Breed At A Glance


Dependable and gentle, yet courageous

Life Expectancy
9-11 years

Average Height
11-16 inches

Average Weight
49-65 lbs

Coat Color
Red, fawn, brindle, pale yellow, washed-out red, or white, or any combination of these colors

Coat Length/Texture
Short and smooth

Also known as British Bulldog, English Bulldog

General Temperament

Unlike it’s brutal beginnings, the modern Bulldog is an affectionate and gentle animal. They are generally lazy animals who do not require a lot of exercise, although a daily walk is recommended for general health. They love to lounge with their owner, soaking up affection, and do not need room to run. For this reason, they are excellent apartment dogs. Although they are generally gentle and easy-going, they will often protect their home and ward off unwanted visitors with unwielding tenacity. Bulldogs can be so attached to their home and family that they will not venture out of the yard without a human companion. Their now docile nature allows them to live alongside other family pets in harmony.

This breed can be quite willful, and when training a Bulldog, it is important for the owner to maintain their role as the dominant animal. A Bulldog who understands it’s place in the hierarchy is a wonderful companion, but if allowed to take over as “alpha dog,” they will rule the house.

Breed History

Bulldogs were bred in England over time from a cross between a mastiff and the smaller pug. In the 1600s, these dogs were used for bullbaiting, a popular wagering sport in which trained bulldogs leapt at a bull lashed to a post, latched onto its snout and attempted to suffocate it. In addition to being a spectator sport, this was also a supposed method for tenderizing beef before slaughter: it was thought that the lactic acid released during the fight gave the beef a more pleasing flavor, so butchers would often provide this as a service to their customers. The Bulldog was bred to be short enough to sneak underneath the bull; when the bull lowered it’s head in an attempt to buck the dog with it’s horns, the dog’s jaws needed to be strong enough to clamp onto the bull’s nostrils. The sport was prohibited in the 19th century, and since then, the Bulldog has been bred mainly as a companion pet. Modern Bulldogs possess none of their original brutality and viciousness.

Body Structure and Composition

The Bulldog is short and stout, and comparatively heavy for it’s height. It’s broad and massive head has lose skin that falls in dense wrinkles on the face and muzzle. It has a short muzzle, an undershot jaw, and a pug-like nose with large nostrils. The Bulldog’s short legs set on the corners of it’s stocky body give it a waddling gait. The tail is short and carried low.

Medical Information

Although the Bulldog is a relatively healthy breed, respiratory difficulties are prevalent due to their short muzzle and pug-like nose. Hip Dysplasia, when the head of the thigh bone no longer fits firmly in the “cup” provided by the hip socket causing loss of mobility and arthritis-like symptoms, can also be experienced by some Bulldogs as they age. Regular exercise will help prevent obesity, which can lead to heart and lung problems, but be careful to not let the dog become overheated. The Bulldog is not well suited for exceptionally warm climates, as they are particularly susceptible to heat stroke.

Cherry eye, a common eye condition where the gland of the third eyelid (also known as the nictitating membrane) prolapses and becomes visible, is common in this breed, primarily in puppies. Bulldog puppies are often born via Caesarian Section due to their large craniums, which can get stuck in the birth canal.

The short coat of the Bulldog is easy to groom, but the face needs to be wiped every day, paying special attention to the inside of the wrinkles. The Bulldog snores loudly and is prone to drooling and slobbering. Flatulence can also be offensive to their human companions.

Anecdotal Information

The Bulldog is a popular mascot for many universities in the United States, including Yale (“Handsome Dan”), Georgetown (“Jack the Bulldog”), and the University of Georgia (“Uga”). The U.S. Marine Corps has also adopted the Bulldog as it’s mascot. This breed has also been a pet for several U.S. presidents, including Warren Harding (“Oh Boy”) and Calvin Coolidge (“Boston Beans”).

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