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A version of the AMERICAN BULLDOG HISTORY by Dave Putnam

Throughout Europe, Asia and North Africa Mastiffs have been used since the dawn of civilization to hunt large dangerous game such as wild boar, bears, tigers and other big cats. The natural prey of these ancient Mastiffs were animals that were more likely to stand their ground and fight then run away. Consequently the original Mastiffs did not develop as keen a nose as the scent hounds or as fleet a foot as the Greyhounds but they did develop tremendous strength, courage and fighting ability. The first strain of Mastiff to reach England was brought by Phoenician traders around 800 B.C. The Celtic tribes that occupied Britain before the time of Christ bred these brindle or brown Mastiffs to catch wild cattle and wild boar in the great black forests that covered their island. Some of these tribes considered the wild boar to be a magical animal and hunting these behemoths was a religious ritual for them. The Mastiffs that they bred to catch these animals were the world's first Bulldogs. When the Romans invaded England in 55 B.C. they were appalled to find that the Celts had developed a new military tactic: they had trained their Bulldogs to leap into the air and bite cavalry horses on the nose. This caused the horse to buck off its rider. The Romans called these Celtic Bulldogs by the Latin name Pugnace. They were brought back to Rome to fight in the Coliseum. Today there is a breed of working Bulldog still used by Italian farmers to catch livestock called the Cane Corso, which is a direct descendant of the Pugnace. Around 400 A.D. a second strain of very tough Mastiffs with white coats known as Alaunts found there way to England. The Alaunt was also developed by English butchers and farmers into Bulldogs. The defining characteristic between a Mastiff and a true Bulldog is that the latter has the so called lock jaw grip. Unlike any other breed of dog at that time a true working Bulldog had the ability to catch a large herbivore (such as a bull, horse or pig) on the nose, cheek or ear and hang on no matter how hard the big beast struggled. When the Bulldog's opponent submits he is either held immobile or the dog physically drags it backwards to the dog's master where it can be slaughtered or put into a holding pen. Today most breeds of guard dog such as European bred German Shepherds are also bred to have a 'Bulldog bite.' In the sport of Schutzhund you will see various German breeds hanging grimly onto the protective sleeves worn by the human decoys. A good Schutzhund dog will secure a single grip and retain it even though he is whirled around with all four feet off the ground or hit with a protection baton. Naturally the Bull breeds developed this kind of grip first so theoretically they should have the hardest and steadiest bite of any kind of dog. The old time working English Bulldog also developed the ability to 'throw' a large animal to the ground by rapidly cork screwing his body right when the big beast was off balance in the middle of a stride. This is not unlike what a human judo master does when he throws an opponent to the ground. The judo master uses timing, leverage and his opponent's own momentum to execute a throw. By using these techniques it is possible for a 120 pound judo master to easily hurl a 300 pound man around like a rag doll. In the same manner an 80 to 100 pound working Bulldog can topple an 1800 pound bull. No other kind of dog can do this. Today only an American Bulldog or a Pit Bull would be able to accomplish such a feat. Though the old time English Bulldog's main opponent was usually a bull, they were also bred in the middle ages to combat bears, lions and other ferocious carnivores. These staged fights were called 'baits' as in bull bait, badger bait, bear bait, etc. These gruesome baiting contests lasted into the 19th century. In 1835 all forms of dog baiting in England were made illegal. The breeding of pure English Bulldogs rapidly declined in the motherland. Many of the few remaining Bulldogs were shipped to America where they were absorbed into the large population of working English Bulldogs already in the former colonies. The rest were crossed with small scrappy terriers to create the Pit Bull Terrier also called the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. These dogs were used by coal miners in the Staffordshire region in dog fights, a sport which though technically made illegal in 1835 was actually tolerated by the British authorities well into the 20th century. In 1850 a man named Hinks got a hold of some early Staffordshire Bull Terriers and crossed them to a large pure white terrier called the White English Terrier. The resulting new breed is now called the English Bull Terrier. Some famous members of this breed include Spuds McKenzie and George Patton's Willie. In the beginning of the 19th century the rapid decline of pure English Bulldogs alarmed a group of nostalgic upper class Englishmen. The English Bulldog had long been a symbol of British courage, indeed a symbol of the very fiber of the country that defeated Napoleon and built the world's greatest empire. They wanted to save this national symbol but did not necessarily want to save the actual fire breathing, hard to handle, working Bulldog. They gathered the last few remaining Bulldogs and crossed them to the tiny short nosed Pug. They created a new breed of dog that was smaller, squatter, shorter nosed, less athletic and more tractable than the original working English Bulldog. This trend toward tiny Bulldogs reached its peak around mid century. Some of these dogs got as small as 12 pounds. These miniature Bulldogs were the foundation stock for today's Boston Terrier and the French Bulldog. The erect ears found on these diminutive Bulldogs were achieved through the introduction of terrier blood. The super small Bulldogs did not fill the bill for the people interested in preserving the symbol of British courage. They found a number of old time working Bulldogs in Spain and crossed them to the tiny Pug Bulldogs to get back some size and substance. The Spanish Bulldog of the time was actually descended from pure English stock brought to the Iberian peninsula originally by King Philip. These long legged Mediterranean Bulldogs weighed about 90 pounds and had muzzles about 2 1/2 inches long. The English preservationists were still bent on only creating a symbolic Bulldog not a working one so in their programs they selected dogs with the Pug's squatty stature and super short snout. Of course they did not advertise their creation as a new breed but simply continued to use the original name or a new nick name, the sour mug. They succeeded though in creating a wonderful pet and more importantly, a potent symbol that helped buoy the British spirits in the darkest hours of World War II. It seems more than just coincidence that Winston Churchill so closely resembled the sour mug. While the English Bulldog may no longer have the physical capacity to catch a bull or be a working guard dog, it still has the heart and soul of a true Bulldog. Fortunately the real working English Bulldog did not actually disappear from the face of the Earth. When the English colonized the new world they brought their Bulldogs with them. In the deep south the colonists also released Eurasian wild boars. They found that the only way to catch wild hogs in the remote back country of the south was with their Bulldogs. Regional varieties flourished from the Carolinas to Florida. They are still there and are known under a variety of names such as, Old English White, White English, Swamp Bulldog, Hill Bulldog, Backwoods Bulldog, Country Bulldog and dozens of others. The first record of an English Bulldog in America was in the early 16th century when one of these formidable canines saved his master from a twelve foot long cougar in the colony of Georgia near what is now Savannah. Starting in the 1930's a man named John D. Johnson of Summerville Georgia started gathering Old English Whites together into a breeding program to insure that they would never become extinct like their counterparts did in England. In the 1960's he was joined by Alan Scott, a farmer and breeder of Percheron draft horses from northern Alabama. Together they scoured remote swamps and mountains of the rural south and collected foundation stock of an ancient breed which was given a new name in 1984, the American Bulldog. While it is true that today's American Bulldog is a direct descendant of the Elizabethan era English Bulldog and is physically identical to its great great grandparents, they were never extensively used in baiting contests on this continent but were used instead as farm utility dogs and as watch dogs, consequently their temperaments have been mellowed over the centuries but their physical abilities have been retained. The American Bulldog can still be found catching wild boar in the south and the west. They are also rapidly gaining a role as trusted family guardians in suburbs all across the country. The majestic American Bulldog has also proven to be a real ham, starring in four full length motion pictures and dozens of commercials and advertisements. Almost any child can tell you about Chance, the star of the movie Homeward Bound. There are other breeds of working Bulldogs besides the American Bulldog. English colonists also brought old fashioned Bulldogs and Mastiffs to the Canary Islands off the coast of Spain. The Presa Canario is now finding its way off these islands and into the homes of working enthusiasts around the world. Throughout Europe, Asia and North Africa Mastiffs have been used since the dawn of civilization to hunt large dangerous game such as wild boar, bears, tigers and other big cats. The natural prey of these ancient Mastiffs were animals that were more likely to stand their ground and fight then run away. Consequently the original Mastiffs did not develop as keen a nose as the scent hounds or as fleet a foot as the Greyhounds but they did develop tremendous strength, courage and fighting ability. The first strain of Mastiff to reach England was brought by Phoenician traders around 800 B.C. The Celtic tribes that occupied Britain before the time of Christ bred these brindle or brown Mastiffs to catch wild cattle and wild boar in the great black forests that covered their island. Some of these tribes considered the wild boar to be a magical animal and hunting these behemoths was a religious ritual for them. The Mastiffs that they bred to catch these animals were the world's first Bulldogs. When the Romans invaded England in 55 B.C. they were appalled to find that the Celts had developed a new military tactic: they had trained their Bulldogs to leap into the air and bite cavalry horses on the nose. This caused the horse to buck off its rider. The Romans called these Celtic Bulldogs by the Latin name Pugnace. They were brought back to Rome to fight in the Coliseum. Today there is a breed of working Bulldog still used by Italian farmers to catch livestock called the Cane Corso, which is a direct descendant of the Pugnace. Around 400 A.D. a second strain of very tough Mastiffs with white coats known as Alaunts found there way to England. The Alaunt was also developed by English butchers and farmers into Bulldogs. The defining characteristic between a Mastiff and a true Bulldog is that the latter has the so called lock jaw grip. Unlike any other breed of dog at that time a true working Bulldog had the ability to catch a large herbivore (such as a bull, horse or pig) on the nose, cheek or ear and hang on no matter how hard the big beast struggled. When the Bulldog's opponent submits he is either held immobile or the dog physically drags it backwards to the dog's master where it can be slaughtered or put into a holding pen. Today most breeds of guard dog such as European bred German Shepherds are also bred to have a 'Bulldog bite.' In the sport of Schutzhund you will see various German breeds hanging grimly onto the protective sleeves worn by the human decoys. A good Schutzhund dog will secure a single grip and retain it even though he is whirled around with all four feet off the ground or hit with a protection baton. Naturally the Bull breeds developed this kind of grip first so theoretically they should have the hardest and steadiest bite of any kind of dog. The old time working English Bulldog also developed the ability to 'throw' a large animal to the ground by rapidly cork screwing his body right when the big beast was off balance in the middle of a stride. This is not unlike what a human judo master does when he throws an opponent to the ground. The judo master uses timing, leverage and his opponent's own momentum to execute a throw. By using these techniques it is possible for a 120 pound judo master to easily hurl a 300 pound man around like a rag doll. In the same manner an 80 to 100 pound working Bulldog can topple an 1800 pound bull. No other kind of dog can do this. Today only an American Bulldog or a Pit Bull would be able to accomplish such a feat. Though the old time English Bulldog's main opponent was usually a bull, they were also bred in the middle ages to combat bears, lions and other ferocious carnivores. These staged fights were called 'baits' as in bull bait, badger bait, bear bait, etc. These gruesome baiting contests lasted into the 19th century. In 1835 all forms of dog baiting in England were made illegal. The breeding of pure English Bulldogs rapidly declined in the motherland. Many of the few remaining Bulldogs were shipped to America where they were absorbed into the large population of working English Bulldogs already in the former colonies. The rest were crossed with small scrappy terriers to create the Pit Bull Terrier also called the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. These dogs were used by coal miners in the Staffordshire region in dog fights, a sport which though technically made illegal in 1835 was actually tolerated by the British authorities well into the 20th century. In 1850 a man named Hinks got a hold of some early Staffordshire Bull Terriers and crossed them to a large pure white terrier called the White English Terrier. The resulting new breed is now called the English Bull Terrier. Some famous members of this breed include Spuds McKenzie and George Patton's Willie. In the beginning of the 19th century the rapid decline of pure English Bulldogs alarmed a group of nostalgic upper class Englishmen. The English Bulldog had long been a symbol of British courage, indeed a symbol of the very fiber of the country that defeated Napoleon and built the world's greatest empire. They wanted to save this national symbol but did not necessarily want to save the actual fire breathing, hard to handle, working Bulldog. They gathered the last few remaining Bulldogs and crossed them to the tiny short nosed Pug. They created a new breed of dog that was smaller, squatter, shorter nosed, less athletic and more tractable than the original working English Bulldog. This trend toward tiny Bulldogs reached its peak around mid century. Some of these dogs got as small as 12 pounds. These miniature Bulldogs were the foundation stock for today's Boston Terrier and the French Bulldog. The erect ears found on these diminutive Bulldogs were achieved through the introduction of terrier blood. The super small Bulldogs did not fill the bill for the people interested in preserving the symbol of British courage. They found a number of old time working Bulldogs in Spain and crossed them to the tiny Pug Bulldogs to get back some size and substance. The Spanish Bulldog of the time was actually descended from pure English stock brought to the Iberian peninsula originally by King Philip. These long legged Mediterranean Bulldogs weighed about 90 pounds and had muzzles about 2 1/2 inches long. The English preservationists were still bent on only creating a symbolic Bulldog not a working one so in their programs they selected dogs with the Pug's squatty stature and super short snout. Of course they did not advertise their creation as a new breed but simply continued to use the original name or a new nick name, the sour mug. They succeeded though in creating a wonderful pet and more importantly, a potent symbol that helped buoy the British spirits in the darkest hours of World War II. It seems more than just coincidence that Winston Churchill so closely resembled the sour mug. While the English Bulldog may no longer have the physical capacity to catch a bull or be a working guard dog, it still has the heart and soul of a true Bulldog. Fortunately the real working English Bulldog did not actually disappear from the face of the Earth. When the English colonized the new world they brought their Bulldogs with them. In the deep south the colonists also released Eurasian wild boars. They found that the only way to catch wild hogs in the remote back country of the south was with their Bulldogs. Regional varieties flourished from the Carolinas to Florida. They are still there and are known under a variety of names such as, Old English White, White English, Swamp Bulldog, Hill Bulldog, Backwoods Bulldog, Country Bulldog and dozens of others. The first record of an English Bulldog in America was in the early 16th century when one of these formidable canines saved his master from a twelve foot long cougar in the colony of Georgia near what is now Savannah. Starting in the 1930's a man named John D. Johnson of Summerville Georgia started gathering Old English Whites together into a breeding program to insure that they would never become extinct like their counterparts did in England. In the 1960's he was joined by Alan Scott, a farmer and breeder of Percheron draft horses from northern Alabama. Together they scoured remote swamps and mountains of the rural south and collected foundation stock of an ancient breed which was given a new name in 1984, the American Bulldog. While it is true that today's American Bulldog is a direct descendant of the Elizabethan era English Bulldog and is physically identical to its great great grandparents, they were never extensively used in baiting contests on this continent but were used instead as farm utility dogs and as watch dogs, consequently their temperaments have been mellowed over the centuries but their physical abilities have been retained. The American Bulldog can still be found catching wild boar in the south and the west. They are also rapidly gaining a role as trusted family guardians in suburbs all across the country. The majestic American Bulldog has also proven to be a real ham, starring in four full length motion pictures and dozens of commercials and advertisements. Almost any child can tell you about Chance, the star of the movie Homeward Bound. There are other breeds of working Bulldogs besides the American Bulldog. English colonists also brought old fashioned Bulldogs and Mastiffs to the Canary Islands off the coast of Spain. The Presa Canario is now finding its way off these islands and into the homes of working enthusiasts around the world. The Spanish Bulldog found its way into Spain's new world colonies and formed the basis for the Dogo Argentino, a breed still used to hunt wild boar and Puma in South America. Dogos very closely resemble tall thin Scott type American Bulldogs. The most common of all bull breeds originated in Germany, the Boxer. For many centuries the farmers and butchers of central Europe caught cattle with dogs they called Bullenbeissers (bull biters). They also hunted bears with a larger dog called the Bearenbeisser (bear biter). These Mastiff types were of the same stock as the Pugnaces and were also dark in color. In the late 19th century the Germans began crossing the lighter colored English Bulldogs into their Bullenbeissers and the result is today's Boxer. For over a hundred years the breeders of Boxers have been combating the white color that the English Bulldog genes introduced into their dogs. White is considered a disqualifying color in the show ring for the Boxer. Certain strains of Boxer certainly deserve the title of working Bulldog since they have successfully earned Schutzhund titles and have served as police and military dogs. The most direct descendant of the continental Bearenbeisser is the Dogue de Bordeaux, a large red Bullmastiff original found only in France but now making itself at home around the world. The constant interaction between coastal France and England over the centuries probably means that the Dogue has some British blood in it also. The English Bullmastiff looks exactly like a Dogue de Bordeaux but without the red coloring and has a slightly smaller head. This breed was created toward the end of the 19th century by crossing the last few functional working type Bulldogs left in England to the ponderous English Mastiff. They were originally used on large estates as guard dogs and deterrents against poachers. In fact, contests were often staged between men armed with clubs and muzzled Bullmastiffs. The men inevitably wound up on the short end of the stick in such contests. These early Bullmastiffs were called the Games keeper Night Dog and weighed about 90 pounds. Since then today's Bullmastiff (as well as the Dogue de Bordeaux) has had a lot more bulky Mastiff blood added so while they are not exactly working Bulldogs anymore they are still fine pets and OK home guardians. The final Bull breed which certainly qualifies as a hard core working Bulldog is the much maligned American Pit Bull Terrier. This dog differs substantially from the English Staffordshire Bull Terrier already mentioned. Shortly after the civil war English Staffs were brought to this country, they weighed about 28 pounds and looked very much like terriers with pointy noses, semi-erect ears and beady eyes. Very quickly an American version of the Staff emerged that was much larger, blockier and more Bulldoggy. There are two explanations: the English Staff was crossed to the American Bulldogs that were already here or the English Staff was systematically bred for Bulldog characteristics as soon as it hit these shores. In either case, today's American Pit Bull Terrier is very similar to a smaller version of the Elizabethan era English Bulldog, except his natural enemy is other dogs not bulls. American Bulldogs are often confused with Pit Bulls. The differences between these two types of Bulldogs are: 1) American Bulldogs have no terrier blood so they are larger, heavier boned and more stable. 2) American Bulldogs have not been extensively breed for dog fighting so they can be around other dogs and cats. 3) American Bulldog breeders have concentrated on producing a family guardian so ABs are more territorial and man aggressive than Pit Bulls.

From:

Dave Putnam's book.



THERE HAVE BEEN AB LOVERS IN THIS PAGE


Awesome American Bulldogs

RICK AND ROBIN GINDOY

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