I first met Terry de Regt at the ADBA Italia Club Show in 2015. In July of 2018 I had the pleasure of judging his Pit Bull Club Nederlands show in Spaarndam, Netherlands. Terry is wise beyond his years and his dedication to the ADBA and The American Pit Bull Terrier is evident.
Can you give the readers your background as it pertains to the American Pit Bull Terrier?
Sorry, I had to chuckle when I read this question. To even start my background, I’ll have to tell you a small story on how it all started: My background started way before I was even born. My father (David de Regt-ADBA Judge) started out as a yard boy at Terrence Truman’s (ADBA Judge) yard. He quickly became one of Terrence`s friends and eventually they were known to the world. But after some years Terrence gave the kennel to David as eventually a student would become the master. But they became so close friends that Terrence lived with my parents before I was born. When my parents had to come up with a name for me, they placed different names in a bowl and they would take one out and viola. I was called Terry. Yet the cheeky part about this is that David swapped the names to Terry, as a tribute to Terrence his name. So by giving me this name, I was already part of a legacy of roughly 25 years of preservation of the breed. Terrence Truman is by default of this swap my godfather. So when I grew up, we had to talk Dutch and English because Terrence lived at our place for like 4-5 years, when I was born. My mother had a kennel that was known in my country. Eventually when I of course got older, you will learn stuff from these worlds.
Andy Seguss & David de Regt at ADBA Italia -2015
I started out by going with them to the forest to walk the dogs. Although as a small boy, everything will become a distraction. When I grew up, I started out by cleaning the kennels, learning, hearing from stories and more. Eventually I started working at a dairy farm (internship regarding school), working with different types of animals and I had my own shop with my father regarding custom advice for dogs. By using the knowledge of the past and present we created a shop where we used training techniques, conditioning and feeding council for everyone that needs it in the present for working and non-working dogs.
Who are some of the most influential people in your life?
I of course would have to start with my parents and Terrence. Yet there are more of them that have had an influence with my progress in my life. Mel Hurley, Detleff, Rudi Su Nak, Ben van Houten, Garry Hammonds, Luigi Matha, Radek Krystof, Stephan Fehres, Femke Briene. These individuals all had a role to play in my life. Each person had a different role in this story. For starters, roughly all of them are old timers regarding this breed. By living, breathing and talking with them it will be a fast process in learning all that is needed for this breed and of course other qualities in life.
Stephan Fehres &Terry de Regt
Who is your all-time favorite dog and why?
This isn’t an easy question my friend. The thing is, I don’t want to be biased but the biggest influence was not 1 dog. It was a pack of dogs. Each one of these dogs was not a dog to me. They were my brothers, sisters, parents whatever you want to call it. To start of I would say Limey Kennel`s Terror. This was my friend. From birth till I was 12 we did everything together. He was considered the king of the household at that stage. I rode his back, he was basically my guardian. Limey Kennel`s Bad Bully, well she was the queen of course. These 2 dogs were not able to be separated. Bad Bully knew how to open doors. Limey Kennel`s Puppy, who of course was not a puppy anymore. She was like the one to enforce the rules in the group. If there was an argument between them, she was the one to cancel it. She basically kept the family together. They were all black dogs. Yet there was 1 dog who was not black and that was Limey Kennel`s Trinity. She was one of the lowest in rank yet she ended up at the age of 17/18 years old. Probably one of the oldest APBT dogs to have lived in Europe. These dogs where all lose in the house. Sure this only worked when David was around, but it still worked. They were all working dogs. So by that definition it was a special thing. These dogs nurtured each other.
It would be a hard one between Limey Kennel`s Terror and one of family descendants called Limey Kennels King Pin. King Pin is a newer generation compared to Terror. Both had their influences and time in my life. It is not easy to just choose an all-time favorite. Yet if I would really have to choose one, it would be Limey Kennel`s King Pin. He was pointed out as a 97 pointer by Garry Hammonds. I would choose him because of my thought process regarding my upbringing. When you become older you think differently. You become more mature. Terrorwas a part of my younger life cycle. King Pin just came at the right time at the right moment.
What is it about the American Pit Bull Terrier that motivates you to sacrifice so much for the breed?
What is a American Pit Bull Terrier? A APBT is an amalgamation of different breeds. Each breed comes with negative and positive attributes to this unity. Within this unity something just clicked right. When I look at these dogs, you can see that they are dogs. Yet they are not. They eat, breath, work, shit like dogs. But they have nothing that resembles a dog anymore. I don’t mean its physical attributes. I am talking about its mental state of mind. These dogs act, think differently compared to other breeds. There is just something behind it that stands out. This unity is the key on which people should motivate themselves to sacrifice their time and effort to preserve the breed. The word Gameness is not something that is bound to a dog. Different animals have this trait. Yet for a APBT its at such a different level, our minds can’t fathom it. Sure we can understand it at some levels. But understanding it completely is a thing you can only understand if you have the same trait. Some people, some animals have it. Yet not everyone has it. These dogs go far and beyond the limits we think they have. And for that reason you, the reader should think and act differently regarding these dogs.
How is the American Pit Bull Terrier viewed by the general public in the Netherlands?
Well... to give it to you directly as possible: They are viewed as killing machines. Let’s go back to the year 1993. This was the year that I was brought in to this world. We (The Netherlands) received a ban (Breed specific Law). This ban was a pure genocide. APBT, muts, anything that resembled these dogs was taken and culled by the government. People had to hide their dogs, walk them at night, 2-3 am just to not get seen by the people. At an early age I didn’t really see this. Yet when I grew older I noticed it more because well we were one of those people that had to hide them from the public. We had to get the dog, put it in the van, drive 15 minutes to a forest at night to just walk them. Hoping not to get seen by others. It was a utter shit show. It took the government 15 years to realize that the BSL had no effect on the general health of the public. So they reversed the decision and they were not really legalized, but you were able to keep them without the fear of been taken.
A: How can we maintain or improve their reputation
Oke, let’s get serious now. This is an issue that every country has regarding issues of the APBT or any other breed. But to just keep it to the Netherlands. For starters: Don’t randomly breed with your neighbor’s dog, or someone that you know that has a dog without any dedicated selection process. We see allot of dogs just being bred to sell instead of preserving the breed. People see it as a form of income and they just can’t be bothered about their actions to the public. So in the USA you have something called: Craigslist. We have something that is similar called: Marktplaats. This platform gives people the ability to sell anything they like. We see allot of people using this and just sell them without anyone thinking about it. Since the BSL was lifted. There was a gap. This gap is what we call the Pepsi-Coke generation. People didn’t really had the knowledge that was there before the BSL. So they bred differently, selected differently and sold differently than how it was before the BSL. Everyone wanted a APBT or something that looked like it. This is just the wrong way to do it.
In the opinion of the old timers it would be best to only use specific dogs that have shown they are capable of preserving the breed. Let’s use the ADBA shows for this project. If we would only use ADBA dogs that have been shown they are worth their points, regarding show or sport. You have a dog that is more worth than a random dog from around the corner. So by using this dog, you keep the standard up, you can ask more per dog and the people can clearly see that is a big difference in ADBA dogs and non ADBA dogs. This is an option for people to think about. Selection is the key to maintain and improve reputation regarding every breed in any country. By showing the world our selected dogs are child-family friendly, can perform any tasks we so desire. People could think differently and the public opinion can change. But it’s something we all should work on.
As the youngest ADBA club president, you show a maturity well beyond your years. What has prepared you for such a responsibility?
This is hard one… I kind of was thrown in to it. Before I became the president. We had 2 separate branches in the club. Sport division and Show/General division. Stephanwas the former president of Show and the general division of the club. And I was the president of the sporting branch. My team did the Top Dog events and non ADBA sporting events. While Stephan was working on the ADBA Conformation show and the club in general. After Stephan resigned. There was a spot open. But this was not an easy task. This because 3-4 months later we were having a triple show. 3 ADBA judges, 1 non ADBA judge. So we needed someone to take over as this was going to be one of the biggest shows for us, and Europe. So I just took a dive with my fiancé Femke Briene, who was my girlfriend back then and we said we will do it. With help from Stephan and our own thoughts. We managed to hold the first ever triple show in Europe. Which was judged by: Gary Hammonds, Terrence Truman, Radek Krystof & David de Regt.
Left to Right: Terrence Truman, Stephan Fehres, Terry de Regt, Radek Krystof, Gary Hammonds
Those where the hardest 3-4 months that I had with Femke. We had to learn allot. So afterwards of the show. I was driving home and I felt a huge weight just lifted from my shoulders. And I cried. I was relieved that we managed to do something which was unbelievable hard yet we managed to pull it off. We received praises from everyone in Europe. This was seriously the first time I felt appreciation for the hard work we did. It felt good so we stayed. I thought, if we can do this, we can do everything. And I would like to thank Femke Briene from the bottom of my heart. Because without her, this would have probably not worked out. Also I would like to thank Gerard van Dooren & all the others who have helped us and are still helping us with the club
What are some of the challenges you have experienced running and ADBA club?
At the start we had issues with paperwork. Participation lists, just not being complete. Allot of problems regarding a potential new BSL law in the Netherlands. Finding a new place to hold shows. As our old location just was way too expensive. Trying to figure out allot of documents, emails, creating a new team and finding volunteers to help our cause. The biggest issue I had/have is finding the right date for location.
What are some of the challenges that you see in relation to ADBA clubs in Europe in general?
We have: The Netherlands, Belgium, Czech Republic, Poland, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Hungary.
The biggest challenge is show dates, Because Europe is growing with more clubs, show/sporting dates will be hard to separate them from each other.
What can the ADBA do to help support and understand the challenges ADBA Clubs in Europe are facing?
So far the only thing they can do is listen. Because there is no foothold in Europe. What I mean with a foothold is simple: Years ago, the Pitbull club Netherlands came with a plan to help the clubs and ADBA in general by having people that would go to shows and make notes. Like an inspection team. This team would go to all the ADBA related events in Europe and basically report this back to the ADBA on a yearly or 6 month basis. This could have had a big impact in helping all the clubs and growth of the popularity in Europe. By having a ‘’representative’’ of Europe we are basically united with all the clubs in Europe. Instead of each club having their own decisions. Yes we do understand that every club has their own uniqueness. But if we can find a way to unite and help each other by gathering information, questions, thoughts in a single location(representative) this person or team could be a direct link to the ADBA. Instead of every club separately having issues, questions and more. A united team is in my opinion the way to help each other. We need a foothold in Europe!
How do you envision the future of ADBA clubs in Europe?
I would like to see a united group working together instead of working against each other. Dates, prices, rules be enforced as a single being. I hope to see a team that works against the BSL in different countries, help and educate the non-informed public. There is nothing more important to stand united against an issue, instead of trying to work it out on yourself.
What advice would you give to newcomers to the American Pit Bull Terrier breed?
Don’t, run and never look back! Na, I am joking. Books. Read as much books as you can. Don’t just buy a dog. Read, go to shows, seminars, ask questions with the people on the show or the judges when they have time. Write or call up clubs, or the ADBA in general. Be eager to accept failure before you come out as a winner. There is no shame in asking.
What advice would you give those interested in becoming an ADBA club member?You don’t have to own a dog to help out the individual clubs or the ADBA in general. Volunteers are the cornerstones of a team. As I said in the last question: Take your time and read, ask questions. Help others!