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The Origin of the Bulldog Breed Standard
There is a widespread belief that the Standard is designed merely as a guide for the judges and describes a purely artificial and modern concept of a show dog. 
Ball, referred to in the Philo-Kuon Standard as having a tail approaching perfection.
While this may be true for some modern dog breeds, this is surely not the case with the Bulldog Standard.  Those who drafted the first versions of the Standard were driven by the determination to preserve the vital characteristics, which had been built up in the Bulldog to efficiently fight the bull.
The first attempt to write down a bulldog standard dates back to 1864  and was intitiated by the Birmingham fancier Jacob Lamphier.  In 1865 the members of the original Bulldog Club (G.B.) compiled an authoritative description of the breed known as the "Philo-Kuon Standard".   It was intended to be an accurate - actually somewhat idealized- description of the bulldog that, due to its peculair bony and muscular structure was perfectly adapted for combat with the bull. 
The Philo-Kuon Description of a Bulldog
Title: The British Bulldog
Ten years later the Bulldog Club (by then incorporated) issued an improved Standard, that aimed at 'tidying up' the Bulldog, so as to render him a more presentable dog for the shows, while at the same time carefully preserving all the really esential features of the old English Bulldog.  There have been minor revisions from time to time, which have resulted in only negligible departures from the original, with the sole exception that in Great Britain the permissible weight has been raised ten pounds.  In 1986 the Kennel Club revised the Standard, with the aim to explain things in plainer English.
Today, the majority of countries have developped their own Breed Standard, based on the one originally drawn up by the mother club - The Bulldog Incorporated - and published on 27 May 1875.  The bulldog breed standard is now used to outline the bulldog's morphology, character and temperament.  The description made by the standard is considered the ideal specimen of the breed, a kind of template all breeders should strive to attain and against which a show judge will compare each exhibit in order to select the winner.
19th century bulldog
anonymous painter
See also:
History of the Bulldog
The First Breed Clubs and First Champions
The Standard and its Relation to bullbaiting
History of the Molosser breeds
The Evolution of the Bulldog
The Origins of the Mastiff