The OFFICIALunOFFICIAL English Bulldog Mascot

My God!… What have I done?

In Animals and Pets, Television on May 2, 2011 at 8:00 AM

You may ask yourself
Where does that highway lead to?
You may ask yourself
Am I right?… Am I wrong?
You may say to yourself
My God!… what have I done?— Talking Heads | 1988

One time I went to the vet and I met this guy, Ati Fuiava.
He was there with his American bully, One Drop. Ati and One Drop were soon joined by his business associate at Gottiline or G-Line Bullys, James Soto, and his bitch, Brown Sugar. They were meeting up at the vet for a bit of human assisted afternoon delight. Wham bam, whaddup, Doc? BOL!

One Drop appeared ready and eager to rise to the occasion and Brown Sugar was in no way coquettishly withholding any of her dividends. And let the breeding begin! File this under “why?” as in “You learn something new every day,” and Cc under “T” for “There’s something fur everybully.”

Yes… I think to myself
What a wonderful world

It takes, Diff’rent Strokes.
It takes, Diff’rent Strokes to move the world.
Everybody’s got a special kind of story
Everybody finds a way to shine

Different strokes
fur different folks
and so on and so on and scooby dooby dooo be

Hmmm…

So what’s an American bully other than a stout, stocky, muscular mixed breed, all buffed up, lookin’ all roided out, only without the rage?

Since 2004, the American Bully Kennel Club or ABKC, a self described “elite registry” has tirelessly promoted the American Bully as a new breed created by pairing the American Pit Bull Terrier with an American Staffordshire Terrier.

The United Canine Association recognized and began recording registration for the American Bully in 2009.

The American bully is to urban, hip-hop culture what the pure breed is to the hoity-toity mainstream. One would be hard pressed to find a “Guinness” or “Stella” monikered canine among them and the names of the “breeders” and kennels are even more colorful and colloquial.

The websites are glossy and busy, and often feature explicit language rap tunes with a leaden bio delivery together with an even more leaden narrative about the first dog. There’s a similar look to all the sites. They look and perform a lot like Jay Z‘s or Questlove‘s (both utterly fantastic) websites (especially if you fancy rap). Not at all quiet and artsy (or disquietingly similar) like Sean Lennon‘s or Moby‘s.

Hip-hop and rap have literally gone to the dogs. Snoop was there first, though.

What’s the origin of the American Bully? Ostensibly, the American Bully goes back to pre-Colonial days in England. The dog was known as the bulldog and was a versatile work dog, rounding up cattle, chasing hogs and protecting property and families. The dog was used in bear baiting until the practice was banned in England in 1835, and subsequently vanished into obscurity.

Settlers in America brought the dog from England. John D. Johnson is credited with developing the bully which is more athletic and muscular, and led to what later evolved into the American Bully.

The American Bully. It it really a breed?  Is it a hybrid? Is it a purebred? What do these terms even mean?

The word ‘Hybrid’, when specifically with reference to genetics, means the offspring of genetically dissimilar parents or stock. A hybrid is a mix of more than one purebred dog.

Designer dogs are almost always crossbreds between two purebred or first-generation crosses that do not have fixed characteristics, only convoluted, designer names such as the Puggle (Beagle/Pug), the Shih-Poo (Shih Tzu/Poodle), the Goldendoodle (Golden Retriever/Poodle), the Cavachon (Cavalier King Charles Spaniel /Bichon Frise) and many others that pop up in newspaper advertisements, on websites, in pet stores or on Facebook and Twitter.

A hybrid dog is not a BREED.

A breed is a line of descendants perpetuating particular hereditary qualities— as defined by the Oxford English Dictionary, and must be carefully developed over at least seven generations to fix the desired characteristics. People initially developed breeds with the goal of  refining dogs for particular purposes. For example, British sheep farmers along the England-Scotland border developed Border Collies to gather the flocks from the hills and move them from one field to another.

Hunters developed upland game dogs and waterfowl dogs to hunt birds, terriers to hunt pests, and hounds to chase rabbits, hares, and gazelles, warriors traveled with large guard dogs, and noblemen used fierce dogs to protect palaces and property and People who lived in cold, harsh climates developed breeds with weather-resistant coats; those who lived in deserts developed dogs that could withstand the heat of day and the cold of night; and those who lived by the sea developed dogs that could swim in cold water without ill effects.

Although many – if not most – of these breeds no longer work at their original jobs, they maintain many – if not all – of the skills necessary to do those jobs. This combination of physical attributes and mental abilities makes them predictable as pets and adaptable to other purposes.

Prospective puppy buyers can select a breed based on the attributes that equipped the dog to do its original job. For example, Labrador Retrievers, the top dog in AKC registrations, are in high demand as pets for active families because they are gentle, playful into adulthood, active, and relatively easy to train. Border Collies, on the other hand, usually make poor family pets because they are workaholics; if they don’t have enough to do, they may herd the kids or destroy the house.

The establishment of breed insures unscrupulous and careless breeders do not pass off a crossbred hybrid as a purebred and risk irreparably contaminating the gene pool with deceptive practices like deliberately failing to correctly identify crossbreed or hybrid, or passing off dogs with no established pedigree at all to prospective, unsuspecting buyers.

What’s the American bully bred for?  Mostly show.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the anipal world, there are the  purebreeds. Purebreeds are cultivated varieties of an animal species, achieved through the process of selective breeding. When the lineage (or family line of decendants) of a purebred animal is recorded, that animal is then said to be pedigreed.

And this brings us back to our original question:  Is the American bully a breed, a hybrid, or a pure breed?

Well since the American bully was created by pairing the American Pit Bull Terrier and American Staffordshire Terrier, the American bully is not a hybrid, but it is not a breed, either. It is a breed type unrecognized by the American Kennel Club.  A bulldog  type breed, if you will.

The startlingly massive bulk,  the exaggeration of the dog’s physical form and the trend toward breeding the dog larger and heavier is concerning to dog fanciers and animal lovers alike.

Responsible breeders are concerned both fur the dogs appearance and temperament but their health as well.

But like I always say, different strokes.

Goodwill energies I direct
Toward each and every one of you
Each and every day
“And there came to be evening and there came to be morning..”

That’s life today!

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