The Bulldog, a symbol of the British also known as the dog to snore loudly has an interesting beginning. The name “bulldog” came from pitting a dog against a bull in an enclosure. This cruel sport has been around since the 1500’s under various names. In the 1600’s it became known as bull baiting and it is when the term Bulldog was first used to describe the dogs used in bull baiting. The sport was outlawed in Britain in 1835 along with cock fighting and bear baiting.
The Bulldog as we know and see it today is very much different in build than dogs pitted against the bulls just over 150 years ago. Look at the woodcut picture on the left and see how much different those dogs look. The dogs would have to have been agile, quick and very strong. The present day Bulldog is nowhere near quick enough to get out of the way of an agitated bull. The Bulldogs of those times did not live very long. Six years old was their life expectancy rate. Of course people lived shorter lives too.
After the bull baiting years came to an end, the dogs were crossed with the smaller Pug which gave the dog the pushed in face and bow legs which are distinctive of the breed till this day.