BULLDOG. Although Great Britain has always been lamous for her fighting-dogs, it does not appear that the bulldog of the present day is the one intended by ancient authors ; as the description they give accords much better with the mastiff, with which it has been confounded by some writers. The period at which this breed came into repute is unknown ; that the mastiff was the dog in estimation and use till within a few years seems pretty clearly proved: for even so late as the time of Gay, that accurate observer of nature's varied forms has expressly mentioned, in his fable, the Bull and the Mastiff: and it can hardly be supposed, that had the bulldog and the mastiff been as distinct as at present, that he would have substituted the one for the other.
The bulldog is, in height, about full; muzzle short; ears small,—in some, the points turning down—in others, perfectly erect, and such are called tulip-eared; chest wide ; body round, with the limbs very muscular and strong; the tail thin and taper, curling over the back, or hanging down, termed tiger-tailed, rarely erected, except when the passions of the animal are roused : the hide loose and thick, particularly about the neck; the hair short; the hind feet turned outwards; hocks rather approaching each other .which seems to obstruct their speed in running, but is admirably adapted to progressive motion when combating on their bellies: but the most striking character is the under jaw almost uniformly projecting beyond the upper; for if the mouth is even, they become shark-headed, which is considered a bad point. Dog-fanciers invariably prefer, and consider those best bred which are large behind the ears.
The colours are black, salmon, fallow, brindled, and white, with these variously pied; the fallow, salmon, and brindled with black muzzles, are deemed the most genuine breeds, and the white to possess most action: there is a strong general resemblance between a brindled bulldog and the striped hyrcna.
The properties of the British bulldog are, matchless courage and perseverance, even to death: bred for the combat, and delighting in it, he evinces, against an unequal adversary, invincible courage; roused by injury, or led on by. his master, he attacks the most powerful animal, and rushes upon it without the slightest indication of fear ; disdaining stratagem, he bravely assails the enemy in front—the bull, the buffalo, or bear; and if successful, fixes his powerful jaws on the nose, bringing the head to the ground, pins it there, destitute of the power of resistance, till, in loud roarings, his superiority is confessed. The smaller animals, as rats, mice, 4tc. he rarely regards.
Although the wounds the bulldog inflicts are not severe, yet, by his unsubdued and obstinate courage, he will, in general, conquer any other of an equal or even superior size. Destitute of scent, nearly incapable of tuition, slow and sluggish in his manner, loose and irregular in his gait, in his pacific moments he is apparently inoffensive and stupid, sulky in the eye, and averse to action ; but roused by noise, and easily wrought to a pitch of madness, seizing whatever presents or opposes him; nor is he deterred from the furious assault by lacerated limbs or broken bones.
They may be over-bred, that is, too deep game—suffering pain without resistance.
They are properly crossed with any other dog where courage is requisite ; as with the terrier for badger-baiting.
Harewood, Harry. A Dictionary of Sports. London: T. Tegg and son, 1835.
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