The Bulldog is a breed with characteristically wide head and shoulders along with a pronounced mandibular prognathism. There are generally thick folds of skin on a Bulldog's brow; round, black, wide-set eyes; a short muzzle with characteristic folds called a knot above the nose; hanging skin under the neck; drooping lips and pointed teeth, and occasionally an underbite. The coat is short, flat, and sleek, with colours of red, fawn, white, brindle, and piebald
Sometimes called the English Bulldog or the British Bulldog, the breed originated in England and has a bloody past. It descended from fighting mastiffs that were brought to the British Isles by the Romans and was used in a bloody sport called bullbaiting. Today, however, the Bulldog only slightly resembles his ancestors in appearance. And all of the ferociousness that he exhibited in the bullbaiting pens? Gone for good. Despite his still ferocious appearance, you'd be hard-pressed to find a dog with a sweeter, more loving disposition.
Bulldogs are never mistaken for other breeds of dogs. They are a medium-size dog with a thick-set, low-slung body. Their short-muzzled head is massive and square. They have broad shoulders and chests, with thick, sturdy limbs.
According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), a Bulldog's disposition should be "equable and kind, resolute, and courageous (not vicious or aggressive), and demeanor should be pacific and dignified. These attributes should be countenanced by the expression and behavior".
Breeders have worked to reduce/remove aggression from these dogs. Most have a friendly, patient nature. Bulldogs are recognized as excellent family pets because of their tendency to form strong bonds with children.
Generally, Bulldogs are known for getting along well with children, other dogs, and pets. They can become so attached to home and family, that they will not venture out of the yard without a human companion. They are also more likely to sleep on someone's lap than chase a ball around the yard.
The term "Bulldog" was first mentioned in literature around 1500, the oldest spelling of the word being Bondogge and Bolddogge. The first reference to the word with the modern spelling is dated 1631 or 1632 in a letter by a man named Preswick Eaton where he writes: "procuer mee two good Bulldogs, and let them be sent by ye first shipp". In 1666 Christopher Merret applied: "Canis pugnax, a Butchers Bull or Bear Dog." as an entry in his Pinax Rerum Naturalium Britannicarum.
The designation "bull" was applied because of the dog's use in the sport of bull baiting. This entailed the setting of dogs (after placing wagers on each dog) onto a tethered bull. The dog that grabbed the bull by the nose and pinned it to the ground would be the victor. It was common for a bull to maim or kill several dogs at such an event, either by goring, tossing, or trampling. Over the centuries, dogs used for bull-baiting developed the stocky bodies and massive heads and jaws that typify the breed as well as a ferocious and savage temperament.
The American Kennel Club recognized the Bulldog in 1890. During the 1940s and 1950s, Bulldogs were close to the top 10 breeds in popularity. Today, the Bulldog ranks 12th among the 155 breeds and varieties registered by the AKC, a tribute to his solid credentials as a companion.
Mature male Bulldogs weigh about 50 pounds; mature females about 40 pounds. Show dogs may be about 10 pounds heavier. They stand 12 to 15 inches at the shoulder.
Bulldogs are inactive indoors and don't require a great deal of exercise (although they must be walked every day to keep them from gaining weight). They are indoor dogs and prefer a relaxed lifestyle. After about 15 minutes of play, they're ready for a nap. This low to moderate energy level makes the Bulldog suited to any type home, from an apartment to a house with a yard. You can take the Bulldog for a walk of a mile or two during the cool part of the day, but he'll be just as happy with a brief stroll up and down your street.
Because of their pushed-in face, Bulldogs don't do well in extremely hot (or cold) weather. They breathe heavily when they're hot and don't dissipate heat well. They're especially susceptible to heatstroke. As little as half an hour outdoors in 85-degree temperatures can kill them. Provide him with an air-conditioned environment and plenty of fresh water. Bulldogs are also not swimmers. Their massive heads drag them straight down. If you have a pool, spa, or pond, protect your Bulldog from falling in.
The Bulldog is unlikely to be an obedience-trial star, but once he learns something, he never forgets it. He learns best through fun training sessions that involve repetition and positive reinforcement through food rewards and praise.