Vintage Photos

Who doesn't love old family photos? If you have a favorite vintage photo, please consider sharing it so other dog lovers can enjoy. Include your name so we can credit you along with any info you might have about the photo. Thank you! My vintage photo.   

Thank you to all for respecting that the photos cannot be copied and used elsewhere without permission of their owner.

Me and My Duck

A smile-worthy photo from a postcard. Circa 1910's.

Don't you wish you knew the story behind this image?

Timeless Friendship

You know these boys, and this dog - don't you? They're timeless.

circa 1940s-50s

Hey Sailor!

Somebody's very proud of their new pit bull puppy.

Circa 1920s-30s.

1950's Illustration

A smiling pair, illustrated sometime in the 1950's by an unknown artist. 

Visit to Lake Erie

Circa 1922.

"My mother (left), said her twin brother Hank fell in love with this cute dog (his name was Danny) that happened to be visiting the beach during their outing. This was taken when the family trekked north to Lake Erie" with Eleaner Dillinger and Henry Bloomfield at Rye Beach, Ohio.

All rights Bruce Dillinger. Many thanks to Bruce for allowing us to enjoy his family treasure.



A tradition that endures

Happy family photos that include pit bulls are commonplace - both in homes today and yesteryear. We love that new and unseen vintage photos of pit bulls continue to surface on ebay, in flea markets, and whenever people dig into their family attics and neighborhood estate sales.

Keep your eye out for these treasures the next time you spot a dusty photo album. Chances are big that you'll unearth a piece of pit bull history, too.

Beach Babes

A treasure ... and a mystery! This photo was scooped up in a Los Angeles flea market. She looks like a starlet. Any guesses as to who she might be? 

'Evans - LA' is the only wording on this piece.

From BADRAP's personal collection. 

Vintage Hollywood

The stars have always known a good dog when they see one.

David Armstrong (Played by Richard Arlen) shown here in a scene where he says a final goodbye to his pit bull. From the first Oscar winning best picture - "Wings." Circa 1927.

Thanks for sending, Tony Tissot!


Outside of the Saloon

In front of a saloon in Georgetown, Colorado with a Chinese man who is identified as Chan Gow and his pit bull type dog. This photo is dated 1875-1892. 

From the Western History/Genealogy Dept., Denver Public Library.


Denver History: Jeff the Mascot

Members of the Colorado Air National Guard pose next to an airplane with 'Jeff,' the mascot of the 120th observation squadron of the Colorado Air National Guard. Jeff is shown here outfitted with a parachute. He made several successful jumps with his guardsmen before he was killed on August 16, 1924 when his chute failed to open.

From the Western History/Genealogy Dept., Denver Public Library.

Denver's History

A portrait in the front garden, said to be taken between 1904-15. Interestingly, this was taken in Denver, Colorado - back when pit bulls were "just dogs." This same little dog would be confiscated and destroyed by Denver Animal Control under the current breed ban on pit bull type dogs in that city. It seems Denver has stepped backwards in its policies towards dogs as time marches forward.

From the Denver Public Library Digital Collections.

Studio Models

During the golden age of illustration, celebrity artists such as Norman Rockwell worked with models to stage photographs which were used as reference for their paintings. Fishing themes were common in illustrations in the Saturday Evening Post and other publications 1920's. On the back of this photo is a message, "With much love, Aunt Celia." 

From BADRAP's personal collection.

At the Beach

This happy shot was probably taken in the 1920's. Feeling silly, surrounded by friends, with a favorite brindle sweetheart in your lap ...That's a life well lived!

We just love this photo -- it makes us giggle every time we look at it.

From BADRAP's personal collection.


Coney Island

Blissin' on the beach! What dog doesn't want to spend the day on the beach with his favorite person? 

This tradition is as true today as it was when this photo was taken at Coney Island. Some things never change.

Elderbull on the Beach

A heartwarming photo of a bathing beauty and her senior dog enjoying a day at the beach together. 

Greyhound Bus Stowaway 1943

Photo caption: "A dog that wandered through the open door of a Greyhound bus at a rest stop between Cincinnati, Ohio and Chicago, IL.

A passenger declined to share his seat with the dog and ejected him." 

Photographed by Esther Bubley. 

From the Library of Congress.

Boston Baseball

The photo shows a Boston Red Sox player holding a pit bull type (possibly Boston Terrier) puppy at the South Side Park in Chicago.

Dated 1909. Cute pup!

Courtesy of Chicago History Museum. Chicago Daily News negatives collection.


Kids & Their Dog

These happy kids are having a really great day. Someone has rounded them up to snap their photo with the brownie, and their dog is obviously an important part of the action.

Their big smiles, adorable clothes, shiney trikes (with the bells on the handle bars!) and very cool vintage harness on the dog makes this one of our favorite-ever photos. 

From BADRAP's personal collection.

A Family Treasure

BAD RAP Barn Manager Nancy Groom was inspired to look at her family albums when we announced our vintage photo project. Surprise! It was filled with treasures, including several photos of her grandfather as a young boy with their family pit bull. 

This is Frederick Kennerley in the early 1900's. Photo taken in the Mojave Desert. 

All rights owned by the Groom family.

Family Treasure Part II

Another photo of young Frederick Kennerley. When granddaughter Nancy dusted off the albums and pointed the dog images out to her family, her mother looked puzzled. "That's a pit bull? I always thought it was just a dog." --- Exactly!

We hope their discovery inspires others to pull out their own photo albums in search of the history of the pit bull.

All rights owned by the Groom family.



Family Treasure - North Dakota

From internet friend Kitra Nelson. She told us, "Here is a photo of my grandpa (Jerome Johnson) and his dog. He was born in 1930, so this photo was taken in the 1930's in rural North Dakota. He is holding onto his very best friend! The other little dog is pretty cute, too. I didn't know until recently that my grandfather was a bully lover- made me pretty proud!"

City Marshall

This man was only identified as the city marshall. We don't know his history, but you can make out the badge on his shirt. 

Not surprising, the marshall's four legged deputy is the same type of dog many of us have curled up at our feet right now.

Photo courtesy of Animal Farm Foundation.

Early Settlement

It took quite a bit of effort and expense to have a photographer capture family images back in the day, especially in rural areas where the task involved hauling heavy, fragile equipment in carriages over bumpy unpaved roads. Knowing that, it warms our hearts to see how often the family and farm dogs were included in the big event.

We imagine the photographer had no trouble convincing this handsome dog to jump up on the stump for this portrait!



Women's Basketball Mascot

Pit bull type dogs show up as sports mascots wherever vintage photos surface.

This team called themselves 'the Bulldogs' and the photo celebrated their 1907-08 season. 

Do you recognize a relative in here? If you do, we want to buy you a margarita to toast your awesome family genes!

Fifties Style

A favorite photo among vintage photo fans.

This beautiful dog was a celebrated American Staffordshire Terrier: AKC CH X-Pert Black Betsy, a daughter of CH Brindle Biff born March 19, 1952.

More on the history of the X-Pert amstaffs here.


Men's Basketball Mascot

What a handsome crew. This team was smart to sign this dog on as their mascot.

Note the dog's studded collar and fashionably high ear crop. 

Based on the date on the basketball, this shot was taken in 1908.


UK Humor

This marvelous photo is full of British humor. It was probably captured (and doctored) in the UK, where Staffordshire Bull Terriers are still celebrated.

A Girl and Her Dogs

We have no info on this Victorian trio, but we just love her "girl in charge" attitude. Maybe she grew up to be a dog trainer? 

Lucky Locket

This treasure showed up on ebay, as so many vintage pit bull photos do. We didn't dare bid on it (it commanded a high price) but whoever owns this little piece of Americana now is very lucky indeed!

1930's Studio Portrait

This gal put on her favorite hat and announced, "I want my photo taken with my best friend."

Not much has changed! Our facebook fan pages explode with thousands of contemporary photos of gals and guys who are proud to show off their dogs. 

Firehouse Mascot

Not a dalmation! This little pit bull type dog has found a place of honor on the 'Columbian Engine Company's' engine.

Photo courtesy of Animal Farm Foundation.

"Beauties on Board"

Captured by noted Naval photographer Enrique Muller, this 1907 postcard reads: '1312 - Beauties on Board United States Warship.'

The best notation is the name "Arthur," carefully scripted by hand next to the head of the white dog. Arthur may have been called a 'Bull-and-Terrier' or even a 'Hinks Bull Terrier' by breeders in that era, but it's likely the sailor who loved him would tell you that he and his boxer-ish brindle friend were "just dogs." 


Hanging out, mugging for the camera, looking cool.

Different era, different clothes - Same guys, same dog.

Some things will never change!

Jack Dempsey & Dog

Jack Dempsey was an American boxer who held the world heavyweight title from 1919 to 1926. He was said to have been an "enthusiastic" pit bull advocate. 

Chicago Daily News negatives collection. Courtesy of Chicago History Museum.



Studio Portrait

Photographed in Sharon, PA. Wearing his best clothes and photographed with his favorite dog. Who could be prouder?

College Chums

The student is holding a pennant for Wesleyan University, located in Middleton Connecticut.

Look at the wonderful old harness on the dog. He was somebody's pride and joy.



Well Dressed Lady

Fancy clothes are a must for Victorian era photos, but the portait's not complete until the favorite family dog joins in!

'Toodles and Lady'

Ladies have been sweet on poodles and pit bulls for a very long time!

Mom and Daughter

... and favorite dog, of course!

WWI Soldier and Mascot

So many pit bull type dogs have shown up in old WWI photos. They certainly gave comfort and companionship to the soldiers of that era.

Fancy That!

Someone brought out their best outfit - and their best dog collar! - for this lovely photo.

WWI Mascot

This decorated little guy is listed as a WWI mascot with the Library of Congress. War dogs were on the front lines during the heat of battle and were used to relay messages as well as bring comfort to their human troops. Taken in 1918, we can only guess what his story was or what he meant to the man who fashioned him with a little jacket.

How many times have you seen this exact same dog waiting patiently to be somebody's hero again at our city animal shelters? 

Dogs for Sale

An interesting view of what is now called a 'backyard breeder.' This photo has a hand written note in the bottom right corner that reads, 'For Sale.'

Note the Mexican Hairless also for sale!

Photo courtesy of Animal Farm Foundation.

The Pit Bulls' Little Cousin

Boston Terriers and their mixes show up regularly in old timey photos. They were bred down in size from 'pit bull' stock as well as White English Terrier stock by folks who liked sporty, spirited bulldogs, but in a smaller package. They became very popular and were standardized enough to be admitted into AKC registry as their own separate breed in 1893. 

Western History/Genealogy Department, Denver Public Library


Boy and His Dog

Another wonderful addition to the 'boy and his dog' series.

Kids and Their Dog

You have to wonder how much trouble this handsome trio got into together!

Every happy childhood seems includes a favorite dog, and hopefully a dog photo or two to help share those good memories with the grandkids.

A Boy & His Dog

Can you relate?

We love this photo so much that we had to add it to our website homepage.

Courtesy of Animal Farm Foundation.

Creature of Comfort

The more things change, the more they stay the same...

This family dog seems to have taken over a favorite spot, and Mom doesn't have the heart to ask him to get down so she can have the chair to do her chores.


Chicago Studio Portrait

You can imagine that this boy's parents were beaming proudly as they stood behind the photographer during this sitting.

Getting your picture taken 'back in the day' marked a very special occasion. We love that this family made sure to include the boy's lovely pricked-eared friend in the big event. 

Prized Possessions

This lady is very modern with her fancy auto.

It seems that even way back when, our dogs decided that they belong in the driver's seat!

Bill's Wild West Show

Members of Sells Floto Circus and Bill's Wild West Show sit with their pit bull. We have to wonder what role the dog played in the troop's performances. Note the stagecoach and tent in the background. Listed as having been photographed between 1910-17.

From the Western History/Genealogy Dept., Denver Public Library.

Securing the future of America's 'blocky dogs' as a cherished family companions.