These dogs were originally used in bull and bear baiting. The dogs were sent to attack the animal, grabbing onto its snout, and hanging on. It’s ability to ‘lock’ its jaw made it particularly effective for this. The idea is that the bull’s meat was more tasty after a baiting session. When this was outlawed, the breed almost died out. There were a few English that kept the breed going and bred out the aggressiveness. Their goofball personality helped their popularity rise in England and later in the United States.
These guys are clowns. They love to play and interact with others, while also being quite happy zonked out on the couch. They are stubborn and need to be watched carefully on hot days for overheating. They do fine with strangers and wonderfully with kids. You can often find them trying to dig a hole in the bottom of their water bowl as a game to play. They do still have a habit of butting heads (literally) with humans. They can be difficult for someone that is not very dog experienced. One note, wheels and anything on wheels will get their attention, often for the worse of wear.