Monday, September 27, 2010

What is a Alapaha Bulldog?

The Alapaha Blue-Blood Bulldog’s origin is somewhat undocumented and unverifiable before 1979. Authorities differ so completely about the origin of the Alapaha that the name itself is in dispute. However, the Alapaha is one of the few breeds that are emblematic of this storied Nation and there is little doubt that a species resembling the Alapaha has existed for over two hundred years in the southern enclaves.

The Alapaha is believed to have its origin in a recently extinct species known as the Mountain Bulldog, Old Southern White and Old Country (Big) Bulldog. These dogs were first brought to America in the early 18th century. It, unlike its “English” counterpart, was continuously bred for utility and stamina, whether it be guard work, farm work, or as a family companion. Despite their proven worth in many areas and ability to reproduce type with reliability these strains of bulldogs survived mainly in small pockets of the south, never being accepted into the show dog circles.

These Bulldogs were extensively used in the development of many breeds like the American Pit Bull Terrier(APBT), Black Mouth Cur and Catahoula Leopard Dog. It would be ignorant of Alapaha and American Bulldog breeders to think only the Catahoula and Pit Bull breeders used the cross breeds they developed in their breeding programs. Remember, being mostly a European dog the original bulldog was acclimated to a much cooler climate than the rural southern United States. Because of this inherent lack of tolerance to heat, most stockmen and hunters found that the cur-type/bulldog crosses made for a better all around dog. These cur-type dogs are mostly believed to be results of crosses themselves between Spanish Mastiff-type War Dogs, Greyhounds, Beauceron, Danish Hounds (the Great Dane) and the generic-type Indian curs (the Catahoula red-wolf hybrid) that roamed the American south. The southern United States was sparsely populated with these cur-type/bulldog crosses that were used by local farmers, ranchers and hunters. Wild cattle, feral hogs, bear and coons were among their quarry. In short, a varied ancestry befits this multi-faceted working dog.

This established strain of dog has resulted from the generations old breeding programs of several people namely Papa Buck Lane and William Chester of Georgia and Cecil Evans and Kenny Houston of Florida. The breed has been known by a series of names such as Otto, Cowdog, Silver Dollar, and Catahoula Bulldog. This type of dog was in danger of extinction until a small group of Southerners in 1979 in an attempt to rescue the Ol’ Tymey Plantation Bulldog of the South founded the Alapaha Blue-Blood Bulldog Association® giving it the aforementioned name and dedicating them to preserving this exceptional type of dog. They set about to perpetuate the breed and to establish a standard in which to breed from.

Even though the Alapaha’s job is harsh and their lives are sometimes shortened by performing their duties, they remain extremely loving and loyal family pets. They really love children and are sensitive to their owner’s demands. They are affectionate and loyal, and they thrive best when treated as members of the family. The Alapaha is a very confident dog and has no fear of people. They are very easy to train. If socialized and raised properly they will be very protective of their home and master.

Unfortunately, the Alapaha has fallen into the hands of those who thought they could use a shortcut to creating an “Exotic Breed”. A variety of different breeds were used to give the Alapaha a certain 'color', little did they know that these qualities were already running in the genetic make up of the Alapaha. Recently introduced breeds were, for example, “Blue-merle” Catahoula Cur Dog mixes, “Blue” Amstaffs, “Harlequin” Great Danes and contemporary American Bulldogs. This is very evident when you observe the overall conformation and inconsistencies in temperament of the dogs registered with the open registries (Create-A-Breed Registries like the ARF, ACA, NKC, CKC, IOEBA, OREBA, URBA, FIC, DRA and WWKC). Great damage has been done to the Alapaha as a breed with this influx of cross breeding. These mixed bred curs have maligned the overall idea (to the unknowing general public) in conformation and temperament. The Alapaha was never intended to be a “Blue-Eyed High Belly, Birddog Looking, Beefed up Terrier”.

Today, the Alapaha is not only bred in the Southern enclaves of the United States but all over the world from South Africa to the Philippines from China to New Zealand as well as Europe and the Americas strictly following standards set by the Alapaha Blue-Blood Bulldog Association® (ABBA). The Alapaha found in these countries all originate from the southeastern United States. Breeders who breed purely for the love of breed, not the love of money, who follow the same main breeding criteria, being: #1 Health, #2 Temperament and #3 Conformation.

Copied from the ABBA homepage.