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"Dogs of Velvet and Steel"

Excerpts from Bob Stevens' dogfighting book

The Humane Society of the United States

Bob Stevens is one of the first people convicted of depicting cruelty to animals for profit under the Depiction of Animal Cruelty Act of 2004. His book, Dogs of Velvet and Steel, sold countless copies and is summarized in the excerpts below.


  • "Generations and generations of pit fighting [sic] have resulted in a very tough animal. These dogs will continue fighting even though most of their ear or a section of their mouth has been chewed off—or a leg rendered inoperable." 

    Chapter 1: History

  • "Friend of mine put a young, inexperienced Pit Bull against a huge German Shepherd. The Shepherd was litterally [sic] more than twice the Pit Bull’s weight and size. Early in the fight the Shepherd got the little Pit Bull’s head in his jaws. The Pit Bull (named Snapper) was a little black dog, with white chest. My friend said that Pit Bull actually turned white all over. Said that he'd never seen that happen before—and he thought he'd lost his dog. But as it happened, the Pit Bull shook out of the hold and proceeded to tear that German Shepherd to pieces."
  • "The mating of Black Widow to Spike also produced Don Maloney's Toot. In the middle '60's [sic] Toot was considered one of the best ever by many. He was a 54-pound Bulldog who, in his two contract matches, killed both of his opponents in less than 20 minutes." 

  • "Our standard of conformation can not [sic] be based on what someone who never saw a dogfight thinks a fighting dog should look like, but should be based on those physical attributes displayed on winning pit dogs."

  • "Anyway, the other thing reporters like to do is show blood pictures of the dogs all chewed up. Well, as far as I know, those are true pictures... As I said, the Pit Bull is capable of taking a lot. It's not cruel to them; it's fun." 

    Chapter 2: The Pit Bull Pet

  • "I attended many pit fights and saw some real hard, deep biters—and I saw some who were not very hard (for Pit Bulls) biters."
  • "If a Pit Bull is not given proper people socialization, if he spends his life either on a chain or in his keep (training for fight) and receives very little contact with strange people, he can become a people biter." 

    Chapter 7: Scientific Conditioning

  • "After a couple minutes let [the puppy] catch the rope and play with it. Every time he shakes it, excitedly say, "Shake it, Boy (or Girl)." When the puppy matures, upon hearing the command, "Shake it," he will shake hard whatever he's holding onto." 

  • "I put bones under the category of conditioning because they are probably the best way to exercise a Pit Bull pup's jaw muscles and to teach him how to use his mouth correctly to get the hardest bite."

    Chapter 10: The Combat Dog

  • "Immediately after the match the dogs will, of course, be pretty bloody and cut up if it was any kind of a fight."

  • "In my personal opinion the best style (if there is such a thing) would be the rough, boring-in style of the chest dog. This dog tends to be stronger for his weight class and has more leverage. Wherever his opponent grabs him, doesn't matter, he bores in and buries his snout in that dog's chest or underbelly whenever he can. This type of dog also tends to be a hard biter." 

  • "The Rose won her match, stopping her opponent in 58 minutes, and she looked like she could go for another hour. Her opponent was a good dog, too, but you know that Pit Bull had puppies that night! The word I got was that evidently her owners didn't know she had bred and was pregnant."

  • "The dehydrated dog has thicker blood, so the wounds do not bleed nearly as freely, and they stop more quickly."

  • "That Jocko is one hard-biting Pit Bull. I tell you he'll finish a fight very quickly. You may recall the incident related in the medicine chapter, when a dog nearly died right at pit side—his pulse was so low they had to cut open his leg to find a vein to put fluids in. The dog survived and went on to become a four-time winner. He was a good pit dog. Well, the dog that nearly killed him was Jocko."

    Chapter 11: Conclusion

  • "Under controlled circumstances, particularly where no money is on the line, I don't see how the Pit Bull would get seriously hurt. I don't feel that rolling a Pit Bull for 20 minutes is a sufficient game test—unless a second, more demanding test is planned later on. I feel that the Pit Bull should be allowed to go for a good long time or well two-dogged to determine the strength of the inherited gameness. The Pit Bull will heal up just fine afterwards."