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Key Breed Facts
Intelligence / Trainability
Children and Other Pets
Caring for a Dorset Olde Tyme Bulldogge
Average Cost to keep/care for a Dorset Olde Tyme Bulldogge
Breed Specific Buying Advice
The Dorset Olde Tyme Bulldogge is a medium sized dog that was developed by a breed enthusiast with an end goal being to recreate the type of Bulldog that existed during the Tudor era. Dorsets are relatively new to the dog world, but they are making their mark on enthusiasts thanks to the fact they have proved themselves to be excellent "all-rounders", much like the Bulldogs of times long past.
The Dorset Olde Tyme Bulldogge is yet to be recognised as a breed by The Kennel Club (as at February 2018), but they have found their way into the hearts and homes of many people thanks to their great looks and they kind, placid and loyal natures. Dorset Olde Tyme Bulldogges are also known to be good around children which means they make wonderful family pets as well as devoted companions.
The Dorset Olde Tyme Bulldogge was created and developed by Steve Barnett during the late 1980's. He was a bulldog enthusiast who set himself a goal to produce the ideal "old type" bulldog that was around in the Tudor era. He based the creation of the Dorset on in-depth research he carried out into bulldogs that were around in times long past. He managed to find the "perfect" dog in paintings, drawings and writings that dated back to the Tudor era. It was in the 1980's that he began his breeding programme using dogs that boasted having British kennel club bloodlines.
His end goal was to create a national “bulldogge” and a dog that would show well in the ring that anyone would be proud to have standing by their side, knowing that their canine companion was a true athlete that boasted a tremendous amount of stamina, that was loyal and protective without being aggressive around other animals. In short, a bulldog true their name, character and breed, being loyal and good around other dogs and animals. Until the blood sport of bull baiting was banned, Bulldogs were highly regarded fighting dogs that took part in what at one time considered to be a "royal sport".
Steve Barnett's endeavours to create the perfect "bulldog" saw him produce a dog that boasted having a broader muzzle, a flatter face and all round good conformation seen in older types of bulldogs that were around during Tudor times and although a newcomer to the dog world, the Dorset Olde Tyme Bulldogge is gaining a large fan base not only in the UK, but elsewhere in the world too.
The Dorsets we see today are proving to be wonderful all-rounders and great family pets and although their numbers remain quite low and they have not as yet been recognised as a breed by The Kennel Club (November 2017), they are fast becoming one of the more popular family pets and companions. However, anyone hoping to share their home with a Dorset would need to register their interest with breeders and agree to being put on a waiting list because so few puppies are bred every year, but the wait is well worth it.
Height at the withers: Males 48 - 61 cm, Females 48 - 61 cm
Average weight: Males 27 - 41 kg, Females 27 - 41 kg
The Dorset Olde Tyme Bulldogge is a compact, well-muscled dog and one that boasts being well proportioned with traditional "bulldog" looks. They are proud, confident and alert showing a tremendous amount of strength and power whether at rest or on the move. They have large heads with the top of it being slightly convex with a dog's forehead dominating their face. They boast having lots of furrows and loose skin around their throats and on the side of their heads as well as on their necks which adds to their overall impression and unique expressions.
Their cheeks are quite prominent thanks to their well-developed muscles. Muzzles are strong, deep and short with noticeable folds on them. They have broad noses with nicely opened nostrils and their ears are set high on the head being set well apart too. Ears should be rose shaped although some dogs have button ears which are acceptable too.
Their shoulders are well developed and muscular being slightly sloping and their front legs are straight, nicely boned and set wide apart which gives the Dorset a powerful, squat appearance when seen from the front. Front feet are strong and broad with thick, firm pads and strong nails.
The Dorset has a very powerful, compact body with deep and wide chests. Their ribs are well sprung being set well down between a dog's front legs. They have short backs which adds to their overall well-balanced appearance. Necks are slightly arched and moderately long being extremely muscular. Their topline is broad and robust with dogs having muscular backs. Withers are quite noticeable with Dorsets having broad, short and solid loins.
Hindquarters are powerful, broad and well-muscled with dogs having extremely well developed second thighs. Their tails are set high with dog's holding them straight or some dogs have a "pump action" tail which is highly desirable in the breed.
When it comes to their coat, the Dorset Olde Tyme Bulldogge boasts a tight, close lying coat that resembles that of a Staffordshire Bull Terrier. The preferred coat colours for the breed are as follows:
Dorsets can be any variation of the above colours which is also acceptable. It is also worth noting that Dorsets with slate grey coats are described as having Dorset Blue Poole coats which refers to blue Paul (Pol) of Scotland and a region in Dorset known as Poole.
When a Dorset Olde Tyme Bulldogge moves, they do so with great purpose covering a lot of ground when they do.
Prospective Dorset Olde Tyme Bulldogge owners should be wary of any puppies or dogs that show any sort of exaggeration whether in their looks or a dog’s conformation. A responsible breeder would always ensure that the stud dogs they use have good conformation and temperaments. Males should have both testicles fully descended into their scrotums.
The Dorset is known to be a wonderful all-rounder which includes being a good choice as a family pet. They are also very good around children although it's in their nature to protect as such they are best suited to households where the children are older and who therefore know how to behave around dogs. They become devoted members of a family and enjoy being involved in everything that goes on around them. They thrive when they know who they can look to for direction and guidance and are never happier than when they are in the company of their owners whether out and about in the great outdoors or chilling out indoors. They are best suited to families where at least one person stays at home when everyone else is out so they are never left on their own for great lengths of time.
It's important for these dogs to be well socialised from a young age so they grow up to be confident, outgoing mature dogs. Their socialisation must include introducing them to lots of new situations, noises, people, other animals and dogs once they have been fully vaccinated. It's also crucial for their training to start early too and it must be consistent throughout a dog's life. If they don't know who is the alpha dog in a household, they may quickly take on the role of a dominant dog which can make them harder to live with and handle.
They are highly intelligent and as such, they need to be given the right amount of mental stimulation combined with enough daily exercise for them to be truly happy, well-rounded characters. They are known to have a bit of a "stubborn Bulldog" streak in them which is why their education must start early and it should always be fair and consistent so that dogs understand what their owners expect of them. They have lots of character and personality which is what makes it such a pleasure to share a home with a Dorset Olde Tyme Bulldogge.
Dorset are a good choice for first time dog owners because they are so amenable and people-oriented by nature, loving nothing more than to please and to entertain their families, although as previously mentioned, Dorsets are known to be a bit stubborn when the mood takes them. They are particularly good with young children and older people too although playtime can get a bit boisterous at times. However, prospective owners should always make sure they have the time to dedicate to such a loyal and loving dog.
Dorset Olde Tyme Bulldogges have a high prey drive which means care should always be taken as to where and when they can run off their leads. Care should also be taken when a Dorset meets other animals and pets for the first time.
Dorsets have a playful side to their natures and love to entertain and be entertained whenever possible. Puppies can be a rather boisterous during playtime which means it's best to teach them that playing should only take place outdoors and not in the house to avoid accidents and breakages from happening.
Dorsets are better suited to people who have secure back gardens that dogs can roam around in whenever they can. As such, they are not the best choice for people who live in apartments.
Dorsets form strong ties with their families and dogs are never very happy when they find themselves left on their own for longer periods of time. They are better suited to people who either work from home or in households where one person stays at home when everyone else is out so they are never alone for any length of time which could see a dog suffering from separation anxiety. This can lead to them being destructive around the home which is a dog's way of relieving any stress they are feeling and a way to keep themselves entertained.
Dorsets are not known to be barkers, but they are always quick to let an owner know when there are strangers about. With this said, any dog that's left on their own for too long might start barking incessantly as a way of showing how unhappy they are at the situation and to get attention.
Some Dorsets like swimming and will take to the water whenever they can more especially when the weather is hot. However, if anyone who owns a dog that does not like water should never force them to go in because it would just end up scaring them. With this said, care should always be taken when walking a Dorset off the lead anywhere near more dangerous watercourses just in case a dog decides to leap in and then needs rescuing because they cannot get out of the water on their own.
Dorset Olde Tyme Bulldogges are natural watchdogs because to guard and protect are traits that are deeply embedded in their psyche. As such, it would be a mistake to "train" a Dorset to guard which could end up making a dog more dominant and aggressive.
The Dorset is an intelligent dog and one that's always willing and eager to please, although they can be a little stubborn at times. With this said, in the right hands and with the correct amount of training, these charming dogs are fast learners with the downside being they are just as fast to pick up bad behaviours too.
Their training must begin early with puppies being taught the basics and boundaries right from the word go when they arrive in their new homes. Their training must be very consistent and always fair, so that dogs understand what their owners expect of them. Dorsets are never happier than when they are given something to do which is why they are so amenable to learning new things and they thrive on being in the company of their owners and families.
The key to successfully training a Dorset is to make their training as interesting as possible and to avoid too much repetition. It's also a good idea to keep training sessions that much shorter which helps keep a dog more focused on what they are being asked to do bearing in mind that the more intelligent a dog is, the faster they get bored. They are sensitive dogs by nature and as such they do not answer well to any sort of harsh correction or heavier handed training methods. They do respond extremely well to positive reinforcement especially when a dog knows there is a high value treat waiting for them when they get things right.
Dorset puppies are incredibly cute and it is all too easy to spoil them when they first arrive in their new homes. However, they quickly grow up to be powerful, strong dogs so it's essential for owners to start out as they mean to go on. This means setting limits and boundaries for puppies so they understand what an owner expects of them and to establish what behaviours are acceptable and what is not. The first commands a Dorset puppy should be taught right from the word go are as follows:
Dorsets are known to be good around older children thanks to their gentle, placid natures. However, Pets4homes advises that Dorsets are not the best choice for families with babies or very young children because of their size and the fact they can become over protective of their families which is a trait that is deeply embedded in their psyche.
Anyone who already shares a home with a Dorset and who has younger children should always make sure they are never left together unattended. It is also crucial for parents to teach young children how to behave around dogs and when to stay away from them, particularly when there is food around or during playtime.
When dogs have been well socialised from a young enough age, they generally get on well with other dogs they meet and if they have grown up with a family cat in a household, they usually get on well together. However, a Dorset might just decide to chase off any other cats they encounter because they would see them as fair game. They are usually good around other small pets providing they have grown up together.
For further advice please read our article on Keeping Children Safe around Dogs.
The average life expectancy of a Dorset Olde Tyme Bulldogge is between 10 and 14 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages.
The Dorset is known to be a healthy, robust dog and one that does seem to be affected by many of the hereditary and congenital health issues that affect other breeds whether pedigree or crosses. However, as the breed is still very young, more data would need to be collected over time to see if these charming dogs are at risk of inheriting any of the conditions that affect their parent breeds.
Dorset puppies would have been given their initial vaccinations before being sold, but it is up to their new owners to make sure they have their follow-up shots in a timely manner with the vaccination schedule for puppies being as follows:
There has been a lot of discussion about the need for dogs to have boosters. As such, it's best to talk to a vet before making a final decision on whether a dog should continue to have annual vaccinations which are known as boosters.
A lot of vets these days recommend waiting until dogs are slightly older before spaying and neutering them which means they are more mature before undergoing the procedures. As such they advise neutering males and spaying females when they are between the ages of 6 to 9 months old and sometimes even when a dog is 12 months old.
Other vets recommend spaying and neutering dogs when they are 6 months old, but never any earlier unless for medical reasons. With this said, many breeds are different and it is always advisable to discuss things with a vet and then follow their advice on when a dog should be spayed or neutered.
Some Dorsets gain weight after they have been spayed or neutered and it's important to keep an eye on a dog's waistline just in case they do. If a dog starts to put on weight it's important to adjust their daily calorie intake and to up the amount of exercise they are given. Older dogs too are more prone to gaining weight and again it's essential they be fed and exercised accordingly because obesity can shorten a dog's life by several years. The reason being that it puts a lot of extra strain on a dog's internal organs including the heart which can prove fatal.
Some Dorsets are prone to suffering from allergies and it's important for a dog to see a vet sooner rather than later if one flares up, bearing in mind that problems can develop if the folds and creases around a Dorset's face are not regularly cleaned. Allergies can be notoriously hard to clear up and finding the triggers can be challenging. With this said, a vet would be able to make a dog with an allergy more comfortable while they try to find out the triggers which could include the following:
The Dorset Olde Tyme Bulldogge is known to be a robust and healthy dog. As such, for the moment there are no health concerns or health tests associated with the breed.
There are no KC breed specific breeding restrictions because the Dorset is not a Kennel Club recognised breed.
The Dorset is not a Kennel Club registered breed, as such there are not Assured Breeder requirements in place. However, prospective owners should always ask a breeder about any health concerns that may affect Dorsets.
As with any other breed, Dorsets need to be groomed on a regular basis to make sure their coats and skin are kept in top condition. They also need to be given regular daily exercise to ensure they remain fit and healthy. On top of this, dogs need to be fed good quality food that meets all their nutritional needs throughout their lives.
Dorset Olde Tyme Bulldogge puppies are boisterous and full of life which means it's essential for homes and gardens to be puppy-proofed well in advance of their arrival. A responsible breeder would have well socialised their puppies which always leads to more outgoing, confident and friendly dogs right from the word go. With this said, any puppy is going to feel vulnerable when they leave their mother and littermates which must be taken into account. The longer a puppy can remain with their mother, the better although it should never be for too long either.
It's best to pick a puppy up when people are going to be around for the first week or so which is the time needed for a puppy to settle in. Puppy-proofing the home and garden means putting away any tools and other implements that a boisterous puppy might injure themselves on. Electric wires and cables must be put out of their reach because puppies love chewing on things. Toxic plants should be removed from flowerbeds and the home too.
Puppies need to sleep a lot to grow and develop as they should which means setting up a quiet area that's not too out of the way means they can retreat to it when they want to nap and it's important not to disturb them when they are sleeping. It's also a good idea to keep "playtime" nice and calm inside the house and to have a more active "playtime" outside in the garden which means puppies quickly learn to be less boisterous when they are inside.
The documentation a breeder provides for a puppy must have all the details of their worming date and the product used as well as the information relating to their microchip. It is essential for puppies to be wormed again keeping to a schedule which is as follows:
There are certain items that new owners need to already have in the home prior to bringing a new puppy home. It's often a good idea to restrict how much space a puppy plays in more especially when you can't keep an eye on what they get up to bearing in mind that puppies are often quite boisterous which means investing in puppy gates or a large enough playpen that allows a Dorset puppy the room to express themselves while keeping them safe too. The items needed are therefore, as follows:
All puppies are sensitive to noise including Dorset puppies. It's important to keep the noise levels down when a new puppy arrives in the home. TVs and music should not be played too loud which could end up stressing a small puppy out.
As previously mentioned, Dorset Olde Tyme Bulldogge puppies would have been given their first vaccinations by the breeders, but they must have their follow up shots which is up to their new owners to organise. The vaccination schedule for puppies is as follows:
When it comes to boosters, it's best to discuss these with a vet because there is a lot of debate about whether a dog really needs them after a certain time. However, if a dog ever needed to go into kennels, their vaccinations would need to be
Older Dorsets need lots of special care because as they reach their golden years, they are more at risk of developing certain health concerns. Physically, a dog's muzzle may start to go grey, but there will be other noticeable changes too which includes the following:
Older dogs change mentally too which means their response time tends to be slower as such they develop the following:
Living with a Dorset Olde Tyme Bulldogge in their golden years means taking on a few more responsibilities, but these are easily managed and should include looking at their diet, the amount of exercise they are given, how often their dog beds need changing and keeping an eye on the condition of their teeth.
Older Dorsets need to be fed a good quality diet that meets their needs at this stage of their lives all the while keeping a close eye on a dog's weight. A rough feeding guide for older dogs is as follows bearing in mind they should be fed highly digestible food that does not contain any additives:
Older Dorsets don't need to be given the same amount of daily exercise as a younger dog, but they still need the right amount of physical activity to maintain muscle tone and to prevent a dog from putting on too much weight. All dogs need access to fresh clean water and this is especially true of older dogs when they reach their golden years because they are more at risk of developing kidney disorders.
The Dorset has a tight, close lying coat which is low maintenance on the grooming front. A weekly brush and wipe over with a chamois leather will keep their coats in good condition with a nice sheen on it. However, it's important to pay special attention to the wrinkles and folds found around a dog's face because dust and grime can build up in them. As such it's very important to remove any dirt and debris when necessary to prevent painful sores from developing which could prove hard to clear up.
Dorsets shed steadily throughout the year only more so during the Spring and then again in the Autumn when more frequent grooming is usually necessary to stay on top of things and to remove dead and shed hair from a dog's coat. It's also important to check a dog's ears on a regular basis and to clean them when necessary. If too much wax builds up in a dog's ears, it can lead to a painful infection which can be hard to treat. In short, prevention is often easier than cure when it comes to ear infections.
The Dorset is not a high energy or demanding dog by nature, but they still need the right amount of exercise every day combined with as much mental stimulation as possible to prevent boredom from setting in and to keep dogs fit and healthy. They need anything from 40 to 60-minutes exercise a day with as much off the lead time as possible so they can really let off steam, but only in a safe and secure environment. If they are not given the right amount of mental stimulation and exercise every day, a Dorset would quickly get bored and could even begin to show some destructive behaviours around the home which is their way of relieving any stress they are feeling and not necessarily because they are being naughty.
A shorter walk in the morning would be fine, but a longer more interesting one in the afternoon is a must with as much off the lead time as possible. They also like to be able to roam around a secure back garden as often as possible so they can really express themselves like all dogs like to do. However, the fencing must be extremely secure to keep these powerful dogs in because if they find a weakness in a fence-line, they would soon escape and could get themselves into all sorts of trouble.
It's important not to over-exercise a Dorset in hot weather because they could easily overheat which is something to be avoided at all costs. With this said, Dorset puppies should not be over exercised either because their joints and bones are still growing. As such puppies and young dogs should not be allowed to jump up and down on furniture or go up or down the stairs. Too much pressure placed on their young joints and spines at an early age could result in a dog developing serious problems later in their lives.
If you get a Dorset puppy from a breeder, they would give you a feeding schedule and it's important to stick to the same routine, feeding the same puppy food to avoid any tummy upsets. You can change a puppy's diet, but this needs to be done very gradually always making sure they don't develop any digestive upsets and if they do, it's best to put them back on their original diet and to discuss things with the vet before attempting to change it again.
Older dogs are not known to be fussy eaters, but this does not mean they can be given a lower quality diet. It's best to feed a mature dog twice a day, once in the morning and then again in the evening, making sure it's good quality food that meets all their nutritional requirements. It's also important that dogs be given the right amount of exercise so they burn off any excess calories or they might gain too much weight which can lead to all sorts of health issues. Obesity can shorten a dog's life by several years so it's important to keep an eye on their waistline from the word go.
Puppies need to be fed a highly nutritious, good quality diet for them to develop and grow as they should. As a rough guide, a Dorset puppy can be fed the following amounts every day making sure their meals are evenly spread out throughout the day and it's best to feed them 3 or 4 times a day:
Once a puppy is 15 months old they can be fed adult dog food.
Once fully mature, an adult Dorset must be fed a good quality diet to ensure their continued good health. As a rough guide, an adult Dorset Olde Tyme Bulldogge can be fed the following amounts every day:
If you are looking to buy a Dorset Olde Tyme Bulldogge, you would need to register your interest with breeders and agree to being put on a waiting list because very few puppies are bred and registered with The Kennel Club every year. You would need to pay anything upwards of £500 for a well-bred pedigree puppy.
The cost of insuring a male 3-year-old Dorset Olde Tyme Bulldogge in northern England would be £54.32 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £129.49 a month (quote as of February 2018). When insurance companies calculate a pet's premium, they factor in several things which includes where you live in the UK, a dog's age and whether they have been neutered or spayed among other things.
When it comes to food costs, you need to buy the best quality food whether wet or dry making sure it suits the different stages of a dog’s life. This would set you back between £30 - £40 a month. On top of this, you need to factor in veterinary costs if you want to share your home with a Dorset and this includes their initial vaccinations, their annual boosters, the cost of neutering or spaying a dog when the time is right and their yearly health checks, all of which quickly adds up to over £1200 a year.
As a rough guide, the average cost to keep and care for a Dorset Olde Tyme Bulldogge would be between £90 to £160 a month depending on the level of insurance cover you opt to buy for your dog, but this does not include the initial cost of buying a responsibly bred, healthy Dorset Olde Tyme Bulldogge puppy.
When visiting and buying any puppy or dog, there are many important things to consider and questions to ask of the breeder/seller. You can read our generic puppy/dog advice here which includes making sure you see the puppy with its mother and to verify that the dog has been wormed and microchipped.
Dorsets are among some of the more popular dogs both in the UK and elsewhere in the world which means that well-bred puppies can often command a lot of money. As such, with Dorsets there is specific advice, questions and protocols to follow when buying a puppy which are as follows:
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