First of all, this is not a review. I cannot possibly say anything concerning the "Old Family Red Nose" dogs that has not already been repeated a hundred times before. This, therefore, is simply another record of what history has already given us and a re-introduction to the very significant part of the history of the American Pit Bull Terrier.
When we discuss the origin of the "Old Family Red Nose" dogs, we are really discussing the original dogs bred by such men as William J. Lightner and Con Feeley. It was around 1914-1916 that Red Howell, Al Dickson and Joe Peace had dogs from the first litters off of Lightner's "Vick" and Lightner's "Pansy". When the first World War came along, Joe Peace and Al Dickson were drafted and Red Howell was left with the dogs. Red Howell sold some of the dogs, however, most of the dogs he placed in capable and reliable hands of those he knew he could trust. During this time they were known as just food pit dogs. The name "Red Nose", at the time, had never been used to describe a particular line of dogs. It would be Dan McCoy who would later be credited as the first man to coin the phrase, "Old Family Red Nose" dogs to describe and distinguish these dogs as an individual line or strain of the American Pit Bull Terrier. History later gave us the litter of Ferguson's "Centipede", Hemphill's "Golddust", Morris' "Pinkie", and Howell's "Banjo", as well as their close relative, William's "Cyclone".
Robert H.(Bob) Hemphill, along with Red Howell, went to the kennel of Harvey and Owens in Amarillo, Texas and together they purchased "Golddust". "Golddust", of course, later went to Harry Clark and then to D.A. McClintock, where he died. Earl Tudor obtained "Centipede". "Centipede" was then loaned to Red Howell. Later, Earl Tudor sold "Centipede" to Dave Ferguson. Earl Tudor was also the man who owned the dog called "Cyclone" and eventually sold him to Jim Williams's. It is felt that if Earl Tudor and Red Howell had not won such great battles with these dogs mentioned above, as well as other, that made this particular line so popular. This was the first time you really began to hear about "Red Nose" dogs as a strain.
Now, not all of the offspring were whelped "Red Nose" from this stock. Some people still feel that the blood in the Con Feeley dogs was much more "Red Nose" then that of the Lightner dogs. It is said W.C.(Bill) Roper bred some of the best "Red Nose" dogs, sent to him by Jim Williams and Bob Wallace. I.D. Cole of Arizona also bred some extremely high caliber dogs, bred down from Slattery's "Mike" and William's "Blade". I.D. Cole also owned Cole's (Fulkerson's) "Spook", a direct grandson of the old Lightner's "Spook". However, the "Red Nose" dogs were never controlled by any one individual or select group of individuals. Many of the "Red Nose" dogs were produced through different crosses. In fact, there were many breeders and fanciers of the "Old Family Red Nose" dogs. There were men such as W.J. Lightner, Con Feeley, J.P. Colby, D.A. McClintock, Dan McCoy, Harvey and Owens, Ferguson, Ferrel, Conklin, Anderson, Bourgeous, Plemmons, Dickenson, Hanson, Williams, Roberts, Cole, Leo Kinard, Ed Crenshaw, Joe Beal, Jake Wilder, just to name a few. However, two of the leading breeders into the late 1960's and the man more often associated with the "Old Family Red Nose" doÿ
However, two of the leading breeders into the late 1960's and the man more often associated with the "Old Family Red Nose" dogs were Robert H.(Bob) Hemphill Jr. and Robert Forster (Bob) Wallace.
Robert Hemphill had been friends with Earl Tudor as early as 1914. Hemphill became personally interested in the Lightner dogs and in the 1920's began an extensive search to locate and obtain high caliber dogs from this line.
It was Dan McCoy who received word of the frenchman who lived in Louisiana by the name of Bourgeous. Bourgeous had received several dogs directly from Mr. William Lightner and for many years had bred and raised these dogs strictly for his own personal satisfaction. Bourgeous was extremely successful in preserving the "Red Nose" strain. Robert Hemphill went with Dan McCoy to Louisiana and aided by Gaboon Trahan, they purchased several dogs from Bougeous. Hemphill's kept only the highest caliber of these "Red Nose" dogs and began to form his foundation stock from them. Hemphill's early advertisements refelect that he had been raising "Old Family Red Nose" dogs since 1927. Thoughout his life, Robert Hemphill remained dedicated to the breed and faithful to the "Old Family Red Nose" line. Old advertisements throughout his life reflected his great devotion to keeping the line pure. Until 1966 he advertised strictly "Old Family Red Nose" dogs. After that time, his ads began to reflect the adage of 1/8th to 1/16th "Dibo" breeding.
Concerning the Lightner dogs, some fanciers and under the false assumption that W.J. Lightner bred only "Red Nose" dogs because of his overwhelming association with them. Those who have really done their homework know that this is not the case at all. He also raised great blacks and dark colored dogs as well. The pinnacle of Lightner's success as a breeder is demonstrated through two dogs; Hall's "Searcy Jeff", owned through time by Jim Searcy, Bob Hemphill and Dr. Hall and then Bob Wallace, was reputed as being the best of the "Red Nose" blood that could ever be bred. The second dog was "Colorado Imp", owned by Jeff Runyon and said to be the best of the black and/or dark blood that could ever be bred. Both of these dogs being bred from the same basic foundation dogs of the same man, William J. Lightner. When these two dogs met each other at Medicine Park, Oklahoma in 1937, they proved William J. Lightner to be one of the greatest breeders of all time. After this meeting, Bob Wallace told Hemphill that he was going to buy this dog, "Searcy Jeff", even if it costs him a thousand dollars! Later, in 1937, when Hemphill left that part of the country, he divided up up the dogs with Red Howell and Dr. Hall. Dr. Hall received "Searcy Jeff" and Bob Wallace did eventually buy "Jeff" from him. Also in 1937, Robert Hemphill sent a young dog back to William Lightner, that dog now appears in many of the "Old Family Red Nose" line of today, that dog is known as Lightner's Pumpkin.
Bob Wallace is also remembered in history for his association and great success with "Old Family Red Nose" dogs. However, there are two main misconceptions concerning Mr. Wallace that should be cleared up at this point. One is that Hemphill and Wallace were partners. They were not. They both shared a deep respect of the "Red Nose" dogs and were both dedicated to keeping the line pure. They were both successful breeders in keeping the line pure, strong and beautiful. They even shared common breedings and interbred their dogs within each others line, but they were not partners.
At the age of thirteen, Bob Wallace met and became friends with the "Old Timer", Ben Flannery. Throughout his teens, Bob Wallace owned many outstanding Bulldogs. He later obtained dogs from bloodlines of Dugan's "Pat". The second misconception concerning Bob Wallace was that he bred primarily "Red Nose" dogs. His original was quiet variable in color and were extremely talented dogs. Though these dogs did not show it, they carried a large amount of the "Red Nose" blood. One of the first foundation females of Bob Wallace was the famous Shipley's "Penny". Shipley's "Penny" was a direct descendant of the old Corcoran dogs. Wallace had always considered Corcoran to be one of the great breeders of all time. Other great dogs that are considered part of the foundation of the Wallace dogs were ones such as, Ferguson's "Centipede", Hall's "Searcy Jeff" and the famous Wallace's "Tony". "Tony" was said to be Wallaces' pride and joy. Wallace bred Shipley's "Penny" to "Centipede" and produced these three great dogs, "Stinger" "Scorpion" and "Spider". He later bred "Searcy Jeff" to "Spider" and produced Wallace's "Madam Queen". When he bred "Madam Queen" to "Tony" he produced the ever famous Wallace's "King Cotton". Other famous dogs appear in many of the popular "Old Family Red Nose" dogs of modern times are Wallace's "Red Rustler", "Red Rock" and "Red Rube", as well as the famous producing female Wallace's "Red Raven".
The old advertisements of Bob Wallace during the 1940's clearly reflect the breeding and maintenance of the old Corcoran and Lightner Line of dogs. Most of the advertisements were stated in bold print. During the 1940's Bob Wallace began to look "Red Nose" dogs to out cross his own with. At this time he felt that his own dogs were getting as tight as could be productively bred. When he began his search he found that the pure "Old Family Red Nose" dogs were almost extinct. Most of the lines were ruined or contaminated through careless breeding. However, he was finally able to locate and obtain seven pure "Red Nose" dogs of high caliber, whose pedigree he could authenticate.
Bob Wallace was a man of character and honesty and often stated that there is no "magic" to the "Old Family Red Nose" dogs, that they are just one good line of many. The "red Nose" dogs have the intelligence, talent and personality to stand on their own merit. Bob Wallace has gone down in history as one of the greatest breeders of his ear. Over the years as a breeder, Bob Wallace was known to sell less than a dozen dogs. He stated that he never sold dogs as a matter of personal principle. The results of his dedication to the breed is still apparent and appreciated in the modern day American Pit Bull Terrier.
This has been a short narrative introduction to the "Old Family Red Nose" dogs and few of the men dedicated to their preservation. It is by far complete or conclusive. Their significance cannot be finalized in a few short paragraphs. Entire volumes could be written on the "Old Family Red Nose" dogs and their place in the history of the American pit Bull Terrier.
**Take Note this part concerns RD dogs**"Now, not all of the offspring were whelped "Red Nose" from this stock. Some people still feel that the blood in the Con Feeley dogs was much more "Red Nose" then that of the Lightner dogs."
The American Pit Bull Terrier in the following story was owned by D. Gibson of Southern Pride Kennels in 1972. He was an Old Family Rednose. He was whelped on August 25, 1972. Buck was from the old Bentleys "Dolly", Williams "Red Jack", and Bill De Cordovas "Cocoa" bloodlines. This is a true story, based upon Buck's short and tragic life.
Buck was a beautiful red, red nosed American Pit Bull Terrier. He lived the latter part of his life on a farm in Bluemont, Virginia. As was his custom, Buck would walk Jerry and Peter to the end of their very long lane to the bus stop. It was his way of saying "goodbye" to them in the morning. He would watch as they boarded the bus each day and made their way down the mountain to school. Each afternoon, Buck knew exactly when to run to the end of the lane to greet the young children upon their arrival from school. Oh, how he loved those children! He and the children would play together for endless hours; however, he was ever mindful not to be too rough with them as he seemed to be aware of their fragility.
One morning, after the children boarded the school bus, instead of returning home immediately, Buck decided to investigate the area. He ventured up the winding dirt road for quite some distance and found nothing but birds, insects and trees. This was very boring, even for a dog who generally had no trouble entertaining himself. Thus it was that Buck decided to explore the opposite direction. He had walked for quite some time when he passed the only nearby house on their road. Buck suddenly stopped, stood stiffly and sniffed the air. He smelled the presence of another dog, yet he could not see him. There was a board fence surrounding the neighbors house, except for a narrow chain link gate. Without warning or even a single sound, a huge white German shepherd male dog charged the chain link gate.He struck the gate with such force that he was bounced backward several feet. Buck stood perfectly still, as the raging white dog repeated his attempts to attack him. Buck sensed an evil presence with this dog, a dog who attacked with no barks or growls. Buck watched amusedly as the shepherd continued his onslaught. Off in the distance, Buck heard his master's wifes voice calling him, and he could tell by the tone of her voice, he was in deep trouble.
Responding immediately to the call, he raced back up the road to home. Annabelle was very upset that Buck had wandered off the property and was concerned that he might have been hit by an automobile. "You're not allowed to follow the kids to the bus stop anymore", she said. And with those words, Buck was grounded. He watched each morning as the children disappeared down the lane to the bus stop. He was held captive in the house until the kids had caught the bus and were gone from sight. Only then, would he be allowed outside the confines of the house.
One morning as the children were preparing to leave the house for school, Buck was very ill at ease.
He sensed something terribly wrong was going to happen that morning, yet could not figure out the source of this awful premonition. He whined and scratched at the entrance to the door to see for himself what was the object of his concern. The children kissed their mother goodbye and started down the lane. Annabelle scolded Buck harshly for his unexplained behavior and told him to go lay down. Try as he might, Buck could not shake the horrible feeling of impending doom. He had to follow the children, he just had to! Annabelle started her morning chores and Buck continued his pacing back and forth. The garage door! Buck recalled the garage door was sometimes left open. Once there, he discovered the door, had, in fact, been left ajar, and Buck slipped out into the still morning air. He knew he was being disobedient, but he had to follow the children down the lane. Buck crouched low to help avoid detection by the children as he knew they would make him go home if they saw him. Still the horrid feeling was with him, although he knew not of the origin of his nightmare. The children had reached the end of the lane now, and were standing waiting for the bus. Out of the corner of his eye, Buck caught a movement in the bushes.
It was the white German shepherd. He was sneaking toward the children, eyes ablaze with hatred, and saliva dripping from his jowls. Buck now knew what he had sensed---the giant white dog had escaped his confines and was now preparing to attack his children! Buck speeded up his approach now, as he could tell the white dog was close to springing his attack on the defenseless children. Buck ran with all his strength, faster and faster to the defense of the children who had shown him so much love.
The huge white dog leaped, high into the air, mouth wide open, ready to tear the life from the human child called Jerry. Buck sprang simultaneously and hit the crazed dog only a millisecond before he impacted the child. The shepherd was twice Buck's size, and threw him around like a rag doll. The white dog was slashing Buck and inflicting him grievous wounds, yet Buck knew he had to stop this dog from harming his beloved children. Driven by countless generations of his pit bull heritage, Buck knew he must get a hold on the colossus and not let go, less the dog harm the children.
As they parried for position, Buck saw his opportunity and latched onto the back of the white dog. Try as he might, the shepherd could not shake the little dog from his hold on him. The children stood horrified as the battle continued. Annabelle had heard the fighting and the children screaming and came running up the lane to see what the commotion was all about. When she arrived at the scene, she tried to call Buck off from his defense of the children. Buck would not let go as he knew the sinister intentions of this dog. By this time the neighbor who owned the shepherd had arrived on the scene and tried to break up the fight, but to no avail. "Run children, RUN!", Buck thought, as he was weakening from the pounding his much larger opponent had given him. Suddenly, the neighbor appeared back on the scene with a gun, a shotgun, and told Annabelle that if she did not make her dog stop, he would shoot him. Buck was not about to free his hold on the white dog until the children were safe, and no amount of coaxing would make him release his hold on the German shepherd. A shotgun blast rang out from the neighbors gun, and Buck lay mortally wounded, his life blood flowing into red puddles onto the hard clay soil. Annabelle and the children, crying hysterically, ran down the lane back to their home. "I must hang on for just a little while longer.", Buck thought. The darkness of the grim reaper descended upon him, and he closed his eyes with a final vision of the children fleeing to safety. He released his hold on the German shepherd and, knowing that his beloved children were now secure, slowly closed his eyes in death and breathed his last breath.