Shop More Submit  Join Login


Submitted on
April 28, 2013
Image Size
2.4 MB


26,572 (21 today)
241 (who?)
Phylogenetic Pit Bull Tree by kapieren Phylogenetic Pit Bull Tree by kapieren
Turns out the Boston Terrier is closely related to the Bull Terrier and English Bulldog more than it is the Staffordshire Bull Terrier and its descendents. The Boxer is also mixed with English bulldog which is what gave the breed its shorter snout and under bite along with a the white variant of the coat.

I was talking to a friend about pit bulls and during the conversation I was trying to define what constitutes as a pit bull and what doesn't. Needless to say, my point was verbally too complex to understand and it to be honest, describing such a thing can get messy! Especially when you're a visual learner like them and me. So I not only made this for them, but for anyone else who' may be interested in how bully breeds, pit bull breeds, and molosser breeds all relate.

I plan on doing charts on the histories of pit bull breeds. This would include the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Pit Bull Terrier, Bull Terrier, and Boston Terrier. I also plan to do charts dispelling breed myths. But the second chart in this series will be more indepth in describing the differences between types such as line, dog, and breed type while providing pictorial examples.

Remember! Few things in life 100% accurate and I'm no cynologist or geneticist. But I do have a passion for the two fields and love to educate myself in them. Based on the resources I've accumulated below, this is what I believe, to be a near accurate representation of bully breeds with a brief on their histories.

History of Specific Breeds:
Boston Terrier: [link]
Bull Terrier: (coming soon)
APBT: (coming soon)
Bull Dog: Part 1 [link]


Molossus: 1200 BC
An extinct breed of dog located around Greece for the presumed purposes of fighting large game and men. Although it's exact phenotype is unknown, it is agreed that Molossian people are the founders of this breed and that the breed was known for is ferocity. Like their dog, the poet Grattius notes that the Molossian people were a brave people who were favored by the gods of war.

Bullenbeisser: 1840's
The Bullenbeisser originated from bulldog and molosser type individuals producing a breed capable of bringing down boar, bear, and other large game. Commonly used as a hunting dog in Germany, its country of origin, this breed was the foundation stock for the Boxer.

Boxer: 1904
Progeny of Germany's Bullenbeisser, the German born Boxer was originally used as a hunting dog, although some suggest it was dually used for fighting. The boxer has since been phased out of its fighting function, and a more moderate phenotype of the breed is still used at times as a catch dog for wild boar. The boxer was one of the breeds used by the Gestapo alongside German Shepards during WW2.

Russian Bloodhound: 1800's
Similar to the Cuban bloodhound, this breed was used to capture criminals and runaway slaves. This breed was noted as extremely ferocious and hard to control, even for their masters. Contrary to some belief, the Russian and Cuban bloodhound were not related to the English Bloodhound and they weren't scent hounds. If anything, the English Bloodhound was used to track while the Russian and Cuban bloodhounds were used to capture. In this regard, the Russian Bloodhound was a catch dog, except their prey were humans and not boar.

Bulldog: 1780's
The bulldog, often written as the "bull dog" in its time of origin was a medium sized dog type. Around the 1780's a more homogenized look of the type formed to the point it could dually be called a breed. This breed was exclusively bred from molosser individuals with the intended purpose of bull baiting, a blood sport where the bulldog grasped a bull by the facial region and was judged on its capacity to hold on and tolerate pain. A game bulldog, if tossed or severely injured, would run back to the ball and hold once more. This breed of dog was known as ferocious and unpredictable by many contemporaries of the its time.

Bulldogs survived only through the crossbreeding of others breeds which produced the English bulldog breed and Bull & Terrier class type. The bulldog is known as one of the first breeds (or breed / dog type) to experience BSL as early as the late 1800's; with laws ranging from leashing and muzzling when off property. Breeds within the Bull & Terrier class were also subject to BSL, more specifically APBTs and Bull Terriers.

English Bulldog: 1890's
The English Bulldog is a variant of original Bulldog which went extinct around the turn of the 20th century. Despite it's anatomy making it incapable of being a true game bulldog, the English Bulldog was a very common mascot for products ranging from tires, glue, and tape due to the breed's ancestor who was renowned for "locking" on an object and not letting go. The English bulldog enjoyed extensive popularity in the early to mid 1900's and enjoys its popularity today in its country of origin. In America, the English bulldog has been and is still a popular mascot for various sports teams. Famous English Bulldogs include Uga, Spike & Tyke,

Bull & Terrier: late 1800's
Is a group of dogs defined by type. Bull & Terrier dogs (B&T), as the name suggests, were individuals who's foundation stock were the old type bulldog and various terriers combined and were used for bloodsport or ratting. These blood sports ranged from ratting, badger baiting, bull baiting, and dog fighting. The Boston terrier, Bull Terrier, American pit bull terrier (APBT), and Staffordshire Terrier (ST) breeds hail from this type.

The most common blood sport these breeds were subjected to was dog fighting. Dog fights were and are held in a pit like structure, due these bulldog mixes being fought in the pit, these breeds fall into the Pit Bull type thanks to both pedigree and intended function. Bullseye, from Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist, is a famous example of the breed type.

Boston Terrier: 1893 [link]
A B&T type breed who's original purpose was in the pit as a dog fighter but was soon phased out of this purpose due to its poor success in the ring, and dually due to later registry with the AKC. In the early to mid 20th century, the Boston terrier was a highly popular breed of dog for the elite class, particularly women. The Boston Terrier, in its time of origin was often known as the "Boston Bulldog" or "Boston Pit Bulldog." Stubby, a stray dog from WW1, was a famous Boston Terrier of his time; so was Hellen Keller's Sir Thomas.

Bull Terrier: 1860's
A B&T type breed who's original purpose was in the ring. Like its cousin, the Boston Terrier, the Bull Terrier found poor success in the pit despite its tenacity and ferocity. Though certain lines were known for their volatile temper, the Bull Terrier was registered with the AKC and became highly popular as a Gentleman's breed. It's been documented as the "The White Cavalier" and "The Gladiator" by those who fancied the breed. In its time of origin, the Bull Terrier was sometimes called the "American Bull Terrier" to distance the American strain from the European one. The Bull Terrier was used as a mascot in American WW1 propaganda.

Gull Terr: 1900's (?)
A strain of the Bull Terrier that is in the working class called the "Hinks Bull Terrier" or "Gull Terr"; this variant of the breed is still bred for fighting and is common in the Middle East, especially Pakistan. Gull Terrs still closely resemble the original strain founded by James Hinks in 1860.

American Pit Bull Terrier: 1900's
A B&T type breed and the most popular fighting breed to this day in the US. This breed's foundation stock was the European Staffordshire Terrier and presumably other slight mixing to make a leaner variant of the breed. John P. Colby is considered the "fountainhead" by stabilizing the pedigree of the breed early within the 1900's. According to several breed's fanciers; his stock is still highly prized to this day.

Despite many advocate claims, there's currently no documentation from the perceived time periods that this breed was popular (beyond the pit), known as America's dog, or documented as a nanny dog in the early to mid 20th century. The few articles that speak of the APBT's reputation are often negative, with breeders and some dogmen trying to reform society's reputation of the breed. APBT breeder and dogman, Chas Werner, even noted that the APBT was an "outcast American" in a 1911 dog magazine.

Despite the negative reputation, the APBT has made appearances in slapstick comedy in silent films, circuses, and cartoons due to their energetic nature. Popular APBTs are Tige from Buster Brown and Pete the Pup from Our Gang. APBTs along with Boston Terriers and Bull Terriers appear to have been common mascots of war and were often pets to the soldiers. APBT's and dogs of a similar phenotype were often called bulldogs by newspapers of the time. Bulldog is still used by those who bred the APBT for fighting or catching.

American Bully: 1990's
Despite its menacing appearance, the American Bully, according to breeders, wasn't bred for ferocity or tenacity, but for their capacity as a pet. This breed is the non working show version of the APBT, the latter of which is still often bred for its tenacity. Despite breeder efforts to dilute this trait, unscrupulous back yard breeding has produced a variety of line types within the breed with varying temperaments. Some are gentle large lap dogs, while others are just as tenacious as their bulldog ancestors.

American Bulldog: 1970's
Is a breed of dog who's aim was to recreate the original bulldog without the bulldog's temperament. This was done by crossing various mastiffs, English Bulldog, and APBT creating a dog with a similar phenotype but calmer temperament. There are two strains of the American Bulldog that are both of the same breed, those who have more English Bulldog characteristics (Johnson) and those who look more like the APBT (Scott). This is due to breeder's preference on how their line are constructed.



• There are few writings and decoctions of the Yankee Terrier. Due to both the Bull and Yankee terrier coming out at the same time and sharing a similar phenotype, it wouldn't be too far fetched to presume they were genetically the same with slight variances.

• The American Staffordshire (Amstafff) was excluded from this due to the dual registration that's allowed done at the UKC. Because of this, the intermixing of lines between breeders is too probable. It would not be far fetched to presume that the Amstaff and APBT are the same breed, especially since pedigreed APBTs were the foundation stock for AKC's Amstaffs in the 1930's.

••••••• Breeder Resources:
Wikipedia: James Hinks [link]
HOTBT: James Hinks [link]
DBO: John Colby [link]
Craven Desires: John Colby [link]

Breed Resources:
Wikipedia: Gull Terr [link]
Wikipedia: American Bulldog [link]
Wikipedia: James Hinks [link]
Wikipedia: Bull Terrier [link]
Retrieverman: Jock of Bushveldt [link]
Game-Dog: Jock of Bushveldt [link]
1894 Rawdon Briggs Lee: Bulldog [link]
1912: The Evening Standard: Molossian & Bull Terrier [link]
1914 Washington Herald: American Bull Terrier [link]
Craven Desires: American Bulldog #1 [link]
ABBBA: Alapaha History [link]
ABBBA: Alapaha History Pedigrees [link]
Pedigree Database: Lichthardt's Jedi [link]
TTABP: Cuban Bloodhound [link]
LBA: History [link]
LBA: Pedigree Brochure [link]
1913 Tensas Gazette: Russian Bloodhound [link]
1900 Hutchison Gazette: Cuban Bloodhound [link]
1903 The Sanfrancisco Call: Cuban, Russian & English Bloodhounds [link]

Resources Of Breed Popularity:
1807 A General History of Quadrupeds: Bulldog [link]
1818 British Field Sports: Bulldog [link]
1908 The San Francisco Call: Bull Terrier [link]
1909 Los Angeles Herald: Bulldogs & BSL [link]
1909 The San Francisco Call: Bull Terrier [link]
1911 Washington Post: Bulldogs & BSL [link]
1911 Daily Bee: Boston Terrier [link]
1912 The Sun Sunday: Bull Terrier [link]
1913 The San Francisco Call: APBT [link]
1914 The Ogden Standard: Bulldogs As A Menace: [link]
1914 Ogden Standard: Boston Terrier [link]

Other Resources:
Bulldog Club of America [link]
Library of Congress: Digital Archives: [link]
TTAPB: Nanny Dog [link]
Pitbulls: By Gary Wilkes [link]
Colby's Pitbulls: History [link]
DBO: John Colby's Fatality & Selling of Pit Dogs [link]
Pedigree Database: [link]
Working Pit Bull: Dogfighting [link]
Working Pit Bull: Breed & Type [link]
1911 The Dog Fancier: Chas Werner "The Outcast American" [link]
DWP: Jock of the Bushveldt [link]
Wikipedia: Molossians [link]
Wikipedia: List of Bulldog Mascots [link]
UKC Forums: Amstaff / APBT Dual Registrations [link]

Photo Resources:
Bull Terrier [link]
Molossus: [link]
Alaunt: [link]
Bullenbeisser: [link]
Bull Dog:
Cuban Bloodhound: [link]
Boxer: [link]
Bull & Terrier: (located above)
English Bulldog: [link]
Boston Terrier: (need to locate)
Staffordshire Terrier: [link]
Yankee Terrier: (located above)
Bull Terrier: [link]
Gull Terr: [link]
APBT: [link]
American Bully: [link]
Alapaha Bulldog: [link]
Leavitt Bulldog: [link]
American Bulldog: [link]
Shutterstock: [link]

Related in a way! Check out my friend :iconsulfide:'s phylogenetic tree of horses! [link]
The owner of this deviation has disabled comments.