Brutal Leader of the Pack
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Written by SeacoastNH Archives Presents
Historic Portsmouth #348  

Is he friendly? No way. Your pampered pedigreed pooch wouldn’t stand a chance against this ancestor. No organic treats, costly vet bills, or chic canine clothing for this guy. Dogs were often those mangy critters tied to the barn out back with a length of old rope, not house pets. Most were working dogs that had to earn their keep.  (Continued below)


And none worked harder than Venter, seen here in this 19th century photo by the Davis Brothers of Portsmouth. Battle scarred Venter was at the top of the pecking order when this picture was taken. He had recently defeated Sam, his latest opponent, in a brutal battle staged in Long Island. The champion took home $3,000, a huge sum that indicates how lucrative this inhumane blood sport was in the Victorian era. Dog fighting, practiced since the beginning of recorded human history, has been a felony in all American states only since 2008. (Photo courtesy of the Portsmouth Athenaeum)


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