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HULK: How I became the Biggest Pit Bull in the World!

Posted on 14 m read 33K views

To most breeders, Hulk needs no introduction. He is the world’s biggest American Pit Bull Terrier weighing a staggering 180Ibs (81.6kg)! For perspective, an average male pit bull weighs between 35-60Ibs (15.8-27.2kg). It is no wonder then, that Hulk commands such a large social media following.

I was curious as I’m pretty sure most of you are about how this feat was accomplished and beyond that about the man Hulk calls daddy-Marlon Grennan. So I sent a mail to request an interview and the result is what you have below.

This interview will fascinate and educate dog lovers; I believe dog breeders especially will find it very enlightening; most of all, any person that reads it will be inspired to never give up.

 

HOW DID YOU COME ABOUT THE NAME DARK DYNASTY K9’s?

At first it was just Dynasty Kennel. For a while, it was just DK (when abbreviated). So I added another letter. At the time I was really into Harry Potter and castles and that kind of darkness so the world dark just came to mind. I didn’t really like the word, “kennel” because none of my dogs live in kennels.  They stay in my house so I didn’t want to associate with that word. So I changed the kennels to K9’s. So it became DDK9’s short for Dark Dynasty K9’s.

 

HOW OLD IS DDK9’S?

I’ve been around since 2004.

 

WHERE ARE YOU BASED?

In New Hampshire, United States.

 

WHEN DID YOU DISCOVER YOUR LOVE FOR DOGS?

I wasn’t allowed to have dogs for a long time. My mum won’t allow me to have dogs. My dad died of lung cancer and he passed away in 2000. My mum wanted to feel good in a sense so she let me get a dog and I got my first dog in 2000 but I wasn’t a trained breeder or any of that. He was a German shepherd named THUNDER. He is no longer here.

The journey kind of started from there.

Marlon Grennan with some of his dogs several years ago

WHEN DID YOU GET YOUR FIRST PIT BULL?

I basically had gotten the dog for my girlfriend at the time, she wanted a puppy. So I went to go get this puppy and took it to her house and her mum and dad were like no way, you can’t have this dog here. For the first time I really saw this like-almost racism towards the breed. I didn’t really know too much about the breed at the time and was wondering why they freaked out saying she couldn’t have the dog. She asked me to keep the dog and bring him back the next day. So I kept him all through the night but the rest is history, he never went back. His name was Damon.

 

HOW DID DDK9’S START?

I was at a pretty vulnerable place in my life. I was basically homeless and going from place to place. I just fell in love with this little dog (Damon) and it built from there. So as he got older and became quite aggressive towards other dogs that was when my fascination for dog psychology started. I wanted to know why the dog was aggressive towards outside dogs but he got along with my dogs at home. Because a dog has social skills, he can play amongst other dogs in the house, there is no reason why he can’t play with other dogs outside, to me that didn’t make sense.

I started getting recognized in my neighbourhood though I was pretty much homeless, I would ride a skate board and have like 3 dogs with me. That’s how I travelled, got from town to town. I didn’t have a licence at the time or anything. I just became known as that “dog guy” in my area slowly and people will leave their dogs with me for a weekend and they’ll be like thanks for training my dog and I’ll laugh like I’m not a dog trainer. It took me quite a while to figure out that I had acquired a lot of knowledge from living amongst dogs. Their lives are very basic. They feed, eat, drink and sleep, under my care. I provide them all the basics of life so the least they can do is listen when I say something. So, I naturally started embedding that into them and it turned into loyalty, real loyalty.

Marlon with his dogs then

I never treated dogs as human beings, I always saw them as dogs and I respected them for being dogs. I became more of a dog to be with them. And I became known for it. Like, I would ride my bike with like five Pit Bulls going down the street and people will almost be crashing their cars looking at me. It’s more like an obsession than talent. I just became obsessed with dogs and I was still working as a landscaper. It wasn’t until a couple of years later that I decided to move to Atlanta and start with a few friends, dog training and shows. I was very young at the time. It was almost what I do now but very premature. I basically sold everything that I had to build up some money to go to Atlanta, Georgia to set up with my dog training. It’s incredible that the people I was with then are with me now. From there that’s where the story kind of turned into what people know today.

And so I came up to where I am now in New Hampshire. You couldn’t ask for a more perfect place to live with dogs than where I live.

Hulk’s story is an entire story in itself. What Hulk has done to my life, you can’t even put words to it.

 

ASIDES PIT BULLS, DO YOU RAISE OTHER BREEDS?

In terms of training, obedience training, I work with other dogs, working breeds etc but in terms of breeding, I made my mark with pit bulls. Another challenge I worked with is the common belief that “Pit bulls never make good protection dogs and they don’t work well”. I wanted to prove to the world that these dogs can compete and be with the bests of the bests and that they can do this job, it just takes the right person. When it comes to Belgian Mallinois, one of the premier dogs for protection, they become very out of the box, driven. They learn very fast. Herding breeds learn very fast. Full breeds take a little more time to learn. I just took my time. When I decided that I was going to start training my first pit bull, the dog named The General, it was a lot of trial and error. He is old now but he is still one of the top dogs here. He’s paved the way for all these dogs. He is Hulk’s grandfather. The father of Hulk’s mother.

The General (Hulk’s Grandfather)- the first pit bull Marlon trained

HOW OLD IS HULK?

Hulk is 4. September 7th is his birthday.

 

WHAT DO YOU FEED HULK?

He has his own product now called the Hulk Bar so he eats that three times a day and we have a sponsored dog food now which is Bully Max high performance dog food. Also, we use supplements as well to keep the joints smooth. They eat the dog food once at night usually really late at 12 midnight or 1 O’clock in the morning because they are least active at that time. They are big dogs, so they are susceptible to bloat so you don’t let them be too active after they’ve drank water and eaten. I feed them the Hulk Bar in the mornings, it is essentially an energy bar so they work off that.

Hulk Bar

WHEN DID YOU SUSPECT THAT HULK WAS GOING TO BE DIFFERENT?

I could tell that he was different when I started weighing him from about 7 weeks old. It’s hard to say because dogs change so much between 7-14 weeks. He was significantly bigger at that time, but you really don’t want to say anything until you see the dog at about 14 weeks. Then, you can really tell what you’ve got.

 

IN NIGERIA, MOST DOG LOVERS LOVE BIG DOGS, AS A RESULT, HULK IS A BIG PHENOMENON IN MY COUNTRY, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IS THE SECRET TO HIS EXTRAORDINARY SIZE?

There’s really no secret to his size. It’s a process of selective breeding and what you are after. When you really understand breeding dogs, it’s about genetics and how you build up that genetic pattern. I was also into working dogs. To be honest, I was never really after the “World’s Biggest Pit Bull” Title that just came with it. For me I was after the main stock. So I had more deeper-red dogs if you know about bloodlines. The thing that separated me from other breeders was I didn’t care for colour, I only wanted the performance and proper conformation. I didn’t want size that will delete athletism. So, I didn’t care  about colour, they could be pink, orange, purple, it didn’t matter as long as they were able to work and were carrying the genetic traits that I wanted them to carry.

The secret behind it is knowledge, the secret is understanding bloodlines, what does what and the history behind these dogs. I carefully bred my dogs with a plan knowing that I needed certain pieces at different times.

Another secret is I always own all my dogs. I have never used a stud in my life, I still haven’t. If I want to use a dog as a stud, I purchase it outright so I can do as I wish with that dog. So, I would purchase the dog that I needed and breed the dog that I needed.

Dark Dynasty Pit Bulls: Hulk and his sons- Hercules, Kobe, Dynasty

At a time, I knew I needed a different type of length. I had a lot of wide dogs, solid and still athletic, so I knew I needed to get added length to get a different kind of size. A lot of people in the Pit Bull and Bully communities are into short kind of dogs, I’ve always liked big dogs. I realize a lot of people are afraid of big dogs but I like them.

Contrary to popular belief, I have never mixed a dog. Every single dog that I have ever bred was a registered American Pit Bull Terrier. I have never cross-bred a dog in my life. With bull breeds, there are a thousand different colours: red, blue; brindle; white, brown, spotted, literally every colour that you can imagine. That right there is a signal that there isn’t much purity in that to begin with. The Pit bull is clearly a breed that wasn’t bred in the direction of purity. That came later when the registries became involved and dog fighting became illegal.

When you breed dog for generations, characteristics and traits start to speak, like being a little better for show etc. I’m extremely vast with the history of this breed and I understand these dogs to a different level, It is important to me especially in an interview to be clear about mixing dogs, I’ve never mixed a dog in my life but I’m very aware where these dogs come from and where they derive from. So, part of my process was manipulating and using the dogs that I knew were in this gene pool that I could use to grow size but none of these dogs were mixed.

Pit bull is actually a description, it is not a dog but describing a dog. Most people don’t know that.

 

WHAT DOES HULK WEIGH NOW?

Right now he is probably 182Ibs and Kobe (Hulk’s biggest Blue son- he is his most popular son) has a son named Grizzly that is 180Ibs at a year old.

Hulk weighs a staggering 182Ibs (82.6kg)

WHAT’S YOUR FEE/CHARGE FOR HULK’S STUD SERVICE?

His stud fee is 20,000 dollars. It has been 20,000 dollars long before he was world famous. So people that think I raised his stud fee before I got famous are dead wrong.  The reason I had his stud fee at 20,000 dollars at the time was because I actually didn’t want anybody to breed him apart from people that I was very, very selective with. I figured that putting a price tag on the dog will scare people away. It actually worked out quite the opposite, where he became world famous and with world fame and celebrity status, 20,000 is nothing! So, I had people try to throw it at me. Finally, I screen every person I do business with.

 

HOW DID HULK BECOME FAMOUS?

Hulk’s fame started where he was born. When he was about 7-8 weeks, I recognized that he was a very large puppy. I had a digital scale at home and I started weighing him weekly and put it on my Instagram. At the time, I had about 15,000 followers or so {One of my secrets I would say is that I advertised my dogs anywhere and because of that it opened me up to a different audience}. I was weighing him every week and people were getting mind blown/boggled about his size. I knew that if I took away something that people liked for a while and brought it back later, I would get a bigger audience, so at 6 months I announced that I wouldn’t weigh him weekly anymore but will come back to show them how much he weighed in a year. People started guessing and making bets on how big he would be, so it became this whole big thing!

At a year old, he weighed 163.4Ibs (74.1kg) which was ridiculous. At the time, there was no pitbull that was that big. As a result, we started getting traction in the dog world.

One day, just after the iPhone released its slow-motion feature, I did a 15 second video of me holding Hulk and another of my dogs, barking in my hallway and I put the video on my Instagram and Facebook Page and The Grammys used it for their advertising: “Biggest night of the year with the biggest dogs in the world”. At about the same time, I put out a video of him being weighed and he was about 175Ibs (79.4kg). These two videos got insane traction and changed my life forever!

The "incredible" Hulk and Marlon in New York City

The “incredible” Hulk and Marlon in New York City

Afterwards, media outlets started contacting me – newspapers in the UK, Sunrise in Australia, Huffington post, and different celebrities’ etc. I decided to make another video to show to people that though they were big and aggressive, they could be controlled and I controlled them. So, I made another video in the hallway, this time, with them attacking and biting a bite suit I wore and with them stopping when I asked them to. This video gained even more traction. Consequently, I got invited to TV shows and all.

Finally, I knew I had to show a video of hulk with my children. That’s when I made a video of Hulk with my son. My son was playing the harmonica and Hulk, howling. I posted that video and got called to come on Good Morning America and so on.

It’s three years on now and it’s been insane. Right now when I travel, I do so with bodyguards for myself, my family and the dog. I remember the first time I realized I had to get some sort of protection. I was in Germany for a TV show and I was seated at the airport with my ears plugged in. All of a sudden, I looked up and realized there were about 20 people round me googling and showing me Hulk, asking if he was my dog. I realized then that as much as it’s nice to be famous, it does have its downsides and one has to be careful. That’s when I realized I had to get security to keep the dog safe.

 

WHAT’S YOUR VETERINARY ROUTINE LIKE WITH YOUR DOGS?

My dogs go to the vet for their routine treatments once a year and I also have vet technicians come around once in a while to do their grooming, declawing and inspecting anal glands (which is not so exciting).

 

HOW MANY DOGS DO YOU HAVE AT THE MOMENT?

Normally, my answer is more than one. I probably have close to 50 dogs but they are not all mine. I have 23 dogs here training- these are not actually my dogs and another 10 dogs that are here for sale. I have 24 personal dogs plus 2 others that I just bought that would be here tomorrow.

 

HAVE YOU HAD ANY HEALTH SCARES BASED ON HULK’S SIZE?

No. He has pressure sores on his elbow because he is so big, no matter where he lays down either a carpet or hard wood. He’s fallen down and injured himself before-twisted his ankle but no, no health problems or surgeries. He’s healthy.

 

DO YOU USE ARTIFICIAL INSEMINATION (AI)?

Sometimes but not really. When I ship frozen semen the clients do but I don’t. I have done it before but because my dogs all know each other we don’t usually need to.

Hulk also has a brother that looks just like him and might get bigger than him, his name is Rumble (Instagram= iam_rumble)

Rumble: Hulk's look-alike and brother

Rumble: Hulk’s look-alike and brother

HOW DO YOU SOCIALISE YOUR DOGS WITH YOUR CHILDREN?

It started with what I mentioned earlier. I had an obsession for dog psychology. I truly wanted to understand dogs. It’s all about leadership, it’s all about how they are raised. It’s not a problem for dogs to be dogs so we let them be dogs, in a structured manner. If I walk with say, 20 dogs and they wander a little bit, if I decide to change directions, the second they notice that I have changed directions, they line up beside me and follow me. That’s because I’m their leader,  I provide balance and safety. My dogs have never once growled at any of my children. It’s about how these dogs are raised. I truly trust the kids with my dogs, with that it gives me the ability to let go but with structure, placements and barriers. I control my environment. I’m a very alpha-male kind of person and dogs don’t follow weakness and they don’t follow anger, they follow calmness. I consider myself a very calm person. My dogs are very mellow around the kids. I try to transfer my calmness to the dogs.

WORDS OF ADVICE FOR BREEDERS

Don’t let people tell you, you can’t. My whole life, people tried to discourage me- telling me to get rid of the dogs, there was no money in dogs. Now, I’m worth more than my whole high school combined. Visualize it and capitalize on it- anything that you can see with your mind, you can hold in your hands. Be ready to work, work hard. Be that one in a million, why not? I never gave up on the dogs, I showed them true loyalty.

 


I’m extremely grateful to Lisa and Marlon Grennan for the opportunity to interview them and publish this post. Thank you for the over 2 hours that this interview took and for patiently answering my many questions. I’m incredibly grateful. 

You can follow Dark DynastynK9s via  

Instagram: @darkdynastyk9s ; @iam-thehulk   

Facebook Page: DarkDynastyK9s

Youtube: Darkdynastyk9s

Hulk with his parents- Mother, Gianna, on the left and father- Ghostface (who passed recently) on the right

Hulk with his parents- Mother, Gianna, on the left and father- Ghostface (who passed recently) on the right

 

P.S: A few weeks ago, Hulk lost his father GhostFace, DrGbaks commiserates with the entire DDK9 family at this time.

P.P.S: All pictures used in this interview are from the Instagram handles of DDk9s which have been used with permission.

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12 Comments
  • Dr Aladesanmi A D
    February 10, 2018

    Excitingly interesting as enlightening.. great read

  • Madam YHP
    February 11, 2018

    omg!!

    I read this with so much attention. the way I read books that captivate me.

    Dr. Gbaks! I salute you! weldone ma.

  • Elder Bakare,G.P.O.
    February 11, 2018

    This is wonderful, never give up on your passion. Fantastic, interview well articulated. Sky is d limit to discovery.
    Great job, Dr. Gbaks.

  • Cedar
    February 12, 2018

    Nice work Dr, always love your posts. But I love Caucs and Sammies more, pit bulls are always scary. Lol…

    • DrGbaks
      February 12, 2018

      Thank you Cedar. Lol! I understand you, although that’s the point of this interview as well- pit bulls don’t have to be scary.

  • Lanre
    February 14, 2018

    This is educative…

  • Korede Onipede
    February 17, 2018

    Great interview. I love it, keep the passion up.

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