Science Art: Leavitt Bulldog body diagram, 2013

Scientific illustration of the Leavitt bulldog, a healthier breed of English bulldog

Scientific illustration of the Leavitt bulldog, a healthier breed of English bulldog

As most folks know, today’s English bulldog is an animal that has been, as they say, “overbred.” They have beautiful temperaments as a rule, and can barely breathe, which gives them flatulence, can’t reach their own tails to groom themselves, have absurd wrinkles which get kinda gnarly and require human cleaning regularly, and are otherwise prone to skin conditions and a horrific thing called “cherry eye.” I know this intimately; we have an English bulldog we wouldn’t trade for the world. She’s snoring loudly next to me as I type this.

Two hundred years ago, the bulldog of England – the Old English Bulldog – was a working dog and a sports dog, a breed that nipped angry, two-ton creatures on the snout and lived to bark about it. (We do not approve of bull baiting. We do approve of dogs that can survive without human assistance.) Some breeders have been working on recreating that active, fit, flexible breed from today’s retroussé lap dogs. One is called the Olde English Bulldogge (OEB), first created by Pennsylvania breeder David Leavitt in the 1970s. Now, that name is used for dozens of unrelated lines of dogs with all kinds of different heritage. Descendants of the original two lines of OEBs are called Leavitt bulldogs. Narrower heads, longer snouts, longer tails and taller, more muscular bodies.

I found the image on Wikimedia Commons, where it was submitted by someone named Freedombulls.