Bulldogs - Breed Introduction
The Bulldog is not nearly as fierce as its appearance suggests. Originally bred to bait bulls, today’s Bulldog is a soft-hearted companion dog. The Bulldog may be reluctant to budge if it’s not so inclined, and its tenacity gives it character. However, its friendly nature enables it to get along with nearly everyone.
Bulldogs are generally 12 to 14 inches (30 to 38 centimeters) in height and weigh between 40 and 50 pounds (18 to 23 kilograms).
History of Breed
As its name suggests, Bulldogs were bred to bait bulls, and they did the job well. Strong and determined, they would hang on to the bull ruthlessly, regardless of the injuries they suffered as a result.
Bulldogs originated in Great Britain in the 1600s as a cross between mastiff guard dogs that were used to bait bears and terriers that were used in game hunting. The dog’s fate was threatened when bull baiting became illegal in Great Britain in the 1830s.
However, a breeder by the name of Bill George successfully reduced the Bulldog’s aggressive temperament. Today the Bulldog is considered a gentle and affectionate companion.
Color and Coat
The coat is short, fine-textured, smooth, and relatively soft. The Bulldog’s coloring may include various combinations of red, brindle, fawn, yellow or white
Personality and Temperament
Bulldogs are courageous and powerful, peaceful and goofy, and gentle and affectionate. These clown-like characters appreciate humor and wriggle incessantly when happy. Though in actuality the Bulldog is too friendly to make a good guard dog, it would defend a family member if the situation called for it, and their prizefighter mugs are likely to scare off ignorant would-be intruders.
For all its sweetness, the Bulldog can be stubborn, too. Under no circumstances can a Bulldog be convinced to do something that he is determined not to. Therefore, the best way to train a Bulldog is to make him think that the task at hand is something he wants to do.
The activity level of the Bulldog is low. In fact, sleeping may well be the Bulldog’s favorite activity. A couple of relatively short walks at a moderate pace each day are all it takes to satisfy the breed’s exercise needs. Bulldogs cannot tolerate heat, so care should be taken not to engage in strenuous exercise in warm weather.
Bulldogs love children and make dependable family pets. They can learn to get along with other pets if introduced to them at an early age, however, they may display some aggression toward members of the same sex.
Bulldogs probably are not suitable for those who rate cleanliness and etiquette high on their list of priorities. Bulldogs are known to snort and drool, and have frequent bouts of flatulence. They can carry water in their jowls, and may slobber water all over the floor as they walk away from their water bowls.
The Bulldog thrives in a relaxed environment, and is better suited to couch potatoes than athletic people. His living space should be air-conditioned.
The body of the Bulldog is heavy and thick-set. The chest is broad and deep, and the back is short. The skin is loose, particularly on the head, neck, and shoulders. The Bulldog’s head is very large (the circumference of the skull should equal the height of the dog at the withers), broad, and square.
The stop is well defined, and creates a groove that begins between the eyes and extends to the top of the head. The forehead is flat and the face is very short with a short, upturned muzzle that culminates in a black nose. The shorter the distance from the nose tip to the stop, the better. The cheeks protrude sideways, and the flews hang thickly over the lower jaws.
The small incisor teeth should be barely visible when the jaw is at rest. The Bulldog’s eyes are round and black, and should be wide-set, but not outside the outline of the cheeks. They should not appear to be sunken or bulging.
The Bulldog has small rose ears set high on the head. Pricked ears are considered a fault. The naturally short tail can be straight or corkscrewed, and curls naturally over the dog’s back.
Typical Health Concerns
Bulldogs are prone to several medical problems, including cataracts, dry eye, an elongated soft palate, heart defects, hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism and allergies. They often have difficulty mounting to mate, and artificial insemination may be required for breeding.
Puppies must usually be delivered via C-section, and the offspring have a high puppy mortality rate. These difficulties make the breed hard to find, and expensive to acquire.
Bulldogs should be brushed frequently or groomed with a rubber grooming mitt, and the dogs’ wrinkles should be cleaned regularly. Tearstains also require cleaning on a regular basis. The breed is a moderate shedder.
Country of Origin
The Bulldog originated in Great Britain.
Average Life Span
The average life span of the Bulldog is 8 to 9 years.