Sunday, January 22, 2012

America's dog, vintage ads & pop culture

"This was the all american dog, for a long time, um, our world war two, one of our world war two dog heroes was Stubby, an old pit bull. Was his name Stubby Tim, do I have that right? I think it was Stubby, yeah. And it was just kind of everyone's dog that they had. You know, laying on the front porch, hanging out. They'd show up in a lot of advertisements, um, Buster Brown's dog, the shoe advertisement of the dog was supposed to be a pit bull. So they used to be just you know, commonplace."
Donna Reynolds, Badrap

(Stubby was in WW1)

Pit nutters love to point to old war posters of pit bulls and Buster Brown as proof that they were once cherished normal family dogs, then blame the 1987 Sports Illustrated magazine for ruining their "good" reputation. But I'd say their reputation was tarnished right from the start. Here are a few uses of the pit bulls' image that capitalize on his gripper talents in ads, comics etc. in the 1880's.

Yep, Buster Brown's dog is a pit bull!

Victim "What does your confounded dog see in me that he is always attacking me?"
Nutter: "Well, I suppose... bones."


Anonymous said...

Notice how the cavalier and pinsher are afraid of the bulldog. Snack sized dogs indeed.

Anonymous said...

The only pit bulls that seemed to be ranked as popular in the presumed age of the APBT are Boston Terriers and Bull Terriers.

Here's some interesting articles on this.

1908 Los Angeles Herald , Sept. 5th
"Intelligent Canine Missing From Engine House" Boston Terrier which knows all abut department routine and fighting flames cannot be found. Judy, the intellegent Boston Terrier mascot of engine company No. 16, at 139 North Hope street, is still missing and the firemen are disconsolate because of the loss of their four footed comrade...

New-York tribune., February 12, 1908
Pomeranians and Boston Terriers strike the popular fancy.

1915 New York Tribune May 12th
Buster, the Boston Terrier mascot of the new dreadnought Texas.

The evening world., February 15, 1922, Final Edition, Page 16
Notice that the Boston Terrier now looks like the version we have today. "Fast becoming one of the most popular breeds in the country - the alert, sleek, flashy, lovable boston terrier - numerically one of the largest exhibits at the show."