I do not know how many English bulldog collectors are out there worldwide and what they collect personally but I do know there are two main groups and these are named BULLDOGGERS and DOULTONERS.
I think it speaks for itself but I will explain if you only collect doulton bulldogs you are a doultoner and if you collect all things bully you are a bulldogger.
When I first starting collecting I did not like doulton pieces and did not care much for little seated bulldogs draped in union jacks and before you good folk write in moaning I’m very patriotic, its just if your a collector this is every where especially in England with shops selling cheap pieces to tourists, like little bully banks and nodding bullies so when you do go looking in your local area its the same old stuff, but this all changed one day two years ago when I met a fello and to this day I still have him as my main doulton contact.
He emailed me one day and asked if I wanted to look at some pieces and even though I was not interested due to nieve thinking, I said yes and waited for some pictures of seated bullies with flags draped to come through so it was totally amaze bulls to see what he had sent.
Not only were there different coloured pieces but different standing pieces and I laugh looking back now but then I had no clue about the world of Doulton bulldogs only Skyfall and the old 1930s pieces two years back and after seeing these pics I got the bug straight away to start collecting them and adding them to my bulldoggers collection.
My main contact and a few others have made it possible for me to own some really nice pieces like the little red flambe, the blue trinity hat piece and both the air raid warden and the Scottish tribute the tam o shanter.
I’m not greedy, I do not wish to own each and every piece but there are some out there I would love to add to mine like the 881 a great looking seated bulldog and has an association to one of doultons rarest bulldog pieces which is a lustre ware pot with HN881 sitting on top its the most wanted piece in the Doulton bulldog world but no one has seen one for decades now and even my attempts prove fruitless FOR NOW!
Another piece on my wish list is the advertising piece for a well known Irish known beer he is a beautiful white seated bulldog with his trade mark black eye and has an advertising bib on the back, I have seen these in blue and beige and they also made or gave permission to BOLS to make so there is a cheaper version out there worth £200 – £250 each and look just like the real older pieces, but just like UK ceramics true Doultoners will not buy these and do not see them as true Doulton.
I would have to say Doulton and the book prices that come with the pieces makes them hard to collect due to expense, you have to save your pennies if you want one of the rarer 30s to 50s pieces but the company have since made it more affordable for people to collect them when Jack Alfie and patch came out, these with the American, Australian, and Canadian piece are much more recently made and much cheaper to buy but I do not see them being of much as in future investment pieces, as so many have been made and there is much more supply these days than demand for these pieces.
The history of the bulldog and Royal Doulton started as a tribute after world war one had finished a Mr John Nokes started making the first pieces in tribute to the English armed forces and why most pieces come in threes, small medium and large, after the wars had ended the likes of Fredrick Dawes took over took over creating newer models such as the standing sets and I think he adopted the method of making sets of three from his old counterpart, keeping the tribute towards the forces very much alive.
If your just starting out and have deep pockets or great at saving then buying royal doulton bulldogs will not only give you years of pleasure but being so popular doulton always keeps its vale so a great future investment too.
BULLDOGGERS on the other hand as I see myself are those of us that collect everything bulldog our collections are much more varied in the pieces sitting sitting on our shelves, I have cabinets dedicated to countries where I have found so many different bulldogs and bulldog items, so I envy the folks just collecting Doulton because they have a certain amount to collect and the space needed is much less than if you collect on mass like us bulldoggers do.
But I prefer my title and passion to be honest and do not get me wrong I really like the figurines Doulton produced but do to limitations price and the fact demand for the pieces is much higher than the market supplies its an never ending search where as with bulldoggers theres so much out there you can obtain and finding pieces pre dating the two wars is always nice and anything before then is just a great treat.
I love finding the historical pieces and those made way back in the 17 to 1800s and most of these are or were mainly useful items used every day back then but now just make great display pieces and great conversation starters.
Each bulldogger has their own preferences to what they collect and others just love the breed so much they will buy most things bully regardless of make material or value and a lot comes from the folk art world with artisans perfecting their skills and coming up with great works.
My own preference is the same it always has been I love collecting bulldogs from as many different countries as possible not only have I found a fair few world wide but it has given me knowledge that I did not have before and helps to find and identify pieces, that most would just guess at and best of all it has given my collection a very wide ranging portfolio from a 200 year old piece made in japan to a piece made in Kuala Lumpa, this preference has also helped to geographically work out the trend of countries, that make porcelain and where in the world the bulldog is popularly made.
Tthe hardest places to find pieces are poor countries and those countries that are young and have no or little ceramic history there are also some where you would think they had a rich history but find very little.
I suppose a new name will now have to be invented for those of us that collect both doulton and other wise as I have not heard of a name for collecting both but I would think it comes under bulldogging as it is part of collecting all things bulldog.
So what are you? do you have just doulton on your shelves or like me are you crammed to the rafters with allsorts of pieces and items and which ever you are HAPPY COLLECTING FOLKS