The English Bulldog is a wide, medium-sized, compact dog with short legs. The body and head are massive with extra skin on both the skull and forehead falling in folds. The cheeks extend to the sides of the eyes. The muzzle is wide, short and pug with a broad, deep stop. The black nose is broad with large nostrils. The dark eyes are deep set. The rose ears are small, thin and set high on the head. The jaws are massive, very broad, and square with hanging upper lips. The teeth should have an under bite. The tail is either straight or screwed and carried low. The short, flat coat is straight, smooth and glossy. Standard coat colors include red brindle and other shades of brindle, solid white, solid red, fawn, fallow, piebald, pale yellow or washed-out red or white or a combination of these colors, rare coat colors include blue, chocolat, lilac, champagne and merle in different patterns and with or without tan points.
Although the English Bulldog’s appearance can be somewhat intimidating, it is among the gentlest of dogs. Just the same it will see off any intruder, and few would risk a close encounter with a dog brave enough to bait a bull. It is described as a very affectionate and dependable animal, gentle with children, but known for its courage and its excellent guarding abilities. Bullheaded and determined, this breed can be very persistent. They do not give up easily. Bulldogs are very much a people’s dog, seeking out human attention and loving every bit it can get!! A lot of human attention is required for the breed’s happiness. Some English Bulldogs can be a bit dominating and need an owner who knows how to display strong leadership and understands alpha canine behavior.
A Bulldog who understands its place in the human pack is nice to, and reliable with all people. This breed is good with family pets, but some can be combative with strange dogs if they do not see themselves as followers in their pack. When Bulldogs are young, they are full of energy, but slow down as they get older. They snore very loudly, most have drool and slobber tendencies and are messy eaters. Bulldogs that display guarding behaviors, such as guarding furniture, food, toys, or other spots in the house, or that are dog aggressive do not have humans who are being the dog’s pack leader. This behavior only happens when dogs are allowed to take over. These behaviors can be corrected when the owners start displaying the proper leadership. Dogs that feel they need to run the home are not as happy as dogs that know they are human followers, as it is very stressful for a dog to need to keep “his” humans in line.
Prone to breathing problems; some have small windpipes as well. Also poor eyesight, cherry eye, very susceptible to heatstroke in warm weather or hot rooms and cars. Very cold sensitive. Prone to mast cell tumors. Birth defects are common in some lines. Susceptible to skin infections, hip and knee problems. Prone to flatulence, especially when fed any other type of food other than their regular dog food. Puppies are often delivered by caesarian section. Some say it is because of the dogs’ large head size, however others claim you can hardly tell the difference between the head size of a Bulldog with the head size of other breeds when the pups are first born; claiming not enough dams are given the opportunity to try and deliver naturally because of the large head myth. A lot of Bulldogs do run the risk of having weak labors and this could increase the risk of a caesarian.
The English Bulldog needs to be taken on a daily walk to fulfill its primal canine instinct to migrate. Those individuals that do not get this need met are more likely to have behavior issues. While out on the walk the dog must be made to heel beside or behind the person holding the lead, as in a dog’s mind the leader leads the way, and that leader needs to be the human. Teach them to enter and exit all door and gateways after the human. English Bulldogs that are in good shape are capable of moving very quickly for short periods of time.
The English Bulldog originated in the British Isles, descended from the ancient Asiatic mastiff. The dog was given the name “bull” because of its use in bull baiting and for its robust look of a little bull. They were aggressive, ferocious and courageous with the power to attack full grown bulls, which they did in arena combat before the practice was banned by law in the 19th century. Bulldogs would attack from the bottom up going underneath the bull and aiming for the neck, making it hard for the bull to fight back. Today’s Bulldog has a very different temperament from those of his ancestors, but still retains a strong determination.