Quote from Sandra Alway, President of the Golden Horseshoe American Pit Bull Terrier Club and Vice President of the Dog Legislation Council of
“One misguided person said he had a
When people say they have a “red nose” they mean it as something important. It's been going on for years and it goes way back to the Old Family Red Nose collection of bloodlines. Not one of the people who have ever said “I have a red nose” have a clue what OFRN Old Family Red Nose actually is, or means. To them, it's something special…something the so called breeder told them was important and of course, worth more money! Not necessarily, and usually not referring to a registered purebred dog.
The red nose is just a dilute gene. But people refer to it as a breed within a breed….neither of which actually exists. “Texas Red Nose” is, in some people's mind, a specific breed of “pit bull” one more worthy than others. Therefore there is no such thing as a breed within a breed and no such thing as a purebred ‘pitbull’. Only the American Pit Bull Terrier is recognized as a breed of dog. All other terms are slang terms meant for a shape of a cross breed dog.
But yes, technically, it all comes down to genetics. Nothing more; nothing less. The OFRN bloodlines now are almost extinct in a pure form…there are very few true OFRN dogs left out there. When the old breeders died, many of their bloodlines did too simply by diversifying and being bred to other bloodlines outside the OFRN groups.
The Old Family line of the Red Nose APBT is considered the beginning of this strain in the breed. The Old Family line has been traced back to
When Irish immigrants came to
Why does the Red Nose APBT have the red traits? Well, the Old Family line was created by breeding somewhat closely related dogs to attain specific traits, one being the red color. The red color itself comes from the appearance of a recessive gene. When breeders desired this trait, they would breed one Red Nose APBT with another, many times creating other “reds” with the recessive traits. Over time, the recessive traits weeded out the dominant traits, and the recessive traits became most common.
The Red Nose APBT has a look that people either really love or really hate, but it is always appreciated for its strength, powerful build and formidable appearance, like the rest of the breed — no matter the color.
Written by Richard F. Stratton
* Appeared in the January-February, 1975 issue of Bloodlines Journal.
First, an overview. No one really knows when these dogs first came to this country, but the great breeder William J. Lightner once told me that his grandfather raised them before the Civil War. It is quite possible that they were even here during the Revolutionary War. In any case, it is clear that dogs of this breed came from various parts of Europe, specifically
THE STORY OF THE OLD FAMILY REDS
It has always seemed to me that the good old Pit Bull is a breed that is at once primitive and futuristic. He looks no more out of place in the ancient landscapes of 16th century paintings than he does in the ultra-modern setting. It is beyond my capabilities to imagine an end to him, for every generation seems to supply a nucleus of hard-core devotees completely committed to the breed. In any case, you can look into the murky past, and you will find it difficult to discern a beginning place for the breed, and, fortunately, the future seems to threaten no demise either.
Ours is a breed that has a definite mystique. Part of it, no doubt, stems from the fact that it is an old breed and deeply steeped in tradition. Old strains are a particularly fascinating part of this tradition, and the Old Family Red Nose is one of the better-known old strains.
The appearance of the red-nosed dogs always attracts attention, but it takes a little getting used to for some people to consider them truly beautiful. However, no one denies that they radiate “class.” Characteristically, a dog of the red-nosed strain has a copper-red nose, red lips, red toenails, and red or amber eyes. Some think the strain was bred for looks. Others consider any dog that just happens to have a red nose to be pure Old Family Red Nose. It is hoped that the following will dispel such notions.
About the middle of the last century there was a family of pit dogs in
The “Old Family” dogs found their way to
At this point, there are several factors that are somewhat confusing to a student of the breed. For one thing, the term “family dogs” was used in two ways: It could mean a strain of dogs that was a family unto itself that was kept by a number of unrelated people in Ireland, or it could refer to a strain of dogs that was kept and preserved through the years by a family group. However, the old Family Reds seem to be of the first category. Another point that arises is that with all these importations from
Back to the “Old Family Reds”. The first big splash made by the red noses was back around 1900 when the great breeder William J. Lightner, utilizing Old Family Red bloodlines, came up with some red-nosed dogs that really made a name for themselves. Now Lightner once told me that he did not breed for that red-nosed coloration. In fact, he did not even like it and he only put up with it because the individual dogs were of such high quality. Eventually Lightner gave up the red-nosed strain when he moved from
At this point in our story we come upon a comical, but highly-respected, figure in the personage of Dan McCoy. I have heard old-time dog men from all over the country talk about this man. Apparently, he was an itinerant fry cook and not much of a success in life judged by normal standards, but he didn't care about that. What he did care about were Pit Bulldogs, and he had a wealth of knowledge about the breed. His uncanny ability to make breedings that “clicked” made him a respected breeding consultant and a most welcome guest at any dog man's house-even if he had just dropped off a freight train!
Always with his ear to the ground regarding anything that involved APBT's, McCoy got wind of the fact that an old Frenchman in
Another breeder who was almost synonymous with the red-nosed strain was Bob Wallace. However, Bob's basic bloodline was not pure Old Family Red Nose. But in the late 40's he was looking for the red-nosed strain in order to make an “outcross.” (Bob was a scrupulously careful breeder who planned his breedings years in advance.) Unfortunately, he found that the strain was nearly gone, most of it having been ruined by careless breedings. He managed to obtain seven pure red-noses of high quality whose pedigrees he could authenticate. The strain was subsequently saved for posterity and in the 1950's became the fashionable strain in Pit Bull circles. In fact, it was Bob Wallace himself who wrote an article in 1953 called “There Is No Magic in Red Noses” in which he tried to put a damper on the overly enthusiastic claims being made by some of the admirers of the strain. No more fervent admirer of the Old Family Reds ever lived than Wallace, but he obviously felt that the strain could stand on its own merits.
Many strains have been crossed with the Old Family Reds at some time in their existence. Consequently, nearly any strain will occasionally throw a red-nosed pup. To many fanciers, these red-nosed individuals are Old Family Red Noses even though the great preponderance of their blood is that of other strains. Sometimes such individuals will fail to measure up and thereby reflect undeserved discredit on the red-nosed strain. However, as Wallace said, the red noses should not be considered invincible either. They produce their share of bad ones as well as good ones-just as all strains do.
As a strain, the Old Family Red Nose has several things going for it. First, it is renowned for its gameness. Second, some of the most reputable breeders in all Pit Bull history have contributed to the preservation and development of the strain. People like Lightner, McClintock. Menefee and Wallace, to mention just a few. Finally, as McNolty said in his 30-30 Journal (1967) “Regardless of one's historical perspective, these old amber-eyed, red-nosed, red-toe-nailed, red-coated dogs represent some of the most significant pit bull history and tradition that stands on four legs today.”