The extinct Toy Bulldog dog breed
These dogs were an average weight of around 15 lbs and resemble a miniature English Bulldog in the early variations. They could have been any color including white, brown, beige, or a variety of many colors. Some had spots and others were solid. The early version of this breed had floppy ears while later they were more prone to have ears that stood straight up. They were small, stocky, and had muscular legs for their small size. Their snouts were squished and they tended to snort a lot. They often had wrinkles and/or loose skin. They had short coats and a very short tail, often their tail was just a nub or a circle shape.
These dogs were known to be very friendly toward all humans and loved playing with young children. They were smart, easily trained, and loyal to their owner. Known to have a quirky personality, they would entertain families easily.
Weight: 8–15 pounds (4-7 kg)
Weight: 15–35 pounds (7-16 kg)
Because both of the Toy Bulldogs ancestor breeds are known for health issues, this breed may have had hereditary issues. These may have included slight blindness, trouble breathing, heart issues, or they may also have been prone to obesity.
These dogs were tiny and were able to live in small spaces. They were popular among the factory workers during the Industrial Revolution and were able to live with them in tight quarters. They did not require a backyard although backyards are nice for any breed.
They should have been walked regularly in order to become a well balanced and behaved dog.
About 9–13 years
About 3–5 puppies
These dogs had a short coat and only required grooming and bathing when necessary.
The Toy Bulldog is related to the original Old English Bulldog which is now known to be extinct although nobody is certain what came before the Old English Bulldog. We do know that the Old English Bulldog was popular in the 1600’s and was developed in England.
The Toy Bulldogs ancestors were either the Mastiff or the Bandogge and bred to be smaller than both of those breeds. Mastiffs were originally as war dogs because of the strength of their muscled legs and strong jaw. Over time, the Mastiff was used more as a guard dog or on farms in order to herd bull and became less known as a war dog.
After a while, Mastiffs were eventually split into two different categories. One type of Mastiff was bigger and taller in size, these would be used for guarding and hunting bears. A shorter Mastiff was developed for the popular sport of bull-baiting. These shorter Mastiffs were also more athletic and quicker than the large ones.
Eventually, these two variations were further known as different breeds although it is unclear when this split officially happened. The first evidence of the distinct split between the Mastiff breeds was written in 1631 within a note between two friends. In this letter, he mentions the dogs separately saying that he would like both Mastiff and Bulldogs.
During the 17th and 18th century, bulldogs became one of the most common breeds in Britain, especially because they were used the most for the bull-baiting sport. Besides being popular in Britain, Bulldogs also traveled the world with sailors and became popular across the world. By the early 1800’s bull-baiting along with other cruel, bloody sports were beginning to become banned. At this time however, dog fighting was still legal and Bulldogs were often used and trained for dog fighting. This allowed for the Bulldog to continue to spread across the world.
Sometime in the 19th century, Bulldogs were becoming known as companion dogs and kept solely for that purpose. Because people prefered companion dogs to be smaller, they started breeding the Bulldog with smaller breeds such as pugs or terriers. These smaller dogs were less frightening, more playful rather than fierce and they had a stockier body with longer backs and shorter legs. The average weight was commonly 8 lbs. These small Bulldogs would be known as Toy Bulldogs and were popular among factory employees where they lived in small quarters. By the 1850’s, Toy Bulldogs became popular across the region and there were moves to standardize many popular british dog breeds at the same time.
In the 1700’s, records were kept of the Toy Bulldog breed. This was mostly because at this time, they were used in dog shows and were also specially selected in order to breed the next generation of Toy Bulldogs. In early dog shows, Toy Bulldogs were often placed in the same category as pugs or other regular Bulldogs. Regular Bulldogs had both floppy ears and ears that stood straight up. Because the Toy Bulldog also was bred with Terriers, Toy Bulldogs almost always had ears that stayed straight up. In order to keep the two breeds separated, Bulldogs with ears that stood straight up were often classified as Toy Bulldogs as they did not want to contaminate the Bulldog standard by changing their ears.
During the Industrial Revolution, many people moved to France for work, bringing along the Toy Bulldog. In France, the Toy Bulldog quickly became one of the most prefered dogs in the country and wealthy French citizens imported as many Toy Bulldogs as they could from England. This system worked out well because while the English prefered the bigger Bulldogs with floppy ears, the French prefered the smallest Toy Bulldogs with straight ears. The Toy Bulldog was the beginning of what would soon become the French Bulldog. Some also believe that Toy Bulldogs were also sent over to America where they became the start of the Boston Terrier although this theory isn’t proven.
Eventually, the Toy Bulldog became rare in Britain and became more and more popular in France. Toy Bulldogs that were left in Britain were not considered to fit the Bulldog standard and were rare. This breed officially went extinct sometime between 1905–1925.
Today, the larger English Bulldogs are still popular world wide. There are many breeders who are attempting to recreate a breed similar to the now extinct Toy Bulldog. Many breeders today are creating this new breed by mixing small bulldogs with other petite breeds or they are breeding small bulldogs with other small bulldogs to keep the size down. These new breeds are not exactly like the Toy Bulldog from the past although they are quite similar. Kennel Clubs do not recognize these new breeds yet although they may start to consider them as their own breed in the near future.