So here is what you do know (especially if you took a gander at this week’s Wags & Whiskers Wednesday) – bulldogs are cute. That’s where the education stops with most bulldog admirers. This breed, though, has a surprisingly interesting history…one which if you know a bulldog personally, you might find hard to believe.
For the longest time I wondered “Where the HECK did the name ‘bull’dog come from?” Obviously I realized it must have something to do with bulls, but I wasn’t sure what. Then I heard of bull baiting. It’s just as horrible as it sounds. A bull was tethered, bulldogs released, and the dog that pinned the bull won. (Don’t even think about what happened to the dogs that didn’t win.) This is when the bulldog acquired his stout body and big head; people bred them for these qualities (along with an aggressive temperament) solely for the purpose of attacking bulls.
“Ok…ok…” you’re thinking. “That does not sound like the happy-go-lucky bulldogs that I know!” Well, over the years this English bulldog was cross bread with the pug. This is how the bulldog got shorter and wider…and more importantly a lot nicer.
In the past five years, bulldogs have rapidly gained popularity, and are now in the top 10 most popular breeds (according to the AKC.) They were recognized as a breed by the AKC way back in 1886 and until recently, peaked in popularity in 1915.
So why does everyone want a bulldog now?
It seems we have become enamored by that easily recognizable face and easy-going attitude towards just about everything. They are great with kids. They don’t need a lot of exercise. They can easily adapt to every environment. They are an all around great breed to have around! Hollywood stars are even hopping on the bulldog bandwagon. Brad Pitt, Reese Witherspoon, John Legend, George Clooney, Charlize Theron, Adam Sandler – all proud bulldog parents!
As a sports fan, one of my favorite facts is the bulldog is literally THE most popular mascot. I mean, I’m sure you can think of at least a dozen schools that use the bulldog to represent them in the sports arena. (Wikipedia claims that 39 American universities alone use the bulldog as their mascot.) It’s easy to see why – they look tough, they are (well…they WERE) aggressive and courageous (back in their bull baiting days), but despite all that they are darn cute! (And a lot easier to transport to games than Bevo.)
So to summarize this post – if you are in the market for a dog, I would check out the bulldog. No, he won’t be able to go on long hikes. No, he won’t ever be able to herd sheep or go hunting. He will be loyal, though. He will love your kids. He will be adorable. And he DEFIFINITELY will snore!