PITTSBURGH If Bud Dupree decides to name his 2017 sacks after his pit bulls, he ll start with Spazz, Mamba [url=https://www.steelerspitclub.com/kyle-friend-jersey-c-54.html]Kyle Friend Jersey[/url], Doughboy, Nova, KJ and Rich. That s the current adult lineup at the linebacker s A 1 Kennels in his hometown of Macon, Georgia. But he found new homes for seven others a few years ago, and he still counts those as unofficial family.

If thatís the sack total [this year], thatíd be good, Dupree said with a laugh about the total of 13 dogs.

Double digit sacks seems like a modest goal for Dupree, who is poised to become a breakout star for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

But the 2015 first round pick has a first love away from the field the short and stocky pit bull breed known as bullies. How Dupree defines that love He s on a 9.2 million contract, yet he still individually cleans the cages each day when he s home in the offseason. When he s out of town, his brother Delvin handles that.

Dupree has kept a kennel since his college days at Kentucky and has been around the pit bull breed since age 6. This isn t about a side hustle; Dupree doesn t advertise as a business online and sells puppies only to friends as a way to cover cage and veterinary expenses.

I just wanted to get into caring for them. I love the bullies [url=https://www.steelerspitclub.com/keith-kelsey-jersey-c-52.html]https://www.steelerspitclub.com/keith-kelsey-jersey-c-52.html[/url], Dupree said.

Dupree is well aware of the stigma surrounding the pit bull breed, which is routinely among national leaders in dog attacks.

Dupree who was in high school when Michael Vick faced a 23 month prison term for his role in a pit bull fighting ring said he hasn t experienced any incidents with his dogs, and he expects that to remain the case.

People think of pit bulls, they think they should be scared, Dupree said. My dogs get along with kids. They are like companion dogs; you can lay with them. I keep kids around my dogs all the time. My little girls [nieces and nephews] are always around them. They play rough with me, but when they see the kids, they get timid.

You just have to be careful who you let around them and how people treat them when you re out there. That s the main thing Keep your eyes on them; set certain rules and certain standards.

One of the bullies from Bud Dupree s kennel in Macon, Georgia. Courtesy Bud Dupree
Those standards apply to breeding, which Dupree calls planned mating through artificial insemination at his vet s office. Some of his dogs are too short to naturally mate, Dupree says, so artificial insemination is healthy for the dogs.

Dupree gets his dogs ample daily exercise and has large sleeping cages for all but his loudest barker, who serves as an alert dog in a bigger, closed off area.

When I first started out, I had bigger pit bulls they will try to breed all day, so you have to keep them separated, Dupree said. And you have to wait for the right heat.

Dupree is working on a bloodline, which he calls the Guap line, or a symbol for money.

A pit bull with a certain bloodline, such as a Dax or Miagi blend, can bring in 5,000 to 20,000 each, Dupree said.

Right now I have a Dax grandson, Dupree said. It s not as expensive as a direct Dax, but it s still got some of the blood. You can cross it over with a Roadblock blood, which is also top notch. You can cross them two together and start your own.

Before one of his final seasons at Kentucky, Dupree found new homes for seven of his pit bulls. Since then [url=https://www.steelerspitclub.com/nelson-adams-jersey-c-53.html]https://www.steelerspitclub.com/nelson-adams-jersey-c-53.html[/url], he s sold dogs to a few owners; he will sell only to responsible, loving homes.

He s usually the one who doesn t want to let the dogs go.

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