The Bulldog Club of America (BCA) was founded in 1890 and claims to be the first specialty breed club recognized by the American Kennel Club. It was also among the very earliest member clubs of the AKC. At the time of its founding, the club was based in the state of New York, and its membership was largely concentrated in the New England area. The original constitution and bylaws were changed 60 years later to reflect the increasingly national scope of its membership.
The new constitution, formally adopted on February 13, 1950, created seven nearly self- governing geographical Divisions. The BCA has no home state because the national officers rotate every two years to one of the club’s seven Divisions.
Since there were relatively few Bulldog breeders in the South due to the heat and scarcity of air-conditioning, the vast 7th Division included the 10 states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and the District of Columbia.
As air-conditioning became more common in the South, the number of Bulldog breeders grew, and so did the BCA’s membership. In 1959, the national membership voted to divide Division VII and create Division VIII to facilitate, for example, the travel of Division officers and members to meetings.
The new Division VIII included the states of Alabama, Georgia, Florida and Mississippi. However, there were at that time only about 10 BCA members residing in the newly created Division and only one active club – the defunct North Florida Bulldog Club at Jacksonville, and it was not a member club of the BCA.
Finally, on October 2, 1960, enough new BCA members were recruited to hold an organizational meeting at Birmingham, Alabama. George A. Gibson of Birmingham was elected the first president of BCA Division VIII.
In the fall of 1961, an amendment to transfer Tennessee from Division VII to Division VIII was submitted to the national membership and the current boundary was established. The division began to grow under the leadership of Mr. Gibson. And by the end of 1961, the BCA membership roster had grown to 26 members. By the end of 1963, Division VIII membership had increased to 50 BCA members.
Bulldog entries were increasing in the South and major-pointed shows were becoming more common, and plans were then being made to host a Division VIII specialty show.
The Division’s first specialty show on May 2, 1964 was held at Memphis, Tenn. James Vaughters was show chairman, and 49 dogs were entered under judge Joe Laughlin of Ohio.
Vaughters was elected president of Division VIII for the 1966-67 term of office, and plans were made to host the BCA National Specialty Show in 1968 at Memphis on November 29, 1968. A new record entry of 147 dogs were judged by Ernest S. Chang of Honolulu, Hawaii. The entries were from 26 states and Canada, and seven BCA divisions. There were 32 champions entered in the show.
In 1968, the Bulldog Club of Metropolitan Atlanta was approved for membership in Division VIII.
By 1990, BCA membership in Division VIII had grown to nearly 300. The Division hosted a record entry of 332 dogs, including 82 champions, at the BCA’s Centennial National Specialty Show at Atlanta, Georgia, on November 22, 1990.
On September 24, 1997, the BCA National Specialty Show was held in Division VIII at Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, with an all-time record of 513 entries, including 104 champions.