The dogs name was West Champs High Hopes and his role in the American Bulldog world came by happenstance as another dogman was looking into creating his OWN breed of dogs brought him to a breeder (Mr Johnson) to breed to a couple AB’s (American Bulldog) females Mr Johnson owned. Let’s begin with stating that Mr Johnson is the namesake of his own line of bulldogs, the Johnson Bulldogs – many consider this line the original American Bulldog that all other lines come from.
The first gentlemen’s name was Mr David Leavitt and he was interested in recreating a 18th century bull-baiting bulldog, a healthier and less extreme dog with longer legs and muzzle. Although some consider the American Bulldog to be the original bull-baiting dog of yesteryears, today’s dog doesn’t possess the overall tenacity and grittiness that the bulldog of the early 18th century would of. So Mr Leavitt saw the void and wanted to fill in the blank. One thing was for sure, bulldog blood was needed to head this operation but little did he know of the impact for American Bulldog breed.
As previously stated, Mr Leavitt brought Champ to be bred to two (2) AB females owned by Mr Johnson. Kings Lady Grace and the original Sugardoll (as there is several Sugardoll’s in the AB breed) were bred with little fanfare at the time. The intention was for Mr Leavitt to produce a dog that would benefit from the best of the both breeds utilized. Keep in mind, Champ wasn’t your typical English Bulldog (short legs/muzzle and not athletic) but an unusual throwback (taller, more athletic at 95lbs)
These breedings did a few things in the history of the two breeds. In the AB it brought much needed color as the majority of AB’s were only white. In truth Mr Johnson didn’t care of color much as he stated, his preference was a “white dog with good pigment” but his customers was another story. (For those history buff’s Mac the Masher was also pertinent in bringing color to AB’s but this isn’t about him) so this breeding helped to bring that.
Secondly, the Johnson dogs were a tightly bred bloodline with very little outcrosses aside from the occasional breedings that Mr Johnson did with breeders like Allen Scott (creator of the Scott line bulldogs) From what I’ve come to decipher, Mr Leavitt wanted males and Mr Johnson wanted females, a fair arraignment for both parties. The females pups that were kept were named Bullmead’s Queen and Sugardoll 3 and would become very prominent dogs in the pedigrees of many AB’s today. In an interview in 1997 Mr Johnson is quoted as saying “If you could have seen them you would have to. I don’t know anyone that had American Bulldogs that would not of love those two and used them in there breeding program. They were great! They were something else!”
The infamous Mean Machine line of Johnson dog is a result of this breeding. Bullmead’s Queen was his mother, she was out of Champ and Lady Grace a dog loved by Mr Johnson so much so that she was named after his mother. The best thing to come out of all of this is the fact that Mr Johnson never denied using an English Bulldog in his dogs. He was forthright in letting everyone know his intentions and because of this outcross, the line was able to move on another 40 or so years. These are his words “I could have kept it a big secret but I registered him (Champ) AKC English Bulldog. I’m proud of that decision and never have regretted it. It expanded my gene pool and gave me two new lines. And I used a bulldog to do it”
Lastly to the man who started it all. Mr Leavitt did indeed create his own breed of dogs. Initially called the Olde English Bulldogge, he has since changed the name to Leavitt’s Bulldogs to differentiate it from all the other crosses.
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