Things You Need To Know About The Bulldog Breed

Pure English Bulldog Laying on Grass

The bulldog breed. They look intimidating and definitely not a breed that you’d want chasing after you. Their stocky but very muscular bodies, the wide, imposing stance, and that mean under-bite makes them look pretty menacing, but you would be surprised that they are anything but vicious or aggressive! In fact, they are one of the most lovable animals with courage to match!

First – Check Out The Infographic

Guide To Bulldog Breed

Share This Image On Your Site

As you go through this guide, we are going to talk about the bulldog and shed some light on the bulldog breed, and it’s cousins. Here’s a quick overview of the breed to get us started!

  • Bulldogs tend to have a lazy and stubborn streak.
  • Bulldogs don’t do well in heat and humidity, but they are also sensitive to cold temperatures.
English Bulldog Sleeping on Sofa
  • Bulldogs have trouble breathing and may suffer from sleep apnea.
  • Bulldogs could have punched nostrils, which may need surgery to fix so they can breathe.
  • Bulldogs are known to have bad gas, which you might want to consult a vet about.
  • Bulldogs are greedy pups and can overeat if you put out too much food.
  • Bulldogs have a hard time giving birth due to the large skull, so most need caesareans to deliver.

For healthy puppies, avoid getting them from backyard breeders, the inexperienced breeder, or puppy mills. You want to find a reputable breeder that is diligent about testing their breeding dogs for possible genetic conditions and desirable temperaments.

The History Of The Bulldog Breed

The bulldog breed originated from Antiquity’s fighting dog breeds and Molossian dogs. These dogs were of two breeds—the larger Mastiff dog, which was used for guarding and then the smaller type—the Bulldog, that was in charge of herding and protecting precious livestock.

Old Picture of Bull Fighting with Bulldog

While the true origin of the Bulldog still remains up for discussion among historians, one thing the all can agree on is that the breed earned their name because they were used to guard, control, and bait the bulls. The Bulldog breed was chosen to participate in bullfighting, which was very popular at the time.

Sadly, when bullbaiting became outlawed in 1835, the Bulldog breed could have died out because there was no need for the animal. That is a group of staunch Bulldog lovers decided to preserve the breed. In doing so, they bred out the aggressive characteristics while maintaining the most desirable traits. It only took a couple of successfully bred generations before the Bulldog breed is what we know it to be today.

Dog Time notes that this breed was brought to the United States in 1880 and the very first bulldog, a brindle and white Bulldog, Donald, was shown in New York. A few years later in 1886, a Bob, another Bulldog, was registered with the American Kennel Club. In 1890, H.D. Kendall from Lowell, Massachusetts created The Bulldog Club of America and it was one of the very first breed clubs that joined the new American Kennel Club.

American Kennel Club Logo

In the beginning, the Bulldog Club adhered to the British breed standard, but they deviated from that because they didn’t think it was concise enough. The club developed the American standard of Bulldogs in 1894, which was called the American-bred Bulldog.

At the time, the English protested the name and some components of the new standard. With many revisions and a lot of effort, the standard was revised and finally accepted in 1896, and those standards are still in use today.

General Bulldog Breed Appearance

The ideal bulldog specimen is going to be medium sized with a smooth coat. They will have a muscular body that is low on the ground. Their shoulders are going to be wider apart than most other breeds, and their limbs are going to be quite sturdy, thanks to its muscle tone.

The head is going to be wide with a short muzzle. According to Bulldog Club of America, their general appearance and attitude indicate they are a breed who exudes stability, strength, and vigor.

  • Bulldog Size – When the bulldog reaches full maturity, a male can be as much as 50 pounds, whereas a female bulldog will only get to 40 pounds, and on average will stand about 12 to 14 inches high. When you are looking at the overall proportion and symmetry of your bulldog, you’ll want to measure the circumference of the Bulldog skull in front of its ears. This should measure be at least the height of the dog from the floor to its shoulders. For the symmetry, the “points” should be evenly distributed and be equidistant from one another. Bulldogs who are perfect examples of the bulldog breed should have no one feature more prominent than any other.
Victorian Bulldog on Beach
  • Bulldog Eyes – The eyes of your bulldog should be in the front of the skill and be located far from the ears. You’ll notice that the outside corners of their eyes are in line with their cheeks when you’re looking at them straight on. They won’t be bulging out from the eye socket like Pugs or Chihuahua’s, but they also shouldn’t be sunken into their skull either. For show dogs, the ideal Bulldog will have dark eyes, but they have been known to have blue or green eyes—some have even been known to have a dual colored eye(s). When the dog is looking at you, the eyelid will cover the whites of its eyes.
  • Bulldog Ears – The ears of the Bulldog should be high on their head. The shape of the bulldog’s ear is called a “rose ear,” which means they are small and thin. The fold of the ear is probably going to fold inward on the back edge and out and back toward the upper edge. The Bulldog’s ears are never cropped or buttoned.
  • Bulldog Face – The face of the Bulldog is quite distinct, as they have the pushed in muzzle, a significant under-bite, and an ample supply of wrinkles and rolls—most noticeably over the eyes and the nose. Some Bulldog breeds also have wrinkled cheeks and large jowls.
  • Bulldog Legs – The legs of your bulldog are going to be strong, muscular, and longer in the back than in the front. Their feet will be moderately sized with high knuckles and stubby nails. The front feet will have a slight outward turn, whereas the back feet will be pointed forward.
White American Bulldog on Grass
  • Bulldog Coat – The fur on a bulldog is going to be close to its body, straight, short, and flat. It’ll have a smooth texture and even a nice sheen to it.
  • Bulldog Colors – Bulldogs come in a variety of colors such as red, white, fawn, fallow, or any combination of those above. Of course, the bulldog breed can have different patterns and markings. These can include black masks, black tipping, brindle, merle, piebalds, and ticking.
  • Bulldog Body – The bulldog’s neck is going to be short, thick, and have a nice arch where the neck meets the back. The dog’s body is going to be what Bulldog Club of America calls, “capacious, with full sides, well-rounded ribs, and very deep shoulders down to its lowest part where it joins the chest.”

The dog’s chest will be broad and strong. The body is going to be ribbed behind the belly and tucked—the pup shouldn’t have a rotund belly. For the tail, it could either be straight or screwed, but not necessarily curly or curved. For show dogs, it’ll hang low with a downward carriage. The root of the tail is going to be relatively thick, and it’ll taper off to a thin tip.

Bulldog Temperament, Character And Personality

If ever there was a particular breed of dog who was misunderstood, it would be the Bulldog. Sometimes, people even go so far to question it’s intelligence. Many people thing these dogs are aggressive, stupid, stubborn and lazy. Don’t get us wrong, there are some instances where the Bulldog personality does match these misconceptions, but it isn’t a rule.

English Bulldog Puppy Look

In fact, like humans, each dog varies from the next. What people fail to recognize that Bulldogs are faithful, protective, and totally loyal to their family members. Oh, and yes—they can be a little stubborn sometimes.

Let it be known that of all the dog breeds on this planet, the Bulldog could easily go down as the prize for being the best companion dog, as suggested by Bulldog Information. They have this special gift that makes them a wonderful companion for anyone who chooses to adopt one of these lovable dogs. These dogs are so full of personality and are always eager to be silly if it will make you laugh.

How You Should Name Your Bulldog Pal

These dogs are able to get in tuned with your emotions, so when you’re happy, they will be. If you’re sad, they will be there to nuzzle and cuddle until you feel better. They truly are a great companion for people of all ages.

You may wonder why bulldogs are so charming, right? It’s simple! The bulldog looks fierce and one not to be messed with, however, they aren’t tough at all. They are lovable, yes, but they are also brave and protective should they think their owners are in any sort of danger.

American Bulldog Looking at Camera

The best part of the Bulldog is that they are very aware of their own strength. This means that they will be gentle with small children and the elderly, but they can give it their all when they have to defend their loved ones.

This natural protectiveness can be seen when they are interacting with small children or other family pets. The bulldog is going to want to defend the kids (or even fellow pets) whenever they are getting scolded or reprimanded by their parents/owners.

We should mention that although they are protective, they aren’t necessarily the best choice if you’re looking for a guard dog on a permanent basis. Each dog is different, and there is no guarantee that your bulldog is going to be as protective as you may want. Some dogs are going to be ready and eager to defend their territory or owners.

These dogs won’t need special training, and they’ll be great at it. However, there are Bulldogs who are always happy, positive, and carefree—even if there is an intruder trying to break in your house.

You might think that this playful behavior is something the dog will grow out of once they hit adulthood. In some cases, it can. However, Bulldogs mature very slowly—sometimes it can take as much as two years! This means that they will behave like puppies and be unpredictable for as long as 24 months!

Small French Bulldog Puppy Cheewing Shoelace

Remember how we said that many people believe that a bulldog is lazy and stubborn? Bulldog Information suggests that these characteristics imply that they just know how to prioritize your command and choose which command is more urgent and if it complies with his own value system.

Be that as it may, it could get a little frustrating if the bulldog doesn’t immediately act when you tell it to—rest assured that they will act on the command, just when they are ready.

Now keep in mind that although a bulldog may not be the fastest breed to respond to commands, it doesn’t mean that they are aloof. Even when you think they are asleep or taking a break from the activities around the home, they are still observant. Don’t be surprised if they get vocal if something is out of place in the home!

Bulldog Health Issues

In a perfect world, our beloved pets wouldn’t get sick, be it by disease or a genetic disorder. Unfortunately, the world isn’t perfect. Bulldogs, like other purebred pups, are prone to genetic conditions and diseases.

Sad Bulldog Laying on Floor

Granted, not all Bulldogs will get sick—many of them never have any health issues at all! We believe it is always best to be informed of what could happen just so you know what to look for throughout the entirety of the bulldog lifespan, which is roughly 12 years max.

Before we get into the possible health concerns associated with the bulldog breed, we want to make sure that you fully understand how important it is that you get your bulldog from a responsible and reputable breeder.

By purchasing your bulldog from a responsible breeder, you can expect that your puppy will have been vaccinated and dewormed before you’re able to take them home. Also, you can be sure that the responsible breeder will only breed dogs that are healthy and mature, which means they are at least two years old. Oh, and they are actively testing their breeding dogs for any genetic diseases that are typical of the breed.

Frenchie Puppy Sad Looking

With that said, before purchasing said puppy, you’ll want to ask the breeder for documentation for the parents that clear the dog of any possible health defects. For a Bulldog, Dog Time says you can expect medical clearances the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals for elbows, hips and knees. Also, the parents should have a certification from the Canine Eye Registery Foundation that clears the dog of any eye abnormalities.

Keep in mind that these health clearances aren’t issued to dogs that haven’t reach two years old. This is because some conditions aren’t detectable until the dog is fully matured, which makes it only logical that parent dogs should only begin being bred once they hit two years old.

With all that out of the way, bulldogs can have countless health problems and will require that you pay attention to their health throughout their life. Also, you have to consider if you can afford any medical attention they may need if they do come down with any of the following conditions or diseases:

Cherry Eye​

Cherry Eye is a condition where the gland under the third eyelid sticks out and looks like there’s a small cherry in the corner of your pup’s eye. If your bulldog has this, you may have to go to a vet to have it removed​.

Bulldog with Cherry Eye

​​Dry Eye

​Dry Eye is a condition that is caused when your dog isn’t able to produce enough tears naturally. Signs of dry include a blue haze to the bulldog’s eye, or the eye looks dry. You can take your dog to the the vet where they can conduct a test to determine if your bulldog does, in fact, have dry eye. If it does, medication can be prescribed to ease the discomfort associated with the condition.


​Entropion is a condition where the dog’s eyelashes are turned inward, and they irritate the eyeball because the lashes are rubbing against it. There have been some instances where surgery is necessary to correct this condition.

​Reverse Sneezing

​Reverse Sneezing isn’t so much a health condition or disease, but it is a condition where the nasal fluids drip down onto the dog’s soft palate, thus causing it to close.

This can also occur when your bulldog is sniffing around and gets something up its nose. Don’t worry too much about this because it isn’t too serious and you can rememdy it yourself by stroking your dog’s throat, and it should pass relatively quickly.

​Brachycephalic Syndrome

Brachycephalic Syndrome is a disorder that isn’t just restricted to Bulldogs. It’s found in dog breeds with short heads, narrow nostrils, and soft elongated palates. Dogs with this disorder will have obstructed airways in varying degrees, and it could cause something as miniscule as a noisy breathing to something more serious like a collapsed airway.

Dogs with this disorder will have some kind of sniffle, snore, or snort from time to time. There are treatments for this disorder, but the specific treatment depends on the severity of the problem.​

Bulldog with Brachycephalic Syndrome

​Head Shakes

​Head Shakes resembles an episode of shakes, but it only really affects the dog’s head. This involuntary movement shakes the dog’s head up and down or side-to-side, and it can get pretty violent. Your dog will probably seem like they are aware of what is happening. The cause of this is generally linked to the dog being stressed or even having low blood sugar.

Dog Time recommends that you give your dog some honey so that their blood sugar comes back up, or even try distracting them to make the shaking stop. If the shaking doesn’t sem like it is due to stress or being too excited, you should make an appointment to take the pup to the vet to ensure that the dog isn’t feeling any pain.


​Demodicosis (Demodetic Mange) occurs when the mother passes a demodex mite onto her pups within the first few days of them being born. These mites are present in all breeds of dogs, so it isn’t exclusively a bulldog health issue. These mites can be found living in the hair follicles of the dog, but they usually don’t cause the dog any problems.

However, if your bulldog has a weakened immune system, they are susceptible to developing demodicosis, which can be localized or generalized. When this is in the localized form, there will be patches of bald, red, and scaly skin on the back of the head, neck, and forelegs.

This is usually only a puppy disease, and it is likely to clear up on its own. However, it’s still a good thing that you take your bulldog to the vet because it could progress into a generalized form where it covers the whole body. The generalized form can affect older pups to young adult dogs.

You can tell if it has become generalized if the entire body has patchy skin, bald spots, and even skin infections. If your Bulldog does have this disease in either form, it isn’t recommended to breed it, regardless if it clears up, because it is considered a genetic disease.​

Bulldog with Hip Dysplasia

​Hip Dysplasia

​Hip Dysplasia is a genetic condition where the bulldog’s thighbone isn’t snug inside the hip join. The majority of Bulldogs will have this disorder, and it can be detected with a hip x-ray. This disorder is common in bukkdigs because they have a naturally shallow hip join.

With that said, it is uncommon that the dog will have associated problems with laziness due to it—unless they get overweight or they’ve been over exercised during that window where they were growing rapidly as a pup. If your Bulldog has been diagnosed with hip dysplasia, you’ll want to go to another ver to get their opinion.

When you do that, you can decide how you will proceed from that junction. Many times you can give them supplements to see if that helps before opting for surgery.

​Slipped Stifles

​Slipped Stifles, or patellar luxation, is common in small dogs. It happens when the three bones in the leg (femur, patella, and tibia) aren’t lined up properly. This can cause your dog to be lame, have an abnormal gait that mimics a skip or even a hop. This condition is usually there when the bulldog is born, but the misalignment or luxation can take a while to develop.

The rubbing that’s caused by patellar luxation can cause arthritis. There're four grades of this disease, the first grade being an occasional luxation that results in temporary lameness in the dog’s join. The fourth grade is the most extreme, and it is when the tibia has severely turned, and the patella cannot be realigned with it manually, thus giving the dog its bowlegged appearance—which can be corrected with surgery.

Bulldog with Slipped Stifles

​Tail Problems

Tail Problems like screw tails, inverted tails, or other examples of “tight” tails could cause your bulldog to have skin problems. To avoid infections and rashes, you’ll want to make sure you clean your bulldog’s tail daily and dry it thoroughly.​

Bulldog Care

To care for your Bulldog, you have to be committed to understanding your dog and how it adapts to its environment. Not all bulldogs are the same, and your home isn’t going to be like any others that your pup may have visited. With that said, these care and training tips for a bulldog can be tweaked to suit your special companion.

Bulldog Nutrition

As your bulldog puppy grows up, you will have to change its meal times to ensure that there are enough food and water available to maintain its growth and hydration, but not so much that the puppy will gourge on the food and get sick. Bulldog Club of America points out your breeder should give you information about the established feeding schedule that was in place while it was in the breeder’s care.

Table of Bulldog Nutrition

When you regulate the amount of food and water your dog takes, you’ll become a professional stool and urine examiner. You’ll be able to tell when the dog is overfed because the stool will be loose and the color could be green or yellow. You can tell that your puppy is healthy by looking at the amount and the color of the urine. If you do notice any changes in their stool or urine, you should contact your vet immediately.

Bulldog Feedings

When your bulldog is still young, you are going to want to feed it a couple of times a day, and as it gets older, you’ll want to decrease the number of times you feed it. Remember that you’ll want to reduce how much and how frequently you feed them overtime as it gets older. That means you don’t want to go from feeding him 6 small meals a day to three times a day overnight.

We should note that your dog may not eat all of the food you give him at every meal time. With that said, you’ll want to make sure that his tummy is rounded after he eats, which is a sign that he ate his fill. With the left over food, you can leave it for his next meal.

English Bulldog Puppy on Table

When you’re trying to determine what kind of dog food is best suited for your bulldog, you’ll want to choose a dog food that is specified for the particular stage of life your dog is in, but you’ll also want to consider if your dog has allergies. If they do have allergies, reading the label of the dog food can help you determine whether a dog food is good for your pup or not.

If you want to change food from one brand to another, do it gradually, so the change isn’t a huge shock. You can mix the food in incriments until you complete phase out the old brand.

Bulldog Exercise

Bulldogs, when they are inside, aren’t very active and don’t require a whole lot of exercise. They do need to be walked for at least an hour during the day, so they don’t get overweight. However, these dogs are indoor dogs, and they enjoy relaxing. Don’t be too surprised that if you play with them for 15 minutes, they will go off to their bed, flop down and take a nap.

Bulldogs are low to moderate energy dogs, so they can adapt to any kind of home, be it an apartment or condo to a house with a big yard. If you like going on walks, your bulldog can walk for a mile or two with no problem—just as long it is during the cooler part of the day.

Young English Bulldog Looking Up

They don’t do well with heat and humidity, or extreme cold. The smooshed in faces of the Bulldog breed makes it difficult for them to breathe when they are overly hot, and they can’t dissipate the heat very well, so heatstroke isn’t uncommon for Bulldogs. Why they could be outside for merely 30 minutes in 85 degree weather, and it could kill them.

It’s important that you give your bulldog an air-conditioned environment and lots of fresh water. Dog Time also points out that because their heads are so large, Bulldogs are not good swimmers. So, you probably shouldn’t think about bringing your dog in the pool with you to cool him off. In fact, if you do have a pool, you might want to make sure it is fenced off, just to be safe.

Bulldog Training

When you want to train your bulldog, Your Pure Bred Puppy recommends that you teach him that he needs to respect you and make sure he knows that you are in charge and not him.

Also, when you train him, you don’t want to use negative training methods. They just do not work. Instead, use positive training techniques, which is synonymous with clicker training. When you use a clicker, it conditions the dog to do the desired behavior and then you reward them by giving them a treat. Some people have a problem with this type of training because it only really works when you are trying to teach your dog tricks like shake hands or stand.

English Bulldog Running

If you want to teach them commands that change his behavior, you’ll want to use respect training because it is a balanced way fo training your dog. This means that you’ll give positive reinforcement when they do something good, and you want them to continue doing that, but it also means you’ll give them negative consequences that will discourage them from doing a particular behavior again.

Bulldogs can be stubborn and even at times difficult to train, but when you are persistant and patient, they will pick up commands relatively easily. Just stick with it!

The Different Bulldog Types

When you think of a bulldog, you might think of the common English Bulldog with it’s pronounced underbute, wrinkly face, and stocky build. However, did you know that there are other bulldog breeds that are equally as charming? This includes:

  • American Bulldog
  • French Bulldog
French Bulldog Standing on Grass
  • German Bulldog (also known as Bullenbeisser, which is now extinct)
  • Spanish Bulldog (also known as Alano Español)

But, other than these national Bulldogs, you also have designer bulldog breeds. To get these special dogs, you mix one purebred dog with a purebred bulldog. Examples of a designer bulldog breed includes:

  • English Boodle (English Bulldog x Poodle)
  • Bull-Pei (Bulldog x Shar Pei)
  • Bullypit (Bulldog x Pit Bull)
Bullypit Standing on Grass
  • Beabull (Bulldog x Beagle)
  • Bulloxer (Bulldog x Boxer)

Why do people cross breed the bulldog with other breeds, you ask? By doing this, the breeder can breed out undesirable characteristics in either breed and keep the desired ones. For example, the Bullypit is an excellent guard dog because both breeds are loving and affectionate, but they both are very protective of their family members without going off and being too aggressive without cause.

Now keep in mind that if you decide to choose a designer bulldog breed, you will get a dog that can have the health issues from bother breeds, although it will be less likely since they aren’t purebreds.


The Bulldog is a lovable pet, despite it’s intimidating appearance. These dogs are terrific companion dogs for the elderly or families with small children because they are gentle, but they won’t hesitate to go into protective mode if the situation arises. If ever you’re feeling down and out, you can always count on your lovable bulldog to curl up beside you with their heavy head resting on your lap, and the moment you’re feeling better, they will be up and ready to go!

Man Walking with Bulldog

Of all the dog breeds you could choose, many people love the Bulldog breed because they are low maintance. They don’t require too much activity, so if you’re someone who isn’t very active yourself, you can get away with taking these pups on a short walk, and they’ll be quite content!

You’ll find that the bulldog is full of life and personality. Although they may take a while to “grow up,” the two years that it does take them to mature is going to be full of fun and laughter.

Of course, it isn’t always going to be fun and games, as Bulldogs do need to be trained and socialized with others so that they can get along well with other people and other animals.

When you start the training process early, it could be a lot to take on, especially if you are raising a bulldog for the first time. Bulldogs do have the tendency to be stubborn, but because they are able to pick up on your emotions, you don’t want to do it when you’re angry or frustrated.

Your bulldog will pick up on your mood and then will associate training with your unhappiness and be less likely to cooperate. If you do feel yourself reaching your limit, take a break and calm down. You’ll find that the training will be much easier when both you and your dog are on the same page, so to speak.

When you do start looking for your very own bulldog puppy to welcome into your family, you want to find a reputable breeder who has certifications that clearly states the parent dogs are healthy and they do not have any medical conditions that could be passed on to the puppies. Also, avoid backyard breeders or puppy mills because there is no guarantee that your puppy will be healthy.

Couple Kissing Bulldog

We hope that the information in this guide was able to shed some light on what to expect when you adopt a bulldog puppy of your very own. These dogs have a lot of personality and love to give. Sure, there are some health issues that could arise as your puppy grows up, but with the proper care and attention, those can be taken care of.

It doesn’t matter which Bulldog breed you will choose to adopt, be it a French Bulldog, an American Bulldog, or a fancy designer bulldog mix, your family will feel more complete. Just be careful when choosing which pup you want! As you look at the adorably wrinkled faces, you may find it too difficult choosing just one!

Leave a Comment: