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).