The English Bulldog is a short-haired breed of mastiff-type dogs. According to the method of use, the standard classifies the breed as bodyguard and companion dogs. Modern English Bulldogs were bred in the second half of the 19th century, at the heart of the breed is the Old English Bulldog, a pickling dog breed that has now become extinct. The English Bulldog has a pronounced personality and is considered the national dog of England, embodying the traits often attributed to a “true gentleman”: solidity, equanimity, conservatism, some phlegm, on the one hand, and aristocracy, solidity, combined with imposingness and rude elegance, on the other. Keeping bulldogs requires a lot of responsibility, since the breed in the process of development, having turned from a fighting to a decorative one, has lost its working qualities and has become very vulnerable. This fact is often noted by critics of the breed, attempts are made to recreate the original Old English Bulldog, but these experiments have not yet received recognition from the International Cynological Federation.
History of the breed
Bulldogs originated in England and were used as pickling dogs in the “bloody sport”; mainly in bull-baiting – bull-baiting. Actually, this is where the name of the breed arose – Bulldog.
The exact time of the appearance of the breed is unknown. John Cayus, in the first ever cynological work, entitled “Of English Dogs” (1576), describes many breeds of his day, but does not mention the bulldogs. Obviously, by this time the breed had not yet formed. At the same time, Dr. Kayus describes a breed that he calls “Mastive” or “Bandogge” (Mastive / Bandogge). These dogs are huge, stubborn, vicious and energetic. They are very massive and are ideal for “grabbing and holding the bull’s ear,” no matter how wild and furious it may be. For a long time all large dogs were called mastiffs (“mastiffs”), and all chain dogs were called “bandogs”.
It can be unambiguously argued that the British singled out “bul-dogs” from the rest of the “mastivs” already at the beginning of the 17th century. In the play by the poet and playwright Ben Johnson, Epicœne, or The silent woman, 1609, both “bull dogs” and “bear dogs” are mentioned. The surviving letter of a certain Prestwich Eaton, which he, being in San Sebastian, sent to his friend in London, with a request to send him “a good maste, a box of the best booze and a couple of good bulldogs, but quickly.”
The famous French naturalist Buffon, on the other hand, believed that the bulldog was the progenitor of the mastiff, and not vice versa.
In 1799, there is a mention of the bulldog among hunting dogs, in which bulldogs and mastiffs are recommended for hunting wild boars. Following this, illustrator Sydenham Edwards, in his Cynographia Britannica (1800), gives a very picturesque description of the bulldog and reports that this dog is descended from the crossing of a large mastiff with a pug (Pug Dog). Bulldog classic Bailey S. Haynes clarifies that Edwards did not mean “a French pug, but what is known as a Lesser or German Mastiff, originally from Holland and Germany.” It is not entirely clear which dogs Haynes is referring to. Pugs were brought to Europe, most likely from China, only at the end of the 16th century, and this breed can hardly claim to be the progenitor of the Bulldog.
In 1886, MB Wynn, in his book “The History of the Mastiff”, suggested that the common ancestor of the Bulldog and the Mastiff was the so-called Pugnaces Britanniae, which the British bred and even sold to other countries back in the 1st century. n. e. and mentioned by the Greek historian Strabo.
At the present time, most experts are inclined to believe that the Bulldogs are related to the Mastiffs and, most likely, have a common ancestor with him – the Alan. Alans were mastiff-like dogs and, in turn, descended from molossians and busty greyhounds. The Alans got their name from the name of the Sarmatian tribe that inhabited the mountains of the Caucasus, where these dogs were bred.
Boolean and Old English Bulldog
Animal baiting, one of the oldest mass fun in England, was immensely popular until it was banned in the first half of the 19th century. Even the ancient Roman poet Claudian at the turn of the IV-V centuries AD. e. mentioned a “British dog that presses a huge bull’s forehead to the ground.” His contemporary Symmachus recalled how seven Irish Bulldogs showed such courage and ferocity in the Roman arena that it was believed that these dogs were transported in iron cages. It is likely that the Romans instilled a love of bloody spectacles in the inhabitants of the British Isles, but bull-baiting as a separate kind of bloody sport seems to have an English origin.
The popularity of the pickling sport led to the flourishing of dog breeding and the emergence of Bulldogs, or Old English Bulldogs, as this breed was later called. Bull-baiting placed special demands on the dog, both for its constitution and for its temperament. The dog had to be hardy, fearless to the point of recklessness, impervious to pain, always in tune with the fight. It was supposed to be a squat, stocky, not too heavy dog with a wide chest and a developed shoulder girdle, with short, smooth coat and a dead grip. She had to unquestioningly obey the orders of the owner under any circumstances.
This is how the Old English Bulldogs were bred – a breed that is unique in its qualities, extremely functional, ideally suited to fulfill the task assigned to it. The following fact speaks about the breed’s capabilities: a case was recorded when the owner of a bulldog, during the baiting on a bet, chopped off his paws one after another. At the same time, the dog continued the duel with the bull until the owner called her to him and chopped off her head. In addition to bull-baiting, bulldogs and their names were also used in numerous other types of baiting: bear-baiting (baiting of bears), baiting of horses, donkeys, badgers, monkeys, even lions and tigers, as well as rats (ratting).
Before the start of the fight, the owner firmly held the bulldog rushing into battle by the ears, then, at the signal, let him down. The bulldog attacked the bull from the front and, seizing the moment, clung to its face with a death grip: nose, lip, tongue or eye. After that, the bulldog hung on his victim and did not open his jaws until the bull lay down, exhausted, or stopped fighting, announcing his defeat with a lingering moo. Experienced and cautious bulls carefully guarded the muzzle, pressing their nose to the ground and pushing their horns forward, with which they strove to pry and toss the bulldog, which could lead to a disastrous result for the dog. Therefore, good bulldogs, due to their structure and special tactics of fighting, avoided bull horns. If the bulldog was so carried away by the fight that he did not hear the owner’s command to stop it, the dog was pinched by its long thin tail – usually the owner simply bit the dog by the tail – this was the best way to force the bulldog to let go of the victim, or at least to loosen his grip. If the bulldog grabbed “tightly”, then his jaws were unclenched with a special wooden squeeze. If the bulldog grabbed the bull by the leg, it was immediately discarded. Some puppies have been trained since the age of six months.
Despite the huge and universal popularity of bull-baiting, the attitude towards bulldogs as a breed has long been dismissive. Ancient documents that have survived state that Bulldogs are stupider than larger dogs; that they form slowly, rarely reaching sexual maturity by one and a half years; that, having reached it, they multiply sluggishly; finally, that already at the age of five or six they begin to grow decrepit. It is currently impossible to say which of these judgments about the old bulldogs are true and which are not, but later, when the first breed standard appeared, the bulldog was called “undeservedly slandered”.
By the end of the 18th century, the popularity of bullying and other types of bullying began to decline. The sympathies of the British increasingly won dog fights. For a fight with other representatives of the dog tribe, completely different qualities were required – speed, flexibility, mobility. Bulldogs began to be mated with terriers, such a cross, called the Bul-and-Terrier and combining the best qualities of both breeds for fighting, became highly valued. No significant measures were taken to preserve the purity of the breed.
The last blow to the breed was a ban on baiting animals. In 1835, the British Parliament passed the Cruelty to Animals Act 1835, which, however, did not affect dog fighting. And although illegal harassment in various settlements of Great Britain was carried out until the middle of the century, it was not possible to preserve the breed in its original form – by the time the law was passed, there were almost no purebred Bulldogs left.
Emergence and development of the breed standard
It is believed that the first reference representatives of the breed, from which all modern breeding English Bulldogs descended, were the Crib and Rosa. They belonged to H. Whirlst and in 1817 were the first to be entered in the studbook of the English Kennel Club.
The first dog show in the history of England took place on June 28-29, 1859 in Newcastle. The next one, in the same year, in Birmingham. Bulldogs were not presented at any of these shows. For the first time, Bulldogs appeared at the Birmingham Exhibition, held on December 3-4, 1860, where they were given one class. The first and only prize was taken by the bulldog owned by James Hinks. In the next three years (1861-1864) the bulldogs were presented at exhibitions in Leeds (1861), Manchester (1861), Birmingham (1862). At all these shows, the breed was assigned one class. However, at the London exhibition at Egrikalchel Hall (Agricultural Hall, 1862) and in Cremorne (Chelsea, 1863) Bulldogs were presented in two classes – “large” and “small”. The latter were also called “toy”, it is very likely that these small representatives of the breed were the ancestors of modern French Bulldogs. At the show in Clermont, the weight of the dog was declared as the boundary between the classes, equal to 18 pounds (8,164 kg).
The first World Dog Show took place in 1863 at Egricalcherel Hall, followed a year later by the Second, and on them the border between “light” and “heavy” weight was already set at 20 pounds (9.072 kg). At the Birmingham shows of 1863 and 1864, classes were divided according to sex, without dividing them by weight, while in Manchester all Bulldogs continued to be shown in a single class.
By 1864, bulldog breeders and enthusiasts realized the need to create a bulldog club and develop uniform breed standards.
First Bulldog Club and Philo-Kuon Standard
The first bulldog club opened on November 3, 1864, founded by Mr. R.S. Rockstro. The club had its own motto – “Death grip”, and the tasks of the club in the charter were “perpetuating and improving the Old English Bulldog.” The club was formed by about 30 people, among its members were connoisseurs of the breed, many of whom still saw the glorious times of its heyday, connoisseurs of bull-baiting, who were firsthand familiar with this bloody sport and business. In fact, the results of the club’s work turned out to be very modest – after three years it ceased to exist without organizing a single exhibition.
The main achievement of the Rockstro Bulldog Club was the detailed description of the bulldog known as the “Philo-Kuan Standard”. This description was published in 1865 by Samuel Wickens, the future treasurer of the club, under the pseudonym Philo-Kuan. Filo-Kuonsky describes a somewhat idealized bulldog, you can feel it already from his introduction:
The English Bulldog is a majestic, ancient animal, very rare, mostly undeservedly slandered and, as a rule, very little known, brought up in kindness, constant communication and attention from the owner, the dog is calm and obedient; but if she is on a chain and without attention, then she becomes much less sociable and submissive, and when excited, she can become so angry that it becomes extremely dangerous to others. Dogs of this breed are excellent guards, wonderful swimmers; very valuable for crossing with terriers, pointers, hounds, greyhounds, etc., to give them courage and endurance. This is the most courageous and determined animal. <…> A good bulldog does not care who to attack – reckless, dashing and fearless, he will fight to the last drop of blood. This noble breed degenerates outside the country – in fact it is a native British dog that is ideally associated with Old England – a dog that the British can be proud of.
The Philo-Kuon standard for the first time describes all the main stats of a bulldog – the shape and size of the head, ears, face, neck, chest and shoulder girdle, back, limbs, etc. The recommendations of this standard regarding the shape of the ears and tail, color, and Also, the height at the withers and the mass of the dog were subsequently revised and, in general, do not correspond to modern ideas about the ideal of the breed. In its main provisions, the Philo-Kuon standard remains a good benchmark at the present time, serving as the basis for all subsequent standards of the English Bulldog.
The number of exhibitions, meanwhile, increased, but there was still a lack of opinion in the classification. At the Third World Dog Show (1865), all Bulldogs, as before, were divided by weight (lighter and heavier than 20 pounds). Manchester held two exhibitions (1865 and 1866), at which all Bulldogs were divided according to the same principle. Birmingham continued to divide dogs of the breed by sex, but in 1865 introduced an additional class of Champions (only for males), which, however, later abandoned. In 1867-71, both Birmingham and Manchester held exhibitions in only two categories: for males and for bitches. In 1869, the first exhibition of the national dog breeding club took place in Islington, in addition to classes for males and bitches, a mixed class was allocated to bulldogs – for dogs lighter than 11 kg. At the first exhibition in the Crystal Palace (1870), two classes of bulldogs were presented, but the following year their number increased.
New exhibitions – in Glasgow and Edinburgh – were first held in 1871 and both had only one class of dogs of this breed. Exhibition experiments continued for quite a long time, the largest number of classes, four, were provided to the bulldogs in Birmingham in 1873: two weight categories for bitches and males. By this time, there was a tendency to increase the dividing line between “light” and “heavy” scales, so at the exhibition in the Crystal Palace in 1873 it reached 13.5 kg.
Bulldog King Dick, owned by Jacob Lamphier, was considered the best of the breed at this time. King Dick, a red male with a black mask, was born in 1858 and was unreachable at all shows he participated in from 1861 to 1865, including the first three World Dog Shows (1863-65) in the heavyweight class. King Dick and one of his offspring, Krib, became the basis for the breed standard, written by Lamfier in 1861 (but unlike Philo-Kuonsky, which was not universally recognized). King Dick died in 1866 at the age of eight, briefly outliving its owner. According to legend, on the day of Lamphier’s funeral, the bulldog was forgotten in the courtyard of the house, and King Dick immediately went in search of the owner. Not finding him, King Dick became homesick, refused food and died four days later. Most of the modern champions in one way or another date back to this bulldog.
King Dick was not the only champion of those years whose fate was tragic. The first show at the Crystal Palace (1870) was won by a bulldog named Michael the Archangel. After the exhibition, he was taken to Paris, where Michael the Archangel had to be eaten during the siege of the city.
On April 4, 1873, the famous “The Kennel Club” was founded – the world’s first dog breeding club, engaged in the registration of purebred dogs and dog breeds. The organization set the compilation of herd books as one of the primary tasks. The Bulldogs were included in the first volume of the Kennel Club Stud Book, which was presented at the Birmingham Exhibition on December 1, 1874. It is noteworthy that the first English Bulldog entered in the register was a male named Adam (Adamo) born in 1864, although several dogs much older than him, born in the 1850s, were included in the book. Adam belonged to Mr. R. Heathfield and breeded by Jacob Lamfier, owner of King Dick.
In 1874, an attempt was made to revive the bulldog club. However, the second club existed even less than the first, less than a year. By this time, many Spanish bulldogs were brought into the country, the weight of which reached 45 kg (for comparison, according to the Philo-Kuon standard, the weight of an English bulldog is not less than 9 kg and “rarely exceeds” 27 kg). The threat of degeneration looms over the English breed again, the need to take more serious measures to preserve it became obvious.
Creation of a corporation and further development of the breed
In March 1875, the third bulldog club was founded, which still exists today. The birth of the new organization took place in the London pub “The Blue Post”, and the main task of the founders was to preserve the purity of the English breed, primarily from its mixing with the Spanish Bulldog. The founders of the club collected all available information about the breed and its best representatives and developed a new standard for the English Bulldog, which was published on May 27, 1875. This standard, with minor amendments, is still valid in England today. Later, only two essential provisions were excluded from it: 1) that the bitch Rosa, depicted in the famous painting “Crib and Rose” (1817), is close to the ideal of a bulldog in exterior, constitution and size; 2) that none of the existing dogs fully meets the standard to which one should strive.
The next stage of the club’s activities was the compilation of a scale of points for the exterior. The total score consisted of assessments of the main components of the exterior. The scale was adopted and approved on August 5, and published on September 2, 1875. In addition, a proposal was made to create a club’s own studbook, but it was not possible to implement it.
The club held its first show in the same year in the same pub, only 10-15 dogs took part in it, divided into two classes by gender. The club held its next exhibition in June 1876, more than a hundred applications were submitted for it, but for various reasons the number of competitors was 75 bulldogs from 51 owners. A wide variety of classes were presented: males weighing up to and over 18 kg, females of any weight, puppies of both sexes up to 1 year old, as well as a separate class for sale. Despite the fact that most of the dogs presented were very good, interest in the club after the competition dropped sharply. The third exhibition was only held on November 2, 1878. This two-year break was the only one in the exhibition history of the club, except during the Second World War. From 1878 to the present day, exhibitions have been held every year, as the interest of the public and specialists in the club has increased again and has remained unchanged since then.
The exhibition of 1879 was the first, which lasted three days: from 15 to 17 May. Also, an unsuccessful attempt was made to introduce double refereeing. On December 9-11, the club held its first winter exhibition, organizing for the first time two competitions in a year. In the same year, the club developed and adopted a regulation to support and promote the breed at all national dog shows, including by increasing the classes in which the breed can be presented. This position and the policy of the club have remained relevant to this day.
As for the development of the breed, the 1870s were the time of the triumph of the bulldog named Crib, also known as Turton’s Crib (since it belonged to T. Turton) and Sheffields Crib. Crib was born in Sheffield in 1871 to breeder Fred Lamphier (son of Jacob Lamphier). Crib was a true brindle heavyweight – over 64 pounds (29 kg). He was a descendant of Old King Dick in at least one lineage. According to many experts of the time, the Crib was the best breed in history. Its influence on the development of the breed was colossal, it began to be felt from the second half of the 1870s, and reached its peak by the 1890s. At the exhibitions of the Bulldog Club, held in 1892-93 at the Royal Aquarium, the blood of Crib was flowing in the veins of almost every dog with a pedigree.
The four main branches of modern breeding English Bulldogs originate from Krib, from four different bitches:
- Rosa (owner Berry), in the litter the champions Monarch and Geimster. In the next generation from the Monarch: British Monarch champions, Britomartis, Will of Fortune, Taurus.
- Mag (ow. F. Lamfier), in the litter a brindle male Tiger, who in turn gave champions Richard Lion Heart and Redova, white bulldog Sir Anthony and many others
- Miss Smiff (owner P. Rast), from this line a fawn male champion Sancho Panza, L’Ambassador – the first champion of American breeding, champion Rodney Stone and many others.
- Keith (owner V. Beckett), along this line the champions of Dryads, Dimbula, many other famous exhibition specimens and manufacturers.
At the end of the XIX century, there were several recognized and famous representatives of the breed, not belonging to any of these branches, for example, the line “Sixpence” – “King Cole” – “King Cole Jr.”, as well as champions Alexander and Duke. These dogs were used for outcrossing with the descendants of the Krib. Currently, the Crib line forms the basis of pedigree English Bulldogs.
On May 17, 1894, the Bulldog Club received the status of a corporation and since then has been officially named The Bulldog Club, Inc., being the world’s oldest monobreed dog breeding club.
Distribution of the breed in the world
English Bulldogs were introduced to the European continent en masse in the middle of the 19th century. At this time, the breed standard had not yet been developed, and the Bulldogs varied greatly among themselves, in particular in weight and size. In 1848-1860, an economic crisis raged in England, a stream of unemployed, mainly weavers, in search of a better life poured across the English Channel – to the north of France and to Belgium. They brought bulldogs with them for entertainment and protection of property, and as a part of their native England. For convenience on their travels, English workers chose small bulldogs as companions. In addition, their owners probably crossed the imported dogs with the descendants of the Spanish Burdos Bulldogs, as well as, possibly, with terriers and pugs. Immigrants settled mainly in the suburbs, forming zones of compact residence, and soon a new breed was born in the Parisian suburbs – the French Bulldog.
The breed was not recognized for a long time in the homeland of the bulldog, since in the opinion of patriotic members of the English society, among whom there were many dog breeders, the bulldog could only be English. But when in the 1890s French Bulldogs were brought from France to Great Britain, it was impossible to continue to ignore the existence of this breed. However, the English Kennel Club did not give up its positions and in 1894 singled out small (weighing no more than 20 pounds) English Bulldogs into a special group – Toy Bulldogs, announcing that these were the very French dogs whose owners encroached on the English national treasure. Although the difference in exterior between the so-called toy bulldogs and the actual French bulldogs was obvious – the latter were more elegant and had large, erect, rounded ears, like those of bats – in England both of them were evaluated for a long time in the same ring. In 1902, the English club of French Bulldog lovers was formed, in 1904 this name was first heard in the ring, and a year later the breed was finally recognized by the Kennel Club of Great Britain. This happened even earlier than in France, and thus the conflict was settled, and the priority for miniature bulldogs remained with the French.
English Toy Bulldogs remained popular until about 1910. According to the standard, they differed from the rest of the English Bulldogs only in size. After the recognition of the French Bulldogs, the need for such an artificial demarcation disappeared, the breed lost support, and soon the Toy Bulldogs disappeared.
As for France, its own bulldogs there have become the same national pride as the English in Great Britain. And although over time the English breed has gained its admirers in France, its popularity there cannot be compared with the popularity of the French Bulldog.
Australia and New Zealand
English Bulldogs in the 19th century spread to many British colonies. However, only in Australia and New Zealand, purposeful breeding work was carried out, and even their own standard was created – Australian. Moreover, the main merit in the formation and maintenance of this standard belongs to New Zealand breeders, since the popularity of the breed in neighboring Australia was initially relatively low, despite the fact that the first bulldogs appeared there quite early.
Already at the first dog show, held in Melbourne on April 7-8, 1864, according to the catalog, 17 participants were declared in the bulldog class. Breeding work in the region has long been based on the import of high quality dogs from England. Until the beginning of the 20th century, several outstanding representatives of the breed were imported to Australia: the Big Baby (later known as the Viking), Bruce IV, Hardy Norsman and others. After importation, the prefix Imported was often added to dog names to distinguish them from colony-derived dogs.
New Zealand supplied the colonies with pedigree dogs until 1894. In the early 1900s, the New South Wales English Bulldog Club was formed in Australia, which has become one of the oldest specialized clubs in Australia and is now a very influential organization on the continent and in the world of Bulldog lovers.
Currently, the import of bulldogs from England continues to play a major role in the development of the breed in the region, many Australian champions were either imported to the continent themselves, or are descendants of English champions in the first generation at least along one of the lines.
Old English Bulldogs have been imported to the American continent by Europeans since the 16th century. It is known that at this time bulldogs appeared, for example, in the territory of the modern Brazilian states of Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina. The influx of emigrants from Great Britain increased in the first half of the 18th century: in 1724, England, whose economy was experiencing a depression, founded its southernmost colony, Georgia, and, with the help of various preferences, created conditions for attracting immigrants there.
The settlers used the Bulldogs as versatile working dogs – to guard housing and property, as well as to feed livestock and even to hunt wild boars. For breeding, farmers selected the largest, strongest and most resilient dogs. So, from the beginning of the 18th century, the breed of American Bulldogs, traditional for the farming South of the United States, began to take shape in relative isolation. Specialists and amateur dog breeders began to take a serious interest in this breed only in the 20th century, and the main merit in its conservation is recognized by John D. Johnson. It is very likely that the modern American Bulldog is a direct descendant of the Old English Bulldog, most closely repeating his features. The fate of this breed was very difficult – having almost disappeared by the beginning of the 20th century, it was saved, but it remains very vulnerable and unstable, divided into two breeding lines that have significant differences, and suffers from inbreeding. The general public learned about the existence of the breed only in the 1980s, the breed was recognized nationally by the United Kennel Club (UKC) in 1999, but is still not recognized by the Federation of Cynological International (FCI).
In Brazil, there are the so-called Campairo Bulldogs, which also claim to be the direct and purebred descendants of the Old English Bulldog. This breed is also not recognized internationally.
In America, the leadership in the breeding of pedigree English Bulldogs and in the promotion of the breed belongs to the United States, where there is its own standard for the English Bulldog, somewhat different from British and international standards. The first mention of the appearance of a pedigree English Bulldog in the United States dates back to 1880 – a five-year-old brindle-white dog named Donald was exhibited by Sir William Werner in New York. Experts agree that the best bulldogs in the USA in the 80s of the XIX century were imported littermates male Robinson Crusoe and female Britomartis, from the English champion Monarch. Britomartis consistently took first place at the New York exhibitions from 1885 to 1890, and Robinson Crusoe became the first national champion in 1888.
In 1890, H.D. Kendall thought about creating an organization, the tasks of which he saw
Joining efforts to support thoughtful and serious breeding of Bulldogs in America, keep the species clean, improve the quality of the local population, and also to end the undesirable prejudice that existed in the public consciousness towards this wonderful breed of dog. / blockquote>
The Bulldog Club of America (BCA) was born on April 1, 1890, at Mecanics Hall, Boston. Initially, bulldog lovers were guided by the standard of the English Bulldog Club, but already in 1891, one of the founders of the American Club, J. H. Matthews, proposed a standard of his own design. The changes were minor and the club members turned down Matthews’ offer. They returned to the question in 1896, the English standard was considered outdated and not clear enough, and a specially created commission approved its own American Bulldog Standard, which, with minor clarifications, is still valid in the United States.
For some time, the breeding of breeding bulldogs was based on the import of champions and the best producers from England with the aim of winning at continental exhibitions and obtaining elite offspring. Soon after the establishment of the bulldog club, R. B. Sawyer imported three famous bulldogs: the Harper male and the British Monarch bitches Graven Image and Holly Terror. Harper in 1891 became the first winner of one of the two historic silver cups awarded by the BCA – the Parke Cup (the following year it was renamed the Grand Trophy). The second such cup was the Sawyer Cup, established by the owner of Harper. The names of the winners and the names of their owners were engraved on the cups.
Following this, ID Morgan brought in the English champions Pathfinder and Saleni (considered the best bitch of that time). 1893 was a defining year for the establishment of the breed in the United States. The number of applications for participation in the New York show has doubled compared to last year, a number of high-profile purchases were made by American dog breeders: champions Heath Lordship (His Lordship), King Orry (King Orry), Boswain. In 1894, in New York, the first place was taken by the male Heath Lordship, the second – by the female King Lud, the third – by King Orry. Interest in the bulldogs remained steady, with politician Richard Croker, head of Tammany Hall, making a loud statement at the turn of the century. Among his purchases were the champions Petramoss and Persimmon, as well as the Beat of Bluff Bulldogs, Little Witch and other dogs. But the real sensation was his acquisitions of the champions Bromley Crib (1900 for £ 800) and especially Rodney Stone (for £ 1000 in 1901, which was by then the record price ever paid for a bulldog).
The best English bulldog of American breeding of the 1890s is recognized by many experts as the Handsome Dan male. This bulldog, “a cross between an alligator and a horned toad,” was bought by the Englishman Andrew B. Graves from the former owner, a blacksmith, in 1889 for $ 65. Graves attended Yale University and played for his football team. Hands Dan became the university’s mascot, probably the first living mascot of America’s higher education institution. It is a tradition that before football and baseball matches start, teams put Dan on the field to cross it. After graduation, Graves returned to England and left Dan in the care of his brother. Over the course of his life, Dan has won over 30 awards at various exhibitions, including first place at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. In 1897 Dan was reunited as his master, and a year later he died in England. However, the living mascot was so fond of students and the public that in 1933 it was decided to revive the tradition by introducing a “position” by Hands Dan. Today’s Yale mascot is the sixteenth in a row. Bulldogs have become some of the most popular mascots for college and professional sports teams in the United States.
Charles G. Hopton’s bitch L’Ambassadeur became the first American-bred Bulldog to win the title of champion in the breed’s homeland, England. To participate in exhibitions, she crossed the Atlantic more than ten times in 1896-1901, possibly becoming the most traveling bulldog in history. For this victory, Hopton was awarded The Deal Trophy, specially established by Richard Crocker. Many years later, Hopton handed over the BCA trophy and the prize was renamed Rodney Trophy.
In 1904, the charter and basic provisions of the American Bulldog Club were supplemented. After that, the organization was recognized by the American Kennel Club (ACK), as the “mother” for all other bulldog clubs in the country. In the same year, it was announced that dogs that have undergone artificial changes in appearance and mutilation are not allowed to the exhibitions. After gaining recognition from the AKC, the BCA board initially thwarted attempts to found other bulldog clubs in an effort to maintain the monopoly of the country’s only such organization. Regional candidate organizations were rejected, which led to heated debate, which finally culminated in the recognition of the Philadelphia Bulldog Club in 1907. During this time, several other organizations, such as the Chicago Bulldog Club and the Bulldog Breeders Association of America, were denied registration. Thus, from that moment on, two annual specialized exhibitions were held in the United States – in New York and in Philadelphia.
In 1914, changes were made to the national standard – “dudley nose” (a nose with insufficient or no pigmentation) was declared a disqualifying defect.
BCA resistance to the expansion of the bulldog club network continued. In general, at the beginning of the 20th century, the work of this organization, due to its opacity, was constantly accompanied by scandals and accusations of fraud, unfair distribution of prizes at exhibitions, refusals to register regional organizations under far-fetched pretexts.
The Philadelphia Club, despite its recognition, was able to become an active member of the association only in 1912. After numerous unsuccessful attempts, in 1916 the Chicago Bulldog Club was allowed to hold its own exhibition. In 1923, the Pacific Coast Club received the same permission. At the same time, the Chicago club was again refused a request to join the association. Only from the mid-1920s, exhibitions began to take place throughout the country. In 1928, clubs were recognized in Detroit, Buffalo and Maryland. Since 1941, BCA stopped presenting the Grand Trophy and Sawyer Cups, and sent them for safekeeping to the bank, since then occasionally displaying relics at anniversary events. The Breeder / Owner / Handler of the BCA National Champion still receives the Rodney Trophy.
In 1948, a decision was made to reorganize the BCA, which was completed by 1950, under the leadership of a commission headed by D. M. Livingston (from Pennsylvania). New text of the charter and regulations were prepared, according to which the activities of the BCA became more coordinated with the AKC. On February 13, 1950, the founding of the renewed organization was proclaimed by a two-thirds majority of its members. The American Bulldog Club now consisted of seven (later eight) chapters, each headed by a president. The parent club was chaired by a re-elected board and leadership. Major BCA shows were now held in different regions of the country, the owner of the first such show in 1949 was the Indiana Bulldog Club. This policy had a beneficial effect on the popularization of the breed in the United States, and BCA has adhered to it to this day.
Since the spring of 1972, the BCA has been publishing a quarterly specialized magazine, The Bulldogger, which is sent to club members, as well as judges and other interested parties.
Separately, it is necessary to mention the fate of the breed in Hawaii. This state of the United States is 3700 km from the mainland of the country, and yet Hawaii is one of the most popular places for the English Bulldog. The first bulldog club was organized there in 1939, and in 1945 its first exhibition was held. Until the mid-1950s, they were held annually, but then the club had to be disbanded. In 1952, Hawaii recorded a record number of Champion Bulldogs, more than any other breed. In 1969, through the efforts of ten families, the club was revived, in 1973 the first AKC-licensed exhibition was held. Since then, they are held annually, each show features about 15 dogs. The small number of applicants makes it difficult to choose the winners. The import of new dogs is problematic due to the mandatory 120-day quarantine of the animal in a special kennel, the maintenance of which is paid by the owner. Despite this, most Hawaiian Bulldogs are from the mainland or England.
America is the main market for bulldogs exported from the UK. About a quarter of exported English champions end up in the United States. In addition to the United States, bulldog breeding and exhibition work on the American continent has been established in Mexico and Canada. Mexico, unlike the USA and Canada, is one of the participating countries of the FCI, and there is an international breed standard. Despite some differences from the US standard, Mexican shows on the Pacific Coast are popular with dog owners from the United States. Canada also occasionally imports individual English champions.
Bulldogs were also trained in the Americas to hunt runaway slaves, but with the abolition of slavery, this custom gradually disappeared by itself.
Bulldogs were also kept in Russia. Together with the Medelyans, they participated in the persecution of bears; in Moscow, such persecution took place outside the Rogozhskaya Zastava, until they were banned in the second half of the 19th century. Bulldogs were also kept as pets. According to some reports, the breed was tacitly banned in Soviet Russia by 1923, as emphasized “bourgeois”. Interest in the breed in Russia revived in the 1980s, and its popularity peaked in 1990-95. Since that time, interest in bulldogs has remained consistently high, but the culture of breeding, on average, still lags significantly behind the countries of Europe and America.
In Europe, among the leaders in the number and quality of bred bulldogs: Spain, Italy, in recent years Hungary has taken good positions.
English Bulldogs are popular in other countries of the world, especially in Japan and South Africa. In Japan, the number of purebred bulldogs has been constantly growing for several decades. The Japanese buy fewer champions in England than the Americans, but are ready to pay for them more than anyone else in the world, confidently occupying the second place in the market. In 2006, the English edition of “The Bulldog” out of 150 mentioned foreign nurseries around the world – 40 Japanese.
The South African Bulldog Club was probably the third in history to be founded, after the English and American. It was founded in 1908 under the leadership of Dr. Currie, and held its first championship in 1913.
The very first breed standard of 1865 – Philo-Kuonsky – pays the greatest attention to the qualities of the bulldog, which directly affect the effectiveness of the dog in the ring. All parts of the bulldog described in it are extremely functional. A massive head with a short and wide muzzle and undershot jaws provided a large grip area and allowed the bulldog, hanging on the bull, to hold on tightly. At the same time, the pushed back nose allowed the dog to breathe freely, and the bull’s blood flowed down the folds on the face and head to the ground, without flooding the eyes and nostrils. Due to its short stature, the dog could instantly snuggle to the ground, dodging the bull’s horns. Its weight was not too small – for the bull to feel it and, trying to get rid of the load, quickly tired. But too much weight, on the one hand, would reduce the bulldog’s maneuverability, and on the other, would not allow him to stay on the bull’s face, the dog would fall under his feet with a torn piece of flesh in his teeth.
Unsurprisingly, the authors of the Philo-Kuon Standard are quite free to consider the acceptable shape of the ears or tail of the English Bulldog. The ears should be such that it would be convenient to hold the dog torn at the bull by them, so their shape could be almost any: “rose”, “bud” or semi-erect (“tulip”). And the tail should be long and thinning from the base to the end, which means it should be sensitive, so that by biting it, the bulldog can be guaranteed to be taken out of the fight. Currently, these articles are receiving close attention. The tail of today’s English Bulldog should be short, and of the various types of ears, the most desirable type is “rose”. Neither tail nor ears are docked under any circumstances.
In the text of the Philo-Kuon standard, the “ideal”, in one way or another, bulldogs depicted in famous paintings are twice mentioned. The back of the bitch Rosa is called the reference, and the male Ball has an exemplary tail. This practice of taking famous representatives of the breed of the past as reference points was later rejected. It was replaced by the ideology of striving for the perfect bulldog of the future, which ensured the continuous development of the breed.
Currently, for Bulldogs, as for many other breeds, there are several standards. In more than 80 countries of the world, the national cynological associations of which are included in the FCI (including in Russia), the standard of the International Cynological Federation (FCI No. 149 dated 04.16.2004) is in effect. In the homeland of the breed, in Great Britain, the national standard of the English Kennel Club applies. Other non-FCI countries also have their own standards, the most influential of which are the United States and Canada. All these standards in general do not contradict each other, since they go back to the Philo-Kuon standard of 1865 and, in any case, follow its letter, with the exception of a few points that have been revised over more than a century of breed history. In addition, the Philo-Kuon standard was supplemented, since it lacks descriptions of some articles, or these descriptions are only outlined. So, the standard of 1865 does not say anything about the appearance of the bulldog’s wings and teeth, very succinctly, although succinctly, describes his chest and body as a whole, and also does not regulate the correct movements of the dog, mentioning only that they should be “free” … In later editions of the standard, these gaps have been filled.
Breed statistics and standard requirements
According to the FCI classification, English Bulldogs belong to group 2 (pinschers and schnauzers, molossians, Swiss shepherd dogs and other breeds), section 2.1 (dogs such as molossus and mastiffs). Used as a bodyguard and companion dog (Dissuasion and Companion Dog). Working trials are not carried out with this breed. The FCI breed standard No. 149 dated 04.16.2004 prescribes the following basic indicators of conformation and behavior for bulldogs:
The Bulldog is a smooth-haired, stocky, short dog, powerful and compact. The head is large, but does not create the impression of disproportion, its circumference in the frontal projection is approximately equal to the height of the dog. The limbs are strong, stiff and very muscular. In the front view, two equal squares can be distinguished: described around the head and inscribed between the forelimbs and the chest. The hind legs are high and strong, somewhat lighter than the front ones.
The body is short, tightly articulated. The neck is very thick, deep and strong, with a noticeably curved nape line. The back is short, strong (“sail”), the belly is tucked up. The tail is short, set low, straight or corkscrew.
The muzzle is short, wide, rising upward, very deep from the corner of the eye to the corner of the mouth. The jaws are wide, massive, square, undershot. The flews are thick, deep, pendulous, very dense, completely covering the lower jaw on both sides. The eyes, when viewed from the front, are set low, as far from the ears as possible, and as wide apart as possible. The ears are set wide apart, as far from the eyes as possible, small and thin, set high, preferably hanging on the cartilage (“rose” type).
The color can be variegated (brindle, red with white, etc.), monochromatic (white, fawn, red of different shades, reddish or brownish yellow, etc.) or distemper – a monochromatic suit with a black mask or black snout.
Optimal weight for males – 25 kg, bitches – 23 kg.
Bulldog’s movements are heavy, heavy, step is short and fast. The hind limbs barely rise and seem to float above the ground, the shoulders alternately move forward. It looks like the dog is tiptoeing.
The standard includes black or flesh-colored color, a nose with insufficient pigmentation, nasal coats hanging over it, an ingrown tail, problems of the respiratory system, as well as deviations in behavior: aggressiveness or cowardice.
There are different opinions among experts as to which dog in the history of the breed is closest to the ideal. However, the best Bulldog bitch of all time is considered by many to be Rouseville Blaze – Champ. England at the beginning of the XX century.
Despite the compatibility of all existing breed standards, different types of exterior styles are traditionally preferred in different countries. In Europe, the English type-style is leading, while in America the more extreme appearance of bulldogs is generally accepted – more folds on the head, they are more pronounced, a lot of skin, the topline is more straight. The manner of handling (showing a dog at an exhibition) is fundamentally different from the European one.
Features of anatomy and physiology
English Bulldogs are short-haired dogs (hair without undercoat), conditionally classified as medium-sized breeds (50-55 cm tall), but very heavy for such breeds. Folding type – loose (raw).
In the course of the development of the breed, the dog turned from a fighting dog into a decorative one, which was achieved by exaggerating the characteristic features of the original breed: an increase in the head, shortening of the muzzle, body and paws, widening their posture, enlargement of skin folds, etc. This led to the fact that, due to the peculiarities of the anatomy, the load from the body weight of the bulldog falls mainly not on the bones of the limbs, but on the muscles. The body of the bulldog “hangs” on them when the dog is just standing or walking, and therefore bulldogs quickly gain large muscle mass. At the same time, bulldogs get tired quickly, suffer from shortness of breath, and often have problems with the cardiovascular system. A bulldog needs a lot of rest and sleep to maintain the vital functions of the body, which, in turn, if the regime and diet are not followed, often leads to obesity, leading to a heavy load on the heart and liver and, ultimately, to early aging and shortening the life of the animal.
Bulldogs have very short airways due to their severe brachycephaly and compressed body. As a result, they are prone to colds and are extremely sensitive to overheating. One of the most common causes of death for bulldogs is heatstroke. Hot weather with high humidity is especially dangerous for the bulldog, he begins to breathe heavily, “puff”, and if this continues for several days, it can lead to swelling of the larynx. A viscous or foaming secretion begins to accumulate in the pharynx, which the dog does not cough up, which makes breathing even more difficult. As a result, the bulldog may faint and die. If a bulldog has experienced heatstroke once, it becomes even more sensitive to overheating in the future. The second consequence of the extreme shortness of the airways of the Bulldogs is loud snoring during sleep.
Bulldog is the only breed of dog whose representatives are usually born as a result of a planned cesarean section. This is due to the fact that many bitches find it difficult to give birth naturally. The large head of the puppy has difficulty passing through the uterine canal, as the pelvis of a good bitch should be narrow by breed standards. In addition, Bulldogs are phlegmatic, and even childbirth may not bring the muscle tone of some bitches to the desired state. If the first fetus in the litter has a breech presentation or has a particularly large head and wide shoulder girdle, then, giving all her strength to him, the bitch will not be able to give birth to the rest. The bitch instinctively gnaws at the umbilical cord, but because of the snack, she can jerk it sharply, and then the puppy can develop an umbilical hernia. The safest way to avoid all of these risks is by a cesarean section. Currently, only about 6% of Bulldog breeding bitches puppies on their own.
Common bulldog diseases include:
- cysts between toes: can be removed by a veterinarian or experienced amateur
- adenoma of the third eyelid (“cherry eye”) – hypertrophy of the lacrimal gland of the third eyelid: can be removed surgically by a veterinarian
- third eyelid prolapse: treated by veterinarian
- some types of allergies (to food ingredients, medicines, mites, house dust, pollen, various types of matter, metals, sunlight and many other things)
- femoral neck fracture (usually in older dogs), but hip dysplasia is rare due to barrel positioning of the forelimbs
- Corns are coarse oval, round areas of skin (hardened calluses, hyperkeratosis plaques) that appear on the pads of bulldogs. Eliminated by veterinarian
The average life expectancy of the English Bulldog is 8-10 years, which is less than that of most breeds of dogs, but corresponds to the average life expectancy of other Molossians (Mastiff, Great Dane, Boxer). With good heredity and proper maintenance, a bulldog can live up to 12-15 years.
Care and maintenance
English Bulldogs are calm, balanced and good-natured dogs, well suited for keeping in an apartment or a country house. Due to their phlegmatic nature, they do not cause trouble to the owner with their behavior and do not pose a danger to small children, they get along well with other pets.
Bulldogs do not require exertion: you do not need to walk with them for a long time or do jogging, on the contrary, serious physical exertion is contraindicated for bulldogs. The bulldog is attached to his home, his favorite place in the house, to his master. They are sometimes called “lazy dogs” or “sofa guard dogs”. Caring for hair and nails is not difficult, but should be regular. Especially carefully you need to clean and wash the folds on the face and the area under the tail, which can be very twisted and very tightly pressed against the dog’s body, in order to avoid the accumulation of secretions in these places and the development of infections. In some cases, special ointments are used. Bulldog food should be high-calorie, consist of easily digestible foods that do not lead to the formation of fatty deposits – according to the standard, the bulldog should not be fat, but powerful and strong.
If the owner plans to exhibit his bulldog and expects to win with him at shows, then the dog needs to be paid more attention. You need daily walks in the fresh air (up to 2 km), careful grooming, care for claws, eyes, ears, skin folds – especially on the face. Dog training is required. Bulldogs do not learn new commands quickly, but reliably. It is necessary to accustom the bulldog to noise and a large gathering of people and dogs so that he does not get confused at the show. To do this, you need to regularly drive him through the busiest places in the vicinity. It is also necessary that the bulldog be able to calmly and measuredly walk alongside on a leash, regardless of who is leading him – the owner or a stranger. At exhibitions, bulldogs compete in the exterior and obedience, they are not given workloads.
However, the content of bulldogs has its own characteristics and requires a lot of responsibility. The main difficulty in keeping and breeding Bulldogs is their vulnerability. It happens that puppies begin to suffer from overheating within an hour after birth. In this case, they are placed on a cold wet towel, after making sure that there are no drafts. Slightly grown puppies (from two to three weeks old) can put a bowl of ice cubes in a box so that the puppy, if necessary, crawls up to it or crawls away from it. When transporting a dog, especially in the summer in a car, you need to take ice packs with you so that at the first sign of overheating you can put them around the bulldog. If the air temperature is above 30 ° C, the dog should be kept in a cold basement or in an air-conditioned room. In case of symptoms of overheating, it is important to clear or rinse the dog’s throat from accumulating secretions in time. In case of signs of heatstroke (fainting, shock), an urgent need to contact a veterinarian, it is very risky to carry out anti-shock therapy on your own, the dog may die.
Due to the peculiarities of the anatomy of the Bulldogs, giving birth to bitches is a rather difficult procedure. The vast majority of breeding bitches undergo a planned caesarean section. Usually it is done even in cases where birth complications are not expected, so as not to risk the puppies and their mother. Only a very experienced breeder can take birth on his own, and only if this birth is not the first for the bitch, and all the features of their course are well known to her. But even then, after a successful birth, the dog must be immediately shown to the veterinarian. On the other hand, a bitch that has whelped on her own is believed to be more considerate of her puppies.
Feeding puppies can become a serious problem if their mother does not have enough milk. In such cases, the puppies can be fed with a bottle, a toy bottle, a syringe with a teat, or a tube (catheter, tube). Renowned American breeder and author of classic bulldog books, Bailey S. Haynes, recommends dipping puppies, where the puppy is simply placed in a bowl of liquid oatmeal with milk. In this case, you need to ensure that the puppy does not choke in porridge. Puppies quite quickly understand what is required of them, and begin to absorb the porridge, at first immersing their muzzles in it and making sucking movements, and then they learn to lap. After feeding, the puppy is given to the bitch and she licks it. This method is especially useful when there are many puppies in the litter, and it is very time consuming to feed each one individually.
In general, English Bulldogs are more dependent on humans than other dogs. Due to their structure, they, for example, cannot even scratch themselves, they need regular massage. Experts compare the maintenance of a bulldog with the maintenance of a child, which is completely dependent on its parents.
The importance of the breed in the history of dog breeding and its criticism
The importance of the English Bulldog for dog breeding can hardly be overestimated. His blood flows in the veins of other Bulldogs: French, American and a number of national breeds not recognized by the FCI. Among the descendants of the bulldog is another famous molossus – a German boxer bred in Munich in the second half of the 19th century.
A special place in the history of the breed is occupied by attempts to crossbreeding bulldogs with terriers, in order to obtain dogs that combine the best working qualities of both. The first famous bull and terriers, which gained fame in bloody sports, appeared at the beginning of the 19th century. Their specialization was the baiting of a flock of rats for speed (rattling), baiting of badgers (“in a box” and “free”) and dog fights, in which Bull and Terriers were unmatched. However, all these dogs were quite heterogeneous in size and exterior, it was not a breed in the modern sense of the word, but rather a type of fighting dogs. The coup was made by James Hinks of Birmingham, introducing in 1862 a white bull terrier he bred. The breed was obtained as a result of a long-term breeding experiment, in which, in addition to the English Bulldog and the White English Terrier, the Dalmatian took part. The external data of the Bull and Terrier, of which the English Staffordshire Bull Terrier is considered to be a direct descendant today, have been changed: first of all, due to lengthening of the muzzle and body, as well as elimination of skin folds. In England, the bull terrier immediately became fashionable and was not inferior in popularity to the bulldog. Another example of a successful crossing of a Bulldog with a Terrier is the American Boston Terrier, which appeared at about the same time as the Bull Terrier.
In addition, the descendants of the English Bulldog are dogs from the so-called group of pit bulls. In addition to the English Staffordshire Bull Terrier, this group includes the American Staffordshire Terrier and the American Pit Bull Terrier, which are more distantly related to the bulldog.
However, all of these popular dog breeds trace their history either from the Old English Bulldogs of the mid-19th century, or from the early representatives of an already registered breed, or from an intermediary breed, which also goes back to the Old English Bulldog, as is the case with American breeds. Almost immediately after the registration of the breed, breeders (breeders) directed all their efforts to uniform “sharpening” of its characteristic features described in the standard. This led to the fact that by the beginning of the next century, the English Bulldog was strikingly different from the representatives of the breed of the middle of the previous century. Although formally it corresponded to the provisions of the standard, a comparison of images of bulldogs from these two eras leaves no doubt: they are two different dogs. From a “working” breed, the Bulldog has turned into a decorative one.
All this has caused criticism of the breed among many dog lovers. It turned out that the bulldog’s high-profile fighting past was being used to advance a completely different dog. The updated bulldog has become a fashionable, prestigious dog for respectable owners. Criticism of the breed comes mainly from amateurs who want to see the former pickling dog in the bulldog. They argue that Bulldogs are the victims of breeding, that their shortcomings are abnormal for any dog, and the fact that many Bulldogs are born by Caesarean section is evidence of the breed’s degeneration. However, most owners of bulldogs quite consciously choose an outstanding decorative pet for themselves, taking it along with all its weaknesses. The resolution of this contradiction could be a change in the name of the modern breed, for example, to “English decorative bulldog”. Another way is to at least partially return the bulldog to its original appearance. FCI is making some steps towards improving the breed, but there is no radical revision of the requirements for it. The English Bulldog is very fashionable and in demand precisely because of its originality and “imposingness”, which critics tend to call “caricature”. A huge breeding work has been done, which cannot be simply crossed out. All this gives grounds to assert that the English Bulldog in the future will remain approximately the same as it is now.
Despite this, nothing prevents enthusiasts from conducting their own experiments to return the English Bulldog to its original external and internal state, and such experiments are being conducted. The greatest success in this matter was achieved by David Levitt from Pennsylvania. In 1971, Levitt began his project using Ohio State University’s Dr. Feshimer program, which he developed to improve the pedigrees of cattle. Levitt’s goal was to create a dog similar in appearance and health to the original English Bulldogs of the 19th century, but with a less aggressive character. For this, various breeds, which initially carry the blood of real English Bulldogs, became an integral part of this project. These breeds are: English Bulldog – 50%; American Bulldog, Bullmastiff and American Pit Bull Terrier – 50% in total. After many careful crossbreeding, the modern Old English Bulldog was created. This breed looks like bulldogs from old prints and paintings. There is a club of lovers of the Old English Bulldog – The Olde English Bulldogge Kennel Club. The breed is small in number, almost uncommon outside the US and not recognized by the FCI. Other similar projects: Australian Bulldog, Victorian Bulldog, Renaissance Bulldog, Dorset Bulldog, etc. – started later than Levitt’s experiment and have no popularity at all.
English Bulldog as a symbol of the nation
John Bull became the personification of the English nation in the 18th century – a collective image of a typical Englishman. They portrayed him as a red-faced, pot-bellied farmer with a sly face, with indispensable sideburns, in a red frock coat, white trousers or leggings and a short top hat. No later than 1762, James Gilray and other cartoonists began to widely use the image of John Boole in their satirical drawings on topical topics of domestic and foreign policy. Sometimes, in early works, John Bull was portrayed as a bull or a farmer with a bull’s head. Later, the image of John Boole was used in his works by John Tenniel, who contributed to the magazine “Punch”.
Gradually, John Bull won a new place for himself – the central figure of a political poster, and began to personify not so much the average English man in the street as the entire British nation at once. This tendency can be traced already in the cartoons of the early 19th century, where John Bull confronts Napoleon. John Boole has new attributes: a vest from the British flag, boots polished to a shine. John Bull is rude, simple-minded, possesses remarkable physical strength, in every sense “stands firmly on his feet.” He loves good meat, ale, dogs, horses, noisy rural entertainment. He is often accompanied by an English Bulldog – a dog that suits John Boole the best in character and appearance. The establishment of the breed and the appearance of its standard in 1865 contributed a lot to the union of the two symbols of Britain. The authors of the Philo-Kuon Standard directly declared the Bulldog a national treasure, a breed “ideally associated with the good old England.” Such an appeal to the English traditions of conservatism could not remain unanswered. John Bull and the Bulldog embodied the calm strength, self-confidence and generosity of the British.
By the beginning of the First World War, the bulldog was already perceived by the British as a completely self-sufficient symbol of a powerful and freedom-loving Great Britain, successfully competing in popularity with John Boole himself. The image of the bulldog was actively used by both British propaganda and opponents of Great Britain. On numerous English posters of the time, the Bulldogs look sternly at the continent from their islands, sleep serenely, guarding the British flag, or innocently play with orders and ammunition of the enemies of the United Kingdom. Some pictures depict an adult bulldog or puppy in the arms of an attractive woman as a symbol of comfort and home.
Soon a figure appeared on the world political arena, who, in turn, can be called the embodiment of the patriotic English bulldog – Winston Churchill. The prime minister was often depicted as a bulldog. Among the most famous works are the Stube cartoon “Go to It” and the “Holding the Line” poster by Henri Guignon (1942). Churchill is also credited with a review of the breed: “The Bulldog is beauty brought to the point of absurdity” and the expression “the fight of bulldogs under the carpet” – this is how he allegedly spoke about the internal political situation in Russia. Winston Churchill himself did not keep bulldogs; for many years his favorite was a small brown poodle named Rufus. However, the politician until the end of his life was compared to a bulldog, for example, when he was defeated in the parliamentary elections in 1950, Emrys Hughes wrote: “The bulldog again missed his bone.” After Churchill’s death, new idioms even appeared to designate the Bulldogs: “living Winston”, “Churchill in the flesh.” At the same time, a tradition appeared to depict anthropomorphic bulldogs with cigars in their teeth.
English Bulldogs in culture and art
Since the end of the 18th century, bulldogs began to appear on the canvases of English painters. Often these were genre scenes depicting bull-baiting and other types of bullying (J. Scanlan, representatives of the Alken family). But sometimes artists made the bulldog the central figure of their work (Philip Reinagl, Henry Cloves, etc.). Usually these were portraits of famous dogs, multiple winners in bloody sports. Two portraits – “Crib and Rose” by Abraham Cooper and “Portrait of Ball Bulldog in a Landscape” by Henry Cloves – were destined to play a large role in the formation of the English Bulldog breed.
Later, animal artists began to capture the famous representatives of the breed, who became famous already in the ring and became Champions. Among the authors of such works are George Earle (1824-1908), Francis Fairman (1836-1923), Joshua Gibson. Known series of paintings by Arthur Heyer (bulldog and cat), Ruben Ward Binks – “Five Bulldogs on the Beach” (1914, several versions), “Six Bulldogs in Rockcliff” (1915) and Arthur Wardl, who also depicted 6— 7 champions, in a rural setting.
The American Bulldog Club contains the National Gallery – Bulldog Hall. The idea of creating such a gallery was put forward in 1961, after a portrait of the champion Cockney Gorblimi was shown at the Oregon exhibition. The next year, the painting was again presented in Indianapolis, and the idea received warm approval. It was decided to paint portraits of the remaining eight Bulldogs who had received the title of “Best of Breed” since the reorganization of the Bulldog Club in 1949. The portraits were painted by the animal painter D.K.Dennis. Since then, the gallery has been constantly updated. It is open annually for the duration of national specialized exhibitions.
- Lev Tolstoy, in his “Third Russian Book for Reading” (1875), included a series of short stories about his favorite black bulldog Bulka, which he held when he was a cadet and a young officer.
I had a face. Her name was Bulka. She was all black, only the tips of her front paws were white.
In all faces, the lower jaw is longer than the upper one and the upper teeth extend beyond the lower ones; but Bulka’s lower jaw protruded so much forward that a finger could be placed between the lower and upper teeth. Bulka’s face was wide; eyes are large, black and shiny; and the teeth and fangs are white always sticking out. He looked like a black man. Bulka was meek and did not bite, but he was very strong and tenacious. When he used to cling to something, he would grit his teeth and hang like a rag, and he, like a tick, cannot be torn off.
- The novel “Pelagia and the White Bulldog” (2001) opens the detective trilogy by Boris Akunin about the nun Pelagia investigating intricate crimes. The assassination attempt on the tribal “white Russian Bulldogs” turns out to be associated with a much more serious crime.
- In Jack London’s “White Fang” story, the English Bulldog was the only dog that managed to defeat the main character of the story – a hybrid of a wolf and a dog named White Fang. The bulldog grabbed him in the throat and nearly strangled him.
- The Beatles song “Hey Bulldog” from the album “Yellow Submarine” (1969)
- American punk rock band Bulldog (formed in the early 1990s)
- The series “Pelagia and the White Bulldog” (2009) based on the novel of the same name by Boris Akunin
- The film “Sherlock Holmes: A Play of Shadows” (2011). The Gladstone Bulldog continues to be subject to Sherlock Holmes’ experiments.
- The film “Sherlock Holmes” (2009). On the Gladstone bulldog, Sherlock Holmes constantly tested various drugs, injecting him into a state of clinical death, however, without much harm to the animal.
- The film “Hipsters” (2008). Bulldog Filya was awarded the Golden Fang Award for Best Supporting Actor.
- Film “Tresor”, France (2009). One of the main characters is a white English Bulldog.
- Hotel for Dogs (USA, 2009) movie
- The film “Mr. Magoo” (USA, 1997)
- The movie “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson: Treasures of Agra” (1983) starred the bulldog Vasily Livanov Bambula, and received a fee as a member of the crowd.
- In classic American animation, the bulldog often acts as the antagonist of the unsuccessful protagonist (for example, chasing a cat), or as a character protecting, often without even noticing it, the victim (mouse) from the pursuer (cat). A typical example is the Bulldogs Spike and Tyke in the animated series “Tom and Jerry”. Bulldog named Butch acts as the enemy of Disney’s dog Pluto and phlegmatic dog Droopy. Warner Brothers’ Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies feature three different bulldogs: Hector (in the series about Sylvester the cat and Tweety the canary), Spike (bully bulldog, always appears with the little terrier Chester) and Mark Anthony – a huge bulldog, very attached to your favorite little kitten.
- In the animated series “Paw Patrol” the puppy is a Strong English Bulldog.
- A type of revolver, the first of which was the British Bulldog, produced from the UK since 1878. There are also trademarks of modern revolvers that use the word “bulldog” (for example, the American Charter Arms Bulldog), but are not structurally related to the “bulldog” type.
- The M41 Walker Bulldog is a US Army light tank designed between 1946 and 1949.
- Microsoft Bulldog – information system from Microsoft
- Bulldog Communications – UK Internet Service Provider
- British publisher Mastertronic under the Bulldog brand in the 1980s produced computer games for the American market
- Bulldog – 1987 scrolling shooter from Gremlin Graphics for the Commodore 64 platform
- Famous wrestler Davey Boy Smith has the nickname “The British Bulldog”
- Garik “Bulldog” Kharlamov – Russian comedian, resident of “Comedy Club”
- Oxford University constables are informally referred to as “Bulldogs.”
- British Bulldogs is a children’s game popular in schools in the UK and Commonwealth countries, Canada and Australia.
- Bulldog is one of the most popular mascots of sports teams and army units in the West (especially in the USA). In particular, he is the mascot of the United States Marine Corps. There are a lot of sports clubs and teams that have chosen the bulldog as their symbol, some teams have a “living mascot”. The most famous of them: the team of Yale University (Bulldog Handsom Dan) and the University of Georgia (Bulldog Uga).