The History of American Bulldog

Old English Bulldogs were imported by Europeans on American continent at the 16 century. It is known that at this time Bulldogs have appeared, for example, at the modern Brazilian states. The influx of immigrants from the UK increased in the first half of the 18 century. In 1724 Britain whose economy experienced depression, founded a southern colony, Georgia, and created there preferable conditions for attracting immigrants.

The settlers used the Bulldogs as universal working dogs for protecting homes and property, as well as for penning cattle and even hunting wild boars. Farmers selected the largest, strongest and hardiest dogs for breeding. Thus from early 18 century the traditional breed of American Bulldogs has begun to develop in relative isolation in South America. Experts and amateur breeders got seriously interested in this breed only in the 20 century. John D. Johnson is recognized to be the main man who preserved this breed. More precisely resembling after the features of an Old English Bulldog, modern American Bulldog is likely its direct descendant.

The fate of this breed was very difficult – having almost disappeared at early 20 century, it was fortunately saved. Still remaining vulnerable and liable to illnesses, it was divided into two breeding lines with significant differences. The general public got acquainted with the species only in the 1980s. The breed was recognized at the national level by the United Kennel Club (UKC) in 1999, but the International Canine Federation (FCI) has not yet recognized it.

In America, the leadership in the breeding of pedigree English Bulldogs belongs to the United States. There is a Standard of English Bulldog there, a few differing from British and international standards.

The first reference of English Bulldog in the U.S. dates back to 1880 - five year old brindle and white male named Donald was exhibited by Sir William Verner in New York. Experts agree that male Robinson Crusoe and female Britomartis were the best Bulldogs in the U.S. in late 19 century. Britomartis always took first place at New York shows from 1885 to 1890, and Robinson Crusoe became the first national champion in 1888.

What is it so remarkable in the American period of the American Bulldog breed? To understand the history of the breed it is important to realize that the dog got into a completely unknown environment.

First, the U.S. continental climate was slightly different from British. That meant that day and night temperatures varied greatly somewhere in the prairie. Imagine winter and summer days! Bulldogs were not allowed to be in settlers’ warm houses, so the dogs had bad experience. Perhaps, these dogs were trained to be patient and enduring under these circumstances. And these traits of Bulldogs’ character are highly evaluated.

Secondly, Bulldogs were fighting dogs in England. And in America they were used as guard and shepherd! That is, Americans have tried to return the original type back from which the selection was carried out in England. Despite all these troubles, the dog turned out great. Weight increased slightly, but the grip remained the same, adding to the breed energy and responsiveness of the fighter.

However, work of American breeders had changed the appearance of the breed forever. There was no scientific basis for breeding of dogs in that time, so each breeder made a selection in its own way. It resulted in the fact that now Bulldogs are even set at three different rings in America.
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