These are the Cajun
Rules of combat to determine gameness written by Gaboon Trahan. We
publish these rules so that students of the history of the breed can
better understand how the American Gamedog was created.
Rule 1 : Size of pit, optional; to be square with sides 2 feet high,
scratch line 14 feet apart.
Rule 2 : Referee to be chosen before the dogs are weighed in or
washed and referee to conduct the contest according to these Rules and
his decision is final.
Rule 3 : Referee to see the dogs weighed at time agreed on and if
either dog is over top weight agreed on he loses the forfeit money.
Forfeit taker has the option to not fight or renegotiate the wager.
Rule 4 : Parties to toss coin to see who shall wash first, each party
to furnish two clean towels and a blanket. The referee should indicate
to the winner of the toss to weigh his dog first. Then the loser of the
toss to weigh his dog next, then to the wash tub then to the pit. (two
towels, baking soda, milk and soap to be provided for each opponent.)
Rule 5 : If requested to do so the referee shall search the person
named to wash the dog and then have him bare his arm to the elbow and
wash both dogs in the same warm water and rinse them each in his half of
the warm clean water provided for that purpose.
Rule 6 : As the dogs are washed clean and dried they shall be turned
over to their handlers and at once taken to their corners of the pit as
designated by the referee and the referee must search handlers for means
of foul play and see that he bares his arms to the elbow before he
receives his dog and must keep his arms bare in such a manner during the
Rule 7 : The dog’s owner or his representative shall be allowed at
all times to be near his dog and watch to see that no harm is done him,
and each owner shall be allowed to name a man or himself watch his
opponent’s dog and handler at all times to see he is given no unfair
Rule 8 : Either dog’s owner, handler or watcher if he sees anything
wrong must at once appeal to the referee and get his decision. And if
any handler, watcher or owner violates any of these rules and thereby
favors either dog the dog so favored must at once be declared the loser.
Rule 9 : The interested parties shall choose a timekeeper at the pit
Rule 10 : The dogs are placed in their corners of the pit, opposite
corners, faces turned from each other and only the dog and their
handlers inside the pit. Then the referee shall say, (Face your dogs)
Each handler must always show his dog full head and shoulders between
his legs. The referee says (Let’s go), but the handler must never push
or shove their dogs and handlers shall not leave their corners until the
dogs are together.
RULE 11 : Now when one of the dogs turns his head and shoulders away
from his opponent after the fight is on it is a turn, whether they are
in holds or free, and the handler must claim the turn and the referee
must allow the claim if he believes it is a turn or the referee must
call the first fair turn he sees whether the handler claims it or not
and when the referee calls a turn he shall say (Handle your dogs) and
each handler must pick up his dog as soon as he can without breaking a
hold. Handlers carry their dogs to their respective corners immediately
on picking them up, keeping the dogs face turned away from the center of
the pit. Twenty-five seconds after the dogs are carried to their corners
the referee shall say (Face your dogs) Then the handlers must show their
dogs head and shoulders between their legs, facing the center of the
pit. The dog that turns first must scratch first. In five seconds more
the referee shall say (Let’s go, then the dog that made the first turn
must be turned loose by his handler and this dog must go across and
mouth the other dog. If, when he is turned loose he refuses to start at
once or if he stops on the way over, or if he fails to reach his
opponent, he has lost the fight and the referee must declare his
opponent the winner. A handler is allowed to release his dog at any time
he sees fit after the dog whose turn it is to cross has started over. He
must turn him loose when the dogs touch each other. If a dog is taking
the count and has not crossed the scratch line and is scratched upon,
that handler fouled the dog taking the count. The referee should declare
the dog that was taking the count the winner.
RULE 12 : If neither dog has made a turn and they cease to fight
after 60 seconds of no action the down dog is to scratch first, if he
makes his scratch the fight is on and they shall scratch in turns until
the contest is decided.
(b) If the down dog fails to scratch the other dog is to scratch to
win. If he fails to scratch the contest shall be declared a draw by the
(c) No handler is to handle his dog until ordered by the referee if
he does, it shall be called a foul and he is to forfeit to his opponent.
(d) No flash pictures or hitting on pit side shall be allowed unless
agreed upon by the two contestants.
RULE 13 : After the dogs are together this time either handler is
allowed to pick up his dog when they are not in holds, or ordered by
referee. If he tries for a pick up and either dog has a hold he must
turn him loose at once. If he catches his dog up free both handlers must
handle their dogs at once. Take their dogs to their corners and proceed
same as at the first turn, except this time the dog which went across
before is allowed to remain in his corner while his opponent makes a
scratch, or goes across, and they alternate or take it’s turn about in
this manner until one of them is declared the winner under these rules.
The referee pays no attention to the turn after the first scratch.
RULE 14 : If one of the dogs fangs himself, that is, if he gets his
teeth hung in his own lip, his handler is allowed to un-fang him. If the
dogs have to be separated for this they are turned loose again, both at
the same time within two feet of each other in the center of the pit.
RULE 15* : Nothing will be taken into the pit by the handlers. The
referee will provide each handler and his dog one sponge from a water
bucket in his corner to be used between each scratch. Both sponges will
be returned to the referee after a scratch is made and he will put both
sponges into the same water bucket to be used in the next scratch.
RULE 16 : If the handler of either dog is seen to take anything from
anyone on the outside of the pit he is to lose the battle. Each party
shall have the right to put a man near his opponents corner to watch the
handler. Should he see the handler put anything on his dog he may appeal
to the referee and if the referee finds anything on the dog he is to
lose the battle.
RULE 17 : Should either handler leave the pit with his dog before the
referee renders his decision he is to lose the battle.
RULE 18 : The handlers shall be allowed to encourage their dogs by
voice or hand-clapping or snapping of their fingers, but must not touch
their dog or use foul, dirty methods by saving their dogs from hard fall
or keeping the other handler away from his dog, or in any other way act
unfairly. The referee must decide the battle against the one who does
RULE 19 : Should something interfere the referee to name the next
*Rule 15 has been ammended.