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The Working American Bulldogs by David Putnam Q.Is it true that any Bulldog that can tackle a 400 lbs. rip snorting wild boar can easily deal with a mere human burglar?

A. There are a handful of visionary AB breeders that are testing blood stock in hog catching and man work. This may be a revolutionary concept in today's day and age, but in ancient times this is how the progenitor of all Mastiffs was bred. Molossus war dogs were bred and trained to range ahead of armies in order to engage the great packs of enemy war dogs that were doing the same thing. When the Molossus pack had eliminated the enemy war dogs their next targets were enemy horses. After riders had been thrown to the ground the Molossus would attack downed horsemen. The Molossus would fearlessly rip into men armed with edged weapons and wearing body armor. Ancient Mastiff war dogs had to be bred for dog gameness, horse gameness and hardness against men.

There are a number of ABs that have both BSTs (and other protection titles) plus Catch Dog titles. There is no question that a Bulldog that can do high level man work one day and the next day gamely absorb seven inch wounds from the slashing tusks of a wild boar has been tested more extensively than an AB that has done only man work. When AB breeders begin to stack up generations of Bulldogs that are proven in both arenas we will be doing something that has not been attempted for hundreds of years. We will be breeding to the legendary standards of the ancient Greek Molossus. At that point no other breed of guard dog will be able to touch the American Bulldog.

With that said it is important to remember that Bulldogs that have been bred only to catch wild boar for many generations are usually lousy guard dogs. Pure hog hunting strains of AB, Pit Bull and related breeds are consciously bred to have zero man aggression. This is also true of strains of dog fighting Pit Bull. Animal oriented Bulldogs often hunt with men they have never seen before. In the heat of battle with a fearsome wild boar it can be extremely dangerous to have catch dogs with even the slightest inclination to bite a person, especially if some of the hunters don't know the dog. Boar dogs do get cut up and have to be sewn together out in the field. Sometimes they must be sewn up by hunters that the dog doesn't know. For these reasons any breeder that is interested in a pure catch dog will breed all inclination for human aggression out of his strain. Pure Old English Whites that have been bred this way have proven to be poor sport protection dogs and not necessarily the greatest personal protection dogs either. I have a friend with a game bred Pit Bull that is death to wild boar. I can start punching my friend in front of this dog and the dog does not react in a protective manner. If I were to start punching one of my friends with a man aggressive American Bulldog, I'll get my head ripped off.

Bulldogs bred solely for animal gameness over many generations have nerves of steel. They are not afraid of any man or anything. They do not have a suspicious nature against people. In fact, from a guard dog point of view, it can be said that their nerves are too good. If we desire some level of human aggression, a slight edge is necessary, some level of suspicion against humans is important, some level of wariness. Courage is more important than gameness in a guard dog. The two words have very different meanings. A courageous guard dog has some level of fear or suspicion against a threatening human, he understands the danger poised by an armed man. The good guard dog also understands that a non-threatening human poises no danger to himself or the people/territory he is defending. He understands that humans come with different levels of threat. The courageous guard dog overcomes his fear of a genuinely threatening human and engages without hesitation.

Gameness on the other hand is the ability to absorb punishment while fighting, to not give up despite injury and exhaustion. Once the courageous guard dog has engaged a real bad guy he must have a certain amount of gameness to see the fight through. Humans as a general rule have very low levels of gameness. But there are exceptions, therefore it is important that a good guard dog be able to continue fighting even if he is injured. For this reason the breeders that incorporate both hog work and man work into their programs are on the cutting edge. We must remember that both tests are of equal importance. So the answer to the question is: No, just because a Bulldog can catch and hold a rip snorting wild boar doesn't mean that he can deal with a real bad guy.

Dave Putnam, ®2000
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