This section is from the book "The Dogs Of Great Britain, America, And Other Countries. Their Breeding, Training, and Management in Health and Disease", by John Henry Walsh (Stonehenge). Also available from Amazon: The Dogs Of Great Britain, America And Other Countries.
F. Cuvier has asserted that this dog has a brain smaller in proportion than any other of his congeners, and in this way accounts for his assumed want of sagacity. But, though this authority is deservedly high, I must beg leave to doubt the fact as well as the inference, for if the brain is weighed with the body of the dog from which it was taken, it will be found to be relatively above the average, the mistake arising from the evident disproportion between the brain and the skull. For the whole head, including the 141 zygomatic arches and cheek-bones, is so much larger than that of the spaniel of the same total weight of body, that the brain may well look small as it lies in the middle of the various processes intended for the attachment of the strong muscles of the jaw and neck. I have never been able to obtain the fresh brain of a pure bulldog for the purpose of comparison, but, from an examination of the skull, I have no doubt of the fact being as above stated. The mental qualities of the bulldog may be highly cultivated, and in brute courage and unyielding tenacity of purpose he stands unrivalled among quadrupeds, and with the single exception of the game-cock, he has perhaps no parallel in these respects in the brute creation.
Two remarkable features are met with in this breed: First, they always make their attack at the head; and, secondly, they do not bite and let go their hoid, but retain it in the most tenacious manner, so that they can with difficulty be removed by any force which can be applied. Instances are recorded in which bulldogs have hung on to the lip of the bull (in the old days of bait ing this animal) after their entrails had been torn out, and while they were in the last agonies of death. Indeed when they do lay hold of an object, it is always necessary to choke them off, without which resource they would scarcely ever be persaaded to let go. From confinement to their kennels, they are often deficient in intelligence, and can rarely be brought under good control by education. Owing to the same cause, they show little personal attachment, so that they sometimes attack their friends as well as their enemies when their blood is put up.
Fig. 28. - BULLDOGS, SMASHER AND SUGAR.
But, when differently treated, the bulldog is a very different animal, the brutal nature which he so often displays being mainly attributable to the savage human beings with whom he associates. Although, therefore, I am ready to admit that the bulldog often deserves the character for ferocity which he ha3 obtained, yet I contend that this is not natural to him, any more than stupidity and want of affection, which may readily be proved to be the reverse of his character, if any one will take the trouble to treat him in a proper manner. For the following remarks I am mainly indebted to Mr. Stockdalc, who is a celebrated breeder of bulldogs, and has had a long experience of their various attributes. The antiquity of the breed is unquestionable, and it has always been peculiar to the British islands, the Spanish variety having originally been procured from Britain. It is highly probable that the modern bulldog has undergone a change in appearance during the last fifty years, being now decidedly neater in shape than was formerly the case, if we are to judge from the portraits handed down to us.
As now exhibited, he is a remarkably neat and compact animal naturally, the deformities sometimes seen being produced principally from the practice of constantly keeping the poor dog tied up with a short chain.
The bulldog has been described as stupidly ferocious, and showing little preference for his master over strangers; but this is untrue, he being an excellent watch, and as a guard unequalled, except, perhaps, by the bull-mastiff, a direct cross from him. Indeed, he is far from being quarrelsome by nature, though the bull-terrier, in many cases undoubtedly is so, and I fancy that some writers have taken their description from this dog rather than from the pure bulldog, which has been at all times rather a scarce animal. If once the pure breed is allowed to drop, the best means of infusing fresh courage into degenerate breeds will be finally lost, except with the addition of extraneous blood, which may not suit them; for it is believed that every kind of dog possessed of very high courage owes it to a cross with the bulldog, and thus the most plucky greyhounds, foxhounds, mastiffs, pointers, etc., may all be traced to this source. Though bull and badger baiting may not be capable of extenuation, to them we owe the keeping up of this breed in all its purity; and though we may agree to discontinue these old-fashioned sports, yet sportsmen will see the bad taste of running down a dog who, with all his faults, is not only the most courageous dog, but the most cour-ageous animal in the would.
The points of a well-bred bulldog are as follows: The head should be round, the skull high, the eye of moderate size, and the forehead well sunk between the eyes, the ears semi-erect and small, well placed on the top of the head, rather close together than otherwise, the muzzle short, truncate, and well furnished with chop; his back should be short, well arched towards the stern, which should be fine, and of moderate length. Many bulldogs have what is called a crooked stern, as though the vertebra of the tail were dislocated or broken. Some authorities attribute this to in-breeding. The coat should be fine, though many superior strains are very woolly coated; the chest should be deep and broad, the legs strong and muscular, and the foot narrow and well split up, like a hare's.
Many of the old well-known breeders of the bulldog have disappeared from the prize list. In the present day, Mr. G. A. Dawes, of Leamington; Mr. G. Raper, of Stockton-on-Tees; Mr. James Taylor of Rochdale; Mr. Harding Cox; Mr. Adcock, of Wigan; Mr. James Berrie (now one of the oldest and most enthusi astic fanciers) Mr. Layton, Mr. T. H. Joyce, and Mr. Vero Shaw, of London, have many good specimens of the type I have endeavored to describe in the foregoing notes.
The engraving given on page 142 is a portrait of a pair of dogs bred by Mr. Shaw, which show the peculiarities of the breed in a marked degree. The fore-shortened sketch of the dog exhibits the formation of the chest, shoulders, width of skull, and "rose" carriage of ears, peculiar to the breed, while the bitch's side view shows her wonderfully short face and "roached" loin, rarely met with to the same extent. Their pedigrees are as follows: The dog, Smasher, by Master Gully, out of Nettle, by Sir Anthony. The bitch, Sugar (formerly Lily), is by the Abbot out of Mr. J. L. Ashburne's Lola, and was bred by the latter gentleman.