American Pitbull Terrier’s foundation and one of the possible origins of the Old Family in the United States — Part 2

In this series of articles I’ll present you a research of the story behind the history, we’ll go beyond the legendary breeders E. Tudor, J. Corvino, J. Corcoran, G.C. Armitage, W. Hubbard, H. Clark, Eagleton, Holland, E. Tartenaar, B. Clouse, B. Hemphill, J. Wilder, D. McCoy, Albergotti, Teal, Looposay, B. Shipley, W. J. Lightner, J. Burke, J. Murphy, L. McDonald and F. Boudreaux.

In “American Pitbull Terrier’s foundation and one of the possible origins of the Old Family in the United States — Part 1" I introduced some of the breeders who were the basis for the foundation of the breed and informations on one of the possible origins of the Old Family strain in the United States through the legendary breeder John P. Colby.
In this article we will talk about another breeder who “never” or rarely was mentioned in history and who should be remembered in the same way and importance as other great breeders of the time as John P. Colby himself.

During my research to find out where Old Family genes had manifested the most in Colby’s bloodline, I found an unusual pattern. Always when I found Colby dogs red or red brindle, always a breeder appeared in these pedigrees, his name is Harry Collagan.

Through the information collected so far, it was possible to date an estimate of the period in which Harry Collagan had his dogs, through the first record available on the online pedigree database and a rare photo with J.P. Colby.

The first dog of this breeder registered in the “APBT Online” database was a bitch called Collagan’s “Queen”, which was born approximately between the years of 1870 and 1880; One of her puppies a bitch named Mc Intyre’s “Jessie” breed with the legendary Double GR CH Galvin’s “Pup”, giving birth to a bitch named Donahue’s “Sal” (Dowd’s Old Sal) that again was breed with Galvin’s “Pup” (inbreed) and gave birth to Colby’s “Jennie” 1xW, born in 1890 and breed with the famous CH Colby’s “Paddy” 3xW, giving birth to Colby’s “Tige” 2xW.

For several years Harry Collagan bred his dogs along with John P. Colby which led me to believe that they were partners.
Here is some pedigrees of Collagan’s dogs, a special mention to Collagan’s “Queen” which was part of the foundation of Colby’s dogs:
Collagan’s Queen
Collagan’s Mizery (Colby’s)
Collagan’s White Head Bitch
Collagan’s Marshall Bitch
Collagan’s Young Bitch
Collagan’s Rose
Collagan’s Ranger

Collagan’s “White Head bitch” is mentioned in the book “The American Pit Bull Terrier (History of Fighting Dogs Series)” by Joseph L. Colby.

Pincher was the grand-sire of Harry Clark’s Kager, winner over some of the best dogs in the country; Bruce’s Battle an outstanding proven game dog; Colby’s Dixie, alias Curry’s Man-o-War, winner over Sprague’s Hot Rock and fought three hours, fifty minutes to a draw against Armitage’s Bob; also Curry’s King, winner over the great dog, Captain, in 4 hours 12 minutes; Colby’s Jerry, Colby’s Nancy, Collagans White Head bitch; Hillery’s Sal, and many more proven game pit dogs.
Some of the dogs mentioned in the book “The American Pit Bull Terrier (History of Fighting Dogs Series)” by Joseph L. Colby

Im still trying to find how Collagan’s “Queen” (the first register avaiable from Collagan’s bloodline) was breed, she could have shared the same Irish Old Family blood as “Galtie”; Collagan’s “Marshall Bitch” was breed with Colby’s “Galtie”, giving birth to Colby’s “Demo” a red (black nose) dog with heavy Old Family blood from “Galtie” and possible from “Marshall Bitch”. “Demo” is mentioned in the book "Colby's Book" by Louis B. Colby and Diane Jessup

J.P. Colby’s Demo (UKC 189–038) a red male sired by Colby’s Galtie and out of Collagan’s Marshall Bitch. Demo was kept in Newburyport by John O’Donnell who ran a restaurant there on Inn Street.
While bred from some of the most renowned fighting dogs in history. Demo would not bother a dog unless attacked, and ran the streets of Newburyport at will. He was a friend of a great many people around the town, especially the school children at the school yard where he visited. Demo was the sire of Colby’s Brandy, a solid brindle dog with a temperament just the opposite: Brandy liked grab anything that had fur and four legs, including a bitch in heat. Dog agressiveness has no correlation to bred-in gameness.

Also Lightner’s “Topsy” a red (red nose) dog owned by Bill Lightner but a Colby bred dog who had a tight blood from Colby’s “Tige” 2xW who had a high percentage of Collagan’s genes.

This dog was hand picked by J. P. Colby for Bill Lightner to be bred to his Masterson Jack dog. Colby’s Tige was the sire and maternal grand sire of Topsy.
From left to right, T. Byron, J. P. Colby, P. Reardon and H. Collagan in the year 1920.

In this rare photo, sent to me by a good friend and supporter of this project, Diego Almeida, from South American Gang’s Kennel (ADBA/UKC/OFRNR registered) in South America, Brazil, we can see that H. Collagan is visible older than J. P. Colby. Could he be the mentor behind the incredible work done by Colby’s family over the years?

I hope you have enjoyed this journey through the history of the foundation of the breed, my goal with this article is to promote the study and research of the American Pitbull Terrier, feel free to contact me, we can both learn and discover new pieces of history together.

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*All images and information used on this article are from my research through the archives of APBT.Online-Pedigrees, Pedigree.gamedogs and the magazine collection “The Dog Fancier” from the library of the University of Michigan. Digitized by Google.