HISTORY OF THE MINIATURE BULLDOG
The Miniature Bulldog and its more popular cousin The Bulldog, are descended from mastiff-type breeds.These fierce,athletic mastiffs came in all shapes and sizes and were bred to gaurd livestock.Later, they were used as public spectacles such as bull-bear baiting and lion fighting.
Fortunatly, by the nineteenth century, blood sports were outlawed, but the Bulldog, an icon of courage and tenacity, had become one of Britans most enduring and familiar symbols. Its future was left in the hands of breeders who wished to keep the fierce look and a gentle heart,and soon the function began to follow form.
Breeding experiments produced bulldogs of all types and sizes,Includeing the miniature or toy bulldog.There is no doubt that they crossed their smaller sized bulldog bitches with pug dogs in order to reduce size,and also to produce the fawn color which was then much admired,by crossing the two breeds for years Miniature or toy bulldogs were produced weighing 12 to 25 pounds,There is no doubt that the pug cross had a lot to do with the fawn or fallow colors and the screw tail of todays modern bulldog.
By 1850 the Miniature or toy Bulldog were common sights in London,Nottingham and Birmingham.They were even exibited at confirmation shows.Most were coarse in appearance-some had rose ears others erect.But for those who loved the Miniature bulldog for it's most important qualitys:determinationm,courage and exceedingly loveble nature.Even when the Industrial Revolution forced many English laborers to France in search of employment they would not leave without there little bulldogs.
This was good news for another, larger contigent of bulldog breeders in England, who were set on standardizing dogs at 50 pounds or more with a structure that closely resembles the modern day bulldog. In this regard, miniature bulldogs were a hindrance and "serious" breeders were more then happy to accommodate the exportation of undesireable stock to france.
It wasn't long before these game little dogs(miniature bulldog) caught the interest of the French.Some breed historians beleive the modern French Bulldog owes its heritage to several generations of cross-breeding between the Miniature bulldog and the French ratier dogs,which were similar in type,with square jaws,flat faces and short brindle coats. More then this it proved to be a loyal companion,with a clownlike personality.
Today's breed authoritarian agree that the French Bulldog largely derives its heritage from the English Bulldog -- not the large, prick-eared dog of the early 1800s, but the true miniature bulldog so common in London, Nottingham, Birmingham and Sheffield in the early 1850s.
Master Alf George, Britain's famed English Bulldog breeder of the day, bred several of these small tulip-eared dogs and exported them to France. In addition, there was a constant emigration of lace workers from Nottingham to the French coast around that time. Scores of lace factories were springing up in the towns of Normandy, a large region in western France. English emigrants frequently brought small bulldogs with them to their new homeland.
The little dogs virtually disappeared from British shores over to the next several years. However, the exportation by the British to France, was highly successful. The small bullies thrived heartily in their new surroundings.
The French made their contribution to the breed throughout the next forty years. Widespread popularity flourished when the belles de nuit or cocottes (ladies of the night) displayed exuberant enthusiasm for their little clowns. Overnight the little bulls became the rage of Paris
Pictures below and on the right are of erect eared Toy=Miniatures these are not french bulldogs the one standing is of the past and the one in the chair is my Miniature Rose.
HISTORY OF THE FRENCH BULLDOG:
While theories abound about the the exact origin of the French Bulldog, the most prevalent opinion is that around the mid 1800's Normandy lace workers from England took smaller bulldogs with them when they sought work in France. In the farming communities north of France that the lace workers settled in, the little Bulldogs became very popular as ratters and loyal family companions and their population began to swell. These little bulldogs were in fact "culls" of the established Bulldog Breeders in England, who were generally more than happy to sell these undersized examples of their breed to fanciers of the "new" breed in England. This was especially true of the "tulip" eared puppies that cropped up at times in Bulldog litters.
As the new, smaller Bulldogs gained popularity in France, they became favourites of the Parisian "Belles De Nuit" - the street walkers. Breed historians can still sometimes turn up notorious "French Postcards" bearing images of scantily clad French prostitutes posing with their little "Bouledogues Francais." The aura of notoriety that ownership of the little dogs conveyed soon made them a fashionable way for the well to do classes to show off how daring they could be, and they soon became favourites of the "artistic" set across Europe. Photos dating to around this time show photos of the Russian Royal family posing along side their French Bulldogs, and they were said to have imported several of the little dogs from France.
It is inarguable that without the influence of dedicated, turn of the century American fanciers the breed would not be what it is today. It is they that organised the very first French Bulldog Club in the world, and it was they who insisted that the "bat" ear so associated with the breed today was correct. Until that time, French Bulldogs were shown with either the "bat" or "rose" ear.
As a point of historic interest, a French Bulldog, insured for the at that time astronomical sum of $750, was on board the ill fated Titanic. All in all, French Bulldogs truly are an International Breed, with fanciers of many nations being responsible for the creation of the loving dogs we know today.