Founded in 1877 in Footscray, an inner-western suburb of Melbourne, they gained admission to the VFA in 1886 after amalgamating with the Footscray Cricket Club to form a senior football club.
The club won nine premierships in the VFA before gaining entry to the VFL in 1925.
26 April 1883
Bone Mill Fellows
The club adopted its current nickname during the 1928 VFL season after a bulldog ran onto the field and accidentally led the players out against Collingwood at the Whitten Oval, "to the wild applause of the callow youth", wrote one match reporter.
Supporters felt that the bulldog typified Footscray's "bulldog spirit" that season, and it became the club's nickname and mascot.
In 1996, the club changed its name from the “Footscray Football Club” to its nickname, the “Western Bulldogs”.
In 1994 and 1995, the Bulldogs again made the finals, only to be eliminated by Melbourne and Geelong, respectively. In August, Ted Whitten snr. died from prostate cancer; such was his status in the game that he was given a state funeral. In his honour, the club renamed the Western Oval the Whitten Oval, and a memorial statue of Whitten was erected outside the stadium.
Sons of the 'Scray,
Red, white and blue,
We come out snarling, Bulldogs through and through.
Bulldogs bite and Bulldogs roar, we give our very best.
But you can't beat the boys of the Bulldog breed,
We're the team of the mighty West!
To the tune of "Sons of the Sea".
Before the club changed its name from Footscray to Western Bulldogs, the club song was called "Sons of the 'Scray", sung to the same tune but with different lyrics.
The club's headquarters and training facilities are located in Footscray at Whitten Oval, nicknamed “The Kennel”, its original home ground.
1925 – 1997
The club played its home matches at Whitten Oval from 1884, except for a brief period at nearby Yarraville Oval, from 1941 to 1943.
The club draws much of its supporter base from Melbourne's traditionally working‑class western region.
Newspapers record Australian rules football being played in the Melbourne suburb of Footscray in the mid-1870s, during which time a local junior football club was formed. In 1880, the club changed its name to the ‘Prince Imperials’ in honour of Napoléon, Prince Imperial, the heir to French throne, who had recently died in battle. The club reverted to ‘Footscray’ a few years later.
They went into the 1954 season as contenders and took out their only VFL premiership, beating Melbourne in that years Grand Final.