In 1971, David Leavitt started the project of breeding a dog with the looks of the 18th century bulldog. He had become disenchanted with English Bulldogs, due to breeding and breathing problems. He discovered that they didn’t look like their ancestors, who were healthier and less extreme. He found that bull and bear-baiting had been very widespread for hundreds of years. Extreme cruelty to animals was inherent in baiting sports. This cruelty was abhorrent to him, but he was fascinated by the great tenacity and courage of the over-matched underdog. He was also drawn to the Bulldog because of his fierce appearance. A modern protection dog, which looks really tough, will repulse an assailant without having to bite. This is the most desirable end to a confrontation.
Leavitt couldn’t find a reliable source for old style Bulldogs, and set about the daunting task of breeding back. He named the breed Olde English Bulldogge. Research has been critical in developing a standard. He did not want the temperament of the original Bulldog. His dogs must be very loving. They must have courage and determination, without being overly aggressive. Leavitt used breeds that all have old Bulldog in their background.
He was determined to develop as much athleticism into the breed as possible. They will never be like hounds, able to run for miles during the hottest weather of summer, but they’re three times better than the restricted modern Bulldog. Cesarean section births are not necessary. Artificial insemination, due to male ineptness and lack of drive, has been replaced by natural ties. Life span is over eleven years. All breeding stock have had hip x-rays. No dog with bad hips is bred. He is now achieving his goal of producing a Bulldog with the health and temperament to be able to serve people, instead of forcing people to serve him.
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.
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 ¾” 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 nostrilsDisqualification: 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.
NECK–Neck 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 muscled
Faults: 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- Males 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. The dog should have proper movement when viewed from the side and back.
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 tail
Color – Blue/gray (Neapolitan Mastiff color)
Males lacking two fully descended normal testicles.