Other Names: English Bulldog, British Bulldog
Country of Origin: England
Lifespan: 7-9 Years
Male Height: 12-15 Inches
Male Weight: 50 Pounds
Female Weight: 40 Pounds
American Kennel Club Classification : Non-Sporting Group
Canadian Kennel Club Classification : Non-Sporting Dogs
Kennel Club (Great Britain) Classification : Utility
The Bulldog is a friendly, comical, docile, and stubborn dog. He interacts superbly with children, well with other dogs, and great with cats if they understand that his food dish is off-limits to them.
It is very important to understand the special needs of the Bulldog. Exercise should be conducted at a slower pace, and discontinued if there is any difficulty in his breathing. It is crucial to keep this breed out of heat and high humidity because they succumb to heart attacks and poor breathing more readily than any other breed.
This is a superb guard dog, though it is not the easiest of breeds to train; consistency in training is important if you are to achieve good results. This is a low needs dog, only requiring his daily food and the simple comforts of home. They are short-lived, and puppies are often delivered by caesarean because of their large heads. Most Bulldogs cannot swim because of their short legs. One more caveat is in order: the Bulldog tends to sleep more contentedly than many other breeds, which may explain their propensity for loud snoring.
The Bulldog's first purpose, as his name may suggest, was in the old sport of bull-baiting. The first Bulldogs were aggressive, ferocious, and blood-thirsty, to the point that the Romans had a decree which forbid people taking a Bulldog through the streets - even on a leash! In bull-baiting, the Bulldog would grab the bull on the nose, and hold on until the bull fell to the ground from sheer exhaustion. Once bull-baiting was outlawed in Great Britian in 1830, the Bulldog was in danger of extinction as he now served no purpose. Bill George took the Bulldog and produced a frienldy version of the original breed, while still keeping the look of the breed that had made it famous.
The Bulldog, or Bandogges as he was refered to in his early days, has been mentioned in many ancient writings. Shakespeare wrote of the Bandogges in Henry VI, Act1: "The time when screech owls and Bandogges howl and spirits walk and ghosts break up their graves.". First appearing in a dog show in 1864, the Bulldog has been a popular show dog around the world. Today the Bulldog is widely recognized as the national dog of England.
A Brief History of the Bulldog
Originally the Bulldog was bred to protect and bait bulls, the purpose of which was both practical (tenderising meat) and profitable (entertainment), both of which will be discussed later. We will begin with the series of events which saw the initiation of the development of this unique genre of breeds.
As far back as 50 AD in the Roman context, a fighting breed known as the Broad Mouthed Dog of Briton is documented. Furthermore, the Roman's are found to have taken a keen interest in these early Briton bulldogs, having selected and exported them from Briton to Rome, purely for entertainments sake, used in the great amphitheatres of this era (4).
In 1066 England began training dogs for baiting bulls, bears, horses and various other species. One can confidently assume that this was the beginning of the development of the British Bulldog, a breed who's anatomy and physiology are so perfectly suited for this arduous task (See Article Number 2). Bull baiting required the Bulldog to engage the bull by creeping upon it's belly toward the bull, while the bull anticipating the dogs advances lowers it's head ready to defend itself by tossing the dog with its horns, however before given the chance the Bulldog leaps and grabs the bull by the nostrils (1). It is believed that bull baiting came about by the realisation of the fact that the lactic acid build up created in exercise carried out by the animal before slaughter, has the effect of tenderising the meat and giving it a satisfying flavour. Therefore it became commonplace for butchers to provide this service, to the point, that fines were issued to those who did not comply. Hence, this started the basis for what was to be a successful breeding program in which over many years of selection for traits conducive toward the effective of this task, a breed was born. Breeding animals were selected upon their relative intuition and ease of training, that is, to grab the nose of the bull and no other part, along with the selection of complimentary physical attributes.