BULLDOGS, THE BREED WITHINOctober 20, 2015
Many people ask what is a bulldog, and many attempt an answer. I’d like to offer my 2 cents, in the hope to shed some light on this controversial topic. In origin, bulldogs were bred/selected for the purpose of bull-baiting, a common practice in London and rural England until the English parliament outlawed it by passing the Cruelty to Animals Act in 1835. Bulldogs were then utilized to guard the boats docked at the banks of the Thames river, but they soon lost their new job as too many trespassers got killed.
In the attempt to mellow the original bulldogs into a companion breed, they were crossed with Pugs, originating what became the current English Bulldog. The pilgrims brought some original bulldogs to America, and crossed them with Pit Bulls, Catahoulas and other local breeds, to produce the “farm utility bulldog”, an animal intended for cattle herding, wild board hunting, property and personal protection. The crossings greatly widened the gene pool, creating a new and very diverse breed, with several strains and types among which English White (Old Southern Whites), Classics (Johnson), Standards (Scott), later joined by Hybrids (the more common type today), Ground Ponders (a squattier, more ponderal variety), and the modern, usually smaller and more refined show type version. So what really is a bulldog?
I’d like to say the coordinates of a utility bulldog are 3: TYPE, DRIVE, LEVELED HEAD.
TYPE: until today, it is possible to see bulldogs with mastiff, hound, pit, and, in some fortunate occasions, bulldog traits. It comes down to taste, or purpose, but it is safe to say that mastiffs, pits and hounds already exist, and that the bulldog type is the one that should be bred selectively. Somebody smart once said: without type there is no breed.
DRIVE: a true bulldog has a inner fire that manifests without the need of any expensive training, unless we try to make them play Malinois. They were meant for sprinting, lunging, biting and holding. Any decent bulldog will love playing with a flirt pole or a spring pole, and some of them would even go to college and fill the big shoes of the “farm utility bulldog”. True bulldogs have natural drive and live to please their master.
LEVELED HEAD: this is undoubtedly the most distinctive traits of bulldogs. Not heart, because other breeds are just as brave; not strength, or tenacity, or any other quality. It is instead a special switch that makes them the ultimate decision makers. True bulldogs will never transfer a bite, not even under pressure. In other words, in the event of a home invasion, it would not be your kids to be bitten. There are some dogs from other breeds that would be able to do the same, but most bulldogs would do it, and without any training.
CONCLUSION: true bulldogs are the unicorns on the canine kingdom, animals of captivating beauty, blessed by natural drive and able to make their own decision in a way that will exceed your expectations…well, except maybe when they decide to chew through that expensive, indestructible new dog house!! I wish you all to be as lucky as I am and have some true bulldogs in your life…
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