What You Should Know About English, Victorian, and Olde Tyme Bulldogs
Bulldog Circa 1900's
The History of Bulldogs
Okay, so you’ve heard of English bulldogs before, and you’re pretty sure they all have flat, wrinkly noses and that they snore worse than your father does. You’re even pretty sure that there are a number of different types of bulldog breeds, but what more is there to know? Well, that plump, wrinkly little canine that spends his time passing gas on your couch was a lot different two centuries ago. In fact, that little guy used to bait for bulls and bears. No, seriously!
Years and years of over breeding and inbreeding are to blame for the poor physical structure and health of the American Kennel Club recognized English bulldog that most of us are familiar with. As a result of their large chest and small hind end, bitches can’t even give birth to their own puppies, but instead endure caesarean sections at the end of their gestation (now you know why English bulldog puppies are so expensive)! Fortunately, we live in a world full of helpful, inventive creators that are dedicated to a better quality of life for our four-legged friends. Steve Barnett and Ken Mollett are two breeders that have played an incredibly important role in the genetic makeup of our world’s bulldogs.
Steve Barnett's Dorset Olde Tyme Bulldogs
In the 1980s, Steve Barnett began his breeding program in the British Isles, breeding the strongest, healthiest bulldogs with a solid bone structure and a bounty of energy. Today, these bulldogs are known as Olde Tyme bulldogs and although they are not recognized by the American Kennel Club, Barnett received an achievement award from the National Kennel Club for his unparalleled accomplishments. Breeders of Barnett’s bulldog lines can be found worldwide, even in North America.
Ken Mollett's Victorian Bulldogs
Likewise, Ken Mollett set out to create a bulldog in the 1980’s, much the same as Barnett’s dogs, even using some of Barnett’s bloodlines registered with the Kennel Club of Great Britain in his own breeding program in the United Kingdom. He has worked hard over 20 years to study the making of bulldogs during the Victorian Era and recreate those features in his dogs today. As a result, Mollett’s bulldogs are known as Victorian Bulldogs, a society all its own, and although gaining an incredible reputation, are not currently being bred in North America.
All of this is very interesting but I’m sure you’re probably wondering what the real difference is.
What's the Difference Between the Two?
It’s hard to mistake an English bulldog. As I mentioned before, they have short, stubby legs, a difficult time breathing, and tire in a matter of seconds. However, the Olde Tyme and Victorian Bulldogs must meet a very specific set of standards. Ranging from 55 to 75 pounds, and up to 20 inches tall, these bulldogs have long legs, a muscular body, straight feet, and generally stubbed tail. They still have their wrinkles, too; just not so many because these bulldogs have longer noses with clear, unobstructed nostrils, allowing them to breathe clearly, unlike their English cousins. Don’t worry, despite their differences, Olde Tyme and Victorian bulldogs still retain the loving bulldog characteristics and make wonderful family pets.
Bulldogs Are Often the Subject of Breeding Scams
Be aware of breeding scams associated with these breeds. Especially in the United States, people are breeding certain dogs and calling the puppies Victorian Bulldogs, but keep in mind that Victorian Bulldogs are only available in the United Kingdom!
Olde Tyme bulldogs are available in the States. If you are not confident that the breeder is being honest with you, then it is likely that they are not selling a true bloodline. Always get references and referrals when looking for a new four-legged family member.
I am familiar with these scams because that is how I got my bulldog. Long before I had any idea what Olde Tyme or Victorian bulldogs were, I was told I was buying a Victorian Bulldog puppy. Once I brought him home, I did some research and discovered that despite the fact that my puppy looked like a Victorian bulldog, he was likely just the result of a breeding between an English and an American bulldog.
Nonetheless, I became thrilled by the work of Ken Mollett and Steve Barnett and decided that I wanted to learn everything that I possibly could about these dogs. I even went as far as creating a Facebook group dedicated to breeders and owners of these lines and I discovered a very close-knit, helpful group of dog owners that all want to share these great dogs with the world.