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Interview with Gary J. Hammonds
When talking to somebody who
owns a Pit Bull Terrier, it is unavoidable that the subject of pedigrees comes up. Pedigrees make up a very important aspect
of breeding any type of animal, but especially so with high performance animals such as Pit Bull Terriers. When it comes to breeding and raising puppies into full grown healthy dogs
some people seem to have more success than others. Anyone who has experience in the field will tell you that it takes a lot
if time, money and patience along with plenty of common sense before any good results will come off. Unmistakably, Gary J. Hammonds from Texas is one of the very few that can look back at a very
successful career, breeding a high percentage of good dogs. Some of the better known dogs that he bred are such as Frits Jansen’s
Champion SPIKE, which turned out to be one of the best producing dogs in Europe. Ronnie Anderson’s Champion SPADE, Champion
SMILEY and Champion GOOSE. But the dog that Gary gained most fame with is, without any doubt, the RUFUS dog who proved to
be one of the best producing male dogs in the World. Gary
is known to be a very scientific breeder and is most famous for his ALLIGATOR line of dogs which are still playing an important
role in the breeding program of many serious breeders around the world. During my trip through North Texas, I decided to look
him up and ask him about his experience on the subject of breeding dogs. Upon arriving he spontaneously agreed on doing an
interview. While Gary was finishing his last preparations for the weight pull of the following day, I Started to ask him the
Gary, why have you chosen to
bred the ALLIGATOR bloodline? Years ago I had access to a bunch of dogs and I had mainly BRUNO/HEINZL dogs. I could have
taken good BULLYSON and good CORVINO bred dogs, but I’ve seen the ALLIGATOR stuff and really liked what I saw. The main
thing that I liked so much about these dogs; SOKO, RENEE and ALLIGATOR was that they were smart dogs, they were hard to hurt,
and they were real Game dogs. This was 10 or 15 years ago. The mom and daddy to these dogs were not really impressive, they
were NIGGER and SATIN LADY, but together they certainly produced some good dogs. I didn’t like either of them as individuals,
but they sure produced. At this moment I have about one hundred and ten dogs and most are bred from this bloodline.
Some people that I have spoken to told me that NIGGER was a Cur.
What do you think about this? I’ve heard the same thing. I don’t know if it was true. But, too many people
tell the same story that it had to be true. See NIGGER was one of the last of the Tudor stuff. NIGGER was heavy JEFF and BABY
breeding, so when you got down to that end and you wanted to breed to that stuff you were pretty much limited and NIGGER was,
I suppose, the best producer of them all.
did you get Started with these dogs? When I was 3 years old I had a Bulldog that saved my life. He pulled me out of a
bar ditch that was flooding and without that dog I would have drowned. He was not a full blooded top line Pit Bull, but he
was ¾ Pit and ¼ farm dog. He thought he was 100% Bulldog and looked like it too. He would jump on anything. His name was TIPP.
That’s how I got Started with Pit Bulls and I have had a love affair with them ever since.
How do you feel about heavy Inbreeding? I sure like Inbreeding. It’s
a tool that if you take it a generation or two far you will lose what you are Inbreeding for. Those types, those characteristics,
that are linked with Inbreeding, many times, are lost due to too heavy inbreeding.
What do you do to prevent this from happening? With every generation you take a hard look
at what you’ve got and you decide if the individuals from that generation are good enough to breed back to the previous
generation, like; father to daughter, mother to son, or whatever and if you can’t justify it then you don’t need
to carry it on any further. Although you could very easily cutcross in that generation, or even introduce a catalyst blood
to that family of dogs to Keep it vigorous. Some times that’s the only thing you can do.
What’s the catalyst factor in your breeding program? I’ve used BULLYSON
and BRUNO/HEINZL as the catalyst and with good results. Right now I’ve got a little stud dog that is out of the NIGERINO
type stuff. JOLIE BLOND bred to MITZIE and I think that’s going to be a good catalyst along with the RALPH dog I have.
He is down from PEDRO. I think either of these can be good catalyst blood. PEDRO is from that RASCAL type breeding and he
was owned by GARNER.
What is the main quality you are looking for in a stud dog? An ability to reproduce. The qualities
that a dog has to have in today’s environment, whether it’s Pit environment, Catch Dog, Weight pull dog or whatever.
The qualities I breed for are Gameness and INTELLIGENCE, a good example is GARY and CHRISTI ATHANS SAIGON. SAIGON is a tremendous
weight pull dog and comes from a good family of dogs, he is straight out of my stuff. But you don’t see many of my dogs
that are good weight pull dogs.
There is a lot of growing interest in breeding dogs for weight pulls and
etc…. It seems that most of these people are not interested in Gameness and other traditional qualities. No they
aren’t. But of course there are a lot that are just Pulling dogs. For instance, a lot of weight pull dogs are straight
stifled UKC type dogs that would have a hard time with the more fighting type dog whether it be a good fighting dog or not.
At the APBA Nationals, I see more and more of the Pull dogs that look like the old fighting dogs with the roached back and
Do you make a distinction between a fighting dog and a stud dog? In my opinion what you need in a
stud dog, whether he is a fighting dog or not is a dog that can reproduce. Sound genetic structure both between the ears and
in the heart, and also, the body has to be sound. Too many times people lose track of this and they breed to Champion so and
so or Grand Champion etc… but because of their title it doesn’t mean they will be able to produce that type of
dog. So what I look for in a stud dog is a relatively tight genetic pool, and a family rather than two or three good individuals.
that means you have to by pedigrees and you know as well as I do there are a lot of dogs out there with fake pedigrees on
them! Yes, I use pedigrees a great deal, but it’s not just what you see on paper…. Like the dogs I’ve
messed with, I’ve seen their grand-parents first hand, as well as the parents and other similar bred individuals and
I’ve used those dogs instead of the dogs from another part of the country that I was not sure about the pedigree.
pedigrees. Practically all of your dogs go back to Maurice Carver stuff. There are a lot of rumors about him mixing up pedigrees
when he was still alive. Since you work a great deal with pedigrees do you believe to know the true ancestry of your dogs
when it goes back to SATIN LADY for instance? I believe so and I’ll tell you why. It was too screwed up of a breeding,
as far as on paper, not to be the truth. If you look at SATIN LADY , she was a scatter bred Bitch out of IRONHEAD and BLACK
BEAUTY. She was a big black Bitch and I asked Maurice about it on one of my visits to his place. I asked him; “Maurice
why did you make a breeding like that?” And he said, “Well son, I tell you, I thought it be good.” Maurice
had a way of mixing blood on papers and pedigrees and whatever it took to make it work. I think that part of the reason for
Maurice putting out bogus pedigrees was to Keep the secret to himself. I sincerely believe that the pedigrees on the dogs
that I use to be right. If they’re not, it’s too late to worry about it anyway because I’m 3 or 4 generations
away from what Maurice owned or sold to old man Williams, like the SATIN LADY Bitch and others, but I will say this, in the
seventies Maurice Carver was the BEST breeder in the country. He bred more dogs in those years, first class dogs, than any
other 5 top breeders in the country. But the pedigree thing I really sincerely believe it’s no more than Maurice’s
way of keeping his secrets secret. He would sell you the cake, but Keep the recipe.
What about your Howard Heinzl dogs? They were certainly good dogs but…. And I hate
to say this, they lost a lot of what they were famous for in the sixties and seventies. It is no fault of Howard because he
bred with some real good genetic back ground and put it together the way it was suppose to be. I think he lived bred those
dogs just too tight and they played out. It would click if you would cross it, but Heinzl kept it pure. The stuff he used
before and what I liked so much was line bred; 50/50 Colby/Dibo. That combination was hard to beat. My TAFFY Bitch was one
of those combinations. She was a hell of a dog and I saw some more that were bred the same way, that would make the owner
proud. She was a double MUSTY bred dog off BAT and TWIGGY.
Texas is a very big state with an awful lot of Bulldogs and a great number of dog men. Some claim the best dogs
and breeders are in Texas. Do you agree with this? I think we have a tremendous base in Texas because there have been
a great deal of breedings between the top dog men from Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana and to a lesser degree in Mexico. When
you have a situation like this and the competition of the last 40 or 50 years right here in Texas between top dog men it’s
only logical that you come up with some top notch bulldogs and dog men. Also, another thing that has made the Texas dogs so
good is that several breeders from here went out to buy dogs from Corvino, Heinzl, Tudor, Kinard and Boudreaux. All these
very good bloodlines were put together so it’s just the situation that arose. I’m sure at some time in history,
there will be another spot in the world the dogs will be just as good as the dogs in Texas are right now, but they really
have to do their work to get there.