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All Dog Breeds >>History of Bulldog

The term "bulldog" was first mentioned in literature around 1500, the oldest spelling of the word being Bondogge and Bolddogge. The first reference to the word with the modern spelling is dated 1631 or 1632 in a letter by a man named Preswick Eaton where he writes: "procuer mee two good Bulldoggs, and let them be sent by ye first shipp".The name "bull" was applied because of the dog's use in the sport of bull baiting. The original Bulldog had to be very ferocious and so savage and courageous as to be almost insensitive to pain. In 1835 dog fighting as a sport became illegal in England. Therefore, the Old English Bulldog had outlived his usefulness in England and his days were numbered in England. However, emigrants did have a use for such dogs in the New World, resulting in the original Bulldog's closest descendant, the American Bulldog. Back in England, they proceeded to eliminate the undesirable 'fierce' characteristics and to preserve and accentuate the finer qualities. Within a few generations, the English Bulldog became one of the finest physical specimens, minus its original viciousness, stamina, strength, speed, and intelligence. In the 17th century, bulldogs were used for bullbaiting (as well as bearbaiting)—a gambling sport popular in the 17th century with wagers laid while trained bulldogs leapt at a bull lashed to a post. The bulldog's typical means of attack included latching onto the animal's snout and attempting to suffocate it.