The word “bulldog” was first mentioned in literature around 1500, the oldest spelling of the word being Bondogge and Bolddogge.The first reference to the word with the modern spelling is dated 1631 or 1632 in a letter by a man named Preswick Eaton where he writes: “procuer mee two good Bulldogs, and let them be sent by ye first shipp”.
The name “bull” was applied because of the dog’s use in the sport of bull baiting. This entailed the setting of dogs (after placing wagers on each dog) onto a tethered bull.
The dog that grabbed the bull by the nose and pinned it to the ground would be the victor. It was common for a bull to maim or kill several dogs at such an event, either by goring, tossing, or trampling.
Over the centuries, dogs used for bull-baiting developed the stocky bodies and massive heads and jaws that typify the breed as well as a ferocious and savage temperament.
Bull-baiting, along with bear-baiting, reached the peak of its popularity in England in the early 1800s until they were both made illegal by the Cruelty to Animals Act 1835.
This amended the existing legislation to protect animals from mistreatment and included (as “cattle”) bulls, dogs, bears, and sheep, so that bull and bear-baiting as well as cockfighting became prohibited.
Therefore, the Old English Bulldog had outlived its usefulness in England as a sporting animal and its active or “working” days were numbered.
However, emigrants did have a use for such dogs in the New World. In mid-17th century New York, Bulldogs were used as a part of a citywide roundup effort led by Governor Richard Nicolls.
Because cornering and leading wild bulls was dangerous, Bulldogs were trained to seize a bull by its nose long enough for a rope to be secured around its neck. Bulldogs as pets were continually promoted by dog dealer Bill George.
Despite slow maturation so that growing up is rarely achieved by two and a half years, bulldogs’ lives are relatively short. At five to six years of age they are starting to show signs of aging.
In time, the original old English Bulldog was crossed with the pug. The outcome was a shorter, wider dog with a brachycephalic skull.
Though today’s Bulldog looks tough, he cannot perform the job he was originally created for as he cannot withstand the rigors of running and being thrown by a bull, and also cannot grip with such a short muzzle.
The oldest single breed specialty club is The Bulldog Club (England), which was formed in 1878. Members of this club met frequently at the Blue Post pub on Oxford Street in London.
There they wrote the first standard of perfection for the breed. In 1894 the two top Bulldogs, King Orry and Dockleaf, competed in a contest to see which dog could walk 20 miles.
King Orry was reminiscent of the original Bulldogs, lighter boned and very athletic. Dockleaf was smaller and heavier set, more like modern Bulldogs. King Orry was declared the winner that year, finishing the 20-mile walk while Dockleaf collapsed. The Bulldog was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1886.
At the turn of the 20th century, Ch. Rodney Stone became the first Bulldog to command a price of $5,000 when he was bought by controversial Irish American political figure Richard Croker.
The UK Bulldog Breed Council puts the average life span of the breed at 8–10 years. A UK survey puts Bulldog life expectancy at 6.5 years. The leading cause of death of Bulldogs in the survey was cardiac related (20%), cancer (18%), and old age (9%). Those that died of old age had an average lifespan of 10 to 11 years. Recent UK vet clinic data puts the median at 8.4 years.
Statistics from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals indicate that of the 467 Bulldogs tested between 1979 and 2009 (30 years), 73.9% were affected by hip dysplasia, the highest amongst all breeds.
Similarly, the breed has the worst score in the British Veterinary Association/Kennel Club Hip Dysplasia scoring scheme, although only 22 Bulldogs were tested in the scheme. Patellar luxation is another condition; it affects 6.2% of Bulldogs.
Some individuals of this breed are prone to interdigital cysts—cysts that form between the toes. These cause the dog some discomfort, but are treatable either by vet or an experienced owner. They may also suffer from respiratory problems.
Other problems can include cherry eye, a protrusion of the inner eyelid (which can be corrected by a veterinarian), allergies, and hip issues in older Bulldogs.
Over 80% of Bulldog litters are delivered by Caesarean section because their characteristically large heads can become lodged in the mother’s birth canal. The folds, or “rope,” on a Bulldog’s face should be cleaned daily to avoid infections caused by moisture accumulation.
Some Bulldogs’ naturally curling tails can be so tight to the body as to require regular cleaning and ointment.
Like all dogs, Bulldogs require daily exercise. If not properly exercised it is possible for a Bulldog to become overweight, which could lead to heart and lung problems, as well as stress on the joints.
Bulldogs have very small nasal cavities and thus have great difficulty keeping their bodies cool. Bulldogs are very sensitive to heat. Extra caution should be practiced in warmer climates and during summer months.
Bulldogs must be given plenty of shade and water, and must be kept out of standing heat. Air conditioning and good ventilation are required to keep them healthy and safe.
Bulldogs actually do most of their sweating through the pads on their feet and accordingly enjoy cool floors. Like all brachycephalic, or “short faced,” breeds, Bulldogs can easily become overheated and even die from hyperthermia.
They can be big snorters and heavy breathers, and they tend to be loud snorers. Bulldog owners can keep these issues under control by staying aware and protecting their Bulldog(s) from these unsafe conditions.
In 2014 the Dutch Kennel Club implemented some breeding rules to improve the health of the Bulldog. Among these is a fitness test where the dog has to walk 1 km (0.62 miles) in 12 minutes. Its temperature and heart rate has to recover after 15 minutes.
The English Bulldog is popularly used to represent England or the United Kingdom. It has been associated with Winston Churchill’s defiance of Nazi Germany. The English Bulldog breed is the official mascot of the United States Marine Corps, and many bases have their own mascot on base.
Thirty-nine American universities use a Bulldog as their mascot including Bryant University, Drake University, Georgetown University, Mississippi State University, Yale University, The Military College of South Carolina, Wilberforce University The first private Historically Black College and University of Georgia.
Isabella and Julia’s birthday song for dada Parasa Pinga. We love you so much!
Happy birthday to youuuuuuuuu!!!
happy birthday to my one and only daddy!!! i love you dad and will be here for you no matter what p.s. i was supposed to post this before midnight yesterday in time for your birthday but guess what, i fell asleep!!! sorry dad!!