Amongst the most popular breeds of late years, has been one that would not be generally expected to be found in that capacity, although it is a very old and national breed. Perhaps I should say that, in reference to all the companionable breeds I have mentioned in these articles, I mean more especially kept by ladies, as when one speaks of such dogs, one naturally thinks of animals not chained to a dog box, or shut up in a kennel outside, but brought into the house, and, literally "treated as one of the family." I refer to the Bull Dog, and having owned and had to do with a great many of these, I can testify to their usual good temper and placidity of disposition, in spite of the many unfavourable comments we frequently hear about them. Indeed, it is a rare thing to meet with a bad tempered Bull dog, and the majority of them will submit to great liberties being taken, even by smaller dogs, rather than attempt to take their own part, and have little idea of fighting in the style practised by some other breeds. But if they once make up their minds to go for any person, or animal, they are difficult to dislodge when they have taken hold.
The sizes are very various, the dogs running from under forty pounds to over fifty-five pounds, and the bitches from under thirty-five to under fifty pounds, and of late years a class of "Toy Bull dogs' have been brought out, which I mention elsewhere. The head large, small ears, rather prominent eyes, very short nose, chin rather turned up and generally pugilistic look of the face, with the body rather heavy in front, swung between legs placed widely apart, back short and curved, technically called "roached," with mean hindquarters and a short tail, with a downward turn in it if not "screwed," are familiar features of the breed to most people knowing anything of it, and the colours are white, white and brindle, white and Hound tan, white and black, brindle, brindle and white, brindle and fallow, fawn with black muzzle, fawn and white, red, red and white, red and black, black, and black and white. Of course the brindies, reds, and fawns run into different shades of each, but I think the foregoing contain nearly all the colours allowed by the Bull Dog Clubs. It is a fascinating breed, and when once it has been taken up, is seldom altogether dropped, and I have known several generations of the same family keeping up the strain.
BULLDOG "BARNEY BARNATO" G.R.SIMS owner (MEDIUM).
I should say the mortality amongst Bull Dogs is as great as, or probably greater than, in any other breed of dog, particularly before they are a year old. Whether their being so much inbred, to preserve certain characteristics, or being so short faced as to interfere with their organs of respiration, are the causes, I will not pretend to say, but if you ask any breeder, he will tell you what considerable losses he suffers every year. Another difficulty which would not be suspected, is that many of them are such bad "doers," that is, do not seem to have any appetite for their food. I remember congratulating an enthusiast of the breed on the condition of his favourite, a large brindle and white, at least fifty pounds weight. "Yes," he said, "he is looking well, but for the last fortnight he has been living entirely on veal cutlets." I thought he would be an expensive boarder on such fare, but from my experience of the breed and its owners, I doubt very much if any other kind of dog is so much pampered.
They are naturally slow and lazy in their movements, do not, as a rule, take much exercise, or go much into the open air, so have not much healthy appetite, but as a thin Bull Dog is an abomination, their "condition " must be kept up.
BULL DOG CH. "BLACKBERRY" S. WOODIWISS OWNER (LARGE).