Thursday, April 20, 2006


This is a post by Dan UK regarding Thorneywood Terror and Moseley. In the Historic Bandog Pictures section I erroneously posted the letter from Sgt. Cordy under Thorneywood Terror's picture. Instead it belonged under a Moseley dogs picture. My mistake sparked some very interesting information :)

By Dan Balderson

Moseley had nothing to do with Terror, Terror preceded the majority of Moseley's dogs by some time, and was bred by Burton, who was quite probably the premier working dog breeder in the world at that time, although Moseley would go on to achieve great things, including probably the greatest demand for the export of working dogs of his generation. Think Czech/DDR and KNPV Mals of today, well Moseley was exporting dogs in the same way as a result of the demand, across the entire world, although predominantly the "Commonwealth" countries.

Burton resided in a different area of the UK to Moseley, and had a totally different program. The nature of his breedings are unknown, as he was not a highly publicized breeder, which is common with some of today's more successful B&M/Bandogge breeders also. It is likely that his breedings comprised working mastiffs that were free from influences of Pug, St. Bernard, Newfoundland, Modern/Atavsistic Bulldog and Alpine Mastiff. It is also unlikely that he utilized the blood either directly or otherwise, of Bloodhound or Great Dane. It is remotely possible that some Tibet dog was involved,and also that of El Perro de Presa/Alano or the old working DDB, as both breeds were imported to the UK several hundred years ago and are suspected of having found into working Mastiffs hands as the EB community increasingly repelled against anything showing health or ability. The Alano/Presa of the time was still a very competent working dog, normally around 25-26" with all the main male imports documented, having weighed 90 lbs. They were also working dogs, either Pit, or more commonly animal dogs, such as (true) Bulldogs. The documented accounts held by the KC state that several were highly scarred upon entry into the UK and also observes the movement against Spanish dogs by EB breeders seeking to 'preserve' the British Bulldog. If it weren't so sad...

Burton's dogs were almost always brindle,and seldom above 90 lbs working weight. They also weren't that tall. His dogs were also often dual registered, initially as BM's then as EM's...which the KC was happy to accommodate at the time in order to maintain the quality and number of EM's. Terror is behind a large number of EM's in the KC studbooks...if you go back far enough...and believe all the paperwork filed, much of which is fallacious to put it bluntly (not from Burton but thereon).

Burton likely used the original mastiff/bandogge blood still present in England, as stated with possible European breed influence. I would also suspect that Burton used Game English Bulldog blood, either in preserved form, or by way of Pitbull blood, primarily comprising lines that influenced the Bulldog rather than the Terrier blood. The Pitbull has many breeds behind its influence depending upon the regions of England and latterly Ireland that it originated. In some areas the dogs were as much as 30:70 Terrier:Bull, right through to 70:30 Terrier:Bull
Burton's part of the world likely had the more Bully dogs, as from pure recollection, it wasn't a particular hot bed for the boomingly popular sport of dog fighting that had really taken a hold around the early/mid 1800's. As for anything else in Burton's 'recipe' I think he took it to the grave with him. Some of his dogs were known to be slow to mature (2 to even 3 years) so I would be inclined to suppose it was mostly the old mastiff stock.

Depending on where in Britain you looked, the type of B&M varied. Some had very prevalent Pitbull make-up, mostly bred to English Mastiffs. Some were composed of the 'new' mastiffs and Bulldogs...culled extensively until they recovered the old qualities. Some had a great degree of Bloodhound and Mastiff influence, to the extent that dogs in South Wales were often 'Fila Brasiliero's'...before the breed existed. It is even conceivable in some lines (though not Burton's) that the St. John's dog was used, this being the main progenitor of the Lab and Newfie and a popular Game Keeper's breed in the South/South-West of England. It was much more lithe, but still sturdy and mastiff-like a dog than the modern Lab, and of course was very tractable. It was also known to have been used for a period as a (casual) fighting dog, had guarding ability and of course was both exceptional in the water (prime territory for finding poachers) and generally black in colour.

DaveUK actually grew up right on the doorstep of one of the great, and last remaining B&M breeding estates and gamekeeper families. He is one of the few people to have personally known gamekeepers that worked some of these famous old dogs, dogs like Osmaston Turk, who was mostly Mastiff and Bloodhound with a dab of Bull blood to make him, amazingly enough...more biddable than the pure EM/Bloodhound dogs the Welsh normally used. Turk was getting on when he reached Osmaston, but those Dave knew, saw what he had, as well as other dogs of the line. Turk's dam was known as a man killer in South Wales, with several (justified) documented kills to her name. One can only imagine how many men she actually killed, as these things were only ever documented if it were unavoidable (i.e. if witnessed, or involving a local person).

These were incredibly hard dogs, raised and worked hard, often with quite short lives (though Turk I believe lived way past 10), the gamekeepers were similarly hardy sorts themselves, often ostracized by their own villages and towns by the locals, because poaching was often vital to the survival of the poor working families. They also held a lot of sway, as in the privacy of the woods, good keeper's would have their master's ear, and also great resources to develop the dogs needed to police the estates. Many keepers were also quite frankly, crooks themselves, working scams with neighbouring keepers to rip-off their masters who often had more money than sense. Many head Keepers worked the nights alone, with just their dogs, because they didn't even trust their Juniors not to poach whilst on patrol. Still, life was dangerous for all keepers, as the advent of railways in particular made poaching an activity conducted by large, violent and armed city gangs that operated in a highly organized fashion. Game warranted a premium on the black market and the railway allowed the gangs to venture out, catch and return with their catch still fresh enough to demand top price. If you were caught, the penalties were stiff, ranging from death, to banishment off to the colonies in American and Australia, so to many, capture was not an option.


Post a Comment

<< Home