The Pelican Brief
This story is based on half-facts, half-truths and is wishful thinking in a certain direction that could be close to the truth, but is by no means the whole truth. It is just a hint for the readers to think in a certain direction when breeding bulldogs and why some of the legendary old-timers are still on the top of the mountain after all these decades of breeding their family, because they carry a big hidden secret about the truth of one of the greatest clicks in history to produce awsome bulldogs. Some time ago I was studying the roots and backgrouwnd off my bulldogs again and of other major bulldogs from the past with the help of pedigrees on line. It went pretty good and fast I came across the Eli/Boudreaux dogs and especially the Eli dog himself and the dogs before him. To my surprise I saw that he came from light coloured dogs who where red bred and/or white buckskin and white brindle dogs traits from the Colby bloodline The Eli family turned from these colors black almost overnight he’s heavy Dibo inbred bred and since Dibo was one of if not the most important prepotent producer of his days it kinda looked odd that the Eli family turnd black overnight.
When I arrived at my friend’s yard in Texas, USA, we started to talk about the various Eli familys and stuff and my friend told me (who was close with Jerry Clemmends for some time and who owned the Niggertoby dog for some time that he bought off Clemmends) that Clemmends and one of the less known but best Eli breeder of the past, J.D. Elliot, had said to him “If you ever breed these dogs good and tight and a red one comes along, keep that one, as it most certainly will turn out good and you need him to breed back into your black family stock”. My friend never understood why and he told me that they never told him why. He took me to Jerry Clemmends place who I met and his very nice wife we saw the yard and his famous Six Bits dog and some others and youngsters. He didn’t have a lot of dogs around, about 12 or so, but it was educational and very nice to meet up with this old-timer and the man who bred Bullyson, Eli Jnr and Brendy. A couple of days later I was picked up by another friend off mine from the Bulldog Ranch. He took me up to Louisiana and we visited Floyd Boudreaux. I was impressed to some extent by the same looks his bulldogs had as our dogs and what I liked the most was that 90% of them were all black. He had a couple of red rednosed dogs and you could see that they were old-time stuff like the Wallace dogs were looking and sure enough that stuff when back to that old stuff he one or 2 lighter coloured dogs as well. Now I knew that his dogs were awful tight bred, but looked so good something that didn’t hit me right then. We had a lovely day and me and my wife and friend and Mr Boudreaux had dinner at a sea food restaurant cajun style!!. When I got back to my friends place a couple of days later I told him that these Boudreaux dogs looked too good compared with there inbred peds and that I found it odd that these 2 men after so many years in the game, still were and are the best Eli breeders around. I couldn’t help thinking about an interview with Danny Burton who once I said that Earl Tudor loved the Henry dogs the best and that they were big headed black dogs with reddish eyes and they were crazy to fight and nobody knew where they came from????
I suddenly realised that it could be that Earl Tudor kept 2 familys registered under ONE name which is known as the Dibo family so he could have these Henry dogs registered as Dibo dogs but infact they were a secret family, who when bred together made one hell of a click. Ain’t it funny that these Boudreaux bred dogs turned black overnight?? and are bred so tightly that they actually would not be able to function. Ain’t it funny that the red ones that popped up should be used to be bred in. Why was Carvers Black Widow stolen back by Tudor, bred to his (Dibo) Spike dog 2 times and destroyed. Why was the ****** dog, Earls favourite dog, with his favourite pedigree?? In them days he had the same pedigree as many other dogs around Earl’s group. There was one difference and that was that ****** was black!! All of a sudden, in a time span of not that many years apart, these great known ace dogs in the likes of Eli Jnr, Bullyson, Zebo, Pit General, Alligator, and so on, pot up. It sure is funny that most of these lines clicked very well together and/or more important clicked with the same outcross families who YES WERE HEAVY DIBO BRED, like Snooty blood or Boomerang blood. Some of us will know the Eli(Henry) x Snooty (Dibo) crosses of yesterday, together with the Zebo(Henry) x Snooty(Dibo) crosses and the Alligator (Henry) x Snooty (Dibo) crosses or the Zebo x Eli breedings or Alligator x Eli breedings, Bullyson (Henry) x Arts Missy (Dibo) or the Eli x Boomerang crosses. Most of these legendary dogs where a product of Henry x Dibo cross registered under one name as Dibo dogs, but in fact they where battle crosses which could be the reason them pure bred Eli dogs are still looking so good and perform good, while on paper are bred awfully tight, too tight if you ask me. Don Malony had them pure Dibo dogs, the best one he probably ever had was the Toot dog who was double bred Tudor’s Ch. Spike. Toot was like his Dibo ancestors, a real Dibo dog, light coloured red dog like Dibo and Tudor’s Ch. Jeff or what about Tudor’s Ch. White Rock and so on. Where did the black colours in Eli and the ****** and Zebo bloodlines poses came from?? Why was Black Widow stolen? Why did they steal the old Eli dog? Why did Zebo come out of the same part of the country where they knew Eli went to. Why those he has a reversed Henry pedigree, why do they say he’s a son of Eli? Why was Pit General stolen? Why? Why? Why?
Too many coincidences surround the legendary black aces of the past. Last but not least, the conning and stealing probably started with Tudor’s sins. ****** was his favourite dog in colour and pedigree but he later sold him becouse he wasn’t a hard mouthed ability dog , he was not a cut that a lot of people think. This rumour was spred by Don Maloney who was present only with Tudor and Burton. Maloney didn’t like Tudor taking a liking in Burton. He named his son Earl. Maloney got the Dibo dogs and Burton the ****** (Henry blood) producing Pit General. Another ace dog who is believed to be a Henry/Dibo cross is Gr.Ch. Art. His daddy being Eli Jnr and his mommy the Java bitch, a red Carvers Pistol bred dog with some Miss Spike and Coton Bullit in there. Last but not least, bloodlines built around dogs like Chinaman whose daddy came out of Eli Jnr (Henry) x Curtis’ Sugar (Dibo) and as mentiond before Gr.Ch. Art out of Eli Jnr x sister of Sugar called Java and also the Nelis (Henry) x Tug (Dibo) or Spike (Henry) x Tug (Dibo) breedings, Tug being Tombstone/Toot/Carvers Pistol/Miss Spike, bred all pure dibo red bred dogs, while Nelis /Spike are Henry black bred through Alligator x Eli blood. A coincidence? I dont think so! I can go on and on, but it would be nice for the readers to do some pedigree researching themselves and seek out the hidden secrets used for 30 or so years to breed outstanding dogs. Like I said it’s half-truth, half-fiction and wishful thinking, but I’m sure the truth is up there with it …
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!”