The Pitbull Terrier has what you might call a troubled history.
They were originally bred for bull or bear baiting and dogfighting, so they had to be powerful, muscular, and savage. American Pitbull Terriers were used for rat baiting and had to be swift and vicious. Over the years, this type of dog became a combination of solid muscle with sharp teeth.
Fortunately, humans have mostly moved away from such barbaric forms of entertainment*, but yet the stigma still remains. This is grossly unfair on the dogs themselves, as it’s only through human intervention that they gained a reputation of ferocity and aggression. While it’s true that many of these dogs retain some of those old fighting dog instincts, they are, for the most part, gentle, loyal, and affectionate family pets.
However, this fact hasn’t quelled the fear that surrounds the name, pitbull (or pit bull, either is acceptable). People still tend to avoid them, whichever breed it might be. And, that’s another thing; it isn’t a single breed!
Although the American Pit Bull Terrier is the only one to hold the name officially, more than 20 different breeds form the pitbull terrier class of dogs. This includes well-known breeds such as the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, the American Staffordshire Terrier (also known as the AmStaff), and the American Bully.
*The hideous practice of dogfighting still continues worldwide, and extensively so in America, despite being outlawed and criminalized in all 50 states. It is estimated that around 40,000 people are involved in organized dog fights, with approximately 1,500 dogs dying every year.
So, there’s no such thing as a pitbull breed! Instead, it’s a collection of different breeds that have similar characteristics and physical traits. Even so, most people will use the name Pitbull when talking specifically about the American Pitbull Terrier.
Despite the negative associations, pitbull dog breeds are very popular these days, especially those from the Colby Pitbull bloodline.
But, what do we mean by Colby Pitbull?
Well, that’s what we’re here to discover! We’re going to take a short trip back in time to find out the history of the Colby bloodline, and answer many of your frequently asked questions along the way.
What Is A Colby Pitbull?
Photo from: @pitbull_kano_kali_blu
A Colby Pitbull can be described as any dog that is within the original bloodline produced by the Colby kennels. They are prized for their bulky, muscular stature, alertness, and agility.
We’ll learn more about the Colby name in a moment, but first, we’ll look at what it means to be a Colby Pitbull.
These dogs were bred with temperament, conformation, and gameness in mind, making them highly respected and sought after. Of course, cropped ears are a must.
Let’s take a closer look at these:
Colby Pitbulls were expected to display confidence and a ‘zest for life’. They should also present a real sense of strength and enthusiasm, being eager to please at all times. Despite their powerful presence and intimidating appearance, they should have a softer, playful side.
Indeed, many APBT owners state that they make perfect family pets and have a particular love for children.
This relates to the physical appearance of the dog, which should be well-proportioned, muscular, and pleasing to the eye. Any visible detail on the dog has to be perfect. This is more important when it comes to the show ring, as points can be deducted for aspects that don’t come up to standard.
Obviously, this is a moot point when it comes to banned breeds, as they won’t be allowed in shows!
An oddly old-fashioned word that refers to the dog’s willingness to accept a challenge and fulfill it wholeheartedly. Historically, it was bred into them to ensure that they entered a fight with the intention of winning at any cost or dying in the attempt.
The various pitbull breeds are smart and energetic dogs, and they relish a challenge, such as agility training or obstacle courses. Gameness in this area is a good and healthy thing – though nobody wants their dog to die in the process, of course!
The problem is, gameness still has strong links with the worlds of dogfighting and hunting. Dogs that are game will have a high pain threshold and will continue fighting even when severely injured, either when fighting in the ring or when bitten by wild animals such as badgers.
This makes many people question the need for this particular trait.
Colby Pitbull Bloodline History
Photo from: @lacey_sf
The story begins in 1888 with a young boy called John Pritchard Colby, aged 13 years, who got his first pitbull dog. For someone so young, John Colby possessed a great deal of business sense, passion, and tenacity as he set out on a journey that would make him one of the most respected dog breeders in history.
The following year, 1889, he started breeding pitbulls by using the pitbull he had been given. From his home in Newport, Massachusetts, he imported some of the best fighting dogs from Ireland and England, where bloodsports were still very popular.
It’s easy to judge others based on our modern sensitivities. The thought of breeding dogs purely for the purpose of making them tear each other apart for our entertainment is abhorrent to all right-thinking people today.
However, these were different times, and many people accepted dogfighting as being normal.
John P Colby developed his bloodline over the next few years, with the focus mainly on the dog’s physical build, temperament, and gameness. The latter trait was vital to the dog’s willingness to enter a fight or take on any challenge, and to never give up. Combined with their agility and their immensely muscular frame, this resulted in a dog that was built for fighting and winning.
By 1896, Colby was fairly well established as a breeder. One of his most important dogs was produced that year, called Colby’s Pincher. He was widely regarded as being invincible in the fighting pit, and was also used as a stud dog.
It is believed that Pincher formed the foundation of the American Pitbull Terrier breed, which is why he is present in the pedigree of the majority of APBT specimens today!
In 1909, the American Dog Breed Association (ADBA) was formed by Con Feeley and Guy McCord, friends of John Colby and fellow breeders of American Pitbull Terriers. Through this collaboration, Colby dogs became registered with the ADBA, and their fame spread ever wider.
By the 1930s, the American Kennel Club (AKC) finally decided to recognize American Pitbull Terriers, but concerns about the connections to dogfighting meant that they were registered as Staffordshire Terriers, later amended to American Staffordshire Terriers. One of Colby’s best dogs, Colby’s Primo, was used to set the breed standards.
The Colby family carried on this tradition until recent times. Although they don’t advertise their breeding services widely, they sometimes release a litter once in a while.
To this day, the American Pitbull Terrier is still not recognized by the AKC, but other organizations, such as the United Kennel Club (UKC) and the Continental Kennel Club (CKC) have done so for many years.
Colby Pitbull Characteristics
Photo from: @lucariodasideia
True Colby Pitbulls will have the following physical characteristics:
• Height – They should stand 17–18 inches at the shoulder for females, and 18–19 inches for males.
• Weight – When they are full grown, they should weigh somewhere between 40 and 50 pounds.
• Head – This, along with the muzzle, should be medium-length, with a bulky, broad skull.
• Coat – They should have a short and lustrous coat that requires regular grooming to keep it in good condition and help reduce the heavy shedding.
• Neck/shoulders – The shoulders are toned and muscular, with wide, sloping shoulder blades and a heavy, medium-length neck.
• Tail – They have a short, tapered tail that is held in a low position.
Overall, there is a good sense of proportion with these dogs.
Are Colby Pitbulls Rare?
Not as rare as you might think! Throughout his career, John Colby boasted that he bred around 5,000 dogs, most of which remained in America.
Because of this, many pitbull-type dogs in the US will have the Colby bloodline somewhere in their pedigree. Even so, there are few 100% pure Colby Pitbulls out there. The Colby family still breeds these dogs, but on a much more limited scale, making these ‘official’ Colby dogs pretty rare.
On the whole, though, hundreds of breeders produce dogs of the Colby bloodline these days.
Photo from: @ampkennels
The average lifespan of a Colby Pitbull is between 12 and 14 years. This is slightly higher than the average for all dog breeds, and a good indication that they are generally healthy.
Like all dogs, they might suffer from a range of sicknesses and diseases such as hip dysplasia, parvo, and giardia (an infection of the digestive tract). Some are also prone to congenital heart disease and allergies, while others may develop cataracts.
A healthy diet, plenty of exercise, and regular visits to the vet are the best ways to reduce the risk of these conditions. Also, you should only buy your pitbull puppies from a reputable breeder!
How Big Does A Colby Pitbull Get?
As mentioned above, a male will measure between 18 and 19 inches at the shoulder, with females only an inch or two shorter. In terms of weight, either sex can fall between 40 and 50 pounds.
Bear in mind that this relates to pure breeds that come under the umbrella term of pitbull dogs.
The American Bulldog (or American Bully) isn’t a pitbull, strictly speaking, although it is often accepted as one. These can weigh between 60 and 125 pounds, measuring between 20 and 27 inches, with males being the larger of the two as usual.
Although they are, rightly or wrongly, seen as pitbulls, they have no real connection with the Colby bloodline.
What Is The Rarest Type Of Pitbull?
Photo from: @bella_the.bluenose
Probably the Blue-Nose Pitbull. This is usually a dilute version of the black coloration, or a genetic throwback that pops up unexpectedly. Whatever the reason, they look stunning! Some will have beautiful blue eyes to match their dusky coat, making them all the more appealing.
The sad fact is that whenever a particular color is labelled as rare, its popularity tends to surge, catching the attention of backyard breeders.
When demand falls again, many dogs will end up in shelters, and most will be euthanized because of the stigma attached to them.
Colby Blue-Nose Pitbull
It’s unlikely that you’ll find a pure Colby Blue-Nose Pitbull as the family was pretty strict about producing black-nosed dogs. This mattered to them as it represented the purest form.
Whatever our opinions regarding the origins and history of the Colby bloodline, they were adamant about keeping the bloodline pure, meaning that their breeding programs were rigorously monitored to rule out unwanted genes.
Other breeders may produce Colby-type dogs with blue noses, coats, and eyes. You just need to be cautious when it comes to buying one as these can be sold at overinflated prices because they are rare (see Colby Pitbull Breeders below).
What Is A Razorback Pitbull?
First off, there’s not really any such thing. The term is sometimes used by backyard breeders to make their dogs sound more exciting. The only dog anywhere close to this name is the Cambodian
Razorback, which is an extremely rare breed.
It is likely that certain breeders use the term Razorback Pitbull because it sounds cool, giving the impression of a rare type of dog.
Also, it sounds similar to Razor Edge Pitbulls, a particular mixed-breed produced by the Razors Edge Kennels, founded in 1980 by Dave Wilson and Carlos Barksdale. The founders have had considerable success, originally breeding dogs for competition.
However, they changed direction in the 1990s partly in response to the negative image the pitbull had among the general public, and turned their attention to creating companion dogs, even though they are much larger. They are known for their sweet and gentle nature despite their intimidating looks!
Photo from: @colbypit_samson
The lowest price you should be prepared to pay is about $800. Anything below this and you’re probably dealing with an amateur, a clueless backyard breeder, or a puppy mill. Never head for the first place that shouts ‘puppies for sale!’
On average, a reputable breeder will charge between $2,000 and $20,000. Yes, that’s right – twenty thousand dollars. Obviously, the higher the price, the richer the pedigree. These are top-of-the-range, champion bloodline dogs.
You might consider adopting from a shelter for a few hundred dollars, which is great. Far too many dogs are dumped in shelters or rescue centers, and thousands are euthanized each year.
However, you should be aware that some of these dogs will come with baggage, coming from homes where they were abused or had bad experiences. They may not be trained or housebroken, and they could have behavioral problems.
This doesn’t mean that they don’t deserve a chance, just that it takes a special kind of person to take them on.
Colby Pitbull Breeders
Continuing the theme of breeders, you need to be very careful which one you choose as they aren’t all the same.
Unethical breeders, usually referred to as puppy mills or puppy farms, cut overheads as much as possible in order to maximize their profits. They’ll keep parent dogs and puppies in cramped, unsanitary conditions, and feed them substandard food. Because of this, the dogs can suffer mentally and physically.
Some will also rely heavily on inbreeding and line breeding, resulting in severe congenital defects and diseases. They probably won’t provide papers to enable proper registration for dog shows, and they certainly won’t be happy for you to inspect their facility.
Established and reputable Colby Pitbull breeders will welcome the chance to show off the results of their hard work. They’ll happily answer your questions, and discuss their health screening and genetic testing procedures.
However, if you have any suspicions at all, don’t buy from them!
The Colby name is highly respected, and breeders are proud of the connection. However, plenty of people are prepared to abuse this in order to make money.
Colby Pitbull Puppies
Photo from: @colbypit_samson
Before bringing your Colby Pitbull puppy home, you need to be prepared. Find a good local veterinarian that you can trust – you’ll be visiting them pretty often!
Do some research on nutrition and exercise as these two key factors will affect your pup for the rest of its life. Also, bored pups with excess energy are more likely to misbehave and show aggression.
Look into training and socialization to get your pup used to new sounds, sights, and smells. Let them mingle with people and other animals, especially other dogs, as this will go a long way towards reducing aggression later. When training, keep command words simple and short such as stay, sit, come, and so on.
Two of the main problems with Colby Pitbull puppies are food aggression and mouthing. The first problem can be handled by getting your pup used to sharing food. When you give them food in a bowl, stick your hand in and grab some. Do this often enough, and you’ll avoid any unpleasantness at feeding time when they’re older.
Mouthing is another issue as all dogs use this as a means of discovering their world. However, this can get out of hand and become a biting habit. Use distraction tactics to direct their attention to a soft toy or chew, and reward them when they comply.
All puppies are vulnerable in the early stages after birth, and need to be protected from diseases such as parvovirus. Pitbull puppies are particularly prone to this disease, and vaccination is recommended at 39 days old, then every two weeks until they reach 4 months of age.
They will need another shot at 8 months, and then annually, as recommended for all other dogs.
Breeding has also led to an increased likelihood of Demodex Mange, worsened by the fact that many pups have an autoimmune deficiency. You may notice that your pup has bald patches on their feet and head, which is a sure sign of this condition.
There are two types of Demodex Mange; one mild and the other severe. Both can be treated with medication, but it can be a long and expensive procedure.
What Is The Best Pitbull Bloodline?
The Colby bloodline is definitely regarded as the best by the majority of dog owners, breeders, and pitbull enthusiasts! Websites and forums speak the name with a mixture of awe and reverence.
The Colby dogs are cited as the best examples you can get, and anyone who has one of these dogs is proud to announce the fact.
Second on the list is the Old Family Red-Nose bloodline, as mentioned above. Dogs in this bloodline tend to be larger, with males weighing as much as 63 lbs and measuring 22 inches. Females will usually be smaller, between 30 and 40 lbs, and measuring between 17 and 20 inches.
Following close behind is the Jeep bloodline, developed in 1976 by James Crenshaw. The line was named for the dog, Crenshaw’s Jeep, who earned the unenviable title of ‘best fighter’. It seems that the Jeep bloodline was originally made for fighting, and Crenshaw’s fame as a ‘dogman’ still lives on today, more than a decade after his death.
Those who sing his praises tend to be among the people who condone and support dog fights, which does nothing to quell the fears of anyone with concerns about pitbull aggression.
What Was The First Pitbull Bloodline?
Most people will claim that the Colby bloodline is the oldest, starting in 1889 and still continuing today.
However, there is another contender as some sources refer to the Old Family Red-Nose bloodline, which originated in Ireland in the mid 1800s.
This isn’t a separate breed; it’s a pitbull with a beautiful red coat, a red nose, and deep red/amber eyes. The genes that gave it this coloring also seem to have enhanced its ferocity, making it ideal for the dog pits of Ireland. Paradoxically, they are also known for their ‘amiable nature’!
Eventually, they made their way to America with Irish immigrants where they instantly became popular.
Colby Red Nose Pitbull
This heading is misleading, but included as it crops up in Google searches quite a lot. The Colby kennels were famous for breeding black-nosed dogs, and they never really strayed far from this.
In fact, they put a lot of effort into breeding out any signs of pink or red in their dogs. Inbreeding can eventually lead to a dog having a red, and Colby worked hard to make sure that this did not happen.
Other breeders may not follow the same strict rules, resulting in a dilute black coloring that will eventually look red.
Are American Pitbull Terriers Dangerous?
It’s impossible to write about pitbulls without asking this question. And, the answer is yes… and no.
Remember, these are dogs that were originally bred for fighting, with an emphasis on gameness. This quality means that they would fight to win – or die in the process, which is undoubtedly barbaric.
Many breeders have used selective breeding to reduce aggression in their dogs, but stories of dog attacks on humans and other dogs or pets suggest that there’s still a way to go before this problem is resolved.
American Pitbull Terriers have frequently been cited as one of the most aggressive and dangerous dog breeds in the world. Oddly enough, research has consistently shown that the Chihuahua is more aggressive, but due to its size, it doesn’t cause as much damage when it attacks. A dog bite from a Chihuahua is nothing when compared to that of a pitbull!
So, the APBT gets all the attention, with many countries, and at least 10 states in the USA, banning them or placing restrictions on breeding.
It has to be said that some breeders and enthusiasts don’t help the situation. There is often a lack of openness and honesty around statistics involving pitbull attacks on humans. John Colby was as guilty as anyone, in that one of his own dogs killed his two-year old nephew, Bert Colby Leadbetter, in a horrific attack that broke his neck and spine.
Colby neglected to report the incident to the police, and declined to speak about it, probably because he was worried about any negative impact on his business. From contemporary reports, it seems that no action was taken against the dog, and Colby faced no charges.
Today, dogs are more popular than ever; there are almost 90 million in the USA alone. Of these, there are around 4.5 million pitbulls. Each year, there are nearly 5 million reported dog bites, and probably many more that go unreported. Of these, 344,000 people need to visit the emergency room.
Obviously, not all of these are inflicted by pitbulls. But, the next figure is the one that makes people stop and think: between 2005 and 2017, pitbulls were responsible for 284 deaths in the US. That’s more than 65% of the total number of fatalities from dog bites.
That might be proof enough for some people that these are dangerous dogs. However, we have to take into account that these dogs are popular with elements of society who are involved in criminal activities, including dog fighting.
Gang members use them for protection and intimidation, and even as symbols of status or fashion. Aggression is encouraged, and mistreatment and abuse are likely.
Yes, American Pitbull Terriers can be dangerous, but humans are entirely to blame for this. In the right environment and with proper training and socialization, these dogs are generally as safe as any other breed.
It’s fair to say that John P Colby was a dedicated and enthusiastic dog breeder. His family continues his legacy today, and the American Pitbull Terrier is still very popular despite the negativity that surrounds it.
There is no escaping the truth: the Colby bloodline was, like many others, founded purely to supply fighting dogs. To most of us these days, that is an unbelievably cruel and disgusting thing.
Pitbull lovers across the world respect John Colby and his dogs, but are generally split into two groups – those who reject animal cruelty, and those who have no problem with it. Of course, this all comes down to personal belief. However, civilized society is rapidly learning to steer away from the cruel, barbaric ways of old and to love and respect all life forms.
Eventually, dog fighting will be an unpleasant memory.
When this happens, perhaps breeders, including Colby, will follow the example set by Razors Edge Kennels, which produces dogs that still retain all the physical features we love, but with a mild temperament and sweet, loveable nature.
After all, the only reason why pitbulls are feared is because of human intervention and interference. A lot of hard work went into making vicious killing machines over the decades. Perhaps it’s time to put as much work into making harmless family pets that will be accepted everywhere?
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