In the early 1970’s, in North Carolina, was a young fancier named Lonzo Pratt who was just starting in th dog game and was purchasing and breeding some well bred dogs from known dog men. He had purchased a young tested gyp from J. Loposay by the name of Fay, who was sold because she turned cold and wouldn’t start for Jack Kelly and was left on Loposay’s yard by Pete Sparks. After numerous breedings Lonzo struck fame from one breeding that conatined three males and two females. The two females were Lena and Rosie, the males were Crush, Vindicator, and Zero. Of the three males Zero and Vindicator would distinguish themselves as great match dogs. The better of the two was Zero, as Zebo was originally named, who gained his fame as a match dog and producer. In all, this black 40-44 lb. dog won a total of seven contract matches, thus becoming a registered Grand Champion, a Register Of Merit sire, and a member of the Bulldog Hall Of Fame, the only dog to be recognized by these three honors.
Zebo’s career began on the yard of Lester Hughes, “The Mountain Man”, where he won four times, all quick kills. After his fourth he was shipped to the yard of Grady Cummings and while there, Cummings’ Red Fox made the mistake of getting off his leash and ran into Zebo and was killed. Grady then made Lester get Zebo off of his yard. Zebo was then sold to Dave Adams’ of Ohio, of whom Zebo is best associated with. At first Mr. Hughes hadn’t intended on selling Zebo, but Mr. Adams came up with enough money to change his mind.
His most noted match was against Ch. Greaser and how both sides thought they had trapped the other side by running in an “ace” on their opponent’s “average” dog. How wrong they both were. Champion Zebo was the black dog and Champion Greaser was the brindle. How they came to meet on a cool night in a barn in Ohio, is a complicated but interesting story. Champion Greaser was being campaigned at 44 pounds in and around Oklahoma and Champion Zebo was being matched around North Carolina at 40 pounds. “Greaser” was an extremely smart defensive type of dog that could really bite. He’d gained his deserved reputation by proving this in his first four matches against dogs that were not pushovers. Likewise, so had Zebo. The difference being Zebo’s matches were short ones, lasting only 22,26,17 and 33 minutes, all kills. After his fourth win, a man named Adams bought Zebo and took him back up north to Ohio. Adams had a friend named Hudson who had matched a dog at 44 pounds into a father and son team from St. Louis. Hudson’s dog was from Maurice Carver, and was a two time winner at 44 pounds named Tex. Hudson was a nice fellow but, could really get on your nerves bragging so much on his dog, because it was Tex this and Tex that, for as long as you would listen. I guess the team from St. Louis got tired of listening and just figured they would whip old Tex and shut Hudson up. Now, when you matched into this father and son team, you had better do three things, get a good dog, have the dog in good shape, and say your favorite prayer. As luck, or fate, or whatever you desire to call it goes, Tex got hurt in a chain fight and Hudson was going to have to pay the forfeit. Rather than give away money, he called Adams and offered Adams a deal. If Adams would take over the match with Zebo and win, Hudson would split the winnings with him and, if he lost Hudson would pay the whole bet. Adams had been walking Zebo and cutting his weight, for at that time there was a big convention in Mexico being matched up and Adams had turned Zebo’s weight in. The Mexican Convention was supposed to be the biggest and best ever put on but, the law intervened and it never did come about. Adams didn’t know the convention would fall apart, but he thought that as he had almost three months until the Mexican convention and Tex’s match was only three weeks away, that he could take over Tex’s match and win without getting hurt too much and still be healthy and set Zebo down in the Mexican convention. So, he agreed to take over the match, but told his backer that if Zebo wasn’t way ahead at 30 minutes he was going to pick him up, because he wanted to match him in the “Big Convention.” Hudson agreed to this as with Zebo’s kill record…he would rather gamble and give up a few pounds to make it number 5 than give up the forfeit.
Meanwhile, out in St. Louis, the “team” had a dog that was considered to be the best 44 pounder of his time. This Greaser had started out being called Yuebanks’ Greaser. If my information is correct, Yuebanks’ campaigned Greaser in his first four matches. All wins over some highly regarded opponents. Greaser had given his fans real reason to call him the best 44 pounder alive, as his opponents were good caliber dogs like Moloney’s Alligator and Mayfield’sGo Devils. The “Team” purchased Greaser especially for the Tex match since old Tex was a good dog in his own rights and the “team” knew they had to have an above average dog in order to beat Tex (how and why the “team” got Greaser is only hearsay on my part, the point is Greaser was the best 44 pounder alive. And he was the dog they had to use on Tex.) So we have the stage set. The Ohio boys have an “Ace” named Zebo, which the “team” doesn’t know about. And the “team” has an “ace” named Greaser tuning up that the Ohio boys don’t know about.
Then it became time to put up or shut up for old Zebo, for Adams announced he was taking over Hudson’s match. The night of the battle of Champions arrived, with only Greaser’s side knowing now that they were going into Zebo. When they arrived, they wanted to see this “killer dog” they were matched into and laughingly said, “He don’t look like no killer to us.” Adams, nor any of his backers, knew Zebo was going into a 4 x winner. They should have suspected something for fanciers from out west had driven all the way to Ohio to see Greaser knock off this killer dog. Jimmy Jobe, the editor of Pit DogReport, a Mayfield magazine for bulldogs, drove all the way and didn’t even mention the match in his magazine. This match was one of the best kept secrets in the dog world and when the story of it taking place did start to circulate, the match was down played. The first report of it anywhere (that I am or was aware of) was in Richard Stratton’s book. When you read the account, it tends to make you believe Zebo “got lucky” and hurt Greaser bad at the beginning of the match. This is false as, Greaser was on all fours late in the fight.
When the dogs were weighed, Zebo weighed just over 40 pounds. Greaser hit the scales at exactly 44 pounds. As Adams circulated among his backers before the match, he reminded everyone that he was giving up 4 pounds and was going to pick Zebo up at 30 minutes because he’d only worked him for three weeks and 4 pounds was too much to spot. As they released the two champions, you could bet all you wanted on Zebo and get odds of 3 to 1 or three hundred against your one hundred. As bets were laid and odds were taken, the name Greaser started to finally slip out. Zebo’s backers were aware finally that this was not going to be a walk over. People started to worry about their bet because Adams had warned that he was gone at 30 if Zebo wasn’t way ahead. Adams said later, “When Dogman and Johnson called me to the side of the pit at about the five minute mark, and told me they recognized the brindle dog as CH. Greaser, any thought of picking Zebo up at thirty minutes was gone. I knew I would let him battle as long as he had any chance to win. I realized that I didn’t have to go to Mexico to prove that Zebo was a great dog, the chance had come to me.” As the match progressed, it could be basically reported in two sentences….”Greaser is extremely smart on defense and punishes Zebo bad about the head. Zebo is extremely smart on getting to the brisket and punishes Greaser bad in the chest.” That is how close the match was. You would think that the four pounds would tip the scales in Greaser’s favor, but Zebo was ever so gradually getting a little bit deeper in the chest and even though Greaser was as smart as ever relying on defense, he was forced to allow Zebo in more often as the match grew older. The following is an accurate account of the match as can be made but, remember as you read this excerpt from Mr. Stratton’s book, that in this writer’s opinion ( and I was there), Zebo took Greaser down a notch at a time over the entire match, where here it tends to make you think that Greaser was destroyed early.
Unfortunately, Zebo attacked Mr. Adams’ son and nearly took his son’s ear off. After the request of Mr. Adams’ wife, Zebo was sold again, this time to Mr. Johnson who fought him twice more. The last time to a son of his litter mate brother, Vindicator. Mr. Johnson hoped to get another match in, but was unable to find any takers, despite the fact that Zebo was past seven at this point. Thus, Zebo was retired to stud, and lived to the age of 13, siring his last litter days before his death. He had lost sight at the end, due to the extensive damage he sustained, for no dog was ever able to get to his rear.
During the time of Zebo’s career as a match dog, there were two other dogs in his weight class that too was making names for themselves: Stinson & Glover’sGr. Ch. Art and Giroux’ Ch. Gunner, 4X winner. It was planned to have a “round robbin” for the title of the greatest match dog.lj yjy[jl]yt]jjljld, were as each dog would go into each other to prove who was the greatest match dog. Each of these great dogs where relatively close to each other in regard to location. But, for whatever reasons, and hearsay has provided many, the matches never materialized.
Vindicator, was a red/red nosed dog that many, who had witnessed him matched contend he was a better dog than Zebo. He was a two time winner, winning each in identical times of 1:30. One of those victories was over Finley’s Ch. Bo. He lost his third to Cutchin’s Ace. Vindicator died at a young age of heart worms.
Rosie, like Vindicator, was also red/red nosed, but was never formally matched, though she was tested for 1:10. She simply was considered to ge too valuable as a brood bitch. She lived to the age of 10, dying also of heart worms a month after her last litter.
Zebo produced Stepp’s Ch. Willie and Adams’ Ch. Katy when bred to Tomsic’s SpiderROM. Ch. Willie was, as said by some, to have the same destructive force of his sire, by killing each of his opponents in times of :27, :54, and :29 minutes.
Others produced by Zebo were Ch. Ruby, Ch. Abuelita, Ch. Zipper, Ch. DiamondJim, Clemmon’s 2XW Z-Boy, Nigger Tobe, Super Gnat’s 2XW Blackie and Hughes’Gator just to name a few of the good dogs he sired. He is the grand sire to some great ones like Doc’s Ch. Moe who was a Grand Champion until he ran into Red B’s Ch. Charlie. Many said that Moe went to the well one time too many in his loss against Charlie. After his victories over Ch. Fargo and his brother Basket, too much was taken out of him to go into a much younger dog like Charlie.
The breeding that produced Zebo and his litter mates was one of those outstanding litters that come only once in a while. Basically this breeding was a Dibo/ Old Family Red Nose/ Colby cross, which explains why all of Zebo’s litter mates were red or red/ red nosed. But where did this one black dog come from? Many speculate Zebo wasn’t bred as represented, for one Mr. Hughes purchased Zebo from Lonzo without any papers. Some claimed Mr. Hughes sold many different Zebo’s. And a lot claim Zebo to be a half brother to another famous pair, Eli, Jr. and Bullyson. Although, Lonzo’s Andy was a black dog himself and Zebo through nothing but black dogs, even when bred to various, different colored females, it still remains a question in a lot of people’s minds.