History Of Bull Arabs
Establishment of the Bull Arab Breed
Mike Hodgens commenced breeding of the Bull Arabs around 1972. They are comprised of 50% English Bull Terrier, 25% Greyhound and 25% German Short Pointer. Although another well known breeder will tell you 25% English Pointer was added instead of German Short Pointer.
He stopped breeding Bull Arabs in 1981 and all other dogs in 1989. Mike Hodgens went through difficulties to create this breed. The trials and tribulations to create this breed cannot be understated and the price he paid was enormous. Now this breed is established as the number 1 Pig Hunting breed in Australia in terms of popularity and notoriety.
Original purpose of the breed
Bull Arabs were originally bred to catch wild pigs at close range (less than 1 km) and clear out properties in QLD.
Other breeders subsequently further refined the original breed as history progressed.
Attributes of the breed
- Power of a bull-terrier
- Speed and Sight ability of a Greyhound and ;
- Scenting, Intelligence and Good Nature of a German Short-Pointer.
This is what a Bull Arab is!
It is an extremely versatile breed that is good natured around family and children, yet when taken Pig hunting turns into a high drive dog that wants to work. They have been worked in Australia on Buffalo, Scrub Bulls and Pigs with excellent results and the popularity increases each year. In addition there is evidence of Bull Arabs being demonstrated and worked in Victoria at Police Dog/Security Dog boot camps.
These dogs can do it all and also have excellent tracking abilities for Search and Rescue situations due to their versatile body structure and short coats in hot and humid climates.
The Bull Arab is an awesome hunter, great addition to the family as a pet or as a loyal guard of the car/house or family members.
It must be noted that they are a working dog and need to be exercised daily without exceptions.
Adaptation of the Breed
The adaptation of the original Bull Arabs can be split between two regions (NSW and QLD).
It came about when Gary Anderson visited from NSW and bought original dogs from Mike Hodgens in the early 1980s.
It is known by some that Gary Anderson put a small percentage of English Mastiff into the original dog from Mike Hodgens to grow its size and power for Mountain Pigs around the New England and Great Dividing Ranges. This was part of his own breeding program and ideas. What is important to note is that Gary Anderson laid a foundation for Bull Arab breeding in NSW and the varied type of Bull Arab that is now often seen in NSW. Other breeders purchased dogs and continued to breed Bull Arabs suited to NSW and some of these people include Joe Cauchi. Joe Cauchiís dogs were easily identified as their tails were cut to give a stumpy tail appearance.
The evolution of the original breed in QLD is rich and diverse and reflected by the larger numbers of pigs and terrain in the state. Peter Paulsen from QLD bought original dogs from Mike Hodgens in 1982. Like Gary Anderson, he too added other breed/s to the mix for the purposes of his own plan and ideas. This breed is known as the Bloodhound. It has increased the finding ability of the Base breed. Other people continued to use and breed Bull Arabs in QLD from the early stages and they are but not limited to Graham Caldow, Norm Evans, Steve McCann, Johnny Johnson, Ron Leonardi, Ray Arcidiacono, Anthony Fortini, Ray Guadalini and Reece Campbell.
Challenges with Breed Verification and DNA Testing
Currently there are serious issues for customers who want to buy a genuine Bull Arab from the original lines that were bred. Many backyard breeders claim they breed purebred Bull Arabs but the truth is - they donít. They may look similar but they are not if you know what to look for. There has been a push by one organisation to rectify this problem in Australia and move the breed towards being a registered breed in Australia and protect customers who want the real thing! This organisation pushes for DNA testing as the sole method of verification.
DNA testing is not sufficient and will create too many variables. For example, if Labrador was found in the so called ďdistant relativesĒ in the test we will not know if it is 1/8 (great grandparent) or 10 or 20 generations back because the test is not accurate enough to distinguish the difference. As understood by many in the Australian Dog Industry the Australian company responsible for testing has definite profiles for approximately 40 breeds. You canít use DNA profiles and tags determined for dogs from other countries because they can be different from profiles of Australian dogs of the same breed. So until DNA testing becomes more accurate and specific and tailored to Regions it has no place in determining whether a dog is a Bull Arab or not in Australia.
The future of the breed
The future of the BA breed like all hunting and working dogs is certain and secure whilst the Greenies donít get their way. In other countries around the world like Germany, many dogs have been banned and labeled as fighting dogs by the Ignorant and we pray this does not happen in Australia. As of 2009, Mike Hodgens has made his intentions clear about registering the breed worldwide. He will do this probably through the USA as the options are greater than in Australia. From there it will have a trickle down effect into Australia and eventually the breed will be recognized with the Australian National Kennel Council.
Currently backyard breeders are distorting the breedís reputation and dogs that are cross-Bull Arabs are being sold as Purebreds. In addition unscrupulous breeders are breeding dogs to make money and are not ensuring the right attributes and genes stay with the breed in their original state.
This is resulting in dogs that are timid or indecisive when finding and holding pigs. Anyone who purchases a Bull Arab from outside the few good Bull Arab breeders in Australia will be taking a risk of buying something that is not the genuine product. No-one wants a fake; we all want the genuine product that is guaranteed to work and healthy.
Please Note: I am not in business with Mike/Errol Hodgens and do not support, or have any contact with, this person. This section is a historical acknowledgement of the breed and the breed history based on a research interview I had with him in 2009.