No one could ever complete the sentence “I like a Bulldog best because…..” in twenty-five words or less – the advantages of this breed are far too many. It is a combination of formidable exterior and Victorian sentimentality which makes the “sourmug” so appealing.
During the “Gay Nineties” came a small but very important change in the spelling of the breed name – from the Bull Dog to Bulldog. This transition summarizes the evolution of the breed.
The Bulldog is a tribute to man’s willpower. No dog has been so deliberately “made” by selective breeding for desired traits. As one authority has said, “A mongrel never looks like a Bulldog.” The only thing that does is another Bulldog. The name, like the dog, goes back to antiquity. In 1210 an English nobleman saw the butcher’s dogs harry a bull at bay on the village green and commanded a repeat performance as a sport. This was the first official bullbaiting contest, and thereafter, mention of the ” Bull Dogge” appears in letters and historical accounts.
These early dogs weighed 80 to 100 pounds and were trained to be merciless fighters. Every physical characteristic we associate with the breed was either strengthened or deliberately bred in. Mastiff blood was added to give not only courage and determination, but power and activity. Pug blood brought the size down, broadened the chest, and shortened the legs.
Early Function Of The Breed
The early “Bull Dog,” his duty being to catch the bull by the nose and hold it down, needed the heavy shoulders with which he lunged forward, and which gave leverage; the light hindquarters swayed easily as the bull tossed him in an effort to break his back. He needed the “layback” of face to let him breathe while hanging on; this is the only breed able to do so, and to hang on indefinitely.
Pinched nostrils were bad, so his short nose has wide nostrils for easier breathing. The deep stop was to unite with furrows from eyes to chops to prevent blood from getting in his eyes. The loose skin, which seems so many sizes too large, protects vital organs and the jugular vein. Lowness of leg enabled him to attack well below the bull’s horns, while the sturdy “foursquare” stance permitted him to regain his footing firmly if thrown down. The old ” Bull Dog” was thus a formidable fighting machine.
Thankfully, in 1835, bullbaiting was abolished. It was the English working man who stubbornly kept the breed alive when extinction seemed certain leading many even today to call the breed an “English Bulldog,” however, the breed was not originated in England as many still to this day think but is believed to have originated in the British Isles. The British standard was drafted in 1864, ten years later, the offical Bull Dog Club was founded in London. Registrations began, and the first dog was registered as Adam. Soon after came the great Crib of 1870; from him, modern pedigrees date.
The American Kennel Club uses the breed name as one word. So does the Bulldog Club of America. But this parent organization was founded in 1890, and its insignia, reproduced on stationary and medallions, still reads: Bull Dog Club of America. The present standard was adopted in 1896. It took hundreds of years after that fight on the village green to produce our modern sourmug. May he flourish hundreds more!
Without going into the Official Bulldog Standard – The perfect Bulldog must be of medium size ( the size for adult males is about 55 pounds; for mature females, about 45 pounds. ) and smooth coat; with heavy, thick-set, low-swung body, massive, short-faced head, wide shoulders and sturdy limbs. A brown or liver-colored nose is not only undesirable but also a disqualification by Standard. The general appearance and attitude should suggest great stability, vigor and strength.
The disposition should be equable and kind, resolute and courageous ( not vicious or aggressive ), and demeanor should be pacific and dignified. The breed as a whole does very well with young and old alike, typically has a great fondness for small children and prefers to spend their time with his human companions rather than other pets. This is not to say that the Bulldog does not do well with other animals but on the contrary tends to get along with just about any four legged creature that will allow him to be himself.
Bulldogs are known to be fairly easy to housebreak and master basic commands without too much difficulty however, this is a breed that can be “bullheaded” and requires patience. The bulldog motto: I’ll do it, but in MY time. Contrary to belief, this is a breed that is very capable of participating in not only conformation events but also CGC, Agility and many others!
It may seem that man has directed the breeding of an animal with many problems. Not true. All breeds have problems they are prone to. Most of the Bulldog’s problems are with reproduction and as tiny puppies. Although their life span is only about 10 – 15 years, those years are relatively healthy and happy.
Issues of concern for this breed are: Hypothyroidism, entropian, dysplasia and elongated palate.
Grooming and Exercise Requirements
Bulldogs really enjoy being groomed ( except for nail trimming ), and many especially enjoy taking baths. If you use the bathtub to bathe your Bulldog, be sure to close your bathroom door tightly when taking your bath or you may have him trying to share the tub with you!
The Bulldog has a smooth, short coat and is naturally a reasonably clean dog. Because of his short coat many people think grooming is not needed. Not true. The cost of having a professional groomer clip, pluck, trim or shape is an expense you will not have, but there is more to grooming than elaborate coat care.
This particular breed requires daily care of its facial wrinkles, body folds and special attention must also be paid to the tail. Due to the build of the bulldog it is almost physically impossible for him to clean these areas himself. If attention is not given to these areas infections can and will set in!
Bulldogs do not require much excercise and usually the daily walk to check the mail or pay a visit to the neighbor is all that is needed. The breed does not do well with long periods of excercise and will overheat quickly. Special attention should be given to make sure overheating does not occur.
Some Famous Owners Of Bulldogs Past & Present
Olivia de Havilland
1917 began the still offical use of the Bulldog by Mack Truck
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Breed Profile submitted by tisonbulldogs