MANSTOPPER Kennels began a decade and a half ago in the East Bay in Northern California. It was started by me (Jose Lopez).. my lovely wife Tawnya and a little hybrid pup named Diablo. I know it sounds like the beginning of a fairy tale… but I’ll go ahead and start at the beginning to better explain how we ended up with the kennel name as well as the passion that began what would become MANSTOPPER Kennels.
One afternoon many moons ago.. me my wife and my baby girl (Kiana) were enjoying our dinner when we were interrupted by a knock on the door. Tawnya answered the door and a man asked for me by name. Not recognizing our “guest”… my wife opened the door for me to get a look at him… immediately an armed masked man appeared and pointed the gun to my head. He then decided on a easier target.. our defenseless little baby girl who was clueless to what was really happening now had the gun pointed at her head. They made off with thousands worth of OUR belongings.. but nobody was hurt.. and in a odd way the whole situation became a blessing in disguise.
We felt violated to say the least… what would a gun have done?? They assumed we had one and unless I would have answered the door with the gun in my hand what good would it have done?? As you could imagine I chased every lead I got to find these low life punks…(putting it nicely)…
I honestly assumed a jury of my peers would excuse me of all murder charges when they realized what these thugs where capable of. What kind of animal would put a gun to the head of a baby???.... Anyway… I obviously never found them… in a way I’m glad I didn’t.. most likely I wouldn’t be here .. a free man.. able to type this bio and launch this amazing site. (Thanks to Evan - firstname.lastname@example.org, Redbull on the Bullyvard)
What in turn did happen was it forced me to research ways to ensure that kind of thing never happened to my family again. At that point nothing sounded better to me then a canine gladiator. Most people won’t rob a house with a visual deterrent like a American Bulldog, Pit, Rotti etc.
Most crooks would prefer to just hit another victim instead of dealing with circumstances that they can’t control. Not to mention even the warning of a bark would give you time to call the Police or get the gun…
Anyway….at the time the internet wasn’t what it is today. Everything back then was handled with a combination of ads in magazines, phone calls, snail mail and videos.
We knew we wanted a short haired muscular dog.. and we didn’t want what everyone else already had.. (ie. Pits and Rottweilers) …
The ad that actually turned us on to the American Bulldogs was A ad in the Dog World that was placed by Kennedy’s American Bulldog featuring “Damien”. But at the time we didn’t want to purchase a pup that we couldn’t see first hand.. so we continued to research and came across a ad for Boyd’s American Bulldogs.
My wife & I decided to take a trip to Reno and on the way we would stop by the Boyd’s in Sacramento and see what Matt and Suzie had available. We did the whole introduction thing… sat on the couch and waited. Next thing you know out comes this white and brindle Tasmanian devil….
We broke bread (paid for him…LOL)… headed to Reno.. and picked him up on the way back home. On the way home he earned his name… “Diablo”. D-Bo was the typical spoiled pup.. you know the type.. walks on the beach.. his own spot on the bed… all that.
Fast forward to “the call”… Matt Boyd had called us and asked us if we would like to bring out Diablo and participate in a “fun show” that was being held in northern Cali. I remember how nervous we were… a crazy natural high that is hard to explain with words… We were so proud of our boy.. but what would other people think?? And why did we care??
We did OK.. taking a second place to a littermate brother. But what the best part of the show was the introduction to the working aspect of the American Bulldog.
We joined a circle of young dogs that were being tested for prey drive. Diablo took to it like a pro… we found his calling as well as ours. We met a good bunch of people at that show that have ended up being friends that we will have for the rest of our lives.
We all started meeting over at Dave Putnams house for training every weekend as well as 1 day during the week. At the time Dave Putnam and other club members were was also training with World Class Master Trainer David Delasuegus.
We eventually would end up forming a working AB club that we named “The Redwood American Bulldog Club”. We hired David D. to be our clubs head trainer.
Our founding members included a who’s who of American Bulldoggers..…
Dave Putnam… Author of the book “The Working American Bulldog” and co- founder of the “Iron Dog International”
Greg and Tammy Souza of Souza’s American Bulldog… Greg is the current President of the ABNA…
Jerome Edwards … editor of the book “The Working American Bulldog” and founder of the “Iron Dog International” (as well as one of my best friends!!)
Rob Boyd.. owner of Boyd’s Hammer.. The dog featured on the cover of the book “The Working American Bulldog”
Fred Dutton of Dutton’s American Bulldogs…owner of Samson…a huge boy with the tightest penn-hip I have heard of to date and another great friend…..
Don Reiken, Jonas Varela, James Racacho and of course.. there was us …Jose and Tawnya Lopez…aka BULL GAWD and BULL GAWDESS..LOL..
We were also a huge part of the beginning of the Iron Dog International.. I judged and promoted Iron Dog events at a lot of the shows I was judging confirmation at. As a matter of fact not only was I judging the Iron Dog competition, judging the confirmation ring.. I was also the decoying the events..LOL..
As far as the name MANSTOPPERS…it was actually my wifes idea. I wanted a more thugged out generic name like “East Bay Bulldogs”… We met in the middle and settled on East Bay MANSTOPPERS… later we ended up moving to the Valley and eventually the East Bay fell off the kennel name…
I don’t want people to get the wrong idea for the name either. Me and wife weren’t raised in the country.. we grew up in the suburbs in between big cities.. we didn’t need a dog that could chase a wild pig off of our property…. we needed a dog that would have the drive, ability and the mental mind set to not just maul any intruder.. but to realize who and what the real threats in life were/are.
A sharp civil dog that will bite anybody and everybody is nothing more then a liability and a threat to anyone who crosses it’s path… good or bad. A TRUE MANSTOPPER is a dog that can assess every situation for what it truly is and act accordingly. Not to mention we wanted a dog that was flashy enough to stop mankind dead in their tracks just to stop and appreciate the beauty of a well bred canine. Accordingly the name MANSTOPPERS fit us like a glove.
At the time a “bully” dog in California was basically a blocky hybrid. There was very little pure bully blood out here until we began to import it from other states. We grew sick of picking the bulliest pup out of hybrid litters… to later not be happy with the looks of the pup we invested so much time, money and energy in. We spent thousands on hybrid ABs that we eventually sold as guard dogs to a warehouse guard dog business in Oakland for a fraction of what we had invested.
The first pure bully pup that we purchased was produced by Dailey’s American Bulldogs. She was out of Tyson bred to Mustang Sally. The same litter that Produced BH Braudzilla and Dailey’s 5 Alarm Chili.
We were hooked, but quickly grew tired of going to the shows and being looked down on because our bulldogs didn’t look like the typical California AB.
California has always been into the working side of the AB.. I would say we pretty much cornered the Market in high end training and trainers. At a typical California AB show you would have top of the line working bulldoggers icluding the likes of… Al Banuelos, Tom Ritchie and Lucillano Oliva…
And that’s just naming a few fellow bulldoggers… we would rotate and train with everyone else you could imagine… Dave Delaseugus, Ivan Belognevov, Gary Parks, Joel Sheppard, OJ Knight etc...
Basically California didn’t want to hear about our bully dogs unless we could prove they were more then just a pretty face. We wanted to prove our doubters wrong. We had to do it with a bully that not only was bully in type.. but also bully in pedigree. Otherwise they would say… that’s just a bully looking dog .. but it’s out of non bully lines. So.. we figured what better then a bully bitch that was produced by John D Johnson himself. Ready for the doubters to claim we worked a standard looking J dog we made sure she was good and bully….
Hannah Bull went off to become the first Johnson dog period to obtain a BST.. as well as still being the only 100% Johnson female to achieve the BST (Breeding Suitability Test… basically a Schutzhund title without the Tracking).
She also went on to appear on Animal Planet competing in the first ever Iron Dog International competition… she was featured in the book ‘The Working American Bulldog” … and with everything we put on her plate she still found the time to produce some kick ass offspring that continue to produce top notch working bully offspring all over the world.
I also decided I wanted to enjoy the training side of K9s from another angle. My training guru, mentor and good friend (Lucillano Oliva) began to take me under his wing…. transforming me from just a handler into a respected decoy.
Thanks to Lucillano I have had the opportunity to decoy and judge several different working events throughout the world. I have worked hundreds of working dogs.. in every working breed that is on the market. Including working/testing and being part of the evaluation of over 100 badged Police K9s.
We add to our resume another thing that separates us from your “average enthusiast”. We are also both respected confirmation judges…. judging Nationals for multiple registries….. as well as judging shows in 9 different countries and almost every State that has ever had a American Bulldog show….. for 7 separate registries/show circuits...
We have a good grasp on every aspect of the canine in general. We have done extensive research on everything from pedigrees, genetics, confirmation, reproduction, hip dysplasia, dog food, canine diseases, training etc.
We have also thrown our hat into another 2 breeds... The American Bully, and the Shorty Bull. For our Shorty Bull we only have to know one name.. Jaimie Sweet of Blue River Bullies...
Fast forward to 2010... We are starting the year strong with the addition of the one and only BULLMASTER!!!!!... One of the most exiting young studs the breed has ever seen, and in our opinion the epitome of what a well bred American Bully should look like!!!
All I have to say is keep a eye on us.. The MANSTOPPER train has left the station and is ready to redefine the “game”. We have already made moves that are lining us up to be a force to be reckoned with.
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