Facts About English Bulldogs

February 2, 2019

History of the Breed

Originating in the British Isles possibly as early as the 13th century, English bulldogs were most likely bred from the Alaunt, also an ancestor of the modern Mastiff. Used for bull baiting, thus the name, early bulldogs were bred for their short muzzle, signature under-bite, and powerful jaw to allow them to bite into the bull’s nose or lip, and hold on, without compromising their ability to breathe. Bulldogs needed to be both ferocious and courageous and almost impervious to pain in order to take down an animal so much greater in size. As bull baiting became illegal, and there was less of a need for such a savage, aggressive dog, the bulldog was bred with the pug to create a smaller more docile dog.

Today’s English Bulldog

English bulldogs are faithful, devoted, friendly, stubborn dogs. Although their stubbornness can make them difficult to train, they are intelligent dogs and with patience and perseverance are trainable. While bulldogs may look formidable, they are too friendly to be considered guard dogs and more likely to lick an intruder than protect you from one. English bulldogs are great family dogs, for the right kind of family. Although they are patient and typically wonderful with kids, they are not a right for those with very active lifestyles. They want to spend time with their “people” so if you’re away a lot and not looking for a “companion dog” a bulldog probably isn’t a good fit.

Health-what to expect

Most dogs have certain breed-specific health concerns, and bulldogs do as well. The most common are:

  • • Heat sensitivity
  • • Dry eye or “Cherry eye” and cataracts
  • • Skin infections and hot spots
  • • Allergies
  • • Hip dysplasia

If you do choose this breed, you should find a veterinarian this is familiar with the specific health related problems of the English bulldog.

Life span

With good breeding and good medical care you can expect your English bulldog to live between 8 and 13 years.


Average weight for an English bulldog is between 50 and 60 lbs. with females weighing less than males. Obesity is common among this breed and can exacerbate health problems such as heart disease and hip dysplasia, so your bulldog’s weight should be monitored.

Adoption vs. Buying from a Breeder

English bulldogs are not inexpensive when purchased from a breeder, sometimes costing as much as $3000 or more. Although bulldog puppies may be difficult to adopt, many adult bulldogs are surrendered when their families become unable to care for them or are unprepared for the needs of this unique breed. If you are considering adoption you may find the following websites useful:

One comment on “Facts About English Bulldogs”

  1. 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.

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