History Of The ADBA

The American Dog Breeders Association, Inc. was started in September, l909 as a multiple breed association (view original documentation here). The residing president, Mr. Guy McCord, along with co-founder Con Feeley, were avid fanciers and breeders of the American Pit Bull Terrier, and were close friends of Mr. John P. Colby.

Mr. Colby was the mainstay of the ADBA which prompted the boast of being the “home” registration office of the Colby dogs. All members, in good standing, could register their dogs and litters with the registration department upon the yearly payment of $2.50 dues fee. It seems that the exclusive members idea gradually was replaced into an open registry of multiple breeds and over time the ADBA focused on the registration of the American Pit Bull Terrier.


The paper issued at that time, was a one page, pink paper which on the top listed the description of the dog and other pertinent information necessary to serve as a title of ownership on the dog. On the bottom, it listed the pedigree, owner and breeder. One interesting note was that on the reverse side of this paper it read, in part: “The American Pit Bull Terrier is now recognized as a standard breed, where a few years ago, it was un-recognized as a breed. The majority of the American public carried the impression that the American Pit Bull Terrier was synonymous with dogs used for fighting purposes only. This idea has been dispelled by persistent efforts of the breeders who compose this association. Presently, classes for American Pit Bull Terriers can be found at almost every local dog show being held. With concerted effort, our faithful friend will in time be classed as the leading American dog, who will give his life if necessary in defense of his master/mistress. We trust that you will unite with us in our efforts to bring this dog to the destiny he deserves. “The Standard dog of the U.S.A.”

The ADBA passed from it’s founders to Mr. Frank Ferris in l951. He, along with his wife Florence Colby, (the wife of the late John P. Colby) continued to run the ADBA on a limited scale, but with ever increasing emphasis on the registration of the APBT breed exclusively. In 1973, through the recommendation of Howard Heinzl, Ralph Greenwood and his family purchased the ADBA from Mr. Ferris, whose advancing age prompted his retirement. (Mr. Heinzl was a personal friend of Frank Ferris and a staunch supporter of the ADBA, as he registered his dogs exclusively with ADBA) We often wish Frank could have lived to witness the growth of the present association. He feel he would have been pleased.

In 1976, the ADBA was petitioned by the owners of the breed, who possessed a very competitive spirit, to develop a standard on the breed by which conformation dog shows could be held. They did not want a standard that copied those of the UKC or AKC, but a standard for those dogs that they owned and continued to breed for the traits of intelligence, character, loyalty, and the athletic conformation that the breed was originally bred for hundreds of years ago. Thus, the formation of the ADBA APBT Heritage® Conformation Standard.

The publication of the American Pit Bull Terrier Gazette started about this same time, and the first issue (Volume 1 – Issue 1) was published in August of l976. Our aim: To enlighten the public to the truth about the APBT and promote the positive aspects of the breed, through sanctioned conformation shows and the weight pulling events. The Gazette is an official publication of the ADBA and offers articles of history, pedigrees, ads on dogs for sale and at stud, books on the breed that are available, a bit of humor, dog care, nutrition, show and pulling training, as well as a sounding board for those associated with the breed. We try to bring the past as well as the present to life for our readers, portraying our dogs as they were through history, and today.

The American Dog Breeders Association Inc. continues to be the largest registration office for the American Pit Bull Terrier. Our association continues to grow in the U.S.A. and other overseas making the ADBA registered American Pit Bull Terrier the #1 breed of dog exhibited, through Sanctioned Conformation Shows, Weight Pulls and Top Dog Athletic Events.

Since 2006, in it’s commitment to being a leader in the preservation of the rights of dog owners and breeders, the American Dog Breeders Association Inc. opened it’s registry to other purebred dogs.

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