The Olde English Bulldogge is a recreation of the original Bulldog
There have been several individuals from as early as the 1800's who have set fourth with their own programs geared towards recreating a bull breed of a more functional era. Thier goals are aimed at reproducing characteristics which were lost through evolution, as well as replacing the good health, great temperments and conformation as were seen within much of the documented history and in many of the old Black and white photos of early Bulldogs.
"Olde English Bulldogge" is the term adopted by most breeders of these more functional bullies who who are very simular to those which existed over a hundred years ago.
It is thought that the Bulldog comes from an ancient, fierce mastiff-like breed which was used to restrain wild oxen and to hunt wild boar. The word "Bulldog" was thought to have first been used in a 1598 description of a bullbaiting contest. However, it is generally thought that the Bulldog was a well-known breed in England long before. Bandogs, Bonddoggess,Bolddogges and other term used to describe the dogs were repeatedly mentioned in English literature beginning around 1200, when the sport of bullbaiting first became popular in England. However, there is a reference to British Hounds that attacked bulls dating back to 395 AD. These dogs were bred and trained to bite and hang on to the noses, ears and necks of bulls.
"William Earl Warren, Lord of this town in the reign of King John (1209), standing upon the walls of his castle at Stamford, saw two bulls fighting for a cow in the castle meadow, 'til all the butcher's dogs pursued one of the town bulls, which maddened by the noise and multitude, ran through the town. This so pleased the Earl that he gave the castle meadow where the bulls combat began, for a common to the butchers of the town, after the first grass was mowed, on condition that they should find a mad bull' on a day six weeks before Christmas for the continuance of that sport forever."
During bullbaiting the Bulldog had to bite the bull in the nose and hang on, without ever letting go of his hold on the bull. These dogs could retain their hold even after their entrails had been torn out. The dogs often bled to death from wounds received from the bull. Enthusiasts in the early bull and bearbaiting contests included all classes of people.
In 1559, Queen Elizabeth was noted to be an enthusiast and often hosted grand social gatherings centered on bullbaiting. At that time, almost every village in England had its own bullring and huge amounts of money were spent on sportrelated wagers. Therefore the dogs were selectively bred for power, courage and tenacity.
In 1835, bullbaiting contests were forbidden in England by an act of Parliament. After the abolishment the number of purebred Bulldogs declined greatly!! This was due to the growing popularity of the sport of dog fighting, which replaced bullbaiting as a favourite public entertainment in the late nineteenth century in England.
During the Middle Ages, the sport of baiting was extremely popular in England and was patronised by all classes of people, from the highest to the lowest in the land. Almost every town and village in the country had its bull ring. The baiting of animals may be traced to an early period in English history. It was also a favourite form of amusement among the Egyptians, the Greeks, and the Romans, as well as the people of other ancient nations. Bulls, bears, horses, and other animals were trained for baiting. This barbarous practice, the rise of which cannot be satisfactorily ascertained, had the sanction of high antiquity.
Fitz-Stephen, who lived during the reign of Henry II and whose "Description of the City of London" was written in 1174, informs us that in the forenoon of every holiday during the winter season, the young Londoners were amused with boars opposed to each other in battle, or with bulls and full-grown bears baited by dogs. Asses, although they did not sufficiently answer the purpose of the sport, were occasionally treated with the same inhumanity, but the baiting of horses was never a general practice.
The original bull-baiting at Tutbury (probably at the Bankside Bear Garden) is thus described by John Houghton: "I'll say something of baiting the bull, which is by having a collar about his neck fastened to a thick rope about three, four, or five yards long, hung to a hook so fastened to a stake that it will turn around. With this the bull circulates to watch his enemy, which is a bull dog (commonly used for this sport), with a short nose, that his teeth may take the better hold. This dog if right, will creep upon his belly that he may, if possible get the bull by the nose, which the bull carefully tries to defend by laying it close to the ground, where his horns are also ready to do what in them lies to toss this dog; and this is true sport. But if more dogs than one come at once, or they come under his legs, he will if he can stamp their guts out.
The custom was for owners of dogs who wished to bait the bull to each pay entrance fees and if their dog pinned the bull they received a prize. The reward might be five shillings, a gold laced hat, a silver watch, or an ornate dog collar."Many great wagers were laid on both sides and great journeys would men and dogs go on for such diversion." As mentioned previously, the first bull-runnings in England were supposed to have been at Stamford in the year 1209, in the reign of King John, and at Tutbury in 1374.
There are, however, grounds for the belief that bull-baiting began much earlier, and that it was probably first indulged in by butchers who employed their dogs to chase, catch, and throw the bulls, and to bait them so as to render the flesh tender. Moreover, Claudian's writings suggest that the practice of baiting bulls was a form of diversion in his time."William, Earl of Warren, Lord of the town, standing upon the walls of the castle saw two bulls fighting for a cow in the castle meadow, until all the butchers' dogs pursued one of the bulls (maddened with noise and multitude) clean through the town. This sight so pleased the Earl, that he gave the castle meadow where the bulls' duel began for a common to the butchers of the town after the first grass was mowed, on condition that they should find a mad bull the day six weeks before Christmas Day, for the continuance of the sport forever.
This may or may not have been the origin of the old English sport of bull-baiting. At any rate, wherever it began, it became more popular with the passing years. Its popularity created a demand for dogs qualified for the sport. These dogs were selected and bred for courage, power, and ferocity. From the thirteenth to the eighteenth centuries, bull-baiting was a national sport in England. It was not uncommon to see the dogs at early English baits, with their entrails trailing on the ground, urged again and again to run at the bull they were baiting.
In one case, a dog of great repute was gored by the bull so that his bowels were torn out. Securing them in their place with needle and thread, the spectators, in consequence of some wager depending upon the outcome of the baiting, then set the dog at the bull in this mangled and almost dying condition.
In many towns the butchers were liable to a penalty if they sold the flesh of a bull in the market without having had the animal baited on the previous market day. The reason for this was that the flesh of a baited bull was universally considered more tender and nutritious than that of animals slaughtered without first being submitted to the process. The belief, while it does not excuse the brutality of the act, may have been founded on fact. The excited state of the animal just before death would have tended to hasten putrefaction, and the flesh would have had to be cooked sooner or it would have been unfit to eat.
There can be little doubt that bullbaiting, as practised by the early English, was not merely a cruel sport intended to gratify the lowest and basest passions, but also was intended as a means of rendering wholesome and nutritious a large quantity of flesh that otherwise would not have been utilised.In the old Court Roll of the Manor at Barnard Castle, it is stated that "no butcher shall kill any bull two years old upwards, unless he first be brought to the ring and sufficiently halted."
The ring in Barnard Castle (fixed in a large stone that was level with the pavement) was in the Market Place opposite the District Bank. Bulldogs of a strain known as "Lonsdales," named for Lonsdale, a butcher and publican who lived at Barnard Castle about 1780, were in demand for many years.
In 1802, after a very heated discussion, a bill to abolish bull-halting was thrown out of the House of Commons. The practice continued until 1835 when it was made illegal by an Act of Parliament.Bull-bailing continued to be practised occasionally at the West Derby Wakes until about 1853, and baits were held at Wirksworth as late as 1838 or 1840. The last bull-bait in Aylesbury took place on September 26, 1821. At Ashbourne the final bait was held in 1842, while at Lancashire the practice continued until about 1841 or 1842. It is interesting to note how many years passed after the Act of Parliament before the custom died out completely.
With the decline of bull-baiting, the number of pure-bred Bulldogs began to diminish rapidly. One early writer states that they Were occasionally to be obtained in London and Birmingham and a few scattered places in the Black Country.An engraving of Wasp, Child, and Billy, published May 15, 1809, -bore the following account in the margin: "The above Bulldogs, the property of H. Boynton, Esq. originally of the late Duke of Hamilton's breed, and the only ones left of the blood, are in such high estimation that Mr. Boynton has received one hundred and twenty guineas for Billy, and twenty guineas for a whelp before taken from the bitch. It is asserted that they are the only real Bulldogs in existence, and upon their decease this species of dog may be considered as extinct."
The sport of dog-fighting which succeeded bull-baiting in public fancy, was largely responsible for the diminishing number of pure-bred Bulldogs. Many breeders began crossing the Bulldog with the Terrier because they felt that such a cross produced a better fighter.Bull-baiting portrays another chapter in the evolution of the breed as a sporting dog. And a survey of the facts surrounding the Bulldog's use for bull-baiting cannot but instil admiration for the courage and determination required in this old English sport.
The English Bulldog's origin is responsible for the breed's name as well as for the dog's appearance. The short muzzle and wide lower jaw were needed for the dog to clamp itself to the bull's nose like a vise, and the nose had to be upturned so that the dog could still breathe while clinging to the bull.
Anyone who has read about the sport of bull baiting must have been conscious of its extreme cruelty. From this we can gather that the original Bulldog had to be a very ferocious animal. Beauty and symmetry of form were in no way desirable, the appearance of the dog counting for nothing. The extraordinary courage possessed by these dogs is hardly believable. Bred from a long line of fighting ancestors, they grew to be so savage, so courageous as to be almost insensitive to pain. Such was the Bulldog of British sporting days.
However, there were dog lovers who felt a deep disappointment at the passing of so fine a breed, they set themselves the task of preserving it.
Though ferocity was no longer necessary or desirable they wished to retain all the dog's other splendid qualities.
Source: Much Information and print found here comes from varoius sources including the South African Bulldog Club.
The Truth about the Olde English Bulldogge
The Olde English Bulldogge is a recreation of the original 18th century Bulldog "The Butchers dog".
Throughout history different people have made attempts at recreating the bulldogs of olde days. Today there are many bloodlines of the breed we know as the Olde English Bulldogge.
One particular individual by the name of David Leavitt was recognized in a book called The World of Fighting dogs, as having created the first dog of this kind and naming the breed "Olde Bulldogge", and later "Olde English Bulldogge". Although researching history will show that there were many others doing basically the same type of breedings, it was Leavitt who is credited for naming the breed.
In the book written by Dr. Carl Semenic, Leavitt's recipe for his creation was published, along with several pictures of his dogs. The book listed the breeding of these dogs as being one half English Bulldog, one sixth American Pit Bull Terrier, one sixth American Pit Bulldog (which later became known as the American Bulldog) and one sixth Bull Mastiff.
Leavitt's dogs were first registered with ARF, later Leavitt began his own registry so he could have more control over his bloodline. But then, he stopped raising dogs all together. Today Leavitt is back hard at work with his dogs, now and forever known as Leavitt Bulldogs.
Around the same time Leavitt was coming public with his dogs in the early 70's, various other breeders were coming public as well and later even more breeders came out with their own alternative Bulldog recreations.
Most all of theses dogs were developed to reflect a certain time period in the past history of the Bulldog breed.
Many of these new Olde Engish Bulldogges possesed the great qualities of their ancient ancestors.
Today the most important goal that all Olde English Bulldogge breeders should have in mind, is the health and functionality of the dogs they produce. That is what sets the OEB breed apart from todays modern Bulldog!!
Within the Olde English Bulldogge breed, there are numerous bloodlines, each possessing unique characteristics representative of the particular line from which they decend. Quality health, Sound Temerment, Strength, Stamina, Ability, Functionality and Form all describe the Olde English Bulldogge.
The original "Olde English Bulldogge" originated in England between 1600 and 1700. These were the early ancestors to many of the Bull breeds that exist today including the English Bulldog and the American Bulldog. They were bred to participate in blood sports like bull baiting. This so called sport, became quite popular in England through out the middle of the 18th Century. Bull baiting primarily consisted of staking out a bull and allowing several Bulldogges to attack it. A dog of great courage and agility was needed for bull baiting. This dog was of medium size; larger dogs were considered to be the result of mastiff crosses.
Around 1835, laws were passed in England prohibiting bull baiting and the Olde English Bulldogges main purpose of existence vanished. Within a decade the numbers of bulldogs declined drastically almost to extinction. Dog show fanciers eventually decided to reconstruct the breed, but wanted to tone down the aggressive temperament of the original Olde English Bulldogge. They crossed the remnants of the existing stock with the pug and over the years that followed they developed the modern English Bulldog. Unfortunately though, this modern dog is wrought with all kinds of genetic health problems.
The modern Olde English Bulldogge is a reconstruction of the original Olde Bulldogge from the 16th through 19th century. Various genetic crosses have been used in carefully and thoughtfully planned breeding programs to obtain each breeder's goals. The foundation of most of today's Olde English Bulldogges can be traced to English Bulldog, American Bulldog, and a variety of Mastiff bloodlines, as well as APBT's.
The foundation dogs were used very selectively in various combinations to obtain the desired physical and mental traits of the original Olde English Bulldogge. The result has been a good looking Bulldogge of great athletic ability that is much healthier and physically fit and without most or all of the problems that plague today's modern English Bulldogs. The goal of all Olde English Bulldogge breeders should be to produce genetically healthier Bulldogges that are free breathers, free breeders, and free whelpers and who are physically capable of nearly any activity of any other breed of dog.