The Bulldog today is a softer personality than his intense ancestors, who guarded and controlled bulls, and fought in sporting arenas. Nowadays, Bulldogs would rather cozy up on a couch than bait bulls.
The modern Bulldog is gentle, intelligent, affectionate, strong and determined. All that’s left of the tough reputation is a classic under-bite and an amusing streak of stubbornness (bullheadedness!)—sometimes noticed when training starts.
The devoted Bulldog is naturally patient with children and good with other animals, especially if socialized early. The breed doesn’t tolerate extreme temperature variances, and is happiest in a climate controlled home. The Bulldog will thrive on short walks, not strenuous outings.
Although not considered an overly athletic breed, they are more active as puppies and many have learned to skateboard and surf! If you do decide to try your Bulldog out in the water, make sure he is well equipped with a life-vest as their short legs and heavy frames do not make them natural swimmers.
Bulldogs are not known barkers, but do make good watchdogs. If you are looking for a demure and quiet dog, be warned that Bulldogs come with sound effects and smells. Odds are he’ll snort, snuffle, grunt, drool and pass gas a bit more than most of the family.
Should I get a Bulldog?
Terrific for a person who:
- Prefers a dog who’s happy to relax, not race.
- Enjoys sharing affection, as well as receiving slobbery kisses.
Lives in a small home with little or no outdoor space.
Think twice if you’re a person who:
- Believes a dog should focus on guarding the premises.
- Expects the dog to earn high obedience titles in record time.
Pictures a dog playing outside the majority of the day.
The Bulldog is highly sensitive to heat; caution must be taken in warm climates. Bulldogs require light brushing a few times a week, occasional baths, and weekly “wrinkle cleaning” (think of it as unfolding him). Supervise around water.
The Standard Look
Typical weight is 40 to 50 pounds at maturity. There are no specific requirements for height, but they generally stand around 12 to 14 inches at the shoulder and are only slightly longer than tall. Bulldogs are best known for their strong, thick bodies, wide shoulders, large heads, short noses and facial wrinkles. The short, fine coat comes in brindle, white, fawn, pale yellow or cream and red. They can be a solid color with white markings or blotched with various colors.
Possible Bulldog Health Concerns
Hip dysplasia, airway obstruction issues, over-heating.
The Willful Bulldog
It’s not that Bulldogs are lazy. It’s more like they’re satisfied. With their wrinkled faces, cauliflower ears, fireplug frames and snouts that look crumpled from head-on collisions with the refrigerator door, the Bulldog knows there is no point in trying to aspire to something it’s not. Bulldogs seem to have to depend on their winning personality to be popular.
Despite the ferocious visage of a bowery brawler, Bulldog owners vouch for their tender natures. Their hooded eyes sparkle with good humor, and that gaping maw transforms into a beguiling doggie grin whenever there’s fun afoot. Originally admired for fighting bulls (and winning!), the modern Bulldog has had most of those aggressive tendencies bred out of them.
But they haven’t totally lost touch with their inner wolf. Bulldogs make excellent watchdogs and develop extreme loyalty to their families. They may not be able to run a burglar to the ground, but if they ever latch onto one, they won’t let go until the law arrives. This dog breed’s reputation for tenacity has made them popular mascots for groups ranging from the Georgia football team to the U.S. Marines.
“There’s nothing like a Bulldog. They’re almost human,” says Ellen Scott, breeder, Hudson, Fla.
The Bulldog has had a rough life. Developed in England in the 1700s, it was originally bred to fight bulls as a spectator sport. Its loose skin increased its chances of survival if gored, and its pushed-in face provided a less vulnerable target. Also known as the “Butcher’s Dog,” the original edition was taller, leaner and more agile than today’s version.
Laid-back, loyal, good-natured and undemanding, the Bulldog is great with children, other dogs and other household pets. Intelligent but uncomplicated.
This is not the dog for a triathlete in training. The Bulldog’s short legs, heavy musculature and impaired breathing make it difficult to keep up with anything more challenging than a toddler on a tricycle.
The biggest threat to a Bulldog’s well-being is its difficulty breathing. Because of this, it can’t take a lot of heat or exercise and it suffers from associated stress on the heart and cardiovascular system.
Contrary to popular belief, Bulldogs don’t drool excessively, but they do snore.