In 1971, David Leavitt started a breeding program in the United States aimed at creating a dog with the looks of the 18th century english bulldog. Unlike other breeding programs the purpose of Mr. Leavitt was not to "re-create" a dog that once existed, but to make an original breed.
RicAli's Duke, RicAli Kennel
owner: Ms Rosie Nelson
Indeed, Mr. Leavitt wanted to produce a dog with the physical ability of its ancestors, however, he did not seek to recreate the violent temperament of the oiginal Bulldogge.
Using period statues and pictures Mr. Leavitt started his breeding program searching the same look, though in a bigger and more aggressive looking animal. It was Mr. Leavitt who coined this breed the "Olde English Bulldogg" and, thus, defenders of the breed say that only dogs that trace to his blood lines can claim the name Olde English bulldogge.
Mr. Leavitt used a line-breeding scheme developed by the State University of Ohio. The nucleus of the breeding scheme consisted of three unrelated adult dogs, one female and two males.
Mr. Leavitt describes the character of his dogs as "courageous and determined, without being overly aggressive".
In 1993, Mr. Leavitt decided to turn over his breeding program and OEB breeding stock to Mr Michael Walz of what was then known as Working Dog Inc.
In 1995 the breeding progam had already 9 generations of breeding behind it from the foundation dogs and since then Olde English Bulldogges have been consistently bred mating only OEBs to OEBs. The breed now counts many generations of consistent and registered OEB litters breeding true to type.
Fawn Hill's OEB puppies. Photo: Tim Kelly
Puppy "The Bozz" of Bulldogge Ranch
Owner: George Wolf
Mr. Walz retained only his office as President of the Olde English Bulldogge Assocation (OEBA), organized by him to control the Registry, OEB Standards and the Ethic code for the OEBA member breeders. Today, the OEBKC is the parent club that continues to register pure blood-lines from the Olde English Bulldogge that David Leavitt began creating more than 30 years ago.
For years now, the Olde English Bulldogge has enjoyed great success and been recognized by reputable authors of canine books, at dog shows and in the specialized press. Unfortunately, unscrupulous breeders saw a profit opportunity in surfing on this wave of succes by selling crosses between English Bulldogs and Amstaffs, Pitbulls or other breeds, under the name Olde English Bulldogge.
For the sake of completeness, we must add that several other reputable breeding programs had been started to re-create the original look of the Bulldog of Olde days. Some of these breeding programs became known under their original name, like the Wilkinson bulldogs of the Canadian Lolly Wilkinson, the bulldogs of the Dutchman Jan Dirk Van Ginneke, Ken Mollett's Victorian bulldogs, and Steve Barnett's Dorset olde tyme bulldogges.
Other bulldog lines that had first been referred to as 'Olde Bulldogges' or 'Olde English Bulldogges', were entirely renamed, to avoid confusion with the Olde English Bulldogge, although their first offspring sometimes remained registered as Olde English Bulldogges.
In an ongoing effort to differentiate his dogs from this larger body of OEBs and other alternative breeders, Mr Leavitt decided recently to rename his line of bulldogs, Leavitt Bulldogs, the name by which they have, in fact, always been known.
The female pups from the first cross were bred to the second male. The consecutive females were then bred back to their uncles throughout the generations. Mr. Leavitt used two unrelated trios to make outcrosses possible at a later stage. The foundation stock is 50% bulldog and the other 50% Bullmastiff, American Pit Bull Terrier and American Bulldog in equal measure.
Olde English Bulldogge
(Old English Bulldog, Olde Bulldogge,
David Leavitt & H. Vizzard's
Photo courtesy David Leavitt
In conclusion, the OEBKC is the only single-breed registry working diligently to promote and register the Olde English Bulldogge and have it recognized as a breed in its own right. The dogs registered with the OEBKC can all be traced back to the original Leavitt blood lines.
However, Mr. Leavitt himself has now continued his own bulldog bloodlines under the name Leavitt bulldogs, also providing registry service for the breed.
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He resigned his chairman position of the OEBKC and formed the LBA (Leavitt Bulldog Association).