Bulldogs as a breed have been popular from the 13th century and up to the Regency Period of the early 19th century. This is when the bulk if the bulldogs existed. Not the smaller unhealthy bulldogs most know today. The 19th century was their peak of existence. Prior to this, they were use by butchers to immobilize bulls. That they used as a distraction to slaughter the bull without fear of injury. That turned into a sporting event called, "Bull Baiting" Which became the nation's sport for gambling.
Bull baiting was a horrific sport which was most popular in England. Almost every town or village had a bullring and a large amount of money passed hands at these events as the sport gain more attractions and popularity.
Before letting the dog lose, baiters would shove hot pepper in the bullnose. The Bulldogs being trained would go directly to the bullnose to try to immobilize. Bulldogs were encouraged to stick one time at a pivotal point, the bull's nose. Inexperienced bulldogs went straight to the head. Ending up with the dog gored or tossed into the air.
Unsurprisingly, they were then not ready to ever engage an arena again.