Stout’s ‘Boss Hog’

One of my fondest memories of Bosshog was right after we bought him from Jay Dorsey. We had been trying for about a year to talk Jay into letting him go. We finally came to an agreement, and James and I made the trip to pick him up, and to take Dolly back to our place for a second time to have her pups. On the way back to Pennsylvania, where we were living at the time, our old Ford truck broke down in the middle of Virginia. It turned out that the truck had to go to a shop, and being a Saturday, was going to leave us stranded for several days. This was quite a difficult situation, having the truck towed, trying to figure out a way to get two bulldogs, crates, luggage, etc. to a hotel. The fact that Boss was an unfamiliar dog that we had just acquired the day before only added to the uncertainty of the situation. We finally got settled, and decided to let Boss out of the crate to see how he reacted to being inside. Well, I’ve seen quite a few outside dogs act a little hesitant their first time inside, but the first thing he did was jump up on the bed where we were sitting and roll around! He had been a working dog his whole life, so of course he was never taught any manners. What an attention hog he was, and he was obnoxious about it, too! After shooing him off the bed, he proceeded to check the place out. We were sitting there, discussing how we were going to work things out, who all we needed to call, etc. Next thing we know, we look over and there’s Boss standing on top of the counter, admiring himself in the mirror! Seeing him in the hotel room, living it up, enjoying the air conditioning and the attention, seemed so out of character for him. I always thought of him as a serious bulldog, because all I really knew about him was what I had seen on Jay’s show tapes. It was such a delight to see him be so affectionate and just clowning around. It certainly helped to lighten up a rather stressful situation.

That affectionate, goofy personality is really how I remember Bosshog. Most people, when they hear of him, only think of Jay Dorsey’s place and hog hunting. His antics ended up being a constant source of amusement and frustration. One time I let him out to run around with the first Cain and Lady litter, which was twelve puppies. I was in the enclosure with them, and of course the puppies were all milling around my feet. Not to be left out, Boss was desperately trying to find a way to gently push through the crowd of puppies to get to me. Not having any luck, he finally launched himself in the air, over all the puppies, and ended up hitting me right in the side of my face, nearly knocking me out. Understandably, I was upset with him, but he was sure to try to give me a bath to make up for it. My anger wore off pretty quickly, but the shiner he gave me stayed for a little while.

Not long after Boss came to our place, we discovered he did not like being alone in a run. We’ve always had some type of kennel setup, usually one dog per run. Boss was constantly finding ways into the other runs. He had this wonderful talent for going right through chainlink. He would keep pushing on it until one or two of the ties at the bottom gave, then he would push his way through. I couldn’t begin to tell you how many times we’d go out there to find Boss in somebody else’s run. A lot of times, it was difficult to find exactly where he went through. We were constantly repairing chainlink. There was one thing about this that was hard to get angry with, though. When pups were old enough to be away from their mother, we would put them in a kennel run. If Boss was in a run next to puppies, he would make a hole in the chainlink just big enough for the pups to fit through. He absolutely loved playing with puppies. I’ve never seen anything like it in my life. This thick, huge-headed bulldog could fit an entire 8-week-old puppy in his mouth. He would play with them the same way they played with each other, only in what looked like slow motion. He was so gentle with them. Hard to believe from a dog who was used to being rough all the time.

Unfortunately, Boss was not always this good natured with grown dogs. He was usually all right with females, although if they got into an argument about something, he wouldn’t take any abuse from them. Ouija is missing half an ear because of a scuffle she and Boss got into once. He even got into it with Angel after working his way into her pen. Angel was only about a year old at the time, but she has never been a very sociable animal with other dogs. She prefers to be alone, and I guess she tried to let him know. I went running out to the kennel when I heard the commotion, and Boss had Angel down on her back. This aggression became increasingly worse as he got older. In fact, it eventually led to his demise. I don’t know if it was boredom from retirement, or what. He didn’t seem grouchy. He was always the same affectionate, amiable dog with people right up until we lost him. My daughters even used to climb into the run with him just to play and love on him. It simply seemed that his tolerance for other male dogs became all but nonexistent. When we first told Jay about this, he was very surprised. Apparently, Boss had never shown even the slightest sign of dog aggression while at the lodge. He would not have worked well at all if he had been dog aggressive. He was constantly around other dogs, both on the hunt and in the kennel.

We made great efforts to keep Boss from getting into trouble. However, in the end, trouble eventually found him. We came home one day to find an awful mess, with Boss in the same run as Ouija, along with a leopard dog we had at the time, and Boss barely breathing. It seemed his son, Rebel, had managed to break his chain (he was around nine or ten months old at the time). We could not figure out exactly what happened, but it looked like Boss and Rebel had been fighting through the chainlink at the end of the run, and Ouija and the leopard dog had decided to get in on it. The leopard dog was crouching in the back of the run when we found him, without even a scratch on him. Ouija had several superficial wounds, but nothing serious. Rebel’s condition was about the same as Ouija’s, but Boss did not fare so well. By the time we found him, he had lost too much blood and was already cold. He was breathing very shallowly when James picked him up and carried him out of the kennel. He laid him on the ground, and we watched helplessly as he feebly tried to get up, collapsed, and took his last few breaths. It was heartbreaking to see this mighty dog in such a state. It was even worse when the realization hit me that he was actually gone. Believe me, I understand that a working dog can be lost any time, and we’ve certainly lost our fair share of dogs over the years. Something about Bosshog being gone just took the wind out of our sails the whole way around. After that, it was a couple years until we bred another litter, and that was at someone else’s request.

Nowadays, we are taking our time experimenting with different combinations of his various offspring. Some are living up to our expectations, while others, we’re not as pleased with. That’s the name of the game with breeding, though. You don’t really know how a breeding will work out until you try it. You may be pleasantly surprised, or gravely disappointed, but ultimately, it gives you a direction to go in. Our goal is not necessarily to produce a line of Bosshog clones, but to produce a line of true working bulldogs that encompass all of Boss’s strongest traits, while making up for his few shortcomings.

Written by Mrs Laura Stout

1 thought on “Stout’s ‘Boss Hog’”

  1. He sounded like a wonderful dog. I have been hunting for the old southern whites. He must’ve been something else.
    Loved the story.

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