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HISTORY OF THE OL’ SOUTHERN BULLDOG


Bulldog_1870s.jpgWe at Joshua Kennels believe the American Bulldog (southern Style) is the truest continuation of the original Bulldog bred in England. Due to the early settlers this bulldog found a new home in the deep South of the United States. If you study the history of the bulldog you will find there are many different views and opinions. However, a careful look at any of the paintings and prints of bullbaiting during the 1700 - 1800's you will see basically the same dog that is now called the American (Performance) Bulldog. This name has only in the past 30 years or so been used to separate it from other strains of bulldogs and terriers. Prior to that time this same bulldog was called, White English, Ol' Country White, Southern Catch Dog, Ol' Time Bulldog and just Bulldog. The American Bulldog for the most part migrated to the southern states, Florida, Alabama, Georgia and Carolina's. In this area the bulldog proliferated in the 1 800 - 1900's. In the state of Florida (of which my family has lived for 6 generations) cowboys known as "CRACKERS" (a term given because of their use of long bullwhips which they would crack over the heads of cattle) would use these bulldogs to help head and drive the cattle through the flat woods and swamps of Florida. These cattle now known as "CRACKER CATTLE" still a pure breed of cattle in Florida, were very wild, so a tough, hard dog was needed in order to herd these cattle and keep them bunched up. The way this was done, when cattle would break and run the cowboy would send his bulldog on the cow and the bulldog would catch the cow by the nose or ear and toss the cow. When the bulldog was called off, the bulldog would drive the cow back to their herd and the bulldog would then circle and bay the herd while the "Crackers" would push the cattle on horse back from behind to the desired location. Written records of this Southern Bulldog are indeed rare, however, stories of legend proportion were widely told. Stories of confrontation with bear, wild cats, coyotes, wild hogs etc. were passed down from generation to generation. It should be noted that the American Bulldogs were and are genuinely used as working and hunting dogs, which produced the reputation of being true stock dogs. The farmer would use these bulldogs not only for cattle but also to catch and hold wild hogs in order to mark the hog, (usually a notch in the hogs ear) to declare ownership. . No breed of dog is more adept at this type work than the American (Performance) Bulldog. It is one of the very few breeds that has the speed, power and tenacity to consistently catch and hold a bad boar hog.  These same qualities known as "Bulldog Tenacity" are prerequisites for success in Schutzhund, ring sport and protection training. (Schutzhund and ring sport are the two most demanding systems by which protection dogs are tested for breeding qualities.) These qualities also ensure a healthier, longer living companion.


In giving a brief historical sketch of the bulldog allow me to go to the year 1632 and the writings of COTGRAVE. "They have great heads and great lips with such, men helped him at the baiting of the bull and at hunting of a wild boar. They hold fast at the catching of each". He continues by saying, "the true and most common, should be white with a black spot about the ears or eyes. Any beast that he might come to he should hold with his Seizure and naught leave it". Cotgrave described 3 characteristics which distinguish the American Bulldog of the present day. He had a large, short and thick head and short muzzle; he was remarkable for his high courage and when he attached an animal he hung on. It is also proved that he was used in bull-baiting and the hunting of wild boar. Writing in 1792 Osbaldeston described the bulldog as: "one of the most fierce and strong of his canine race, having a nose short, and the under jaw larger than the upper. Such is the strength and ferocity of these animals, that four of them have been known to master a lion, and when they are turned loose on a bull, and have once properly seized him, nothing short of the loss of life or the giving way of the part can disengage them". Taplin writes eleven years later: "A bulldog, though inoffensive and harmless when properly domesticated, forms to the eye of timidity a most terrific appearance. The breed is by no means so numerous as formerly, in consequence of the gradual decline of bull-baiting and the GREAT NUMBER TAKEN ABROAD. for many of which very great prices were obtained". In the world of the contemporary American Bulldog you'll find many different sizes, forms and colors. Joshua Kennels is committed to producing a true working bulldog that we feel will closely resemble the original. Although we raise strains of working bulldogs popular to the modern bulldogger, we also have a very old line of bulldog that we still call "White English", that has no Johnson, Scott, Williamson, Painter, Tate etc, in it. This particular line comes from an old friend who was born in the deep south and has raised these bulldogs all of his 85 years. He asked me to keep his "White English" pure. It is the goal of Joshua Kennels to ensure that this original style of bulldog survive, and its true qualities retained. The popularity of the American Bulldog has grown rapidly in the last few years. Partially because of the roll of "Chance a.ka. Rattler" in the Disney movie "Homeward Bound" and that of "Petey" a.k.a "Screamer" on "The Little Rascals". Both movies portray the American Bulldog in its true to life role of the faithful companion. Along with its many talents of being a true working bulldog, its most beloved position to his master is that of a friend and protector. In closing, please allow me to insure, this bulldog is not a Bull or Pit Terrier, this bulldog is the original stock dog. This is a true working "stock" dog. It is my privilege to introduce you to: "THE AMERICAN PERFORMANCE BULLDOG"

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