Bullenbeisser

Bullenbeisser

Bullenbeisser dog breed is now extinct. Bullenbeisser (also known as the German Bulldog) was a breed of dog known for its strength and agility. The breed was closely related to the Boxer. There were two regional varieties, the Brabanter Bullenbeisser and the Danziger Bullenbeisser.

The Bullenbeisser became extinct by crossbreeding rather than by a decadence of the Bullenbeisser dog breed, as happened with the Old Time Bulldog, for instance. The size of the Bull Biters varied from about 40 to 70 cm by 1850; the smaller lived from what today is Netherlands and Belgium, and the bigger, in Germany. In the late 1870s, German breeders Roberth, Konig, and Hopner used the dog to create a new breed, today called the Boxer. Some 30 Bullenbeissers were already crossed by the Boxer Kennel Club of Germany at 1900 in with Bulldogs brought from the British Isles. The blood composition was 50/50 at that time, however, the German owners started crossing their dogs with all kinds of Bulldogs and Boxers, which produced an undistinguishable breed after the World War II. One reason why such quantity of German blood was used to create the Boxer dog was the wish to eliminate the excessive white colour of the breed, and the necessity of producing thousands of dogs for one of the most popular breeds in the world.

The Bullenbeisser specialized in Bull-baiting and boar hunting.

The Bullenbeisser was a Molosser-type dog that was native to Germany and the Low Countries. Also known as the Barenbeiszer, Bullenbijter, German Mastiff, and German Bulldog, the Bullenbeisser was relatively common throughout the lands of the Holy Roman Empire for a number of centuries but became extinct in the early 1900’s. At one point there were many distinct localized variety of Bullenbeisser, of which the smallest, known as the Brabanter, was the best-known. The Bullenbeisser is most famous for the key role it played in the development of the Boxer, one of the most popular dog breeds in the world.

Not much is known for sure about the early history of the Bullenbeisser, but the breed had a very long history in the lands of the Holy Roman Empire, a conglomeration of thousands of different political bodies, which once covered all or part of modern day Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Germany, France, Italy, Slovenia, Poland, Austria, Switzerland, and the Czech Republic. The Bullenbeisser breed was primarily kept by the Germans, Dutch, Flemish, and Frisians, speakers of very closely related languages that until recent centuries were all considered to be one people. The Bullenbeisser was originally a type of Mastiff, introduced into German-Speaking lands from France, Italy, England, or possibly the Roman Empire that preceded them. Although every member of the family is different, most Mastiffs are typified by large or massive size, a ‘pushed in’ head, and strong protective instinct. It is unclear exactly when Mastiffs were first introduced to Germany, but it was almost certainly during either the Late Roman Period or the Dark Ages. Initially, the German Mastiffs were identical to other dogs of their type. Over the centuries, they became different as a result of differing local breeding preferences.

In most of Western Europe, Mastiffs were primarily used as beasts of war and property guardians. Such dogs were commonly tied to a chain for their entire lives, or at least during the days. These beasts became monstrous in size and immensely powerful, but also became lazy and nonathletic. By contrast, the Germans greatly preferred to use their Mastiffs for hunting. These were the only dogs that possessed the power, ferocity, and intelligence to hunt the largest and most dangerous prey found in Europe; the Boar, Bear, and Wolf. German farmers also discovered that these dogs were both fast enough to catch a recalcitrant bull or hog and powerful enough to hold it in place until they could capture or kill it. As a result of being used for more physically demanding purposes, the German Mastiffs became less bulky than similar breeds, but more athletic, energetic, physically capable, and driven.

For much of the Bullenbeisser’s existence, the Holy Roman Empire was composed of hundreds of independent states, ranging in size from a small town to the nation of Austria. Each of these states was governed in a different manner, some were democratic, others were duchies, and some were even controlled directly by the Roman Catholic Church. No matter the type, the ruling classes of many of these political bodies kept kennels of Bullenbeissers for hunting and combat, and farmers and butchers across the Empire did as well although usually for livestock catching. As a result of this political and geographic division, many different localized versions of Bullenbeisser were developed. One such variety was the Brabanter, named for its homeland of the Duchy of Brabant, divided between modern day Belgium and the Netherlands. The Brabanter was very similar to other Bullenbeissers, but was considerably smaller than most others. Beginning in the late 1500’s, the Dutch provinces became a major seafaring power. Bullenbeissers accompanied Dutch sailors and settlers across the world. In 1652, Jan Van Riebeeck brought a Bullenbijter with him when he founded Kaapstad (Cape Town), the first permanent European settlement in what is now South Africa. After which, a number of other Bullenbeissers were imported to the Cape Colony, where the breed had a major impact on the development of the Rhodesian Ridgeback and the Boerboel. It is commonly theorized that the Bullenbeisser and the English Bulldog were occasionally crossed throughout history and influenced the development of one another.

Some modern dog breeds have a close connection to the Bullenbeisser. The Boxer, a 70% Bullenbeisser and 30% English Bulldog mix; the Great Dane which can trace roughly half of its ancestry to that breed, and the Boerboel and Rhodesian Ridgeback that were partially descended from Bullenbeisers brought to South Africa with Dutch colonists. The Banter Bulldoggeis created in the 1990’s by Todd Tripp, of Southeast Ohio is also commonly cited to be a good modern recreation of the Bullenbeisser. Additionally many authorities on the subject feel that the present Spanish Bulldog (Alano Espanol) and very similar Dogo Argentino provide a nearly identical modern representation of the Bullenbeisser dog breed.

Bullenbeisser is an extinct dog breed. Here are some videos of Alano Espanol which looks exactly like the Bullenbeisser.



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