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All about the Toy Bulldog

Toy Bulldog Overview — Unearthing The History Of This Lost Mixed Breed. 

The Toy Bulldog, also known as an English Toy Bulldog, is an extinct dog breed that was popular in England and France during the 18th and 19th Centuries.

In modern times, the term ‘Toy Bulldog’ is often wrongly used to refer to Bulldog and Pug cross breeds; and although they are fairly similar in appearance they are not strictly speaking the same breed.

This means that the original Toy Bulldog may be lost forever to the pages of history!

Temperament, Personality, And Behavior – What Was The Toy Bulldog Like?

The original Toy Bulldog was an extremely intelligent breed of dog that was loving and affectionate. This is a trait that is common among all bulldogs who are, despite their fierce appearance, gentle-hearted, kind, and loyal

A Family-Favorite

The Toy Bulldog was a favorite with families and the quirky little pooches would revel in being the center of attention as they engaged in their surprising antics to the joy of their owners. 

Was The Toy Bulldog Good With Children?

Toy Bulldogs were famous for being gentle, fun, and playful; making them ideal guardians for children. In fact, if a Toy Bulldog was introduced to a child at a young age then it would go on to be a fiercely loyal companion. 

Toy Bulldogs loved to get attention from their owners and so they were great pets for children who would grow up with them as their devoted little playmates.

How Big Were Toy Bulldogs? 

As their name suggests, Toy Bulldogs were quite small compared to some bulldogs!

The average weight of the original Toy Bulldog was between 30 and 40 pounds and they stood at roughly 10-14in (25-35cm) tall at the withers.

This would make them just a little bit bigger than Frenchies.

A Brief History Of The Toy Bulldog Breed

The Toy Bulldog first emerged in England during the 1700s. The early breeders of these dogs attempted to create a smaller Bulldog that would retain the affectionate characteristics of the English Bulldog while being small enough to be a great little companion dog.

Goals of breeders

Breeders took two different approaches to create the Toy Bulldog. They were aiming to lower the weight of the Bulldog to under 30 pounds as well as reduce its height and physical stature.

One way that the early breeders used to reduce the size of the standard Bulldog was simply to select small Bulldogs for the purposes of breeding. It was hoped that this would eventually result in a smaller breed however the technique was not particularly successful. 

What they got

The resulting offspring from these early attempts tended to have numerous medical conditions as well as being much less fertile than their parents. This made it difficult to continue these breeding programs. 

All good things must come to an end

The other more successful method that breeders employed in the early days to create a Toy Bulldog was to breed Bulldogs with existing French Bulldogs. This was more successful however their offspring were never accepted by the Kennel Club as an official breed. 

Consequently, the early breed of Toy Bulldogs eventually died out as the breeding programs were abandoned during the 19th Century.

When Did The Toy Bulldog Go Extinct?

Toy Bulldogs were extremely popular in France and many were exported from England to buyers on the continent. As well as this, the breeding programs in England were not particularly successful and so their numbers dwindled throughout the 19th Century. 

It’s been ~100 years

Eventually, the Toy Bulldog breed completely died out between 1905 and 1925. Thus, by the late 1920s, the Toy Bulldog was extinct. Modern breeders have tried to reproduce the results of these early breeders although to date no breed has been accepted as an official Toy Bulldog.

What Color Were Toy Bulldogs? 

Toy Bulldogs were known to be several different colors, including:

  • White
  • Black
  • Brown 
  • Brindle
  • Fawn
  • Piebald

Were Toy Bulldogs Popular? 

Following several centuries of growing popularity, the Toy Bulldog fell out of favor with English breeders and was later eclipsed by other companion breeds such as the French Bulldog. 

This was partly because of the characteristics of the French Bulldog but it was also related to the fact that it was easier to breed a French Bulldog than the Toy Bulldog. 

Frenchies are everyone’s favorites

The Frenchie went on to become one of the top designer dog breeds that are now owned by numerous celebrities and families throughout America and the wider world.

The Toy Bulldog’s Influence On Other Breeds.

Toy Bulldogs were bred to be companion dogs and as their popularity grew on the European continent, particularly in France, they became a must-have pet for wealthy elite courtesans.

Not the first “toy” breed

Although Toy Bulldogs were not the first toy breed to be developed in history, they did inspire the trend in Europe during the 18th and 19th Centuries.

The French Bulldog for example, which is a cross between an English Toy Bulldog and a breed of Parisian Ratter dogs, is one of the most enduring and beloved companion breeds in modern times.

Modern-day Toy Bulldogs

However, the modern Toy Bulldog is usually created by breeding English Bulldogs with Pugs. (It’s important to note that this is not the same breed as the original Toy Bulldog, but rather a term used to describe a whole bunch of “mini bulldogs“.

These mixed breeds are then bred repeatedly throughout the generations to stabilize the desired traits – in this case, a small stature, lower weight, and characteristic facial structure. 

The Toy Bulldog Re-emerges In The Modern World.

In modern times the term ‘Toy Bulldog’ is used to describe a whole variety of miniature bulldogs.

In the 1980s, breeders began to cross English Bulldogs with Pugs in an attempt to recreate this iconic breed that has sadly gone extinct.

However, these are not officially recognized by the Kennel Clubs in either America or the UK.

The breeders were also trying to create a healthier miniature Bulldog and although they had some success the modern Toy Bulldogs still have breathing and other medical problems which limit their lifespans and can occasionally lead to large vet bills.

What Other Bulldogs Have Also Gone Extinct? 

As social and cultural attitudes change it can lead to certain breeds going extinct.

The Toy Bulldog primarily went extinct because of difficulties in breeding them as well as the breed being supplanted by the introduction of the French Bulldog and other companion breeds. 

The Old English Bulldog

Another example of a bulldog going extinct is the Old English Bulldog. In 1835, in England, the Cruelty to Animals Act was passed which banned bull-baiting, dog fighting and other blood sports involving dogs.

This meant that the demand for several breeds of fighting dogs, including the Old English Bulldog, rapidly declined. 

A similar fate as the Toy Bulldog

Consequently, the Old English Bulldog joined the Toy Bulldog and went extinct sometime in the late 19th Century.

What it looked like

One of the last known pictures of an Old English Bulldog, taken in Paris, shows the strong, athletic stature of this now-extinct breed.

The Old English Bulldog
The Old English Bulldog that is now extinct

Many other breeds of dogs also went extinct during the early 20th Century as the widespread introduction of motor cars and farming machinery replaced the numerous breeds of working dogs that used to be commonplace.

For instance, the Belgian Mastiff, which was used to pull wagons and carts, went extinct as cars and electric trams made them redundant in Europe! 

Breeds are constantly evolving & changing

This is sad for dog lovers but it was the inevitable result of the cultural and technological changes that reshaped the world during the 20th Century.

The Modern Toy Bulldog Mixed Breeds – 9 Mini And Toy Bulldog Mixed Breeds.

Breeders have been trying to recreate the Toy Bulldog since the 1980s, with some success.

There are many types of ‘mini bulldogs’ that are available today.

Some examples of Mini and Toy Bulldogs include:

  • French Bulldog (English Bulldog and Parisian Ratter mix)
  • Miniature Bulldog (English Bulldog and Pug mix/English Bulldog and English Bulldog mix)
  • Beabull (English Bulldog and Beagle mix)
  • Bull Jack (English Bulldog and Jack Russell Terrier mix)
  • English Boodle (English Bulldog and Miniature Poodle mix)
  • English Bullhuahua (English Bulldog and Chihuahua mix)
  • Bully Basset (English Bulldog and Basset Hound mix)
  • English BullCorgi (English Bulldog and Corgi mix)
  • English Frenchie, aka Freelance Bulldog (English Bulldog and French Bulldog mix)