Best bullies

Ohio Bully Showcase gathers American bullies galore

Handler Josh Engle stacks Dual Champion Yogi to ensure his front paws and rear legs are in place for judging; photo: Rebecca Pogue

By Tim Smith

The Ohio Bully Showcase will put on the pedestal a misunderstood or unknown breed—the American bully.

According to the American Bully Kennel Club, the bully breed began in 1990 but became formally recognized in 2004. Despite its “bully” build, the American bully was bred for traits like loyalty and companionship with humans. The Ohio Bully Showcase will predominantly feature these companions. The show is the brainchild of breeders Rebecca and Andre Pogue.

“About seven years ago, we purchased our first American bully,” Rebecca Pogue says. “This breed was created by taking an American pit bull terrier and breeding it with an American Staffordshire terrier. Along the way, the English bulldog was incorporated into the pedigree. We had owned pit bull terriers before acquiring our first American bully. We have always supported and been a fan of the bully breeds because of their ability to be great companions and their awesome temperaments.”

“We’ve been showing and breeding dogs for 12 years,” Pogue says. “We first started showing Presa Canarios, which are Spanish mastiffs that come from the Canary Islands. The Ohio Bully Showcase was first hosted in 2013. We had been showing with the American Bully Kennel Club (ABKC) for three years before we decided to host our first show. We wanted to educate and show the community a different view of the American bully. Many people have not heard of this breed or they mistake them for pit bulls. In doing a show, we were able to bring the community out so they could see and learn about this wonderful breed.”

Putting together an event like the Bully Showcase, takes a lot of time, planning, and resources.

“We start planning the show a year in advance so by the time the date is here, everything is ready to go,” Pogue says. “We have to find judges—which are always in another state and therefore need to be flown in—an ABKC representative to record the winnings of the dogs, a venue to host the show, trophies, ribbons, giveaways, hotel rooms for the judges and reps, and food for the concession. We normally spend around $10,000 to put this show on.”

The Bully Showcase is similar to The Westminster Kennel Club competition, because the dogs are judged by the standard of the breed. The judges look at the dog’s bite (teeth), top line of the dog, rear angulation, and their gaits. The judges then look at all of the dogs in that class and pick the best one that is closest to the standard.

“There are several classes for the American bully such as Pocket, Standard, XL, and Classic,” Pogue says. “The classes are broken down into age groups. The winners of each age group will compete for Best of Class. The winner of all the classes will then compete for Best of Breed. The dogs who win will accrue points to become a Champion. After the Champion title, the dogs will compete to earn more points and majors to become a Grand Champion. The dogs win trophies and ribbons.”

The Pogues’ hard work and dedication have begun to pay off, not only in increased attendance and recognition, but with help from sponsors.

“This is the first year that we have had sponsors for the show,” Pogue says. “We have had several kennels sponsor other breeds to be able to show the French bulldog, English bulldog, and shorty bulls. We also have sponsors to help with the Junior Handler shows. These shows are strictly for children ranging from ages 2–18. The kids get judged on their knowledge of the standard of the breed, anatomy of the dogs, how to care for the dogs, and faults or disqualifications of the breed. We go all out for the kids because they are the future of this breed.”

Sponsors for this year’s event include local dog supplement maker Dog Bloom, Blue Dog Bakery, Blue King Kennels of Columbus, and The American Bully Kennel Club.

“All of these sponsors are greatly appreciated because without them, we would not have been able to add the other breeds to make this show a lot bigger,” Pogue says. “We want the community to learn more about this misunderstood breed, and that the stereotypes are not always what they seem. We love meeting new people as well as their dogs from all across the world. We also enjoy hosting shows to protect and better the breed as it grows.”

The Ohio Bully Showcase takes place Saturday, Aug. 12 at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds Coliseum Building, 1043 S. Main St. in Dayton. First show starts at 10:30 a.m., doors open at 8:30. Admission is $20 for adults and $10 per dog; children up to age 16 are free. For more information, please call 937.559.4965.

Editor’s note: The online version of this story has been edited to reflect the presence of the American bully at this event, which is not a type of bulldog.

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Tim Smith is an award-winning, bestselling author. Reach DCP freelance writer Tim Smith at TimSmith@DaytonCityPaper.com

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