Old English Bulldogs Were First Bred for Dog Fighting

Posted by Crystal Long
Purebred old english bulldog at play.

Now extinct, the Old English Bulldog was a strong and agile dog breed that was created for bull-baiting and English blood sports in London -- until the decline of these events.

Developed in England in the 1600s/1700s, the Old English Bulldog is the earliest ancestor of many modern-day bulldog breeds, like the American Bulldog and the English Bulldog. This old bully breed was compact, muscular, and was most known for their large lower jaw that was strong enough to grip on to just about anything.

The Old English Bulldog was bred out of a need to create an athletic and agile dog to use in bull-baiting and other common English blood sports (like dog fighting), and by crossbreeding the Mastiff and the Old English Terrier, it resulted in the bulldog hybrid known as the Old English Bulldog. This extinct breed was also said to be an early attempt of the Bull Terrier and the American Pit Bull Terrier.

The Decline of Old English Bulldogs

Decline of this breed came when the Cruelty to Animals Act was passed in the 18th century, causing a decline in bull-baiting and dog fighting, ultimately leading to a lack of interest in the Old English Bulldog breed.

However, with the decline of the ancient breed, a new breed of English Bulldogs was then created: the Olde English Bulldogge (or OEB if you prefer!), a purebred dog that appeared in the United States in 1970.

These two breeds are commonly confused with one another: bred to capture the traits of the original extinct Old English Bulldog, the OEB is one of the modern English Bulldogs we know and love today.

The 411 on the OEB

The Olde English Bulldogge was developed in 1971 by Pennsylvania native, David Leavitt, when he wanted to create a dog that's less aggressive but still having the same physical traits of the ancient Old English Bulldog -- he got exactly that: today's OEB is a more active and happier version (and with lesser health problems) of the extinct Old English Bulldog.

Leavitt created today's OEB (a.k.a. Leavitt Bulldogs) by crossbreeding the two Bulldog breeds (American and English), American Pit Bull Terrier, and the Bullmastiff; the result is an athletic, eager to please, and protective dog breed.

Olde English Bulldogges make great pets. They are very loyal to their families, courageous, trustworthy, and protective, making them excellent watchdogs. Even though they are brachycephalic dogs, unlike French Bulldogs and other breeds of Bulldogs, they don't seem to have much breathing problems.

These good-looking dogs are medium-sized dogs, well-balanced and proportionate. While they are powerful, active, and muscular dogs, they have a great temperament and are docile enough to be good with small kids (with early socialization of course!), as OEBs are also very loving and easy to train.

The Olde English Bulldogge is recognized by the United Kennel Club (UKC) and has the lifespan of 9 to 14 years.

To learn more about the OEB, visit The Olde English Bulldogge Association.

Do you live with an OEB? Share your pooch on our Wide Open Pets Facebook page!

READ MORE: 15 Affectionate Dog Breeds Always Ready to Snuggle

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Old English Bulldogs Were First Bred for Dog Fighting