Papier-mâché bulldog will be snapped up

A rare, early 20th-century papier-mâché bulldog, complete with original growling mechanism and one of few to come up at auction in recent years is set to sell at The Cotswolds Auction Company in July with an estimate of £400-£600.

Papier-mâché French bulldogs, known colloquially as ‘growlers’, were originally created in France in the 1890s in homage to the breed, which is closely related to the better-known British bulldog.

Auctioneer at The Cotswolds Auction Company, Lindsey Braune, said that the dog is known as Pierre. She explained: “We were going to call him Winston, until we realised he’s French. He still growls when you pull on his lead, but his bark is worse than his bite. We think he’s rather cute and feel sure he’ll win the hearts of buyers at auction.”

Modelled in papier-mâché, Pierre has a fine hair collar, a copy of the straw collars worn by French bulldogs to stop them getting their heads stuck in the openings to badgers’ dens. In excellent condition, he still has his original lead, which, when pulled, causes him to bare his teeth and growl.

French bulldogs were hugely popular in high society during the early 20th century, in both France and the UK, and a variety of decorative items were produced celebrating the breed, including music boxes, porcelain figurines – even cuckoo clocks.

Their rarity is due largely to the material used, which is easily damaged by curious children or other dogs who might mistake the realistic toy for a rival.

The Cotswold Auction Company will hold its next Toys sale, at which Pierre will feature, on July 25 and 26.