This page will be a tutorial of the the Olde English Bulldogge Standard, using examples and pictures collected off the internet. While each registery has it's own slight variation of the standard, I will be disecting the IOEBA standard. I had Help from Diane Price of Kinsfield Kennels, a Former Judge for the IOEBA, with some of these sections(specified by an *). The other sections are from a colaboration of kennels to finish off the rest...
**I'm going to assume that most/all of you have at one time played miniature golf. You can probably remember a time when you and family or friends got together to play, passed out the balls and maybe you each even had a different color....sometimes red or blue or even green. I remember one time I had a dark purple ball, so that made me feel REALLY special. But you know what? They were ALL golf balls. No question about that....we each had a golf ball.
Now I'm going to carry this a little further and I'm going to ask you to use your imagination a little bit. Located beside the miniature golf park there is a driving range. And there are three guys who work there; Tom, Dick and Harry. Their job is to go out into the field area of the driving range, pick up all the balls, clean them up, repackage them and resell the balls. They do this every day. One day they are talking about how much money they could make if they started manufacturing and selling golf balls, and so they decide to start their own businesses. Tom decides to make his balls a little bit bigger than the "traditional" golf ball...says it will be easier to hit. Dick wants his balls to be a little smaller; will travel faster and farther. Harry thinks if he took all the indentations (I don't know the correct word for those) off his balls, made them smooth and shiny that they would not be as likely to go off course at all and golfers would just love them. So what do we have now? We have three guys who SAY they are making golf balls when, in fact, they ARE NOT golf balls at all. Golf balls are made to a certain STANDARD and if that standard gets changed by a particular individual or company because of their personal "preferences" then you just end up with a bunch of stuff that isn't quite what it should be. Same thing with dogs. I know that each of you can probably remember at least one time in your life where you came upon a particular breed of dog that a relative, friend or acquaintence had, said it was such-and-such breed but in reality it sure didn't look like what they said it was. And you probably went away scratching your head thinking, boy, did they get ripped off. That's where the BREED STANDARD comes into play and why it is so, so, so important to follow the standard when breeding and showing.
The ideal Olde English Bulldogge is a loyal, courageous dog of medium size with a large powerful head and stout muscular body.
Olde English Bulldogges are athletic and most importantly of very good health, males are free breeders and females are free whelpers. The Olde English Bulldogge is devoid of all breathing issues and is capable of enjoying outdoor activity without concern except in extreme heat or cold.
The temperament is very stable and trustworthy making them a loyal companion, capable protector and the ultimate family member.
Old English Bulldogges thrive on pleasing their owners and are very trainable.
Their lifespan is between 10 and 14 years.
Large and high, moderately sunken between the eyes (medial furrow).
The circumference of the head should be equal to or greater than the dog's height at the shoulder. A narrow head or one that appears too small for the body is a fault.
Breaking down the head, let us start with “Large”. What does it mean to be Large? When you define Large it is :”Of considerable or relatively great size, extent, or capacity.” Going by the definition, an Olde head should be almost square in appearance, since logically, that shape would provide the largest capacity. A head great in size and capacity should give people pause, and be one of the first things people notice. The dog’s head however should not look like a bobble head or Spike from the Warner Brothers cartoons. We want a functional and healthy dog. A head to large will affect the next portion of the standard which is “High”, which in turn, will also affect the structure for the rest of the dog.
Next is what is called the furrow. The standard states “Moderately sunken between the eyes (medial furrow).” The Furrow is the Median Line that runs down the middle of the Skull, from the stop to the back of the head. This line should appear like a slight indentation splitting the skull in 2 equal halves. Moderately sunk between the eyes, gives the dog a slight slope downward on the forehead. This also gives the Olde very large, expressive brows above the eyes, and causes the wrinkles on the forehead.
The Next portion of the standard for the head explains how to make sure you have a Large and High head, and to stay within the proportions of head to body size ratio. “The circumference of the head should be equal to or greater than the dog's height at the shoulder.” How to do this measurement? You will need a special tape measure usually used to measure a body for clothing sizing. Next you take the tape and place it on the top of the head just before one ear. Take it under the chin, and then up in front of the other ear, and back to the end. This will give you the circumference of the head. Do this about 3-5 times in a row, and calculate the average measurement. You need to repeat this because any movement from the dog can change the measurement. That average is your head circumference which should equal your measurement of the withers (See height and weight section to learn how to measure this). A head slightly larger is still ok as long as it looks proportionate to the body.
Rose ears set well on the sides of the head are preferred. Dropped ears are acceptable as long they are small, not “hound like”. Full pricked ears that stand up on top of the head should be considered a serious fault.
Let's look at what is "preferred" in the standard, and that is "rose ears set well on the sides of the head". Rose ears are defined as follows: Smallish drop ears that fold over and back so as to expose the burr. The burr is defined as an irregular, bump-like, cartilagenous formation on the inside of the external ear canal. Now we look at what the "ear set" means. Our standard reads Set well on the sides of the head. The term "ear set-on" means the junction of the base of the ear lobe to the skull. The meaning of "having ears set well on the sides" is similar to a "wide set-on" which means being set wide apart at the base. The following picture shows rose ears set well on the sides of the head. Notice the space between the ears and the flatness of the head at this location.
Then we move to the sentence dropped ears are acceptable as long as they are small, not "hound like". Drop ears are defined as "folded ears" and because the standard says as long as they are small, not "hound like" that means that we don't want full-drop ears, hanging ears, pendent ears or pendulous ears similar to what we might see on a beagle or some other hound. Here is a picture of "small dropped ears" still set well on the sides of the head. Notice the width of the space between the ears and the flatness of the skull in that area.
And lastly we have the prick ears. Again, the IOEBA OEB standard reads "Full pricked ears that stand up on top of the head should be considered a serious fault." And the description of prick ears or erect ears is simply upright ears, stiff upstanding ears. And here is a picture with an example of prick ears.
Broad, deep and short with moderate wrinkling. The bite is undershot with the bottom jaw turning up noticeably. Lower canines should not protrude. Muzzle too long (more than 3 inches), scissor bite or even bite are disqualifying faults. Muzzle should be no shorter than 1 ½”. Wry jaw is a disqualifying fault.
Let's look at the actual muzzle first. Broad, deep and short with moderate wrinkling. The bite is undershot with the bottom jaw turning up noticeably. Here is a picture showing a side view of the short muzzle which shows the moderate wrinkling and showing the bottom jaw turning up noticeably. Now it's important to remember when you're evaluating puppies/young dogges that many times they don't get their full headpieces until they are 2 to 3+ years of age, especially the females, so the wrinkling may come on a little more as they age. To help explain that a little more, here's the definition of "short muzzle" - a stubby muzzle, a feature of brachycephalic breeds (pug, boston, bulldog(ge)). A muzzle that is shorter than half the total length of skull.
And what is wrinkling? It is defined as follows: Loose folds of skin on or about any part of the body and more commonly the head. The degree and extent of wrinkling present amongst dogs varies tremendously.
WOW, that's a lot of info to digest for just the muzzle !! But we're not done yet. The standard also says that a disqualifying fault is a "muzzle too long (more than 3 inches)". Now how do you actually measure the muzzle? Please refer to this picture as to the breakdown on the head and where the muzzle stops and starts, and that will be where you take your measurements from. And while you're doing your measurements, the BREED STANDARD also says the "muzzle should be no shorter than 1 1/2".
For those of you who are still looking for a measuring tape .....well, let's just move on to the bite or the teeth. The first thing that comes to mind when thinking about the bite of a bulldogge is the undershot bite. The definition of undershot is as follows: "An under jaw appreciably longer than the upper one and frequently turned up as well resulting in a bite in which the lower incisors erupt well in front of those in the upper jaw. No physical contact occurs between upper and lower incisor teeth in such a mouth." Here is a picture of the undershot bite.
Sometimes we think about the cartoon with the bulldog Spike and how those lower teeth protruded. But look again at what our standard says. Lower canines should not protrude. If you see a bite that looks like this, it is INCORRECT.
Even if you think that it makes the dogge(s) look cute and that is your personal preference.......WRONG. Personal preferences never, ever, ever can override what the standard says is correct. I know this topic will probably make some fur fly with some people, so let me try to explain it in a way that is a simple comparison using something other than a dog.
Now let's look at some more bites; the bites that are listed as being DISQUALIFYING in the IOEBA OEB standard. First is the scissor bite. Definition of the scissor bite is as follows: Scissors bite: One in which the outer surfaces of the lower incisor teeth engage with the inner surfaces of the upper incisors when the mouth is shut. It looks like this:
Also DISQUALIFYING is the even bite, or sometimes called the level bite: That is defined as follows: Even bite: upper and lower jaws of equal length, and looks like this:
And last but not least in the DISQUALIFYING FAULTS category is the Wry jaw, or Wry mouth. The definition of the Wry mouth is as follows: "WRY MOUTH: A type of mouth in which the lower jaw is twisted to one-side placing the upper and lower jaws out of line with one another. A relatively common fault in brachycephalic breeds." Here is a picture of what a Wry mouth looks like.
Now it is very, very important to be aware of any of these disqualifying fault conditions in your dogge(s) and be the "responsible" breeder/owner/exhibitor. Just as I stated above, having any of these disqualifying faults is not to say that your OEB(s) can't be loving family members, but they should UNDER NO CIRMSTANCES be used in a breeding program and, of course, they WILL BE DISQUALIFIED at a dog show.
Wide apart and of moderate size. Any color is acceptable. However, odd eyes (one dark, one blue or light) should be considered unpreferred. Misshapen or bugged eyes are a serious fault. Lacking pigment around the eyes is undesirable. Crossed eyes or non-symmetrically shaped eyes are a disqualifying fault.
Now this portion of the OEB BREED STANDARD seem to be pretty self-explanatory, but let's take it a line at a time just to make sure everything is clear. Wide apart and of moderate size. That terminology is a little vague, and in all of my judging materials/canine research material I was unable to find definitions for the eye term of "wide apart" or the term for eyes being of "moderate size". So I felt that I would just attach a picture that shows what could most probably portray "wide apart" and of "moderate size".
I think the section "odd eyes (one dark, one blue or light) should be considered unpreferred" is pretty self-explanatory and doesn't need a photo to explain. An example, of course, would be one blue and one brown.
Now next we look at "misshapen or bugged eyes are a serious fault." Misshaped eyes can include quite a number of oddities, and it is difficult to explain in words exactly what would fall under "misshapen". As always, a picture is worth a thousand words, so here is a picture I was able to find of misshaped eyes.
And then there is also the bugged eyes. Sometimes called "protruding eyes" or "bulging eyes" such eyes are defined as follows:
"Bulging eyes, full eyes, goggled eyes or prominent." All of these descriptive terms probably refer to similar properties in varying degrees of severity, i.e. in the sequence of full to prominent to bulging, and finally, to protruding. Such eyes are faulty, irrespective of the breed in which they occur. Set prominently in the skull they are prone to injury and even to prolapse. Apart from such obvious anatomical causes as abnormally large eyeballs and/or shallow sockets, disease such as hyperthyroidism or glaucoma may be responsible for the development of bulgy-eyed appearance.
Once again, this shows the importance of following the OEB BREED STANDARD for the health and well-being of this breed. Here is a picture of "bugged" or "bulging" eyes.
Now the standard moves to the eye rims. Once again, the standard reads as follows: "Lacking pigment around the eyes is undesirable." So what exactly is "pigment" around the eyes? Here is an excellent example of full/dark pigment, even on a light colored dog.
You will note the dark brown or black eye rims. You will also note that this particular dog also has a black nose. And that's where some of the differences come in. If you've got a black nosed dog, the eye rims should also be black.
But now some of you might be saying, well, I have a red-nosed dog. Well, in red nosed, sometimes call self-colored dogs, the eye rims should then also be red, or also self-colored. That's where our standard comes in. When it says "lacking pigment" it is referring to no color, or rather pink or white (skin colored) eye rims. And also the language in the standard of lacking pigment is not listed as a "serious fault" or a "disqualifying fault" but rather just as "undersirable". So does that mean we want dogs with colored eye rims? Absolutely. Do we throw them away if they don't have colored eye rims? Absolutely not. But rather we just keep looking for that "perfect dog", complete with colored eye rims. Here is a picture of a dog that is lacking pigment around the eyes.
And last, but not least, we get to the disqualifying faults in the eye category. The standard, again, says "Crossed eyes or non-symmetrically shaped eyes are a disqualifying fault." Crossed eyes are definied as each eye turning inward toward the nose.
And "non-symmetrically shaped eyes" would be eyes that DO NOT correspond in size, shape, or relative position on the face. For example if you had one round-shaped and one triangular-shaped eye. Or perhaps one eye that was not in horizontal line with the eye, slightly higher or lower. Unfortunately....or maybe it is fortunate that I was not able to find a picture of a dog that had non-symmetrically shaped eyes or crossed eyes. So that's a good thing. And once again, that is a disqualifying fault, dogges with these faults should not be used in a breeding program, and will be disqualified if shown.
Broad with open nostrils (nares) with no sign of air restriction. The nose should not be pushed up between the eyes. From the stop to the end of the nose must be at least one and one half inches. The nose should be a solid color. Lacking pigment is a serious fault. A nose lacking all pigment is a disqualifying fault.
Remembering again what this breed was originally bred for.....bull baiting....and, in that regard, being that of a superior athlete. And I think we can all agree that for "any" type of an athlete breathing is so very, very important to be able to function to the best of their ability. So too for these dogges. So let's take this portion of the standard piece by piece once again.
"Broad with open nostrils (nares) with no sign of air restriction." Open nostrils, sometimes called flared nostrils are defined as follows: Wide open nostrils, designed for maximum air intake with slightly rounded cartilagenous ends. Here is a picture of the "flared" or "open nostrils".
The OEB BREED STANDARD also refers to the "serious fault" that, again, reads as follows: The nose should be a solid color. Lacking pigment is a serious fault. Here is a picture of a nose that is lacking in pigment or another version of the Dudley nose syndrome.
Short to medium in length and very muscular flowing into the shoulders and should not be set on the dog so it appears to stop at the shoulders.
In my observations of the Olde English Bulldogge over the years, this is one of the areas that seems to be greatly overlooked by breeders/exhibitors. And because there is such controversy in this area about what the OEB neck should actually look like, I'd like to share with you what I recently learned on the subject of "necks".
While recently attending an all-breed judging seminar back in May, one of the breeds that was gone over with a fine-tooth comb was the Pit Bull. I was very grateful for this because I think we can all agree that there are so many, many variations of the Pit Bull that at times it can be somewhat confusing when judging this breed. This particular presentation started off by showing us pictures to compare of four different Pits. Each dog was a beautiful specimen, except for what I thought were just minor differences. But our attentions were drawn to the necks, which were all very different.
We were instructed that when judging this breed, and for that matter ALL breeds, one of the most important things to remember is WHAT WAS THIS BREED ORIGINALLY BRED TO DO. And of course, with the Pits, the correct answer was that they were bred as a fighting dog. And when looking at the necks in particular, is a short, thick-necked dog going to be able to adequately function and do what he was originally bred to do, where he would be required to be quick and agile. Or do you want a leaner, more athletic neck to be able to do what was required.
Well, it was at that moment that I realized that, hey, this also applies to the OEB because of their background. And what were they originally bred to do? Bull baiting. Now some of you are probably saying, wait a minute, that was then, this is now. But you have to remember.....we have different breeds for different reasons, and they are to remain as those different breeds for those different purposes whether we do them now or not. With the fast-paced lifestyles everyone lives now, if we had to make a "designer" dog that would fit in with our lifestyles, it would probably be a 10" Labra-cockadoodle or some such thing. It would be a dog that wouldn't shed, stink or get a flea, wouldn't need any food or water, wouldn't poop, pee, slopper, pass gas, or have to go to the vet for ANY reason. Now back to reality.
The Olde English Bulldogge was back then, and is now the recreation of the dog of the Victorian age, the Medieval Age, or the Renaissance Age that was used in the brutal sporting events of bull and bear baiting. I'm not going to go into all those details here, but if you click on the Bull Baiting link below you can read more about that. And as a dog involved in such activities, it had to be a stong, muscular, agile and athletic dogge to be able to succeed. And that was/is what we need to see in this dogge.
So let's delve into the standard a little more. Very muscular flowing into the shoulders. Here are some pictures showing what is meant by the neck that flows right into the shoulders and what those necks SHOULD look like.
And again, the IOEBA OEB BREED STANDARD says....should not be set on the dog so it appears to stop at the shoulders. In these pictures the neck gives the appearance of being just stuck on to the body of the dog. The folds/wrinkles are so very profuse that it's extremely difficult to tell if there is any muscle under all that. Here are two pictures that indicate what the neck SHOULD NOT look like.
Ribs should be well sprung (rounded) and the chest wide and deep. Depth of chest should be at least to the elbows. A hollow or narrow chest (slab sided) should be considered a serious fault.
Now let's look into that canine terminology a little deeper. What exactly is a well sprung chest? The definition of "well sprung chest" quite simply is a reference to rib shape or spring of rib, especially its relation to chest capacity. And why is that so important in this breed? Spring of rib has direct influence upon the chest capacity. The more pronounced the arch (within reason), the greater the tolerance to exercise becomes. The flatter the spring or arch, the greater the restrictions on lung and heart development and consequently the less stamina a dogge will have. A dogge with correct rib curvature and development is said to be "well-sprung", "well-rounded" or "well-arched" in rib.
Here is a picture showing well-sprung ribs:
Males should appear square and balanced. Females should appear similar with consideration given for body length. Short with a very slight rise from the shoulders to a slight drop in the croup is preferred. A level back is acceptable as long as the tail does not come straight off the top of the back.
Shoulders should be well laid back with significant angulations to allow for good movement. Straight shoulders are a fault.
Forelegs should be straight and wide apart, neither bowing out nor turning in. There should be significant bone substance. Elbows should be relatively close to the body. Lacking bone and substance is very undesirable. Elbows that are loose or “fiddle fronts” are a disqualifying fault. “East / West” forelegs are a serious fault.
Rear legs should exhibit significant bend of stifle so to allow for good movement.
They should be well muscled. Straight or “posty” rear legs are a serious fault.
Cow hocks are a disqualifying fault.
Now lets take this one piece at a time with some definitions and pictures or drawings. Forelegs should be straight and wide apart.... Although technically the word "front" includes all the components of the fore-quarter assembly, either singly or in combination, in practice it is generally used to describe that portion from the elbows to the feet as viewed front on. Let's look at the definition of that. A straight front, sometimes called a gun barrel front or true front. In normal canine anatomy, a dog's front, viewed head on, features forearms that run perpendicular to the ground as well a parallel to each other. This structural formation continues from the elbows, through the wrists and pasterns right down to the feet. Such a front is called straight and true. Here is a drawing of a "straight front".
Dogs should have a balanced gait that drives off the rear and is complimented by reach allowing the dog to cover ground with a sense of power.
Dogs should single track. Pacing or crabbing is a serious fault.
Round, tight both front and rear, and the pasterns should be strong. Weak pasterns and/or splayed feet are disqualifying faults.
Feet can be a very interesting topic because there are so many, many things that can cause the feet to "appear" one way or another....can give the appearance of a correct foot, or can end up looking like a disqualifying fault. And YES, again, this is an area that has DISQUALIFYING FAULTS so pay attention to what our standard says in that regard. It is very, very important to know what is disqualifying so that dogges being presented at shows and/or being used in a breeding program DO NOT have those characteristics. That's not to say that they can't be loving family members, but they should UNDER NO CIRMSTANCES be used in a breeding program and, of course, they WILL BE DISQUALIFIED at a dog show. So let's look at a picture of the anatomy of the dogge's foot and then break down what the IOEBA OEB BREED STANDARD says about feet.
Males - 18 to 20 inches at the shoulder. Females - 17 to 19 inches at the shoulder.
Between 50 to 70 lbs. for females and 65 to 85 lbs. for males. Although height and weight above the standard is to be discouraged, there is no penalty as
long as the dog is well proportioned, otherwise correct and balanced.
So that is the exact language as printed in the IOEBA standard. You will note that there are NO "disqualifications" or "serious faults" listed in this particular section of the OEB BREED STANDARD, so let's look at that a little deeper.
Before I do that, let me preface this by first saying that back in May of this year I participated in a three-day judging seminar that was put on by the United Kennel Club (UKC) in Perry, GA. It was a grueling three days, covered multi-breed show rules and regulations, several individual breed presentations, movies, slides, hypothetical situations, hands-on judging opportunities where we could critique as well as be critiqued, but well worth every second of my time. It was "drilled" into us at that event that when judging we were only to judge the dogs on the positives and ABSOLUTELY no negatives. Meaning when you go over each portion of a particular breed standard you had to decide if the dog fell within the breed standard in that particular portion, and if so, then that would be a good point, or a "plus" so to speak. We were NEVER, EVER allowed to pick out any fault, but rather we learned to place the dog with the most "pluses" on top, place the dog with the next most "pluses" second, third and so on.
WOW, this was very hard for all of us because as human beings we ALL are quick to say that this dog has a bad head, or a back that's too long, or cow hocks, etc. And you have to admit, you've probably found yourselves doing the same thing if you've ever tried to pick out the "best"....whether it's a dog, or a car, or a piece of pie. It's just human nature to be quick to eliminate when we see something that's to our disliking.
Now let's look again at this section of the standard. Males - 18 to 20 inches....Females - 17 to 19 inches....Although height and weight above the standard is to be dischouraged, there is no penalty..... And I direct your attention to the word "above". But keep going....and remember this is as plain as black and white. If you read the OEB BREED STANDARD quotation above once again, you will see no place in the language where there is any reference to anything "below" the listed heights. And I'll admit, that's where I was struggling. How do I place a dog that's too short....when it's not a fault or a disqualification?
So after beating this dead horse for a couple days I finally said to myself, you know, Diane, it's as simple as black and white. When a judge comes into a ring, he/she is bound to judge the dogs presented "according to the standard", nothing more, nothing less. If we think of the "pluses" that will be assigned to each dog in each category of the standard, a judge would not be able to give a female under 17 inches or a male under 18 inches a "plus" in their overall critique or evaluation.
And to take this a bit further, let's try the following hypothetical situation. You have a class of 3 dogges at a show. You have three dogges that you have evaluated, and except for height, they are perfect in every way, and in your mind you have assigned each dog 10 pluses. Except for height. Now Dogge "A" is above the standard in height. Dogge "B" is below the standard, and Dogge "C" is within the standard range. Now how do you, as the judge, place these dogges? The correct answer would be that Dogge C would win the class because he perfect and also of the correct height. Dogge A, who is perfect but above height, would be second because the standard, once again, says Although height and weight above the standard is to be discouraged, there is no penalty.... And you would have to award Dogge B the third place ribbon because, once again, you have to go by the standard, nothing more, nothing less, and this dog is "below" the standard height.....he gets no plus here.
Now how do you measure your dogge(s)? An instrument that was created to measure dogs accurately is call a wicket. Wickets come in a variety of shapes and sizes and for as many different prices. Or you can make a simple home-made AND inexpensive wicket as follows:
You will need three flat yardsticks. Cut one in half. Using one of the 1/2 yardsticks, glue that stick to each of the full yardsticks at approximately the 24 inch mark to form what looks like a tall letter H. (Place cross bar higher if you have tall dogges). Next, using two heavy spring-action clothes pins, fasten the remaining 1/2 yardstick on each side with the pins, allowing you to move the bar up or down when placed across the withers (shoulders) of your dogge. You may have to work with this a little bit until you get the actual reading, but it's a quick and easy way to get an accurate measurement.
Any color, except merle, is acceptable with no preference for one over another. The coat is short. A wavy coat or a long coat is a disqualifying fault. There should be no signs of feathering on the legs or neck area, also a disqualifying fault.
A pump handle tail that naturally reaches the hock is preferred, screwed short
or a docked tails are acceptable. The pump handle tail should be carried low and not over the back of the dog.
Disposition should be outgoing and happy. While a watchful nature may be expected at home, human aggression without provocation is a disqualifying fault.