Hello Floyd, November 30, 1989
Today is the day after I received a copy of the Jan.-Feb. 1989 American Pitbull Terrier Times. I had been told by a number of different ones that you had said a number of things about me in the interview you gave the Times. I became so interested that I subscribed for the Times, that was the first of August 1989. As of yet I have not been sent any issues, but a friend of mine did send me this Jan.-Feb. issue yesterday for me to read your interview.
Floyd I must say that your dog ain’t changed you very little, as to the way I read your interview. I told Phyllis, I said you no Floyd’s more of a liar than I thought he was, but you know it could be that he ain’t such a liar, it could be that maybe he just got a bad memory and he just gets things mixed up. And Floyd you remember how crazy and upfront Phyllis is. She said you think that all you want to about that PRINCE OF A MAN, but you’re as wrong as you could be. Floyd knows every lie he is saying in that interview.
So what I thought I would do is write you this letter as I read over this interview and point out just a few of the many things I read and feel I know I can prove is wrong, WITH FACTS!
First let me tell you Maurice Carver matched his first time in 1952, the SKIPPER dog. Eli Jr. was eight months old when Nirider deal him from Jerry Clemmons. And in that litter there was more than four pups. Nirider got one male as a puppy, he jumped out of a two story window at six months old and killed his self one day when he seen another dog walking down the street. That is when Nirider then deal for ELI JR., and at that same time or a month or two later he deal Jerry for SPOOK. She quit cold 4 or 5 different times in rolls when Nirider roll her in this area. Floyd I could go on and on one thing after another of things such as what I have pointed out to you, it is like I see it throughout the interview. What I want to write you about are the more direct things that you said that much more ways involved me.
First lets start with ELI from him to me being confused as to the BULLYSON vs BENNY BOB match. Let me first say that the match with Danny Burton and Raymond, Danny dog was black and was owend by the Plummers, Raymond’s dog was white and was called Whitey’s FORD, Danny’s dog was called 500, no dogs there that day was called LIGHTING IV.
Floyd you know as well as I know how ELI was bred. It is just like Leo told me, Curley Hayes told me and a number of us in the core knew the true breeding of ELI. Jr. Bush told Curley Hayes that you told him the true breeding on ELI. Floyd you and I talked about this in the years when the game was all talking about it. Like I said more than one told me how they knew for sure that ELI was out of CRY BABY. But like you always knew me, ain’t no one dog deal going to rile me. With me I could have forgot the matter, but when the stories began being told to the beginners of the eighties, the way that you, Bobby Hall, and a number of different ones who ya’ll be dealing with in the ways of lies, lies, lies. Well that’s when I began to do a bit more writing the true stories into the game.
As I told you in the last letter I wrote to you, that you never answered when I sent you the copy of “Rednecks”. I wrote the story A ROSE IS A ROSE after Sonny Sykes and I got together in Mississippi in 1979. Sonny told me how he was getting back in the game. Sonny and I were always a little different with our friendship. We were close, but not to close, it has been with Sonny and I in a way where we have always had lots of respect for each other. I told Sonny to pick himself a pair of pups from a litter that I had coming from a litter in Chicago. The pups were some high dollar pure bred family bred pups at Paul Sofiakis’ yard. I had bred these dogs for a number of generations and know their breeding value. Sonny and I never been the kind that would lie to each other. It’s like no matter what we talk about, we talk to each other in the way as to the truth with each other.
I had told Paul all the stories about ELI and about our deal, you and I had with CRY BABY and the pups. But to Paul it was more like just another story about the question marks in many pedigrees. After Sonny Sykes and I had talked in Mississippi and I deal him the pair of pups. Sykes and Paul later got together for a visit in Chicago. As I was told by Paul the next day when he called. Paul said Sonny and I was together all day yesterday, he said Sonny and I drank some red wine and did lots of talking about old times. Paul said Don that story you told me about ELI you were sure right, Sonny told me that he seen ELI when he was on CRY BABY when the litter was near three weeks old. Sonny said that Floyd gave Sonny pick pf the litter and told him not to tell anyone how they were bred. Sonny said for some reason he never got to get with Floyd to get the pup he had picked. Sonny Sykes said the next time he saw ELI was when you matched him into Jack Smith in Mississippi. Sonny said that after the match you came to him and told him that ELI was the pup Sonny picked out of the litter. I remember that match very well, Leo and Curly both came to me and spoke of how ELI and CRY BABY looked alike. Curly came to me five minutes into the fight and said out, “Hell son you told me all the pups out of CRY BABY died.” I said, “what can I say Curly I got eyes too.” Well Paul talked on and on as to what Sonny talked about. A few days later Sonny and I talked and I told him I always knew that ELI was out of CRY BABY but I never was told your story about seeing ELI when he was a puppy in his litter on CRY. Sykes said yup Don that is the truth it happened just like I said, I just never had no reason to tell you about it till now. Don you know me, Sonny said I will tell it to you only one way.
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!”