Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldog Reviving a Breed from the Old SouthHome » Dog Breeds » Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldog
This dog from the southern United States has made a comeback from near extinction because a man named Buck had a dog named Otto, and loved it too much to let the line disappear.
|Here is the Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldog at a Glance|
|Name||Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldog|
|Other Names||Otto Bulldog, Otto, Alapaha|
|Average weight||55 to 99 pounds|
|Average height||19 to 26 inches at the shoulder|
|Life span||12 to 15 years|
|Coat type||Short, rough|
|Color||White with patches colored black, red, gray or fawn. Rarely brindle|
|Popularity||Not well known|
|Tolerance to heat||Average|
|Tolerance to cold||Average|
|Drooling||Not a drooler|
|Grooming/brushing||Minimal, weekly brushing|
|Barking||Not a big barker|
|Friendliness||Wary of strangers|
|Good first dog||Probably not|
|Good family pet||Yes|
|Good with children||Yes|
|Good with other dogs||No|
|Good with other pets||Okay if well socialized|
|Good with strangers||Not great|
|Good apartment dog||Not the best|
|Handles alone time well||Does okay|
|Health issues||Hip dysplasia, entropion, congenital deafness|
|Medical expenses||Annnual average $200|
|Food expenses||Annual average $235|
|Miscellaneous expenses||Annual average $70|
|Average annual expense||$505|
|Cost to purchase||$1,000 to $2,500|
|Rescue organizations||None noted|
The Alapaha’s Beginnings
The Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldog is a modern variation on a type of dog common to the Deep South of the United States since colonial days. These animals were known as “catch dogs,” because one of their uses was to herd and catch stray cattle and, in a darker use, to catch runaway slaves.
There were several versions of these dogs, but all had some things in common. They were big and strong, with heavy muscles and large jaws. Most of them had, among other breeds, English Bulldog and Spanish Mastiff in their makeup. In temperament they were aggressive, tenacious and always ready for a fight, but at the same time obedient and fairly easy to train.
Primarily plantation dogs, these breeds were prized as guardians of livestock and people, and were also used to hunt bears.
The American Civil War created great disruption in the southern states, and by the time it ended, many parts of that region’s life style had begun to vanish. One of those was the big plantation “catch dog”, which almost became extinct.
New Lease on Life
The line continues, however, with the Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldog, and that apparently is due to the efforts of one stubborn farmer named Buck Lane, who lived and worked in Rebecca, a town of a few hundred people—these days less than three hundred—in south central Georgia on the Alapaha River, a small tributary of the Suwanee River.
Lane loved these dogs and thought they represented a noble breed—that is why he gave them the name Blue Blood—and was determined to keep the line going. He began breeding them, starting with a favorite dog named Otto, which is another name for the breed these days. There were several generations of dogs named Otto; as one died, another took its place.
Buck Lane’s work on the breed ended, along with his life, when he got hit by a train. It is said that the last Otto visited Lane’s grave every day until it died.
Lane’s granddaughter, Laura Lou Lane, picked up the reins and kept the breeding program going until her death in 2001, and by then the line was firmly established and accepted as a separate breed by the American Canine Association and the Animal Research Foundation, although not by the American Kennel Club.
The Dog You See Today
The Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldog is a large animal. It weighs anywhere from fifty-five to ninety-nine pounds, with the males typically up to twice as heavy as the females. Both sexes stand between nineteen and twenty-six inches tall at the shoulder. The Alapaha has a deep, strong chest, is heavily muscled, and has strong, narrow hips. The head is large and broad, with a flat muzzle that gives it a bulldog or mastiff look, and the upper lip is loose.
Alapahas are lop-eared, have black noses, and tails of medium length. The eyes are round, and may be either blue or a brown and blue mix.The Alapaha’s coat is short and somewhat stiff. The color varies. It may be black, red, gray, white or fawn, and some are brindle.
The Inner Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldog
On the positive side, the Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldog is loyal and obedient, bonds well with its owner, and responds well to training and discipline. It is very agile for its size, and is always happy to be as active as its people want it to be, although it is also quite happy just lying around—as long as it is not being left alone and ignored—and in fact runs a risk of getting fat because of its potential for laziness.
Alapahas are also extremely loyal to the people they bond with. They make dependable and effective watchdogs and guard dogs; face it, even their appearance is imposing.
They are not as friendly as some breeds, are wary of strangers, are extremely territorial, and have a strong prey drive, all of which can make it precarious to live where they will have to be frequently dealing with other people and pets.
Living with an Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldog
A very important thing for the potential owner of an Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldog to understand is that this is a pack dog with a strong urge to be dominant, to be leader of the pack. That need will never go away, and so the human owner needs to be strong, firm and decisive, and be established from day one as the leader of the pack, and be willing and able to maintain the role of pack leader permanently. Like any pack dog worth its salt, an Alapaha will always be looking for ways to take over, and it is important that the human pack leader not let that happen. A person who does not have the time, the energy, and the patience to do this should not consider bringing an Alapaha into the household.
Because the Alalapaha has a strong prey drive and also a high need for dominance—it is basically a pack dog, and like all of them, wants to be leader of the pack—it needs early and firm socialization and continued reinforcement of its obedience training. It will respond very well to discipline and training, but will become a problem if it doesn’t get it. While not innately aggressive, it does have roots in fighting dogs, and this needs to be controlled.Advertisement
How active is the Alapaha?
These dogs, in addition to being large, need a reasonable amount of activity and exercise. The Alapaha is not the ideal apartment dweller, but its need for living space is not unreasonable; a small yard will be enough. That yard, however, needs to be secure and well fenced, and the fence should be a good six feet high and probably also buried at least a little way into the ground. This is because Alapahas are territorial and have the strong prey drive already mentioned. They are also not particularly friendly with stranger dogs, and will be far too happy to respond in kind to any aggression from another animal. As they say, good fences make good neighbors. For the same reason, when you take your Alapaha out to the neighborhood, it should always be on a leash; and needless to say, early and intense socialization and obedience training will make your Alapaha more manageable.
Caring for the Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldog
Grooming requirementsThe Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldog has a short coat that requires minimal grooming. Comb or brush with a rubberized grooming mitt or stiff bristle brush once or twice a week, to remove debris and keep the coat healthy. It sheds an average amount and can be bathed as and when he needs it. Too often will damage the natural oils in its skin which can lead to skin problems. There will be more hair everywhere when the coat is doing its season shed. Check the ears once a week for bad odors or other signs of infection and give them a wipe clean using either warm water and a cloth or cotton balls and an ear cleanser. The nails should be clipped if they get too long. Dog nails have live blood vessels and nerves in them so make sure you use the right tool and do not cut the quick of the nail as it will hurt the dog and bleed. Use a groomer or vet if you are at all unsure. Finally brush its teeth at least twice a week to prevent dental problems.
Feeding timeThe Alapaha should be fed at least 4 to 5 cups of good quality dry dog food daily. The quality if the food is important as the better it is the more nutritious it is and the dog is getting full on the right things. The portion should be fed to the dog in at least two meals to prevent health issues such as Bloat. How much a dog needs to eat will vary depending on size, gender, health and level of activity. Getting along with kids and other pets
Alapahas make good family dogs. They bond well with family members, although most closely with a primary person. They like children, can be playful with them, and are willing to put up with a lot of nonsense from the kids. They might not, however, be that easygoing with other pets, and this is where, once again, early socialization and training is important.
What Might Go Wrong?
The Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldog, as is typically true of dogs that come from multiple breed lines, is a tough, durable dog. Its muscularity and heavy bone structure make it less injury prone than some breeds, and when it is hurt it recovers quickly. It does, however, have some areas of vulnerability.
Like many large dogs, it can suffer from hip dysplasia, where the joint becomes dislocated. This makes it difficult for the dog to walk or run, and can be painful. If it happens frequently, surgery may be necessary.
The Alapaha may also develop a disorder known as entropion, where the eyelids become rolled inward, causing pain and possible ulceration.
Finally, the Alapaha has a history of suffering from congenital deafness. The best way to deal with this problem is through prevention by careful selection of a competent and trustworthy breeder.
Biting StatisticsThe Alapaha is originally a cross between the American Bulldog and the Pit Bull. Over the last 5 years there have been at least 3 attacks by an Alapaha on human victims, 2 of which led to their death. Looking at data over the last 34 years while the Alapaha is not specifically named there are 20 Bulldog attacks, 14 of which were maimings, meaning the victims suffered disfigurement, scarring or loss of limb. There are also 3397 attacks from Pit Bulls, 2110 were maimings and 295 deaths occurred. While statistics specifically for the Alapaha are lower that may be just because it was put with one of those other dog types. They come from two dogs with aggressive history and can lean towards being aggressive in certain circumstances. Training, socialization and a very firm and consistent hand is key as is making sure they get the stimulation, physical and mental, and the love that they need. Advertisement
Your Pup’s Price Tag
The Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldog is not a bargain basement puppy. Given that there are only a few hundred around, just locating one can be a problem. When you do, you will run into a price of anywhere from $1,000 to $2,500, and you probably will not have other options, such as a shelter adop-tion, because the breed is so rare.
Assuming you do manage to find and purchase an Alapaha, the next step of course is having it spayed, if it is female, or neutered it if is male. That will run about $200, along with another $75 or so for initial routine medical work such as puppy shots and deworming. One of the side effects, by the way, of climate change turns out to be an increase in worm infections among dogs because of warmer weather, so regular deworming is now a must. You will also need to get a collar and leash, which for a big dog like this will cost $40 to $45.
Obedience training comes next, for something like $125 for an initial set of lessons. You should look for a trainer who has experience working with large dogs and, preferably, guard dogs.Then there is food. As a pup, your Alapaha should be given food designed for big dogs. This food is formulated to keep the puppy from growing too fast, so that the bone structure will have time to develop. Figure on spending about $235 a year for dog food. That does not count treats, which you will want to have on hand for training, if nothing else.
Overall, you can expect the Alapaha to set you back about $505 a year for care and feeding.
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The Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldog is a new breed developed primarily by one man from the southern U.S state of Georgia, Buck Lane. His goal was to keep a tradition of “catch dogs”—large canines used in the South to catch and herd livestock—alive. Lane started the breeding program in the 1880’s, and his granddaughter continued it after his death.
The Alapaha is a muscular mix of many breeds, including English Bulldogs and Spanish Mastiffs, and is primarily a companion dog these days. The breed is not widely known, and numbers only a few hundred.
Alapahas are considered gentle and affectionate, good family dogs, and good guard dogs. They are not aggressive, but will fight if threatened, and early socialization and training is a real necessity. They are dominant and competitive with other dogs, and probably should be the only dog in the household; but with proper training from a firm master they will prove loyal and protective.