Green’s Dictionary of Slang

bufe n.

also boufer, bufer, buff, buffa, buffer
[echoic of a bark; Ribton-Turner, A History of Vagrants (1887), suggests Welsh bwch, a buck, a male animal]

(UK Und.) a dog.

[UK]Harman Caveat for Common Cursetours in Viles & Furnivall (1907) 84: bufe a dogge.
[UK]Groundworke of Conny-catching n.p.: [as cit. c.1566].
[UK]Dekker Lanthorne and Candle-Light Ch. 1: The Canters Dictionary Bufe, a Dogge.
[UK]Rowlands Martin Mark-all 39: The Buffa peckes me by the stampes.
[UK]Dekker Canting Song in Eng. Villainies (8th edn) [as cit. 1612].
[UK]Head Eng. Rogue I 47: Bufe, A Dog.
[UK]R. Holme Academy of Armory Ch. iii item 68c: Canting Terms used by Beggars, Vagabonds, Cheaters, Cripples and Bedlams. [...] Bufe, a Dog. Buffar, Dog-like.
[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew n.p.: Bufe, c. A Dog.
[UK]Hell Upon Earth 5: Buffer, a Dog.
[UK]A. Smith Lives of Most Noted Highway-men, etc. I 167: The Buffer, that is their canting Name for a Dog.
[UK]A. Smith Lives of Most Notorious Highway-men, etc. (1926) 203: Bufer, or Buffer, a dog. Buffer-napper, a dog-Stealer.
[UK]New Canting Dict. n.p.: Buff, a dog.
[UK]C. Johnson Hist. of Highwaymen &c 365: The Cat [...] having given the Buffer, (that is the canting Name for a Dog) two or three Scratches on the Nose, there began so great a Skirmish.
[UK]Bailey Universal Etym. Eng. Dict. [as cit. 1725].
[UK]Canting Academy, or the Pedlar’s-French Dict. 117: A Dog A Buffer.
[UK]J. Poulter Discoveries (1774) 43: A Buffer and Grunter; a Dog and Hog.
[UK](con. 1710–25) Tyburn Chronicle II in Groom (1999) xxix: A Boufer A Dog.
[UK]G. Parker View of Society II 81: They call the dog a Buffer, from a practice among them of killing such dogs as no advertisement or enquiry has been made for; and this they call ‘buffing the dog’.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue n.p.: bufe. A dog. (cant) Bufe’s nob; a dog’s head.
[UK] Song No. 21 Papers of Francis Place (1819) n.p.: He held the buffer in one hand.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum [as cit. 1785].
[UK]Vaux Vocab. of the Flash Lang. in McLachlan (1964) 230: buffer; a dog.
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue [as cit. 1785].
[Ire]S. Lover Handy Andy 40: Reilly the butcher has two or three capital dogs, and there’s a wicked mastiff below stairs, and I’ll send for my ‘buffer,’ and we’ll have some spanking sport.
[UK]Duncombe New and Improved Flash Dict.
[UK]Hotten Dict. of Modern Sl. etc. 12: Buffer, a dog.
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict. [as cit. 1859].
[UK]C. Hindley Life and Adventures of a Cheap Jack 192: They had a dog belonging to them that would be sure to begin a quarrel with another ‘buffer’.
[US]Trumble Sl. Dict. (1890).

In compounds

bufe nabber (n.) (also buff-knapper, buffe-napper, buffer-nabber) [nabber n. (1)]

a dog stealer.

[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew n.p.: Buffenapper, c. a Dog-stealer.
[UK]A. Smith Lives of Most Notorious Highway-men, etc. (1926) 203: Buffer-napper, a dog-Stealer.
[UK]New Canting Dict. n.p.: Buff-Knapper [...] The 32nd Order of Villains.
[UK]Bailey Universal Etym. Eng. Dict. [as cit. 1725].
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]G. Andrewes Dict. Sl. and Cant.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]Flash Dict.
[UK]G. Kent Modern Flash Dict. 7: Buffer napper – dog stealer.
[UK]Flash Dict. in Sinks of London Laid Open 100: Buffer napper, dog stealer.
[UK]Duncombe New and Improved Flash Dict.
[US]Matsell Vocabulum.
[US]Trumble Sl. Dict. (1890).