The bulldog – fierce or gentle?

The bulldog – fierce or gentle?

Here’s a dog that fools most people. Just because bulldogs look fierce, people think they are fierce. It’s usually just the opposite. Bulldogs today are among the gentlest dogs you can own.

This was not true hundreds of years ago. In those days these sturdy dogs were tough and vicious. They had to be. Those who were weak or without courage did not survive.

You may be wondering how the name Bulldog came about and why the dog was built the way it is. Both came as a result of a cruel “sport” called bull-baiting that was popular in the Middle Ages. It was sort of like bullfighting today in Spain and Mexico – only instead of a man fighting the bull, a dog did it.

In bull baiting, a dog was put in a ring with a ferocious bull for a battle for survival. The dog needed a strong jaw for a good bite. And after he got a good bite, he needed a short nose and huge chest to be able to breathe while holding the bull tightly in his mouth. Normally if a dog got a good solid bite it would beat the bull. But the bull also had weapons. Many dogs were crushed with a hoof or impaled with a horn.

By 1835, when bull baiting was outlawed in England, this bullfighting dog was developed to look like today’s bulldog. The humane law that stopped bull baiting almost led to the extinction of the breed. In those days, dogs were rarely kept as pets – if a dog was fed, it had to work. And since these dogs can no longer be used for bull bait, many owners no longer breed their dogs. Fortunately, some nobles kept their hounds as guards and the breed managed to survive.

#bulldog #fierce #gentle

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