Temperament: Friendly, Courageous, Calm
- Height: 14-15 inches
- Weight: 50 pounds (male), 40 pounds (female)
- Life Expectancy: 8-10 years
- Group: Non-Sporting Group
Kind but courageous, friendly but dignified, the Bulldog is a thick-set, low-slung, well-muscled bruiser whose “sourmug” face is the universal symbol of courage and tenacity. These docile, loyal companions adapt well to town or country.
The perfect Bulldog must be of medium size and smooth coat; with heavy, thick-set, low-swung body, massive short-faced head, wide shoulders and sturdy limbs. The general appearance and attitude should suggest great stability, vigor and strength. The disposition should be equable and kind, resolute and courageous (not vicious or aggressive), and demeanour should be pacific and dignified. These attributes should be countenanced by the expression and behaviour.
About the Bulldog
You can’t mistake a Bulldog for any other breed. The loose skin of the head, furrowed brow, pushed-in nose, small ears, undershot jaw with hanging chops on either side, and the distinctive rolling gait all practically scream “I’m a Bulldog!” The coat, seen in a variety of colours and patterns, is short, smooth, and glossy. Bulldogs can weigh up to 50 pounds, but that won’t stop them from curling up in your lap, or at least trying to. But don’t mistake their easygoing ways for laziness—Bulldogs enjoy brisk walks and need regular moderate exercise, along with a careful diet, to stay trim. Summer afternoons are best spent in an air-conditioned room as a Bulldog’s short snout can cause labored breathing in hot and humid weather.
NUTRITION The Bulldog should do well on a high-quality dog food, whether commercially manufactured or home-prepared with your veterinarian’s supervision and approval. Any diet should be appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior). Some dogs are prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.
GROOMING An all-over brushing with a soft brush for 10 minutes two or three times a week will keep the Bulldog looking his best. During periods of heavier shedding, it can help to first use a rubber curry brush. The wrinkles on the Bulldog’s face need to be regularly checked to make sure the skin is clean and dry, as food or moisture can get trapped and cause irritation or infection. A cotton ball dipped in peroxide can be used to clean the wrinkles, and cornstarch can be applied afterwards to aid in drying—although neither should be used near the eyes. The ears and the area under the tail should be kept clean, and the dog’s nails trimmed every two weeks or so.
EXERCISE Bulldogs are mellow and are happy to relax next to their owner’s feet, but they also enjoy an occasional romp and going on walks. Moderate exercise will help the dog to stay trim. Very warm days are best spent in front of an air-conditioner, however, as the Bulldog’s short muzzle can make breathing difficult in heat and humidity. Stairs and pools also present major safety hazards. Bulldogs enjoy wading in very shallow water, but they should never be allowed in water that’s more than elbow deep unless supervised closely.
TRAINING Bulldogs are sweet, devoted, and easygoing, and they want to please their owner. As with all breeds, early socialisation is vital to help give the dog a good start in life. Puppy training classes are highly recommended as well and allow the owner to learn how to curb any undesirable behaviour. Bulldogs love to chew—most will enjoy chew toys their entire life. They also love to play tug-of-war, but it is important to teach the dog when he is young to release what’s in his mouth on command. From the start the young Bulldog should also be taught to accept having people take food from his bowl while he is eating, so that he does not develop a habit of being protective of his food.
HEALTH Bulldog owners should be vigilant to ensure their dog does not become overheated. A Bulldog should not be left out in the hot sun unsupervised or without access to shade and water, and of course no dog should be left in an enclosed car in even mildly warm weather. If a Bulldog is overexcited or breathing too hard, his tongue will hang out unusually far and have a bluish cast instead of the normal pink. Immediate soaking with cool water and giving ice can help to cool the dog. The Bulldog Club of America provides additional detailed advice on Bulldog health and care.
Recommended Health Tests from the National Breed Club:
- Cardiac Exam
- Patella Evaluation
- Tracheal Hypoplasia Radio-graphic Evaluation