The English bulldogs are assumed to have descended from Mastiffs. Some people believe that alaunt is the common ancestor of bulldogs and mastiffs. The origin of the bulldogs has a controversy among naturalists and cytologists. Some considered the bulldog as the parent of mastiff. Some believe that bulldog resulted from cross breeding between mastiff and the pug. The Alaunt was definite in a thesaurus of 1632 as being resembling a Mastiff and helping butchers to take in ferocious oxen to stay them in their stalls. Down through the centuries, until a comparatively recent time, the name “Mastiff” has been applied indiscriminately to all large or massive dogs.
These dogs got their name bulldog in 1568 and it is mentioned first time in literature. The old spell of this word was Bondogge and Bolddogge. The name bull was given to this breed because of this dog use in bull baiting sport. The bulldogs was trained efficiently how to grab the bull by nose and fell the bull to ground. For many centuries, these dogs are used for bull baiting sport due to strong body, large head, and sharp jaws and for having cruel temperament. Bull-baiting and bear-baiting got popularity and reached the peak in England in the early 1800s. The additional features of a Bulldog are evocative of the bull-baiting approach and strategies that made the bulldog fatal effectual in kill a bull.
The present English bulldog is very different than the bulldogs. During the period of the Phoenician empire, the mastiffs were bred as to protect their people from the enemies. These dogs were very ferocious, strong, and brave and they were perfect fighters. People use crossbreeding to make them more cruel and ferocious. Romans were impressed with the strength of these mastiffs and took them to Europe. These dogs were used for fighting and different exhibitions was arranged to show their fighting demo to people. This fighting practice became very popular practice in 13th century. It then became a well-liked practice for the butchers to have bulldogs on their hand. People of that time belive that this practice should be practiced on bull before the bull were actually slaughtered. People also believe that bull baiting practice make meat more nutritious, healthy and tender. This bull baiting became a public event and people lined up to watch. During 13th century, bulldog owners started even more crossbreeding to make their bulldogs perfect and stronger for bull baiting.
The characteristics of those breeders created were:
- Short legs so that it was difficult for the bull’s horn to reach the dogs legs.
- Large and strong head and have large jaws to grab the bulls nose tightly and easily.
- Larger and heavier body make the dog more stronger and also helps in fighting with bull at same level.
- Wrap up gag, to support a stronger jaw and allow the dog to still breathe while grabbing onto the bull’s nose.
- Wrinkles on the muzzle, so that the bull’s blood would run down the dog’s face instead of getting into the eyes
These ancestors of up to date bulldogs were literally bred to fight, and only the puppies that showed the strongest characteristics were grown up into dogs.
Bull baiting was one of the most expensive betting game and game rules were changed according to season. In 1272, law was made that mastiffs were allowed only to be owned by rich and noble status people because bull baiting was thought that it was game for rich people only.
Bull bailing was bloody sport in which bulldog had to grab the nose of bull and for this purpose special features was needed that help in sticking to bull’s nose and kill him. Normally this fight was arranged in open field.
The idea of the bull baiting was for the dog to connect the bull. Bulldogs were taught to bend near to the ground and to protect their bodies from the horns of the bull. The shoulders were placed outside the body and shoulder was broad and wide. This was to make certain it could bend stumpy. Equally, the back of the bulldog was not well developed and sometimes faced serious injuries. The skull and strong body of bull dog is also part of a strong fighting strategy. The jaws of bulldogs are very strong and sharp it helps in grabbing the nose of bull for a long time. The bulldog continues to grab until the bull brought down and wrinkles on skin help the blood to flow down instead of sticking to eyes or face of bulldog.
The bull is, in the intervening time, overpowering, due to the movable jowls of the Bulldog overcrowding the way of air. In late 1800 the bull baiting was banned legally and since the ban of this sport, bulldog become a family dog. It is the most friendly and lovely dog. Bulldogs are very loyal to its master or owner. After that people starts realizing that bulldog personality depend on how dogs is treated and trained. In 1875, the Bulldog Club Incorporated was created, which is the oldest of its kind in existence. They keep complete record of English bulldog and about breed. When Bulldog Club Incorporated was founded, their objective was reducing health problems in bulldogs. Bulldogs suffered from skin infections due winkled skin and some have small wind pipes. Bulldogs shape, size and look is changed a lot as compared to bulldogs in the period of bull baiting or in late 1960s.
English bulldogs passed through many changes and their breed is also changing. Breeder like to do experiment an do crossbreeding but bull dog is very friendly, loving, affectionate, protective and best dog for family.