Thomas McIntire is right at home in a community where bulldogs own the place.
Since 2011, the longtime canine breeder has focused solely on raising the same animal that is the Wylie school mascot.
He retired in the late 2000s after raising chows, cocker spaniels, dachshunds and Pomeranians.
Then two of his grandchildren, Dane and Tatum McClellan, decided they wanted a dog for a pet. So he looked for a breed they might enjoy.
“That got me back in it,” said McIntire, who has bred dogs for about 45 years. “I wanted a dog that was too fat to jump on the furniture and too lazy to run away.”
McIntire and Sandra Merck, who co-own a bulldog breeding business in the Wylie area, bought their first dog from an Indianapolis breeder. Cherokee Legend Flash is the stud dog and will be 10 years old in February.
The pair’s kennel name is Bulldog Dynasty.
A 1963 Anson graduate, McIntire worked in Church of Christ ministry for about 20 years. He and Merck later owned Just Kids, a kindergarten-based school, for about 25 years in Abilene.
Merck is an office worker at Wylie West Junior High.
McIntire said three generations of show champions have come from Cherokee Legend Flash’s bloodline and this dog needs one more show champion to qualify for induction into a national bulldog hall of fame. Two of McIntire’s female dogs have already qualified for the hall of fame induction. McIntire was to be inducted as a breeder into the hall of fame in November, but the coronavirus changed those plans.
McIntire and Merck currently have eight female bulldogs, five males and five puppies. They have showed dogs in seven states as well as in Texas.
“Bulldogs are a tough breed to raise,” he said, adding the puppies are quickly separated at birth from the mother dog because a bulldog’s anatomy prevents the dog from turning its head around. This means the dog could easily lay on a puppy while nursing it.
McIntire said he has seen one of his dogs chew through a 2×4 piece of wood. While the breed may appear strong, it can’t be a guard dog because it is more likely to knock an intruder down and “lick him to death,” he said.
McIntire’s family has deep ties to Wylie: son David is a Wylie graduate and a high school teacher/coach, David’s wife Jessica teaches second grade at Wylie East Elementary, daughter Tonya was a state track and field qualifier in the triple jump before graduating from Wylie and had the school’s triple-jump record for 21 years, and Tonya’s husband Mark McClellan is a school trustee. Plus his five grandchildren are connected: Dane McClellan is a Wylie graduate, Tatum McClellan is a senior, Karter McIntire is an eighth-grader, Kade McIntire is a fifth-grader and Kenden McIntire is in kindergarten.
His business partner’s children, Conner and Katie, grew up in the Wylie school system as well.
The dogs are a hit with the volleyball, soccer and golf teams as athletes have asked that McIntire allow the animals to be in pictures with them.
He said Wylie is among 81 Texas high schools that have the bulldog as the mascot. Another one is Ranger, where a family, which bought a dog from McIntire, takes it to pep rallies and other events.
McIntire said he researched providing a dog as a live mascot to Wylie school officials, but University Interscholastic League rules prevent the idea. He has however taken the dogs to sendoffs for the football teams competing in the playoffs.
McIntire is willing to provide his dogs for any school function or fundraiser.
“I would even take one to the prom if they wanted it,” he said. “I might even put him in a tuxedo.”