According to the article, "The Caninie Gladiator," the bulldog is the result of mankind's desire to shape an animal about a specific purpose. The short muzzle and wide lower jaw were needed for the dog to clamp itself to the bull's nose. The dog's nose had to be upturned so that the dog could still breathe while clinging to the bull. Below is a picture of the skull of an English bulldog, demonstrating the protruding jaw.

skull of an English bulldog

The article says the shoulders of the bulldog are placed on the outside of the body, allowing the dog to crouch low to the ground shielding the dog from the bull's horns when it charges. As the bull passes by, the head and upper body are very well developed, so that the dog is able to spring to the bull's ears or throat. Once the dog has latched on, the lower body of the bulldog are not as well developed as the upper body, allowing the dog to be shaken violently without suffering any spinal injuries. Should the bulldog be successful in latching onto the nose of the bull, the dog's rib cage is well developed and padded, so when the bull throws the dog around and brings it down to the ground it can take the blow. The legs are short and sturdy, allowing the dog to easily spring to its feet and avoid the hooves of the bull.

According to the American Kennel Club, when animal baiting contests were outlawed in England in 1835, the last of the working bulldogs in England were crossed with pug dogs to create a stocky, docile, family pet, known today as the English bulldog. The breed was first registered by the AKC in 1934 in the non-sporting group, and today is a popular show dog throughout the world.

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Traci Coates 2007

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