Bullyson and Eli by Gary Hammonds
In a recent conversation, the question of BULLYSON’S Gameness came up and I promised to elaborate on this is an article that would probably only add fuel to the controversy.The exact statement was why anyone would breed to a dog as extensively as BULLYSON was, when he was not dead game? As an outsider of sorts, with no ax to grind one way or the other, I’ll try to shed new light on the subject.
To set the stage, BULLYSON and ELI JR. was an extraordinary pair of dogs. They were questionably head and shoulders above the competition of their day. Up until then, almost invariably, the old timers thought the barn storming, hard biting, Stifle eating dogs were curs, curs being dogs that were not Game. The new breed of dogmen to emerge during this era appreciated a dog that could get the job done in short order and even some of the old timers were beginning to change their thinking to varying degrees. Still even before his loss, most questioned BULLY’S Gameness, but in spite of this he had been bred to some of the best bitches in the country, thus a pretty solid foundation.
I feel fortunate to have seen BULLYSON win and lose. His win over SIRHAN was not as devastating as most expected, probably because SIRHAN was a better dog that he had been given credit for being.
In his loss, everyone saw it differently. As a student of the breed I don’t believe I overlooked any factor of all that have been mentioned. BULLY losing to his son BENNY BOB was not only ironic, but sad. BENNY BOB seemed to neutralize and outdo his stale looking Sire’s best moves. Before the match’s conclusion, it was obvious BULLY could not win. An amateur could see BULLY slipping in and out of Shock as the end drew near. His loss left the crowd scratching their heads in disbelief. The old warrior was laid under a shade tree on that hot July day as the boys from Houston and San Antonio surveyed the scene. Years later, Maurice still held he had lost to a rub, which could have been the case.
Before continuing, we must all agree that some of those dogs sired by BULLYSON were great, to say the least. There was BENNY BOB who lost to JIMMY BOOTS in a close one that could have went either way. Ralph, the man who conditioned and handled JIMMY BOOTS told me later he would have been proud to bring either dog home. STOMPER, BULLYSON JR., and JEREMIAH were some of the ones I saw that were worth feeding. The one thing that does stand out in my mind about those BULLYSON pups, some of which were outstanding, while others were only average or below, percentage of Game dogs among them were as high as most families being bred at the time.
In a conversation with Maurice back in the seventies I told him I was apprehensive about using the BULLY stuff in my breeding program, even after his urging. Hell son, he said, you breed that to those ALLIGATOR dogs and you’ll have the roughest S.O.B.’s that ever came down the pike. He hesitated as he anticipated my next question, and went on to say, Now you may lose some Gameness, but you will probably never know it if they are as rough as I figured they will be.Almost all great dogs are questioned by some as not being Dead Game. BULLY and ELI JR. were no exceptions. To me, Gameness is some what relative to many factors or combination of these: time, place, environment, condition of the animal and type of stress are all factors that will check a dog’s oil. Many dogs have shown to be short of Gameness at one time and come back to show Dead Game at a later date, while others have shown exceptional Gameness one day and later quit cold.
We have all heard the Bobby Hall stories about having to chunk BULLY his feed and getting on cars and climbing trees to get away from him. If he had been mine during these times, he would have never had to worry about BENNY BOB killing him. This, too, is a unique situation as BULLY did not produce a high percentage of maneaters, to my knowledge.
Game or not, I believe I’m conservative in saying that no dog since DIBO has had a greater impact on the Bulldog of today than BULLYSON. Throw ELI JR. in the equation and there is no doubt these two brothers changed a great deal of how dogmen everywhere looked at and feel about the greatest breed on earth today.