Spartan Dogs - Origins of Bulldog and Mastiff Breeds 3 

Category: Origins, Bull and Terriers, Mastiffs, Articles

Names Origins
Group Bull and Terriers, Mastiffs

Bulldog vs Bull & Terrier; based on the American Pitbull Terrier as a case study and working terrier variants

Studying working terriers and Bull & Terrier variations for many years, our conclusion is that some breeds of working terriers they have an almost identical temperament to Bull & Terriers (including their furthest evolution: pit bulls). Keep in mind that by developing the Bull & Terrier the Bulldog genes came available to the humble man and were combined with the terriers of the humble man. Game dogs/Bulldogs/Bull and Terriers were used in improving head and strength and gameness of working terriers from time to time throughout history. Further note that in the old days a dog was named after his purpose and performance not his looks. Smaller Bulldog variations and especially Bull&Terriers were also applied for the tasks of Terriers, and vice versa for the stronger and bigger Terrier variations. The very availability of many excellent terriers in Britain bodes well for the proposition that these sturdy terriers (terra = earth; terriers are "earth dogs") fit in somewhere in the genetic amalgam that is the American Pitbull Terrier.

Performing dogs were bred to performing dogs. Take one example: the smaller Bull&Terriers have influenced the Patterdale Terrier/Fell Terrier at it's creation; The patterdale particularly in smooth coated form does show resemblance to a Bull&Terrier type of dog. Even in this day and age: Patterdale Terriers are infused with small Bull and Terriers (particular performance type small Staffordshire Bull Terriers and sometimes small APBTs are in use). A more recent established working terrier is the Plummer Terrier, which has English Bull Terrier and as disclaimed by some of the incrowd also American Pitbull Terrier infusions. Also keep in mind that although separated by size the terrier and the Bull and Terrier and even the Bulldog had many similairities: all three were very confrontational dogs: small terriers vs foxes/badger/martens/rats, Bull&Terriers against their peers in the fighting pit/swines/badger/cows and bulls and the bulldog against cows and bulls/big game/during festivals against predators like bears wolves and lions.

Some authorities bitterly disagree with me on this topic and virulently deny that the pit bull has ever had any terrier character in it at all. That word "terrier" has always been more or less historically attached to the pit dogs (American Pitbull Terrier; Bull & Terrier; Staffordshire Bull Terrier) is another dispute to the "pure bulldog of ancient origins" theory held by many game-bred dog and dog fighting enthusiasts. Even the "bulldog" meant any dog that fought bulls, as some of this theory's proponents strongly assert, that does not mean that all dogs that later fought in the pit were bulldogs. The pit dogs that became the ancestors of the APBT weren't the only pit fighting dogs in England, even if they were direct descendents of some sort of "original bulldog". George O. Shields in 1881 wrote in hit book, titled: "The American book of the dog", about an Englishman relating about a fighting terrier (Airedale Terrier) by the name of "Crack", that killed his pit opponent within 48 minutes. This Englishman also had a Airedale Terrier bitch named "Floss." Floss fought a female pit dog (described as a Bull&Terrier) untill Floss killed the Bull&Terrier. Bear in mind that this was in a time when pit winners brought good prices and were bred to other pit winners to produce more pit winners. Do you really think that it is reasonable that with dogs like Floss and Crack (and many other good fighting terriers), no significant terrier ancestry crept into the Bull&Terrier and also in the modern version of it: the APBT?

This is more than just an argument based on semantics; this is an argument based on genetics. I think part of their temperaments are so similar it is striking if they have not influenced eachother. That said it varies in lines; some APBTs are very much alike the Terrier, while others have a different character alltogether the more doglike specimens (silent but deadserious gladiators). How many times can you relate to those squeals of frustration exuding from the lungs of terriers and pit bull terriers alike if they are locked in a run/ on a chain or on the leash?

Breeders of Germany's own bulldog breed, the Boxer, have never denied that a bulldog, Dr. Toenniessen's Tom (an English import) was the grandsire of the great matriarch of the Boxer breed, Meta Von der Passage No. 30. Meta appears in the extended pedigree of most of the great modern Boxers. Tom, the Bull-dog, was described as not at all like the"cloddy, low-to-the-ground, grotesque current English Bulldog". Tom, also possibly contributed some of the genes for all-white and predominantly white dogs that still occasionally appear in Boxer litters to this day, was "muscular, square-built, long-legged," a small mastiff-type dog. Wagner says of Dr. Toenniessen's Tom, "He probably did much to help in those early days (1890s), particularly in speeding the arrival of our present head characteristics, which were so essential to good general appearance". The point of mentioning the Boxer in the history of the APBT is that Boxer breeders strongly assert that their breed too has absoloutely no terrier ancestry. None! The head of the Boxer is much more like that of a lightly built Bulldog than is the classic head of an APBT. If this one Bulldog, Dr. Toenniessen's Tom, impacted on the Boxer's head shape so much, why then, if they are completely decended from the original bulldog of England, do not more APBTs have heads like Boxers? Could it be that APBTs have some terrier ancestry and Boxers don't? The long-held terrier theory makes as much sense as claiming that it has been bred specifically for gameness and pit abilities and would never have been crossed with terriers at any time over the past two centuries?

Even those opposed against interbreeding the different types: John Russell (the spiritual father of the dog now known as the Jack Russell Terrier), who abominated the bulldog cross said, that he would favour rough coated dogs as smooth coated white dogs came about through crossings to Bull dogs to add courage and ferocity for the increasingly popular sport of badger baiting as apposed to badger digging. One of his most famous quotes on this matter is: "The bulldog blood, ideal for the rat pit, or for badger baiting, was of a great detriment to work with foxhounds, where pluck and common sense combined are assets, and blind ferocity an insuperable bar, besides which bull terriers fight silent"

So even in those early days of the Bull and Terriers development these terrier crosses had inherited too much of the silent but deadly traits of the Bulldog, that silent trait is not seen in most of the modern Pit Bull Terriers (but retained in some performance bred lines), and the terriers voice most certainly is heard in the majority of the modern breed called the APBT.

Brian Plummer wrote down some relevant statements to the topic at hand in his book named The complete Jack Russell Terrier, a few are included here:

"By 1880, many strains of fighting bulldog - a breed which was frequently white or pied-had become so inbred as a result of fanciers and dog fanciers jealously guarding their strains of bulldog and mating half-brother to half sister to protect the purity of the blood-line, that many malformations, including deafness and other congenital disorders, had begun to manifest themselves. Strains of bulldog bred from the famous Paddington White, a noted bulldog of 1819, were later to become extinct as a consequence of congenital disorders of this nature." Comment: although the purity was protected, the lines health did suffer by extreme inbreeding; new blood could be introduced to infuse hybrid vigour, the terrier had already proven it's *click* with the Bulldog in the widely used Bull&Terrier crosses.

"If the native British terrier was not hard enough, a type of dog which was, lay close at hand, for the British bulldog was the most valiant beast the Almighty (assisted by a number of sadistic breeders) had chosen to create." Comment: since Rat Pits and badger baiting were (too) demanding for English terriers, and Bull and terrier crosses thrived and gained popularity in confrontational bloodsports across the country, infusing some of that Bull&Terrier or even Bulldog grit back in some of the other working terriers was a natural choice.

"Let the reader at once dismiss the notion that these bulldogs were the same monstrosities that we see today, puffing and panting after any minor exertion. The real bulldog, the bulldog of the 1800s was a devil incarnate. He had been bred for baiting bulls, for holding the bull by the nostrils or face and holding with such tenacity that his grip became a legend, as did his courage. He was also fought against other dogs, monkeys and men, and even once or twice against a lion, and his courage and tenacity did much to delight the rabble who relished such feasts of gore. As to his courage, well, no one could question it, it was bottomless." Comment: nothwithstanding all these virtues of the real bulldog only lacked the following qualities for the badger-baiting and rat-pit blood sports: the nimble qualities, the agility and the compact size that a good badger-baiting dog and rat-pit virtuoso required. Hence a judicious blend of terrier and bulldog was made, combining the terriers speed and agility with the incredible guts of the bulldog.

These bull and terriers were a mixed lot, ranging in size from 60-pound Blue Pauls, popular in Scotland and the North of England, to 9-pound to 12-pound grapplers, like the now extinct Cheshire terrier, a breed used by John Tucker Edwards to boost the courage of his Sealyham terriers. Now the most noted strains of pit bulldog were either pied or white, and so, by crossing these bulldogs with working terriers, white earth dogs began to appear. These white dogs left even the diehards of the North of England in no doubt as to their courage and constitution, for several of these strains were introduced into the base stock which produced among others their Bedlington and the Dandie Dinmont terriers.

Ironically, modern bull breeds such as the American Bulldog are today no longer being bred true to the form or function of their predecessors; the alaunt of the butchers that worked and protected livestock. They are now being bred as 'hog-dogs' for the hunt, taking on the role and overall character of the Alaunt Veantre, following the same separation of type of medieval Europe. The tragic consequence to this is the ultimate loss of form and function of the alaunt de bucherie, the modern bull-breed's predecessor. The modern 'bull' breed bred and used for hog hunting is no longer really even a bulldog; a name given to describe it's use. Rather they are hog dogs or boar hounds, (Alaunt Vautre), and should be classified as such. David Hancock shows his knowledge by agreeing that 'It is extremely unwise to group types of dog together merely because of a breed title bestowed by a kennel club without any real research and without a legitimate reason.'

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