AMERICAN BULLDOG: THE PHILIPPINE STORY
By: Armiel de Torres | ThunderBeast American Bulldogs
DISCLAIMER: The accounts written here is based on the writer’s gathered information (actual and told). They may not be in chronological order and some information may be lacking in details. Therefore, readers are encouraged to suggest any corrections and/or add-in as much accounts as they could personally validate in order for us to re-tell the whole story accurately.
ADDITIONAL CONTRIBUTIONS GIVEN BY: *Vigilart "Archie" David
The American Bulldog (AB) breed began to arrive on the island soon after the proliferation of the American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT) breed in the mid-90s. It would eventually lead a few individuals involved (directly or indirectly) with the APBT to stumble upon the American Bulldog. One such individual is Dr. Hans *Anton Tan. An accomplished medical practitioner and businessman, he travels in and out of the United States as his family is also based in California. He then established his associations with well-known working AB kennels/breeders that later led to his acquisition of dogs, which were to become the foundation stock of the Philippine American Bulldogs. Kennels like Working American Bulldogs (WAB), Stansbury Kennels, Mountain Gator Kennels (MGK), and West Coast Kennels (WC) to name a few, have provided for him the initial pool of ABs to kickstart his stock and eventually his breeding program.
The importation of the American Bulldog began between the years 1995 and 1996. Until then, people in the country never knew anything about the American Bulldog breed. Better known large dog breeds were limited to the Mastiff, Bullmastiff, St. Bernard, and Great Dane to name a few. Since there had been no existing ABs (as far as general information about the breed is concerned at that time) in the country back then, none of Dr. Tan’s dogs were open for the public. However, he is open to sell puppies from his breedings. As the word slowly spread, people started noticing and took interest on the American Bulldog. His foundation stud dogs were Stansbury’s General Patton, Iron Mack, and Blackwell’s Rolex started to become popular amongst the new fancy. The very common reaction was that of being awestruck by the sheer size and temperament of the dogs. Dr. Tan was very much into breeding and in producing huge dogs, therefore he aimed to consistently produce the same phenotype. The dogs eventually were made available to stand at stud for a very select approved bitches.
As Dr. Tan's breedings start to produce, he began working with my good friend Dennis Paul Agdeppa to finally open the breed to the public. Mr. Agdeppa had been known within the dog circle as a breeder and had established himself with his own line of APBTs, English Bulldogs (EB), and owned a few Rottweiler studs. Mr. Agdeppa saw that there is something very good about the AB and that the Philippine dog community will easily embrace it. Both Dr. Tan and himself collaborated to import a few more dogs to diversify the gene pool to include Mr. Agdeppa’s first foundation bitch WAB Savannah. Savannah proved to be a very important foundation bitch as she was extensively used by both of them to produce some of the best early big dogs in the country. One of the best litters out of Savannah was sired by Stansbury’s Gen. Patton. The males from this litter went on to become foundations studs for dog breeders who embraced to get their hands on the breed, i.e. Allan Torrico and Bong Lugtu among others. Better-known dogs from this union was Agdeppa’s Slim and Agdeppa’s Brooke who eventually became the foundation dogs for Lugrics ABs and the other dogs were Bernabe’s Chrome (by Iron Mack out of Kelly), Francisco’s Prince, Francisco’s Rabies, and so on. *Notable names to included on the list to be considered as pioneers and influential to the propagation of the AB breed in the Philippines to a point are Jojo Alcantara (Manila), Alan Torrico (Rizal), Victor Tan (Bulacan), Jojo Chua (Marikina), Bong Lugtu (Las Pinas) and Jay Geronimo.
*There was once a recorded individual who brought in a Scott type American Bulldog, but its popularity was greatly diminished in the country as people were much more interested in the Johnson type American Bulldog. There's also a US service man based in Olongapo who brought in an American Bulldog, but it was Dr. Tan’s effort together with his collaboration and association with the said people mentioned above started what was to become the introduction of the Philippines to the American Bulldog breed that we now continue to keep.
THE STORY OF BIG BOY
Account from David Varvaro of West Coast Kennels
The early foundation studs were all personally chosen and directly imported by Dr. Hans Tan from the breeders. One of these breeders is West Coast Kennels located in Los Angeles, California, USA. West Coast specializes in breeding the Johnson type AB and themselves known to produce large dogs. In one of Dr. Tan’s visits to WC, one particular dog caught his attention. The dog’s name was Big Boy. He was huge and a very phenotypical Johnson AB. Dr. Tan had immediately made his interest known to WC and asked if he could purchase him to be brought to the Philippines. There might have been an "offer" – we wouldn’t really know – but one thing is for sure, “Big Boy wasn’t for sale for no money”. Big Boy made a very solid impression on Dr. Tan both because of his sheer size and temperament that he wanted to have him strongly but to no avail.
Not to concede defeat, Dr. Tan went back to WC to give them a very unique offer. He offered to buy both of Big Boy’s parents: Blackwell’s Rolex (sire) and S&F’s Bulova (dam). His theory was, if he could have Big Boy’s parents and breed them again, he could produce another "Big Boy" for his very own. After so many negotiations and discussions (not sure if it even took too long), the purchase of Rolex and Bulova was made. Bulova came in heat and was bred to Rolex as Dr. Tan had previously and originally planned. This was right before Dr. Tan was able to bring them to the Philippines to contribute to his breeding efforts. While still in the US, Bulova whelped six (6) puppies and one of them went on to be named "Big Boy" (Tan’s Big Boy).
Tan’s Big Boy arrived in Manila, Philippines as a puppy and grew up to be a fine dog. Big Boy ended up with Mr. Agdeppa and he had turned out to be a very big dog indeed, but totally different from WC’s Big Boy both in form and size. The younger Big Boy is tall and rangy with a longer muzzle as opposed to a very bully and bulky older Big Boy. Tan’s Big Boy stood at 28.5 inches at the withers as an adult and weighed up to 120 lbs in his prime. Big Boy was, to anyone who saw him as a young dog, a very handsome bulldog. And as "Biggie" (as what we fondly called him) came to age, Mr. Agdeppa bred him to WAB Savannah. This union brought out some of the very best dogs Mr. Agdeppa has ever produced, which prompted two more repeats of the same breeding. Names of Agdeppa’s Milli, Agdeppa’s Pearl, Romero’s Cha-Cha, and many more can still be found in the fourth and fifth generation of the present day American Bulldogs' pedigree. Agdeppa’s Conan (a.k.a. ThunderBeast’s Bodyguard) who was also from this union has proven to be the very best dog we have ever owned. Within his young and productive age, Big Boy was opened to stand at stud. Tan’s Big Boy had become the very first American Bulldog to stand at stud that was available to the public and the most prolific in the country during his time.
Tan's Big Boy died in the summer of 2002 due to Heat Stroke.
Go back to the AMERICAN BULLDOG ARTICLES list