Like all bulldogs, Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldogs enjoy a long and interesting history. Not only can they be traced back hundreds of years here in America, but they can trace their heritage even farther back to England. In this article, we'll take a look at the Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldog history, and learn about their roots in England.
Like the American Bulldog, Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldogs can trace their history all the way back to as early as the 16th century, in England. These dogs were primarily developed for the blood sport called "bull baiting," in which the dog was trained to clamp down on a bull's snout, in order to attempt suffocate it, without getting trampled on in the process. The origins of this "sport" are lost to time, but some believe that it was the butchers that first suggested that the meat of the bull was more flavorful and tender after the struggle.
There is some disagreement as to how the Old English Bulldog was developed. Some believe that they were bred from ancient war dogs, such as Mastiffs or Alaunts, while others say that it is impossible to guess. The oldest representations of the Old English Bulldog certainly resemble small Mastiffs, but because Mastiffs were too slow for bull baiting, the new breed was eventually named "Bulldog," after the sport they had been trained for. It seems that Greyhounds were eventually bred with the Mastiffs, in order to increase their speed. There is no question that these dogs were violent and aggressive, which they would have had to be in order to survive the bull baiting pit.
During this time, Bulldogs were also used in England as farm dogs, in order to catch and hold livestock or work as guardians, so it should be no surprise that the first settlers to the American South brought their bulldogs with them for the same purpose. By the 18th century, plantations were blooming all over the South, with Bulldogs firmly in place, guarding their family's property, hunting with their handlers, or working as catch dogs. Back in England, the Cruelty to Animals Act was passed in 1835, making bull baiting illegal, and shortly after the Old English Bulldog all but disappeared. Because the majority of Bulldogs in America arrived before this act was passed, both American and Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldogs look more like Old English Bulldogs than present day English Bulldogs.
Today, detractors claim that Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldogs are simply the same as American Bulldogs, but Alapaha fanciers all disagree. It is true that looking at the two breeds side by side, there are some distinct differences. This may be because those plantation farmers probably only bred their Bulldogs with other farmers in their area, creating a distinct look for these dogs in and around the Alapaha River region. Because the Lane family kept developing the dogs after the plantation era had ended, it is very likely that the present day Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldogs are the same ones that would have been found working on plantations in Southern Georgia two hundred years ago.