The Awful Backstory of the “Adorable” French Bulldog
The following video has gone viral this week even though the time stamp says that it's from October of 2015. Why now? Unknown and irrelevant to this article.
It's security video that shows a tiny (20 lb) French Bulldog ferociously defending it's home turf...against two much larger bears!! Most of the comments are of the "it's not the size of the dog in the fight" or "David vs. Goliath" variety. And, to be sure, people love a good underdog story. I get it.
But did you know there's a little bit of historical context that makes the video seem a lot less "cute" and a lot more "sad and horrifying".
First, here's the video:
Oh, snap! Those bears didn't want any part of that tiny little bulldog! It's almost like those bears knew that French Bulldog's have a long and celebrated history of tearing bears to shreds for the enjoyment of medieval gawkers!
It's true. One of the ways our ancestors used to entertain themselves in the Elizabethan Era was with a charming past time called "Bear Baiting." The "sport" of Bear-baiting was popular in England as recently as the 1800's. Bears were chained to a post set in the middle of a pit. Then, specially bred dogs were released to fight the bear. And the people, including royalty, would bet on these things! There were several variations. In some, the bet would be if the dogs could kill the bear in an allotted amount of time. In another variation, it was a match to the death.
So, now you know how the "pit" got into "pit bulls". But how about the "bull" part, as in our plucky hero in the video, the French BULLdog? Well, as popular as bear baiting was, it was a lot easier to procure and keep bulls. So the same scenario as described above more commonly involved a bull. Obviously, the bear offered up a better fight but, as noted, they were more of a "special treat" type of thing. The use of bulls was more common so instead of "beardogs" the name "bulldogs" stuck.
So, in the video we're looking at the intrepid French Bulldog wasn't so much defending his turf as he was "doing what he'd been genetically engineered to do hundreds of years ago".
Still, it IS hilarious when that bear skedaddles over the fence!