Breed guide: The English Bulldog, the dog that faced fierce bulls | racing

The English Bulldog was once a very aggressive dog.
Daniel Borker / Pixabay

The English Bulldog was once a very aggressive dog.

Originally from the United Kingdom, one of the most distinguishing characteristics of the English country known today is its calm temperament and character. But it wasn’t always like that.

Descendants of Moluso dogs, the ancestors of bulldogs, were used in a practice known as “bull hunting,” bloody battles in which dogs are put to fight bulls, with the aim of purifying the blood and tenderizing the meat of these animals. Before slaughter – in addition to being a very popular “sport” in the middle of the 12th century in Europe.

Over the years, all the cruelty involved in these fights caused them to be outlawed, rendering bulldogs (which, in free translation, a bull dog) useless animals, which were almost extinct.

Knowing for their ferocity, they forbade walking the streets with one of them. Bulldogs are not accepted as pets. However, many breeders of that time decided to invest in the creation of the breed, choosing only those with a calmer temperament for breeding.

It took years of adaptation to get to the English bulldog as it is known today, a dog with very different temperaments and characteristics than the dogs previously used in deadly fights against bulls.

The first dog show to accept a bulldog was held in 1860 in Birmingham, England, and just a year later, a dog of the breed named King Dick became the competition champion. Years later, another bulldog, called the crepe, of the king’s breed, was considered an “almost perfect” dog.

After an unsuccessful attempt to establish a club dedicated to the breed, which only lasted for three years, in 1875, the Bulldog Club was established in England. In the United States, the breed was registered within the American Kennel Club in 1886.

Competition for standards and popularity

Smart and stubborn, training can take some work
BB Miller / Unsplash

Smart and stubborn, training can take some work

In 1890, the Bulldog Club of America was founded in the United States, located in Massachusetts. At first they used the same standards imposed by the British, but soon they considered that they were not enough and developed their own standards, which became known as the American Bulldog.

After accusations from the British, this American standard underwent a series of revisions until it was accepted in 1896, and is still in effect today.

Even as its own standard, the English bulldog has become one of the most popular breeds in the United States. In 2022, the breed emerged as the sixth most popular, while the French bulldog took second place, according to the official rankings of the American Kennel Club.

There are about nine different breed standards for bulldogs, including the Brazilian, known as the Campeiro Bulldog – another descendant of the English Bulldog is the Boston Terrier, but this is considered a completely different breed.

English Bulldog Character

The English Bulldog is an affectionate dog and bonds with its owners.
Josue Michel / Unsplash

The English Bulldog is an affectionate dog and bonds with its owners.

They don’t even look like dogs that fought to the death against bulls. Modern bulldogs are calm and docile animals. They are very close to family, but tend to choose a “favorite teacher” to follow.

They are very intelligent animals, but they are also very stubborn and can be difficult to train – but nothing that patience and passion cannot solve.

They get along well with anyone and are friendly even when they meet strangers, but they can have problems with other animals and need to be socialized, preferably while they are still dogs.

They live well in smaller environments, such as apartments, but it is essential that they are taken for walks as they are highly prone to obesity – some dogs of this breed are known to be very good at sledding.

Health care and hygiene

For health reasons, you can not make great efforts, but physical activities are necessary to maintain weight.
Sebastien Lavallay / Unsplash

For health reasons, you can not make great efforts, but physical activities are necessary to maintain weight.

The short, soft coat requires weekly brushing to reduce shedding. The most demanding care is the part of the folds across the body. It should always be sterilized with a damp cloth and dried properly to avoid the spread of fungi and bacteria that cause dermatitis problems. Baths are only recommended in cases of great need and always with great care.

As is common in flat-nosed breeds, English bulldogs suffer from problems caused by humerus, so they cannot make great efforts and struggle to regulate their body temperature on hot days.

Among the main health problems are joint problems in the shoulders and knees, hip dysplasia, dry eyes and narrowed nostrils (when they are closed more than usual).

The breed still had problems with flatulence, by swallowing too much air while feeding, and also due to a flat snout problem. In general, this is not a big problem, but if you notice an excess, the teacher should seek help from a veterinarian, as well as regularly take the pet to appointments.

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