America's Dogs: Nipper

Nipper, 1884-1895

Like all of the famous "pit bulls" through history, there are more lies than truth around this famous icon. The pit bull apologia often lists Nipper as an american pit bull terrier and occassionally he is listed as owned by Thomas Edison.

Nipper, the famous advertising icon, was born in 1884 in Bristol, England. Thomas Edison on the other hand, was american. The famous painting of Nipper and his trademarked image were not even owned by Edison, in fact, they were owned by Edison's competitor Emile Berliner. Nipper would become the RCA symbol 34 years after his death when RCA and Victor merged in 1929.

Nipper was a fox terrier/bull terrier mix. According to historians, the children of Mark Barraud named the pup Nipper because he nipped at the legs and heels of visitors. Nipper was described as a "great hunting dog and a strong adversary who'd think nothing about taking on a dog twice his size. In fact, it was difficult to get the hound to release his hold if he ever sank his teeth into you." Nipper's master, Mark Barraud died in 1887 and Nipper went to live with Mark's younger brother Francis Barraud, a painter.

Barraud's brother Phillip was a professional photographer and took a photo of Nipper posing with his head titled, most likely the one above. Three years after Nipper's death, Francis was inspired by his brother's photo and created this famous painting in 1898.

Barraud painted Nipper listening to an Edison phonograph. He tried to sell the painting to Edison-Bell but was turned away. Barraud was told, "Dogs don't listen to phonographs". Barraud then went to Edison's competitor, the Berliner Gramophone Company. Barraud painted over the Edison machine and sold the painting for £100, the equivalent of $485 US and £50 ($240 US) more for the copyright in 1899.

Francis Barraud

Nipper lived his entire life in England and died at the age of 11 in 1895. He was buried under a Mulberry tree in southwest London.

famous pit bull owners: the thomas alva edison edition

Pit Bulls: True Lies? An article from the book, American Pit Bull Terrier by Amy Shojai

a screen shot of a page from Paul 107's book of pit bull "facts".


America's Dogs: Tige

In my never ending quest for the truth about famous pit bull owners and famous pit bulls, I found these 1904 Thomas Edison film shorts about Buster Brown and his dog Tige. Buster Brown's Tige is usually found on the feel good honorary list of famous pit bulls, somewhere after Petey the Great Nanny Dog and Stubby the War Hero and before RCA Nipper and Rachel Ray's Isaboo. But what does anyone really know about Tige?

Buster Brown was originally a cartoon strip created by Richard Outcault in 1902. It is hard to say what kind of dog Tige was in the cartoon but he appears to be a pit bulldog in Thomas Edison's five film shorts. One of the sources that I found identified Edison's Tige, whose real name was Mannie, as a Boxer. I believe that is most likely incorrect but even if Mannie was a Boxer, at that time they were used in the pit and closely resembled "pit bulls". While viewing the films, compare Mannie to the Boxer of 1900. It is not clear how many of these short films Edison created about Buster Brown and Tige but what is clear is that the pit bull apologia hasn't seen them. Buster Brown's dog is a pit bull, a nasty pit bull, just like his fictional owner.

Multiple dogs have portrayed Tige. Mannie is the pit bulldog featured in the Edison films but at least one of the approximately dozen Peteys also played Tige in the 1920's. This blog will focus on Mannie only. Petey will be featured in an upcoming blog.

In this first film short entitled Buster and Tige Puts a Baloon Vender Out of Business, Buster's mother tries to purchase a balloon for her son but then waves the man on. Buster has a tantrum, pushes the man and then runs off screen and gets Tige. Tige enters the scene and immediately attacks the man, biting him on the seat of his pants. The balloon vender shakes Tige off and then Tige begins to jump up and try to attack his balloons. Immediately three more pit bulldogs enter the scene and all four dogs are now attacking the balloons in a frenzy.

1904 - Buster and Tige

In this second film short entitled Buster Makes Room for His Mama at the Bargain Counter Buster, his mother and Tige go into a store. There are about a dozen women occupying the area, fighting over articles of clothing and preventing his mother from tending to her business. But Buster has a plan. Buster directs Tige to jump up and try to grab the stockings that are hanging from the ceiling. In his loyal people pleasing pit bull manner, Tige begins jumping up and down, barking and doing flips. This scares the women who all flee the store in horror, freeing up space for Buster's mother. A small chair is tossed in by someone off camera and Tige attacks it.

1904 - Buster Makes Room for His Mama

In the third film short, and possibly my favorite, titled Buster and the Dude, Buster, Tige, and his mother are on a city sidewalk outside of a store. Buster's mother meets a man with a dog, possibly a boston bulldog. Buster demands his mother's attention and when she ignores him, Buster gets even by siccing Tige on the man's the dog.

1904 - Buster And The Dude

In this fourth film short titled Buster's Dog to the Rescue, Buster Brown is once again portrayed as a nasty brat. Buster is told to leave the box of cookies alone. When he persists, they are placed high out of his reach. When Buster is caught trying to climb a ladder to get them, he is spanked and then tied to a chair. But what Buster wants, Buster gets. Buster calls Tige and directs Tige to climb the ladder and retrieve the cookies.

1904 - Buster's Dog to the Rescue

In this final Edison film short, we see many dogs of many breeds. Mannie makes an appearance in the final seconds to attack a man.
Dogsbite.org just pointed out that the final customer requested a FIGHTING BULL. Apparently the little Boston Bull wasn't game enough. good catch!

1904 - Dog Factory

Mannie starred in other film shorts. He is considered the first dog star and went on to become famous in Vaudville. In the 1901 film titled Pie, Tramp and the Bulldog, Mannie scuffles with a Tramp over a pie. The film ends with the Tramp running off and Mannie hanging onto the seat of his pants. There is no film of this one, I relied on the description in the Internet Movie Data Base.

Mannie also appeared in a 1901 boxing film. Mannie wildly jumps up and down trying to get a hold of a punching bag suspended from the ceiling. Mannie finally knocks it down and provides the audience with a fine performance of bite, hold and shake.

Laura Comstock's Bag-Punching Dog

It seems that pit bulldogs were the dog of choice in Edison's films. If you needed a dog to bite, hold and shake, jump up tirelessly or attack other dogs and people, the pit bulldog was the only logical choice. The reoccurring pit bulldog in Edison's film shorts may have helped contribute to the myth that Thomas Edison owned a pit bull.

More information on Buster Brown, Tige and Mannie

order a Tige t-shirt from zazzle

That is one creepy looking dog!


Scapegoats: Part 1 - The Bloodhound

In what might be the pit bull apologia’s most sinister machination of all, Jane Berkey et al are attempting to besmirch the image of the Bloodhound in an effort to elevate the image of their beloved pit fighter. On August 25, the Minnesota City Pages ran a four page discussion of dangerous dogs. And there at the bottom of page one: “Pit bulls weren’t always considered dangerous dogs—that honor has shifted from breed to breed throughout history. In the 1880s, bloodhounds tormented the populace.” This reeks of the Animal Farm Foundation, Karen Delise and Andrew Yori. Yori is on the Berkey payroll, a recipient of one of the Vick dogs and a Minnesota resident.

The best lies always possess a kernel of truth to create the illusion of credibility. Yes, before the pit bull, before the rottweiler, before the doberman or the german shepherd, the bugaboo breed was the bloodhound, the CUBAN Bloodhound and the SIBERIAN Bloodhound.

When I say the word Bloodhound, the image of a large brown & black dog with loose skin, long, pendulous ears and a plaintive howl will come to mind. A very distinctive looking dog.

When I say Cuban Bloodhound, do you see a large muscular mastiff/bulldog cross with short cropped ears and a muzzle more suitable to the function of violence and savagery? Or do you still see McGruff the crime dog? The Cuban Bloodhound is presumed to be extinct by most and information about the dog is not impossible but not easy to find.

The Cuban Bloodhound aka Spanish Bloodhound aka Southern Bloodhound aka American Bloodhound
Hilary Harmar briefly addresses the Cuban Bloodhounds in her Bloodhound History. Harmar describes the Cubans as "extremely ferocious and savage creatures" with smaller ears, pointed muzzles and very little connection to the true Bloodhounds.

The White English Bulldog Preservation Society describes Cuban Bloodhounds as similar to the Presa Canario or the Dogo Argentino, dogs that most people classify as pit bull type dogs. The WEBPS describes the dog used by the United States Army during the Seminole Indian War, “This dog depicted could easily be mistaken for an APBT, yet history records this to be a Cuban Bloodhound, known in the south today as the Brindle Bulldog.” The WEBPS claims that only the name is extinct, not the dog and that it still exists in the south as the Brindle Bulldog. The Cuban Bloodhound was not a scent hound, it bore absolutely no physical or temperamental resemblence to the true British Bloodhound. The Cuban Bloodhound was in fact a big game hunting and guarding dog, much like the Presa or the Dogo. A dog with a violent function. It was bred to be a fearless dog that used brute force to capture runaway slaves, exterminate the Seminole Indians and terrorize union soldiers.

The White English Bulldog Preservation Society contends that the Cuban Bloodhound is the “direct ancestor of the Brindle Bulldog and Old Red Bulldog, (a large, highly aggressive guard dog being red in color, and quite rare), of Louisiana and Mississippi. It is said that this Old Red Bulldog is a cross of the Cuban Bulldog and Dogue de Bordeaux, and was developed in Louisiana in the 18th and 19th centuries as a ferocious and malevolent guard dog. The Cuban Bloodhound was a key ingredient in the makeup of many guard and hunting type dogs of the south in early American history, thus the highly aggressive behavior; the notorious “mean streak;” that has followed bulldogs in American history.” NOTE: Training and environment does not follow the bulldog through history, genetics does.

The Siberian Bloodhound aka Russian Bloodhound
The descriptions of Siberian Bloodhounds that I have found vary. Some sources say it is similar to a Great Dane while another source claims it is synonymous with the Great Dane and yet another describes a St Bernard type dog. However, none of them come close to describing a TRUE Bloodhound. That’s because they were not, even though that is what the evil genius Karen Delise wants you to believe.

The Genuine English Bloodhound aka British Bloodhound
Bloodhounds made their way to the United States around 1880. The first importer of Bloodhounds was Jenks L Winchell of Fair Haven, Vermont. In 1881, Winchell retired from his New York magazine and established a Bloodhound kennel in Vermont. He was also the first president of the English Bloodhound Club in America. Bloodhounds were rare and valuable dogs at that time. Yet, as I will demomstrate later, Delise will have you believe that the rare and high priced Bloodhound, in America for less than a decade, was already terrorizing Americans. A quick check of the AKC Stud Books in 1889 reveals that only 14 Bloodhounds were registered. Taking advantage of Google yet again, reveals the value of the Bloodhound. In 1889, John Winchell of Fair Haven, Vermont purchased 2 dogs from a London police chief. The English Bloodhounds were valued at $1000 each. It seems extremely unlikely that dogs valued at $1000 in the 1880’s would not be registered with the AKC, nor would they be chained, be allowed to roam or be used as a guard dog.

Breed Confusion
There does seem to be some confusion between the different Bloodhounds back in the day but nothing like the pit bull apologia is deliberately attempting to drum up now. Part of the confusion can be attributed to the 1852 classic ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’. Although nowhere in the book does Harriet Beecher Stowe mention Bloodhounds of any kind, Siberian Bloodhounds were used in the stage reproduction of the book and the vicious hounds took on a life of their own. Ironically, a quick search of the book which is available at www.gutenberg.org, yields one reference to a “hound” and two “bull-dog” references. “Legree had trained them in savageness and brutality as systematically as he had his bull-dogs; and, by long practice in hardness and cruelty, brought their whole nature to about the same range of capacities.” Notice the use of the word trained. In reality, fox hounds were initally used to track runaway slaves but they would not bite. Because the fox hound had never been bred to hunt and bite people, these hounds could not be trained, encouraged, or coerced to attack the slaves. This forced slave owners to import Cuban bloodhounds, a dog that had been bred by the Spanish to hunt and kill and that had been successfully used to terrorize natives and slaves in the Caribbean, Central and South America. It is also important to point out that Uncle Tom’s Cabin was published approximately 25 years BEFORE the first Bloodhound was imported to America. In addition to the use of Siberian bloodhounds in the stage production of Uncle Tom's Cabin, breed confusion can also be ascribed to the slave owners overemphasizing the ‘blood’ in Bloodhound to promote fear among the slaves.

Some authors describe the Cuban as a Mastiff and others describe it as a Bulldog. In all likelihood, they are all correct. The Cuban Bloodhound was bred for function not form and therefore a great deal of variation existed. All of the Cuban Bloodhound sources that I could locate agree on it’s temperament and they do not paint a pretty picture.

Walter Dyer attempted to repair the damage done to the British Bloodhound in 1917 when he wrote “The Maligned Hound” for The New Country Life. “The so-called Cuban Bloodhound which was used in Jamaica and the Southern States was not a bloodhound in the true sense of the word. He probably possessed less hound than mastiff blood, with perhaps an infusion of bulldog.” Dyer then points out that while the Cuban bloodhound was ready to “tear his victim limb from limb”, the true bloodhound would never attack. Yvette Uroshevich, a contemporary breeder of Fila Brasileros, dogs whose original function was similar to the Cuban Bloodhound writes “If a slave did escape, the Filas were used to track them down. Unlike their ancestor, the Bloodhound, the Fila Brasileiro will grab and hold at the end of the trail.”

Cuban and Siberian Bloodhound Ban

Even before the Civil War people who attempted to keep Cuban Bloodhounds for any other purpose than controlling, terrorizing and hunting slaves found these dogs to be dangerous to keep, and after the end of slavery, these dogs became useless as well as dangerous.

Jesse Edward, an English natural historian had this to say about the Cuban Bloodhound in 1858, “I had one of these Cuban bloodhounds given to me a few years ago, and finding him somewhat more ferocious than I liked, I made a present of him to a keeper in the neighbourhood. He was put into a kennel with other dogs, and soon killed some of them.”

In an article from 1870, Oliver Optic’s magazine, the Cuban Bloodhound or Southern Bloodhound is described as “The bloodhound of the south, and perhaps known best as the Cuban bloodhound, is not of the genuine breed, but is descended from the Biscayne Mastiff, and is trained to fight as well as to hunt. He is inferior to the hound in his powers of following a trail, but is bloodthirsty and cruel. Slavery found a use for these terrible dogs, and the negroes feared them more than the lash or musket of the master; and during the rebellion these hounds served only too well their masters’ inhuman commands. This article was written approximately 10 years before the British Bloodhound was imported to America and 5 years after Henry Wirz was hanged for committing civil war crimes in a Georgia Prison. Wirz used Cuban Bloodhounds against the union soldiers at the Andersonville Prison. See photo of "Spot" above.

By the 1880s people recognized that the Cuban and the Siberian Bloodhounds were too dangerous to be kept like other dogs. In 1886, the state of Massachusetts banned the Cuban and Siberian Bloodhounds:
(sections 2 and 3 are the fines and penalties for violating the law)

Six years later the law was amended to exclude English bloodhounds.

Recognition of the Genuine English Bloodhound
Scottish naturalist and canine historian Henry Downing Richardson felt the Cuban Bloodhound was not entitled to the bloodhound designation. “It is only fair that that gentle and affectionate animal – the genuine bloodhound – a dog far from being cruel or ferocious, should be distinctly separated from these, his disreputable namesakes.”

Wade Hampton, former governor, former senator and Commissioner of Railroads, noted the distinction between the Cuban Bloodhound and the true Bloodhound in 1894, “The Cuban bloodhound is a fierce, intractable dog.” “The English bloodhound, on the contrary, is a noble dog, gentle, sagacious and affectionate.” Hampton goes on to state that he has hunted with both bloodhounds and described the Cuban as “generally worthless for this purpose.”

Author of "British Dogs: Their Points, Selection and Show Preparation, William D. Drury describes the temperament of the bloodhound as “extremely affectionate, neither quarrelsome with companions nor with other dogs. His nature is somewhat shy, and equally sensitive to kindness or correction by his master”. In contrast Drury states the Cuban Bloodhounds were “savage brutes”. “In the Southern States of America it was customary to hunt escaped slaves with hounds and to call those hounds Bloodhounds. It is not wise to make sweeping assertions, and no doubt each district had its special strain of man-hunters, but whatever else these might be, they were not Bloodhounds.”

And finally, Judge John Camillus McWhorter was disturbed by the courts willingness to accept the Bloodhounds’ scenting abilities as a evidence. In 1920, Judge McWhorter diligently researched the subject of Bloodhounds. Judge McWhorter consulted with the leading authority on the British Bloodhounds, Count Le Couteulx De Cautelue and found that the Bloodhound is “docile and affectionate” and so “slow and plodding”, it was rendered useless for hunting animals so it was crossed with the fox terrier to produce fox hounds. The Judge found that the Bloodhound’s savage image was a myth and noted that the kind and affectionate Bloodhound could not be “induced to hurt anyone”. He also realized that any discussion of the true Bloodhound must by necessity include the vicious Cuban Bloodhound because the two dogs were often confused. Judge McWhorter notes that the Cuban bloodhounds were “vicious”. In contrast, the true Bloodhounds were often found at the end of their trail being pet by the person they were pursuing. The Judge’s research found there were no true Bloodhounds in America during slavery and they were not imported until just before 1880. The dogs of choice were fox hounds for scenting (who also could not be induced to inflict harm) and Cuban bloodhounds for capturing their property. The Judge traced the myth of the Bloodhound’s infallible nose to the slave owners who used the fox hounds and called them Bloodhounds and exaggerated their scenting abilities to keep their slaves intimidated. Of course, the reputation of the vicious Cuban Bloodhound helped keep them intimidated too. The Judge believed the Cubans were the result of a cross between the Great Dane which at that time was doing the work that the Dogo and the American Bulldog now excels at - hunting hogs and the Cuban Mastiff - a guarding/fighting dog.

Now that we have become familiar with the historical TRUTHS about "Bloodhounds", let’s see what the pit bull apologia tries to pass off as the truth.

When the average person hears that bloodhounds were the monsters of the 1800’s, they automatically visualize McGruff the Crime Dog. The damage is done. Karen Delise succeeds in further muddying the dangerous dog waters and advancing the pit bull agenda, while slandering an ancient breed dog with absolutely NO documented history of attacks. Merritt Clifton’s dog bite data, lists NO Bloodhounds in serious or fatal attacks from 1982-2009. Likewise for Delise’s own dog bite statistics in her first book Fatal Dog Attacks, NO Bloodhounds were involved in a dog bite related fatality. As a matter of fact, while researching the Bloodhound, the opinions seems unanimous, this dog is probably THE most docile of hounds.
The Bloodhound aficionados on dogbreedinfo.com advise owners to supervise child/dog interactions NOT for the sake of the children but for the sake of the dog! “The Bloodhound is a kind, patient, noble, mild-mannered and lovable dog. Gentle, affectionate and excellent with children. This is truly a good natured companion. These dogs are so good-natured that they will lie there and meekly let children clamber all over them. This breed loves all the attention they receive from them. To be fair to your Bloodhound, make sure your children do not pester or hurt the dog, because Bloodhounds will sit there and take it.” Hmmm, sounds almost like a nanny dog. Compare that to what the pit bull apologists scream in unison after a serious or fatal pit bull attack, “never leave children alone with dogs!” as if all dogs possess the same liability.

Karen Delise addresses the Cuban Bloodhound and the Siberian Bloodhound in Chapter Two of her book The Pit Bull Placebo and deliberately blurs the three different breeds of dogs together to strengthen her argument that the human component is the ultimate determining factor of aggressiveness in dogs.

First on the agenda is the statement that started this journey, “Pit bulls weren’t always considered dangerous dogs—that honor has shifted from breed to breed throughout history. In the 1880s, bloodhounds tormented the populace.” Dissecting Delise’s Appendix A, starting on page 176, for the years 1880-1889, Delise recorded 16 serious and fatal dog attacks by “Bloodhounds”. Breaking it down by specific type, Delise lists 11 Bloodhounds, 3 Siberians and 2 Cubans. Recall that Bloodhounds had just come to America around 1880 and in 1889, two bloodhounds were imported from England for $1000 a piece and the AKC had 14 Bloodhounds in their registry. The probabiltity that the dogs identified as Bloodhounds, were in fact true British Bloodhounds given their population and their value seems stasticially impossible.

Cuban Bloodhound
Excerpts from The Pit Bull Placebo
My commentaries are italicized.

"The case previously discussed of the Bloodhounds killing a burglary suspect they were tracking may be a case of “true Bloodhounds” since these dogs were owned by professionals, worked exclusively as tracking dogs, and were identified by the authorities as Bloodhounds." p 25

Authorities? The same kinds of authorities that Delise now claims cannot identify a pit bull?

"It is known that Bloodhound-type dogs were used by both the Union and Confederate armies to hunt down enemy soldiers, as well as in prison camps. And there is little dispute about the fact that Bloodhounds were used to hunt down fleeing suspects. The real dispute at the time was the level of aggression attributed to these dogs. For every media account of a scent dog attacking and inflicting harm on its human quarry, there were long editorials submitted to the newspapers by Bloodhound aficionados explaining the noble and gentle characteristics to be found in this breed. The obvious point that seemed to escape notice was the fact that dogs did indeed perform in both of these fashions, i.e., savagely attacking their quarry at times and at times showing tremendous restraint and gentleness upon reaching their quarry. As the debate swirled about the true nature and behavior of the Bloodhound, the evidence that owners/handlers determined behavior was seldom discussed." p 10

There is no dispute about the level of aggression in the Cuban and Siberian Bloodhounds. These were savage brutes. The dogs performed in both fashions because they were two different breeds. The only swirling debate is in the minds of desperate pit nutters attempting to create disinformation about the British Bloodhound in the same way that they create disinformation in the pit bull, ie, the nanny dog.

"Many people owned Bloodhounds in the late 1800s," p 20

Many? How about fourteen people.

"So while there can be debate over which breeds of dog contributed to the genetic makeup of the Cuban Bloodhound, it is really of little significance. The behaviors of these animals had little to do with breed genetics and everything to do with the depravity of their masters." p 23

There are two problems with this statement. First, the genetic makeup of these dogs has been determined, they were pit bull type dogs. And second, as demonstrated previously, the "depraved masters" failed to create vicious attack dogs out of the Fox Hounds.

"And so we find, despite the numerous reports of Bloodhound related attacks and fatalities, there is no documented case where a St. Hubert’s/British or “true” Bloodhound was ever positively identified." p 26

And there it is. The one sentence out of 200 pages that speaks the truth and it is lost in the obstreperous roar of the evil genius' adoring fans.

"Here again, we have dogs that, although prized for aggression towards humans, still functioned as tracking or scent dogs, which makes the designation “Bloodhound” technically correct." p 27

I think if the tables were turned, this would be the point in the discussion where all of the pit nutters start to scream "THAT'S NOT A PIT BULL!"

"The following lose-lose situation for a Siberian Bloodhound took place in 1882 in New York City. The son of a policeman was walking a huge Siberian Bloodhound on a “cord” when approached by the owner of a varnishing company. The merchant wished to purchase the dog to guard his factory. The dog was sold for $5 and promptly put to use. Shortly thereafter, an employee showed up one Sunday night to set up the ovens for the next day. The Bloodhound attacked the man and the dog was shot the next morning for his troubles." p 27

This is a perfect example of how the pit bull apologia deliberately distorts reality. I found this New York Times article and the dog is identified as a SIBERIAN Bloodhound, yet in the appendix on page 176, Delise records it as a "Bloodhound". Despicable.

"The behavior of these Bloodhound-type dogs was either the direct result of human encouragement for aggressiveness or the direct result of humans failing to control or use reasonable care with these animals." p 34

The behavior of these Bloodhound-type dogs was the direct result of genetic engineering on the part of depraved masters.

"Cuban Bloodhound, Siberian Bloodhound, British Bloodhound—it matters little, for when these breeds left the hands of those looking for a vicious tracking, attack, or guard dog, severe and fatal attacks by these breeds virtually disappeared from newspaper reports." p 35

The classic deflection of breed matters little or "a dog is a dog is a dog". But the fact remains that even when the gentle British Bloodhound was crossed with a scrappy Fox Terrier to create the Fox Hound, they would not attack the slaves. And I suspect that these breeds "virtually" disappeared from the newspaper reports because people became fed up with this level of savagery and voluntarily gave them up as in the case of Jesse Edward or law makers banned them as they did in Massachusetts in 1886.

In Delise’s zeal to condemn all dogs in order to further her pit bull agenda, she makes a few critical errors.

First, she classifies ALL Bloodhounds as scent hounds, when in fact the CUBAN and SIBERIAN Bloodhounds are guarding/hunting dogs. These dogs didn’t track people, they hunted them. And when they located their human prey, they often savaged them and sometimes even killed them. In contrast, the British Bloodhound is the ultimate tracker and finding the end of the trail is his reward.

Second, Delise describes an 1882 incident in New York where a factory guard dog, a Siberian Bloodhound, attacks an employee (p 27). Delise then records the attack in appendix A on p 176 as simply "Bloodhound", further deliberately blurring the lines between the “bloodhounds” and creating fear around a docile dog.

Third, Delise is highly critical of those who rely on the media reporting of pit bull attacks, yet she herself commits this crime with reckless abandon on attacks that occurred over 100 years ago.

Fourth, Delise tries to reinforce the cruel owner aspect by emphasizing the use of a CORD to control the dog. I found other references during the 1880’s of a leash loosely described as a CORD and ROPE. There were no PetSmarts or Petcos back in the day. People used what they had to make do. They were not necessarily being cruel or abusive.

Fifth, Delise lists the first recorded Bloodhound attack in 1864, approximately FIFTEEN years before the Bloodhound arrived in America!

And sixth, Delise’s biggest mistake was in assuming that no one would check her research. Welcome to google Karen!

The myth of the savage Bloodhound in the 1880's must be stopped before it gains the momentum of the Nanny Dog. Wayne Pacelle, you are in a unique position to ensure that this lie is extinguished.

Beecher Stowe, Harriet Uncle Tom's Cabin or Life among the Lowly, 1852

AKC Stud Book, Volume six, 1889

New York Times Attacked By Bloodhounds, November 22, 1885

New York Times A Siberian Bloodhound Killed, March 24, 1882

Brooklyn Daily Eagle, New York, June 1889

Dyer, Walter The New Country Life, The Maligned Bloodhound, 1917

Citypages.com Dangerous Dogs of North Minneapolis, August 25, 2010

McWhorter, J.C American Law Review, Volume 54, The Bloodhound as a Witness, 1920

Wrightington, Sydney R. The Green Bag, Volume 17, 1905

Jesse, Edward Anecdotes of Dogs, 1858

Clifton, Merritt Dog attack deaths and maimings, U.S. & Canada, September 1982 - December 2009

free download of The Pit Bull Placebo book is available HERE.

special thanks to cking, researcher, editor, collaborator.



The Nanny Dog Myth Revealed

UPDATE 5/21/13: Two years and nine months after the Nanny Dog Myth Revealed was first published, BAD RAP, a major pit bull advocacy group publicly announced that it will no longer support the Nanny Dog myth because it endangers children.  While it is too late for many children, hopefully many will be saved in the future.  Thank you, BAD RAP
BAD RAP shared a link.
It's Dog Bite Prevention Week. Did you know that there was never such thing as a 'Nanny's Dog'? This term was a recent invention created to describe the myriad of vintage photos of children enjoying their family pit bulls (see link for details about vintage photos). While the intention behind the term was innocent, using it may mislead parents into being careless with their children around their family dog - A recipe for dog bites! 
From 2004 to 2010 59 US children were killed by the family's, babysitter's, neighbor's or friend's pit bull.
The pit bull apologia would have you believe that their fighting bred dogs are just like any other dog in many ways, but so superior in their unparalleled love and devotion for children they were commonly known as "The Nanny Dog" throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries. If pit bulls are held in low esteem today, it is only due to ignorance and the gullible acceptance of biased news reporting because, once upon a time, pit bulls were the most beloved dog in England and the United States.

A google search brings up 77,100 results for the term "nanny dog." While some sites bestow the Nanny Dog mantle on the American Pit Bull Terrier or the American Staffordshire Terrier and some lead you to productions of Peter Pan, most of the results lead you to 21st century blogs and news articles about the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

120 sites dedicated to the Staffordshire Bull Terrier include this phrase in support of the fighting nanny dog mythology,
"These dogs were renowned for their courage and tenacity and despite their ferocity in the pit were excellent companions and good with children. In fact it was not unknown for an injured dog to be transported home in a pram with the baby!"
Frankly, even if this anecdote were plausible, let alone true, this doesn't support a nanny dog claim so much as it supports a sociopathic, baby abusing, dog abusing parent claim.

Dig as hard as you want, the pram story is all you'll find to support the Nanny Dog myth in any of these sites. You won't find a single citation, quote or reference of any kind to a 19th century, or early 20th century text. Since the Staffordshire Bull Terrier enthusiasts didn't see fit to support their claims, I decided I would have to find the origin of the Nanny Dog myself.

Meet the Nanny Dog - the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, England's ultimate fighting dog and, inexplicably, the supposed dog of choice to care for England's children in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

It is not hard to find old references to the Bull Terrier. The various histories and descriptions of the breed largely agree with each other. After bull baiting was banned in England, Coalminers in various cities including Staffordshire were at a loss for blood sporting alternatives for their beloved, courageous bulldogs. So, they developed another blood sport - pit dog fighting. Sadly, they soon found their bulldogs were not suited to win in the pit.

According to a 1908 New York Times article,
"The old lovers of the bulldog found to their dismay that sometimes a terrier, with only quickness and a pair of punishing jaws to recommend him, would kill a bulldog while the latter was merely hanging on. The bulldog would be brave to the death of course, and would withstand pain that the terrier would never endure, but that was poor consolation when the terrier had killed the dog.
The dog fighters were, however, as persevering a set of men as were the bull baiters, and they set to work to remodel their favorites for their new occupation. They began to cross their bulldogs with the white English terrier, a breed now practically extinct, but the same in every respect, save color, as the modern Manchester or black-and-tan. The progeny was named the bull terrier, the greatest fighting machine, pound for pound, on four legs. The bull terrier had the courage of the bulldog and the jaws and quickness of the white terrier. Moreover, he has the terrier's way of fighting. He does not simply take a hold and stay there. He takes a hold and begins to eat his way through and tear and worry. If his first hold doesn't suit, he takes another. If he gets his adversary by the throat, he will tear out the throat in a minute or so and end the battle."
"There is perhaps no more beautiful illustration of the results of artificial selection than is provided in the history of the bulldog. It is a wonderful example of patient and skillful breeding for an object that is not wholly ignoble.
We can agree to disagree on that last point.

It is a bit confounding that the New York Times author neglected to mention the Staffordshire dog fighter's even more stupendous genetic achievement, that of creating an unstoppable "fighting machine" that can also be used to nanny their children.

Nineteenth century dog breed books, such as The Illustrated Natural History (Mammalia), by Rev. JG Wood (1853), and The Dogs of the British Islands, by J.H. Walsh (1878) very precisely describe the deadly nature of the Bull Terrier, including an account of a Bull Terrier's attack on a rhinoceros by a dog "called Venus in derision of her ugliness."(Wood, p. 311) Walsh suggests that, "unlike the bulldog, he (the Bull Terrier) is an excellent companion for the male sex, being a little too violent in his quarrels to make him desirable as a ladies' pet (p. 221)." Nanny Dog? Not so much.

In 1894, Rawdon B. Lee wrote A History and Description of the Modern Dogs of Great Britain and Ireland in which he explains that in the middle of the 19th century, fanciers began to breed bull terriers as "a gentleman's companion" and began showing them in the ring. It was about this time that the Staffordshire Bull Terrier began to be recognized as distinct from the Bull Terrier. The Kennel Club in England recognized the Bull Terrier in the last quarter of the 19th century, and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier became the pit fighting dog of choice. The Staffordshire Bull Terrier was denied Kennel Club recognition until 1935 because of its reputation as a pit fighting dog.

Lee illustrates the Bull Terrier's unsavory past by revealing that Bulls-eye, one of the meanest dogs in literary history and Bill Sykes' sidekick and alter ego from Oliver Twist (1838) was a Bull Terrier. Dickens describes Bull's-Eye as having a face "scratched and torn in twenty different places..." and..."who by a certain malicious licking of his lips seemed to be meditating an attack up on the legs of the first gentleman or lady he might encounter in the streets when he went out." Charles Dickens also seemed unaware of the Bull Terrier's special powers as a nanny, but was aware of the pit bull's capacity for human aggression.

Charles Dickens' Bill Sikes and Bull's-Eye

Lee (p. 23) contends, "our modern Bull Terrier is a very different creature from what he was half a century ago." According to Lee, they had been perhaps the most popular dog in England, until they were recently supplanted by the Fox Terrier. They were kept for pets and companions, they gained recognition in dog shows, and became fashionable to own among the undergraduates at Oxford and Cambridge. If any pit fighting dog might have been called England's Nanny Dog, surely it would have been the white Bull Terrier. And yet there is no mention of it.

Mr. Lee is perhaps the first recorded pit nutter. He penned what might be the first known iteration of, "It's how you raise them" (p.22, p. 26) which is hilariously followed by the woeful tale of the demise of Mr. Lee's own beloved Bull Terrier, Sam. Sam was incredibly talented and an incomparable companion who, owing to fighting blood on his sire's side, became increasingly aggressive. After killing at least two dogs, Sam was dumped at a warehouse to be a guard dog where he died of a broken heart. 30 years later, Mr. Lee still laments the incredible and bloodthirsty Sam. But, I thought it was how you raise them...

As for 19th century mentions of the "Staffordshire Bull Terrier" that can be found online, there is one. It is a want ad for a fighting dog:
Pleshey Chelmsford Wanted a Staffordshire bull terrier dog must have an exceedingly long nose and thoroughly game to face anything and win A tried dog preferred PS For special purpose weight 34 lb 944 (1871 Exchange and Mart and Journal of the Household (p. 614))

Archive searches of British, American and Canadian newspapers going as far back as the 18th century turn up not one single mention of "Nanny Dog" with regards to ANY breed until 1904 when the first stage production of Peter Pan opened featuring a nursemaid dog named Nana. Though J.M. Barrie patterned Nana after his Landseer Newfoundland, Nana has been portrayed by a St. Bernard, and an Old English Sheep Dog in subsequent stage and screen productions. No mention of Nana ever being a Staffie Bull. Not even in Never Never Land.

So, where is the oldest known reference to the Staffie Bull being some sort of nanny dog? In a New York Times article. In 1971, Walter R. Fletcher wrote an article entitled, "A Breed That Came Up the Hard Way" in which he interviewed William R. Daniels and Mrs. Lilian Rant, President and magazine editor for the Staffordshire Bull Terrier Club of America on the eve of the Staffie Bull's being granted permission to be shown in the American Kennel Club's miscellaneous class. It's the first step to AKC recognition and the club wanted to polish their dog's image.

Daniels brings up Dickens' villainous Bull's-Eye again and Mrs. Rant acknowledges that the Stafford "had an unsavory reputation for fighting and violence and his name became associated with ruffians, who cared little for him as a dog but only for his ability in the pit. The Stafford we know today quickly becomes a member of the family circle. He loves children and is often referred to as a 'nursemaid dog.'"

Well, there it is. Mrs. Rant, lover and promoter of the Stafford, is clearly speaking in the present tense about the dog of today (1971) currently being referred to as a 'nursemaid dog' in the United States. She is using a variation of the argument that Mr. Lee used 77 years before about the Bull Terrier, suggesting that the Staffordshire Bull Terrier's unsavory reputation as a fighting dog has been left in the far distant past. She harkens back to Dickens again, before the Staffordshire Bull Terrier even existed as a distinct breed. Her contention that Staffordshire Bull Terriers are OFTEN referred to as nursmaid dogs is a little bit of a stretch, too. In 1971, there were 99 registered Staffordshire Bull Terriers in the United States. As editor of the club's magazine, she must have been at the center of all conversation about the breed. It is likely that she either coined the nickname or promulgated it through the magazine, and the term may have gained popularity among those few Stafford enthusiasts who subscribed to her magazine.

A timeline search does not turn up a mention of the exact term "nanny dog" until 1987 in an archived Toronto Star article entitled, Move to Outlaw Pit Bulls Under Study in Several Cities.

"Breeder Kathy Thomas, president of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier Association said, 'We're aware of the fighting - there's a lot of it in the Hamilton area. We only sell to family homes.'"

"Thomas, mother of two young children, said her eight Staffordshires are 'wonderful with children. In England, our Staffies were called the nanny-dog because they were gentle with kids.'"

Here's where the lie begins to get twisted into its most bizarre and current form and the Nanny Dog myth jumps on the crazy train. The Nanny Dog argument is no longer valid in the way that Mrs. Rant used it in 1971 when the general public was not aware of contemporary dog fighting. By the 1980s, dog fighting had become a generally recognized problem and initiatives to ban pit bulls were beginning. Kathy Thomas acknowledges that there is dog fighting going on all around her in 1987 near Toronto. She can no longer say that the Staffie was once, long ago, in Dickensian England a fighting dog, but has been transformed by many years of selective breeding to be a gentle nanny dog. The dogs are fighting all around her. So, the lie becomes that Staffordshire Bull Terriers were ALWAYS known as nanny dogs. They snuggled with the babies by day, ripped out throats and gutted each other by night and, returning from the fight, snuggled once again with the baby in the pram, this time ripped to shreds and soaked in blood.

It took about 16 years for the story to mutate into the Nanny dog of England - historic fighter and lover of children. But, the myth did not really take off for another 4 years, when Mrs. Rant published her book in 1991, Staffordshire Bull Terriers: Owner's Companion. She uses the term "nursemaid dog" three times and significantly says, " He has a great affection for children, having earned the title 'nursemaid dog' many years ago." (p.117) In this instance, "many years ago" means about 20 years previous, when she first coined or adopted the term.

And how about the history of the term "America's Nanny Dog" referring to the American Pit Bull Terrier or the American Staffordshire Terrier? 5,570 results come up for that query. Again, you cannot find one single citation, source or reference to a text from the 1940s that confirms this assertion. A google timeline search for "America's Nanny Dog" shows the earliest online publication date is September 25, 2007 as an opinion piece in the online publication, Times-Standard entitled "America's Nanny Dog" by Tyla Hafstrom. It is a complete fabrication and an utter lie.

Go ahead and prove me wrong, not with a single primary source, but with a preponderance of evidence that demonstrates the incredible existence of the baby loving fighting dog that was so beloved and so popular in times gone by that it was commonly called the nanny dog.

This, by the way, doesn't count.

This is the truth of the Stafforshire Bull Terrier today. Note this one is in fighting trim and has a a heavily scarred muzzle. This ain't no nanny dog. 

And this is the truth of how pit bulls were seen at the turn of the 20th century.

~We lie loudest when we lie to ourselves.
Eric Hoffer