2016 BULLY KING Magazine grand Champion Grape Ape Owned by Iron Bone Bullyz 

Contact Mike or Ellen at 217-254-7447


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“As a kid I grew up with pits and always had love for the breed.” (American Pit Bull Terrier)  Mike and Ellen Bernius have been happily married for 27 years, in fact while they were dating Ellen bought Mike a brindle pit bull named Jake while they were dating.  Jake was a family pet for Ellen and Mike for 12 years, and brought the couple a lot of joy before passing.  Before he passed, the couple got another pit bull named Max.

Max and Jake were buddies until Jake got sick.  On December 21st, years later Max had to be put down.  Max was a great dog and Mike and Ellen loved him, but he had gotten old and was in a lot of pain.  One of the most difficult decisions they had to make was to put Max down. But, it was the right thing to do.  When Max passed it was hard on them both, especially Mike. Mike said “no more dogs” and he meant it.

Then on December 27th Kyle Healy of Lincoln Land Bullies had a litter of the pups.  One Kyle kept (CH Buster) one went to Alex Ferraro (Black Gold) and one was available.  Incidentally, December 27th was Mike’s birthday, and the pup looked just like Max.  Less than a week after passing, it looks like Max left Mike with a parting gift.  Mike decided to keep the puppy, and just like that, in less than a week from swearing off dog ownership, Mike and Ellen were back in the dog game.  To many of us, this story hits home. For true dog men and women, there is no getting out, we can swear up and down (and mean it) that we’re done, but for those who have a true passion for these dogs, at some point or another, these beautiful animals will resume a major role in our lives.

Later on, Mike and Ellen began attend a few shows, hitting the show scene with Kyle.  It was around this time they met Alex Ferraro.  (For those of you that are new to the magazine, Alex has owned and produced several Grand Champion and Champions and currently owns 2016 BULLY KING Magazine Mascot Champion Lucky Luciano.)  Alex was the owner of Grape Ape who was an ABKC Champion at the time.  Alex sold Grape Ape to Mike and Ellen but made them promise they would finish the work with Grape Ape and earn his Grand Champion title.  


Mike and Ellen with the help of Julie Kowal, did just that!  With Julie handling Grape Ape during the shows (many novice and even extremely experienced dog owners use handlers at shows) Grape Ape achieved Grand Champion in the ABKC. Known for being one of the most extreme dogs at the time, he showed in the Extreme Class, although in the United States at the end of 2014, that class was scrapped (see the ABKC’s reasoning below.)

“The “Extreme” which is the same as the standard overall the classes are according to height) but carrying more mass. This variety was initially allowed some of what they refer to, as “handicaps” meaning there was some leniency to certain traits beyond the standard. This was because there was a huge amount of these dogs in the breed’s gene pool base and from a large bloodline within the breed; which was one of the founding bloodlines to be exact. The reason for the leniency is these were bigger heavier dogs that needed more time of development to achieve ideal conformation. The “handicaps” were designed to be eliminated over time until this variety met the same standards as the standard. For the remainder of 2014 the Extreme class is still offered as is, but the Standard and Pocket are now not to be penalized for dogs carrying more mass as long as they are correct and balanced. Internationally the Extreme class will continue as the breed is still in different growth phase then the US.” 
- American Bully Kennel Club (ABKC)



For the full article and more Pickup the magazine version of Issue No. 8 visit our website or for the digital version on your phone or tablet Download the new BULLY KING App (Available in iTunes App Store & Google Play!)











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