Bulldogs come from the ancient breed of Bullenbeissers, a mastiff-like dog used for guarding and attacking wild animals in Assyria, Greece, Egypt and Rome. The Bullenbeisser came in various sizes. In England, the originally huge Bullenbeisser was bred to be a smaller dog and during the reign of King John (13th century) began its career as a bull baiter. Over the years, an ideal dog for bull baiting was created. Thankfully, baiting and dog fighting were outlawed in England in 1835, and Bulldog owners began selective breeding to eliminate the more aggressive elements of the breed and establish a good-natured family pet.