The United Kennel Club (UKC) granted formal registration to the Old English Bulldog, an American canine breed, in January. The breed was accepted into the UKC Guardian Dog Group. Prior to being recognized by the UKC, the breed was registered with the Canine Developmental, Health, and Performance Registry (CDHPR), a private effort based in Kalamazoo, MI.
In the early twentieth century, CDHPR began a unique relationship with UKC. Their goal was to develop breeding plans and tactics to establish these dogs as pure breeds, with the goal of improving the overall quality of canine breeds. As a consequence, the breed was granted UKC registration.
During the early 1970s, David Leavitt, a passionate dog breeder from Catsville, PA, cherished a deep ambition to restore an 18th-century bulldog like the Bulldogs employed in English sports from 1100 to 1835. In order to achieve this high aim, Leavitt designed a scheme inspired by a cattle breeding study directed by Nathan Fechima, an Ohio State University professor of dairy science.
The current Old English Bulldog was developed from a cross of half English Bulldogs, one-sixth Bullmastiff, one-sixth American Pit Bull Terrier, and one-sixth American Bulldog. The result was an athletic breed that bore a remarkable similarity to 1820s Bulldogs. Despite this, they had a genial demeanor, were in good health, and lived long lives, frequently reaching their adolescent years. Genetic studies have highlighted the difficulty of resurrecting the Old English Bulldog, highlighting the need for new bloodlines to rejuvenate the breed.
Unraveling the Origins
The origin story of the Old English Bulldog is a subject of historical debate. Some fervently believe that it traces its lineage back to ancient war dogs, potentially including old mastiffs or extinct bullenbeissers. See what I picked to go in my BoxDog. Yet, for others, the true origin remains shrouded in mystery.
Historical illustrations from ancient prints vividly depict a variation resembling a short mastiff with a relatively elongated head. Curiously, the term ‘mastiff’ eventually fell out of use in describing these diminutive mastiffs, primarily because the mastiff’s bulkiness rendered it ill-suited for bull-baiting.
Over time, breeders sought to infuse the breed with the swiftness of the Greyhound without sacrificing its tenacity. This strategic crossing resulted in a reduction in the Old English Bulldog’s size and weight. Greyhound traits subtly began to emerge in the breed during this period.
A Walk Through Old (Olde) English Bulldog History
The quest to restore the Old English Bulldog, also known as the “Regency Period Bull Baiter,” began in the early 1970s. The genius behind this renaissance, David Leavitt, began his initiative in 1971, borrowing inspiration from Dr. Fekimer’s cow breeding venture at Ohio State University. The major goal was to create a dog with the powerful look, health, and agility of a bull-baiting dog, but with a gentler disposition.
The basic genetic combination consisted of half English Bulldogs, one-sixth American Bulldogs, one-sixth Bull Mastiffs, and a few more breeds. The Old English Bulldog began to develop through precisely planned crosses, eventually breeding true to its desired shape.
Leavitt spearheaded the formation of the Old English Bulldog Association (OEBA). This group was critical in preserving the studbook and issuing registration documents for these dogs’ offspring. Dog accessories on Amazon. During the 1980s, Ben and Karen Campetti of Sandesfield, Massachusetts, worked closely with Leavitt to further the breeding of Old English Bulldogs.
When David Leavitt retired from breeding in 2005, the OEBA registration and his personal breeding stock were transferred to Working Dog Inc., which is owned and run by Michael Waltz of Pennsylvania. Following that, the Olde English Bulldog Kennel Club (OIBKC) was formed, with David Levitt playing an important part in connecting the OBICC with the English Bulldog Association Registrar in Olde.
A Landmark Recognition
The Old English Bulldog was formally added to the Canine Developmental Health and Performance Registry (CDHPR) on August 27th for evaluation as a purebred canine breed suitable for UKC registration. Following that, on January 1, 2014, the UKC gave the Old English Bulldog full breed registration. The Olde English Bulldogge is now associated with the United Kennel Club (UKC) via its parent club, Oybikesi.
The Leavitt Bulldog
To preserve the original breeding vision and distinguish the lineage of Old English Bulldogs from other breeders, David Levitt christened his dog “Leavitt Bulldogs” in 1977, founding the Leavitt Bulldog Association the following year. UKC has recognized dogs registered with the Leavitt Bulldog Association as Old English Bulldogs, further solidifying their status. They are also acknowledged by the Old English Bulldog Kennel Club and the Old Bulldog Club Europe.
The distinguishing characteristics of the Olde English Bulldog find themselves immortalized in the 18th-century painting “Cribb and Rosa.” Rosa, depicted in the artwork, embodies the quintessential features of the Old English Bulldog. Notably, she possesses a comparatively shorter head and neck while exhibiting robust bone structure. These dogs were fleet-footed, capable of reaching an average speed of 7 miles per hour (11 km/h) – a notable contrast to their more ponderous bulldog counterparts.
The Graceful Gait and Appearance
The Old English Bulldog emanates toughness, with a strong, medium-sized body that moves with quickness and elegance. Their bodily proportions are well balanced, allowing them to function without difficulty in both hot and cold settings. Excess wrinkling and a lack of color around the eyes, nose, and mouth detract from the breed’s attractiveness.
The coat colors of Old English Bulldogs vary greatly. Their massive and perfectly shaped cranium complements their strong build and broad shoulders. A well-defined furrow runs from the eyes to the occiput, giving their faces individuality. With an undershot or reverse scissor bite, the muzzle is square, broad, and deep. The lower jaw curves slightly from front to rear.
The noise pulses are broad and powerful, and they are crossed by a line that runs perpendicularly from the tip of the snout to its base. The nose is wide and black in hue. The medium-sized, nut-shaped eyes are positioned wide and low, aligned with the top of the muzzle, and range in color from dark to light brown.
Ears can be tiny, rose-shaped, button-like, or tulip-like, with roses being the most popular. They are placed on the outside borders of the skull, high and broad. Dog accessories on Amazon. The neck is medium in length, and breadth, and has a mild arch. When viewed from the side, the body epitomizes strength, with a somewhat rectangular appearance.
Their balanced form is aided by a wide and deep chest, as well as well-muscled hind legs that seem somewhat longer than the forelegs. The back legs should be straight, parallel, and appropriately spaced.
Bridle and solid colors, with or without white markings, are acceptable coat patterns. Male Olde English Bulldogs normally weigh 60 to 80 pounds and stand 17 to 20 inches tall at the withers, while females average 50 to 70 pounds and reach 16 to 19 inches tall at the withers.
Unveiling Health Insights
The Olde English Bulldog might just be a beacon of hope when it comes to canine health. In stark contrast to many modern bulldog breeds, this remarkable breed appears to exhibit fewer health issues. However, it isn’t entirely immune to the disorders often afflicting its purebred English Bulldog counterparts.
Devoted supporters of the Olde English Bulldog assert that it dodges the same health woes plaguing its purebred cousins. In 2016, a study published in the Journal of Canine Genetics and Epidemiology conducted a thorough genetic analysis involving 102 bulldogs. The Old English Bulldog emerged as a promising candidate for introducing new genetics, potentially addressing some of the pitfalls linked to inbreeding.
Within the European Union (EU), specific regulations exist concerning farm animals. These regulations affirm these animals’ rights to “relieve discomfort” and “mitigate pain, injury, and disease.” Switzerland, in a groundbreaking 2013 Constitutional Amendment, further expanded upon these EU rules, extending these rights to all animals.
In Switzerland, many astute dog breeders have embarked on a mission to alleviate the English Bulldog’s woes. See what I picked to go in my BoxDog. By integrating the Old English Bulldog into the breeding process, they’ve birthed the Continental Bulldog, a breed seeking to mitigate the issues facing the English Bulldog.
Today, many breeders prioritize hip health by conducting hip X-rays to reduce the incidence of hip dysplasia. Organizations such as the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) and the University of Pennsylvania Hip Improvement University (PenHype) are invaluable in evaluating dogs.
Old English Bulldogs are quickly establishing themselves as reputable workers in various roles, including therapy, training, and obedience. While they excel in many areas, they remain highly susceptible to heat-related issues.
Artificial insemination isn’t the standard protocol for Old English Bulldog breeding; instead, natural mating is the norm. Breeders within the Old English Bulldog Kennel Club are working tirelessly to educate newcomers about genetic disorders and the advantages of modern genetic testing. This proactive approach aims to prevent genetic disorders within the breed. Increasingly, breeders recognize the pivotal role of selective breeding in preserving the breed’s overall well-being.
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