Human Aggression, Animal Aggression, Culled Man-biters and The Desecration of Truth

There is something feeble and a little contemptible about a man who cannot face the perils of life without the help of comfortable myths. Moreover, since he is aware, however dimly, that his opinions are not rational, he becomes furious when they are disputed.
Bertrand Russell

"Back In The Ole Bulldog Days These Manbiters Were Eliminated Immediately."
I hear this over and over again, so let me just ask who, specifically, ever culled a game "man-biter" back in "The Ole Bulldog Days?"
Earl T never minded feeding man-biters, even though his wife's legs were covered with bite scars. Some of Tant's dogs would just as soon eat you as look at you. I understand Burns' dogs were even worse.
I'd like to see someone step foot on V Jackson's yard if he wasn't around.
Carver kept his share of "man-biters," as did many many other famed dogmen.
In most cases, if a dog was good enough to win, it was good enough to live, regardless of who it wanted to have for dinner.
ROCKY ALEXANDER, APBT historian and former APBT breeder

Pit bull advocates are fond of saying that the American Pit Bull Terrier is no more aggressive than any other dog, and in fact they are LESS aggressive towards humans than most other breeds. They claim pit bulls make horrible guard dogs, stating their pit bulls would lick a burglar to death. They attribute the pit bull's love and docility of humans to the dogman's need to handle them in the pit and after the match, if they earned medical care, therefore, any pit fighter that was aggressive towards humans was culled. Or so the story goes. There are two problems with this claim. First, it minimizes animal aggression and exculpates pit bulls when they randomly flex their genetic muscle on unsuspecting animals. And second, it is patently false. This blog will only address the claim's lack of validity.

The pit bull evangelists have a litany of factually challenged, emotionally charged slogans ready to use in their online war of disinformation, each more ludicrous than the other. One of their favorites is "the dogmen culled man-biters". In the Nanny Dog and the ATTS myths, there was almost a kernel of truth at the core of the myths. Yes, the Little Rascals' Petey did appear to be the primary care taker of a group of neglected, poverty stricken, mischievous children and yes, the pit bull does score higher than many traditional family breeds of dogs thanks to the sociopathic machinations of the pit bull apologia.

In contrast, the man-biters were culled and the pit bulls were not bred for human aggression myths were created from thin air, complete fabrications. There is not a sliver of truth in the myth that dogmen culled man-biters. Not only weren't human aggressive pit fighters NOT culled, but a talented man-biter was heavily bred, his stud services were in high demand and the stud fees commanded a premium. The progeny of man-biters are still sought out long after he or she has passed away. This Italian game-dog website lists their choice for the Best Ever fighting dogs, three of the five are known man-biters and the other two trace their origins to the others on their "Best" list. Some famous man-biters have their own facebook fan pages. If you happen to be a 10x winner with 3 kills and scratching on the carcass, people tend to overlook a little thing like the danger she poses to people and she is also likely to be nominated for the cover of this month's International Sporting Dog Journal. Some famous man-biters not only have a facebook fan page, they have their own promotional merchandise too.

BadRap, Karen Delise and other pit bull advocates like to lay the blame of the current trend of breeding human aggressive pit bulls for protection on the 1987 Sports Illustrated Magazine. They believe the magazine turned the pit bull from loving nanny dog into an unstable meth lab soldier, forever tarnishing his image. But pit bulls have always been used to guard/watch property. This is not new to the contemporary backyard breeders who are attracted to the pit bull's thug image. It has been done in America since the beginning. Ads placed in the early 1900's prove this. Even the treasurer of the APBT club was peddling a human aggressive pit bull. And the oldest, most respected name in the history of the APBT, Joseph L Colby wrote in 1936, "As a watchdog he is unexcelled. This book could be written five times on this one subject, in regard to the American Pit Bull Terrier as a watchdog."

But there are APBT facts and then there are the comfortable myths the pit bull apologia tell themselves and others to conceal the fighting dog's true image and hopefully improve it. The fact is, if a dogman liked what he saw in the pit, the dog lived and it was bred with the hope of producing more high performance pit dogs. I have not found a single account of a great fighting dog or even a potentially great fighting dog who was removed from the gene pool prematurely because of poor temperament and a tendency to bite the hand that fed it. I have not found a single account of a great fighting dog or a potentially great fighting dog whose owner elected not to breed because of an aggressive temperament towards humans. The media accounts of the most famous fatal pit bull attack are oddly silent on the subject of the man-killer's fate.

This 1976 match report acknowledges the existence of man-biters and recommends the use of muzzles, not bullets to manage the problem.
July-August 1976
4th Match C. Beasley vs Starsky & Hutch M65 Ref. B. Clouse
Beasley's red and white handled by Joe Alvarado. Hutch handling a black. At the scales, while weighing the red and white, who is a bad man-eater, Alvarado lost control of the dog and headed right for Earl Maloney and bit him in the chest. Bill Carr kicked him loose and was bitten himself, very bad, just above the rib cage. That big crazy dog then headed for the crowd with his mouth wide open. Some one could have been seriously hurt if Bill Carr hadn't intercepted again, this time getting bit on the leg, through his boot. They finally got the dog under control and the match was on. Alvarado got fouled out for some bad handling in his corner and the Winner: Starsky & Hutch's black dog.
It would be a good idea to muzzle know man-eaters to prevent something like this from happening again.
Reported by Bobby D. Smith

One aspect of this particular pit bull myth that I find especially perplexing is that the group of people who most aggressively promote the man-biters were culled and pit bulls are people lovers who will only lick you to death myth are often the very same people who go to great lengths to SAVE every man-biter from euthanasia. This bizarre phenomenon is currently playing out in Godfrey, Illinois with a pit bull named Precious. After one unprovoked attack on another dog and three unprovoked attacks on humans, the battle is on to protect this man-biter at all costs, including condemning the victim, her parents and further endangering the community.

"Earl T never minded feeding man-biters, even though his wife's legs were covered with bite scars."

Surely, if a dogman had a prized pit fighter that did not exercise discretion between human and dog flesh, they would take extra precaution with it to ensure that no yard accidents occurred, especially in light of Colby's freak accident.

Thanks to the dogman's need to boast, we can lay two more myths to rest. First, the myth of the responsible dogman. Second, dog aggression does not equate to human aggression.

The life and times of legendary pit fighter and known man-biter, Gr Ch Gambler's Virgil ROM has been well documented and provides evidence that these are myths.

Here is Virgil on the chain and posing with puppies, cats, women and children.

Virgil's heir and the heir to Virgil's legacy.

What do these photos say? These photos tell me that the line drawn between animal aggression and human aggression is an arbitrary one, as is the line drawn between irresponsible and responsible dogmen.

A quote from an interview with Diane Jessup in 2001:

Jessup believes that much of dog behavior comes from their genes. “I truly believe that a dog is about 90% genetics,” says Jessup. She believes that many of the aggressive pit bulls put down in the nation’s shelters are the victims of generations of indiscriminate breeding.

I don't know how the pit bull expert arrived at 90% or how accurate it is but i tend to agree that the number is high. Whether it is 75% or 95%, I don't know but it is my opinion that it is closer to 100% than 0%. Jane Berkey and Ledy Vankavage would like everyone to believe that genetically determined behavior of pit bulls hovers around the zero percent range. That is irresponsible, self-serving and just plain crazy.

Pit bulls have been bred for so long and so intensively for the pit, that their hard-wired violent tendencies don't always discriminate between dogs and people or dogs and cars or strangers and family members. Hard wired behaviors are true of many breeds of dogs, not just pit bulls and is probably best illustrated with the border collie. The border collie breed is not quite as old as the APBT, yet it is so hard wired to herd sheep, that if there are no sheep to herd, it will herd whatever is available. I have read accounts of border collies (and aussies, cattledogs, shelties) herding a variety of non-sheep animals and inanimate objects such as ants, cats, dogs, chickens, horses, rabbits, frogs, shadows, light, shoes, vacuum cleaners, tumble weed, leaves, snow, cars, carpet fuzz and HUMANS. No one is surprised when a border collie herds ants. And more importantly, no one tries to claim that it is the owner's fault for not properly training or socializing their border collie! The border collie's inability to refrain from treating children like sheep, often makes them a poor choice as a family pet, as they tend to nip while herding. The same cautionary approach should be taken with gripping dogs.

We recognize the border collie's hard-wired instincts to herd and it is dangerously foolish to deny the pit bull terrier's hard-wired instincts for violence.

"I will challenge you to show me the ped with no famous manbitters in it."
~ anonymous dogman

The following are a few pedigrees of known man biters and their first generation of REGISTERED offspring. As noted with the pedigree of human aggressive Lil Bit, not all offspring are registered, so the number of man-biter offspring is potentially much greater than indicated below.

Yellow John 66 registered offspring
Zebo 90 registered offspring
Art 63 registered offspring
Bolio 106 registered offspring
Angus (descendant of Spook & Eli) 9 registered offspring
Anderson's Spade 4 registered offspring
Mesquite Sam 1 registered offspring
Golden King's Silver 19 registered offspring
Zeljko's Yellow 3 registered offspring

Bullyson 129 registered offspring
The remaining man-biters listed below all trace their roots back to Bullyson.
Lil Bit
Virgil 336 registered offspring
Honeybunch 44 registered offspring
Buster 101 registered offspring
Tornado 9 registered offspring
Darla's Queen 7 registered offspring
Chinaman 189 registered offspring
* Chinaman sired the greatest producer of all time Frisco. It is irrelevant whether or not Frisco was a man-biter, he passed on Chinaman's (and Bullyson's) DNA on to his 1182 registered offspring.

Yacuza's Mr Indian 83 offspring
* Mr Indian is a pit fighter in the Balkans and his roots trace back to Bullyson, Bolio, Zebo and Yellow John. He is described as man-biter and a wall jumper.

Mr Indian

These 18 man-biters produced at least 1265 puppies.


Godfrey, Illinois


Diane Jessup 2001 interview

Pit Bulls by Gary Wilkes

Dogmen Conversations About Man-biters and Man-Eaters

Man Eaters by Gary J. Hammonds

Manbiter Discussion

Dogmen Conversationsions About Man-biters and Man-Eaters

Man Biters


Gambler's Virgil Stud fees

Dog Fighting and Pit Bulls

John P. Colby: the fountainhead of the American Pit Bull Terrier within the United States

1909 Dog Bite Fatality: John P. Colby's Fighting Pit Bull Kills Nephew

The American Pit Bull Terrier, Joseph L. Colby, 1936

Are Pit Bulls Different? An analysis of the pit bull terrier controversy - Randall Lockwood and Kate Rindy

Diane Jessup and man-biters

Tom Garner Kennels: Chinaman

Chinaman bloodline discussion

A few historical references to human aggressive pit fighters

1976 match report

Fairy Tales from the Pit


DubV said...

Kudos. You've just made the pit nutters your "companion".


april 29 said...

Loved the "Best Ever" link. The quote below is from Zebo's biography.

"Unfortunately one day Zebo attacked Adam’s son removing his ear and Adam’s wife made him get rid of Zebo so he sold him to Mr. Johnson. Johnson got Zebo to take part in another 2 fights and then retired him undefeated from fighting at the age of 7 and put him to stud. Zebo died at the age of 13"

scurrilous amateur blogger said...

i am so glad people click on the links i provide.

scurrilous amateur blogger said...


DubV said...

This man-biters were culled myth is similar to the nanny dog myth in that the pit nutters hold the burden of proof, the nutters have not met it, and they are unaware of any of this.

Dawn has done a great job showing copious examples of famous non-culled man-biters. Where are the nutters' examples of culling that they insist exist? They are simply asserting and circulating it, like the nanny dog myth, until all sites reference each other in a circle, but none actually give evidence. Instead, they usually claim an argument that dogmen must've been smart enough to not want bitten, were capable of producing dogs that were selectively highly aggressive, and weren't smart enough to figure out how to muzzle a dog or manage its ferocity another way.

Come on nutters, show us all the evidence that man-biters were culled and that this is something that dogmen generally agreed to do and actually did.

Until then, the culling man-biters meme is in the same class as the nanny dog myth: something that nutters came up with as a reason for people to be okay with having fighting dogs in their communities.

scurrilous amateur blogger said...

the proof of assertion flash mobs got nothing.

Sweetie Pie said...

@ "Yes, the Little Rascals' Petey did appear to be the primary care taker of a group of neglected, poverty stricken, mischievous children..."

Exactly: appeared to be. It was movies, not real life. I've seen a video of one the the various pit bulls that played Petey, in which the trainer showed off by telling the PB to do various things. The PB's demeanor as it obeyed suggests training with aversives. I then watched a segment from one of the movies, where a little girl is interacting with Petey by throwing him bits of food for doing what she says. Watching the PB in this segment, it's clear that the real trainer is close by, probably giving the real commands, though of course never in view of the camera and without a mike. Just as they still do it with animals in movies nowadays.

The whole Little Rascals and Petey thing is a movie, not real life. The movies were carefully orchestrated and put together to tell a funny and touching, but fictional, story for the camera.

Why is it being used as if the Petey character ever existed in real life? Or do people also believe that the Little Rascals were real street urchins (rather than child actors), and that Shirley Temple was an impoverished orphan just because she played one in a movie?

scurrilous amateur blogger said...

that's me being a smart ass on both the nanny dog and the atts.

Sweetie Pie said...

Here are the links to the excerpts I just referred to:



Small Survivors said...

Fantastic piece that should bust another myth. I notice they don't dare pull out the famous pit bull owners list anymore. Another one down the drain.

Favorite Tudor story:
Earl Tudor's wife was bitten so many times by Earl's dogs that her legs were covered in scars.When the issue was raised regarding the temperament of the Tudor dogs, Earl replied, "If you'redumb enough to get bit by one of my dogs, that's your fault!"

Earl's wife's reply: Fuck you too Earl. Sideways.

scurrilous amateur blogger said...

someone recently sent me the link to the training film. i think petey looks afraid of Harry Lucenay.

scurrilous amateur blogger said...

i've been looking for a great quote from rocky alexander. he was talking about his uncle housing some of DAVID TANT'S pit fighters. one of them was a man biter and he told TANT that he wanted it off of his yard. TANT told rocky's uncle either buck up and take it like a man or return them all.

i'll keep looking for it.

Unknown said...

I hope you don't mind my responding to this article. There are a couple of things I'd like to say.
To begin, I should point out that I haven't bred a dog in years, and I refuse to ever do it in the future. It's impossible to predict how or where a dog will end up if you put it in the hands of someone else, so I choose not to do it. I'd say most dog-owners are pretty good at owning dogs, but one would have to be pretty damned naive to fail to realize that there are a lot of idiots out there. A prime example of that would be the photos of Virgil with the toddler. Most dogs don't like to be squeezed on, and few have a particular fondness for small children. Tolerance isn't the same as enjoyment. Some dogs will tolerate something indefinitely (but you can't count on it) while others have a breaking point. I'm talking about dogs in general, not only Apbts.

The seventh picture down, right above Barbie. The dog is clearly uncomfortable and didn't remain in such a pose for very long, I guarantee it. There's some tension, nervousness. Ears back, facial muscles tightened. One of three things happen soon following this photo. The dog gets up and moves away from the child. The child moves away from the dog. Or the child is bitten, probably in the face. I'm assuming the latter didn't occur, but suppose it does? Who's fault is it? The dog's, for exercising an instinctual response common to all breeds? The child, for just not knowing any better? Or the parents, for their own cluelessness? It's easier for everyone to blame the dog and chalk it up to genetic instability. Sure takes a load off the irresponsible owners. Whether the dog is destroyed or not doesn't do anything for the real problem.

These people who post ridiculous pictures of the small children with their arms draped around dogs' necks, or kissing them on the mouths. Irresponsibility at its finest. You can't take these people seriously because of their blatant ignorance. They're doing just as much harm to the reputation of the breed as those who pimp the dogs as guard animals.

I've studied this breed for decades, and I still learn something new about these dogs on a regular basis. God help the novice dog-owner when all they have to learn from is the internet.

To address the myth that man-biters were historically culled from the gene pool, well, let me just say that I pretty much agree with the article.

I'd like to add that I love the American Pit Bull Terrier, as I love all dog breeds–animals in general–with a passion that few share. I used to think that, by teaching the truth about this breed, it would result in an increase in responsibility and understanding, but I've given up on that idea. It seems people don't really care all that much about truth. Everything is about pushing an agenda. Pit bulls are either monsters or angels; there isn't much of a middle ground.

Thank you for allowing me to throw my two cents into the discussion.

scurrilous amateur blogger said...

you are free to post your 2¢ at anytime here. and for you, i will make the exception that your comments do not need to be on topic.

my agenda is the truth. i would love to see an APBT book with you name on it. i will promote it. i credit you and a few others at game-dog for educating me.

monster vs angels? early on, i tried to stay in the middle ground, it didn't fit me. when it comes to dog aggression, i side with monster and i want them spayed and neutered into extinction. here is the second pit bull in the last month to leap from the second story to attack a dog. wtf is that, if not a monster? these dogs are freaks of nature that should not exist. there is no place in society for domestic animals like this.

Anonymous said...

Apparently, whats needed is a law that ethereal fur mommies need to chain pitties to the balcony so that if they jump off to maul, they hang themselves.

2006 Pit Bull leaps off second story balcony, scalps and mauls 63 year old woman


May 1931, Hollywood, CA; Petey poisoned on the Set of the Lil Rascals…Think about it

Splash90 said...

It leapt off the second story balcony. OBVIOUSLY, the woman down there had provoked it in some way. *sarcasm off.*

Unknown said...

The circle I was in would have little to do with a man aggressive dog. I've been to over 100 shows, and visited some of the most renowned pitdog men in the country, and quite a few lesser ones. Once in a while the owner might say, "don't go near that one, or this one". But that would be one or two dog on a yard of sometimes 100 or more. I could count the man aggressive dogs on one hand. That's not to say I could approach everyone of them unattended. Every now and then you get one in which you need to be properly introduced to before you can walk up and pat him on the head. I knew one of the best known pitdog breeders in the world at the time who put down 22 man aggressive dogs in one day.
I didn't have any use for them myself. However, like a star athlete, an extraordinary talented bulldog might get a pass.

scurrilous amateur blogger said...

of course you do. most contemporary men of bulldogs are loathe to admit that man biters were tolerated more often than not. it's called damage control. your canine freak of nature is under the microscope. readers are free choose to believe one unknown commenter's experience with anonymous dogmen over the "years", or they can follow the links in this blog.

i will continue to listen to the Mountain Man.

Rocky Alexander said...

Lil Bit wasn't human aggressive. Marty only encouraged people to think she was out of fear of her being stolen.

scurrilous amateur blogger said...

i wonder, why would anyone want to steal lil bit?

Rocky Alexander said...

Lil Bit was famous for being considered by many to be a perfect physical example of the breed.

KaD said...

I have to disagree with the use of pit bulls as guard dogs. The entire point of a guard dog is to be intimidating but use force as a LAST resort. The point of a pit bull or any fighting BREED dog is to use force FIRST and foremost and not stop until the target is dead. These sets of traits are mutually EX-clusive.

Mat said...

I know some game dog breeders that cull any man biters, and breed many champions in Alsia and south east Asia. These dogs are extremely animal aggressive but very sociable and sort of submissive to people, and very affectionate, your correct about genetics but with genetics you really can (and it’s scientific fact) breed an animal aggressive dog that loves humans, it’s just that like your article said most man biters were not culled, but despite that most pits are friendly to people anyway. I really would expect most or all of them to be as aggressive towards humans if it wasn’t possible to breed only animal aggressive traits, but on the contrary despite the irresponsible breeding of man biters, most game dogs are friendly I’ve been around them for 25 years and I’ve seen very few man biters.

Mat said...


Mat said...

That’s the problem, some of these aces were human aggressive and worse some like zebo were 95% of the time loving and friendly, and then suddenly would look at you and attack, and this was the mountain mans house dog lol, not. Bullyson another ace was a really bad man biter, all were tolerated and breed, I’m surprised that with all the man eaters breed that not all of our dogs are man eaters but instead they are mostly human friendly. So the morale of the story is LETS MAKE THE MYTH OF CULLING THE MAN EATERS TRUE, and actually cull all man biters, then we might be able to safe our beloved breed.

icr said...

Scribd. has taken down a lot of your material.
And of course anything controversial is taken down from you tube these days unless it's aimed at 120+ IQ audience.