AKC English Bulldogs & IOEBA Olde English Bulldogges




IOEBA Olde English Bulldogge History  

  The Olde English Bulldogge originated in England between 1600 and 1700.  These were the early ancestors to many of the Bull breeds that exist today including the English Bulldog and the American Bulldog.  They were bred to participate in blood sports like bull baiting.  This so called sport, became quite popular in England through out the middle of the 18th Century.  Bull baiting primarily consisted of staking out a bull and allowing several Bulldogges to attack it.  A dog of great courage and agility was needed for bull baiting. This dog was of medium size; larger dogs were considered to be the result of mastiff crosses.
Young girl and her Olde Bulldogge
Around 1835, laws were passed in England prohibiting bull baiting and the Olde English Bulldogges main purpose of existence vanished.  Within a decade the numbers of bulldogs declined drastically almost to extinction.  Dog show fanciers eventually decided to reconstruct the breed, but wanted to tone down the aggressive temperament of the original Olde English Bulldogge.  They crossed the remnants of the existing stock with the pug and over the years that followed they developed the modern English Bulldog.  Unfortunately though, this modern dog is wrought with all kinds of genetic health problems.

The modern Olde English Bulldogge is a reconstruction of the original Olde Bulldogge of the 17th and 18th century. Various genetic crosses have been used in carefully and thoughtfully planned breeding programs to obtain this goal.  The foundation of most of today's Olde English Bulldogges can be traced to English Bulldog, American Bulldog, APBT and Mastiff.

These dogs  were used very selectively in various combinations to obtain the desired physical and mental traits of the original Olde English Bulldogge.  The result has been a good looking Bulldogge of great athletic ability that is much healthier and physically fit without most or all of the problems that plague today's modern English Bulldogs.  The goal of all Olde English Bulldogge breeders should be to produce genetically healthier Bulldogges that are free breathers, free breeders, and free whelpers.

Two young Girls and their early Bulldog
 The IOEBA's detailed breed standard is the best guide as to what the perfect Olde English Bulldogge should look like according to the International Olde English Bulldogge Association.  It is recommended that it be used by today's Olde breeders in an effort to maintain the high standards that the breeders of the past and the IOEBA have set fourth. 

Olde English Bulldogges / English Bulldog

In recent years, the Olde Bulldog has been developed as an alternative to the English Bulldog. Since most people are not familiar with English Bulldog breeding practices, they don’t realize that there has been considerable inbreeding, and/or line-breeding of English Bulldogs so that a desired conformation of that breed could be produced. Unfortunately, these breeding practices have done a great deal of harm to the English Bulldog, as well as many other breeds. Over the past 50-plus years, the ARF has monitored the largest American Kennel Club in the world, and we have watched their breeding quality requirements decline. As a result of their unwise breeding requirements, we know of no breeds that are improving, i.e., German Shepherds that are crippled by bad hips, St. Bernands that have attacked children, hunting dogs that cannot hunt, etc. How has this come about? Let me point out, when dogs are bred only for "conformation" [appearance], over a period of years, that’s all you have left. The working ability disappears, a desired temperament is diminished, and the soundness of body is greatly impaired. With the crossing of the American Bulldog into the English Bulldog, all "Olde Bulldog" owners will notice a higher degree of intelligence and health in their new pet.

Whether you use your "Olde Bulldog" for "Dog Sport", or as a "Companion Dog", as a "Therapy Dog", as a "Protection Dog", etc., you will have a four-footed friend with a sweet disposition, with a lot of tenacity, agility, and speed. After selective breeding, our ARF Breeders have produced a strong and ideal canine that will receive many positive comments from all who get acquainted with this marvelous lineage of bulldogs.

Here is a list of other popular "Bulldogs" that are being registered with the Animal Research Foundation.

The American Bulldog

The Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldog

The Arkansas Giant Bulldog

The Catahoula Bulldog

Hermes’ Olde Bulldog

Leavitt’s Olde Bulldogge

Larson’s Olde English Bulldogge

The Original English Bulldogge

The Olde English Bulldogge

Stonehenge Olde Bulldog



Olde English Bulldogge History Leavitt

A few words from David Leavitt...

In 1971, I started this project of breeding a dog with the looks of the 18th century Bulldog. I had become disenchanted with English Bulldogs, due to breeding and breathing problems. I discovered that they didn't look like their ancestors, who were healthier and less extreme. I found that bull and bear-baiting had been very widespread for hundreds of years. Extreme cruelty to animals was inherent in baiting sports. This cruelty was abhorrent to me, but I was fascinated by the great tenacity and courage of the over-matched underdog. I was also drawn to the Bulldog because of his fierce appearance. A modern protection dog, who looks really tough, will repulse an assailant without having to bite. This is the most desirable end to a confrontation. I couldn't find a reliable source for old style Bulldogs, and set about the daunting task of breeding back. I call the breed the Olde English Bulldogge.

Research has been critical in developing a standard. I have period statues, paintings, prints, and all the important older dog looks. I found that Bulldog sizes varied during different periods, due to changes in the way the baits were staged. Like all old working breeds, Bulldogs were not bred to a strict standard. Their distinctive body, head, and temperament, were dictated instead by their work.

I do not want the temperament of the original Bulldog. My dogs must be very loving. They must have courage and determination, without being overly aggressive. I've found that I can't count on buyers to get their dogs under good obedience control. If I have to make a mistake, it must be on the friendly side, and if someone wants their dog to be sharper, all it takes is a bit of training. I'd rather teach a friendly dog to bite, then vice versa.

I'm using a line-breeding scheme, developed for cattle at Ohio State University. You start with 3 unrelated dogs, two males and one female. Female pups from the first cross are bred to the second male. From this point, females are bred back to uncles, each generation. I have 2 unrelated schemes started, so future outcrosses will be possible. I've used breeds that all have old Bulldog in their background. My dogs are half English Bulldog, and the other half is Bullmastiff, Pit Bull, and American Bulldog. The process of getting the dogs to match the old depictions is actually rapid due to the breeds used, and a dogs' short gestation period. I try to get on to the next generation as quickly as possible, to make genetic progress and get consistent results. I'm up to the eight and ninth generations on the two lines, at the time of this printing in 1995.

My dogs can now breath. They will never be like hounds, able to run for miles during the hottest weather of summer, but they're three times better than the restricted modern Bulldog. Cesarean section births are not necessary. Artificial insemination, due to male ineptness and lack of drive, has been replaced by natural ties. Life span in over eleven years. All breeding stock have had hip x-rays. No dog with bad hips is bred. I'm now achieving my goal of producing a Bulldog with the health and temperament to be able to serve people, instead of forcing people to serve him.

The Olde English Bulldogge has met the stringent requirements for inclusion in "The Rare Breed Handbook" and dog show judges can find the standard there. Various registries have recognized the breed, but the most important registration is with the Olde English Bulldogge Association (OEBA). People are selling fakes. The dogs must have OEBA papers to be genuine Olde English Bulldogges.

* NOTE: This was written by David Leavitt and reproduced with his permission. Copyright © 1995

Olde Bulldogges from late 1800s & early 1900s

Olde English Bulldogge Photos















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