The first English Bulldog to be exhibited at a dog show in North America was a dog named Donald, who was whelped in 1875. He was shown at New York in 1880 by Sir William Verner. Donald was brindle and white and reportedly weighed about 40 pounds.
The first English Bulldog was registered with the American Kennel Club in 1886. He was a brindle and white dog named Bob, sired by Taurus ex Millie and owned by Thomas Patten of Appleton, Wisconsin.
In 1888, a British-bred Bulldog named Robinson Crusoe became the first AKC Bulldog champion.
Ambassadeur, a male owned and bred by Charles Hopton. Hopton was a successful breeder on both sides of the Atlantic, and his Rodney kennel name was said to denote both quality and soundness in the breed. The first American-bred Bulldog bitch to attain her AKC championship was Princess Merlow, owned by Harry Ruston.
Developing an American Standard
Americans used the British breed standard until a committee was formed in 1894 to modify it. The club officially adopted what was believed to be a more informative, concisely worded standard in 1896.
Since then, the American conformation standard has remained almost entirely intact. There have been only two revisions, and both times they concerned the dog’s nose. On September 5, 1914, the description of the “butterfly or parti-colored” nose as highly undesirable was deleted, and instead, the “dudley or flesh-colored” nose was made the breeds only disqualifying fault. The latest revision, on July 20, 1976, deleted “dudley or flesh-colored nose” and substituted “brown or liver-colored nose” as the disqualifying fault.
English Bulldog Club of America
English Bulldogs were being imported, bred, and shown in the United States about ten years before H. D. Kendall, a breeder from Lowell, Massachusetts, conceived the idea of forming a Bulldog club in the United States. The objective of the organization was “to join together for the purpose of encouraging the thoughtful and careful breeding of the English Bulldog in America, to perpetuate the purity of the strain, to improve the quality of native stock, and to remove the undesirable prejudice that existed in the public mind against a most admirable breed.”
With those goals, the Bulldog Club of America (BCA) was formed by a group of eight interested fanciers at a New England Kennel Club all-breed dog show in Boston on April 1, 1890. The club was incorporated in New York State on February 29, 1904. The Bulldog Club of America is one of the oldest active purebred dog clubs in the United States.