About the English Bulldog Breed: Origins, Appearance, Health & Characteristics of the Popular Bulldog

October 3, 2019
As a dog owner with over 25 years of experience, I can attest that having a dog is one of the most wonderful things that has ever happened in my life. The companionship and joy they bring is incomparable.

The Bulldog, often called English Bulldog to prevent confusion with other Bully breeds, is a popular dog for families and apartment dwellers for many reasons. Despite a bloody past, the bulldog is now a loyal, faithful and good-natured dog that generally gets along with dogs, children and other animals.

English Bulldog Origins:

The bulldog has an uncertain past that is the topic of much debate; however, it is known that the dogs were used in a bloody fighting sport known as bullbaiting as well as dog fights. When the fights were made illegal in the early 1800s the bulldog became almost extinct as the aggressive nature made them poor companions. A few faithful bulldog lovers carefully bred out all aggression and ferocity creating the fun-loving, friendly companion dog that bulldog owners know today.

Bulldog Appearance and Coloration:

Bulldogs are small in size, often reaching only 12-15” tall but are surprisingly heavy and stocky. Their large, sturdy build means they can reach between 40-60 pounds. Bulldogs are best recognized by their large heads, drooping cheeks called “jowls”, broad shoulders and pear shaped bodies.

Bulldogs come in many different colors including brindle; red brindle; fawn brindle; all these with white; white; black; grey; bronze; fawn; and red and all these with white markings. Bulldogs can have black masks, colored markings or piebald markings.

Lifespan, Health Concerns and Special Needs of Bulldogs:

Bulldogs live an average of 10 years but longer lifespans are not uncommon. Maximus, pictured below, was sired by a 10 year old bulldog stud that is still well and active. As breeders continue testing for genetic health problems and breeding strong, sturdy stocks the lifepspans will continue to increase.

Bulldogs have upturned muzzles and shorter windpipes making them sometimes prone to breathing problems. For most bulldogs from healthy stock, the biggest problem owners will notice is snoring...lots of snoring.

Bulldogs are very prone to overheating and should never be kept outdoors in summer heat. Heat stroke is the single most common cause of untimely bulldog death and the author cannot stress the need for air conditioning in temperatures above 80 degrees strongly enough.

Another special concern for bulldogs is that because of their heavy front ends they are poor, or non-swimmers. Bulldogs enjoy water and will often get in small wading pools to cool off, but they should never be allowed unsupervised around deep, open water. Without proper flotation devices a bulldog could easily and quickly drown.

English Bulldog Personality:

The English bulldog has a wonderful personality now, thanks to careful breeding. Bulldogs are very affectionate and will often forget their size while attempting to crawl up into a nearby lap for petting and attention. Known for their courage and good guarding ability the bulldog is alert in watching out for strangers. Bulldogs love children and will adapt readily to large families, being less of a one-person type dog than many other breeds. Some bulldogs can tend towards laziness so gentle, daily walks are great for dog and owner alike. There is a good reason why English bulldogs are in the top ten list of the AKC breed registration!

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