The Victorian Bulldog is a result of dedicated “recreation breeding,” in which a breeder “resurrects” a lost breed by selecting modern breeds that most embody the original. In London in 1985, breeder Ken Mollett undertook the challenge of recreating a breed that was similar to, but different from, the more modern English Bulldog. He carefully selected fine specimens of English Bulldogs, Bull Terriers, Bullmastiffs, and Staffordshire Bull Terriers to try to create a dog that evoked an earlier breed that had the more athletic build, longer muzzle and legs, and smaller heads of the dogs he had seen in photos and portraits of the early 19th century.
Using old photos, etching and artwork, Mollett slowly recreated the Victorian Bulldog to embody the characteristics he wanted. He only used dogs that were registered with the Kennel Club of Great Britain to keep the lines as pure as possible. What he eventually produced has become a much loved, though rare, line of dogs that many bulldog owners prefer for their athleticism.
The Victorian Bulldog is larger than the modern English Bulldog, and is more athletic. Males measure 17 to 19 inches (43 to 48 cm), and weigh in at 65 to 75 pounds (30 to 34 kg). Females typically measure 16 to 19 inches (41 to 48 cm) and weigh 55 to 65 pounds (25 to 30 kg). This breed doesn’t typically have the congenital problems associated with many other purebred lines. It still has the muscular build, short legs and face, broad muzzle, large head, wide chest and short, smooth coat typically associated with bulldogs.
These bulldogs typically have coats that are solid white, red, brindle, fawn, or fallow. Their coats shed an average amount and are easy to groom. Temperamentally, the dogs are easy going and great for families. Loyal to their breed, they are excellent guard dogs as well. Because they are more athletic than their cousins, they’ll need regular exercise, although a small yard will do. They tend to do best in moderate climates as they are easily chilled and have a difficult time cooling down in hot weather.
A Victorian bulldog should never be confused with the “Olde English Bulldogge,” breed that was created in the U.S. and is not associated with Mollett’s dogs’ lineage. As a breed, Victorians are quite rare, and if an individual is interested in owning one, he or she should research the dog’s papers to see if it is certified.