HISTORY Bulldogs were created for the English sport of bull baiting which was widely practiced from 1100 till 1835 when it was made illegal. Once his work was outlawed the Bulldog rapidly started disappearing. In the 1860s 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 purebred dog. Since the 1970’s many people have used the Olde English Bulldogge name for dogs that are not related to the original lines. Random registries service these alternative breeders. There is a huge range in appearance and health in these OEBs. The original Leavitt lines are the only purebred Olde English Bulldogges recognized by the Olde English Bulldogge Kennel Club and are registered through the United Kennel Club. copyright Living A Legacy Bulldogges 2011
The Olde English Bulldogge was an attempt to recreate the “Regency Period Bull Baiter” and was developed in the early 1970s by David Leavitt, of Coatesville, PA. Leavitt began his project in 1971 utilizing the cattle line breeding scheme of Dr. Fechimer from Ohio State University. The goal was to create a dog with the look, health, and athleticism of the original bull-baiting dogs, but with a much less aggressive temperament. The foundation crosses consisted of one-half English Bulldog, one-sixth American Bulldog, one-sixth Bull Mastiff and one-sixth of other breeds. After many planned crosses, the Olde English Bulldogge emerged and began to breed true.
Leavitt formed the Olde English Bulldogge Association (OEBA) to maintain the breed’s stud book and issue registration papers to future offspring. During the 1980s Ben and Karen Campetti from Sandisfield, Massachusetts worked closely with Leavitt in breeding the Olde English Bulldogge. In 1993 Leavitt stopped breeding and turned the OEBA registry as well as his personal breeding stock over to Working Dog Inc. which was owned and operated by Michael Walz of Pennsylvania.
In 2001 the Olde English Bulldogge Kennel Club (OEBKC) was formed, and in 2005 David Leavitt was involved with merging the Olde English Bulldogge Association’s registry with that of the OEBKC’s. The Olde English Bulldogge was enrolled with the Canine Developmental Health and Performance Registry (CDHPR) in August 2008 in order to evaluate the breed for recognition within the UKC as a purebred breed of dog and in 2013 the UKC announced that the Olde English Bulldogge would become a fully recognized breed as of January 1, 2014. The OEBKC is currently the recognized Parent Club for the breed with the United Kennel Club (UKC).
In order to maintain his original breeding aims and to distinguish his line of Olde English Bulldogges from those of other breeders, in 2004 David Leavitt named his line of dogs Leavitt Bulldogges, founding the Leavitt Bulldog Association the following year. The UKC recognizes dogs registered with the Leavitt Bulldog Association as Olde English Bulldogges, along with those registered with the Olde English Bulldogge Kennel Club and the Olde Bulldogge Club Europe.