They Were Bred to ‘Bait’ Bulls
Up until it was deemed cruel and banned in 1835, ‘Bull Baiting’ was a much anticipated ‘sport’ in the United Kingdom.
Bulldogs would often literally hang from the bull’s face or nose. They would creep, low to the ground, in an attempt to catch the large and cumbersome animal; the bull would usually eventually succumb to blood loss. In fact, early Bulldogs were specifically bred for this gruesome purpose. Bulldogs were conceived with an extremely high pain threshold and abnormally strong, bulky frame, likely due to the chance for injury.
Hey- don’t worry! Virtually all of the breeds’ aggression has been bred out over the years; these days, Bulldogs are one of the absolute best family companions you could find!
Their Unusual Appearance Had a Purpose
Have you ever wondered exactly why bulldogs look so…. strange? Well, their appearance wasn’t an accident.
These guys were bred to be highly efficient for their original purpose. You already know the reasons for their abnormally high pain threshold and musculature, but there is much you likely didn’t know.
- A bulldog’s loos skin acted as a shield, protecting it’s vital organs.
- Their many facial wrinkles served as ‘channels’ for blood to flow, keeping it away from their eyes.
- Short snouts allowed for better breathing while the bulldog was latched unto the larger animal.
- Smaller back legs meant the dog could be shaken without suffering spinal injuries.
- Their ‘under-bite’ allowed for a better grip.
They Are the Reason Pitbulls Exist
‘Pitbull’ is more of a generic name these days, covering a wide assortment of similar dogs that have been interbred so much over the years, no definite breed can often be discerned.
When the ‘sport’ of bull baiting was deemed cruel and outlawed, spectators ironically turned to a no less violent substitute- dog fighting. Since the Bulldog was already so popular, what better progenitor to sire a new champion?
On the other hand, these fellows were somewhat awkward and slow. For this reason, early solicitors of death decided to breed English Bulldogs and various Terriers (for their agility), thus creating the perfect fighting machine! Hence, the ‘Pitbull’ was born. They now had a more agile and no less muscular dog with an unbelievable pain threshold; these guys would literally fight to the end.
Unfortunately, this history gives Pitbulls a very poor and misunderstood reputation. They were actually prized for their bite inhibition with human handlers; owners needed to be able to enter a ring and treat their injured animals if necessary. While they do very often carry a genetic predisposition for dog aggression, the exact opposite is true with humans.
- The American Kennel Club rates their version of the Pitbull, the ‘American Staffordshire Terrier’, in the high ninety percentile with families and children! In fact, when they came to America in the early 1900’s along with immigration, Pitbulls were often prized as children’s companions, earning the nickname ‘Nanny Dogs’.
They Very Nearly Became Extinct
After Bull Baiting was outlawed in England, there was little demand for the breed anymore. If it wasn’t for a select few breed enthusiasts, bulldogs would have died out long ago.
Thanks to these individuals, that didn’t happen. On the other hand, they began selectively breeding out the natural aggression of the breed, eventually leading to the friendly animal we have today!
These Guys are Terrible Swimmers
Many ‘Brachycephalic’ breeds, or dogs with abnormally large heads and un-proportional bodies, are very poor swimmers. Bulldogs just happen to be one of those breeds; bodies of water have meant death to a great many of the dogs.
Bulldogs shouldn’t be allowed near water; these guys are more likely to sink than swim.
When you are traveling with your Bulldog, consider using a Tapscott K9 car seat cover. It will protect your upholstery and give your dog a better and more comfortable trip!