In 1872, Philip Webley & Son of Birmingham, England, introduced a small double-action (DA) revolver with a 2.5-inch barrel and a five-shot cylinder. Although compact, it chambered big-bore cartridges like the .442 Webley and .450 Adams. Webley later registered the trademark “British Bulldog Revolver,” and it became so popular that it was copied in several places, including Belgium, France, Spain and the United States.
Fast-forward 100 years and, in 1973, the American handgun manufacturer Charter Arms introduced a small, five-shot, DA revolver with a 3-inch barrel in .44 Special and called it the Bulldog. This carbon-steel-framed, blued revolver with oversized walnut grips weighed a mere 20 ounces but packed quite a bit of firepower in a compact, lightweight package. It caught on almost immediately and became a top seller.