This page is dedicated to the greatest breeder of them all. All modern dogs trace back to Maurice Carver's dogs. Without Carver, we wouldn't ever had Crenshaw's Honeybunch, Indian Bolio, Davis' Midnight Cowboy,etc. This man took offspring from Tudor's Dibo and created a dynasty. Maurice had a natural talent for breeding, which some described as an inexplicable instinct. This man could look at a dog for a few minutes and know if the dog was worth matching or breeding. Furthermore, he knew what dogs to breed with each other to produce champions. Enjoy the following articles.
Pictured above: Maurice Carver with Orphan Annie
MAURICE CARVER…WHAT A GUY!!
It was always an honour to write about someone as diverse as Maurice Carver. Much has been said about this "bigger than life' Texan, and almost everyone that knew him either strongly liked or disliked him. While I knew Maurice, the dog man I was never really close to him. By the time I first met Maurice I had heard so much Pro and Con I figured the best policy was just to watch him. I'd be at a very private get-together miles from Texas at a most secretive site and he would show up in his cowboy boots, Stetson hat and usually dressed to kill. The crowd would generally gather around to hear some tall tales, most of which were made very believable by the master story teller. If you would listen real close and asked just the right questions and caught Maurice in just the right mood, he would share some real jewels of knowledge with you, not just about the dogs, but about all aspects of "Life".
I'd not grown to trust Maurice enough to do business with him until one of my best and most trusted friends, Jeff McManus got to know him. He kept telling me about those Carver dogs and Game Fowl he had been driving to San Antonio to breed and see. During a short period of time Jeff went from a pup to a pretty knowledgeable dogman. Jeff was pretty much a Bullyson man who liked the Stomper/Peaches stuff the best, but bred dogs a lot like Maurice recommended him to do. Consequently Jeff became one of the most successful breeders and dog men I've known through my years with the dogs.
I've always liked the Iron Head dogs, which is what my Alligator dogs go back to, so always played with the idea of using some of these dogs with my family. These Iron Head dogs seemed to sum up about any family they were crossed with or line bred to. I had asked Jeff to see if Maurice would sell me some of this type blood and no bogus pedigrees on them. I figured with Jeff as a tie I could pretty much trust Maurice to shoot straight with me. So on a humid morning, long before the sun came up, Jerry Hale, Jeff and I loaded into my Vega wagon and headed down to the "Hill Country" where Maurice lived in a converted stage coach station. We woke Maurice up and he seemed to be glad to see us but would have probably been happier to see us a few hours later.
He never got out of his long johns and flip-flops during our stay that day, kicking around the dogs and chickens on that rattlesnake infested hill. I think Maurice held the record for rattlesnake bit dogs over the years. I told him he could get a handle on this situation if he would get some guinea fowl, and I told him I would be glad to give him some. In typical Carver style he said, "Son I've seen those speckled boogers around game fowl and they will peck their eyes out. So the dogs will have to make do with the snakes." My response, and with a little rub I said, "You mean a Guinea can whip a Game Cock?" "They're dirty fighters", he said "and usually run a Game Cock off, and can damn sure ruin one. I'm not sure if a Game Cock can whip one with the steel on, but I'm not going to keep any around. Snakes or not Maurice was a realist that could laugh about really anything. While we were talking "Rattlesnakes" he got around to cracking us up with the story of his brother being bit by a rattlesnake in a bar and mysteriously dying. He was convinced the snake bite had something to do with his brother’s death. Sure enough, year’s later herpetologist discovered snake venom has an exotic protein that can and often does have long term effects on the victim.
We talked for hours and finally got around to the dogs he had for sale, and I stressed the point of having to know exactly how the dog I was going to get was bred. He assured me I would get a straight pup. He only had a dozen or so pups at the time. I would pick one up and Maurice would say "you don't want that one" and I would look harder until I picked out, with his help, the rangiest looking brindle pup in the bunch. Which was, by the way, off Stompanato and not Iron Head blood? I kept insisting that I wanted an Iron Head b###h and Maurice finally convinced me that there wasn't any around that I could get my hands on and I would do better with the Bully blood anyway. He said all the right things and sent me home with a smile on my face and one thought still bouncing around in my head," Hell son, on that b###h pup, just let her get grown and breed her to that Rufus dog of yours and you will love what you get. So don't go selling them all. You don’t ever need to roll the b###h just breed her." I called this b###h "Maurice" and she showed real game for me, that's right I didn't listen to him but I did breed her during her next cycle when it came around. Sure enough the only litter she ever had in her life, and what a bunch of dogs. Jay's CH. Jack, J.M., Pig (Snort), Teddy Bear, and probably my favourite Davis' Belle
I was at a contest between Plumbers' Jade and Art when the subject of referee came up and of course the boys from Houston wanted Maurice and the locals were not excited by this since Maurice was real tight with Art's backers. After much snorting’, scratching' and head shaken' Maurice turned to me with a big grin and said with your reputation son you need to ref this one and I'll be your time keeper, if you'll loan me that watch, some "A" hole stole my Rolex", he said with another laugh. “I’m betting money on this one so someone else ought to ref it" I said. He rose back with another hearty laugh and really yells out, "ANYONE HERE OBJECT TO THIS MAN AS REF AND ME AS TIME KEEPER?" Everyone agreed and it was on.
After I had paid off my bets and left, somewhere down the road I remembered my Timex and turned around. As we drove up I could see that grin, "Thought I was keeping' your watch huh? I gave it to the Plumber for you, even though I need one." Maurice could handle most any situation with the same flair. Get you to bend and like it.
We had met at a motel in San
Antonio for a big one and left out just before day break. As we went over the
cloverleaf on the freeway you could see car lights for miles...each way. Two
local Sheriff cars came by doing a hundred to get to the lead car. I later
learned that they told Maurice he was sure making their jobs hard and next time
to bring a few out at a time so they wouldn't have to investigate this
suspicious behaviour. They also assured him they would be in another part of the
county until they heard his show was over. We ended up in a big chicken
fighting' arena for one of the best shows I had ever attended. As the sun came
up Ed Weaver came in saying "Damn, everyone here must have drove two cars." I
walked out to look and it looked like a sale at Sears’s parking lot with tags
from California. to Florida and as far north as Illinois and everywhere in
between. As usual Maurice had top contenders lined up into each other and ran
the show with the precision of a boxing promoter. As soon as one match was over
another pair was ready to go. The great dogs and the good times will be long
remembered by all who were there.
There's much more to the man than can ever be written and I say only a small part of it. Should others, most of which knew Maurice better than I did feel compelled to write a story or two, it would be very interesting for the Fraternity.
A Visit to Maurice Carver’s Home
By Pat Patrick
1970 Maurice Carver was likely the most famous active dog man alive. Earl Tudor
was a living legend but he was not active then. Maurice Carver was known as an
all around dog man. He was considered one of the best breeders of Game dogs as
well as a skillful Handler and Conditioner. Maurice was so famous that if you
told a dog man he would be another Maurice Carver it was quite a compliment. If
a dog man was acting like a know-it-all someone might say… “who does he think he
is, Maurice Carver.”
BREEDERS AND BLOODLINES
I first became interested in the
dogs in the late 1950’s. At that time there weren’t as many participants in the
sport as there are today. In the late 50’s Louis and Mike Colby were carrying on
the famous breeding of their late father, John P Colby, who had passed away in
1941. John P Colby had been breeding the “Colby” bloodline since 1888. He
started, like everyone else when they first get into the dogs, by breeding a
variety of bloodlines that looked good to him at the time. In John P Colby’s
case he started with the Gashouse stock from Boston along with Teddy Racine’s
bloodline and stock that he imported from Galtie in Ireland. All this blood went
into establishing the greatest bloodline of American Pit-bull Terrier.
In about the middle of the 60’s the Colby dogs lost some of their charm and it seemed to me that the bloodlines of Howard Heinzl became a most popular line. The Arizona Aces were winning just about every time they were matched. Of course, Heinzl was an admirer of the Colby bloodlines and just about all of his dogs were Colby dogs or mostly of Colby bloodlines. Many of the Heinzl dogs were crossed into the Tudor blood. After a while the Heinzl dogs waned in popularity and suddenly it seemed that everyone was buying pure Corvino dogs.
By the time the 1970’s came around, the dog game was growing by such leaps and bounds, it seemed that no one bloodline was prominent and several different lines were coming into vogue. About this time, Maurice Carver curtailed much of his matching of dogs and went into selling dogs, match dogs. Carver never really had a bloodline he could call his own. Bullyson was from a Boudreaux bloodline. Carver’s Pistol was mostly a Cajun bloodline. Miss Spike was from a Tudor/Fitzwater bloodline.
However, it always seemed to me that Carver had a great eye for a dog. I am convinced that he could watch a 15 or 20 minute roll and could unerringly tell which dog was a rank cur, which was a game dog and which one had the potential to become one of the aces of the breed. Carver was by far, the most successful breeder of his time and sold more good dogs to better dog men right up until the time he passed away.
The game continued to grow and while no bloodline was proving to be superior to any other, some breeders were maintaining lines that were certainly proving to be better than the average. Pat Patrick started out with a variety of bloodlines, mostly Carver dogs crossed with the bloodlines of Bert Clouse and right up until the present sells some great dogs. Boyles has established a winning bloodline by crossing some of the aforementioned Patrick dogs into some of the better quality dogs from the southeast.
James Crenshaw used the dogs purchased from Maurice Carver to produce some of the very best dogs of the past twenty years, including Ch. Jeep, Ch. Rascal, and Ch. Honeybunch. Kimsey Wood, Irish Jerry and Ron Hyde also parlayed some of the same Carver bloodlines into successful bloodlines. Bert Sorrell capitalised on the Corvino line to establish a bloodline of Sorrell’s dogs. And some others, such as STP have crossed many different bloodlines into breeding some top notch dogs. All of these top breeders are getting older and soon enough there will be vacancies created for some new and innovative breeders to come into prominence. I wonder who they will be.