Old English Bulldog

The Old English Bulldog is an extinct breeds of dog. The English blood sport of bull-baiting allowed for a specialized breed in the form of the Old English Bulldog. The main locations in London for these exhibitions were Westminster Pit, Bear Garden and Old Conduit Fields. One of the breeders who spanned the transition period between the Old English Bulldog and the modern Bulldog was famous dog dealer Bill George.


The Old English Bulldog was compact, broad and muscular as reflected in the well-known depiction Crib and Rosa. The average height was approximately 15 inches and they weighed about 45 pounds. A particular characteristic of the breed was the lower jaw that projected considerably in front of the upper jaw, which made possible a strong, vice-like grip. The nose was deeply set in the face, which allowed the dog to get enough air as it gripped the bull.


Historians are fairly confident that the Old English Bulldog is derived from ancient war dogs, such as the old Mastiff or Alaunt. Others believe that the true origin of the breed is not entirely clear. Depictions in old prints show that the variety was without doubt a small Mastiff, with a comparatively long head. The word 'Mastiff' was eventually dropped when describing these smaller Mastiffs, as the Mastiff proper was found too slow for bull-baiting. Eventually, the Greyhound was crossed into the breed increasing the mastiff's speed, without losing the breed's ferocity. This step reduced the Old English Bulldog's size and weight, with the Greyhound's features seen in specimens of that time.


Two other recognized members of the breed 'Crib and Rosa' can be seen in a painting of that period, with Rosa being considered to represent perfection in the shape, make, and size of the ideal type of Old English Bulldog; however, being deficient in wrinkles about the head and neck and in substance of bone in the limbs.

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