The Normans introduced Bull baiting to Britain in the 12th Century using mastiff dogs. In the 16th Century bull baiting was popular with all classes. The leggier mastiff types were replaced by smaller, thick-set dogs with strong heads and powerful jaws, the ancestors of the modern Bulldog. The sport was made illegal in 1835. Without a function the breed was threatened. A few kept as companions provided the nucleus for the regeneration of the breed when dog showing became fashionable. The Kennel Club recognised the bulldog in 1873 and he remains the iconic British breed, thought to symbolise the spirit of the country. Breeders are working to improve the health of the breed by reducing exaggeration in the physical features. Changes to the Kennel Club Standard have militated against exaggeration with a strong focus on health and welfare. The Bulldog remains hugely popular as a family companion for his great character and loyalty.