Very rare and fairly unknown, the Great Lakes Bulldogge was developed in the late 1800's from the working stock of dogs introduced to the American North by the Irish, Swedish, Danish, French, German and Dutch immigrants. By crossing old Scandinavian, British and European baiting and fighting dogs with common working sheepdogs, the early north-American settlers created a reliable property guardian and farm dog capable of withstanding the harsh winters of the region. Unlike the short-coated white bulldogges found in the South, the fanciers of the Olde Northern Bulldogge preferred dark-coloured dogs with denser coats, not unlike the original Bullenbaissers of Europe. Employed to control cattle and protect the farm from predators, the Great Lakes Bulldogge was also a good hunter of foxes, rabbits and wolverines. Some consider this breed to be just a bandogge, due to the numerous outcrosses with Rottweilers, French Mastiffs, American Bulldogs, Bullmastiffs, Pit Bulls and other breeds over the past century, but fanciers of the Great Lakes Bulldogge disagree, pointing out that increasing and enriching the gene pool has been the traditional way of constantly improving the breed's health and working ability, as is the case with many other working breeds of the World. Moderately popular at the turn of the century, the Olde Northern Bulldogge all but vanished by the beginning of the First World War, due in part to the secretive and overly protective attitude of its enthusiasts, which feared that popularity would surely destroy the breed. Considered by some to simply be a regional variant of the American Bulldog, and disregarded as yet another bandogge by others, the Great Lakes Bulldogge has remained an unknown and unpopular American working breed.
During the years following the 2nd World War, there has been a steady influx of various breeds into its bloodline, but it has been decided that the ideal recipe for re-creating the best Great Lakes Bulldogge is using a bitch that is 50% Dogue de Bordeaux and 50% American Bulldog, and crossing it with a male Rottweiler. Some breeders don't really see this as a re-creation, as much as a continuation of the original breeding practices. By selecting for desired traits, such as the thick Rottweiler-like coat and strong prey-drive and physical qualities of its parent breeds, the breeders of the Great Lakes Bulldogge are convinced that they're ensuring its survival without compromising its supposed purity. There is only a handful of breeders in Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota, but they're not interested in the breed's recognition and generally keep to themselves, selling their puppies mostly to people who live on farms in rural areas. The Olde Northern Bulldogge was never a fighting dog, but its tenacity and ferocious personality have made it a breed of interest in some Detroit dog-fighting circles a few years ago, but to the relief of the breed's fanciers, their cherished "farm dawg" was too slow and heavy to excell in the "sport", quickly being abandoned and forgotten by American "dogmen".
The Great Lakes Bulldogge is a very territorial and aggressive property guardian, unfriendly towards people and intolerant of other dogs. Quite stubborn, independent and undemonstrative, it can be difficult to train and handle. It doesn't make an ideal family pet, due to being easily bored and too irritable to be around small children. The females are reportedly not as aggressive as male dogs and are easier to train. The Olde Northern Bulldogge is first and foremost a serious working dog, best suited for a life on a farm, but if properly socialized from very early on and handled with authority, it can make an agreable urban watchdog and companion for experienced owners. This rugged bully has a broad head, strong jaws, powerful neck and muscular body.
The medium-short coat is very dense, hard and flat, most commonly uniform black, black-n-tan or brindled over solid reddish-brown or fawn shades, with small white markings allowed on feet and chest. The tail can be either docked or left natural. Average height is around 26 inches.