A native of England, the Bulldog (commonly referred to as the English Bulldog) was created sometime during the 17th century in order to participate in a sport known as bull baiting, a bloody contest pitting dog against bull in ferocious combat. After the ban of bull baiting in the 19th century, then English Bulldog fanciers transformed the breed into a gentle-natured pet that is much tougher looking than it is aggressive. The Bulldog has become famous across the world for its unique and ferocious appearance, and is one of the most commonly selected mascots of any animal. In fact Uga (pronounced UH-guh) is the name of a lineage of Bulldogs owned by Frank W. "Sonny" Seiler, which have served as the mascot of the University of Georgia (UGA) since 1956. In recent years, the Bulldog has been enjoying a tremendous surge in popularity and is now one of the most popular dog breeds in the United States. Also commonly known as the English Bulldog, the Bulldog is not to be confused with the Olde English Bulldogge, the American Bulldog, the Old English Bulldog, the Old Country Bulldog, and a number of other Bulldog breeds.
The history of few breeds is as disputed as that of the Bulldog. The Bulldog was created in an era where records of dog breeding did not exist, and was primarily kept by men who were very likely to be illiterate. As a result, almost nothing is known for sure of its origins. All that is known for sure is that the Bulldog was developed in England no later than the 1600’s, and was originally used for catching and holding bulls. The English Bulldog is the original Bulldog breed, and is the primary ancestor of essentially all others. Along with dozens of other dog breeds, the Bulldog is considered to be a member of a family of dog breeds known as the Molossers, Mastiffs, Alaunts, or Dogues. While every family member is different, most are large, powerful, brachycephalic (have pushed-in faces) breeds with strong protective instincts native to Europe or European colonies.
The Molossers are one of the oldest dog types of dogs, but also one of the most mysterious. Perhaps no other group of dog has created so many disputes among canine experts. Although across Western Europe and the Near East, Molossers have perhaps been most associated with England (and Spain), where these dogs remained more numerous and closer to their original form than almost anywhere else. There are numerous theories as to how the first Mastiff arrived in England. Some claim that these dogs are direct descendants of the livestock guardian breeds that arrived with the first British farmers. Others believe that the ancient Phoenicians introduced Mastiffs from Egypt and Mesopotamia. Supporters of those theories think that the English Mastiff was the direct descendant of the Pugnaces Britanniae, the war dog of the Pre-Roman Celts, and that it became the ancestor to all other Molossers. Most believe that the Mastiff was introduced to Britain by the Romans, and that it is a descendant of either the Tibetan Mastiff or the Molossus; the feared war dog of the Epirote, Greek, Macedonian, and Roman armies. Still others believe that the first British Molossers were introduced by the Alans, a barbarian tribe native to the Caucasus who possessed a ferocious war dog known as the Alaunt, probably a type of Owtcharka.
However it was that the Mastiffs first came to be in England, they were well-established by the time of the Fall of Rome. These dogs were used as beasts of war and as personal and property guardians by the Celtic Britons and later the Anglo-Saxon conquerors. The Anglo-Saxons are believed to have given the Mastiff its name, as they called the breed the Masty or the Mastie, after their word for powerful. The Mastiff was commonly used by the English as a war dog until the Age of Discovery. In times of peace, the giant and ferocious Mastiff was used to guard the property and families of the English upper and middle classes. The breed was typically tied up during the day to prevent it from attacking welcome strangers, and loosed at night to protect the home; dogs kept in this manner became known as Bandogs or Bandogges.
Mastiffs were also used by commoners for two similar purposes: blood sports and bull-catching. Packs of Mastiffs would be pitted in fights to the death against bears in a vicious sport known as bear-baiting. Although bear-baiting was incredibly popular, bull-catching more intimately impacted the lives of English farmers. At the time, the majority of Bulls were considerably more fierce than the modern version, and were often semi-feral to downright wild. The only way that farmers could catch their bulls to put them in a pen or take them to market was to have a Mastiff grab them by their noses and hold them in place. To subdue the bull, the dog would often have to hold on for an hour or more. Sometimes, the bull would actually die of exhaustion as a result of its fight with the dog. For most physical activities, the brachycephalic face of the Mastiff is a disadvantage as it prevents the dog from getting enough air flow, but it is a great advantage in bull-catching because it provides the dog with a wider mouth and therefore a greater bite area. Initially an agricultural and economic necessity, bull-catching evolved into the popular sport of bull-baiting. Bull-baiting became so commonplace that the English began to consider it necessary. It was thought that the meat of an unbaited bull was less nutritious and tender, and butchers who did not use it were actually committing a crime, the selling of meat unfit for human consumption.
The English were not the only people who realized that Mastiff-type dogs were useful for bull-catching. The Spanish and Germans also used Molossers for this purpose, although they used slightly different breeds. Various types of Spanish Alano and German Bullenbeiser (literally Bull Biter) became renowned livestock working and fighting dogs in their own countries, just as the Mastiff did in England. These breeds were considerably smaller and more athletic than the English Mastiff, as well as possibly being more aggressive.
Although very powerful, the English Mastiff is in many ways not ideally suited for bull-baiting. The breed’s large and tall body is not only very expensive to feed but also provides the bull with a large area to gore or kick. The Mastiff also has a high center of gravity, which makes it more difficult for it to counteract the tremendous force of an enraged bull. Of most concern was the Mastiff’s lack of energy. Bandogs bred to sped life on a chain were not athletic enough to do battle with bulls. To remedy this problem breeders gradually developed distinct lines of Mastiff: those used for property guarding and bear-baiting and those used for bull-baiting. The type used for bull-baiting would gradually be downsized to the point that it was significantly smaller than other Mastiffs, especially in terms of height. Bull-baiting Mastiffs also became more athletic and energetic, as well as being even more tenacious and ferocious. Although the lines were probably somewhat distinct for several hundred years, all types of Mastiff (bear-baiting, property guarding, combat, and bull-baiting) were regularly interbred. It is unclear when the Bulldog was recognized as a separate breed from the English Mastiff. When the renowned canine historian Johannes Caius wrote the first major book describing English dog breeds in 1576, he did not mention the Bulldog. He did, however, go into great detail describing the “Mastive or Bandogge,” detailing its immense strength, size, and bull-baiting ability. This would seem to imply that the Mastiff and the Bulldog were considered to be the same breed at this time.
The first mention of the Bulldog as a distinct breed came in 1631. In that year, the Englishman Prestwich Easton was living in San Sebastian is Spain. He wrote a letter to his friend George Wellingham in London asking him to send him “a good Mastive dog, a case of liquour, and I beg you to get for me some good bulldogges.” This letter is especially important to Bulldog historians as it makes it clear that the Bulldog and the Mastiff were two separate breeds. What happened between 1576 (the time of historian Johannes Caius's book) and 1631 (Easton's letter), however, is unclear. Perhaps bull-baiting Mastiff lines had become so distinct that they were considered a different breed or bull-baiting had become so popular that the dogs used for it were more recognizable. In truth, the distinction may have been the result of crossing the Mastiff with different breeds. It has long been speculated that Spanish Alano blood played an important part in the overall composition and development of the Bulldog, as well as possibly Bullenbeiser. Both breeds were highly regarded by English bull-baiters, who may have imported them and crossed them with their own dogs. Although the modern Bulldog is very different from its 17th century ancestors, the older version of the breed was almost identical to surviving Alanos and the now-extinct Bullenbeiser (although that breed did heavily factor into the development of the Boxer).
Although popular throughout the Middle Ages and Renaissance, Bull-baiting was probably at its peak of popularity during the 1600’s and 1700’s. During this time, bull-baiting was one of the most popular (if not the most popular) pastimes of the English lower and middle classes. Bull-baiting matches were big money events, and huge sums were spent on gambling on their outcomes. Bulldogs were found throughout England, but the ones bred in London, Birmingham, and Sheffield were considered to be the highest quality. It was also during this time that Bulldogs were first imported to the American colonies and although Bull-baiting never became popular there as a sport, these dogs were commonly used across the American South to control livestock, eventually giving rise to the American Bulldog, Olde Bulldogge, Antebellum Bulldog, Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldog, and Catahoula Bulldog. The Bulldog became a famous symbol of tenacity and ferocity.
Social change began to impact the Bulldog in the early 1800’s. Blood sports began to be seen as brutal and cruel. In 1802, Parliament first discussed banning bull-baiting. In 1835, both bear-baiting and bull-baiting were banned. As a result, Bulldog numbers began to drop, although not precipitously. Due to the fact that it was very cheap and easy to keep a Bulldog or two, and that Bulls were quite commonplace; illegal bull-baiting would remain popular for a number of decades, and was still occasionally practiced as late as the 20th Century. This would also help many Bulldog lines to retain their ferocity and toughness. It was this toughness and ferocity that led late 19th Century gamekeepers to cross the Bulldog with the Mastiff to create the Bullmastiff.
This retained ferocity would lead to the advent and popularization of dog fighting as the blood sport of choice. Blood sport enthusiasts had found that dog fights could not only feed the public’s appetite for violence, but that they were much easier to organize and keep secret. Additionally gambling (an integral part of all blood sports) remained intact and a hefty profit could still be made by wagering on the outcomes. It was for these reasons that dog fighting quickly replaced earlier types of animal combat. Initially, Bulldogs were the preferred choice for the English dog fighter. However, many Bulldogs did not have the dog aggression necessary to fight to the death, and most were relatively slow fighters. As such the Michael Vicks of the past began to cross the Bulldog with various types of terrier, creating what would come to be known as the Bull and Terrier. These dogs were so popular as dog fighters that cross-breed Bulldogs were in much greater demand than the purebred version, and as a result the purebred Bulldog almost became extinct. Eventually, the Bull and Terrier bred true and became the ancestor of the Bull Terrier, Miniature Bull Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, and numerous other varieties of the American Pit Bull Terrier.
Breed fanciers did not fail to notice that their beloved dog was in danger. In 1864, the Englishman R.S. Rockstro gathered a group of about 30 Bulldog fanciers and founded the first Bulldog Club with the motto, “Hold Fast.” The club only survived three years, but was able to publish the first Bulldog breed standard, known as the Philo-Kuan standard after its author. Of perhaps greater importance was the social contacts that the club created between its members, many of whom would later help found other breed clubs. In 1875, the Bulldog Club was founded at the Blue Post Inn in London, and now is longest operating breed specialty club in the world. The club’s main goal was to promote and protect the Bulldog breed, specifically to reduce the influence of the Spanish Bulldog on the breed, many of which weighed more than 100 pounds. The Bulldog Club published a new standard very similar to the Philo-Kuan standard, and likely partially based their standard on it. The Bulldog Club began to hold breed specific dog shows, as well as award special prizes for exceptional animals. Other Bulldog clubs were formed, most prominently the London Bulldog Club. These breeders worked to maintain what they considered to be the most important breed characteristics, but to substantially change the temperament of the breed. The animal that they created was substantially different from its ancestors.
Breeders focused on the least aggressive Bulldogs, those that would not only make the best family companions, but cause the fewest issues with other animals as well. It is widely believed that some early breeders crossed Bulldogs with Pugs to soften their temperaments. The Bulldog was reinvented. The breed which was once so fierce that it could not be used by gamekeepers because it was impossible to control and could not be kept from attacking other animals had become world-renowned for its gentle and affectionate nature. Small size was more desirable for companion dogs, and the average height of the Bulldog shrunk by several inches, largely due to a reduction in the length of the legs. Additionally the once long tail of the breed was shorted to a mere stump (a possible result of Pug blood), cultural preferences and cramped urban living quarters meant that the shorter a dog’s tail, the better. Breeders also worked to heighten the breed’s defining physical characteristics, leading to many of them becoming hyper-exaggerated. In fact, the modern Bulldog is considered by many to be the most exaggerated of all pure-bred dogs. A dog that would have once been described as stocky had become squat. A rich musculature had become immense bulk. The always short face became almost flat. Within a few decades, the Bulldog went from being an energetic and fit athlete to a lazy and tank-like couch potato. All of these changes combined to create a dog that was tougher and more intimidating in terms of appearance, sweeter and gentler in terms of temperament, and delicate and prone a wide variety of health issues.
Some breeders continued to breed smaller and smaller bulldogs, and for several decades in the late 19th and Early 20th Centuries, there was a unique breed known as the Toy Bulldog. During these years, a number of British factory workers had immigrated to Normandy, France. They brought the Toy Bulldog with them and it became extremely popular with the French people. So many of these dogs were imported to France that they became very rare in England. The French made several alterations to the breed such as adding long prick ears and eventually the Toy Bulldog became the French Bulldog.
The Bulldog’s unique and tough looking appearance and sweet nature made it a huge favorite with both British and American peoples. The Bulldog became so popular that it became an icon, an unofficial symbol of everything British, and especially everything English. Around the English-speaking world, the Bulldog became one of the most popular sports-team mascots, and there have been countless teams of every imaginable sport with the moniker of Bulldogs since the 1800’s. The appeal of the Bulldog as a mascot is quite obvious. The breed looks scary and tough, an animal both to be feared and worthy of imitating. However, unlike most other mascots, it is easy to keep an actual Bulldog around and not just a person in a cartoonish suit. The Bulldog itself is inexpensive and low maintenance to keep, and most are more than good-natured enough to meet the fans in person. American colleges and universities, as well as elementary, middle, and high schools, particularly favor the breed. Along with numerous lower schools, at least 39 institutes of higher learning use Bulldogs as their official mascot, including Butler University, California State University, Fresno, the University of Georgia, Gonzaga University, Louisiana Tech University, Mississippi State University, and Yale University. Probably one of the oldest Bulldog mascots in continuous use is that of the United States Marine Corps; the first of which was King Bulwark, a registered English Bulldog signed into Marine Corps service in a formal ceremony on 14 October 1922.
The use of the Bulldog as a mascot has a great deal to do with the long lasting popularity of the breed. Many children are familiarized with the breed from a young age as a result of sports, and many also get a chance to meet live Bulldogs serving as mascots. Because of its unique appearance and tremendous popularity, the Bulldog is very commonly depicted in popular media. Bulldogs have made countless appearances in art, literature, film, and television. Recently, web videos of skateboarding Bulldogs have gotten the breed a great deal of attention. These regular media appearances have also contributed to the dog’s longstanding fame.
Bulldogs have been present in the United States since colonial times, and new Bulldog blood was regularly imported with British immigrants. Although the changes made to the modern Bulldog were primarily made in England, American breeders were quick to follow the same paths. Popular throughout the United States, the Bulldog was one of the first breeds to be recognized with the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1886. The official AKC name for the breed is simply the Bulldog. Four years later, H. D. Kendall of Lowell, Massachusetts founded the Bulldog Club of America (BCA). The BCA was the first breed specific club in America, and became the official AKC parent club of the breed. Although initially composed of a few men in the Northeast, the BCA quickly became a truly national organization. The BCA and AKC initially used the British standard, but soon created one of their own, one that they considered more specific. In 1935, the United Kennel Club (UKC) also granted full recognition to the breed, but under the name Bulldog. The Bulldog became popular around the world, especially in English-speaking countries, and numerous Bulldog clubs have been formed in many countries.
In recent years, the Bulldog has become the target of criticism, largely as a result of its health. The exaggerated physical characteristics cause the breed a number of health concerns, most famously respiratory and cardiac issues. Bulldogs have a very short life expectancy for a dog, although the exact length varies from country to country. These dogs also suffer from a number of chronic painful conditions. The head of the Bulldog has become so large that most females cannot give birth naturally and require Caesarian Sections. A number of animal rights, veterinary, and dog breeders’ groups consider the modern version to be an unhealthy monstrosity and have seriously questioned the development and quality of life for the current Bulldog breed and have suggested that either breed standards change or the dog ceased to be bred at all.
In 2008, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) broadcast the documentary Pedigree Dogs Exposed, which was highly critical of pedigree dog breeding practices especially with regards to inbreeding and health. Pedigree Dogs Exposed was especially critical of the health of the Bulldog. The documentary sparked outrage and controversy across the United Kingdom, and caused the Kennel Club (KC) and the BBC to sever a decades old relationship when the BBC requested the Kennel Club bar 12 “At-Risk breeds” from Crufts, including the Bulldog. The other breeds were the Basset Hound, Clumber Spaniel, Dogue de Bordeaux, Mastiff, Neapolitan Mastiff, Pekingese, Bloodhound, Shar Pei, St. Bernard, Chow Chow, German Shepherd Dog, Rhodesian Ridgeback, and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. The Kennel Club refused to exclude any breeds, in a move many believe put advertising revenues and profit above the health, well being and general soundness of the breeds in question. The official statement from the KC was: "We are unable to agree to these demands, as it would compromise both contractual obligations and our general responsibility to dog exhibitors and our audience and we believe it would be inappropriate and counterproductive to exclude any recognized breed from Crufts."
The Kennel Club was, however, convinced (some have said forced under popular pressure) to make changes to the official Bulldog standard, as well as implement new health protocols for all breeds. Although done to increase the health of the Bulldog and repair the breed’s name in the eyes of the British public, these changes were greatly opposed by many members of the Bulldog clubs of that country. This great controversy does not seem to have especially impacted the United States. As of yet, the AKC and UKC have not made significant changes to their Bulldog standards, and the breed continues to rise in popularity. In Australia, Bulldog breeders unhappy with the health of their dogs decided to cross Bulldog males with females of other breeds to create a healthier, natural whelping breed. The end result of their efforts was a new breed, the Australian Bulldog.
The Bulldog has long been popular in the United States but has recently gone through an immense surge in popularity and numbers. In the last decade, the Bulldog has become one of the most fashionable dog breeds and is highly sought after as a pet. There are now many thousands more Bulldogs registered each year than there were ten years ago. In 2000, the Bulldog was the 21st most registered breed in terms of AKC registrations. By 2010, the breed had risen to 6th, behind only the Golden Retriever, Beagle, Yorkshire Terrier, German Shepherd Dog, and Labrador Retriever. The Bulldog is currently one of the most popular pets in the United States, and its popularity does not show any signs of letting up. Although once bred as a ferocious fighter, the modern Bulldog has become so exaggerated and lazy that it is ill-suited for any task other than companionship or conformation showing. Virtually every Bulldog in the world is now primarily a companion animal or show dog, although that is probably to the great preference of most breed members.
There is perhaps no dog breed with as unmistakable an appearance as an Bulldog. Long a common sight in popular media, the Bulldog is perhaps the most recognizable dog in America. The Bulldog is quite short in height, but surprisingly large in terms of weight. Although Bulldogs are somewhat variable in terms of height, most stand between 12 and 16 inches tall at the shoulder. The average female Bulldog weighs between 35 and 55 pounds, and the average male weighs between 40 and 60 pounds. These weights are for breed members in good shape, many obese Bulldogs weigh significantly more. The Bulldog is perhaps the stockiest of all breeds, and is often described as the tank of the canine world. Every part of this dog’s anatomy in incredibly thick. Some of the girth comes from thick bones, but most comes from pure bulk. The Bulldog is surprisingly muscular, but does not always appear this way. The legs of the Bulldog are very short, and often have heavily bent joints. This breed is also perhaps the most thick-chested in comparison to body size of any dog. The tail of the Bulldog is naturally very short. The tails of most Bulldogs are between 1 and 3 inches long, but may be straight, curly, or kinky.
The head of an Bulldog sits at the end of a neck that is both very thick and very short. The head itself is massive for the size of the dog, both in terms of depth and width. This breed is famous for having a flattened, square shaped head. This is perhaps the most brachycephalic of all dogs, meaning that it has the most pushed-in muzzle. The muzzles of many Bulldogs are so reduced in length that they barely extend from the rest of the head at all. The lower jaw generally extends farther than the upper jaw and most Bulldogs have pronounced under bites. Although most breeders find it undesirably for a Bulldog’s lower teeth to be showing when the dog’s mouth is closed, this often occurs. The muzzle generally points slightly upwards, and the noses of many Bulldogs look like they are facing partially backwards. The lips of the Bulldog are very pendulous, forming prominent jowls. The face of the Bulldog is covered in long, thick wrinkles. These wrinkles are often so large and numerous that they obscure the breed’s other facial features. The eyes of this breed are set fairly deeply into the skull, and as far from the ears as is possible. The ears of this breed are very short and thin. The ears of some Bulldogs drop down close to the head, while others stick straight out. Similarly, some of this breed’s ears fold forwards, while others fold to the sides, and some event are held backwards. The overall impression of the Bulldog is somewhere between fierce and comical.
The coat of an Bulldog is quite uniform over the entire body of the dog, short and straight. The coat lies flat and very close to the skin. The hair is smooth and soft to the touch and should look glossy to the eye. Bulldogs come in many different colors, all of which have a number of fanciers. However, kennel clubs have preferences for various color schemes. According to both the AKC and the UKC, the ideal color for an Bulldog is red brindle (red base coat with black stripes), followed by all other brindles, solid white, solid red, fawn, or yellow, and piebald (white base coat with patches of solid color or brindle) in that order. Standards do indicate that an ideal specimen of one pattern is preferably to an inferior specimen of a more preferred pattern. Bulldogs are also occasionally found in solid black or solid dark brown. While most kennel clubs strongly disfavor these two colors, especially solid black, many fanciers greatly prefer them.
Perhaps no breed has gone through as dramatic a temperament change as the Bulldog has over the past 150 years. The Bulldog went from being an athletic and dangerously aggressive fighter to a lazy and good natured companion. Bulldogs are a very people-oriented breed. These dogs like to be around their families at all times. Some Bulldogs are very dependent, and want to be lap dogs. Others prefer to be in the same room as their families but on their own sofa. Most Bulldogs are quietly affectionate, not in a jumping and licking way. The Bulldog is generally very tolerant of strangers, and when properly socialized almost all are polite and accepting. The breed’s excitement level upon meeting strangers varies, some Bulldogs love everyone they meet instantly while others are somewhat aloof and reserved. Although very rarely human aggressive, some Bulldogs do develop territorial issues and food aggression issues are quite common. Some breeders recommend feeding Bulldogs outside of the presence of children or other animals to prevent problems from developing.
The watch and guard dog abilities of this breed vary tremendously from dog to dog. Many Bulldogs are so lazy and disinterested that they will not give even the slightest alert that a guest is at the door. Others jealously guard their homes with very loud and flashy displays which are enough to give a wrongdoer pause. Most of these displays are all bark and no bite, and only a very small percentage of Bulldogs are aggressive enough to make a serious guard dog. It takes a tremendous amount of teasing or threatening to arouse an Bulldog, but once one is enraged it is a powerful and determined force of nature. Bulldogs are generally good with children. This breed is very gentle with children, and also very tolerant of them, although it is very important that children be taught how to behave properly around the dog. With the exception of the aforementioned food and territorial issues, most socialized Bulldogs get along very-well with children although they are not especially playful with them (or anyone else for that matter).
The modern Bulldog generally gets along well with other animals. This breed has comparatively low-levels of dog aggression and when properly trained and socialized most breed members get along very well with other dogs and would prefer to share their lives with a canine companion. Some problems may develop due to the breed’s territorial nature, and many do as a result of food aggression. Although generally not dog aggressive, some male Bulldogs become somewhat aggressive towards other male dogs and may challenge them for dominance on a regular basis, sometimes with violence. This can be largely corrected with training, and neutering greatly reduces the problem’s severity. Bulldogs also get along very well-with non-canine animals. Although any unsocialized dog will pursue and potentially attack unfamiliar animals, this breed has a very low prey drive and is much less interested in doing so than most dogs. Once properly socialized, the Bulldog will rarely give other pets any problems, especially cats which most of these dogs completely ignore when familiar with them.
The Bulldog is famously difficult to train. This breed is perhaps the most stubborn of all dogs. It is very common for a Bulldog to decide that it doesn’t want to do something, and that is the end of that. This stubbornness often prevents a breed member from learning a new command, or from obeying a command it knows well. Bulldogs will learn manners and simple obedience without too many difficulties, but they are rarely flawlessly obedient. Only masterful dog trainers working with exceptional Bulldogs can get this breed to do advanced training such as obedience competitions and even then there is a limit. Negative training techniques and correction have virtually no impact on this breed, which is capable of and willing to completely ignore them. Rewards based training techniques are considerably more effective, but Bulldogs often decide a treat or a word of praise is insufficient to get them to perform a task. While the Bulldog is not an especially dominant breed, it does recognize a master that is not in control. While generally stubborn and resistant, an Bulldog that comes to think that it is in charge of a situation is absolutely intractable. For this reason, Bulldog owners must make it clear that they are in the position of dominance at all times.
The Bulldog is a very low energy dog and is perhaps the single greatest couch potato of any canine. Most breed members would much prefer a nap on the sofa to a run in the woods. This breed will definitely sleep for most of the day. Adult Bulldogs are very rarely playful, and very few will play games such as fetch. Owners of these dogs often have more problems getting them to exercise enough to keep them in good physical shape than enough exercise to keep them happy. This is a breed that prefers to go at a walking pace, and makes a very poor jogging companion. While most Bulldogs enjoy an occasional romp in the yard or at the dog park, this breed is very well-suited to apartment life. Because of the breed’s many skeletal and respiratory problems, these dogs tire very quickly and actually cannot exercise too much. Low-activity families that want an indoor companion will likely be very pleased with an Bulldog, but those who are looking for a dog that will go on strenuous outdoor adventures with them are advised to select a different breed.
Bulldogs are not the ideal breed for the easily grossed out or embarrassed. This breed drools quite a bit. Bulldogs will regularly leave slobber on furniture and guests, although not to the extent of a larger breed such as an English Mastiff. Bulldogs are also messy eaters and drinkers that often leave trails of food and water from their bowls. Of more concern for many owners is the breed’s many noisy emissions. Bulldogs make a wide variety of wheezes, grunts, and similar sounds. Bulldogs also snore very loudly, and as this breed spends most of its time sleeping, owners can expect to hear several hours of snoring each day. What is most problematic about Bulldogs is the breed’s flatulence. Bulldogs are absolutely notorious for both the frequency and potency with which they pass gas. While almost all Bulldogs are incredibly flatulent, some are nearly constantly so.
The Bulldog has an easy to care for coat. These dogs do not require professional grooming, and it does not take much effort or time to groom them. Many Bulldogs suffer from skin conditions, such animals will need to be groomed very frequently. Although their coats are low-maintenance, the Bulldog does need special care for its face. The many wrinkles on the Bulldog’s face easily trap water, food, dirt, grime, and other particles. To prevent irritation and infection, these wrinkles should be thoroughly cleaned and dried at least once every day, and preferably after each meal.
The Bulldog is known for being a very unhealthy breed. These dogs suffer from a number of very serious health conditions, and also suffer from them at higher rates than many other breeds. The health of this breed is so bad that many animal welfare organizations have seriously campaigned for standard changes and even a ban on Bulldog breeding. The Bulldog is simply a very unnatural animal and has been modified from the wolf perhaps more than any other dog. This breed suffers from many respiratory issues due to its brachycephalic face and a number of skeletal disorders as a result of its unusual frame and build.
Bulldogs also suffer from a number of other genetically inherited conditions, especially those involving the lungs and skin. Bulldogs are many times as expensive to keep as many similarly sized breeds because of the high veterinary bills these dogs often incur for their owners. As a result of the breed’s many health problems, it has a very short life expectancy. While most breed clubs say that the breed’s life expectancy is between 8 and 12 years, most health surveys of these dogs put it at closer to 6½ years, with exceptional animals living to 10 or 11. Although their life is short, many of the Bulldog’s problems develop at a young age and these animals often suffer painful conditions for many years before they pass.
The shortened face and massive head of the Bulldog cause the dog several severe problems. Bulldogs have trouble getting enough air into their bodies, and are often very short of breathe. They also wheeze, snort, snore, and other similar problems. Bulldogs are incapable of lengthy physical activity because their lungs cannot get enough oxygen to their muscles. Because dogs use the air that they take in to cool their bodies, Bulldogs are also highly sensitive to the heat. This breed both gets heat stroke and dies from it quicker and at lower temperatures than most other dogs. Most famously, the head of the modern Bulldog is so massive that it can no longer fit in the female’s birth canal. Fewer than one in five Bulldog litters are born naturally, the rest require caesarian sections.
The Bulldog suffers from a number of skeletal issues. This breed’s body is very far from the canine average and does not develop as easily or as naturally. Without proper nutrition and exercise from a young age, the bones of a Bulldog develop even more improperly, often leading to extremely painful or crippling issues later in life. Almost all Bulldogs will suffer from some type of arthritis or other joint pain at some point in their lives, often from as young an age as 2 or 3. Of even greater concern is hip dysplasia. Hip dysplasia is caused by a malformation of the hip joint. This causes pain and discomfort as the dog ages, and in severe cases lameness. Although caused by genetics, the onset and severity of hip dysplasia may be influenced by environmental factors. Although one of the most common health problems found in all dogs, multiple health studies including those conducted by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) have concluded that the English Bulldog suffers from the highest rate of any breed. At least 73% of all Bulldogs have hip dysplasia, and some experts think that the total may be even higher. To put it into perspective, breeders of many other dogs have become seriously alarmed when it was found out that 5% of breed members suffered from this condition, and 10% is enough to seriously alarm most veterinarians.
Bulldogs suffer from a very large number of health problems, but some of the most concerning include: