Among enthusiasts, the history of the APBT is as controversial as the breed itself is among the misled public. The breed's history is a recurrent subject of lively debate in the magazines devoted to the breed. Although Georgia Pit Stop Kennels does not agree with the mistreatment of animals in any way, the information here is a part of the history that brought this amazing breed to where it is today, and any good responsible owner should know how and where their dogs came from as best as possible.
Although the precise origin of the APBT is not known, we can reliably trace its roots back at least one hundred and fifty years or so to England. During the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the sport of bull-baiting was very much alive and dogs were bred to excel in this endeavor. The same type of dog was also used by hunters to catch game and by butchers and farmers to bring down unruly cattle. These dogs were called "bulldogs." Historically, the word "Bulldog" did not mean a specific breed of dog per se, but rather it was applied to descendants of the ancient Mastiff type dogs that excelled in the task of bull-baiting. The "bulldogs" of yore were much different from, and should not be confused with, the loveable clowns of the show ring today. The old, performance-bred, working bulldog was closer in phenotype and spirit to the APBT and/or the modern American Bulldog. The use of the word "bulldog" applied to APBT's persists even today among APBT fanciers.
When bull-baiting was outlawed in England in 1835 the sport of matching two dogs against one another in combat rose in popularity to fill the void. One point of contention about the history of the APBT is whether these pit fighting dogs were essentially a new breed of dog specially created for this popular pastime. Some authors, notably Richard Stratton, have theorized that the APBT is ssentially the same breed as the Renaissance bull-baiting dogs, largely unmixed with any other kind of dog, specifically terriers. These authors consider the present name, American Pit Bull Terrier, a double misnomer, since, in their view, the breed is not of American origin and is not a terrier.
They explain the popular attribution of the breed's origin to a cross between bull-baiters and terriers as a retrospective confusion with the breeding history of the English Bull Terrier, which is a totally distinct breed that was never successful at pit fighting but whose origin is well-documented. Other authors who have researched the topic, such as Dr. Carl Semencic, argue that the APBT is indeed the product of a cross between bull-baiting dogs and terriers and that the breed simply did not exist in its current form during the Renaissance. They would argue that when we think of the terriers in the APBT's ancestry, we should not envision modern-day show dogs like Yorkshire Terriers, but instead working terriers (probably now extinct) that were bred for great tenacity in hunting. The problem of proof, which hangs over the discussion of any early breed history, is compounded in this case by the extreme secrecy of the breeders of pit dogs. In the 19th century pedigrees, if committed to paper at all, were not divulged, since every breeder feared letting his rivals in on the secrets of his success and replicating it. In any case, by no later than the mid-19th century, the breed had acquired all of the essential characteristics for which it is still prized today: its awesome athletic abilities, its peerless gameness, and its easy-going temperament.
The immediate ancestors of the APBT were Irish and English pit fighting dogs imported to the States in the mid-19th century. Once in the United States, the breed diverged slightly from what was being produced back in England and Ireland. In America, where these dogs were used not only as pit fighters, but also as catch dogs (i.e., for forcibly retrieving stray hogs and cattle) and as guardians of family, the breeders started producing a slightly larger, leggier dog. However, this gain in size and weight was small until very recently. The Old Family Dogs in 19th century Ireland were rarely above 25 lbs., and 15-lb. dogs were not uncommon. In American books on the breed from the early part of this century, it is rare to find a specimen over 50 lbs. (with a few notable exceptions). From 1900 to 1975 or so, there was probably a very small and gradual increment in the average weight of APBTs over the years, without any corresponding loss in performance abilities. But now that the vast majority of APBTs are no longer performance-bred to the traditional pit standard (understandably, since the traditional performance test, the pit contest itself, is now a felony), the American axiom of "Bigger is Better" has taken over in the breeding practices of the many neophyte breeders who joined the bandwagon of the dog's popularity in the 1980s. This has resulted in a ballooning of the average size of APBTs in the last 15 years--a harmful phenomenon for the breed, in our opinion. Another, less visible modification of the breed since the 19th century was the selective intensification of genetically programmed fighting styles (such as front-end specialists, stifle specialists, etc.), as performance breeding became more sophisticated under competitive pressures. In spite of these changes, there has been a remarkable continuity in the breed for more than a century. Photos from a century ago show dogs indistinguishable from the dogs being bred today. Although, as in any performance breed, you will find a certain lateral (synchronic) variability in phenotype across different lines, you will nevertheless find uncanny chronological continuity in these types across decades. There are photos of pit dogs from the 1860s that are phenotypically (and, to judge by contemporary descriptions of pit matches, constitutionally) identical to the APBTs of today.
Throughout the 19th century, these dogs were known by a variety of names. "Pit Terriers", "Pit Bull Terriers", "Half and Half's", "Staffordshire Fighting Dogs", "Old Family Dogs" (the Irish name), "Yankee Terriers" (the Northern name), and "Rebel Terriers" (the Southern name) to name a few. In 1898, a man by the name of Chauncy Bennet formed the United Kennel Club (UKC) for the sole purpose of registering "Pit Bull Terriers" as the American Kennel Club wanted nothing to do with them. Originally, he added the word "American" to the name and dropped "Pit". This didn't please all of the people so later the word "Pit" was added back to the name in parentheses as a compromise. The parentheses were then removed from the name about 15 years ago. All other breeds that are registered with UKC were accepted into the UKC after the APBT. Another registry of APBTs is the American Dog Breeders Association (ADBA) which was started in September, 1909 by Guy McCord, a close friend of John P. Colby. Now under the stewardship of the Greenwood family, the ADBA continues to register only APBTs and is more in tune with the APBT as a breed than the UKC. The ADBA does sponsor conformations shows, but more importantly, it sponsors weight pulling competitions which test a dogs strength, stamina, and heart. It also publishes a quarterly magazine dedicated to the APBT called the American Pit Bull Terrier Gazette. The authors feel that the ADBA is now the flagship registry of APBT as it is doing more to preserve the original characteristics of the breed.
In 1936, thanks to "Pete the Pup" in the "Lil Rascals" and "Our Gang" who familiarized a wider audience with the APBT, the AKC jumped on the bandwagon and registered the breed as the "Staffordshire Terrier". This name was changed to "American Staffordshire Terrier" (AST) in 1972 to distinguish it from its smaller, "froggier", English cousin the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. In 1936, for all intents and purposes, the AKC, UKC, and ADBA version of the "Pit Bull" were identical since the original AKC stock came from pit fighting dogs, which were UKC and ADBA registered. During this time period, and the years that preceded it, the APBT was a well-liked dog in America. At this time the APBT was considered an ideal family pet. Because of his fun-loving, forgiving temperament, the breed was rightly considered an excellent dog for families with small children. Even if most of them couldn't identify the breed by name, kids of the Lil' Rascals generation wanted a companion just like "Pete the Pup". During the First World War, there was an American propaganda poster that represented the rival European nations with their national dogs dressed in military uniforms; and in the center representing the United States was an APBT declaring in a caption below: "I'm neutral, but not afraid of any of them."
Since 1936, due to different breeding goals, the American Staffordshire Terrier and the American Pit Bull Terrier have diverged in both phenotype and spirit/temperament, although both, ideally, continue to have in common an easy-going, friendly disposition. Some folks in the fancy feel that after 60 years of breeding for different goals, these two dogs are now entirely different breeds. Other people choose to view them as two different strains of the same breed (working and show). Either way, the gap continues to widen as breeders from both sides of the fence consider it undesirable to interbreed the two. To the untrained eye, ASTs may look more impressive and fearsome, with a larger and more blocky head, with bulging jaw muscles, a wider chest and thicker neck. In general, however, they aren't nearly as "game" or athletic as game-bred APBTs. Because of the standardization of their conformation for show purposes, ASTs tend to look alike, to a much greater degree than APBTs do. APBTs have a much wider phenotypical range, since the primary breeding goal, until fairly recently, has been not to produce a dog with a certain "look" but to produce one capable of winning pit contests, in which the looks of a dog counted for nothing. There are some game-bred APBTs that are practically indistinguishable from typical ASTs, but in general they are leaner, leggier, and lighter on their toes and have more stamina, agility, speed, and explosive power.
Following the second World War, until the early 1980s, the APBT lapsed into relative obscurity. But those devoted few who knew the breed knew it in intimate detail. These devotees typically knew much more about their dogs' ancestry than about their own--they were often able to recite pedigrees back six or eight generations. When APBTs became popular with the public around 1980, nefarious individuals with little or no knowledge of the breed started to own and breed them and predictably, problems started to crop up. Many of these newcomers did not adhere to the traditional breeding goals of the old-time APBT breeders. In typical backyard fashion they began randomly breeding dogs in order to mass produce puppies as profitable commodities. Worse, some unscrupulous neophytes started selecting dogs for exactly the opposite criteria that had prevailed up to then: they began selectively breeding dogs for the trait of human aggressiveness. Before long, individuals who shouldn't have been allowed near a gold fish were owning and producing poorly bred, human-aggressive "Pit Bulls" for a mass market. This, coupled with the media's propensity for over-simplification and sensationalization, gave rise to the anti-"Pit Bull" hysteria that continues to this day. In spite of the introduction of some bad breeding practices in the last 15 years or so, the vast majority of APBTs remain very human-friendly. The American Canine Temperament Testing Association, which sponsors tests for temperament titles for dogs, reported that 95% of all APBTs that take the test pass, compared with a 77% passing rate for all breeds on average. The APBT's passing rate was the fourth highest of all the breeds tested.
Razors Edge... How it all began!
Razors Edge was started in MD and DC by Dave Wilson and Carlos Barksdale. They started out with game dogs. They researched everything they could find and read every book publicized at that time. The also subscribed to many dog magazines like the ADBA Gazette, even some underground ones. They called nearly every breeder that they could find and questioned them, If it said pit, they were on it. They already owned some un-papered BYB pits. They even had their own pit club and went hiking and other things back in the woods. Eventually they got enough money to get some real papered, good bloodline, game dogs. They purchased some of the best around at the time. Even paid $3500 way back then for a grandson of the great "Plumbers Alligator", mainly Mayfield lines. Dave and Carlos were very heavy into the game lines and had dogs from Hemphill to Wilder blood. These were big game dogs.
Later on, they hooked up with George Williams in DC and purchased a dog they named Diablo, from Wildside Kennels. Diablo's dad was a bigger catch dog, "Hollinsworth Bull". His mom was a game girl named "Wildsides Ms. Leaky". This was the turn around time when Razors Edge started adding more size. The first ever registered "ADBA" Razors Edge breeding was from his Mayfield boy Zeus to a Mayfield girl name Jinx. Jinx was actually given to friend back then named Curt Plater, now CLP Kennels. He owned the first ever Razors Edge dog. They would lose contact after this for many years before hooking up again. They banned pits in PG County and Dave was forced to move. Eventually, through Dave’s job in the Pet Store industry, he landed a mangers job at a Pet Store in VA. He had to move to VA and still resides there as Razors Edge Kennel.
Dave managed a Pet Store, worked as a professional dog trainer, and still bred bigger ADBA game dogs. Basically, he bred his own pits now. He also put fliers in the Washington Post explaining what the breed was and what Razors Edge was.
Dave met a guy name Ron Smith who came aboard and took Razors Edge to another level. Dave saw this blue dog named "Steel Town Blue Monday" and was hooked! Ron already knew every UKC and AKC breeder under the sun. He had been researching on his own for years. So this man had all the pictures, info, etc…. He had fliers and pictures from every AKC and UKC breeder from Coast to coast. He literally had pictures of almost all the dogs in all these pedigrees. That man really was the "Pit Guru". He first contacted Thingy 'n' Bull Kennels, the ones that produced Monday. They turned them onto people in Cali with that blood. Candace Eggart was one. Candy sent pictures of what she had and what she had going on. Just to give you a time frame, She sold a dog years later to Tony Moore named Showtime! Showtime went on to be one of the foundation pregnant dogs in the Greyline bloodline! So this was years before Greyline was even around.
They went to every breeder on the East Coast. Up north to Bobby Morehouse, Beth Jones, a friend of his Lee Fitzgerald, Flying A's, Minot's Ledge, etc. they actually purchased a blue brindle female named "Sadey" from Minot's Ledge. This litter had an extraordinary pedigree. The top half were mainly Flying A's dogs like "Oreo" and "Reo Speedwagon". Dogs he had seen and liked. You could see in the extended pedigree how these dogs stemmed from Ruffian dogs. Then you could see how it went back even further from the AKC Ruffian dog to the UKC Colby dogs. This top half of the pedigree actually showed how Pits eventually were registered as Staffs! Dave thought that was cool to see on paper and in a dog he owned. Then the bottom half of the ped went right back to Stratton dogs. Dogs like Going light Barney, dogs he grew up reading about! Thanks to Richard Stratton. Then behind them were the same Colby dogs he saw on the top half of the pedigree. So he had this dog that showed the history of the Am. Staff and the directions the Colby line went in the UKC. he also purchased a male named "Razors Edge Blue Maxx". His top half was a dog named "StoryTime's Upon this Rock" AKA "Peter" Peter was a dog bred by Beth Jones. He was a big dog, but kinda ugly. They bred him to "Wassuc's Farm Maggie May". Dave really liked this compact girl. He researched her lines and found she was Ryan. When they got to see the Ryan dogs they were surprised to see they were game dogs. They were AKC registered Staffs, but they still bred for game dogs! This was something Dave had never seen, I'm sure that's why the AKC people didn't like that line, . However; Dave loved it! Bully, game, blue, staffs! Now that's what I am talking about! Maxx was there boy from this blood. Now Razors Edge was big ADBA game dogs, one UKC Blue Brindle girl, and a Big hot Blue Fawn AKC boy.
In VA there was Sharon Stone of Cloverhill, who had the biggest Staffs Dave had ever seen! Her old stuff was huge! Too tall for what he was looking for, but huge! They changed years later and went more showy. Paco, was in Dave’s opinion actually a throw back of her older days. Ginny York, Pam Perdue, GiGi, the Garretts, etc….they visited them all. Even went down to Florida and checked out Marsha Woods. Met KC Courtier of Watchdog Kennels. Eventually, went up to MD and met Kimmar Kennels. As soon as Dave stepped on the ranch, he knew he had found the build he was looking for! The Razors Edge package was almost complete.
Razors Edge also had been advertising in the Washington Post for many years. Some young dudes from DC used to come down and hang out and bring their dogs. Edwin Salinas and Joey Nevils were two of them. These guys had been buying dogs from Kimmar and mixing their own stuff in them too. Kimmar used to have an ad in the post under the Pit Bull ads, it said "Petey pups". They didn't want their dogs to be labeled as Pits; but they advertised directly under Pits? Hmmmmmm? Not as Staff? Anyway, local people knew the deal and picked up a lot of her dogs. Joey, Edwin, Joey's pops, and their boys had a bunch of these dogs. Even some old friends of Dave’s, Jerry and Gerrold, had yards with these dogs. They all had game stuff in the mix. Dave tapped into a lot of their dogs as well.
In Kimmar's yard he learned a lot about breeding and genetics. Dave spent every weekend there for almost three years, and actually put on a training class for all her buyers every Sunday.
Razors Edge had been breeding now for a few generations and even used a lot of her dogs from other people in the mix. Ron, also had some York dogs, and some other AKC stuff, they experimented with. Before they got Knuckles or any of them, Razors Edge was already in the game. Kimmar actually used there dog Maxx for some breedings. Eventually we purchased around 15 dogs from her line, including Knuckles and Rage. While these pups were growing, Razors Edge already had it's formula. They just wanted a different head. They were not given papers on some of these dogs and they had to be UKC registered instead! This is where Razors Edge became heavily involved in UKC. Dave started searching for a better head and came into some Watchdog stuff. KC was not breeding anymore, so he had to find that blood somewhere else. he bought dogs from Grapevine Kennels, and also hit up Hughzee's, who he believes later on became Chaos Kennels. They had been talking to Pam from Gaff Kennels for a few years, and really liked a boy name Seiko! So they got a dog from her. So Dave experimented with a lot of lines and different dogs. Razors Edge started having a real consistent look. The heads were big, but they still wanted them to be a little blockier. A few generations later it was pretty much there.
So by taking combinations of dogs and bloodlines Dave eventually got to the style of pit bull he wanted, now called "Bully Style" of Pit bulls, Meaning large in size, such as a large head, wide chest, short blocky muzzles, large, but not over done bone, and a shorter back, but at the same time correct as the United Kennel Club and American Kennel Club judges by.
Razors Edge purchased a pup from the breeding of Kimmars Catt Man Roo and Pam’s White Path China Black. These two dogs produce a few dogs in the litter that helped to promote the Razors Edge line, dogs such as: GR CH Razors Edge Throwin Knuckles, CH Razors Edge Inna Rage, and Razors Edge Sapphire Lil. Another breeding that produced one of the most famous pregnant dogs in the history of Razors Edge was between Ch. Jackson’s GMJ Mr. Brooks and Razors Edge SilverSadey of ML which produced GR. CH. Razors Edge Sadey’s Paddington and also Kim's Blue Dekota. Dave used Ch. CloverHill’s Watuka Spirit AKA Paco and bred him to Paddington, which produced the legendary CH. Razors Edge Purple Rose of Cairo, the most famous dog of all the Razors Edge dogs today in my opinion. Razors Edge Kenna Claddaugh, Razors Edge Top Notch Chino, Razors Edge Chi Chi of Trueblue, Tonka and Jigga and Iced Mocha are also productions from this breeding.
When the time was right, the grand champion knuckles was bred to Paddington, which produced another female, named Viagra. Viagra was bred to the legend Cairo and produced one of my favorite males Razors Edge V’s Lil Ro, AKA "RO". They also produced Cai, Diva, Caira and a few more. RO lives his own legacy today in producing some beautiful dogs such as suarez bulls paco and genuine Edge's Toxic, and Titan Kennels Titan, just to name a few of my favorite males out of him. A friend of mine at Bully Loaded Kennels also has a son, Quake, and daughter, Faith, off of him that will be very nice when they're older. Cairo was also bred to a few other females, but I won’t name them all just ones that come to mind, some of the important ones in my eyes, such as the Cairo and Koi Breeding. Koi who is out of GR CH Knuckles and Dakota (Paddingtons sister), was bred to Cairo and produced Rage, Neela, Brooklyn, Shamrock, Rolli, Rosetta, and Diamond. Cairo was also bred to Tiki and produced a male by the name of Hennessy. Cairo was also bred to my friends dog Trixie of Blackout Kennels in VA and produced his male Gooda, Bo at Bow Wow Kennels, Denile at Razors Edge Kennel, one of my personal favorite females of Razors Edge bloodline and two others that go by Bosko and Bun. The Cairo side of Razors Edge is just a fraction of the bloodline. The line has been taking in different directions but everything basically stems from the knuckles, paddington, and rage blood.
Another well known producing dog is Razors Edge CLP's Short Shot, Short Shot is off of Buckshot and Rage, and is also a grandson to Knuckles on Buckshot's side and Rage is Knuckles sister. Shortshot has done a few breedings is his life, such as Diamond, and more recently Paradise and Steel. there is also sections of the blood that are almost like a line in its own depending on what your looking for, you got the Cairo side, the Shortshot side, the you got Manu side, Dozer Daisy line breedings, which all of this basically ties into each and every dog produced from Razors Edge yard in the very beginning! You just have to connect them all together. It's the facts of producing outstanding dogs from the start and putting time and effort and lots of money into building a dream.
Razors Edge Kennel has been involved in learning, breeding, showing, training and raising the American Pit Bull Terrier for well over 20 years and it keeps getting better! Razors Edge will not die! It will live on through Dave’s kids, friends, and mainly in his dogs! Razors Edge is a bloodline for everyone, it offers show quality dogs, bully correct dogs, bully dogs, and overdone dogs, overdone meaning extreme bone, head, and chest, at the same time very nice dogs, but dogs that would not be able to win in the show ring.
As told by Lowjack Remy-Martin's owner...
Remy was bought for $500 and a treadmill. I picked him up when he was 6 weeks old from George from Rockwood Kennels. I had no Idea that he was going to become a legend and change the pit bull game. With that being said, I needed to find him a mate. My friend Paul had a female that he received from Ruckus Kennels. I went and saw her and loved her, plus her pedigree was perfect for Remy. I named her Bella.
As they were growing up, I realized that the pair in my yard is special. I started promoting them and was getting great love from the pit bull community. The Remy and Bella litter was the most anticipated breeding in 2004. The world was watching, and they delivered. HeadQuarters, Lil Remy, Big Nasty, Betta, Zada, Mikehead, DaBrat, and Remedy were born. I had no idea that that breeding was going to start the rise of Remyline.
Here we are now and to think 5 years ago Remy was just a dog, now he is a powerhouse in the pit bull community, and is the most sought after blood in the world.
Gottyline was founded by Richard Barajas of West Side Kennels. He is the owner of Gottyline's foundation sire, "The Notorious Juan Gotty". In 1997, he purchased Gotty from a gentleman by the name of Tony Moore. (Tony Moore is the owner of Gray Line Kennels in Los Angeles, California). The foundation bitch of Greyline was the late Showtime. Showtime is the producer of Gotty's father, 'PR' Greyline's Raider 2.) He purchased Gotty for the amount of $1,300. When Gotty was approximately 7 weeks old, his sire, "Raider", passed away. When Gotty was 7 months, he sired his first litter. He went on to produce many foundation males and females including Coldens Blue Rhino, and Felony (the sire and dam of 21 Blackjack), New Troijan's Dillenger, Pate's Blue Beast, Gottiline's Monster, Do Good Big Boy, and Westside's Capone just to name a few. Gotty is the sire of nearly 650 U.K.C. registered American Pit Bull Terriers. Since 1997, Gottyline has spread across the USA, Canada, China, the Philippines, and Japan. Juan Gotty will go down in history as one of the greatest dogs in the bully style movement.
The Mikeland's bloodline was started in the later 1990’s by Mike Wallander, Shelley Neighbors, and later continued by his son, Kori Wallander, who is a major reason in why the kennel and bloodline is as popular as it is today.
A product of Mikeland received its first major award in 1996. Since then the kennel and its unique production of American Bullies that consist of short, wide front, blocky head, dogs have gone on to collaborate with other kennels to produce the Mikeland Federation.
The Bully community seemed to take a more serious look at the production of this kennel with the arrival of their most famous studs, Kracker and Gator. However, as Mike stated, “We had several studs. Some were Mikeland game bred studs and some were of the bullier variety. There were several dogs responsible for the makeup of the Mikeland Bloodline. We had great stud dogs long before Kracker and Gator.” According to Mike, the breeding program is what made Mikeland special because, unlike other kennels at the time, the breeding came from more than just one dog. Like many breeders of the certified bloodlines recognized by the Bully community today, such as the Gottiline and Razor’s Edge, Mike feels their dogs and bloodline is unique as well. When asked why he thought their dogs were unique and so popular, he says “You will know a Mikeland dog when you see one or if a dog just has some Mikeland blood behind it.” Many of the dogs have an intimidating look, but a very gentle nature. Me as well as the majority of the bully lovers around the world know that this can sometimes be overwhelming to a lot of people who have a negative outlook on bully breeds. Mike feels this also contributes to the uniqueness of the bloodline. In my opinion, it is also one of the many reasons why the Mikeland Federation and bloodline has gained so much respect in the Bully world and is considered a major and positive representative of the American Bully breed.