French Bulldog History – The Toy Bulldog, Pt 1

Toy Bulldogs, 1904, taken from “The New Book of the Dog” 


The foundation of the French Bulldog as a breed is perhaps one of the better documented canine breed histories. Instead of being shrouded in mystery, or allegorical stories, ours is a fairly pragmatic tale – some Bulldogs were born small, and some people liked them that way. Some Bulldogs were born with ‘tulip ears’, and some people liked them that way.

At the intersection of these two states of being arose the French Bulldog, which was both small and tulip eared, while the former gave rise to the Toy Bulldog. As a separate breed, Toy Bulldogs faded away around the 1930s, while the French Bulldog continued to thrive, albeit in a small way, for many decades.

In 1907, Robert Leighton published “The New Book of the Dog“, one of the most exhaustively comprehensive examinations of modern British dog breeds. In it, he devotes several chapters to the history of the “Bull Breeds”, including the Bulldog, the Toy Bulldog, and the French Bulldog.

This is the chapter on Toy Bulldog history, taken from that book, and written by Lady Kathleen Pilkington (more to come on this stellar Lady later).

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Dock Diving

Dock diving is a relatively new canine sport, emerging in about 2000, apparently after it was featured on ESPN as a ‘filler’ sport at the Great Outdoor Games.

In brief, think of Dock Diving as a water based long jump for dogs. Dogs leap off of the platform (or Dock) to retrieve their bumper from a water filled tank. The dog who catches the most ‘air’, or who leaps the longest distance, is the winner. Any breed of dog six months or older can compete, although most of the ‘serious’ competitors seem to be sporting breeds and the omnipresent Border Collie.

What I wasn’t expecting to see was a Dock Diving Bulldog – even if this little guy is wearing a life jacket. Oh, and just for the record – don’t try this at home.