The History of Bulldogs

Have you ever wondered about the history of your sweet baby Bulldog? Where did your sweet little fur-baby get his cute smushy face from? The English Bulldog, Original English Bulldog and Old English Bulldog are commonly referred to as “Bulldogs”.

Olde English Bulldogge

In 1971, David Leavitt developed the rare breed of the Olde English Bulldogge. His goal was to produce a dog that looked similar to the 18th century bulldog, but has the temperament of English Bulldogs. The result of cross breeding the English Bulldog, Bullmastiff, Pit Bull and American Bulldog resulted in a healthy bulldog that lacks breathing and hip problems. The Olde English Bulldogge is medium in size, strong, muscular and has powerful jaw muscles. Their coat is medium density, short, shiny and close. Coat colors include white, red, black and fawn. In 2005, the breed was renamed the “Leavitt Bulldog”. The renaming of the breed was made to differentiate this specific breed from the other bulldogs.

English Bulldog

The English Bulldog originated in the British Isles and is a descendent of the Asiatic mastiff. They were originally ferocious and aggressive dogs. Their appearance is intimidating due to their large body, head and broad square jaw. Their muzzle is short and wide. They have extra skin on their heads that creates folds. Their coat colors include red, white, shades of brindle, fawn, pale-yellow or tricolored. They used their power and courage during bull baiting competitions to attack bulls. During their Bull baiting sessions, they would use a unique technique that allowed them to go underneath the bull and attack the bull’s neck. In the 19th century, bull baiting was banned and considered illegal.

Original English Bulldogge

The Original English Bulldogge is a direct descendent of the original bull-baiting breed. Their head is wide and flat with a strong jaw, rose shaped ears and a muscular body. This true breed was kept in Scotland for many generations by the Wilkinson family. In 1946, the Wilkinson’s arrived in Canada with the Original English Bulldogge breed.

There was no further need for the bulldog breed once bull baiting was outlawed in the UK. If it weren’t for the exportation of the breed to the United States and Germany, the bulldog would have become extinct. In Germany, bulldogs were crossbred and eventually created what we know of today as the boxer. The bulldogs that reached the United States were used as working and herding dogs, especially in the south. The remaining bulldogs in England were eventually bred to a smaller size.

Today bulldogs are popular companion dogs that show their human family affection, loyalty and protectiveness. Their appearance and well known lovable characteristics and temperament have made bulldogs a popular mascot used in the United Kingdom and the United States. The bulldog’s image is frequently used as a mascot for universities, companies and even the United States Marine Corps.

Bulldogs are recognized by the American Kennel Club and the United Kennel Club, who both oversee breeding standards. According to the American Kennel Club, bulldogs are the fifth most popular breed in the United States.