Interview with Ruth Hall:
Conducted by Heather Wilkins
In December of 08, after years of searching, we finally found a Brindle Bulldog. In early January 09 I brought my 89 year old grandmother, (my mother's mother), to my house to visit my kids. When pulling into the drive, she sat up and pointed at the Brindle Bulldog and said, 'That's a bulldog, a Brindle Bulldog. My daddy had one when I was real young.' I had asked her many times if she had ever had the WEB growing up and she always said no. I never imagined she would have had a BB. After her exclamation, I asked her why she never told me about it as she knew I was always investigating them. She told me she thought I was only interested in the WEB and just never thought their old BB would interest me. So I sat down with her that afternoon of 1-5-09 and asked her the following questions. These questions were written with the WEB in mind, so I have made the necessary changes, making them about the BB instead. This is our first, and hopefully not our last interview about the BB. My father's family is where my history with the WEB lies. I never had any inclination that my mother's family had any history with the BB until my grandmother's recognition of the one in our yard January 5, 2009.
Q. This interview is to be used as a resource of information concerning the BBs history and it's uses according to Southern BB breeders and owners. Parts of your answers will be referenced in an up-coming book as well as an online web-site about the WEB. Before we continue, do we have your permission to quote you in the said works?
Well sure you do.
Q. How long have you yourself owned and or bred the BB?
I never had dogs, but my daddy had a Brindle Bulldog when I was real young. We had another dog too, some kind of mix, but that brindle was my daddy's dog.
Q. Where and when were you born?
I was born in Danville, Ga. back up on the old home-place in March 1920.
Q. Where did you grow up?
I grew up there, in the same house I was born in. My daddy was born in that same house too. His daddy built the house before the Civil War. Today 5 generations of Halls have lived in that same house. They still live there.
Q. Are they the same today as they were as far back as you can remember?
Oh I don't know. The one you got is the first I've seen since my daddy's died in 1933.
Q. Did anyone else in your family have or breed them? What did they use them for? Did they sell them, trade them, or give them away?
Daddy didn't breed them. He kept him mostly as a watch dog, sometimes he'd use him to hold a hog for clipping or butchering.
Q. How long did they have/breed them?
He just had the one. After that dog died, he said he didn't want to get that close to another one and go through losing it again.
Q. What do you use them for? Do you or have you sold them, traded them, or given them away?
Q. How were they around livestock? What types of livestock?
Well, we had some stock. Daddy grew cotton during the season and wheat during the winter. We were poor dirt farmers. We kept 4 milk cows, 1 horse for the buggy, 4 mules for the fields, and he raised hogs for meat. That dog never bothered those animals, never tried to. Daddy said he knew those animals belonged to him and wouldn't dare mess with them.
Q. How were they around strangers?
Oh boy. We lived back off the road a ways. The roads were all dirt back then. Well, no one came off that road towards our place without hollering out. They waited till my daddy hollered back before they came up to the house. That's the way he wanted it he said. That dog would bark something fierce at people till my daddy hollered back. Then he hushed up and went back under the house. He never left that yard to go after anyone though, he stayed right there unless he went with daddy.
Q. How were they around strange dogs, wild dogs, or coyotes?
Oh he'd kill them real quick. He knew what and who was supposed to be around.
Q. Were they people friendly to visitors at your home?
As long as daddy was ok with them so was that dog.
Q. Why did you have/breed them?
Q. How much training was involved with them? What kind of training?
I really don't know. I never saw daddy do anything like that with him. He just told him what to do and he did it
Q. How much catch work were they used for? What were they used to catch?
He'd use him to catch or hold one of our hogs every now and then.
Q. Did you ever use them for hunting? Hunting what?
Oh no. Daddy wasn't a hunter. He had a nephew that always wanted to hunt his land and daddy never let him. He didn't fish either. He always said he couldn't figure out how other men found time for hunting because there was too much to do already.
Q. What do you and others you know do with BB culls/curs?
Q. How many BBs did you keep at one time?
Q. How many have you had over the years?
Q. Were they kept tied, penned, or did they have free run?
He had free run, but he never strayed off, he stayed put.
Q. Did they typically bark a lot?
He only barked when something was wrong or someone was on the road in front of the house.
Q. How long did they live on average?
I don't really know. Daddy had that one before I was born in 1920 and he died around '33 or '34.
Q. How old was the oldest one you remember?
He must have been at least 15, maybe more.
Q. How big were they, male and female?
This one was big. His back was up to my thigh at my height today. (Around 26').
Q. How do they differ from ABs?
I don't know what that is, I never heard of them before.
Q. Describe a BB.
Well he was big and mean if you didn't belong. Nobody could nor would they come around our place without an invite. We never had anything go missing either.
Q. Where did they come from?
I don't know, I never much thought on it.
Q. Where are they found?
Couldn't tell you that either. We lived about an hour from here. Him and this one here are the only ones I ever saw.
Q. How effective of a guard dog were they?
Like I said, nobody messed with us or our stuff.
Q. Why are they so hard to find today?
There just aren't anymore I guess.
Q. Were they common long ago? How long ago?
No not really. Not that I remember.
Q. What did other people use them for?
I never knew anybody else with them.
Q. Did they have an on and off switch?
Well, when daddy would come out of the house and holler back at someone on the road so they could come on up, he quit barking and laid back down. Is that what you mean?
Q. Do you remember any specific events about a BB that stands out in your mind?
Yeah I do, this one time sticks out for some reason. I don't know why, but I've always remembered it well. I was about 7 or 8. So around 1927-1928. That dog went everywhere daddy did. At night, he slept under the house. We lived in a log house set up on bricks. Some of it was logs and the newer parts my daddy built on were boards, what we used to call clapboards. See, I was the 7th of 8 kids and born to my daddy's 2nd wife. His first died. Daddy was almost an old man when I was born and he was old when Roselyn, (the 8th child), was born. Those old logs rooms were the original house my Papa built way back. You can still see some of those logs in one of the rooms today. Anyway, I could always hear him moving around under there at night, getting up sometimes to check on noises and what not and coming back to lay down. Well this one night, I never heard him. I was scared because we didn't know where he'd got off to. The next morning daddy went out looking for him. He came back after awhile with him and told us he'd found him out in one of the fields. He said the day before he had taken his coat off and laid it on the ground and forgot it. That dern dog had stayed with daddy's coat all night long. My daddy sure was proud of that. Maybe that's why I remember it so well, because he was so proud.
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