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Olde English Bulldogge Information
Olde English Bulldogge

History

The Olde English Bulldogge is a modern attempt to breed a dog similar to the bulldogs that existed in England between 1800 and 1860, the latter commonly referred to today as the Olde Bulldog which is an extinct breed of dog. These were the early ancestors to many of the Bull breeds that exist today including the English Bulldog, the American Bulldog and American Pit Bull Terrier. They were bred to participate in blood sports like bull baiting. This sport, became quite popular in England throughout the middle of the 18th Century and through much of the 19th Century. Bull baiting primarily consisted of staking out a bull and allowing several Bulldogs to attack it. A dog of great courage and agility was needed for bull baiting. This dog was of medium size; larger dogs were considered to be the result of Mastiff crosses.

Around 1835, laws were passed in England prohibiting bull baiting and the Bulldog's main purpose of existence vanished. Within a decade or so, the number of Bulldogs declined drastically to near extinction. Eventually, many Bulldog breeders were able to diminish much of the Bulldog's high drive and excessive animal aggression and began developing a much more stable, even-tempered Bulldog. In the 1890s, many breeders had crossed Pug into their bloodlines to create a "Bullier" look for the dog. This decision would eventually result in the virtual downfall of today's English Bulldog. The modern incarnation of the English Bulldog is wrought with all types of serious health problems, from hip dysplasia, narrow tracheas, elongated palates, to malformed sinus cavities.

The modern Olde English Bulldogge is a recreation of the "Regency Period Bull Baiter"—the Bulldog that existed from 1825 to 1860. The Olde English Bulldogge was developed by David Leavitt, of Coatesville, Pennsylvania. Back in 1971. Mr. Leavitt used a line breeding scheme that was designed and developed by Ohio State University for breeding cattle. The goal was to create a specific breed of Bulldogge with the look, health, and athleticism of the original bull-baiting dogs, but with a significantly less aggressive temperament. The foundation crosses consisted of ½ English Bulldog, 1/6 Bullmastiff, 1/6 American Pit Bull Terrier, and 1/6 American Bulldog. After many carefully planned crosses, the Olde English Bulldogge emerged and began to breed true.

By 1985, three true lines had been developed, and the breed was deemed sound, stable, and well suited for modern life. In the early 1980s Ben and Karen Campetti from Sandisfield, Massachusetts became deeply involved in breeding Olde English Bulldogges. At this time, the Campetti family began showing the breed in Molosser breed shows across the country. Through their efforts, the Olde English Bulldogge achieved much success and recognition in the Conformation ring, and spurred the interest of many rare breed fanciers. Due to this success, many breeders became interested in producing this dog. It was at this point that the Olde English Bulldogge Association (O.E.B.A.) was formed to maintain proper records and implement a breeder code of ethics and standards. Detailed records of the foundation stock had been maintained and this information was converted into the O.E.B.A. registry.

One unwelcome by-product of the Olde English Bulldogge's success in the Conformation ring, obedience trials, and in therapy work, was a rise in the use of the dog in Personal Protection training. Most of this training was being conducted by people that were unqualified to do so. The popularity of this breed in Personal Protection work can only be attributed to the breed's excellent health, agility, temperament, and its classification as a working dog breed, thus creating much controversy over the breed’s intended function. This controversy overwhelmed Mr. Leavitt and in 1995 he chose to abandon his work with the breed and pursue other interests. At this point, he turned the OEBA registry as well as his personal breeding stock over to Michael Walz, previously of Working Dog Inc. Over time, the decision to turn over the registry turned out to be a bad one. Due to the inefficiency of the Registrar and the organization itself, Olde English Bulldogge owners and breeders could not get necessary documentation for their Olde English Bulldogges. It is important to note that Mr. Walz produced many fine examples of the Olde English Bulldogge.

These dogs were used very selectively in various combinations to obtain the desired physical and mental traits of the original Olde English Bulldogge. The result has been a good looking Bulldogge of great athletic ability that is much healthier and physically fit without most or all of the problems that plague today's modern English Bulldogs. One of the most distinguishing differences between a true Olde English Bulldogge and another Hybrid Bulldog is its tail. As Mr. Leavitt was developing the foundation stock for this breed, he was quite persistent that the dog should have a full pump handle tail. The goal of Olde English Bulldogge breeders should be to produce genetically healthier Bulldogges that are free breathers, free breeders, free whelpers, and adhere to only using Bulldogges that come from the bloodlines of Mr. Leavitt's original foundation stock.

Today the Olde English Bulldogge Kennel Club is recognized by the American Rare Breed Association as the breed club of the Olde English Bulldogge and is working feverishly to protect the original bloodlines of a fantastic breed of dog.

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