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English Bulldog History

English Bulldog History

Centuries ago, toward the beginning of the 13th century this wonderful breed was created.  Originally bred as a butcher’s dog to help them control oxen in the fields, they were also used as guard dogs and most popularly for the blood sport of bull baiting.

The English Bulldog descended from ancient Mastiffs that originated in Asia and were brought to Europe by nomads, these dogs were bred for ferocity in fighting, holding, or bringing down aggressive prey.  This trait was found to be useful in breeding the bulldog for baiting which is a sport that is now considered cruel and inhumane, but in the early 13th century it was quite popular.  The bulldogs were placed in a ring type coliseum with a bull and the dogs would fight the bull by clasping to the fleshy part of the bulls nose and pinning it to the ground, this method is described in many historical works, most notably, in Shakespeare’s King Henry VI.  The sport was outlawed in 1835.

After the sport was outlawed these bulldogs were heavily exported to America and Germany, where they helped in the creation of the Boxer and American Bulldog, “cousins” of the English Bulldog.  The remaining bulldogs were crossed with Pug dogs to create a stocky, docile, family pet known today as the English Bulldog.  The breed was first registered by the American Kennel Club in 1934 in the non-sporting group and today is always one of the crowd favorites.  Initially bred for ferocity and courage, the bulldog is now a devoted and sweet member of the non-sporting group of dogs.