A Historical Survey by R. H. Voss Text originally printed in 1933 in a British publication called "Our Dogs". Mr Voss was the #1 authority and historian of his day on Bulldogs. This same article was printed before in Stodghill's ARF Cowdog Magazine, issue #114 in 1989. R.H. Voss suggest that the breed goes back to the war dogs of the ancient Britons. Briton was made a Roman province in the year 50 AD, when the British chieftain Caractacus was defeated by Emperor Claudius. At That time there were "pugnaces" or war dogs, in Briton. They were used in war, for the contests in the amphitheater and in the chase. These fighting dogs of Briton were known as the Broad Mouthed Dogs of Briton. There is very little doubt that they were the original and remote ancestors of our Mastiff and Bulldog. They appealed to the Romans, who sent considerable numbers of them from Briton to Rome, to take part in the sports of the amphitheater, and it has even been said that the Romans appointed an officer to select British dogs and export them to Rome. There is evidence that from Italy the breed of British war dogs was disseminated over the continent in the years 50/410.

Bear Baiting

The Saxon kingdom of England was succeeded in 1066 by Norman Kings and the training of bulls, bears, horses and other animals for the purposes of baiting the with dogs was practiced by the jugglers who were introduced into England by her Norman conquerors. As early as Henry II 's time 1154 the baiting of bulls and bears by dogs was indeed a popular amusement. Henry II had gained Bordeaux on his marriage with Eleanor of Aquitaine in 1151, and this important town remained in the hands of the English till about 1411, for approximately 260 years. From 1356 to 1367 the court of King Edward III "father of Edward the black prince", with it's attendant sports of bull and bear baiting, was held at Bordeaux. It was in or about 1406 that Edmond de Langley, Duke of York, the forth son of seven son's of Edward III, wrote a treatise entitled "The Mayster of the Game and of hawks to Henry IV, and in his treatise he described the Alaunt or Allen dog as a dog with a large and thick head and a short muzzle, which was remarkable for his courage, so that when he attacked an animal he hung on, and was used for bull baiting. He described the great French Alaunt, drawing a distinction between the Gentil and the Alaunt de Boucherie. The French Alaunt being a descendant of the English Alaunts exported to Bordeaux, and in turn the ancestor, without any doubt whatsoever, of the Dogue de Bordeaux, the huge fighting dog of South of France. In 1556 it is known that great numbers of English Alaunts were introduced into Spain and the island of Cuba by Philip II for the purposes of the arena. In 1557 Dr. Caius, of Chambridge, described the Mastyve or Bulldog which was undoubtedly the direct descendant of the Alaunt, as a vast, huge stubborn, ugly and eager dog., of a heavy and burdenous body, "serviceable to bait and take the bull by the ear two dogs at most being sufficient for that purpose, however untamable the bull might be. In 1585 a Hondius painter an oil painting on an oak panel [which came into the possession of Mr. Frank Adcock] which depicted two bandogges or Alaunts attacking a wild bore in the bed of a shallow stream. One was red with a black muzzle, and the other was white with brindle ear patches, and they were both had "rose ears", and long fine tails, and looked as though they must have weighed 100 to 120 lbs. The red dog had a firm grip on the left ear of the boar. The fact that the "pugnaces" of Briton were known as the "Broad Mouthed dogs of Briton" and that Claudian in 390 AD stated that they were able to pull down a bull, shows that these dogs were, of course, in a rough and typical manner only the original stock from which the Bulldog and Mastiff sprang. That these dogs were in the years 50/410 exported to Rome by the Romans, and form Rome disseminated over the Continent, there is no doubt. Further, it has been shown that as early as 1154 the baiting of bulls and bears by dogs in England was a popular amusement. Also it shows that from 1151 to 1411 Bordeaux belonged to England, and that the English court was actually situated there from 1356 till 1367, with its accompaniment of bull and bear baiting. It was while the English still held Bordeaux that the Alaunt was undoubtedly exported to France from 141 onwards for a period on 260 years, and he was almost certainly crossed there with some remote descendants of the British war dogs which hundreds of years previously had traveled to France via Rome. It is absolutely in keeping therefore, to imagine that the Dogue de Bordeaux as imported to England in 1895 by Mr. Sam Wookiwss and the late Mr. H.C. Brooke, was the originally descended from the English Alaunts which were exported to Bordeaux from 1151 to 1411.


In 1895, in the year that Mr. John Proctor judged the breed at the Bordeaux show, it was a dog of an average height of 25 1/2 inches and of an averaged weight of 120 lbs. The skull circumference was 26 inches. Nose length as measured from the corner of the eye to the tip of the nose was three inches on the average. These dogs for many years. from the English occupation of Bordeaux onwards, were bred for encounters in the arena, being pitted against each other or against the bull, the bear or the ass, and even as late as 1906 these encounters occasionally took place. The famous Mastiff, Beaufort, whose measurements approached the standards of perfection were, 27 inch skull, and the length of his muzzle was 4 inches, whilst he stood 29 1/2 inches at the shoulder, and therefore weighted about 160 lbs, forty pounds more than the average Dogue de Bordeaux. In 1907 the dog's use in the arena in France began to be entirely discontinued, and at the Paris dog show that year there was only 10 Dogues on view, and the winners had button ears and black mask, like English Mastiffs.


During the reign of Mary, Elizabeth, James 1 and Charles 1, which covered the years 1553 to 1649, the bating of bulls and full grown bears by dogs was a very popular sport. Hentzner, in his itinerary, printed in Latin in the reign of Queen Elizabeth in 1598, stated that there was a place built in the form of a theater for bating and "great English dogs" which shows that in 1598 they were still very large. In 1556 Philip II became king of Spain and introduced great numbers of English Alaunts into Spain and the Islands of Cuba and Majorca for the purpose of the arena. In my own mind there is very little doubt that the dog from Burgos depicted in the old bronze plaque, dated 1625, was a descendant of these English dogs or was an imported English dog himself. It was not until 1631, in the reign of Charles I, that the name "BULLDOG" was first mentioned in England. There is a letter in the record office which was written in 1632 from St. Sebastion in Spain, by an Englishman called Prestwich Eaton to his friend George Wellingham in St. Swithens s Lane, London, asking for a good "MASTIFF" dog and two "BULLDOGS" to be sent out to him. This is definite proof that six years after the Burgos plague the export of Bulldogs {as they were just beginning to be called} from England to the sport loving Dons of Spain, which had been commenced by Philip II 75 years earlier, was still continuing. The cropped dog depicted on the old Spanish plaque of 1625 was very noticeable a big dog and very noticeable a BULLDOG, being much underhung, with a big skull and well laid back nose. Many years later in the year 1840, Bill George imported from Spain a big BULLDOG, which was called Big Headed BIlly, whilst in 1868 Mr. Marquart brought over Bonnhomme and Lisbon, and in 1873 Mr. Frank Adcock acquired Toro and Alphonse in Madrid. All these five were termed purebred Spanish Bulldogs, and they were exactly of the type depicted on the 1625 plaque. Big headed Billy was a brindle pied, Bonhomme a brindle, Torro a red carroty brindle, and Alphonse a fawn with a black mask and white markings, and all these four dogs weighted 90 lbs. I heard it stated that Lisbon and Alphonse were both noted dogs in the arena in Spain. Torro had a 22 inch skull, stood 22 inches at the shoulder, and measured 2 1/2 inches from the corner of his eye to the tip of his nose. It is clear to me that these big 90 lb Spanish dogs were reasonably short in face with proper Bulldog tails having a downward crook at the root and at the end. They were all cropped. It seems to me quite clear that the Dogue de Bordeaux, which averaged 120 lbs. in weight and was 25 1/2 inches in height, 26 1/2 inches in skull circumference, and three inches in length of face. With in many cases light eyes and red noses, and in all cases only slight projection of underjaw had tails which reached in the hocks, represented the English Alant as bread in England and Bordeaux in the years 1151/1411. Whilst the Spanish Bulldog, which averaged only 90 lbs in weight. 2 1/2 inches in length of face, and which had dark eyes and a black nose and mask . Was well underhung with a moderately short crooked down tail. The Bulldogs rolling gate represented the English Bulldog as bread in the years 1556/1649, when the Bulldog was just beginning to be a different dog from the Mastiff. To the modern eyes the Dogue de Bordeaux and the Spanish Bulldog would appear to be of Mastiff type, but the Bulldog less so clearly due the fact that the English dogs which began to go out to Spain in 1556 were already much more of the Bulldog type than the English dogs that went to Bordeaux in the years 1151/1411, before the Bulldog and the mastiff had begun to emerge from the Alaunt and to take definite shapes of their own.


The new system of Bull-baiting, as practiced from 1686 onwards favored an active dog of moderately low stature and size. With his nose will laid back and a protruding underjaw. The great Bulldog of 90 lbs in weight which had been in Vogue when bull-baiting was the sport of kings, was no longer wanted. Whilst the common folk who now gad the sport in hand could not afford to keep such Hugh animals. Much can happen to change a breed of a dog in fifty years and by inbreeding and breeding with a fixed purpose in view, between the years of 1686 and 1735, a dog of definite type and of an average weight of 50 to 60 lbs, was produced. The dog of 1735, was smaller in skull than the Bulldog of today 1933, longer in face, higher in shoulder, not so wide in front, lighter in bone and body, and less exaggerated in every way. The Bulldog that was gradually evolved in the years 1686/1735, though finally more than 40% lighter than his ancestors and was not only the bravest dog but actually the bravest creature on earth, not even excepting the old English Game Cock. This was an indisputable fact, which was proven time and time again. The dog which was produced in the years 1686/1735, was the dog for the bull, and it was during those years and not before then, that the Bulldog was taught and trained to pen the bull by the nose and never to attack him in any other place. As early as 1710 this method of attack became an inherited tendency and even today, though bull-bating was abolished 98 years ago, or around 1835..


From 1735 to 1835 the Bulldog was bread on the same lines with no alterations in type. In 1835 the cruel practice of Bull-baiting was prohibited by law and the Bulldog's true occupation disappeared. He would probably have most died out but for the barbarous so called sport of dog fighting. Dog fighting commenced about 1690, in the reign of James II. Burnette in his "History of My Own Times" written about 1700, refers to dog fighting and the gardens at which these scenes were enacted. For fully 100 years the Bulldog was the only dog used in this cruel pastime, but in or about the year 1800 the devotees of the game sought to produce a quicker dog in the pit.. At this time there were many smooth coated Old English Terriers in varied colorings, but all smart, active and alert. Excellent for Killing rats or unearthing the fox. the larger types of these Terriers were crossed with the Bulldog and the product which was a dog that combined all the dash and speed of the terrier with the indomitable courage and fighting instinct of the Bulldog. These dogs were known as Bull Terriers. In the years 1800 and 1835, when the notorious Westminster Pit flourished, the young Corinthians of those days indulged freely in dog fighting. And it is probable that a certain number of pure Bulldogs were fought in the pit till at least 1840. Dog fighting, as well as bull and bear baiting, was made illegal in 1835, but it continued to be carried on secretly in quite an extensive manner until about 1880, more especially in London, Birmingham, Liverpool and several towns in the black country, notably Walsall. From 1840 till about 1855 no other dog was used in the pit but the comparatively short faced, course and bandy legged Bull Terrier. In about 1855 James Hinks, of Birmingham, produced the first of the modern white Bull Terriers, which he had obtained by crossing the Bulldog and the Terrier with the refined and graceful white English Terrier. After 1880 police supervision became much more strict, though fights were secretly staged in different towns on a number of occasions between 1880 and 1899, that being the last year I ever heard of a dog fight being held.


Let us now revert to the year 1835, when bull bating, bear bating and dog fighting were abolished by law. The Bulldog was then looked upon as the associate of rogues and vagabonds and was condemned by the better class of people for keeping bad company. For five years, the Bulldog was probably only kept in existence by the fact that he still had a few admirers who stuck to him as a fighting dog. But by 1840 there were probably less Bulldogs in England than at any period during the breed existence. The bulk of Bulldogs at that time were 45 to 50 pound dogs upon the lines which they had been bred for that type and purpose had emerged about 1735, that is to say they were extremely active, powerful, game and tenacious dogs, much more leggyand much less coddley and not nearly so heavy built as our present day dogs, but nevertheless very muscular and compact, as shown in Scott's engraving of Crib and Rosa, dated 1817. At the same time there were still in existence a certain number of much bigger dogs running up to 65 pounds in weight and these were undoubtable the remanats of the days when Bulldogs were 90 pound dogs. These remnants of the old type were mostly in the hands of one or two people, notably Bill George, who in 1838 had succeeded Ben White as a keeper of baiting and fighting dogs and they were naturally more of a Mastiff type than the smaller and more popular dog. This was the position of 1840 and it was fortunate for the Bulldog that just about then, the interest in the dogs began to increase and working man fanciers began to arise who bred dogs with great care and who held small Public-House evening shows, where their dogs paraded on the sanded floors of rap rooms, the landlord usually providing the prizes, though sometimes the working men who kept these dogs, clubbed together to contribute a handsome silver collar, or something of that sort.


The dogs which epically appealed to those good old working men fanciers were King Charles Spaniels and Bulldogs and as they always preferred a little dog, there is no doubt that they crossed some of their smaller sized Bulldog bitches with Pug dogs, in order to reduce the size of the progeny and also to produce the fawn emut color which was then much admired. The average weight of the Pug dog of those days was 20 lbs. and their ears when not shorn off and rounded close to the head, were then as often Rose as Button. By crossing the two breeds over a decade of years, lightweight Bulldogs were produced weighting between 12 and 20 lbs., It being the desire of these dog fanciers to bantamize the Bulldog and produce as attractive a pet that would cost no more to rear than their Toy Spaniels and for which they would have a ready Sale. There is no doubt that this Pug cross had a lot to do with the prevalence later on of the Fawn Emut or fallow emut Bulldog and with the prevalence of the SCREW TAIL, although less headstrong and daredevil in character. But as the Bulldog was much more the stronger character of the two it is doubtful the alliance with the Pug actually affected the courage of the progeny and as a matted of fact, the lightweight Bulldogs of the fifties, sixties and the seventies were particularly game little dogs often quite useful in the RAT PIT. In 1859 open dog shows began to be held and the commencement of the dog show era immediately created an incentive for breeding Bulldogs for show purposes. The original show dogs were of the type as follows: 1. The dog which had been specifically bred to bait the bull from 1735 "when this dog first attained a very definite type" until bull baiting was abolished in 1835 and which since 1835 had maintained it's existence by reason, first of a dog fighter and later of pot house shows. These dogs varied from 45 to 50 pounds, as a rule. 2. The big dogs of more or less Mastiff type which were the remnants of the original 90 lbs. Bulldogs. By 1859 had been reduced in size to 60 lbs. These dogs received a stimulus by the importation of the Spanish Bulldog, Big-Headed Billy in 1840. Bill Georges famous White dog Dan, which weighted 65 lbs. and was sold for 100 pounds, was a grandson of Big Headed Billy. 3. The little dogs of 12 to 25 pounds in weight which had been produced by inbreeding smaller sized Bulldogs and by crossing these small sized bitches with Pug dogs in the years 1835 to 1845. At the early shows, from 1859 to 1870, Classes were always provided for dogs under 20 pounds. And those cases were as a rule were well filled. The little dogs as might be expected from their breeding, were usually very short in face with noses well laid back. They were chiefly bred in London, Nottingham and Birmingham. Students of the Bulldog who take the trouble to read history of his evolution will readily understand why even today, (1933*) there is no uniformity of type or size in Bulldogs, and why it is possible for two dogs to be of different type and size whilst at the same time , they are both good ones. The differences in type and size spring from the different ingredients in their origin and these differences will never entirely disappear. I hope that my reader will also agree with me that the British Bulldog, the Old English Mastiff, the Dogue de Bordeaux, all sprang originally from the same British origin which is from the English Alaunt. It is a theory I have held as you can see the english bulldog of today is a far cry from what the original bulldog was. This is the purpose of the Olde English Bulldogge


By Warren H. Blaisdell, III

The story of the famous bulldog fancier Bill George and his trip to attend the lion fights happened in the year 1825 in England.

That such a cruel exhibition of bulldogs fighting a lion could take place in public today, and the fact that it occurred only 100 years ago is striking evidence of the strides that we have made since that day toward humane consideration for our dogs. A snarling, vicious fighter in those times, entirely because he was bred and trained to be such, the bulldog today is recognized for his completely opposite characteristics of docility and steadfast devotion. Such a complete change is a credit indeed to present day fanciers.

Notices of the lion fights appeared in issues of The Sporting Magazine in 1825, and the scattered facts have been gathered together to present this story, not as a glorification of the cruel "sport" to which the bulldog was subjected, for it is not a pleasant tale, but rather because, due to its very viciousness, it brought about the end of fighting bulldogs and eventually the different animal which we know today. As such it assumes importance as the turning point in bulldog history and is recorded for that reason.

Bill George was an apprentice at the establishment of Ben White who operated a bulldog kennel for the "fancy" in a deserted section on the outskirts of London. The fancy, in those days, consisted of "sports" whose chief delight was to fight the bulldog in the pit with other bulldogs, or sometimes with a badger or even a monkey.

They also fancied the art of bullbaiting and bearbaiting, which at one time became so popular as to amount to a national pastime. However, by the year of which we are speaking, such exhibitions had already fallen into popular disfavor, and many towns had local ordinances against them. Nevertheless, White carried on a brisk business in breeding, training, and selling fighting bulldogs, and his establishment was notorious throughout England.

The lion fights took place on July 30, and the day was unusually hot even for that time of year. It was just noon when Bill George trudged into Warwick. The parched, dusty road had blistered his tired feet, and he headed straight for the horse-watering well in the village square to wash and cool off. At the well there was quite a crowd, mostly farmers from out of town, but interspersed with a few suspicious looking characters smacking of the race track who were busy booking bets on the outcome of the lion fights which were to take place that evening.

It had been a long trip from London. On Friday morning, after he had swept the kennels, cleaned the dog pens and the fighting pit, Ben White had told him that he might go, but issued a stern warning to be back by Monday evening in time for the dog fights at Westminster Pit.

He had made good time on Friday, thanks to a ride out of the city with a dairyman. By eight in the evening he had reached Brackley where he looked up "Scrap" Taylor who ran a small kennel of bulldogs for the "fancy" and who, at various times, had bought bulldogs from Ben White. "Scrap" had said that Bill might sleep in the barn that night if he would assist at a couple of dog matches first. Instead of a couple fights, there turned out to be seven, and it was two in the morning before the last dogs had been taken from the pit and the crowd gone home.

The barn was rank with the odor of the men, the blood in the pit, and stale tobacco smoke. Since the shutters had been nailed shut to keep light from attracting passersby, there was no way of airing out the place.

Tired as he was, Bill could not get to sleep. He lay thinking about the fights that evening and the cruel purposes for which his favorites were bred. Bulldogs were not naturally vicious. He knew that well. Raised as they were and encouraged to fight, any breed would become vicious and ill-tempered, but treated with kindness they became devoted companions. He tried to think of some other purpose for which they might be bred. But what was there? They were bred solely for the pit. Without that there would be no reason for breeding them at all. Anyway, tomorrow he would see Billy! There was a real bulldog! He turned over to try to get some sleep before morning.

At six on Saturday morning, Bill set off for Warwick. He got a ride into Leamington; and with that help, he arrived in Warwick in good time. It would give him the whole afternoon to be with Billy. Billy had been whelped at White’s about a year and a half previously, and from puppyhood had been the favorite of Bill. He had made a pet of Billy much against White’s wishes who said that Bill would ruin him for the fighting pit. The dog became so devoted to his master that he became known as "Bill’s dog" which was later shortened to "Billy". However, at eight months, Billy showed evidence of becoming the best dog in the kennel, and White began to spend a great deal of time training him for the pit.

By the time he was a year old, he could lick any dog his size and was sold to the well-known promoter, Sam Wedgbury, at a high price. Wedgbury had since fought him with so much success that he was known to the fancy all over the British Isles.

At Factory Yard, Wedgbury greeted Bill with obvious pleasure, and it was not long before he was telling him about the first lion fights which had taken place on Tuesday over in Cannon. The Great Wombwell, proprietor of the famous traveling circus, had promoted the fights by offering to bet any "Sporting Gentleman" in England up to 5,000 sovereigns that his famous lion, Nero, could whip any six bulldogs in the land. The bet had been taken by a nobleman who engaged Wedgbury to furnish the dogs. The fight had drawn a tremendous crowd on Tuesday, and betting had run high with the odds five to one in favor of Nero.

At seven in the evening, Nero had been rolled out into the arena in his cage where he sat surveying the crowd placidly, accustomed as he was to being on exhibit. At 7:30, Wedgbury brought the dogs forth, and three were selected to make the first attack. One dog was named Turk, a brown-colored dog weighing about 40 pounds whose many scars were ample evidence of his experience in the fighting pit. The second dog was Captain, a fallow-and-white with a wry face; and third was Tiger, a brown-and-white heavyweight.

The three dogs had been aroused to a state of utmost excitement by their handlers, and were anxious to start fighting. As soon as they were let loose, they sprang into the cage and attacked Nero from both sides. Poor Nero, who had been lying on his paws not suspecting any danger, whirled with a roar of anguish, and tried to beat off the dogs with his claws. Undaunted, they came back to attack again and again, until Tiger pinned the lion by the lower lip; and Nero, in defense, caught the dog a severe blow, tearing his side wide open. Suffering badly from the wound, Tiger turned and fled outside the cage where he stood barking furiously, but not daring to enter again.

The other two dogs repeatedly tore at Nero’s nose and face until the poor animal was bleeding profusely. Finally, he fled, at full speed, around and around his cage seeking refuge from his tormentors. The crowd howled victory for the bulldogs which were dragged from the cage, and Nero was given a 20-minute respite.

The second trios to attack Nero were Nettle, a brindle bitch with a black head; Rose, a brindle-pied bitch; and Nelson, a white dog with brindle spots. Here the scene was the same. Poor Nero, driven to distraction by the pain, tried in vain to run away from his antagonists until he finally collapsed from utter exhaustion and was dragged to the side of the ring by the dogs.

Wombwell, ashamed at the poor showing of his King of Beasts, at once came upon the stage and offered to match his other lion, Wallace, against six more bulldogs. The bet was taken and the fight was arranged to take place that Saturday night.

Wedgbury had brought Tiger again and five new bulldogs for this combat, and took it for granted that they would be more than a match for Wallace. Besides Tiger, he had brought Billy who was so delighted at seeing his former master again that he would not leave Bill’s feet all afternoon. Then there was Ball, a tawny-and-white, two and a half year old weighing 40 pounds; Tinker, a red dog, four years old, weighing 46 pounds; Turpin a 60 pounder; and Sweep, which weighed less than 40 pounds, but known to be a fighter of great merit.

During the afternoon, a Quaker by the name of Wheeler came into the yard looking for Wedgbury. With Wheeler was the sheriff, and the former did his utmost to persuade the sheriff to arrest Wedgbury and put a stop to the proposed fight. The sheriff, however, was reluctant to enter into the affair, especially since the event had been well advertised and promised to bring the largest crowd of the year into town. After appealing to Wedgbury in the interest of being humane toward his dogs, Wheeler left to look up Wombwell but without much hope of stopping the fight, for he had tried to stop the Tuesday fight at Cannon only to be beaten up for his pains.

By seven o’clock, the town was teeming with people who had come from far and near to witness the big event. In front of the single entrance to Factory Yard, Bill George came upon a gathering of members of The Society of Friends who were urging the crowd to refrain from patronizing such a disgraceful exhibition. However, the mob was in holiday mood and they either paid no attention to the Quakers or taunted them with jibes while filing into the arena.

Bill paid 10 shillings for standing room in the pit and went into look at Wallace who was already ensconced in his big cage in the middle of the arena. Wallace was not the domesticated type that was Nero. He had been whelped in Scotland, and his mother had died when he was only two days old. He had been reared by a bulldog bitch, but had never taken to captivity. He was now pacing up and down his cage, eyeing the crowd with a most unfriendly mien as though suspecting that no good could come of this.

Notwithstanding the disgraceful defeat of Nero, and perhaps because of the different attitude displayed by Wallace, the betting was once again five to one in favor of the lion. At 7:15, Mr. Wombwell, having made the necessary disposition of his customers, announced his intention of beginning immediately and proceeded to enter the cage. His appearance was hailed with applause; and like a second Daniel, he walked about with great gravity armed with nothing but a switch. The band struck up "Rule Britannia" and played until it was silenced by cries of the crowd, impatient to get started.

Finally, Mr. Wedgbury was instructed to bring out his dogs, which appeared and were fastened to collars to heavy chains attached to stakes outside the cage. Ball and Tinker were selected for the first of three attacks and were led out by their handlers to an inclined ramp which ran up into the cage directly in front of the lion. Wallace’s attention was immediately attracted by the barking and anxious straining of the dogs which were endeavoring to break loose and begin the attack.

After repeated calls from the crowd, Wombwell finally left the cage, and the words "Let go" were given. Wallace, by this time was crouching down, and on hearing the cry of the dogs instantly sprang at the side of the cage. His head was erect, the hairs of his fine, bushy mane stood up like bristles, his eyes sparkled from fire, and a general convulsion seemed to shake his entire frame.

Both dogs, although excited to the highest pitch of fury by the handlers, appeared overawed at the terrifying appearance of the royal beast, and remained for several minutes on the platform without making any attempt to enter the cage. At length, Ball, going too close to the bars, was caught and dragged into the ring by one of Wallace’s paws. The poor dog had scarcely got to his feet before the lion caught him in his mouth and carried him around the cage as a cat would a mouse.

Tinker, in the meantime, had entered the cage and began attacking the legs of the lion, finally succeeding in annoying the latter to such an extent that he dropped Ball to rush at his attacker. Ball, more dead than alive, dragged himself from the cage to die a few minutes later.

Wallace grabbed Tinker furiously by the shoulder and would have crushed him to death had not one of the handlers enticed the lion by holding out a piece of meat on a pike. Wallace dropped Tinker who was dragged out of the ring by one of the men, and thereby saved. By this time the crowd, who had seen the tables turned, was wild; and bets were being offered as high as 50 to one in favor of Wallace winning the next two engagements, but there were no takers.

After 20 minutes, the next two dogs were sent in. This time it was Turpin and Sweep, both of whom attacked boldly from the front. Turpin was severely injured almost at once and fled from the cage. Sweep put up a noble fight but was no match for Wallace which took the dog in his mouth and hurled him to the side of the cage allowing him to escape with his life.

The third attack was delayed in starting owing to an attempt on the part of a large crowd outside the yard to rush the gate and gain entrance without paying. While this was going on, Bill sought out Wedgbury in a vain attempt to persuade him not to send Billy in against the lion. Wedgbury, who was now greatly concerned for his dogs, two of which had already died, was inclined to agree with Bill but dared not back out in the face of such a large crowd of spectators.

It was nearly nine when the third match took place, and Bill hardly had time to get back to the ring before the two dogs were released. This time it was Billy, and Tiger, which had done so much barking but little fighting, in the fight on Tuesday night. Both dogs seemed terrified at the beast which was now so ferocious that not even his keepers would go near the cage. Neither dog would approach the bars for some time. Finally, there were forced into the cage by the handlers, and Tiger made a precipitate attempt to pin Wallace by the nose but failed and rushed from the cage where he remained barking, as in the former match, while the crowd booed loudly and shouted "Cur!"

Billy, however, maintained the combat singly for some time with great spirit, until Wallace seized him by the loins and would have done away with him entirely had not one of the keepers again lured the lion away with a piece of meat allowing the dog to drop and escape.

As soon as Wallace discovered that the dogs had made their escape, he displayed his anger by lashing his tail against his sides and roaring tremendously. His jaws were foaming with blood, and he strode back and forth in his cage for several minutes strewing it with gore. He was kept on exhibition for an hour after the fight to be inspected by the crowd which was harangued loudly by the boasting Wombwell, who stood at a safe distance from the cage appearing well pleased at having proved the worth of his lions.

Bill rushed out to look at Billy which, though severely wounded, was expected to recover. Ball and Tinker had died, and Sweep lay in a very dangerous state. Although the fight had attracted a crowd of more than 1500 persons and had taken in a gate of 600 pounds, nevertheless both sides agreed that never again would there be a fight between lions and bulldogs.

Bill spent Saturday night at Factory Yard and set out for London early Sunday morning. He arrived there late Monday afternoon to find that news of the fights, which had already reached London, had aroused the public to a high state of indignation. A city ordnance had been passed hastily, forbidding not only the practice of fighting dogs, but even prohibiting establishments dealing in such animals. By order of the sheriff, White’s establishment had been closed that morning and a deputy had been placed there to see that no business would be carried on.

From that time on, the practice of fighting bulldogs rapidly declined. Exhibitions no longer took place in public, and the few that were held at all were private affairs taking place at night, in secluded rendezvous, to which only those known to the fancy were admitted. White moved his kennels out of London and continued to carry on his business for several years. In 1835, Parliament finally passed an act which forbade animal fighting throughout the British Isles. This, of course, brought about, for good and all, an end to the purpose for which bulldogs were then bred; and for some time thereafter the breed diminished until it became nearly extinct.

Ben White died about that time, and Bill George succeeded to the establishment. Naming it the "Canine Castle" he continued to raise his favorite breed. Indeed, he succeeded in establishing an enviable reputation for honesty in this profession which was still viewed with suspicion by the general public. The advent of dog shows in 1859 found George with an established strain and the best specimens in the land. In his declining years, he enjoyed the reputation of being the foremost breeder of bulldogs in England, and many of the first winners in the show ring came from his kennels.

Indeed, succeeding generations of show bulldogs sprung directly from his stock; and practically all of our dogs today, which enjoy a happier lot, trace back directly through his strain to the fighting dogs of the early nineteenth century.

The term "bulldog" was first used around 1568 and might have been applied to various ancestors of modern bulldog breeds. Bulldogs were bred in England as a cross between the mastiff and the pug.[2]

In the 1600s, bulldogs were used for bullbaiting (as well as bearbaiting), a gambling sport popular in the 17th century with wagers laid in which trained bulldogs leapt at a bull lashed to a post, latched onto its snout and attempted to suffocate it.[3] Bulldogs have many distinct characteristics that were bred into them so they would be better suited to bullbaiting. The bulldog's body is short, low to the ground and compact, allowing it to be able to scuttle or crawl low under the bull's horns. The lower jaw sticks out further than the top one allowing the bulldog to grip on the nose of the animal and still be able to breathe due to the lay-back of the nose. The wrinkles on the bulldogs face allow the blood from the other animal to run down the bulldogs face instead of going into its eyes.

The oldest single breed specialty club is The Bulldog Club (England), which was formed in 1875. Members of this club met frequently at the Blue Post pub on Oxford Street in London. There they wrote the first standard of perfection for the breed. In 1891 the two top bulldogs, Orry and Dockleaf, competed in a contest to see which dog could walk the farthest. Orry was reminiscent of the original bulldogs, lighter boned and very athletic. Dockleaf was smaller and heavier set, more like modern bulldogs. Dockleaf was declared the winner that year. Although some argued that the older version of the bulldog was more fit to perform, the modern version’s looks won over the fans of the breed because they proved they were equally as fit and athletic in the walking competition.

                                       The Olde English Bulldogge standard

  Head:  Large and high, moderately sunken between the eyes (medial furrow).
The circumference of the head should be equal to or greater than the dog's height at the shoulder.  A narrow head or one that appears too small for the body is a fault.

  Ears:  Rose ears set well on the sides of the head are preferred.  Dropped ears are acceptable as long they are small, not “hound like”.  Full pricked ears that stand up on top of the head should be considered a serious fault.

  Muzzle:  Broad, deep and short with moderate wrinkling. The bite is undershot with the bottom jaw turning up noticeably.  Lower canines should not protrude.  Muzzle too long (more than 3 inches), scissor bite or even bite are disqualifying faults.  Muzzle should be no shorter than 1 ½”.  Wry jaw is a disqualifying fault.

  Eyes:  Wide apart and of moderate size.  Any color is acceptable. However, odd eyes (one dark, one blue or light) should be considered non preferred.  Misshapen or bugged eyes are a serious fault.  Lacking pigment around the eyes is undesirable.  Crossed eyes or non-symmetrically shaped eyes are a disqualifying fault. 

  Nose:  Broad with open nostrils (nares) with no sign of air restriction.  The nose should not be pushed up between the eyes. From the stop to the end of the nose must be at least one and one half inches.  

  Neck:  Short to medium in length and very muscular flowing into the shoulders and should not be set on the dog so it appears to stop at the shoulders.

  Chest:  Ribs should be well sprung (rounded) and the chest wide and deep.

  Back:  Males should appear square and balanced.  Females should appear similar with consideration given for body length.    Short with a very slight rise from the shoulders to a slight drop in the croup is preferred. A level back is acceptable as long as the tail does not come straight off the top of the back.  
  Shoulders:  Shoulders should be well laid back with significant angulations to allow for good movement. Straight shoulders are a fault.

  Legs:  Forelegs should be straight and wide apart, neither bowing out nor turning in.  There should be significant bone substance.  Elbows should be relatively close to the body.  Lacking bone and substance is very undesirable.  Elbows that are loose or “fiddle fronts” are a disqualifying fault. “East / West” forelegs are a serious fault.
Rear legs should exhibit significant bend of stifle so to allow for good movement. 
They should be well muscled.  Straight rear legs are a serious fault.
Cow hocks are a fault.
  Movement:  Dogs should have a balanced gait that drives off the rear and is complimented by reach allowing the dog to cover ground with a sense of power.
Dogs should single track. Pacing or crabbing is a serious fault.

  Feet:  Round, tight both front and rear, and the pasterns should be strong.
Weak pasterns and/or splayed feet are disqualifying faults.

  Height:  Males - 18 to 20 inches at the shoulder.  Females - 17 to 19 inches at the shoulder. 
  Weight:  Between 50 to 70 lbs. for females and 65 to 85 lbs. for males.  Height and weight above the standard is to be discouraged,

  Color:  Any color, except merle, is acceptable with no preference for one over another.  The coat is short.  A wavy coat or a long coat is a fault.  There should be no signs of feathering on the legs or neck area, also a fault.
  Tail:  A pump handle tail that naturally reaches the hock is preferred, screwed short
or a docked tails are acceptable.  The pump handle tail should be carried low and not over the back of the dog.
  Temperament:  Disposition should be outgoing and happy.  While a watchful nature may be expected at home, human aggression without provocation is a fault.