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The Leavitt Bulldog
There are many 'Alternative Bulldog' breeds being created now they are fashionable, to someone just looking into the various strains and types it can appear a very confusing subject. The aim of the majoity of these breeders is to re -crate the original bulldog - The bullbaiting working type bulldog thus in theroy improving on the health and general life in comparison to that of the modern KC type bulldog.
The Leavitt bulldog is different to these other alternative type bulldogs for a number of reasons and not to be confused with these variations.
The Leavitt bulldog is the original, and has proven to be the most succesful attempt to re create the original bulldog. The Leavitt Bulldogs have been bred responsibly with integrity and care, and to a strict breeding program, with stringant health screening and genuine love and concern for the breed. They are the only Bulldog type with such a thorougher and extensive health screening program with a Pass and fail.
The Leavitt Bulldog as a breed has its own structured breed club - The Leavitt Bulldog Association: (L.B.A) This club overseas each individual breeding and only dogs registered and approved by the L.B.A are issued breeding paper work and registration.
The L.B.A is a non profit club, run by enthusiasts and breeders who's only intention is preservation and protection of the breed for the future.
In the early 1970's a man named David Leavitt started the project of trying to breed a dog with the appearance of the bulldog from the 18th century. He realised that the British bulldog of today was actually nothing like its ancestors, and life didn’t have to be such a struggle for the bulldog, with endless breathing problems and health issues. The bulldogs from the 1800's were a lot healthier and less extreme.
Now in 2018 over 40 years later, the project that he began is now even stronger than ever - and some fantastic bulldogs are being produced. The dogs do not just look the part, but along with David Leavitt there a number of breeders involved in preserving the breed and making sure that only the best of the best are bred. This will ensure the health and quality of the dogs being bred is second to none.
One of the reason that the breed appealed to us was the health screening and monitoring of litters that goes on within the breed - All dogs need to be approved by the Leavitt bulldog association before they can be bred from. This involves a checklist filled in by a vet after inspection of eyes ears nose and teeth - all dogs have to be hip scored and a video has to be sent in to them showing all angles of the dog and its movement. Anything other than the standard will be issued red paperwork meaning its offspring can’t be registered with the L.B.A.This is the best way to ensure the breed will stay true to type and to reduce any chance of hereditary health problems passed down the lines.
Below are some photos of some of the Leavitt bulldogs in our dog’s pedigress from the very start of the breeds development.
To read more about the breed and how our breed club works please visit the Leavitt Bulldog Association website:
These are some photos of David Leavitt with a few of his original bulldogs - From left to right - Bullmeads Mox, BullmeadsTweed, Bullmeads Pete.
These are dogs from today and from the past, most are present on our dogs pedigrees.
It means a lot to us to be able to look back and research the dogs behind our bulldogs here at Lonsdale's. You can see below how the dogs have improved over the years and improved and gained consistancey and type as the breed has developed.
Living with a Leavitt Bulldog
Bulldogs were created for the English spot of Bullbaiting, which was widely practiced from 1100 - 1835, when it was made illegal. Once his work was outlawed the Bulldog rapidly stared disappearing.
In 1860 the breed was revived as a conformation show dog. The Bulldog has been made progressively more extreme through selective breeding until his health and life span have been severely compromised. Today’s English Bulldog is a far different dog than his healthy, agile ancestor. In 1971 David Leavitt started his project of breeding back to a dog with the appearance of the Regency period Bulldog. He named the breed Olde English Bulldogge (OEB) to clearly differentiate it from the modern English Bulldog.
Leavitt used a line breeding scheme developed by Dr. Fechimer of Ohio State, to rapidly achieve a pure bred dog. Since the 1970’s many people have used the Olde English Bulldogge name for dogs that are not related to the original lines. Multiple registries service these OEB breeders. There is a huge range in appearance and health in these OEBs.
The original Leavitt lines are a small percentage of the thousands of present OEBs. OEB has become a type of dog and is no longer a breed.
For this reason David Leavitt and breeders who support his original vision of the OEB formed a registry in 2006 and called the breed Leavitt Bulldog with the Leavitt Bulldog Association issuing registration papers. Today’s Leavitt Bulldog matches the looks of the bull baiting dog. They are first and foremost excellent family companions while also possessing the drive, temperament and agility to perform in numerous working venues, from therapy work to weight pull and protection.
The Leavitt Bulldog is a muscular, medium sized dog of great strength, stability and athleticism. He is well balanced and proportioned, with no feature exaggerated or standing out. He has the appearance of a dog capable of doing his original job, bull baiting. Remember that excessive height would have been detrimental for the old working Bulldog because he had to “play low” to avoid the bull’s horns and fasten onto his nose. A heavy weight dog would have also been at a disadvantage because the bull’s nose would have been more likely to rip, sending the dog flying.
The disposition of the Leavitt Bulldog is confident, courageous and alert. LB’s are very friendly and loving. They are extremely strong and occasionally display same sex dog aggression, so socialization and obedience training are important. It is best to channel high energy individuals to some type of work and exercise.
Fault: Shyness in a mature dog.
HEAD - The LB head is prominent and dramatic. The circumference of the head is at least equal to the dog’s height at the withers. The cheeks are large, well developed and display powerful jaw muscles. A slightly wrinkled forehead is acceptable.
SKULL - The skull is large but well proportioned to the dog’s muscular body and prominent shoulders. There is a crease from the stop to the occiput.Serious Faults: Narrow skull; domed forehead.
MUZZLE - The muzzle is square, wide and deep, with definite layback. Distance from the tip of the nose to the stop does not exceed one-third of the distance from the tip of the nose to the occiput. Height of the muzzle, from the bottom of the chin to the top of the muzzle, is equal to or greater than the length of the muzzle, thus producing the deep square muzzle. There is slight to moderate wrinkle on the muzzle. Flews are semi pendulous. The bite is undershot and horizontally straight. Underbite is ” or less. Lower jawbone is moderately curved from front to back.Faults: A slightly longer or shorter muzzle; excessive wrinkle.
Disqualifications: Wry jaw; overbite.
EYES - Eyes are round to almond shape and medium sized. They are set wide apart, with the outside corner of the eye intersecting with the outside line of the skull and are set low, at the level of the muzzle, where the stop and muzzle intersect. Eye color is brown, with black pigmented eye rims.
Fault: Any pink on the eye rims.
Disqualifications: Any eye color other than brown; wall eyes; crossed eyes; entropion; ectropion; cherry eye.
TEETH - Dogs will have 42 teeth. P1 teeth (4) may be missing. Canine teeth are large. Broken, chipped or extracted teeth are acceptable. There are 6 corn row teeth between canines.
Fault: Exposed canine teeth
Serious Fault: More than P1 teeth missing.
Disqualification: Wry jaw, overbite.
NOSE - Nostrils are wide with a line running vertically between nostrils from the tip of nose down to the bottom of the upper lip. Nose is large and broad in relationship to the width of the muzzle. Nose color is black.
Faults: Any pink on the nose or in the nostrils.
Serious Fault: Slit nostrils
Disqualification: Any color nose other than black
EARS - Ears are rose, button or tulip, with rose preferred. They are set high and to the rear of the skull. The ears are positioned as wide as possible on the outside of the skull. They are small to medium in size.
NECKNeck is medium length, wide, and slightly arched. It is a little smaller than the head where the two meet. and gets wider from that point to the shoulders. It is slightly loose from jaw to chest, forming a double dewlap.
Serious Fault: A single dewlap.
FOREQUARTERS SHOULDERS - They are broad, heavily muscled and have a separation between shoulder blades. The scapula (shoulder blade) should be at an approximate 35 degree angle to vertical and forms an angle approximately 110 degrees to the humerus (forearm). Scapula and humerus should be roughly equal in length.
ELBOWS – A vertical line drawn from the point of the scapula (top) to the ground will pass directly through the elbow. The elbows are not turned in or out.
FORELEGS – The legs are set wide apart, coming straight down from the shoulders. They are straight vertically on inside of legs and well muscled giving a bowed appearance of front quarters. The forelegs have medium bone and are in proportion to the body.
PASTERNS – The pasterns are medium in length. They are straight, strong, flexible and nearly perpendicular to the ground.Faults: Foreleg bones too heavy or too light. Serious Faults: Loose shoulders; upright shoulders; loose elbows; weak pasterns (either too vertical or too horizontal).
BODY - Body is sturdy and powerful. The length from tip of breastbone to rear thigh is slightly longer than the height from ground to withers.
BACK - The back is wide and muscular, showing power. Top-line has a slight roach(or wheel back). There is a fall in the back, to its low spot behind the shoulders. From this point the spine rises to the loin. The high point of the loin is a little bit higher than the shoulders, and then there is a gentle curve, forming an arch, down to the tail. Loin (back of rib cage to hips) is muscular, medium in length and slightly arched.
CHEST - The chest is wide and deep with a muscular brisket. Ribs are well sprung and rounded, being at their fullest directly behind the shoulders. Shoulders to forelegs are well muscledFaults: Narrow rib cage. Very long or short loin.
HINDQUARTERS - Hips and thighs are strong and muscular. Hind legs are well muscled and slightly longer than the forelegs. In a natural stance they are straight, parallel and set apart when viewed from the rear. Distance between hind legs is less than distance between front legs. Angulation is moderate. Stifles have a gentle convex curve when viewed from the side. Stifle angle roughly matches the angle of the pelvis. Hocks are perpendicular to the ground when viewed from the side and back. They are parallel to each other when viewed from the back. A line drawn from the rear most part of the buttocks, perpendicular to the ground, should fall to the front of the toes. A line drawn from the upper (front) point of the pelvis, perpendicular to the ground, should pass through the knee (the two preceding tests of good angulation must be performed with the dog’s hocks set perpendicular to the ground).
Fault: Hips which are equal to shoulders in width.
Serious Faults: Straight stifle.
Severely cow hocked or bow hocked.
Disqualification: Rear dewclaws.
FEET - Feet are of medium size and are well arched and rounded (cats’ foot). They are straight when viewed from the front. Rear feet are smaller than front feet.
Faults: Feet turning in or out; long toes.
Serious Faults: Flat feet; hare feet; and splayed toes.
TAIL - Tail should be set low and tapering from base to end. It can be pump handle or straight with pump handle being preferred. Tail should reach the hocks or be slightly shorter.
Tail is carried down, horizontal or high.
Faults: Tail curling 360 degrees. Same circumference from base to tip.
Disqualifications: Kinked, docked, bobbed or screw tail (a kinked tail is a tail with one or more sharp bends).
COAT - Coat is short, close and of medium density. It should be shiny, showing good health.Faults: Fringe, feather or curl in the coat.
COLOR - Color can be brindle of red, mahogany, fawn or black; either solid or pied (with white). Solid white. Fawn, red or black; solid color or pied. Disqualifications: Blue (Neapolitan Mastiff color)
HEIGHT and WEIGHT - Dogs are 60 to 80 lbs. and 17 to 20 inches at the withers. Bitches are 50 to 70 lbs. and 16 to 19 inches at the withers.Deviation from this range of height and weight will be faulted according to the extent of the deviation.Weight should be proportioned to height and the dogs must not be squat nor rangy.
GAIT - Gait is smooth, powerful, energetic and confident. Travel is straight. Feet should move forward and back in the same plane. Foot falls approach the centerline as trot speed increases. There is a slight under step as rear feet land just short of where front feet land. Front and rear reach are balanced. Feet must not cross or interfere with each other. Dog should have proper movement when viewed from the side and back
DISQUALIFICATIONS Eyes – Any eye color other than brown. Wall eyes or crossed eyes.Entropion. Ectropion. Cherry eye.Nose - Any color nose other than black.Bite – Wry jaw. Overbite.Tail –Kinked, docked, bobbed or screw tailColor - Blue/gray (Neapolitan Mastiff color) Males lacking two fully descended normal testicles.Rear dewclaws
We are very honoured that our very own Freedombulls Ruby has been used as the example of the Leavitt Bulldog breed standard.
The Leavitt Bulldog is first and foremost a family dog - They are extremely intelligent, trainable, and gear to please. They are not ideal for un experienced or 1st time dog owners, as they do require structured training and exercise.They are a strong, powerful dogs and it is crucial they are raised and handled by people familiar with large stronger breeds of dogs.
I would describe them as being the most emotionally intelligent breed i have lived with; They are sensitive to the mood of the family and will interact accordingly. They are clear thinkers, confident and social dogs that enjoy the company of people, and if raised to be well socialised enjoy other dogs too. We actively breed away from dog aggression, but it can be seen occasionally in mature adult males - Having said that, there are number of breeders and owners who have males living very happily side by side and ours are OK with one another. So with good socialisation from young its possible to avoid any dog aggression.
As a breed they have excelled in many different tasks from obedience, to agility, therapy dogs and sporting dogs - As well as enjoying simple family life.
With their intelligence comes work on the owners part, as they do need structured training, but once a bond is formed with their owners they are easily trainable and gear to please.
They are very loyal and devoted and will be friendly and welcoming to visitors, but if a threat occurred to their family home there is no doubt they would be protective and are and excellent deterrent to an intruder. We recommend at the very least 1 hour of exercise a day once fully grown and this needs to me mentally stimulating as well as physical, they have lots of energy and enjoy exercise and socialising.
Once fully matured their physical capabilities are limitless, they will run, swim, hike and explore as much as a family requires and they do not struggle in warmer weather any more than any other active sporting/working breed.