Selective breeding brought into being the English Bulldog of today, who is as loving and loyal as her predecessors were vicious. Among those who saved and transformed the breed was William George, who devoted himself to securing a more honor-able status for Bulldogs. Breaking away from the low and cruel practice of dog-fighting, he gave his kennel the lofty name of Canine Castle. There he produced several outstanding dogs. One of them was Young King Dick, who was reputed to be a remarkable specimen of that era.
Recent research reveals that the first known written description of the breed was produced in 1860 on a parchment scroll in Britain. The first class for English Bulldogs at a dog show was at Birmingham, also in 1860.
The first Bulldog club, simply named the Bulldog Club, was organized in Britain on November 3, 1864. The club had thirty members, and their motto was “Hold Fast”. Their stated objective was “the perpetuation and the improvement of the old English bulldog”.
The Bulldog Club’s major accomplishment during the three years it existed was drafting in 1865 the first official Bulldog breed standard. It was written by the club’s treasurer, Samuel Wickens, and was referred to as the Philo-Kuon standard – which was actually the author’s pen name.
For the next ten years, the number of Bulldogs entered at dog shows began to increase, and classes for dogs and bitches were offered in various weight categories from 12 pounds to 25 pounds and over. However, it was not long before Spanish Bulldogs – some weighing as much as 100 pounds – were imported into Britain. The British breeders believed these dogs could threaten the continuation of the purebred English Bulldog.
In March 1875, a group of British breeders met and reconstituted the former Bulldog Club at a London pub called the Blue Post. (The pub still exists today at Newman and Oxford Streets, but has been renamed the Rose and Crown). At this time, a written standard of perfection for the breed, describing the complete anatomy of the English Bulldog, was formulated; it was published on May 27, 1875. A table of points for the standard was adopted by the club and published on September 2, 1875.