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The Ruffian History
By Richard Gray (President STCA)

If I try to tell the story of the Ruffian line without giving the founders some credit, I would feel like an Ingrate.  Even before Clayton Harriman, the Ruffian line was being formed.  The people chiefly responsible were Martin, Klump, Schroeder, and maybe even others should receive some credit.  In my opinion none of these follows had a complete concept that they were forming a line, but begin a line they did.

From my research I couldn't find a single entry In the AKC's Stud Book by Schroeder.  Floyd C. Klump had a few dogs entered Into the Stud Book.  Ed C. Martin had many dogs entered Into the Stud Book.  Martin's AKC involvement was from 1939 - 1949.  How long he was In the other registry I do not know, but all these men had an Impact.

In going through the AKC Stud Book I noticed a strange geographic coincidence. The first was a strong correlation between the states of Michigan Texas. and Colorado.  Martin, Klump, and later Harriman all resided In Michigan.  Harriman moved from Texas to Michigan.  He had a brief stay In Kansas City between Texas and Michigan.  While In Texas, Harriman met W. D. Harper.  Harper later developed her Har-Wyn strain.  William M. Whitaker lived In Colorado.  Whitaker, Harper, and Harriman seemed to work closely together.

Today Monske and Nowicki along with others Live In Michigan. Gigi and Jerry Rooney Lived In Michigan until they moved to Colorado.  Of course, I live In Texas.  This group with other Ruffian fans, cooperates very well together.

Mr. Harriman, from what I can determine by studying the AKC's stud book, did have a solid view of what he was doing.  I never met the man, but when you see the number of litters the man bred and how those litters were bred, I felt this was a gentleman Intent on developing a line.  He was successful, and his line has lasted over fifty years.  Of course, there have been Infusions of dogs from time to time, but each Infusion of this purest of strains was based on Ruffian dominated dogs.  Harriman's good dogs were too numerous to list, but The Ruffian himself was a landmark dog as was Ruffian Our Teenie, Ruffian Walkway, but I fell In love with the picture In Ormsby's book.  I find It strange that today none of the blood from Bubbling Over Is still In Am Staffs.

Even though I never saw Mr. Harriman's early dogs, from the pictures I did see that Mr. Harriman's stock was very stylish (type), and not over sized.  Even today when the purest of Ruffians are crossed with other lines the original style often holds true.  Unfortunately, I don't know how sound they were.

The first entry In the AKC's Stud Book by Clayton Harriman was in 1939.  His wife Letti seems to have taken over the kennel after Clayton passed on and the last entry I could find was in 1949 as well. 

Enter William Whitaker and Howard Hadley into the picture of developing the Ruffian Line.  Howard I don't think was in the least bit Interested In developing a Ruffian line.  Howard was developing the Mounthaven line from William's dogs.  However, Howard had used a dog-named Ruffian Scalawag.  Scalawag was as strong a Ruffian bred dog as one could find.  Howard also had a dog-named Mounthaven Tex of Har- Wyn, a littermate to Ruffian Grayboy of Har-Wyn So this was a powerfully bred Ruffian dog.  Ruffian dogs such as Ruffian Contact of Har-Wyn, Ruffian Rudy of Har-Wyn were intertwined into the west coast infusion of our brood so that I could not help but think of them as Ruffians.  Indian Doc was a result of this west coast style of dog.  If you have never heard of Indian Doc, he was special.

Howard produced a pair of females know as Ruffian Janet of Mounthaven and Ruffian Janet of Har-Wyn.  This pair was outstanding.  I do not think either was over shown, and I couldn't understand why they were not shown.  These two play a role In the development of Ruffian Red Rack of Har-Wyn.  Howard was Active In AKC dogs from 1943 to 1968 at least.

William Whitaker was developing his Jollyscamp line . However, his dogs were as pure Ruffian blood as a dog could be.  His most powerful Influence was the fine dog Jollyscamp Blueguard.  Blueguard Is as Important to the Ruffian strain as any single dog I can think of, save his sire Gallant Ruff.  In fact, the two may be the corner stones of the breed.  I am not sure of that last statement as I have not studied all the pedigrees for Am Staffs.  Mr. Whitaker may have been one of the three best Ruffian Breeders to this date.

While the basic style of dog Whitaker had was similar to Harriman, more size and variety were added.  Other Important dogs Whitaker was responsible for were Puddin Pie Pepper Duster, Puddin Pie Blue Smoke, and Jollyscamperpuss.  While Whitaker greatest activity In brooding AKC dogs was between 1945 and 11958.  He had profound Influence on the brood.

Ed Ringold kept the Gallant line In tack until his death.  Gallant Ruff was the corner stone for the Ruffian and Gallant line.  Gallant Kimbo I think was responsible for any phenotypical difference between Peggy's dogs and the Gallant line (Ed's dogs were very stocky for the most part) , but In fact, I see the two lines being Parallel lines.  Ed produced so many fine dogs and such a fine type that he needs more credit.  Some of Ed's finer Stock should be noted were Gallant Pistol Pete, Gallant Golden Girl, and Gallant J.R.. Mr. Ringold was active with the breed from World War One until his death In the mid 80's.

Charlie Lloyd was active helping Ed keep the Gallant strain alive.  Charlie was a mainstay In the breed from 1954 until very recently.  Charlie had some big winning dogs In his time.  He should receive the credit he deserves.

Ike and Joan Stinson brought his Crusader dogs Into the mix because they were such good show dogs.  Ed, Peggy and others couldn't resist using them and In fact the Crusader dogs had liberal doses of Ruffian blood from Gallant Ruff and Howards Hadley's stock.  Knight Crusader and Knight Bomber were Just outstanding and Knight Crusader for many years was the biggest winning Am Staff In the breeds history.  From the few Crusader dogs I did see, these dogs appeared to be based on soundness.

Some people to this day will say that Crusader was not a line just a kennel name.  These people do have a point, but the same fault can be made about many of the other famous lines In the breed.

Peggy Harper visited the line next and she scrambled the genes.  Peggy used Howard's dogs, some of Ed Ringold's dogs, Peggy used William Whitaker dogs , she even used Tacoma all- A- Blaze, she also put some of her fathers' pit bulls Into the Mix, and some Crusader blood.  Peggy broods The Ruffian of Har- Wyn, she used Ruffian Headlight Hal In large amounts.  Other major Impact dogs were Ruffian Sika, Ruffian Dreadnought, Ruffian High Ace, Ruffian Grayboy, Ruffian Chita, and others I am sure I have left out.  Peggy even produces Ruffian Hercules of Har-Wyn, for years the top producer In the history of the breed.  Ruffian Red Rock of Har-Wyn her most famous show dog, and for awhile, the top winning Staff In history, and he was one of the last Peggy bred.  The old Tacoma dogs trace their roots back to the same base as the Ruffian line does so All - A Blaze was not an out cross.

However, Peggy may be most remembered for Introducing Blitz and especially Sky King Into the Ruffian Mix.  Some would argue that Blitz and Sky Kings Impact changed from the Ruffian line to Har-Wyn line at this point and time.  I would agree that the Sky King Influence altered the line, It would not be too big of a stretch to suggest that the line could be called the Har-Wyn line Instead of Ruffian.

Blitz and Sky King were litter mates.  They were 5/8 Ruffian, 1/8 X-pert, l /8 Tacoma, and I /8 unrelated to any major line.  She did this because Sky King was such a sound dog and a big winner of his time.  He gave her dogs an edge In the show ring. A great female behind Sky King was Jones Gaye One Roxie. I've seen only the one picture, but what a picture.  I asked Peggy who was the best Am Staff she had ever seen not of her kennel.  Peggy replied " Jones Gage One Roxie."

I do not know that Peggy really knew what she was doing In so far as genetics were concerned, but she was doing It anyway.  Her method of breeding was based on numbers.  She had many different looks In her kennel.  Many were sound, some were not real sound physically, but what drew me to her line was the out going temperaments they had.  This was Important to me and no easy trick with a kennel of 60 + Am Staffs In her runs.  You know they had little or no socialization, and still they wanted to be your friend.

Peggy was one of a kind.  She would have made a fine Am Staff, Except she wasn't nearly as stable as our dogs.  She acquired Ruffian Headlight Hal from Whitaker for Just being willing to take the dog off his hands.  Hal was very dog aggressive and hard to control.  Peggy was maybe 5'1 ", Whitaker was a big man, but Peggy grabbed the leash from Whitaker, took Hal Into the ring, won , and then she took him home.  I heard other stories about other dogs and how Peggy acquired them, Including Tacoma All-A- Blaze.  Knowing Peggy It might have been true.  I still pray for her.

Peggy Harper or Winnie Doris Harper was In AKC dogs from 1947 to 1977.  Remember Stud Book entries will always be a gear or two behind.

After Peggy's death Melvin Powdery took over for at least 3 months.  Richard Bell became Melvin' partner and soon had all the dogs to himself.  Richard used his dog Ruffian Hercules of Har-Wyn and produced many dogs For a good length of time Hercules was a top producer of champions.  Richard was soon forced out of Am Staffs.

In the late 60's and In the early 70's many players were active In the Ruffian arena besides Richard Bell.  Among these were Susan Rogers, Walter Patton Jr., O.L. Hill, Mr. D Mrs. Hartnet, and others.  Shortly before this were Hendrix Harper, William F. Peterson, Richard Pascoe, myself, and Charlie Lloyd.

Richard Pascoe had Ruffian dogs.  This was not Important to Dick.  Dick wanted good obedience dogs and that he had . Dick' strain went heavily Into Indian Doc type dogs.  Doc was a big winner.  Indian Doc was a winner In more than one arena.  Dick then bred Into Ruffian Hercules . The dogs were Impressive and to my view he produced one of the very best I've ever seen, Whiterock Grover.  One of Grover's daughters, Penny, when bred to her uncle, Bomber, produced a group of dogs that made Dick famous for years.  Among these dogs were Whiterock Perry the Fridge and Rounder's Whiterock Azure Some remnants of that breading still exist.  Dick slowly Introduced Ruffian Rolls mixes along with some Tacoma Into his line.  Currently he has few, If any, of the purest Ruffians one can have.  However, Dick really likes what he Is producing, and can anyone fault that.

Wm. F. Peterson brought with him a strain of Crusader dogs That was as pure as driven snow.  Bill called his line Wlllynwood. 01 hill also used Ruffian Hercules as a stud.  Wow!  The offspring were just great Brae Bull Adam of Topstaff, Wlllynwood Liberty Belle, Wlllynwood Blue Lotus, and too many more to name.  Bill next bred Into Ruffian Red Rock of Har-Wyn and had good dogs, but not as good as Bill wanted.  Bill started brooding Into Ruffian Rolls Mixes and I think he Is happy with what he Is getting, but his pure Ruffians are no longer, at least I can't find them.

O.L. Hill, this man was not a show person first.  He did know how to be effective at showing.  In my view he was very Interested In what the breed was supposed to be " the original function".  He started off with a Ruffian dog Ruffian Harper of Har-Wyn.  Harper was out of Sky King and a Sky King daughter.  He bought Ruffian Chita from heavy old Ruffian blood.  Next he bought females from other lines ( Ruffian the line was not Important to Mr. Hill as function was) . Mr. Hill also used the dog Heffiers Maccaundo from my old line.  However, to stay on his place, the dog had to function and the Ruffians were the ones who stayed.  I think only one female from other strains was breed at O.L.'s place.  While the Ruffian line was not Important to O.L. his Concho dogs remained the strongest Ruffian till the end.

I think Susan Rogers had one of the better concepts concerning what the Ruffian line was, or at least as to how a dog should look (for the show anyway).  Susan's main dog was Ruffian Sky Bolt of Har Wyn (Ruffian Red Rack of Har-Wyn sire).  She picked him up as the Har Wyn kennel was being destroyed.  She also put Ruffian Hercules of Har-Wyn Into her line.  She didn't realize how closely related these two dogs were.  However, she may be responsible for as many good looking dogs as Anyone.  Some of her more impressive dogs were Herks Harper, Tryarr Strawberry Fields, and others.  Her Tryarr line was maintained pure for the relatively short time she was In Am Staffs. The Hartnets were not In dogs very long.  They did produce Mountshire's Barn Bass a fine dog.

Walter Patton Jr. did know who to listen to.  His major claims to fame were brooding Atchley's Fanny to Ruffian Red Rock of Har-Wyn.  This produced Skillet, Josephine, and Lucy Belle.  I think his pride presented him from repeating the brooding.  He had some other successes but nothing that matched his first litter.  He really didn't care about the Ruffian line just success.  Walter did a lot of brooding and spread his dogs around quite well.  At present he Is not In Am Staffs.

Ruth Alexander developed her Atta Boy and Atta Girl line from mingling the Har-Wyn strain with the Gallant Strain.  She produced many a good looking stylish dog.  She has more Gallant blood than any of us within the strain.

Rudy and Nancy Estevez owned Ruffian Red Rock of Har -Wyn.  They owned Ruffian Little Herc of Har-Wyn, a dog Hendrix and I took to help our Ruffian blood.

Hendrix Harper understands genetics as well or better than anyone.  In fact he Is the one that sold me on keeping the line pure.  He Introduced me to Dr. Roy Fangue, a Genetics professor at Texas A&M . Roy sold me on Quantitative Genetics . Hendrix was already using It.  Hendrix could predict things that did come true, and I was Impressed with the predictions, If not the offspring.

Hendrix was In part responsible for Ruffian Harper of Har-Wyn.  He was also the breeder of Ruffian Texas Queen.  Later he produced Tonkawa Big Tex.  Big Tex has been used over and over.  The results are still out on the dog, but I am betting on him.  His line Is the Tonkawa line and he maintains some Interest In the purest of Ruffians.  He has other dogs with backgrounds other than pure Ruffian.  No matter which dogs you ask Hendrix about, he Is pleased with where his dogs are. 

Gigi & Jerry Rooney had the Rowdytown line.  This line was based on Skillet.  They had branched off Into a strain that was not as pure (they were being successful with those dogs) as what could be, but realized what the Ruffian line was and came back to It.  This was a major show of faith.  These two made the Ruffian line popular again.  If the line Is to be maintained they should have major amounts of the credit.  These two were responsible for Rowdytown Hard Rock Cafe, Can Am's Iron Skillet, and too many others to mention.  Jerry Is out of Am Staffs right now but Gigi continues.

Now as to myself, I really had no clear cut vision of what I was doing In the mid/to late 60's as I showed, and from time to time bred my bitch.  However, after I listened to Dr. Ray Fangue at a seminars I began to formulate a plan of action.  Dr. Fangue, when asked about out crossing responded, "why would you want to." After listening to responses, Dr. Fangue countered with two basic answers.  One If you like the other guys dogs better than yours leave yours behind and get the other guys. ( You don't want to be Mixing up the hidden genes.) Two If your line Is lacking a trait find the best dog within your line ( Insofar as that trait Is concerned) and use that dog to improve your line slowly.  Now Dr. Fangue made a lot of other points about the form of genetics he works with (Quantitative Genetics) . but It would take too much space to put all his points down.  People have written books about the subject. To be blunt about this breeding program, It does have some down sides, but It h
as been fun trying to overcome the genetic bottle necks and polygenetic difficulties. 
While I do feel we are making progress, I must admit that progress will be cyclical and not always steady.

Now as to some ups and downs already experienced by me, Ruffian Gentleman's Gem (Man) was Best of Breed at the STCA specialty.  After Man I had few dogs that I was pleased with, some of the displeasure was due to some out crossing I did and some was due to poor selection on my part.  In fact, Hendrix and I were breeding dogs strictly on paper and we were very unsuccessful all because we put little emphasis on selection.  After that I realized It takes good dogs as well as a good program to have what you want.

Rounder's Top Sergeant was a big boost.  I admit Ruffian Gentleman's Gem was as much luck as skill, and at least as much of Peggy's planning as mine.  Sergeant was the result of breeding my best pal, Ruffian Sunset of Romar, to Whiterock Grover.  Sunset, or "Hope as I called her, can be traced back directly to Mr., Harriman and Whitaker dogs.  I used Hope and her daddy, Ruffian Little Herks of Har-Wyn as much as I could.  At that time I believed I could still salvage the old strain before Sky King and the other Infusions.  Unfortunately, I could create no Interest and the dream disappeared.

However, the line still was strong If you considered the west coast strains, Sky King, Crusader, and Gallant as part of the Ruffian strain.  I did. Now A dream Is born. As the Skillet, Lucy, and Josephine litter was Important for Walter Patton.  The breeding of Rounder's Dotty to Rounder's Casey was a life saver for Rounder's kennel.  In the early to mid 80's I had lost almost all of my stock to a virus.  I had only two pups left.  However, my brother had Dotty and a friend had Casey.  By a quirk of fate I was given both back.  The two produced the best litter I had up to that point (except perhaps Grover to Hope).  Not only were we alive, we were competitive.  Until that time we were holding on by the skin of our teeth.  We have had many good litters since Dotty to Casey, but most of these go back to Dotty &, Casey.

Dotty can be traced back to Ruffian Gentleman Gem (Man) who had a big dose of Sky King and the old Ruffian blood.  Dotty also has a dose of Concho blood which was very similar to Man.  Rounder's Casey Is the result of Lucy Belle and Stanley.  Stanley was the last of the old time Ruffians.

I did manage to pick up Dinah Girl from Mr. Bally's stock In Laredo, TX. ( I found out later what they were being used for the original function), Dinah went back to my old stock (Man).  Dinah produced some pups for us and led to a female ( Rounder's Pokey) who was what this breed should be, In the mind at least.

Rounder's White Rock Azure came from Dick Pascoe's kennel.  This was one of his last pure breeding  But Azure, while not being prolific, did produce Rounder's Blackheart, and this girl has a lot of what I want In an Am Staff.

Hendrix produced a male Tonkawa Big Tex and he may have even been too hot even  for me, but, oh my, was he good looking.  He had a look that was very Intense and you know he accepted no trash form any dog.  I bred him to as many of my bitches as I could

During the decade of the 80's I had few dogs and a smaller market.  The Ruffian line was down to about 25 dogs of the purest blood.  While Hendrix and Dick still had a few ( purest of Ruffians) It was obvious that their plans lay elsewhere.  I knew there were others, but where?  The answer came at a STCA specialty held In Louisville Ky.  In the Mid 80's.

I had searched for any who had these few purest of Ruffians none of the owners were Interested, except for Jerry &, Gigi Rooney.  These folks did a lot of work researching where the Ruffians were.  Sometimes we were successful, sometimes we were not.  One example of what happened was Jerry getting a female from Bill Harbor who had a number of these Ruffians from O.L. Hill, but was only mildly Interested In what we were doing.  Jerry also had great luck recruiting young, eager people to join the program, something I could not do.

The Rooney's sold to Ruth Prehn.  Ruth started a line known as Ledgerock.  Her dog Ledgerock's Copper Corn was a superior dog.  Unfortunately I have not found him In any of our purest of Ruffian pedigrees. Ruth's fabulous moving female Rowdytown's Jazz of Ledgerock Is behind much of the Rowdytown stock.  Ruth's stay In the breed was short, about ten gears In the 80's.  However, Ruth has gone on to become an AKC Judge.

I have built my line based on having physical and mental soundness.  I have been faulted on not having more type or on not even developing a type.  To me physical and mental soundness are the correct type and all else Is secondary.  I am at this time slowly developing a type but making sure that we don't lose soundness.

I should mention that Eric Jackson has brought some solid dogs that go back Into the Tryarr and Gallant strains.  This should make the line stronger.  Eric also has some of the remnants of the pure side of the Whiterock dogs.  Eric's Tryarr dogs were brought In from Jane Robello.  Eric acquired them after Jane died.  He also has a fraction of my stock.

Jerry and Gigi brought In Keith Monske, Lisa Jenkins, Jodi Petiach, Randi Holtzman, Eric Jackson and others.  These folks have recruited other bright face too numerous to mention. 

We have as many or more people with these Ruffian dogs now than we had Ruffian Dogs In the middle of the 80's . Things look good now with many young outstanding dogs on the way, but who knows what will happen next.  I can tell you this- I am excited about going down this chosen path with this group of people, they are quality.  

At present, I believe we are starting a period of Improvement.  How much, will be hard to predict.  We just do not know the limits of the line.  I am seeing a great number of good ones, and they should lead us to even better ones.  Whatever happens, I am satisfied that we have done the best job we could, and the effort was well worth making.
The Ruffian History