Let's talk Bulldogs

Friendly, easy-going and with a face that has won fans far and wide, the Bulldog is a cherished breed the world over. Their endearing overbite framed by chunky jowls and a hulking body is too much to resist. The Bulldog can weigh up to 25 kilograms, yet his girth will always make him feel like more. Utilized in numerous advertisements and as a university mascot for their tough-as-nails look, the Bulldog is, in reality, a softie. Hanging at home – or anywhere his owner goes – suits him just fine.

Official name: Bulldog

Other names: English Bulldog, Old English Bulldog, British Bulldog

Origins: Britain

Bulldog adult sitting in black and white
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*We advise against leaving pets alone for long stretches. Companionship can prevent emotional distress and destructive behaviour. Speak to your veterinarian for recommendations. Every pet is different, even within a breed. This snapshot of this breed specifics should be taken as an indication only. For a happy, healthy, and well-behaved pet, we recommend educating and socializing your pet, as well as meeting their basic welfare needs (and their social and behavioural needs. Pets should never be left unsupervised with a child. Contact your breeder or veterinarian for further advice. All domestic pets are sociable and prefer company. However, they can be taught to cope with solitude from an early age. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or trainer to help you do this.
Illustration of beige and white bulldog
36 - 38 cm66 - 69 cm
25 - 30 kg23 - 25 kg
2 to 12 months1 to 7 years
7 to 10 yearsFrom 10 years
Birth to 2 months
Bulldog puppy looking at camera
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Get to know the Bulldog

All you need to know about the breed

Noble, docile and a best friend for life, the Bulldog has too many winning attributes to mention. They’re a fantastic family dog with intense loyalty, and are easily pleased with the simplest gesture – and like to please in return. Contrary to what some may think, the Bulldog isn’t the least bit lazy; their heftier build comes from decades of breeding and an original use as a sporting dog. And body confidence is in, haven’t you heard?

Their coat too is a perennial favourite. It’s smooth and short-haired, and comes in the classic beige and white with patches of either white or black, with the occasional brindle thrown in for fun. And drumroll, please… the Bulldog sheds very little.

Funny, Bulldogs look so tough but they are really a very sweet companion dog. One thing they will be grumpy about: scolding. So much so that they might ignore you for a bit if they feel it’s unjustified.

The Bulldog temperament is a courageous one; sometimes a little too much as they have a tendency to dominate other dogs. Not to worry: It just comes from being competitive. Bulldogs are super social with everyone in their midst, content with a few short walks each day. An exercise note: The Bulldog body is not good for longer sojourns or swimming. Their stocky build will not maintain buoyancy and isn’t built for long distances.

The biggest health concern for the Bulldog breed surrounds correct breathing due to the flat construction of their face and nostrils. Known as a brachycephalic breed, their short muzzles and noses and undersized breathing passages mean too hot or cold temperatures should be avoided. Cardiac problems, like arrhythmia or irregular heartbeats, can happen. Make routine veterinarian visits to keep your Bulldog in check, and remember to acquire your Bulldog from a responsible breeder.

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Two facts about Bulldogs

1. A charming face that requires care

Your Bulldog's chops, or the folds of skin around their face, are extremely charming but need to be wiped often to make sure moisture and even food aren’t trapped inside. Use a clean, dry cloth to clean as often as possible.

2. When size might matter

Bullies are a hefty lot, a factor to consider if picking them up at home or loading them in and out of a car. Their dense body could be too much for one person. Pay close attention to their daily feeding to avoid undue weight gain.

Close-up of Bulldog in black and white
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History of the breed

The Bulldog breed can trace their legacy to 13th Century England and to the now-illegal sport of bullbaiting (thus the 'Bull' in their name), when the breed's predecessors – more stout dogs with larger jaws – were used to wrestle a bull to the ground. Thankfully, England banned the sport in 1835.

Due to their long relationship with British culture, the breed is now almost considered a national icon. In the United States, the breed became cherished as well, and named the mascot of some notable institutions as a result of their seemingly tough demeanour: Yale University made the Bulldog a mascot for all sports teams, affectionately dubbing him 'Handsome Dan', and the United States Marine Corps adopted the breed as their mascot after World War I. Breeders have continued to evolve the Bulldog temperament into the dog we know today, a true companion with an affable manner.

The Bulldog Club of America was established in 1890, and the breed has ranked in the American Kennel Club’s top five most popular breeds over the past seven years.

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From head to tail

Physical characteristics of Bulldogs

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1.Ears

Small, curved ears set far apart on head

2.Head

Iconic large head with flat forehead surrounded by slightly loose wrinkled skin

3.Body

Well-rounded sturdy body, wide-set limbs, very muscular build

4.Fur

Flat coat of straight, fine fur composed of soft loose folds

5.Tail

Short, round tail
Bulldog puppy standing on a hill
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Things to look out for

From specific breed traits to a general health overview, here are some interesting facts about your Bulldog

That flat face can be cause for concern

The Bulldogs’ most attractive feature might be their most hazardous: They are prone to respiratory problems due to their facial construction, which is called brachycephalic syndrome; one that’s characterized by a flattened snout and nostrils. Breathing difficulties – especially in hot or too-cold weather – can be common, or when their exercise session is too strenuous. Anaesthesia during surgery can also present problems with their flattened faces. Bulldogs do well in a space with proper ventilation and air conditioning where necessary.

Bulldogs do like to run. Just not far.

Despite their burly body, the Bulldog is one breed that enjoys agility training and has fun doing it. Don’t think that competition is reserved for the long-limbed canines of the world: The Bulldog’s competitive spirit means they’re always up for a good round of anything that tests their skill. The breed can run quickly, just not for long distances. Exercise is vital for any dog, and especially important for the Bulldog breed, one whose stocky body can top out at 50 pounds but still needs to stay fit and trim.

A breed with a tender heart

The Bulldog breed can have a predisposition to arrhythmia, also known as an irregular heartbeat. Although the condition is rare, it can arise and could possibly result in fainting when not picked up on. Bulldogs are also predisposed to tetralogy of Fallot, a congenital (meaning present at birth) cardiac malformation. Making regular visits to the veterinarian to conduct a proper diagnosis of your Bulldog is important for starters, and the right treatment will help either condition, should they occur.

Bulldog sitting in grass looking up
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Caring for your Bulldog

Grooming, training, and exercise tips

Moderate exercise is best for this breed. Make no mistake, they like to run and are very energetic, but not on a 5K. The breed cannot handle long distances as a result of their flattened faces and shortened snouts, which can make breathing difficult if they are put to the test too much. Quick spurts of play will be enough to tire them out. Avoid exercising in weather that’s too hot or too cold as either can be potentially dangerous. And, for some reason, Bulldogs love skateboarding, and are really good at it!

Bulldog owners are in luck: The breed’s short hair commands no more than a 10-minute brushing with a soft brush a few times a week. Bulldogs are known for those fetching wrinkles around their face and upper body – especially around the tail – however moisture can become trapped there, or even food in the facial area. Clean within the folds with a damp cloth followed by a clean, dry one to absorb moisture. Avoid the eye area, please! Bulldogs are prone to pododermatitis, inflammation of the skin and the paw. Make sure the feet are also kept clean and dry.

Obedient but reserved, the Bulldog enjoys human companionship but needs a gentle approach when it comes to discipline. They are an intelligent breed but can be vulnerable at times, especially when reprimanded too strongly. Satisfy their attention-seeking streak with affirmation and positive reinforcement.

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All about Bulldogs

Sources
  1. Veterinary Centres of America https://vcahospitals.com/
  2. Royal Canin Dog Encyclopaedia. Ed 2010 and 2020
  3. Banfield Pet Hospital https://www.banfield.com/
  4. Royal Canin BHN Product Book
  5. American Kennel Club https://www.akc.org/

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