conversely, the greatest match bitch, or should I say match dog, of record is Double Grand Champion Tornado, she won a total of ten contracted matches and never lost. But never produced a champion. All this goes to show that we have no control over a dog’s genes, which are the building blocks to the game dog.
While bitches like Ch. Honeybunch and Ms. Holladay are rare, there are still some bitches out there that can and have produced good bulldogs, maybe not one the level of a Jeep or Homer, but good nonetheless. With the large number of, quality, stud dogs available today, an educated breeder should be able to produce quality pups.
THE STUD DOG
Previously I spoke of the importance of the brood bitch in any breeding program, now I’ll give equal time to the stud. If the brood bitch is the most important factor, then that should mean the stud is the second most important. Reason being, technically a breeder doesn’t have to possess a male on his yard to make a breeding. With the vast number of studs available, that are advertised in almost every dog magazine from “Dog Fancy” to “The Pitbull Gazette” to “The Sporting Dog Journal”, the choices are endless. You have the entire spectrum of bloodlines to choose from: Champion Jeep ROM to Grand Champion Zebo ROM. Every color possible, from blues to red noses. Weights ranging from 25lbs. to 120lbs. So, if you’re looking to breed to it, it is out there, standing at stud. From the ten time winner who defeated no known dog man or dog, to the one time winner who defeated the indomitable grand champion. They’re all there for the mere price of a stud fee.
As with the brood bitch we must ask ourselves, what makes for a good stud? It’s usually one, or a combination of three reasons: 1) he has a great show record, 2) he possesses a great pedigree, or 3) he has the ability to produce great dogs. Breeding because of one or both of the first two can, and usually does, lead to failure. The only reason a breeder should choose a stud dog is because of his ability to produce quality dogs. Pit bull history is loaded with famous performance dogs that produced nothing worthwhile. For instance; Roadblock’s Grand Champion Joey, he is a six time winner. Of those six matches, he defeated two champions and one grand champion, in doing so he received “The Sporting Dog Journal’s Dog of the Year” award for 1992. As of now, he’s produced one champion and he has been bred to some very good bitches. As mentioned earlier, it’s not always the world beater you’d want to breed to. There were, and still are, some excellent stud dogs that may not have the flash of a great record, or may have never been shown, but none the less can produce quality bulldogs. Mayfield’s Nigger sired four champions and was never matched, his grandson, Hammond’s Rufus sired five champions and he too was never matched. Patrick’s Bull Boy Bob lost three and won one, but still sired winners. Garner’s Frisco, who has thirteen ROM points, has been bashed because of his questionable match record. Not everyone is gong to own a Champion Jeep or a Grand Champion Buck, whom had the world banging on their doors to breed to them. Consider this, how many times had Jeep been bred? He must have been bred to over 100 different bitches; he SHOULD be on top of the ROM list. If I could go back and breed to some of the greats from the ’70’s and ’80’s, I’d breed to dogs like Champion Homer and Grand Champion Art. These dogs had short lived stud careers, one died early and the other was stolen, but was able to produce quality progeny in their few breeding. I often think what the outcome would have been if Grand Champion Art was bred to Champion Honeybunch.
When searching for a stud dog, breed to producers, not performers. I know it’s so tempting to take your best gyp to the twelve time winner, Grand Champion Killer, but by doing so without research is a big gamble. First, find out if Killer has any littermates that have done anything. If not, start looking for another stud. If the answer is ‘yes’, consider this before breeding to him. Find out if his sire is still alive and producing, if so, see if you could breed to him. If you are trying to recreate Killer, your bitch would have to be bred similarly to his dam. More than likely, breeding to Killer’s sire will come at a high price, for he has proven he can produce winners. Lastly, find out what Killer has been bred to that’s been working, and if it’s the same blood as your gyp, then I’d suggest you make the breeding.
There are only two real questions that need to be asked when choosing a stud: “Can I expect to get show dogs off of him?” And, “Would I mind getting a dog that may turn out to be like the parents, grand parents, great grand parents, or even the great, great grand parents?” If the answer is ’yes’, then your search is over.
In closing, decide what it is that you are breeding for, i.e. gameness, mouth, etc. and breed to lines noted for those qualities. Don’t give your dogs’ false attributes, which is a problem for many dog men. Know when your line is losing a certain quality and when it’s time to make an out cross to another line, noted for what you are missing. In other words…do your homework.