How did bulldogs get their name? It's an interesting question with an even more interesting (and rather disturbing) answer. The popular breed is known today for its loyal and protective nature. Bulldogs can also be rather lazy and are great with children. But the history of bulldogs reveals that centuries ago, they were fierce and tenacious animals. The bull baiting bulldog was bred to be aggressive and used for entertainment celebrated by both the rich and poor.
During the Middle Ages, spectators would congregate in towns across England to watch a bulldog taking down a bull. It was a violent sport that was outlawed in 1835, but its outlawing almost brought the breed to extinction. Eventually, the bulldog made its way to the United States and became one of the country's most popular breeds, which is evidenced by the dozens of universities and schools that have a bulldog as their mascot. Even the Marines favor the bulldog, which is known for its strength and patience. Today, it's hard to believe that the bulldog used to be one of the most aggressive canines around.