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Species group:

Other name(s): English Bulldog; Bully

The basics:
Currently ranked by the AKC as one of the top five purebreeds in America, the Bulldog has a lot to recommend it as a potential pet. Calm and stocky, with an amusing face and a shuffling low-slung walk, this lovable breed has transformed its personality since its early days when it was developed in England from the Asiatic mastiff to bait bulls. Its lack of fear and insensitivity to pain meant that it was used not just for bull baiting and dog fighting but even pitted against other animals like lions, bears, and badgers. When this practice was outlawed in the mid-1830s, breeders began to focus on developing a peaceful, friendly, good-natured version of the Bully.

Bulldogs can be somewhat stubborn, but they respond well to patient training.

Appearance / health:
The Bully is a wide, compact, small/medium dog with a thick, enormous, short-faced head. His head should be very broad and his cheeks should extend to the sides of his eyes. His facial skin, including his forehead, falls in dense folds; his muzzle is short; his nose broad with large nostrils and black in color (never brown or liver-colored). His upper lip is overhanging and his lower jaw is obviously undershot. His eyes are wide-set, very dark and very round. His ears, by comparison, are small and slight and are folded back in a shape reminiscent of a rose. He has short, stocky legs that are set squarely at the corners of his body that results in his very recognizable shuffling gait.

The Bully is a very easy breed to groom and her needs are minimal in this area, requiring only an occasional brushing. However, regular bathing of the Bulldog is essential but not to the point that you cause her skin to become dry. Her face should be wiped daily with a damp cloth, taking special care to clean inside her wrinkles. Additional special care must be taken during hot weather to power her folds, wrinkles and under her tail. The Bully is considered an average shedder.

The Bully requires regular, gentle walks but neither requires, needs, nor wants hard exercise. Avoid long walks during periods of extreme heat.

  • Susceptible to skin infections
  • Breathing difficulties, including some with small tracheas
  • Elongated soft palate
  • Poor eyesight
  • Allergies
  • Heart problems
  • Prone to heatstroke
  • Extremely sensitive to cold
  • Brachycephalic Syndrome
  • Reproductive difficulties
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Shoulder luxation
  • Internalized tail
  • An overly active digestive system which causes flatulence
  • Inability to give birth due to the size of puppies heads

Behavior / temperament:
Despite the rather intimidating appearance of the Bulldog, he is one of the gentlest breeds of dog; and, even though he is gentle, he will chase off an intruder. His nature should be reasonable, gentle, brave and steadfast; his character dignified and appeasing. All of these qualities of character should show on his expressive face and in his actions. He is affectionate and gentle with children, yet also exhibits excellent guarding skills and courage. Bullies are a people-oriented dog and will seek out all the human love and affection they can get; without it, they are unhappy. Because the Bulldog can be, well, bullheaded, they need an owner who understands how to take the alpha position within the family “pack” and show the Bully its place. Together with firm leadership, proper and extensive socialization with both people and other animals beginning early in puppyhood will prevent the development of over-guarding and other aggressive behaviors that can occur when owners allow their Bully to take over as the pack leader. The Bully is a good choice for novice owners, but it is suggested that you have an experienced Bully owner you can call upon for suggestions and advice.

The English Bulldog is rated low in learning; regardless, they are intelligent and down-to-earth dogs, despite their stubborn streak. They will learn best if trained with a gentle, positive reinforcement method and they do retain what they learn.

The bulldog is not considered to be a barker, but they do snort and they snore quite loudly.

Is a Bulldog right for you?

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What owners are saying about Bulldog behavior and training

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Looking for a great companion with a face only a mother could love?

A bulldog is one of the most highly recognizable breed of dogs. From their wrinkled faces to their barrel chest, the bulldog is immediately identifiable. Briggs, my bulldog, was an immediate hit in my family and grew into a loving member. He potty trained exceptionally well...

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