The Almost, But Not Quite Beautiful Victorian Bulldog
Bulldogs are not the handsomest dogs around and Victorian bulldogs are probably no exception. Still, like most bulldogs, Victorian bulldogs tend to be loyal, friendly, and in their own way, quite charming. They are, in fact, a little more handsome than the typical bulldog. A black and tan Victorian bulldog looks, at first glance, like a rather wide, but muscular beagle. With its broad head and chest and formidable jaws, this bulldog will give any intruder pause.
From the front, this 19” high dog looks almost as wide as it is tall, and none of that width is due to fat. Strangers will not approach a place where a German Shepherd stands guard, even though the shepherd can be the gentlest dog there is around most people. The same is true of the Victorian bulldog. While it looks like an animal that could easily tear a person’s leg off, or at least clamp down and not let go, it is, despite being extremely athletic, one of the gentlest of breeds. This bulldog makes a wonderful family pet.
When talk turns to bulldogs, it often focuses on the health of the breeds. Bulldogs, in general, have long had a reputation for having various and sometimes numerous health defects, which often keep them from enjoying a long and productive life. This reputation sometimes tends to turn people away from considering having a bulldog as a pet, as much as they might like the breed. This reputation is deserved to some degree, as most breeds of bulldog seem to have more than their share of ailments, largely due to their build and the shape of their face.
A Healthy Breed Of Dog
The Victorian bulldog has been bred with these health issues in mind. One way to breed healthy bulldogs is to find the healthiest bulldogs you can, and then breed them. This way, some of the genes that contribute to health problems will eventually be bred out, leaving a litter of happy and very healthy little bulldogs. This approach would work, but would take some time.
A better approach is to look into other breeds that might be successfully crossed with the bulldog. Successfully, in this case, means that the end result will still be a dog that is mainly bulldog in appearance. Besides carefully choosing bulldogs for a breeding program, an English breeder used Staffordshire Bull Terriers, Mastiffs, and one or two other breeds, in an attempt to come up with a better bulldog.
The breeder was successful, and the Victorian Bulldog was born. The breed is sometimes referred to as the Ken Mollett bulldog, after its late breeder. Some of the negative aspects of Bull terriers and mastiffs might lead you to believe that a cross breed containing these bloodlines might not be the gentlest and most trustworthy of dogs. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
Back To The Future
This bulldog has become a much loved and very popular breed. It is also a breed that can be somewhat difficult to obtain since the true Victorian bulldog comes from a single strain of bulldogs and the number available is limited. Some even refer to the breed as a rare breed, and they are probably right.
There are other copy-cat Victorians, some of them being very fine dogs, but they are from different strains and are not registered with the Victorian Bulldog Foundation or the Victorian Bulldog Society. This new breed, which dates back to the mid-1980′s, is not based on an old strain. One of the goals in the breeding program was to try to get a dog that closely resembled the bulldog popular in Victorian times, a lost breed of bulldog. This goal was achieved, although the priority during the breeding program was always to come up with a very healthy dog. Looks came second.
The Victorian bulldog is not a particularly small dog. Males tip the scales at around 75 pounds, and females weigh in at about 10 pounds lighter. Like many bulldog breeds, the Victorian bulldog has difficulty adjusting to extreme temperatures. It can chill rather easily, and it finds it difficult to cool down in very hot weather. Consequently, England’s temperate climate tends to suit the breed to a T. This is a dog that normally will spend most of its time indoors.
It is even a good pet in a small apartment, but it is important to give it daily exercise. As far as exercise is concerned, try taking a Victorian bulldog on a long walk, even a run – which most bulldogs are not famous for. You will probably be ready to turn and head for home long before the dog is.