In and around 1995 the Cutlass dog had won big time up North.  The thing is we were short of a gene pool to out cross our old Carver dogs to and I for one knew that we had to infuse fresh blood related to the same family tree. On that night, most everything running was down from the Yellow John stuff either tight, or infused with the BullySon/Rattler stuff via Larry Bell. Things took a turn and Bouncer went the Yellow way and I for one was in favor of the Bolio stuff to utilize with the old family.

About the same time we met a novice old guy and his son who had some old pit bull’s from Joe Silie’s yard. Joe got his first dog from me via Fancy Boy. Piet and myself and his son became very good friends and ended up working and partying together. Chicken Piet was an old pugilistic fighter and was a very quick learner and developed a keen eye for a dog and its pedigree.

I discussed the situation regarding the Spike/Stompanato stuff and the need for fresh genes. I wanted Bolio badly and he concurred. We jointly decided very tight Bolio blood was what we wanted.

The only dogman who had it was Liquorice Kid. He had Patrick’s Big Brother and Bolio Beauty. I believe Mike Crowell had these dogs initially and they ended up on LK’s yard after a fire at Mike’s place involving an asbestos heater keeping mom and pups warm during a Transvaal winter.

I was visiting at Charlie’s with some Southern dogmen en route to True Blood when I sniped the puppy he had in the house. He called the pup Shack and I attempted to buy him on the spot after LK divulged his pedigree. Charlie would not budge. Shack was off Bro and Girly, looked like a mini A. Halls’ GR CH Andy Capp.

Back in town, I spoke with George Green who was tight with Charlie and the church things. George had a very well bred bitch called Nikki off Bro and Miss Shorty, a Mexican dog from Arnoldo Cardenas and Enrique Morfin. George did somersaults trying to wangle every deal for myself and Piet to take dogs off the breeding he and Charlie wanted to make to Charlie’s Gunner dog. I told him Shack to Nikki or nothing. Thanks to Charlie and George, they gave us the gap, they made the breeding. Only 3 pups and I sent the cash and a sky crate to George and asked him to put the black male and black female in it. I picked them up at the airport and took them home. Later, Piet came around and we discussed housing. This may sound odd, but neither of us bothered much with 4 legged females, they were there to raise pups, so we would keep one or two half decent ones, well bred, to keep the old line going. Contesting females was way down the list of priorities. In fact, the females I had were my baby’s. I just loved ‘em and looked after them.  I only ever contested one female in my time and Charlie was a witness. This was  the Bullshit female (Southerner’s Snooty x Cape Fear’s Kisu). My corner man in that contest was also a lady.

I digress.
So we put Danny up at Piet’s joint, which brings me to SPS Diamond Dan. Why SPS ? You see, Piet’s son, Schalk, was passionate about his Duke dog and he wanted the whole world in one breath. He wanted Danny too. Duke died comparatively young of natural causes.

‘Well, let the laaitie claim him’ said Piet. So he was now officially Schalk’s dog. Schalk always called himself Spawn as a dogman, hence SPS, Southerner/Piet/Spawn in no particular order. I could have cared less, the Mexican Blackbird was safe for now and so was Danny as breeding stock with massive potential outfall crossed into the old family. Strike #1. When Danny was about 14 months old I had a red/red nose male with a massive head I called  Angus. This dog had got off the chain and killed a Rascal looking dog off Sam and Bodder (heavy Boudreaux gene pool) Piet and Schalk came to visit one Sunday and brought Danny with. We all said the usual howz’it, Danny looked sharp and I told them what had happened to Caesar with Angus. Angus was a double Young Blackface male off Young Blackface and Choc as I recall. Just for the hell of it we put the pair in the box. They were about the same weight and in good nick. Angus was very smart, but clearly Danny was going to ruin him within the next 20 after the first 20. I will never forget this… ‘daai hond is ‘n fighter’ says Piet. We bust them up, fixed them up and I said to Piet…
‘You know what boet? …. it will take an act of cowardice to not match this dog’ So, Danny had one roll under his belt and we looked for the biggest ticket we could find at the time.

Strike #1 Meatloaf and KC’S SADDAM
After a convention back then it was clear that Saddam from Butcher Boy (Meatloaf) and KC combine was the dog to beat. He was rough, tough, big and more than pit game. He was a black and white import from the North. He had wiped out one of my Spike dogs off Orrie’s yard. I think the little 1 X winning buckskin’s name was Cobra. This was Danny’s first official outing. The other crowd tried delaying tactics, hung us out to dry for hours and when they did pitch they washed Danny in scalding hot water at KC’s joint. Thing is, we knew this was an exceptional dog. Danny came in at 21kg perfect, Saddam, about 22+KG. Saddam smashed the pup up, but every time the pup rooted in the 2X winner’s chest, the big dog faded. Saddam quit, severely damaged. Danny was also a mess, face wise. Danny turned first, for what it’s worth and I don’t blame him. He did scratch very hard, courtesy scratch too. For sure it was his hardest match and one of my hardest nights in the box.

Strike # 2
David Carroll’s (Alliance’)’ RED ON THE HEAD.
I don’t really want to discuss this one. I have my reasons. All I can say is that it was clean, fair, well organized and a contest.  Do any of you know what it is actually like to be stuck between a rock and a hard place as corner man? A… of Cape Fear reffed and did a great job. I loved both those dogs. The two of them met and they were pretty close to the same weight 21KG. I had acceded to Schalk’s request that he condition and handle Danny for that contest. The night before the show he told me Danny had swallowed a portion of a rope he had torn up and was sick. How did that happen I asked? I don’t know he said, WE WERE OUT PARTYING!!!! I brought the dog back to my place and worked with him after he eliminated. I told Schalk that Danny would go pit that night even if I drove him in an ambulance. By then I obviously knew the dog was good, but I was not about to tell Schalk that! Danny recovered pretty quickly after he eliminated.
Schalk handled Danny very well that night and I called his every move during the keep. I really did not want to see those two, Red and Danny hit each other. I would have preferred to see their genetic pools complement each other.

Strike # 3 Bouncer’s BIGGIE SMALL
Surely, Danny’s least memorable contest. The CH Cutlass/ Yellow dog was a convincing 1x winner and killer over Tumble’s Zak in about 30. This contest actually came about by mutual agreement between Tumbles, Bouncer and myself. The deal was that whichever won the Zack/Biggie contest would run into Danny next up in 6 month’s time. The show was delayed. Bouncer told me that Biggie had a dose of tick fever, but was recovering well, so I agreed to postpone until he felt his dog was full house and stuck to a modified work routine. The 2 met eventually with Danny pushing 2KG uphill, but cured Biggie out in 25. The use of the word cur actually sucks. Biggie was a deep game dog as was Zhukov as was CH Panther. Biggie was beaten by mouth, Zhukov was beaten by his own intensity. Panther was beaten by the heat. None of them were dead game, but deep game they surely were. Biggie was a worthy opponent, but Danny was the consummate wrecking ball.
I reckon Biggie would have won a few more had he not run into Danny.

Danny died of tick fever (officially) at about 6pm 31st December 1999.  I buried Danny alongside Spike, Zhukov and Junior that new year’s eve. Miserable millennium eve for Piet and myself on Bulldog Hill.
Danny had blown Biggie out and now it was time to respond to Warren/Ma Baker and Buffalo Bill.
Warren wanted CH Danny with CH Tazz. I called him after the Biggie show to get it on and he informed me Tazz was off the table as he had died of kidney failure or something. A week later Danny died of galloping bllliary. So, a classic contest never took place, but there existed consummate confidence on both sides during the buildup which would have seen either CH Tazz make GR CH (SDJ) or CH Diamond Dan make 4X winner and AGDT Champion. Back then, the SDJ recognized any 3 X winner as a Champion, the AGDT recognized only 4 X winners. I think Fat Bill also had a proviso that to be recognized as a legit Grand Champion, the dog would have to have beaten at least two 2X winners, so Ch Tazz was it.

It would have been a great event. My scheming was to blow CH Tazz off the map for Danny’s 4th and then get him AGDT and SDJ GR CH status with one more and retire him.
Shit happens. I never was impressed with Danny’s offspring, but he was an individual dog I would have back in a heartbeat. His sister, Mexican Blackbird threw solid dogs even if you spat on her.
Piet made most of the Danny breeding’s and I made all of the Blackbird breeding’s. Conditioning and Danny. I would cook chicken stew for him and watch his weight. I tried running him alongside the bicycle, he would ‘platz’. We tried swimming him, ‘platz’, he hated water. He liked his long walks and the bungee cord with the flirt pole proved to be his game. The dog could not get enough of it.I played to his strengths. He was an insanely quick dog on the release, immensely powerful and had one direction. Throat and chest.

He also had an uncanny knack of knowing when something was up. We had an ex-security policeman that had an old converted VW Kombi battle wagon with bed, bar and all.  De Bruyn transported us and witnessed all of Danny’s shows. On arriving at the venue, you had a problem if Danny sniped the box prior to wash and weigh in. He would go ballistic to get into it.

Teeth are not what makes a bulldog, but in Danny’s case, given his style, they sure helped. Massive, thick and immensely strong canines. I’ve seen dogs shake their teeth out or break them in hold. Not this bloke. Everything he shook out got broken, not his teeth.

I recall Piet and myself reflecting after “release your dogs’ and Danny. When Danny got the first hold it was generally over, just a matter of 20 minutes or so and he always got the first hold and deep in the chest and throat. The only question was who would quit or die first…The opponent, owner or the handler? So yeah, some go past 30 and the dog pays the price, not the owner or handler.

Diamond DannyThe reason I always showed Danny, a true 19.5 to 20kg at extreme sometimes disadvantage is because I would have robbed him of his knockout capability. The dog was better off matched in a higher category at max power and drug free with a reserve for recovery post event. It worked. The only time we had him on a drip was after a minuscule bug bit him and killed him…galloping biliary, a tick. Piet lost his house and the whole family stayed with me for a while. They all went their separate ways. The dogs and his employees Antonie and Elsie stayed with me from early 1999 to 2001. The dog was named Diamond by Piet, and Danny by me. He was quick to respond to both names. Piet played with the shiny stones…Diamonds, and the dog reminded me of Danny, a nightclub bouncer I knew. Who actually owned him? Whose name should he be registered on? Who cares anyway? I don’t. Diamond Dan and Mexican Blackbird were just a pair of great canines and a great part of SA/APBT history. Who knows how Blackbird would have turned out as a match canine? Hudson Hawk’s Nightshift gave me a clue one cold night.

The Southerner