Breed of the Month: English Bulldog


Description: The English Bulldog is a short, heavy, medium-sized, and muscular dog. The legs are short and straight and the shoulders are wide. The head is large with a flat face. Loose skin covers the face and neck. The jaw is undershot with the teeth having an underbite. Jowls are on either side of the face. The wide nose is black with large nostrils. Small ears are set high on the head. The dark colored eyes are deep set. The short tail is either straight or screwed. The coat is short and smooth and can some in a wide variety of colors such as, brindle, white, fawn, piebald, cream, and any combination of these colors.

History:  Believed by cynologists to be ancestors of the now extinct Alaunt, the first recorded use of the name “bulldog” occurred in 1632 when Prestwick Eaton wrote to a friend in England requesting bulldogs from a friend.

Bulldogs received their name from the blood sport for which they were bred; bull-baiting. Bull-baiting involved tying a bull to an iron stake which allowed the bull to move in an approximately 30 foot radius. Bets were placed and the dog was then released to bite down on the nose of the bull. The dog would be declared the winner if it could bring the bull to the ground. Dogs were often gored, trampled, thrown, injured, and killed, thus; other dogs would be sent into the fight until the bull was taken down.

Bullbaiting was originally used as entertainment but later local legislation would proclaim that, before slaughter, bulls had to be baited due to the unproven notion that baiting increased nutritional value of the meat.

In 1835, parliament passed the Cruelty to Animals act which outlawed bull-baiting. Even though bullbaiting was now illegal, breeders managed to assist the Bulldog in adapting to new tasks. The Bulldog was exported to the United States where it was used to herd cattle and hogs. While in Germany, the Bulldog was crossbred to create the Boxer. In the United Kingdom, some breeders saw the value in the Bulldog and decided to breed out the bad qualities and keep the good ones. The taller, sporty, and more aggressive Bulldog was bred to be shorter, more relaxed, and congenial; the Bulldog we know today.

Size: Males: 12–16 inches at the withers, weighing 50-55 pounds. Females: 12–16 inches at the withers, weighing 45-50 pounds.

Temperament: While the Bulldog was originally bred for bull baiting, breeders have worked to remove its aggressive nature leaving a friendly and loving dog with the rough exterior. The English Bulldog is know to be patient with children. If socialized at an early age, Bulldogs can get along well with other dogs and other pets and will be welcoming of strangers and other dogs into the household. However, if they aren’t properly socialized, Bulldogs have been know to display dog aggressive behavior. While puppies are very playful and rambunctious, adult Bulldogs are rather inactive and, as such, do well in an apartment due to their inactive nature. Bulldogs are very affectionate, demand a lot of attention, and shouldn’t be left alone for long stretches of time. During training, this breed can be stubborn, and while they require firm yet gentle training, they don’t respond well to heavy-handed discipline.

Grooming: The coat of the Bulldog is relatively low maintenance. The Bulldog is an average shedding dog and should be brushed regularly and bathed when necessary. The Bulldog does require special care to keep the wrinkles and skin folds clean and free of foreign matter and bacteria. Skin folds arounds the nose, face, and tail should be cleaned everyday. Some owners even put ointments or tea tree oil in the folds to keep them free from irritation that can occur.

While not necessarily a grooming issue, prospective Bulldogs owners should be aware of the Bulldog’s uncouth farting, burping, snoring, snorting, and excessive drooling.

Health: According to a survey from the Kennel Club/British Small Animal Veterinary Association Scientific Committee, among 180 English Bulldogs, 20% of the dogs died from cardiac issues, 18% died from cancer while nearly 9% died from natural causes. 4.4% of English Bulldogs died of respiratory failure and 3.3% died of hyperthermia, also known as heat stroke.

Major health concerns of the English Bulldog include hip dysplasia, which nearly 75% of all English Bulldogs will be affected; patellar luxation (dislocated kneecap); congenital respiratory issues; allergies; dermatitis; and cherry eye. Bulldogs are bracycephalic, meaning their faces are smooshed in, and as a result, have difficulties breathing especially in hot and humid weather, causing Bulldogs to be more susceptible to heat stroke.

Exercise: If you are someone who wants to go on a daily run with your dog, a Bulldog is not for you. Due to the breeding of the animal, they have developed a less than ideal respiratory system which limits their oxygen intake. With the exception of a daily pack walk and play time, Bulldogs remain mostly inactive. Bulldogs are sensitive to high humidity and high temperatures and can overheat easily.

Lifespan: About 8 to 12 years.

Trivia: The Bulldog is the mascot of several universities including, Georgetown University, Yale University, and the University of Georgia. The United State Marine Corp have also adopted the Bulldog as their mascot.

Many famous celebrities own Bulldogs. Adam Sandler, Brad Pitt, David Beckham, Howard Stern, Jason Aldean, Jessica Biel, Verne Troyer, Joe Jonas, John Legend, Miley Cyrus, Pink, Pete Wentz, Ozzy Osbourne, and Shia Labeouf are all owners or previous owners of Bulldogs.