In 1971, David Leavitt started the project of breeding a dog with the looks of the 18th century bulldog. He had become disenchanted with English Bulldogs, due to breeding and breathing problems. He discovered that they didn’t look like their ancestors, who were healthier and less extreme. He found that bull and bear-baiting had been very widespread for hundreds of years. Extreme cruelty to animals was inherent in baiting sports. This cruelty was abhorrent to him, but he was fascinated by the great tenacity and courage of the over-matched underdog. He was also drawn to the Bulldog because of his fierce appearance. A modern protection dog, which looks really tough, will repulse an assailant without having to bite. This is the most desirable end to a confrontation.
Leavitt couldn’t find a reliable source for old style Bulldogs, and set about the daunting task of breeding back. He named the breed Olde English Bulldogge. Research has been critical in developing a standard. He did not want the temperament of the original Bulldog. His dogs must be very loving. They must have courage and determination, without being overly aggressive. Leavitt used breeds that all have old Bulldog in their background.
He was determined to develop as much athleticism into the breed as possible. They will never be like hounds, able to run for miles during the hottest weather of summer, but they’re three times better than the restricted modern Bulldog. Cesarean section births are not necessary. Artificial insemination, due to male ineptness and lack of drive, has been replaced by natural ties. Life span is over eleven years. All breeding stock have had hip x-rays. No dog with bad hips is bred. He is now achieving his goal of producing a Bulldog with the health and temperament to be able to serve people, instead of forcing people to serve him.