602 – Responsibly Developing New Breeds… What Does That Look Like?
Responsibly Developing New Breeds… What Does That Look Like?
The facts are that all but a very, very limited handful of our breeds today have been created by mankind for some purpose. Companionship is a purpose. I would like to introduce you to the Toy Fox Terrier, for example. As society moves away from agrarian and hunter gatherer lives, companion breeds and even new companion breeds are more in demand than ever.
Society changes. And I think that when we talk about purebred dogs being living history, in some cases that history is still being made and there are different needs in today’s society than there were 100 or 200 years ago.
Join me for a conversation with Nikki Holcomb about the American Bully. Recognized by the United Kennel Club in 2013, Holcomb is leading the push to responsibly develop this companion breed with health testing, temperament testing, breeding goals, a breed standard and more.
“The American Bully is a companion breed,” Holcomb said. “A lot of people, when they see them, will immediately question that. They’re like, ‘Are you sure these are dogs in the companion group?’ Even when we’re at dog shows, we’re standing ringside and they’re like, ‘Are you sure at the right ring?’ And I’m like, ‘I’m absolutely positive.’ It’s surprising to people, I think, to see a big bulky dog beside a little bichon or a little toy poodle or whatnot, and they’re like, well, we just really don’t understand. And that’s valid.
“But I think that American Bullies fill a really important spot. There are people out there that want to have a bigger dog, a little bit bigger than medium size, that can do all of the really fun sports, but they really don’t want a working dog. Or maybe they don’t want the attitude of a terrier, or they don’t want to deal with the baying of a scent hound or the quirks that come with the sight hound. You know, whatever it may be. But they want to sport dog. Or they want a dog that can go on three-mile hikes with them or go swimming at the lake and they’re like, well, do I get a small dog or do I just go with some of the things I don’t enjoy as much and I think American Bullies do fill that space really well.
“They’re very easy to train. They’re incredibly handler oriented. They’re absolutely in love with their people, to the point where they’ve never met a stranger. Protective is definitely not on their list. A lot of people will see them. They’re like, oh, they’re guardians. They’re 100% not guardians. They’re not going to protect you. That burglar coming in the house is their best friend. They’re super outgoing, they’re fun loving and they love to try everything you know, anything you could do. They’re excited to do it.”
“The official listing of founding breeds for the American Bully are the American Staffordshire Terrier, the American Pitbull Terrier, Old English Bulldog and English bulldog.
“I think they really took traits from each of these breeds and really focused on making a dog that could be calm enough and low drive enough to be with a young family, with young kids, or even a first time pet owner. Removing a lot of the dog aggression to the point where we do not want to see any dog aggression in American Bullies at all. We don’t want to see prey drive. You should be able to have your American Bully with anything and everything. They should be gentle with children. They should be biddable, easy companions. There shouldn’t be anything that makes them difficult for first time pet owner. These are really important traits for this breed that I feel like the founding breeds maybe fell a little bit short on.”
KNOWLEDGE IS POWER — FRANCIS BACON
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