The bulldog was originally bred to control livestock in 15th century England. It was large, powerful and sufficiently aggressive to control bulls. The original bulldog was exported around the world and various descendant breeds were created. Today’s variety of bulldogs all have their own distinctive looks and personalities.
The original breed has changed somewhat since its days as a working bull breed. The English bulldog is smaller, less athletic and sadly, more prone to health problems than its working ancestor. The English bulldog weighs between 40 and 50 pounds and has a distinctive flat face and undershot jaw. Nowadays, it is rarely used for work and is nothing more than a beloved family pet that requires moderate exercise and minimal grooming. The wrinkled skin can be a hot bed for infection, so owners must regularly clean in between the folds with an anti-bacterial soap.
The American bulldog is taller, leaner and more athletic than its English cousin. The breed was first registered in America in the 1970s. While physically the American bulldog resembles the original, its features are a lot less pronounced. The face is less flat and the legs are less squat. This means he is less prone to the breathing difficulties suffered by the original, but the breed does require more exercise. A suitable pet in the hands of a confident owner, this breed is confident, alert and athletic, making it the perfect guard dog.
This is a new breed of dog, established in the late ’90s. The breed was created by crossbreeding Staffordshire bull terriers, English bulldogs and mastiffs. The resultant offspring are athletic, with a diverse gene pool and a physical disposition that makes them well suited to the harsh Australian climate. Their diverse gene pool makes them robustly healthy, with few inherited conditions. They make excellent pets with their moderate exercise requirements.
The Catahoula bulldog is a cross between the American bulldog and the Catahoula leopard dog. It is a strong, tall working dog that bears more of a resemblance to the Staffordshire bull terrier than it does the original English bulldog. Although this breed is kept as a pet, it has strong working instincts and will become bored if left to its own devices. Training and play centered around agility work is a great way to stimulate the body and mind of this breed.
Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldog
The Alapaha blue blood bulldog originates from the southern states and was bred to work on plantations as a catch dog to retrieve escaping livestock. Because they were bred for work, rather than physical conformation, this breed displays a variety of sizes and appearances. This breed is instinctively protective, especially of children, so it makes a great guard dog. Because of their strong protective and guarding instinct, they require a confident, experienced owner.
The French bulldog is a miniaturized version of the English bulldog. Its size and pointed ears are the only noticeable differences. Due to intense selective breeding for appearance, the French bulldog has a relatively limited gene pool and suffers from inherited breathing difficulties as a result. Nonetheless, the breed is a popular pet all over the world and adapts well to urban or rural environments. Martha Stewart has Frenchies who often appear on her show and website.
Rare Bulldog Types
Breeders all over the world have attempted to recreate dogs similar to the original working bulldog by crossing existing stock with local mutts and working dogs. Some remain unclassified, while other breeds have a specific “type.” The banter bulldogge, valley bulldog and Dorset old tyme bulldogge are three examples.
By Simon Foden