I never got a chance to see White Rock, but he was one of the dogs that made the Dibo name legandary. He was just one of many of the bonecrushing dogs that Dibo sired. But he was probably the best in terms of ability. I had been in the military down south for nearly three years, and I formed many lasting friendships, most notably that of Bob Wallace. As a novice, I was always asking which were the best dogs that they had ever seen. I have the same thing happen to me now. Where once I was frustrated that the old timers could not come up with the absolutely best dog they had ever seen, I now find myself in a similar predicament. I can only name a group of dogs, but it is certainly difficult to come up with a group. Nevertheless, whenever I asked these old fellows for a list of the best dog they had ever seen, the list varied, but White Rock was always somewhere on it, in a pretty high position.
To give the time frame for all of this, I had seen Bouncer, Dibo’s sire, in Phoenix in 1950. They rolled him while I was there at Howard Heinzl’s place. He was owned by S. W. Hubbard, an influential fancier in Phoenix. Hubbard owned a nightclub, and he had the money to get good dogs. He bought Big Boy from Bert Clouse, and he got Corvino’s Gimp and Joe Corvino ( I think ) and Gimp was the sire of Bouncer. Bouncer was bred to one of Howard Heinzl’s bitches, Bambi, to produce Dibo. The breeding was sold to a young boy who actually wanted a collie. I guess Dibo had big ears as a pup, and the boy named him Dumbo.
Even by the time the dog was grown, the boy was still grousing about not getting his collie. Eventually, a dog man went down to the dog pound and bailed out a collie, which he traded the boy for “Dumbo”, but somehow the dog ended up with the name Dibo. When Howard Heinzl registered him, that was the name he used. The dog men of the time always pronounced the name DIE-BO, but I have been amused by newcomers who refer to the name as DEE-BO, the spanish influence, I suppose.
In any case, Dibo was bred to a lot of females under Howard Heinzl’s auspices. Not all of them were good bitches. When I knew Howard, he still groused about the half Staff bitch that was White Rock’s mother. But back in the late 50’s, when all this happened, the staff was not so far removed from the APBT as it is now. It was merely the show version of the pit bull, and I guess the same could be said now, but there was more interbreeding between the two brees going on then. Nevertheless, it certainly is a fact that one of the best dogs of all times was born of a half staff mother. It was almost a page from the book BAR SINISTER, in which the canine hero, a pit dog, but a bull terrier, was regaled for being bred from a half black and tan terrier mother. ( The bar sinister was a bar on a coat of arms that signaled illegitimacy. )
One reason that White Rock is something of footnote to the history of our dogs these days is that he was never bred in this country. One of his matches took place in Cuba. That was back in the days when Baptista was in power. Most Cubans were poor, but the wealthy ones had practically all the money. And some of them were dog devotees. One of them ( Damaso “Bebo” Goenaga, a lawyer ) came up with the $850.00, which was a king’s ransom at the time to purchase White Rock in 1958. When White Rock arrived in Miami he tested positive for heartworms. Bebo treated the dog, game tested him twice and while there, White Rock was bred to many bitches, and some of the pups turned out okay, from what I have heard. Around this same period there was another great dog kown as Saddler’s Rebel and he was also in the same class as White Rock. Bebo bought a sister to Rebel named Mildred, which he gave Saddler $250.00. When she was bred to White Rock, she produced a dog known as Rollo. Rollo was a better dog that his sire and proved it in the pits of Cuba. That is ironic, as one reason that White Rock was sold was that it was believed he would never produce because of the staff blood, but the genes apparently fell just right with him. Even though he sold him, White Rock’s owner kept a picture of him to this day. In fact, it was his only picture of a bulldog. I suppose if you are only going to have one picture, White Rock is not a bad choice.
A couple of stories about White Rock will help illustrate just what a great dog he was. One of the matches took place at Howard Heinzl’s pit, the same one at which I had watched Dibo’s sire being rolled. Howard told me that White Rock’s owner had let him “walk him out”. The kid, only 14 or 16 years old, came back terrified because the dog had been jumped by a big german shepard, and White Rock had killed it. The boy knew that he could be in trouble with his dad, as the dog was not supposed to get a scratch on him before the match. And he most assuredly was not supposed to have any extra excercise. White Rock looked red because of all the blood that covered him. Howard and the boy washed the dog off and dried him. They discovered that he didn’t have a mark on him. The german shepard had not been able to get in a single bite. And the great white dog went on to win his match with little trouble. Whatever exertion he had spent in killing the large cur dog had not had deleterious effect on him.
One of White Rock’s matches was against the great Bert Clouse, a genius with the dogs in terms of being able to evaluate a dog and in conditioning them. He was also an excellent handler and a great referee, with the only fault in the latter being that he was a giant of aman, so he tended to obscure the view of the spectators. In any case, Jimmy Wimberly and Bert clouse agreed to match at 47 lbs. Both dogs weighed in at 47 at the time of the fight. Both dogs were washed and brought to their corners. Upon the command of the referee, the dogs were released, White Rock’s owner bet Bert that his dog would kill his in 15 minutes. It is rare that one could kill another in such a short time, so Bert took the bet. In Bert’s opinion, his dog had the best of it for the first five minutes. When White Rock finally got into his dog’s chest and hurt him bad the first hold. His dog never at any time from then on was even with White Rock. After just a couple of minutes of observation, Bert said, “how about calling off the bet, and I’ll pick up my dog now?” Bert had noticed that there were women and children in attendance. Besides, there was no sense losing his dog just for the sake of a bet, even if it was doubtful that White Rock could have killed his dog that quickly. By 21 minutes, Bert’s dog was helpless and there was no chance of him winning. He agreed to pick him up and concede the fight to White Rock. He asked for a courtesy scratch and his dog made a good scratch. The point is that Bert, with a real eye for a dog’s capabilities, had recognized very quickly that White Rock would eventually kill his dog , even if it took slightly more than 15 minutes. Bert’s dog eventually died a few hours later. Bert said he heard several reasons why he didn’t win and he said the reason why he didn’t win was “I DIDN’T HAVE NEAR ENOUGH DOG!”
Although White Rock was a driving chest dog, he had the capability to go to any spot that a dog was not normally vulnerable. The only thing uncomplimentary that any dog man ever said about White Rock ( besides a comment about his mother’s breeding ) was that no one knew if he was game. But nearly everyone agreed that they would liked to own the dog that could stay with him long enough to find out! While none of us may have any dogs down from White Rock, he is worth remembering. He was such a great pit dog that he make all who saw him list him as one of the greatest, even if it was done with reluctance!
Side note- White Rock blood can be found in the bloodlines of the “Ruffian” staffs.