THE CHANGING FACE OF THE BULLDOG

Bulldogs showing the changing face and body type.

Bulldog skulls showing the changing face shape. Notice how the upper jaw (maxilla) has become shortened and the lower jaw (mandible) now protrudes.

The old fashioned Bulldog was more like a Mastiff as this 19th century skull shows.

This prizewinning Bulldog was called Neotsfield (April 23rd 1905 - April 4th 1906). Sire "Master Merlin". Dam "Flora Venn". Owned by Mr H Wormsley. The shorter skull is becoming more fashionable.

Skull of juvenile Bulldog from 1908. The lower jaw (mandible) protrudes further than the upper jaw (maxilla).

Historically there were miniature Bulldogs in addition to the full-sized Bulldogs we see today.

Description of Miniature Bulldogs from "Dogs and All About Them" by Robert Leighton (1934):

Fifty or sixty years ago, Toy - or, rather, as a recent edict of the Kennel Club requires them to be dubbed, Miniature - Bulldogs were common objects of the canine country-side. In fact, you can hardly ever talk for ten minutes to any Bulldog breeder of old standing without his telling you tall stories of the wonderful little Bulldogs, weighing about fifteen or sixteen pounds, he either knew or owned in those long-past days!

Prominent among those who made a cult of these "bantams" were the laceworkers of Nottingham, and many prints are extant which bear witness to the excellent little specimens they bred. But a wave of unpopularity overwhelmed them, and they faded across the Channel to France, where, if, as is asserted, our Gallic neighbours appreciated them highly, they cannot be said to have taken much care to preserve their best points. When, in 1898, a small but devoted band of admirers revived them in England, they returned most attractive, 'tis true, but hampered by many undesirable features, such as bat ears, froggy faces, waving tails, and a general lack of Bulldog character. However, the Toy Bulldog Club then started, took the dogs vigorously in hand, and thanks to unceasing efforts, Toy Bulldogs have always since been catered for at an ever increasing number of shows. Their weight, after much heated discussion and sundry downs and ups, was finally fixed at twenty-two pounds and under.

The original aim of Miniature Bulldogs - i.e. to look like the larger variety seen through the wrong end of a telescope - if not actually achieved, is being rapidly approached, and can no longer be looked upon as merely the hopeless dream of a few enthusiasts. To enumerate in detail the Miniature Bulldog scale of points is quite unnecessary, as it is simply that of the big ones writ small. In other words, "the general appearance of the Miniature Bulldog must as nearly as possible resemble that of the Big Bulldog" - a terse sentence which comprises in itself all that can be said on the subject.

As companions and friends Miniature Bulldogs are faithful, fond, and even foolish in their devotion, as all true friends should be. They are absolutely and invariably good-tempered, and, as a rule, sufficiently fond of the luxuries of this life - not to say greedy - to be easily cajoled into obedience. Remarkably intelligent, and caring enough for sport to be sympathetically excited at the sight of a rabbit without degenerating into cranks on the subject like terriers. Taking a keen interest in all surrounding people and objects, without, however, giving way to ceaseless barking; enjoying outdoor exercise, without requiring an exhausting amount, they are in every way ideal pets, and adapt themselves to town and country alike.

As puppies they are delicate, and require constant care and supervision; but that only adds a keener zest to the attractive task of breeding them, the more so owing to the fact that as mothers they do not shine, being very difficult to manage, and generally manifesting a strong dislike to rearing their own offspring. In other respects they are quite hardy little dogs, and - one great advantage - they seldom have distemper. Cold and damp they particularly dislike, especially when puppies, and the greatest care should be taken to keep them thoroughly dry and warm. When very young indeed they can stand, and are the better for, an extraordinary amount of heat.

From: Dogs In Britain, A Description of All native Breeds and Most Foreign Breeds in Britain by Clifford LB Hubbard, 1948: In the middle of the nineteenth century, Miniature Bulldogs were very fashionable and consequently many Pug crosses were made about that time. On the other hand, two Spanish Mastiffs were imported by Mr. Frank Adcock about 1874 and crossed with the Bulldog in order to increase the size. []. The. Miniature has lost its appeal almost completely and is now quite a rarity.

HISTORICAL PHOTOS INDEX

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