The Bulldog

Docile and instantly recognizable, today's Bulldog is a mellow fellow well-suited to young and old.

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Bulldogged. That synonym for 'tenacious' takes us back hundreds of years, when English farmers and butchers kept tough, fearless dogs on hand to catch bulls for castration or to help drive them to market. These canine enforcers had thick, strong jaws to aid in grasping the bull; a short, flat muzzle to help air pass through the nostrils while the dog was clamped onto the bull; and a tough, agile body that could take a toss from an angry bull and come back for more. The spectacle of a dog "baiting" a bull became entertainment as well in a time when television, movies and video games didn't exist.

With the passage in 1835 of humane laws in Britain that outlaws bullbaiting and dog fighting, the Bulldog seemed destined to disappear into history, but instead, people began breeding the dogs for the new pastime of dog showing. With the change in the dog's purpose, the Bulldog's head became larger, its legs shorts, its body stockier. The aggressive nature was replaced by a disposition that's biddable and kind.

Mighty to Mellow
"Bulldog temperament is outstanding," says Cody T. Sickle of Cherokee Bulldogs in Oyster Bay Cove, N.Y., who has been in the breed for more than 40 years and is an AKC-approved judge. "Bulldogs are friendly, easygoing and get along with everybody. That's probably the greatest single attribute about this breed: its terrific disposition. They get along with people, with others animals, with everybody."

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