The history of Mastiff-type dogs in the British Isles
dates back beyond the arrival of Ceasare, who reported
of the ferocious dogs. With the arrival of the Normans
in 1066 came Alaunts from the continent. The breeding
of the indigenous mastiffs to the newly arrived ones
produced the Mastiff and Bulldog of England. An interesting
aside, is that all descriptions of the Alaunts (there
were three types) mention an all white, or almost entirely
white coat - something only the American Bulldog still
England during the 17th and 18th centuries, bulldogs
were used on farms to catch and hold livestock; as butchers'
dogs; and as guardians, as well as for other tasks.
This eventually led to bloodsports such as bull-baiting,
popular for both entertainment and the potential for
gambling. These practices extended not only from the
British Isles but also to the colonies she acquired
during this time, including what is now the United States
and in particular the South; many settlers brought their
dogs with them to help around the farm, hunt in the
woods, and use in gambling.
In 1835, the sport of bull-baiting was
outlawed in the United Kingdom and, over
time, the Bulldog there became a common pet, being bred
into today's more compact and complacent version. The
product was as much the efforts of selectively bred
bulldogs as it was the introduction of the Pug. Conversely,
the American strain maintained its utlitarian purpose,
and thus underwent less modifications; even as its popularity
declined in favor of other breeds. Even the slight modifications
the bulldog underwent in England from the late Renaissance
into the Industrial Revolution (pre 1835), were absent
in the American strain. (Most settlers of the American
South came from the West Midlands and as a result of
the Civil War between Royalists and Parliamentarians,
well before the Industrial Revolution).
the most important role of the bulldog and the reason
for its survival and in fact why it thrived through
out the South was because of the presence of feral pigs,
introduced to the New World and without predators.
The bulldogs were the settlers' only means of sufficiently
dealing with the vermin. By World War II, the breed
was near extinction until John D. Johnson and his father
scoured the backroads of the South looking for the best
specimens to revive the breed. During this time a young
Alan Scott grew an interest in Mr. Johnson's dogs and
began to work with him on the revitalization process.
At a point, Alan Scott began infusing non-Johnson select
dogs with John D. Johnson's line creating the now Standard
American Bulldog. Therefore, the base stock of the Standard
American Bulldog is the Classic American Bulldog. This
created a falling out between Johnson and Scott causing
them to go their separate ways and breed the two slightly
different versions of the American bulldog.