History and Origin
Even though the current Bulldogtype has been modernised a lot according to exterior, there is steal a lot of features in the look of the bulldog, that derives from the original bulldog.
In many cuntries bullbaiting was a sport for centuries and many people participated with great interest.
At that time, these contests was so popular, they was descriped as one of the national sports of England. Exactly when bullbaiting begun in England, is not certain, but old notes and writings tells that the foundation of this tradition was grounded in the year of 1209. There was a lot of demands for the dogs that was originally used for bullbaiting. They had to be mentally strong, have a lot of curage, be strong muscled and have a lot of power to fight a big, heavy and raging bull. On the other hand there was no particular demands on the looks of the dog.
In the year of 1209 Lord of Stamford, Earl Warren saw two bulls fighting eachother on the field outside his castle. The fight was interrupted when all the butcher-dogs came running and attacked one of the bulls. The dogs chased the raging bull through the town. This sight amused the Lord, so in the following years he through arrangements with a fight between dogs and a bull, to amuse the upper class citisenz.
Eventually these arrangements became an ongoing tradition that spread all over England. There has even been found describing documents on how a bullbaiting was held in Tutbury in Staffordshire in 1375.
The dogs that were used in these fights was of very different origin. The first, very precise describtion of the dogs is dated back in 1410, and has been given by Edward, the duke of York. He called them Alaunter. First many years later, the dogs were called bulldogs, as known from today. The first time the word bulldog was seen, is in a letter from 1931/32.
The bullbaiting was popular for another couple of centuries, but around the 1800, the interest for this form of entertainment was falling and the civilisation spread. This resulted in passing a law that forbid bullbaiting and participating in them.
In 1860 the first english bulldog is entering a dogshow in Birmingham in England. Back then it was already a peculiar and unique race. It was rather unknown and forgotten in some years after bullbaiting was forbidden in 1835, but it steel had some supporters, especially the english working class, can take credit for us steel having this fantastic race today. They displayed the bulldogs on pubs, for the audience and made it an honour in holding the race pure and use the good sides of the bulldog in their breeding.
The ban of the bullbaiting meant that they had to focus on other characteristics, than the ones they formerly had prioritized the highest, that beeing strength and a lot of power. Now the temper had to be changed so the race would be friendly, sociably and as peaceful like other dogbreeds. Only few breeders appreciated the race enough, to keep breeding them.
In that time, the bulldog was quite light, more longlegged, with a longer tail and a bit smaller head. It was very energetic, perservering, brave, toughlooking and was considered as a good guardian dog.
In the year of 1864 a Bulldogclub was founded. Even though it only existed in 3 years, the first standard of the race was written. Amongst others, it said that the bulldog is a majestetic dog. If it is treatet with care and thought, and spends time with the owner regularly, it is calm, biddable, obedient and alert. If it is neglected and isolated from human contact it becomes more aggressive and violent.
In 1875 The Bulldog Club INC was founded.
The bulldogs was pretty common around the 1900, but after the two worldwars the number of bulldogs was down to a minimum and in the 1940's the count of bulldogs in Denmark was very, very low. With dedication and focused breeding the number of bulldogs increased again and the count of english bulldogs in Denmark is now bigger than ever.
Today the standard has changed so it fits the modern society better. The bulldog has become smaller and heavier. It has gotten a bigger head and a wider front and is it not that persevering anymore. It is now a much more peaceful, lovely, friendly and social dogs, that really loves children. It is steal alert but very playful.
If breeders are picky, the english bulldog is overall a healthy breed.
The english bulldog of today is NOT a fihghting dog OR a muscle dog as it was several centuries ago. It is a very friendly, calm and social companion dog with a wonderful mentality. They function perfectly as familydogs and is very child-friendly.
Source: The Danish Bulldog Club
Copyright Horsegarden Bulldogs, 2015 © All Rights Reserved