How it Looks to me by Howard Heinzl
Many dog men you meet start by telling you how many years they have had Bull Terriers. I got my first one when I was 9 years old, and all of 31 years ago. All this proves to my way of thinking is that I like dogs, and mostly that I’m getting older. The hottest dog man around Arizona now is Charlie Spencer, who started about 4 years ago. He’s won 3 or 4 good ones with his 48 pound Toby dog, and the one man to beat him so far was Ken Barney, at 36 pounds. Ken has had Pit Bulls about 2 ½ years now, and will match one at the drop of a hat. Both Spencer’s Toby and Kenny’s 36 pound dog were bred by Ed Ritcheson, Ed lost three in a row trying to beat dogs of his own breeding with dogs he would buy around the country. From here on Ed tells me he’s using his own.
Another dog man bound to be heard from is Clarence Hager, his wife is as much of a fan as he is. He had two dogs stopped in rolls here lately, and he will shake hands with you afterward, and thank you for helping cull his kennel and cut his feed bill, as he put it. We’ve all seen old timers at the game who would pout and make excuses when one quit. The old timers who did anything don’t have to tell you how many years they have had Bull Terriers, you read about them in the records.
I think John P Colby tops as a breeder. The rolls I saw when I was up at Colby’s in 1935 or 1936 were better than half the matches I have ever seen in my life. John P called them turn ups. It was hot around Boston so any local action was kept quiet. A lot of people who didn’t know any better said J.P never set one down. Three dead game Colby dogs I have had were Sport, Buddy, and Hobo. I think I have some good ones now, but to say a dog that is still living dead game is wishful thinking. None of these three dogs ever made a turn in there life or before they left it. I have over a dozen old Colby pedigrees around the house, and I can’t find one of the dogs in them Mr. Pete Sparks mentioned in a recent copy of Bloodlines, I’m sure he was mistaken.
Back in about 1933 in Chicago Bruce Johnson introduced me to Chuck Doyle, at the time he had a brindle bitch with a bad hind leg that was about to whelp. About a year and a half later we matched a 38 pound dog we bought from Jim Corrington, against one of these pups we had Old Sandy in about fair chain shape after all this rookie Doyle couldn’t beat us wise old heads, he didn’t miss it though I think it lasted about 20 minutes Doyles dog just waved Sandy around like a flag, and he started looking over his shoulder for help so Bruce threw in the sponge. Doyle’s dog wasn’t even warmed up yet. I believe Tudor is in a class by himself, as a dog fighter I’ve read about different men being called tops in the business but, if they come close to Tudor’s record they must have been matching dogs on another planet.
When Tudor and Art Nemecheck ran a pit they won 23 UKC fights in one month, that’s more than myself and a lot of other guys had in a lifetime, win or lose. It wasn’t to long back that Tudor had a challenge in Bloodlines to match three dogs for $1,000 with him losing the grand if he didn’t win all three go’s. He made the first UKC Champion and John P Colby bred him. Tudor’s wife Flo is just as good a judge of pit dogs as he is and probably the worlds best cook. A fan out here told me that J.P or his boy’s never ever saw a convention, I don’t know what that proves, neither did the Farmer Brothers of Chicago Rip, Ryan, George Armitage or Red Considine and they were all pretty fair dog men.
Armitage taught us all a little about making it out here. He said a match well made was half won. Just before Armitage arrived out here Wiz Hubbard matched Hube Yates it was a bitch fight, (Lady vs Trilby) and spotted him 9 pounds Wiz lost about $500.00 but picked his bitch up to save her. Armitage never fought many dogs in his life, but he sure matched them carefully. He thought Clark’s Tramp was the best dog that ever lived. Tramp was pure Colby. We have a bunch of dogs out here now, the oldest of them are about 5 years old, some have fought at the convention two in old Mexico and so far they are outstanding. This Spencer’s Toby is one and Richeson’s Lark, Peggy, Monkey, Jeep ,Pete, and Shiner are a few more of them, that stood the test and are stand out pit dogs.
One of the best dogs I ever saw was a red nosed dog from Clas Conklin in Lenox South Dakota. I don’t think his red nose had anything to do with the size of his heart. Though I’ve seen and had red nosed dogs that would quit like a turkey, when I start breeding for color I’ll sure call them Staffordsires because that’s all they will be in a couple of generations. In reading through several back Bloodlines there are lots of pictures of good looking dogs at stud with captions telling how they can fight. I’ve yet to see an ad with what is a lot more important a record of how some of his sons and daughters have fought and maybe a copy of his breeding. Leading horse magazines always list the achievements of the stallons as not all good performers, are good sires Braddock and Billy Sunday were two great dogs in the pit but never sired any outstanding pups.Five years ago I figured they would fall apart, as did a lot of other people some of course quit like any line will, but for a new cross Ed breeds them back in and sure gets some out standing pit dogs. He got his first ace Jeep by breeding his Jack Meeks Mouse to Hubbards Gimp. He then bred Jeep to Hubbards Sissy and raised his best bitch Spotty who is the dam or grand dam of all aforementioned, dogs there sire was Spike a dog Ed bought from Al Brown, so this old rugged cross is part Meeks breeding part Feeley and half Al Brown’s Spike. Spike also had some Feeley blood in his back ground.
I have an 8 year old 40 pound Colby dog Kayo farmed out with some friends he is the sire of Adams Botcher who won in 1 hour and 40 minutes in Mexico, I wasn’t down there at the time but have a film of the fight, Botcher went uphill 4 pounds and beat a good dog holding one nose hold 30 minutes which is longer than a lot of dogs will fight. They were both dead game dogs and proved it. Botchers dam was a little cross bred bitch that quit in about 10 minutes I tried to talk Adams out of breeding her to Kayo but, he did and raised some good ones. Old Kayo is by Colby’s Tinker out of Colby’s Scarlett, he lost his teeth early but, stopped two bigger dogs Phil Iavlkner shipped in from California in 30 minutes each. They were Tar Baby and Timmy. He also stopped a dog Black and Bill Anderson had called the Chicago dog in a little over 32 minutes and with no teeth he went 20 minutes with Lark. The best 50 pound dog we ever had out here, no one else cared to roll anything with Lark. And Leo White came out and wanted to see him go, now the only black mark on Kayo’s record should be on mine.
Before Ed Ritcheson and I were partners I matched Kayo into a black dog that Ed had that I didn’t think was much. Kayo had poor wind and I thought some Knox gelatin before the fight would give him an added push, he wouldn’t drink the beef broth I put in it so I mixed another packet of gelatin in about half a pint of goat milk and it sure choked the old boy down. He gagged and slobbered after the first five minutes he kept coughing up big strings of flem. Ed’s dog wasn’t hurting him so I let it go after 56 or 58 minutes it was Kayo’s turn to scratch and he waddled toward a couple steps gapping like a fish and was counted out he didn’t lay down sit down or tuck his head in the corner, like a cur usually does. I picked him up and set him outside the pit. He was really wobbly and the whites of his eyes were solid red but he didn’t flop down and rest. When Ed carried his black dog past to his car old Kayo staggered after him. I sure wasn’t very proud of my conditioning but I made it up to the old boy, he’s got a real good home up in the mountains with some swell people and has the run of there house and yard. I wont say any living dog is dead game but, I think a lesser dog than Kayo would have curled up and died after the going over Lark gave him.
A few of his better offspring are: Ken Barney’s Sadie, Stewart Adams’ Honest John, General, Botcher and I have a 46 pound son of his that will do, his name is Colonel. I have a pure Lightner stud dog Lightner’s Tony, I’m sure Bill Lightner didn’t keep him around just for a pet, but I will wait about 6 more months to brag about Tony as the dozen or so pups Ed and I have by him are a little young yet to set down hard but, they all act extra good and are hot to go. It’s hard to get two or more people to agree on anything, I imagine that would apply even if they raised sheep. Well Bull Dog people are no exception unless that we are harder headed than most groups. I think it would be interesting if a lot of fanciers would write in with there opinion of the best dog, best conditioner, best handler etc etc. I’m sure it would create quite a bit of interest.
When Art Shinler from Detroit conditioned the Smith Brothers dog against Bruce Johnson and myself he did a top job. Red Considine had Lena in a good a shape as a dog can get in Chicago when she beat Bernero’s Jackie in about 1932, Jim Curry had his Midas dog about right as they get for that Spider dog some Texas boys brought to Lexington in 1936. but, I still have to pick Earl Tudor when he is really cracking as boss of em’ all. If you match him at a given weight you can’t have a dog that is just a little better and win. The best dog I ever owned was Colby’s Buddy. The roughest dog was Ed Ritcheson’s Lark. The one I’d hate most to go up against and try to beat would be Tudor’s Demon about 10 years ago. I haven’t the paper or time to tell you about all the curs I’ve had but, I’m sure we all get them, and it makes those scarce game ones worth all the more. I’ve got dogs tied to dogs at my place. Any over a year old have been out at least 30 minutes (off the chain). I call them half honest and think in shape will be worth a bet, with all the other dogs of all ages and the care involved the job gets a little old after 30 years but, I guess I’ll have them 30 more if I live that long.
HOWARD HEINZL Tempe Arizona 1955