It’s always fun to engage the pit bull community, which has a lot of theories about the origins of “their” dog, but which is too often absent a cogent “origins” story that hangs together.
Earlier today I mentioned that there’s no terrier in pit bulls.
Some controversy that raised!
Didn’t I know that some book or web site says otherwise?
There are also books and web sites that say vaccines don’t work, that the Earth is flat, and that Elvis is alive and living in Tulsa.
Nope. Not saluting nonsense, no matter the earnestness with which it is offered.
Didn’t I know that someone had made a very pretty picture showing there had been some genetic leak with some unknown type of terrier after 1860?
You mean right after the first formal dog shows were created in 1859?
Pit Bulls were created by dog shows?
No they weren’t.
But what about the English White Terrier?
The English White Terrier that was the weak-jawed lap dog that was so often congenitally deaf that it went extinct soon after it made it into two Victorian-era all-breed books?
Or perhaps they meant the English White that soon went extinct after the 1835 ban on dog fighting in the U.K. — the animal that was completely indistinguishable from the modern Pit Bull?
Surely that dog had some sort of terrier in it, right?
You do not create a mid- to large-sized dog-aggressive breed by starting with a 12- to 16-pound dog that is bred to NOT be dog aggressive.
A dog aggressive working terrier is going to be killed by hounds, or maybe by a more experienced terrierman if he attacks his dogs.
No one who digs has time for a dog-aggressive animal in the field. Bring it out, and you will not be invited back.
What the pit bull community seems to miss is that fighting dogs exactly like the modern pit bull existed since before the time of Jesus .... and a 1,000 years before the first terrier was created.
Look up the Alaunt on Wikipedia and see if the Alaunt statue in the Persian museum reminds you of something.
Read about the ancient dog-fighting Alaunts of France.
Is a new idea forming in your head?
And guess what?
The first dogs brought to the America’s were Alaunts.
Yes, that’s right, the first dogs brought to America were pit bulls.
And no, they were NOT “nanny dogs”. Far from it.
The post, below, was written for Columbus Day in 2018, but I repost it here for illumination.
For the record, no terrier of any kind existed in Columbus’ era.
Pit bulls and Allaunts were not created from terriers, but from crossing two ancient and far more logical breeds: mastiffs and greyhounds. Cross those same breeds today, and cross them again (perhaps with a whippet if you are looking to size down the dog) and you get the original “pit dog” and “alaunt” of old.
THE MONSTER CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS
I live just upstream of the area the Dogue Indians used to inhabit on the shores of the Potomac River at Mount Vernon, Virginia.
I mention this as we celebrated Columbus Day just last week.
Columbus Day is a rather absurd holiday, as there is no day to commemorate the native people who lived in this country for thousands of years before we invaded and killed them off, sometimes intentionally, and sometimes unintentionally by disease.
As for Columbus, he is best understood as a war criminal and mass murderer who killed and plundering for gold and ego.
Over at The Huffington Post, Eric Kassum reminds us of why Columbus brought the first European dogs to the New World -- Alaunts used to terrorize, kill, and feed on the native people.
On his second trip to the New World, Columbus brought cannons and attack dogs. If a native resisted slavery, he would cut off a nose or an ear. If slaves tried to escape, Columbus had them burned alive. Other times, he sent attack dogs to hunt them down, and the dogs would tear off the arms and legs of the screaming natives while they were still alive. If the Spaniards ran short of meat to feed the dogs, Arawak babies were killed for dog food.
Columbus’ acts of cruelty were so unspeakable and so legendary - even in his own day - that Governor Francisco De Bobadilla arrested Columbus and his two brothers, slapped them into chains, and shipped them off to Spain to answer for their crimes against the Arawaks. But the King and Queen of Spain, their treasury filling up with gold, pardoned Columbus and let him go free.
|Dog hunting boar, Roman relief in the Römisch-Germanisches Museum in Cologne, Germany|