Another story on Garner`s Ch Chinaman
A few weeks ago I was at my home in Mcleansville when the phone rang and it was my neighbor and friend Tom Garner on the line. Tom told me that Vinny and his good friend Lenny were in town visiting from the west coast. Tom asked if I would like to come over and visit and talk “dogs”, I quickly accepted and then asked Tom a favor. I said, “Tom I have been after you for a long time to write a story about CHINAMAN with no avail could I possibly talk to Vinny about this and so I was on my way to Hillsborough for a visit.
When I arrived it was raining and quite miserable outside Tom, Vinny, Buddy Harris and Lenny were out in the whelping house talking about some prospects off of Frisco. These dogs were looking good and the few that have been rolled are looking very promising. After sitting in this building for a while we headed into the Living room of Tom’s house and Vinny and I sat down to have a long discussion about this great match and stud dog we all know as CHAMPION CHINAMAN. Vinny first off wanted to make one thing very clear and that is all the decisions that were made on CHINAMAN were jointly made between himself and B who is one of Vinny’s closest friends and partner.
In 1981, V & B bought a dog from Kimsey Woods called DOUBLE TROUBLE, they had bought this dog to run in the fast lane with on the west coast and after rolling him out they found out they were pleased with his gameness, but disappointed with his ability and bite. They contacted Kimsey and he told them he had a good rough dog that had just rolled with WOOD’S SUNDANCE and had crippled SUNDANCE, it was CHINAMAN. So V & B decided to trade DOUBLE TROUBLE for CHINAMAN. DOUBLE TROUBLE went on to win two and lost one game in 2 hours and twenty minutes.
V & B started to school CHINAMAN shortly after they got him to California, his first roll was a massacre as CHINAMAN killed the dog in 12 minutes, V & B wanted to see more so Vinny took him that day one hour by car and rolled him into a 48 pound Champion named CEASER. CHINAMAN did not take to the ride well and got sick; when the roll started CHINAMAN was on the bottom for twenty-four minutes, from this position he went to CEASER’S belly and hip. Four minutes later at 28-minute mark CEASER’S owner picked him up and his whole loin was blue, CHAMPION CEASER was never heard of again. V & B decided CHINAMAN was ready to match so they hooked him up and he blew through his opponent in 17 minutes. This first match CHINAMAN fought at 45 lbs.
After this match Vinny went to Australia for a month and a half for vacation and upon return he wanted to see some action, you know what they say about absence and the heart. Vinny told me as soon as he got back he took CHINAMAN to the next local confirmation show sponsored by ADBA. At this show there was a guy who owned a Champion named DOCTOR, he had won three at 46 pounds. After talking dogs with him a while Vinny agreed to go back to his place after the show and they were to roll their two dogs. The owner of DOCTOR cleared his living room and we rolled him and CHINAMAN right there in his house! There were at least 15 people that had tagged along from the show to see these two dogs go at it, they met hard in the middle of the room. Then CHINAMAN drove DOCTOR into his corner where he never came out and he killed DOCTOR in 15 minutes, CHINAMAN literally opened DOCTOR’s belly open.
Just a few days later Rockin Robin called V & B and challenged CHINAMAN at 44 pounds. The match was set to go off in 2 1/2 months and when the time came CHINAMAN made short of Rockin Robin’s dog by going straight to the gut. Robin called a turn on his dog immediately and made a nice handle. Vinny has not got CHINAMAN in his corner and even though CHINAMAN and Vinny had a strong bound between them, Vinny told me he was scared to hold CHINAMAN in the corner because he would go nuts when removed from his victim and do ANYTHING TO GET BACK. Rockin Robin’s dog was a snapping turning dog that would grab CHINAMAN by the nose and run with it. This was style CHINAMAN had not been exposed to when being schooled ad it took CHINAMAN 30 minutes to catch Robin’s dog in the belly again, this time Robin’s dog began to howl. The punishment that CHINAMAN was doing to this poor dog actually had Vinny feeling sorry for the other dog. As he told me hates to see any dog suffer under any circumstance, he also said he could not understand why Rockin Robin would not pick up as all was lost for his dog. Finally at thirty-eight minutes Robin picks up and his dog is in no shape to walk, not to mention scratch.
CHINAMAN took a lot of punishment on the head and it took him six months to heal from that thirty-minute bite and run he had to take in his last match, he had one hole that was punched all the way through the muzzle. After he was fully recovered V & B opened CHINAMAN to the world at 45 pounds! This offer stood for three months when V & B finally accepted a challenge at 43 pounds. They traveled 500 miles to fight HUGH GRAY’S HUBCAP, the dog that beat CHAMPION ASTRO. This was to be a classic as many people thought that HUBCAP was just the dog to beat V & B and their dog CHINAMAN. The judge for the contest was Bill Lee.
Well Lenny went on to tell me how HUBCAP’S style proved to be fatal for him as he tried to fight CHINAMAN straight up and swap it out with him, this gave CHINAMAN the early opportunity to kill him and win in 22 minutes. This was CHINAMAN’S only convention showing and he won best in show. CHINAMAN fought as the 3rd fight on a seven math card, the fourth fight was CHAMPION ASTRO going out again after he had healed from his loss to HUBCAP, HUB had beat him previously at 1:30. After ASTRO was matched that night Vince made the comment to his owner that CHINAMAN could beat his dog, ASTRO and was tempted to match him twice in one night. The man that owned ASTRO really had nothing to say about the statement that Vinny had made, but he did ask Vinny if he could breed to CHINAMAN. Vinny said no, but he could get a dog and match into CHINAMAN and see what CHINAMAN was best at, for now he was CHAMPION CHINAMAN. V & B were on there way home from winning and CHINAMAN was restless in his sky kennel so they were going to let him out and before they could get the collar on him to walk and empty him he was gone! He darted out of the kennel and went running off into the woods in the middle of the night after a deer. It took three of us over an hour to catch him.
After beating HUBCAP, CHINAMAN was again opened to the world and again it seemed forever to get a match for him, eight months later after opening him Cutter & Brice bought a dog specifically to beat CHINAMAN. There was a lot of prefight talk, so much of it that V & B took it personally. Cutter and Brice had paid a lot of money for this dog and he never made a single scratch to CHINAMAN. Their dog was ahead for the first few minutes until Vinny sent CHINAMAN in to the gut of their dog at 38 minutes, they picked up their dog and he died later. After the fight, Cutter was a gentleman, but I cannot say that for Brice, as he made the stupid statement that he had one at home that could beat CHINAMAN.
Vinny also wants it to be known that CHAMPION CHINAMAN R.O.M. was the type of dog that was a great individual and could have achieved what he did in the hands of ANY RESPONSIBLE dogfighters hands against any competition. I asked Vinny why he did not go for the magic fifth match and his reply was that after the fourth fight he got married and went to Europe for a six month long Honeymoon. When he got back and finally got back to business of the dogs he saw many signs of age on CHINAMAN who was now seven years old. He had grey hairs all over his face and his teeth were worn badly, so V & B made the choice to retire him and start breeding him. They were offered in excess of five thousand dollars for CHINAMAN from several well-known fanciers, but they made a much wiser choice than selling CHINAMAN. V & B are very close to Tom Garner and so the decision was made to GIVE CHINAMAN as a gift to Tom and in return Tom would send them dogs out of CHINAMAN. This proved to be very insightful and was good for the WHOLE GAME.
Vinny closed our conversation saying that over the years that many people have wanted information on this great dog and he hopes he has covered all the bases, while trying to make this a insightful as possible. One closing note was that Vinny born on January 8th and this is the same day in 1989 that this great 43-45 Champion passed away that we know as CHAMPION CHINAMAN.
Mr John P Colby was an active breeder for many years and produced some of the best dogs of his time. Much of his foundation stock was from the Gas House and Burke strains, as were the dogs of many other breeders. The difference in the quality of the dogs Mr Colby produced was the result of breeding principles he employed. Also, Mr Colby in my opinion possessed a very important attribute, which I refer to as a gift.
Mr Colby practised a simplified version of genetics, Best to Best, selective breeding
Pictured is John P. Colby Age 20.
Best to Best does not mean performing dogs alone. It entails all aspects of the dogs, from performance to pedigree. The most obvious qualities would be gameness, biting power, talent, stamina and a great bloodline. A bloodline is the result of a breeders influence.
Over the years dogs bred by Mr Colby began to exhibit physical and mental characteristics such as conformation, colour and gameness which distinguished them. These dogs were then referred to as Colby Dogs. Thus we have the Colby Bloodline. People were proud to say, “This here is a pure Colby dog”. This sounds simple; and it leads people to ask; why there were not more top breeders? I believe deciding on what is Best to Best is the key.
I’m not sure that every dog Mr Colby bred to was Dead game; and I’m equally sure he did not breed to every Dead game dog he owned. This is where the gift comes in. It seems to be an in-born sense or ability. I believe most outstanding accomplishments have been made by men who were endowed with a gift for their respective fields.
I do not believe that man knows enough about genetics at this time to produce great animals; and he most certainly didn’t know enough in the days of Mr Colby. Race horse people spend millions of dollars a year, trying to produce great horses, with only marginal success. Similarly, there is no pattern for producing Great dogs.
FriendsThe most essential qualities a breeder may possess are; dedication, a gift, a knowledge of Best to Best, and money might come in handy. If a breeder combines these attributes he is likely to produce, with luck, a great strain of dogs.It doesn’t take too much effort to recall the great Colby dogs of the past. These dogs were bred from the pit and for the pit.
But all of this brings us to a very important question; When a strain of dogs that were once highly regarded, such as Colby’s, stops producing consistently good pit dogs, is this strain still to be considered good? I have heard people say, “I know he’s a cur, but the blood is there”. While this is true in many cases, I wonder how long we can continue to breed to curs and hope to produce game pit dogs.
What is good blood and how long will it remain good if we continue to breed to dogs, who do not possess the qualities of their ancestors? While great breeders can breed to dogs who themselves do not exhibit good qualities; can the average breeder afford to take this gamble?
I have seen strains of dogs that have not produced dogs fitting this description for many years, and people who are active in the sport refer to them as good blood or good brood stock. Many seem to proceed under the assumption, that once a bloodline is good it remains good forever. Many well-meaning people have continued to breed Colby dogs exclusively, thinking all that was necessary to preserve the quality of the strain, was to breed to a dog that had the name Colby on his pedigree.
Pictured is Colby’s Jerry 1900.
I believe that we have to continuously strive to improve the strain, in order to keep it as good as it was or is. It’s an accepted theory, that in order for an institution to continue, it must change and continuously seek to improve. To preserve a bloodline, there is more required than just breeding to dogs whose pedigree shows a particular name. Change is required in order to prevent change in the quality of dogs produced. The Colby strain was developed by change.
FriendsI have heard people say, that the dogs of yesteryear were gamer than those of today. Could it be, in some cases, because we have tried to play Pat and in doing so have lost ground. The people that have bred Colby dogs exclusively for these many years, thinking they were doing what was best, have perhaps underestimated their own ability to breed good dogs.Many of them have bred dogs for 40 years or more and could have perhaps contributed much more to their own dogs, by using their own ideas and experience. New ideas are necessary in every field. Sports records are consistently surpassed by those not satisfied with repeating someone else’s past performance. Last year’s record won’t win this year’s meet.
Were the dogs of yesteryear really superior? I’m sure many dog men of the past would think we have it too easy, because we don’t have to grow secret vegetables and cook our dog’s food or boil their water. Penicillin has replaced many old remedies, making better dog care possible. I have read some diets that top dog men used. While some were good, none could compete with any good commercial dog food available in countless supermarkets. The poorest feeder today is able to provide better nutrition than the best feeder of yesteryear. We also have refrigeration and other conveniences.
It is not my intention to criticise old-timers and their methods. How many of us would be feeding as many dogs if we had to cope with the same adverse conditions? I think our mission however, is to pick up where they left off, emulating their objectives rather than their methods. The Colby dogs of the past, fit the description of good blood, as their pit records indicate. The Colby strain was developed on the principle of Best to Best. When that principle is no longer employed there is bound to be a drastic change in quality. In a very short period of time a great strain of dogs can be reduced to a strain that can do no more than refer to their pedigree and say “My great, great, grand-daddy was a pit dog….I think!”