Blogging About Critters Since 2007

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Dogfighting in Europe

We've been writing a lot about the Michael Vick story here, and I was wondering about whether this goes on in Europe. Here is an interesting history of dogfighting, which can be traced back to Roman times. Certainly dogs were used against other animals:


The modern ‘sport’ of dog fighting has its origins in the Coliseum combats of ancient Rome. Emperor Lucullus was reputedly the first to initiate the practice of pitting dogs against other animals: a group of dogs would be thrown into the Coliseum, doomed to be trampled to death by wild elephants.

Following the fall of Rome, the practice of fighting dogs made its reappearance in medieval England. Beginning in at least the 12th Century, such practices as bull and bear baiting, in addition to mortal combats between dogs and lions or elephants, became increasingly popular. In Elizabethan London, on the south banks of the Thames, a popular attraction was the Bear Gardens – an attraction that even Queen Elizabeth graced. Indeed, royal approval of bear baiting included the appointment of an official ‘Master of the Bears and Dogs.’

There is certainly an underground in the US for this barbaric practice. Do any of you European readers (or Asian and African for that matter) have any information about this? Email us at critternews at We'd really like to hear about it.

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