The Bulldog is one of the few breeds of dogs that are symbolic of a nation. It may perhaps be claimed, with some justice, that he represents more truly and aptly the English spirit, than does the traditional figure of John Bull.
Authorities differ so completely about the origin of the Bulldog that the name itself is in dispute.
While some feel the breed may derive its name from the bull-like shape of the head, others maintain it came from the ancient English custom of using Bulldogs in the sport of bull baiting.
There appears to be little doubt, however, than an early canine species resembling the Bulldog came into existence in the 1500’s.
Because of their courage and apparent capacity to endure pain, Bulldogs were shamelessly exploited for many years in the sports of bull baiting, bear baiting and dog fighting. Bull baiting was made illegal in England in 1835 and eventually dog fighting of all kinds was prohibited, resulting in a steady decline in the breed.
Happily enough, the beginning of the dog-show era in 1859 saved this fine old breed. Because of the interest and untiring efforts of a small group of sincere experienced fanciers, this small number of bulldogs served as a nucleus for the dogs of today.
Fortunately, this group of fanciers was determined to preserve the fine characteristics and just as determined to eliminate all fighting and viciousness.
The first written Bulldog standard was drafted in 1864. A Standard of Perfection was formulated and published in England in 1875.