The bulldog is a stocky breed, with a compact body and short, sturdy limbs. Its shape results in a peculiarly unique gait. Bulldogs are known for their short muzzles and the saggy skin on their faces, creating the apparent "frown" that has become a trademark of the breed. Bulldogs come in a variety of colours and ideally have a smooth, short coat. In the US, the size of a typical mature male is about 50 pounds; that for mature females is about 40 pounds. In the United Kingdom, the breed standard is 55 pounds for a male and 50 pounds for a female.
Temperament and characteristics
The temperament of the Bulldog is generally docile, friendly and gregarious but are known to be fiercely loyal. Breeders have worked to breed aggression out of the breed, and as such the dog is known to be of generally good temperament. Bulldogs can be so attached to home and family that they will not venture out of the yard without a human companion. Due to their friendly nature bulldogs are known for getting along well with children, other breeds of dog and any house-broken pet in general.
A bulldog is suitable for houses as well as apartments due to their size and comparative lack of energy, but puppies may be destructive until they reach maturity.
The bulldog is prone to some health issues but no more so than most other pure breed dogs. Breathing issues can be prevalent in the breed due to the shape of the lower jaw and the shortness of muzzle - bulldogs are known to snore. In the United Kingdom, some dogs can be prone to interstitial cysts, that is cysts which form between the toes. These cause the dog some discomfort, though they are treatable either by vet or an experienced owner. Other problems can include cherry eye, certain allergies and amongst older bulldogs, hip issues.
Because of the large heads in proportion to body size, puppies are frequently delivered by Caesarean section as they can get stuck in the birth canal during natural birth, however it is not uncommon for a bulldog bitch to whelp naturally and successfully.
Bulldogs require daily cleaning of their face folds to avoid unwanted infections caused by moisture accumulation. Daily teeth brushing with a regular human soft toothbrush using a vet approved toothpaste is also recommended.
Like all dogs, Bulldogs require daily exercise. If not properly exercised the bulldog could gain weight, which could cause health problems relating to the lungs and heart. Bulldogs are extremely sensitive to heat and great care should be given to the dog during overly warm periods. During these times, ensure the dog has plenty of shade, water and should be ideally kept out of standing heat.
As the breed has developed, the tail in some dogs can be tight to the body and can cause infection if not treated or cleaned underneath regularly.
The term "bulldog" was first used around 1568 and might have been applied to various ancestors of modern bulldog breeds.
The oldest single breed specialty club is The Bulldog Club (England), which was formed in 1875. Members of this club met frequently at the Blue Post pub on Oxford Street in London. There they wrote the first standard of perfection for the breed. In 1891 the two top bulldogs, Orry and Dockleaf, competed in a contest to see which dog could walk the farthest. King Orry was reminiscent of the original bulldogs — lighter boned and very athletic. Dockleaf was smaller and heavier set — more like modern bulldogs. Dockleaf was declared the winner that year. Although some argued that the older version of the bulldog was more fit to perform, the modern version’s looks won over the fans of the breed because they proved they were equally as fit and athletic in the walking competition.
Recently, many people have tried to recreate a breed more akin to the original bullbaiter. Examples of the trend are the Olde Englishe Bulldogge, Renascence Bulldog, Victorian, Continental and Dorset Old Tyme Bulldog. The AKC does not recognize any of these newly "recreated" breeds of dogs.