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Questo di sotto riportato è l'unico standard UFFICIALE E ATTENDIBILE PER L'AMERICAN PITBULL TERRIER UKC ,

il resto e le varie traduzioni fuorivianti non sono assolutamente da tenere in considerazione.

direttamente dal sito UKC :

Official UKC Breed Standard
Revised December 1, 2012

The goals and purposes of this breed standard include: to furnish guidelines for breeders who wish to maintain the quality of their breed and to improve it; to advance this breed to a state of similarity throughout the world; and to act as a guide for judges.

Breeders and judges have the responsibility to avoid any conditions or exaggerations that are detrimental to the health, welfare, essence and soundness of this breed, and must take the responsibility to see that these are not perpetuated.

The American Pit Bull Terrier has a long history of being a physically active, muscular, very agile breed, and has maintained breed type for over 150 years. Any departure from the following should be considered a fault, and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and on the dog’s ability to perform its traditional work.
Quality is never to be sacrificed in favor of size. Characteristics that very clearly indicate crossing with other breeds are not to be tolerated.

UKC is unwilling to condone the validity of using exaggerated specimens of this breed in a breeding program and, to preserve its health and vibrancy, cautions judges about awarding wins to these representatives.

Sometime during the nineteenth century, dog fanciers in England, Ireland and Scotland began to experiment with crosses between Bulldogs and Terriers, looking for a dog that combined the gameness of the terrier with the strength and athleticism of the Bulldog. The result was a dog that embodied all of the virtues attributed to great warriors: strength, indomitable courage, and gentleness with loved ones. Immigrants brought these bull-and-terrier crosses to the United States. The American Pit Bull Terrier’s many talents did not go unnoticed by farmers and ranchers who used their APBTs as catch dogs for semi-wild cattle and hogs, to hunt, to drive livestock, and as family companions. Today, the American Pit Bull Terrier continues to demonstrate its versatility, competing successfully in Obedience, Rally Obedience, Tracking, Agility, Lure Coursing, Dock Jumping and Weight Pulls, as well as Conformation.

The United Kennel Club was the first registry to recognize the American Pit Bull Terrier. UKC founder C. Z. Bennett assigned UKC registration number 1 to his own APBT, Bennett’s Ring, in 1898.

The American Pit Bull Terrier is a medium-sized, solidly built, short-coated dog with smooth, well-defined musculature. This breed is both powerful and athletic. The body is just slightly longer than tall, but bitches may be somewhat longer in body than dogs. The length of the front leg (measured from point of elbow to the ground) is approximately equal to one-half of the dog’s height at the withers.

The head is of medium length, with a broad, flat skull, and a wide, deep muzzle. Ears are small to medium in size, high set, and may be natural or cropped.

The relatively short tail is set low, thick at the base and tapers to a point.

The American Pit Bull Terrier comes in all colors and color patterns except merle. This breed combines strength and athleticism with grace and agility and should never appear bulky or muscle-bound or fine-boned and rangy.

Above all else, the APBT must have the functional capability to be a catch dog that can hold, wrestle (push and pull), and breathe easily while doing its job. Balance and harmony of all parts are critical components of breed type.

Eliminating Faults: Any disproportionate overdone characteristic (such as short legs, excessive bone or massive head or body) that would interfere with physical activity or working ability.

Disqualifications: Unilateral or bilateral cryptorchid. Dwarfism.

The essential characteristics of the American Pit Bull Terrier are strength, confidence, and zest for life. This breed is eager to please and brimming over with enthusiasm. APBTs make excellent family companions and have always been noted for their love of children. Because most APBTs exhibit some level of dog aggression and because of its powerful physique, the APBT requires an owner who will carefully socialize and obedience train the dog. The breed’s natural agility makes it one of the most capable canine climbers so good fencing is a must for this breed. The APBT is not the best choice for a guard dog since they are extremely friendly, even with strangers. Aggressive behavior toward humans is uncharacteristic of the breed and highly undesirable. This breed does very well in performance events because of its high level of intelligence and its willingness to work.

Disqualifications: Viciousness or extreme shyness.

The APBT head is unique and a key element of breed type. It is large and broad, giving the impression of great power, but it is not disproportionate to the size of the body. Viewed from the front, the head is shaped like a broad, blunt wedge. When viewed from the side, the skull and muzzle are parallel to one another and joined by a well defined, moderately deep stop. Supraorbital arches over the eyes are well defined but not pronounced. The head is well chiseled, blending strength, elegance, and character.

Very Serious Fault: Overly large, heavy heads.

SKULL - The skull is large, flat or slightly rounded, deep, and broad between the ears. Viewed from the top, the skull tapers just slightly toward the stop. There is a deep median furrow that diminishes in depth from the stop to the occiput. Cheek muscles are prominent but free of wrinkles. When the dog is concentrating, wrinkles form on the forehead, which give the APBT his unique expression.

MUZZLE - The muzzle is broad and deep with a very slight taper from the stop to the nose, and a slight falling away under the eyes. The length of muzzle is shorter than the length of skull, with a ratio of approximately 2:3. The topline of the muzzle is straight. The lower jaw is well developed, wide and deep. Lips are clean and tight.

Faults: Snipey muzzle; flews; weak lower jaw.

Eliminating Faults: Muzzle so short and blunt as to interfere with normal breathing.

TEETH - The American Pit Bull Terrier has a complete set of evenly spaced, white teeth meeting in a scissors bite.

Fault: Level bite.

Serious Faults: Undershot, or overshot bite; wry mouth; missing teeth (this does not apply to teeth that have been lost or removed by a veterinarian).

NOSE - The nose is large with wide, open nostrils. The nose may be any color.

EYES - Eyes are medium size, round and set well apart and low on the skull. All colors are equally acceptable except blue, which is a serious fault. Haw should not be visible.

Serious Faults: Bulging eyes; both eyes not matched in color; blue eyes.

EARS - Ears are high set and may be natural or cropped without preference. Prick, or flat, wide ears are not desired.

Disqualifications: Unilateral or bilateral deafness.

The neck is of moderate length and muscular. There is a slight arch at the crest. The neck widens gradually from where it joins the skull to where it blends into well laid-back shoulders. The skin on the neck is tight and without dewlap.

Faults: Neck too thin or weak; ewe neck; dewlap.

Very Serious Fault: A short, thick neck that would interfere with functional ability.

The shoulder blades are long, wide, muscular, and well laid back. The upper arm is roughly equal in length to the shoulder blade and joins it at an apparent right angle.

The forelegs are strong and muscular. The elbows are set close to the body. Viewed from the front, the forelegs are set moderately wide apart and perpendicular to the ground. The pasterns are short, powerful, straight, and flexible. When viewed in profile, the pasterns are nearly erect.

Faults: Upright or loaded shoulders; elbows turned outward or tied-in; down at the pasterns; front legs bowed; wrists knuckled over; toeing in or out.

Eliminating Faults: Front legs (measured from elbow to ground) shorter than half the total height at the withers. Front legs so bowed as to interfere with normal movement.

The chest is deep, well filled in, and moderately wide with ample room for heart and lungs, but the chest should never be wider than it is deep. The forechest does not extend much beyond the point of shoulder. The ribs extend well back and are well sprung from the spine, then flattening to form a deep body extending to the elbows. The back is strong and firm. The topline inclines very slightly downward from the withers to a broad, muscular, level back. The loin is short, muscular and slightly arched to the top of the croup, but narrower than the rib cage and with a moderate tuck-up. The croup is slightly sloping downward.

Very Serious Fault: Overly massive body style that impedes working ability.

Eliminating Fault: Chest so wide as to interfere with normal movement.

The hindquarters are strong, muscular, and moderately broad. The rump is well filled in on each side of the tail and deep from the pelvis to the crotch. The bone, angulation, and musculature of the hindquarters are in balance with the forequarters. The thighs are well developed with thick, easily discerned muscles. Viewed from the side, the hock joint is well bent and the rear pasterns are well let down and perpendicular to the ground. Viewed from the rear, the rear pasterns are straight and parallel to one another.

Faults: Narrow hindquarters; hindquarters shallow from pelvis to crotch; lack of muscle; straight or over angulated stifle joint; cow hocks; sickle hocks; bowed legs.

The feet are round, proportionate to the size of the dog, well arched, and tight. Pads are hard, tough, and well cushioned. Dewclaws may be removed.

Fault: Splayed feet.

The tail is set on as a natural extension of the topline, and tapers to a point. When the dog is relaxed, the tail is carried low and extends approximately to the hock. When the dog is moving, the tail is carried level with the backline. When the dog is excited, the tail may be carried in a raised, upright position (challenge tail), but never curled over the back (gay tail).

Fault: Long tail (tail tip passes beyond point of hock).

Serious Faults: Gay tail (not to be confused with challenge tail); kinked tail.

Eliminating Fault: Bobbed tail.

Disqualification: Screw tail.

The coat is glossy and smooth, close, and moderately stiff to the touch.

Faults: Curly, wavy, or sparse coat.

Disqualification: Long coat.

Any color, color pattern, or combination of colors is acceptable, except for merle.

Disqualifications: Albinism. Merle

The American Pit Bull Terrier must be both powerful and agile; overall balance and the correct proportion of weight to height, therefore, is far more important than the dog’s actual weight and/or height.

Desirable weight for a mature male in good condition is between 35 and 60 pounds. Desirable weight for a mature female in good condition is between 30 and 50 pounds.

As a general and approximate guideline only, the desirable height range for mature males is from 18 to 21 inches at the withers; for mature females it is from 17 to 20 inches at the withers.

It is important to note that dogs over or under these weight and height ranges are not to be penalized unless they are disproportionately massive or rangy.

Very Serious Fault: Excessively large or overly massive dogs and dogs with a height and/or weight so far from what is desired as to compromise health, structure, movement and physical ability.

The American Pit Bull Terrier moves with a jaunty, confident attitude, conveying the impression that he expects any minute to see something new and exciting. When trotting, the gait is effortless, smooth, powerful, and well coordinated, showing good reach in front and drive behind. When moving, the backline remains level with only a slight flexing to indicate suppleness. Viewed from any position, legs turn neither in nor out, nor do feet cross or interfere with each other. As speed increases, feet tend to converge toward center line of balance.

Faults: Legs not moving on the same plane; legs over reaching; legs crossing over in front or rear; rear legs moving too close or touching; rolling; pacing; paddling; sidewinding; hackney action; pounding.

(An Eliminating Fault is a Fault serious enough that it eliminates the dog from obtaining any awards in a conformation event.)
Any disproportionate overdone characteristic (such as short legs, excessive bone or massive head or body) that would interfere with physical activity or working ability.
Muzzle so short and blunt as to interfere with normal breathing.
Front legs so bowed as to interfere with normal movement.
Front legs (measured from elbow to ground) shorter than half the total height at the withers.
Chest so wide as to interfere with normal movement.
Bobbed tail.

(A dog with a Disqualification must not be considered for placement in a bench show/conformation event, and must be reported to UKC.)
Unilateral or bilateral cryptorchid.
Viciousness or extreme shyness.
Unilateral or bilateral deafness.
Long coat.
Screw tail

Note: Although some level of dog aggression is characteristic of this breed, handlers will be expected to comply with UKC policy regarding dog temperament at UKC events.

The docking of tails and cropping of ears in America is legal and remains a personal choice. However, as an international registry, the United Kennel Club, Inc. is aware that the practices of cropping and docking have been forbidden in some countries. In light of these developments, the United Kennel Club, Inc. feels that no dog in any UKC event, including conformation, shall be penalized for a full tail or natural ears.





Double Champion (ADBA e UKC) CH Caragan's CH Hitman SDII DNA -Vip OFA hips & Elbow Prelim done, all'età di 6 mesi (prop. Cheryl Caragan)

Le origini dell'American Pit Bull Terrier sono molto antiche e trovano sicuramente le loro radici in quel gruppo di molossoidi impiegati dai guardiacaccia nell'Inghilterra dell’Età di Mezzo.

Erano questi il Bandog, anche detto Tydog, e l'Alaunt: cani tanto forti e possenti da riuscire ad atterrare e bloccare il malcapitato fintantoché non sopraggiungeva il padrone. Ancor prima, però, aveva fatto la sua comparsa a fianco dell’uomo quel variegato ceppo di cani da combattimento, dai Canes pugnaces romani ai Pugnax britanniae dell'isola britannica, che da secoli avevano dato vita ai combattimenti nelle arene: non solo tra cani ma anche con animali di diversa specie e mole: scimmie, orsi, tori … dando vita ad uno spettacolo tanto crudele, quanto apprezzato dal pubblico dell’epoca.

D'altra parte fino ad almeno il XVII-XVIII secolo non si riesce a distinguere coerentemente una razza dall'altra.

Colpa, oltre che di un totale disinteresse per la classificazione degli uomini dell'epoca, anche di quella schiera di nomi diversi utilizzati per indicare uno stesso modello di cane: un molosso agile e forte, adatto perlopiù a lottare.

Così per tutto il XVI secolo i cani da combattimento erano genericamente chiamati Mastiff, mentre nel secolo successivo viene preferito il nome Bulldog per indicare con maggiore precisione quel cane impiegato per la lotta con il toro.

Quando il seguitissimo sport del toro tormentato dal cane (bull-baiting) è stato dichiarato illegale in Inghilterra nel 1835 quello del combattimento di due cani l'uno contro l'altro crebbe in popolarità per riempire il vuoto creatosi.

Un punto di contesa nella storia dell'APBT è se questi cani combattenti fossero essenzialmente una nuova razza di cane creato specificatamente per questo diffuso passatempo.

Alcuni autori, particolarmente Richard F. Stratton, hanno teorizzato che l'APBT rappresenti essenzialmente la stessa razza di cani utilizzati nel Rinascimento per combattere contro i tori: razza pura non mescolata con nessun altra razza canina.

Questi autori considerano il nome attuale, American Pit Bull Terrier, una doppia inesattezza, poiché, a parer loro, la razza non è di origine americana e non è un terrier.

Per Stratton quando, tra la fine dell '800 e i primi del '900, la cinofilia ufficiale cominciò a organizzare i primi show, vi furono in U.S.A. massicce importazioni di bulldog inglesi branchignati (da esposizione). La stampa ufficiale per snobismo ed esterofilia (i cani europei erano considerati più 'chic' in confronto alle rudi controparti americane) cominciò a considerare quelli i veri bulldog, grossi e potenti e a ritenere che i soggetti americani, più leggeri, alti sugli arti e non branchignati, fossero stati 'imbastarditi' con l'immissione di sangue terrier. Da allora cominciò a diffondersi, ma solo tra i giornalisti e gli organi di stampa dell'East Coast, l'appellativo di bull terrier o (pit) bull-terrier mentre tra gli allevatori e gli appassionati continuò ad essere usato il sostantivo 'bulldog'.

                              Altri autori che hanno svolto ricerche sull'argomento, come il Dr. Carl Semencic, asseriscono che l'APBT è il prodotto di un incrocio tra cani combattenti di un tempo e terrier e che la razza semplicemente non è esistita nella sua forma attuale durante il Rinascimento. Essi asseriscono che quando pensiamo ai terrier della stirpe dell'APBT, non dovremmo immaginare l'attuale cane di spettacolo come gli Yorkshire Terriers, ma invece i terrier da lavoro (probabilmente ora estinti) quelli che sono stati allevati con grande tenacia per la caccia.

Nel capitolo 'History of the working bulldog' l'autrice Diane Jessup fa sua la tesi di Stratton (che considera il pit bull l'antico originale bulldog) con la differenza che ritiene probabile una qualche immissione di sangue terrier tra l '800 e il '900 in U.S.A., in quella stretta minoranza di bulldog che furono perfezionati per il dog fighting. In ogni caso questo 'innesto' non ha riguardato il 98-99% dei pit bull di mole media o grande che hanno sempre avuto degli utilizzi diversi, molto più umani e utilitaristici.

Gli antenati immediati del moderno APBT, in ogni caso, erano cani combattenti irlandesi e inglesi importati negli Stati Uniti nella metà del XIX secolo, quando i combattimenti tra cani, tori ed orsi furono messi al bando in Gran Bretagna (nel 1829) e il Bulldog rischiava così di ritrovarsi disoccupato.


Una volta negli Stati Uniti, la razza si è allontanata leggermente da ciò che era stato prodotto in Inghilterra e Irlanda.

In America, dove questi cani furono utilizzati non solo come lottatori, ma anche come cani da presa (cioè, per recuperare con la forza maiali e bestiame randagi) e come cani da guardia, gli allevatori cominciarono a produrre un cane leggermente più grande, più lungo di gambe.

Per tutto il diciannovesimo secolo, questi cani sono stati conosciuti con una varietà di nomi. 'Pit Terriers', 'Pit Bull Terriers, 'Half and Half', ' Staffordshire Fighting Dogs', 'Old Family Dogs' (il nome irlandese) 'Yankee Terriers' (il nome settentrionale) e 'Rebel Terriers' (il nome meridionale) .

Nel 1898 Chauncey Zachariah Bennett fondò lo United Kennel Club (UKC) con l'unico scopo di registrare i ' Pit Bull Terriers' poiché l’AKC non voleva avere niente a che fare con loro.

Originariamente, egli aggiunse la parola' Americano' al nome e fece cadere 'Pit'. Questo non ha soddisfatto, però, tutte le persone vicine alla razza, cosicché più tardi la parola 'pit' è stata aggiunta dietro al nome in parentesi come un compromesso. Le parentesi sono infine state rimosse dal nome qualche decennio fa.

Un'altra associazione che si interessa della registrazione dell'APBT è l'Associazione Americana di allevatori di cani (ADBA) che è stata varata nel Settembre 1909 da Guy McCord, un amico intimo di John P. Colby.

Ora sotto l'amministrazione della famiglia Greenwood, l'ADBA continua a registrare solo APBT ed è più in armonia con l'APBT come razza che con l'UKC. L'ADBA sponsorizza spettacoli, ma in maniera più importante, sponsorizza competizioni di tiro col peso che provano la forza dei cani, il vigore, e il cuore. Pubblica anche una rivista trimestrale dedicata all'APBT chiamata la Gazzetta dell' American Pit Bull Terrier. 

Nel 1936, grazie a 'Pete il cucciolo' nello 'Lil Rascals' e 'Our Gang' un pubblico molto più ampio ha familiarizzato con l'APBT, e l'AKC è saltata sul carro di sfilata e ha registrato la razza col nome di 'Staffordshire Terrier'. Questo nome è stato cambiato in 'American Staffordshire Terrier' (AST) nel 1972 per distinguerlo dal suo più piccolo, 'froggier', cugino inglese lo Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

L'American Staffordshire Terrier è stato infine riconosciuto dalla F.C.I nel 1985 e il 9 Luglio dello stesso anno pubblicato lo standard; l'ultimo standard della razza risale al 3 Settembre 1996.  






Gli Antichi Molossi
I primi cani di tipo molossoide hanno origini remote ed erano usati dagli Assiri sia in guerra che per la caccia di grossi animali;erano caratterizzati dalle dimensioni imponenti,dalla forte presa mascellare e dal muso corto.Durante il VI secolo a.c. i molossi orientali giunsero in europa per mezzo dei traffici commerciali dei Fenici e grazie alle loro caratteristiche si diffusero rapidamente.Vennero usati negli anfiteatri romani in combattimenti contro tigri,leoni e persino elefanti;muniti di una corazza si rivelarono molto efficaci anche in guerra.I romani esportarono i molossi nei territori conquistati e quando giunsero in Inghilterra, i molossi romani,incrociati con i cani dell’isola, diedero origine a cani ancora più forti e feroci e quindi ancora più adatti a combattere negli anfiteatri.

In Inghilterra l’evoluzione del molosso proseguì dando origine a Bandog e Alaunt:due grossi cani usati anche come 'cani da macellaio'per condurre il bestiame e dai guardiacaccia contro i bracconieri.

Il Bulldog
Secondo la tradizione nella primavera del 1209 Lord Stamford assistette dal suo castello ad un combattimento particolarmente cruento: mentre due tori stavano lottando per una femmina,i cani di un macellaio assalirono uno dei due contendenti e dopo un sanguinoso combattimento (che agli occhi del lord apparve estremamente spettacolare)lo uccisero.Il lord donò quel terreno alla corporazione dei macellai e volle che ogni anno venisse organizzato un combattimento tra cani e tori;da allora,e fino al XIX secolo questo tipo di combattimenti ebbe larga diffusione e fu apprezzato da diverse classi sociali.Il termine BULLDOG comparve per la prima volta nel XVII secolo e indicava il cane utilizzato contro i tori;si trattava di un cane simile al Pit Bull odierno:più leggero degli antichi molossi,dotato di una testa grande e un muso leggermente più allungato,molto resistente allo sforzo e al dolore,estremamente ubbidiente ed attaccato al padrone.

Il Bull Terrier
Quando nell’ottocento i Bulldog vennero incrociati con i Terrier inglesi si ottenne il Bull Terrier,un cane molto potente e tenace che si dimostrò estremamente adatto ai combattimenti tra cani e allo sterminio dei ratti.


nglish white terrier

Trusty, Bull Terrier del XIX secolo

Il Bull Terrier diede origine a due razze diverse a partire dalla fine dell’ottocento,quando con l’avvento delle esposizioni canine alcuni allevatori iniziarono a selezionare Bull Terrier rispondenti a precise caratteristiche morfologiche,mentre altri continuarono la selezione nel tentativo di ottenere il combattente perfetto e la distinzione tra Bull Terrier e Pit Bull Terrier si fece sempre più marcata.

Il Pit Bull Terrier

UWPO UWPV UWPCH GRAND CHAMPION/ADBA CHAMPION ‘PR’ Caragan’s Steel Magnum of Contreras DNA-P, OFA-Fair, Elbows, Cardiac, Patellae normal, Cerf. Vvw clear, WD1,TT, DOB 10/04/1997
(prop.Cheryl Caragan)

Il Pit Bull Terrier che andava delineandosi era un cane di media taglia,aveva un collo potente e muscoli posteriori molto sviluppati ,aveva la presa micidiale del Bulldog ,l’agilità del Terrier,il forte temperamento e l’insensibilità al dolore degli antichi molossi.

Antica raffigurazione di un combattimento tra cani

Pit Bull Terrier combatteva in modo diverso e molto più efficace dei suoi predecessori:era dotato di maggiore intelligenza e senso tattico ed invece di tenere la presa ad ogni costo come il Bulldog,cambiava bersaglio al momento opportuno risultando devastante nell’arena.

L’American Pit Bull Terrier
Grazie alla sua diffusione in Inghilterra il Pit Bull giunse negli U.S.A. molto rapidamente e venne usato in ogni tipo di combattimento proprio come era stato in Inghilterra ;dal punto di vista morfologico il Pit Bull americano aveva subito un notevole aumento di taglia rispetto al Pit Bull inglese da cui aveva avuto origine pur mantenendo invariate le caratteristiche tipiche della razza.

American Pit Bull Terrier

Il fenomeno dei combattimenti venne contrastato con forza a partire dal 1856,quando nello stato di new york vennero proibiti i vari tipi di combattimenti fra animali;la lotta al mondo dei combattimenti venne portata avanti anche dal presidente Theodore Roosevelt(che possedeva un Pit Bull),ma pur ridimensionando il fenomeno non riuscì a fermarlo del tutto.La selezione dei Pit Bull utilizzati nei combattimenti continuò nella clandestinità e senza registri ufficiali fino al1898,anno in cui venne istituito l’ U.K.C.(United Kennel Club),che accettava le iscrizioni dei Pit Bull nei suoi registri e fissava il nome della razza in American Pit Bull Terrier.Nel 1909 nacque l’A.D.B.A.(American Dog Breeders Association),che a differenza dell’U.K.C. non accettò di registrare altre razze e attualmente registra soltanto A.P.B.T.

Lo Staffordshire Bull Terrier e l’ American Staffordshire Terrier
Negli anni trenta il cane da combattimento inglese ottenne il riconoscimento ufficiale da parte dell’English Kennel Club con il nome di Staffordshire Bull Terrier,per differenziarlo dal Bull Terrier inglese.

   Bull Terrier Inglese

   Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Nello stesso periodo alcuni allevatori di A.P.B.T. ottennero il riconoscimento della razza da parte dell’American Kennel Club,associazione che registrava cani per le esposizioni ed era affiliata alla F.C.I.;per prendere le distanze dal mondo dei combattimenti il nome scelto per registrare i Pit Bull A.K.C. fu Staffordshire Terrier,che nel 1972 divenne American Staffordshire Terrier.



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 themsel ves. 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 (Fergusons) 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.'



per approfondimenti vi consigliamo www.apbtconformation.com

Antonio Troisi

Ultimo aggiornamento (Mercoledì 06 Febbraio 2013 10:50)