The Bulldog’s History

Origin of the Breed

The English Bulldog,
colloquially known as the British Bulldog or Bulldog,
is a medium-sized dog that originated from England.
The breed was first registered by the AKC
in 1934 in the non-sporting group.

Today the English Bulldog
is one of the most popular dog breeds
throughout the world.

Their stout structure, humanlike faces
and loyal characters made the unique identity of this breed.

Most researchers agree that the Bulldog
is either a cross between a Mastiff and a Pug,
or a descendant from the Alaunt.

The earliest mentions of the Bulldog breed
date back to the early in 13th century
when butchers used to keep dogs
that were bred to catch and hold wild cattle.


Later on,
Bulldogs were bred for cruel blood sports
known as bull baiting.

Bulldogs were not only forced to fight with bulls,
but also badgers, lions, bears and even elephants.

The blood sports were the popular pastimes of the masses
that can be traced back to the year 1209.
This was a sick form of animal cruelty
to entertain the people back then.
This form of animal cruelty as a ‘sport’
was finally banned in 1835.


Normally the fight was staged
in a field, a pit, or an arena.
The concept of  bull-baiting
was for the dog to engage the bull.

Bulldogs were trained to crouch
low to the ground to shield their bodies
from the bull’s horns when it charged.
The shoulders were placed
on the outside of the body.
This was to make sure it could crouch low.


Similarly, the hindquarters of the Bulldog
are not as well developed as the forequarters,
allowing the dog to be shaken violently
without suffering any spinal injuries.

The head of the Bulldog, like his body,
is also the part of the fighting strategies
that men wanted to develop.
The short jaws allows the dog to hang onto
whatever it wants with a surprising tenaciousness.

The grip of a Bulldog is very strong
and so is the structure of the jaws.
Should the Bulldog be able to latch
onto the bull’s nose,
the Bulldog has a short snout
located on the face upwards to allow breathing,
while retaining its grip on the bull’s nose.

A New Purpose

Once bull-baiting was outlawed in the UK, 
it would seem that there would be
no further need for the breed,
and the Bulldog would probably become extinct.

But a few fans of the breed
saved it by giving the Bulldog a new purpose.
This is when the English Bulldog
made the beautiful change
from a fighting breed to a family breed.

The Bulldog’s character
changed over the years
from an aggressive and vicious fighter,
to a loving and loyal family friend.

a Bulldog will rather avoid a fight
and is considered one of the most
gentle, calm and loyal breeds.


A New Look

Over the years,
the look of the Bulldog
started to change as well.

They became smaller, more stocky
and got a more flattened face.
There is a lot of discussion
whether this was accomplished merely by
selectively breeding smaller dogs or cross-breeding.

Sadly, the last few decades,
breeders started to breed even more for looks,
and exaggerated the Bulldogs typical looks
including their short face, short legs, small behind, and wrinkles.
Some of these features are the cause of some of
the Bulldog breed specific health problems.

Today’s Bulldog

The English Bulldog
is one of the most popular dog breeds
these days.

Most people will describe them
as friendly, loving and funny creatures
with a heart of gold.

A Bulldog is a dog
that will make an appearance
not only because of its looks
but even more so because of its striking character.

Because the Bulldog has such a mild temperament
and is very loyal and gentle,
it makes an ideal family pet,
especially for people who live in the city.

Also, the Bulldog gained a lot of popularity
as a very widely used mascot.
In the US alone, the Bulldog represents
nearly four dozen universities and 250 secondary schools.
It is also the unofficial mascot
for the US Marines and various sports teams.

Bulldogs are everywhere …
in the movies and tv shows,
on postcards and posters,
you see them everywhere!

How can we explain this breeds popularity?
In my personal opinion,
what makes a Bulldog is not their unique looks,
but but rather it is the Bulldog’s Character that explains it all.

Bulldogs are born to Love the World ♥

Read more about the character of the English Bulldog here.


The Future

It is our hope and wish
that we will use the example
of how the breed was bred
to a new standard of character in the past,
and use what we know today about the Bulldog’s health,
to maintain not only the English Bulldog’s character and looks,
but also make the Bulldog’s health the number one priority.

Strict rules regarding health MUST be a priority,
and breed specific health problems
need to be bred out of the breed.

The standards and rules need to be changed worldwide.
This can only be done when veterinary experts, kennel clubs,
breeders and owners worldwide work together.



  • English Bulldog Timeline

  • ± 1300

    First ever mention of a Bulldog

  • 1835

    Bull-baiting was made illegal in England by the Cruelty to Animals Act

  • 1878

    Dedicated bulldog fanciers formed The Bulldog Club (England)

  • 1889

    Handsome Dan becomes the Yale Mascot. The history of Handsome Dan dates to 1889, when Andrew Graves ’92S, a football player and rower during the days of Walter Camp, first named Yale’s mascot. The Bulldog tradition began a few years earlier, in 1890, when Harper, a champion English bulldog, was brought to football games to inspire the athletes

  • 1890

    Bulldog Club of America was founded

  • 1913

    Bulldog, Ch. Strathtay Prince Albert wins Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show

  • 1922

    Because of the tenacity and demeanor of the breed, the image took root with both the Marines and the public. The Marines soon unofficially adopted the English Bulldog as their mascot.

    At the Marine base at Quantico, Virginia, the Marines obtained a registered English Bulldog, King Bulwark. In a formal ceremony on 14 October 1922, BGen. Smedley D. Butler signed documents enlisting the bulldog, renamed Jiggs, for the “term of life.” Pvt. Jiggs then began his official duties in the U.S. Marine Corps.

  • 1939 -1945

    Bulldogs have a longstanding association with English culture, to many the Bulldog is a national icon, symbolising pluck and determination. During World War II, Bulldogs were often likened to Prime Minister Winston Churchill and his defiance of Nazi Germany.

  • 1942

    Spike the Bulldog makes his first appearance in the cartoon Tom & Jerry

  • 1955

    Ch. Kippax Fearnought wins Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show

  • 1987

    Jake and the Fatman was an American crime series starring William Conrad as prosecutor J. L. Fatman McCabe and Joe Penny as investigator Jake Styles. The Fatman hardly traveled anywhere without Max, his pet bulldog

  • 1999

    Baggy Bulldogs was founded

  • 2009

    Tillman the Bulldog sets the Guinness World Record for the fastest 100 meter on a skateboard by a dog

  • 2015

    Otto the bulldog sets the record for longest human tunnel traveled through by a skateboarding dog

  • 2019

    Thor wins Best in Show at 2019 National Dog Show

Let’s finish this blog with some vintage Bulldog photos …

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