There’s no denying that the modern English bulldog is among the most popular dogs in the United States, but did you know that it’s a descendant of the old English bulldog breed? Due to its popularity, it’s also branched out into a new breed that attempts to recreate the original bulldogs of the 1800s. In this article, we discuss English vs. Olde English Bulldogge while highlighting the differences between the two breeds.
What is the Old English Bulldog?
The Old English Bulldog is a now-extinct breed of dog that was developed for blood sports and bull baiting, which would take place around London. These exhibitions were held around the Old Conduit Fields, Beargarden, and Westminster Pit. The modern-day English bulldog was derived from these powerful dogs but isn’t aggressive — they did, however, inherit the same stocky bodies and larger heads.
These dogs were made to participate in bullbaiting, a gruesome sport where dogs would pin a bull down to the ground by grabbing its nose. As such, they were bred to be muscular with big heads and powerful jaws, making it easier for them to bring animals down. When bullbaiting was outlawed as a barbaric activity, people fell in love with these dogs and started using them as pets.
Many historians believe that this breed was developed by breeding ancient war dogs such as the extinct Alaunt dog or the old Mastiff.
What is the English Bulldog?
Today’s English Bulldogs were first introduced in the 17th century by breeding the Old English Bulldog with other breeds such as the Mastiff, making it a Mastiff breed type of dog. It’s also called the British Bulldog and comes as a muscular dog of medium size weighing around 40 to 55 pounds. They have massive heads with thick folds of skin throughout their face and shoulders, with a flat face and a lower jaw that protrudes.
However, its distinctive appearance comes at a price; as a result of selective breeding, this breed suffers from health issues that include the following:
- Hip dysplasia
- Breathing problems
- Cherry eye
- Respiratory problems
- Heat sensitivity
- Skin infections
While the Bulldog has often been used to symbolize courage and ferocity, today’s Bulldogs don’t exhibit much aggressive behavior and are much more friendly, making excellent family pets. However, they have become victims of their own charm and cuteness — more and more people have become obsessed with particular features and sought to make them even more adorable. As such, breeders worked hard to produce a dog that would have a stockier body, short nose, and a bigger head, which resulted in brachycephalic dogs.
Moreover, their muscular bodies have resulted in spine and joint issues, while their overly large heads and narrow hips won’t allow them to naturally give birth. Nowadays, English Bulldogs rely on artificial insemination to conceive, but we can’t deny that these changes have made them even more lovable since they are among the most popular breeds on the American Kennel Club (AKC). But due to concerns for their quality of life, it’s illegal to breed Bulldogs in the Netherlands and Norway.
What is the Olde English Bulldogge?
A Pennsylvania breeder named David Leavitt was set on creating a dog that would retain all the things we love about the original English bulldog while eliminating the health problems found in brachycephalic dogs. As such, he mixed the English Bulldog with the Bull Mastiff, and American Bulldog, along with other breeds. This resulted in the Olde English Bulldogge, a rare breed since only a handful of Olde English Bulldogge breeders are found in the country.
Unfortunately, they aren’t recognized by the AKC, but the breed was officially recognized by the United Kennel Club in 2014.
Olde English Bulldogge History
During the 1970s, David Leavitt had the idea to re-create the original Old English Bulldog, which was used for bullbaiting from the 1100s until the passing of the Cruelty to Animals Act in the 19th century. According to Mr. Leavitt, he wanted a start a lineage of dogs with similar characteristics to the bulldogs of the 1800s, which were also known as ‘Regency Period Bull Baiters’. With this breed as his inspiration, Leavitt achieved a purebred dog that brought his vision to life, using the following genetic makeup:
- ½ English bulldog
- ⅙ American Pitbull Terrier
- ⅙ Bull Mastiff
- ⅙ American Bulldog
He was able to achieve a dog of great strength without the usual health conditions that come with Bulldog breeds such as breathing issues, respiratory ailments, genetic diseases, and poor bone structure. The Olde English Bulldogge Association worked with David Leavitt to register and maintain the breed standards of his breed. However, he broke ties with the association in 2005 and has decided to rename his dog the Leavitt Bulldog.
With this sudden change, many breeders protested against changing the breed’s name; in 2014, the United Kennel Club decided to accept both the Olde English Bulldogge and Leavitt Bulldog names into their registry. To simplify matters, both dogs are listed under the same characteristics and requirements, which means that there are no distinctions between them.
English vs. Olde English Bulldogge
If you’re trying to decide whether to take home an English dog or a new breed, you might find that it’s hard to choose the best dog for family life, especially if you’re unfamiliar with both. Below is a careful comparison between these two breeds while discussing their main differences.
Size and Appearance
People will often think that English Bulldogs and Old English Bulldogges are one and the same and that the latter is a more pretentious way of spelling the name. However, they are a completely different breed even if they look similar in appearance. The most obvious difference between these breeds is their size; while the English Bulldog stands between 12 to 16 inches tall at the shoulders, the Olde English Bulldogge can grow between 16 to 20 inches.
Moreover, the English cousins will weigh around 50 to 55 lbs, while their American counterparts can weigh as much as 80 lbs, giving them a much bigger appearance. The former will come with a smooth and short coat that comes in solid colors such as white, gray, red, and brindle. On the other hand, the latter comes in a short and coarse coat with colors such as white, black, red, and brindle.
Furthermore, English Bulldogs come with short legs compared to the Old English Bulldogges, which have longer hind legs. Moreover, the latter has more prominent shoulder blades, wider nostrils at the tip of the nose, as well as a longer muzzle. The wrinkles of the Olde English Bulldogge are more excessive compared to other bulldogs, and their longer snouts allow for better breathing.
The English Bulldog has a spunkier and more lazy attitude, while also being more social which allows them to get along with all kinds of pets and people. They are usually kind and courageous but not aggressive since they are usually pacifists. Breeders have worked on these dogs for a long time to get rid of their aggressive tendencies, and most will have a patient and friendly yet stubborn nature.
Because Olde English Bulldogge dogs have the personalities of 4 different dogs, they will have traits from the Bull Mastiff and American Pit Bull Terrier which makes them a little bit different. While both breeds are known to be social and affectionate, they also come with their set of quirks, which makes this breed prone to wandering. Even so, the Olde English Bulldogge puppy can still be a good addition to the family.
As mentioned before, the main reason behind the creation of the Olde Bulldogge was due to health reasons. Luckily, breeders succeeded in doing so through a mix of other breeds, which has taken away their risk for all kinds of conditions found in brachycephalic breeds, which include the original English Bulldog. But even if the Olde English Bulldogge is a healthier breed, you will still need to find a reputable breeder to ensure that you take home a dog in good health.
Caring for Your Bulldog
Because these dogs have differently built bodies, you will need to make certain adjustments to accommodate either one. They will have various needs in terms of feeding, exercising, and training, all of which are discussed below.
The good news is that both the English Bulldog and the Olde English Bulldogge have similar dietary requirements, with just a few differences as they get older. As puppies, they will need to feed on their mother’s milk during their first few weeks of life — they can then be weaned over to puppy food until they turn 12 weeks old. Be sure to feed them small, controlled meals spread throughout the day, feeding them up to five times.
You can then reduce their meals to 3 times a day once they’re 6 months old, and then further reduce their feeding to twice a day once they turn one year old. Always look for high-quality dry dog food that can be combined with fruits and boiled eggs for extra vitamins and proteins. You should never give them cooked bones since this can easily cause bone and tooth issues.
The English Bulldog is known for being a couch potato and will be happy with just 30 minutes of walking each day. But when it comes to the Olde English Bulldogge, it will need more physical and mental stimulation as a result of its terrier lineage. This designer breed used a lot of different dogs in their development, which resulted in athletic dogs with a high energy level.
As such, they will need a different exercise routine compared to their lazier and more easy-going counterparts. You can try to keep them active through a combination of walking, and playing which should be enough to maintain their health. However, you will need to vary the intensity of their workouts to keep them from getting bored.
While the Olde English Bulldogge are larger dogs, they’re not necessarily harder to train compared to their smaller brothers since both are gentle dogs that are willing to please. Moreover, both have great personalities combined with high intelligence, which make them great family pets. The key to successfully training these dogs is positive reinforcement, so it’s a good idea to offer them plenty of treats and praise while avoiding punishing them.
However, because the Olde English Bulldogge has terrier blood in it, they may be a bit more stubborn. As such, the English Bulldog is a little easier to train and is the best choice for first-time owners. Even so, both dogs are willing to learn and are eager to make their owners happy.
Which One Should You Get?
Overall, it can be hard to choose just one dog to take home; while some may say that the Olde English Bulldogge is healthier, the original English Bulldog is more compact and easier to train. Furthermore, the former choice is more expensive up front, while the latter can accumulate expenses over time as a result of its genetic health conditions. But no matter which dog you choose, you can be sure that they will become a wonderful addition to your family, and will get along with everyone in the family.