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Darwin Correspondence Project

To P. F. Perfil’eva   11 March 1874

Down. | Beckenham. Kent.

Mar 11. 1874.


I have the pleasure to enclose a photograph which you do me the honour to wish to possess.1

Bull-dogs in England are generally considered stupid; but you will be glad to hear that two breeders have assured me that your favourites are remarkably intelligent and faithful.2

I have the honour to remain your obedient Servant | Charles Darwin.


Perfil’eva had referred to the intelligence of bulldogs bred in Russia (see letter from P. F. Perfil’eva, 22 February 1874). The breeders to whom CD refers have not been identified. Selecting for gentleness and loyalty had become a priority among British bulldog breeders, who wished to maintain the breed following its sharp decline after the ban on bull-baiting in 1835 (Farman 1899, pp. 1–18); it was also held that the bulldog’s mental qualities might be highly cultivated (ibid., p. 9).


Farman, Edgar. 1899. The bulldog: a monograph. London: The Stock Keeper Company.


Sends photograph.

Comments on Mme P’s bulldogs.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Perfil’eva, P. F.
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 147: 242
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9353,” accessed on 7 June 2020,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 22