State your name, your kennel, and where your kennel is located.
My name is Iven Bishop, of Bishop’s Bully Kennels. We are located in Nottingham in the United Kingdom.
What type of dogs do you breed, and what inspired you to get involved with that particular breed?
We have worked with the American Bully since they came to the UK, nearly seven years ago. My passion for bull breeds started 20 years ago. We’ve owned and bred Pit Bulls, Bull Terriers, and Staffordshires for 20 years now.
However, our family’s love for the temperament and physical appearance of the American Bully had us in awe of them ever since the day we laid our hands and eyes on one. This led to us really striving to create and hone the health and well-being of these beautiful dogs.
What is your favorite bloodline?
The American Bully brings great form in the different bloodlines contained within its foundations. Our kennels personally hold in high regard a good blend of Razors Edge and Gottiline. We have planned, bred, and worked over the previous years to bring a mixture of the above-mentioned bloodlines, with plans for creating unreplicable pedigrees, held on show-worthy specimens.
In your opinion, what are the characteristics of a responsible dog breeder?
In my opinion, the ethos of a good breeder should be built on the basis of always aiming to create confident, stable, sturdy, happy, and healthy-breed standard dogs. It’s imperative that productions are continually studied as they mature. Regular faults should be monitored, and health tests should be performed at relevant ages to the utmost regard. We have to critique our plans and creations in the most honest manner possible.
On what type of diet do you keep your dogs throughout the year?
My whole yard is fed on a raw-feed diet. This comes hand-in-hand with the canine raw-feed store we own and run.
How many times a day do you feed your dogs?
Most of the yard is fed twice a day, with younger pups getting fed three times a day.
How do you keep your dogs in shape throughout the year?
We work hard to keep the dogs show-ready all year round. During the summer months, training consists of cold water swimming down in the lakes, hill climbs, and short intense sessions on a flare or a flirt pole for the taller adults.
During the winter months, we tend to work them a little harder, due to the cooler temperatures. This ranges from warm water hydro jet sessions, water, and treadmill exercise to longer hikes up the hills and through the woods. Winter is really the bulking-up season in our yard. Watch our page updates, and it really does show, come December-time, how much the bulls are built!
Walk us through the process of purchasing a pup from Bishop Bully Kennels, from start to finish.
Our annual breeding roster varies, depending on the volume of dogs we are campaigning at the time. Our primary passion is towards titling our dogs and their offspring. We hold prospective puppies for showing. These will often stay in our own yard, or some go out to clients who wish to build and work alongside us, or under their own vision.
Our breedings are not as regular as some other kennels, so many of our clients prefer to place deposits on a waiting list in order to acquire their puppies from a particular breeding. Watching and keeping in touch with the offspring we have created is of the utmost importance to us. We find ourselves in regular contact with the new owners and we enjoy watching the puppies mature in their new homes.
Do you currently show any of your dogs?
Yes, we show the larger percentage of our yard. We have titled dogs we campaigned, and have produced the youngest UK female champion American bully. As for the retired adults, we let them relax around the house. They’ve already done their years of work!
What advice does Bishop Bully Kennels have for any upcoming breeders?
Take your time to thoroughly research the breed, and the lines within it. Go to shows and kennels, and speak with a variety of breeders and owners. This breed is an amazing animal, and the diversity of owners and “pheno” of these dogs are vast!
Get your hands on the dogs when visiting yards. Ask to see their adults, and more importantly their seniors. Ask about any congenital or hereditary issues they’ve encountered. Build your understanding of the breed before you purchase your first dogs. Take time to watch them grow and enjoy that journey, because that is half of what builds your passion. When the time comes for you to plan your first pairings, you will hold strong opinions and beliefs about what you and your kennels stand for.
What do you think is the most difficult thing for people in the bully game to overcome?
I’m quite opinionated on these things, but they are solely my views, not facts. For me, one of the hardest things in the “bully game” is really understanding the make-up of the dogs you’re breeding. Unforeseen effects on in-breeding are far too common, and the honesty can be lacking in what some breeders practice and preach.
The game is full of “the best bullys”, but in reality, some of the unseen health and structural issues held in this breed are brushed under the carpet. This again, takes me back to my original point above: you have to spend time visiting these dogs and the breeders behind them. It will be invaluable when your time has come to purchase your first dog.
How do you think they can overcome this problem?
Be the difference this breed needs. Hold solid integrity, push to be ethical and honest in all you do. Be brave and test your adults and their offspring. Work away from any congenital problems the dogs may hold. Push to lead by example, and stand by your productions, whether negative or positive. Handle all of your business agreements in a manner in which you would want to be treated.
As sad as it sounds, the game lacks honesty. But when you travel and meet people from around the globe, it shows you that this game does have some of the kindest, most passionate and driven people you’ll ever meet. They are the true bully ambassadors. These very people are what will take this breed to where it belongs. It's up to you to choose what you want to stand for, when it comes to this breed!
Who do you look up to in the bully game, and why?
I’ve met many good men and women in this game, so this list is long-winded, from peers and mentors to newcomers. I have met so many like-minded people who work tirelessly to progress this breed to the heights we want to see it reach. The list goes as follows:
- Tony Gold - Weight in Gold Kennels
- Alton Banks, Hakim Brimah Cortez Harron, and Abel - Animalville Breeders
- Carlos Ciedos - Sbk Musceln Kennels
- Micheal Hartford - Hartford American Bullys
- Jolene Dodd - Iron Dog Bullies
- Christopher Brennan - Irish Bully Camp
- Vinny White - Rough n Tumble Kennels
- Aaron Lee - Balaclava Bullys and Dog Handler
- Naomi Van Mourik - Miluna Team Dog Handlers
- Nico Van Deijen - No-Nonsense Kennels
- Aaron Oliver - Elite Bully Kennels
- Joakin Acedo - Innovation Bullys
- William Byrne - Dynamite kennels
- Jordan Davies - Triline Bullys
- Alex Ferraro and Devin Ferraro - Double D Kennels
- Ty Lumley - Double L Kennels
- Robert Lee - Bully Market
- Dave Wilson - Razors Edge Kennels/ABKC
- Luke Sousa - Sousa Kennels
- Dean Fitzpatrick - BBK Ireland - a long-standing dog man and confidant
Alongside: Sergio Delgado, Derek Turner, Andreas Selvaggi, Piotr Wykovski, Simona Poli, Victor Torres, and Oscar Gomez. All deep-rooted members of this breed. They are true advocates.
All of the above names have had a big impact on my mindset, goals, knowledge, and passion towards this breed. Whether knowingly or unknowingly, they have forged our kennel in the direction and place we currently stand.
Tell us about one of Bishops Bully Kennels main goals for 2021.
Now that travel restrictions seem to be easing, we’re going to continue our campaign with Champion Bam Bam, in hopes of her achieving the title of the only Grand Champion Female American Bully in Europe.
Alongside this, we have various breedings lined up to create our fourth generation of show dogs, further connecting the pieces of the jigsaw we have been forming over the past years.
We also have our youngest offspring ready to step into the show ring, in hopes of achieving the levels of their ancestors, GRCH Junior, CH Bam, BBK Loki, and many more.
Describe how you would want things in the bully breed community to be ten years from now.
I’d like to see more rigorous health testing, and in ten years’ time, for this to be commonplace when seeing breedings performed.
What separates Bishop Bully Kennels from the competition?
We haven’t ever followed trends. When researching the breed years ago, we searched all areas of the globe. Our pedigrees are built in a way that is unreplicable by others, and our dogs have become known for holding that individual expression and look. Time is still young in our journey, but the results are proving that we are moving in the right direction.
What other hobbies or interests do you take part in?
I spend sunny days out on the water, either on the boat, skis or wakeboard. Other hobbies include training and conditioning our dogs. We have a small but great family who all enjoy being together doing the above activities. I’m a builder by trade, but have moved into the canine raw-feed industry some years ago. This all runs hand-in-hand with our kennel and show life.
What do you think of Bully Girl Magazine?
I think Bully Girl has a great platform to positively promote the breed. Bully Girl provides a place for like-minded enthusiasts to see what blood is in other areas of the globe. It’s also a great place to discuss the stories that this breed leaves us talking about. I’ve read and watched you guys at BGM since I first started. Bully Girl has always been a place that I’ve always found informative. Keep up the good work!