As one of the most popular dog breeds the bulldog has one the hearts of millions with their dignified gait and love of people.  They are larger than most lap dogs but they still think they are lap dog and that is their favorite spot in the house.  Most wouldn’t believe the Bulldog was originally bred to herd cattle and participate in a bloody sport, now illegal, called bullbaiting. Today,  a brief walk and a long afternoon nap is the speed of this breed.  This particular breed is also known as the English Bulldog or British Bulldog.


Did You Know?

  • Due to their short muzzles, Bulldogs do not tolerate heat and humidity very well.  This breed is most definitely an indoor dog breed.  When he is outdoors it is very important to keep an eye on him and watch for signs of overheating. 
  • A few things you really should know about Bulldogs.  They have flatulence, a lot of it.  If you can’t handle doggy farts, think twice about getting a Bulldog.  He also snores, and can be quite loud. Bulldogs make some other odd sounds like wheezing and snorting, all these are due to his short muzzle. 
  • Bulldogs love their food and treats.  If not properly exercised and given the appropriate amount of food daily he will quickly become overweight.  Over weight Bulldogs can have more health problems and have a harder time getting around.
  • First time breeders should not attempt to breed Bulldogs.  Many Bulldogs require cesarean sections to deliver the puppies safely.  Since they have a large and square head and fore quarters Bulldogs have a difficult time giving birth and often require medical assistance.
  • Bulldogs cannot swim.  With their heavier bodies and short legs they have a very difficult time keeping their head above water. If you have a pool or pond or other areas with deeper water be sure to keep an eye on your Bulldog when he is around those areas.
  • This breed has one of the most recognizable walks, with his loose jointed, shuffle sort of sideways roll. 

Breed Characteristics

Adaptability: 3/5

  • Adapts well to apartment living: 5/5
  • Good for first-time owners: 4/5
  • Sensitivity level: 4/5
  • Tolerates being alone: 3/5
  • Tolerates cold weather: 1/5
  • Tolerates hot weather: 1/5

All Around Friendliness: 4/5

  • Affectionate toward family: 5/5
  • Kid-friendly: 4/5
  • Dog-friendly: 2/5
  • Friendly toward strangers: 5/5

Health & Grooming: 3/5

  • Amount of shedding: 3/5
  • Drooling potential: 5/5
  • Easy to groom: 5/5
  • General health: 4/5
  • Potential for weight gain: 5/5
  • Size: 2/5

Trainability: 3/5

  • Easy to train: 3/5
  • Intelligence: 2/5
  • Potential for mouthiness: 2/5
  • Tendency to bark or howl: 4/5
  • Wanderlust potential: 1/5

Exercise Needs: 3/5

  • Energy level: 2/5
  • Intensity: 3/5
  • Exercise needs: 3/5
  • Potential for playfulness: 4/5


Most people would not recognize the original Bulldog used over 500 years ago to herd cattle and bait bulls, hence the name Bulldog.  Originating in England, the Bulldog descended from Mastiff type dogs.  It was first mentioned in writing in 1500 and was used at that time for bull baiting.  They were a larger breed then that had a very different temperament than what we are familiar with in today’s Bulldogs.  As a fearless and vicious breed they would sneak up on a bull and bite down on its nose and shake it ferociously.  It was believed that this would thin the blood of the bull and make it more tender prior to butchering it for meat. There were actually laws in England requiring a bull to be baiting prior to butchering.  Not only did they feel that this practice had a purpose many would gather to watch the “sport.” Bulldogs had a short muzzle making it easier for them to breath while holding onto the bulls nose.  Early Bulldogs were bred specifically for this purpose and were larger, heavier, with longer legs than what we see today. 

It wasn’t until 1835 that bullbaiting became outlawed in England and that left the Bulldogs with an uncertain future since they were bred mainly for that sole purpose. For generations they had been bred to fight bulls, bears or anything else that might be placed in their path, they were a fierce and vicious breed. 

Luckily others admired their stamina, strength, and diligence and believed they could be bred to become a good companion dog. A few breeders began breeding bulldogs and only continuing with those with a more gentle temperament, after generations they achieved a mild, docile, people loving dog with smaller legs and thicker body than the early Bulldogs. By 1860 Bulldogs were allowed to shown in conformation shows and in 1961 a Bulldog won the Birmingham show.  Following this a club was formed in 1864 in which the first dog breed conformity standards were written.  The club disbanded after a few years but the conformity standards that were written remained largely the same.

In the late 1800’s Bulldogs were brought to the United States and quickly gained popularity as a fabulous show dog as well as companion breed. It was at this time some breeders desired to make the standards more precise for Bulldogs and developed the American bred Bulldog, this has since become a distinct breed of its own with different traits.

The Bulldog has ranked in the top 10 most popular breeds for over 80 years.  This is evidence of its consistent even temperament as a devoted companion that millions continue to love. 


Adult Bulldogs will stand between 12 to 15 inches at the shoulder, with males typically being on the larger size.  Males can weigh approximately 50 pounds and females can weigh approximately 40 pounds.


Well bred Bulldogs will be a medium size dog with heavy, thick-set, low slung body.  They have massive heads with short muzzles.  His shoulders are wide set and very strong with strong short legs.  He is a surprisingly muscular dog that has great strength and a deep set chest. He should have deep soft wrinkles on his head with loose folds at the throat that form a dewlap.

His coat should be straight, short, and fine with a glossy finish. The color of his coat can be any brindle, solid white, red, fawn, cream, fallow, and piebald. Any of those colors can be brindle or solid, a solid black bulldog is unusual and not admired as a purebred Bulldog.



Bulldogs are people dogs, they love their owners, children, strangers and anyone else that might scratch their head. His favorite place will be on your lap or as close to it as he can get. He is an easygoing fun loving dog but he does still retain a bit if his stubborn tenacity inherited from his ancestors. They have been known to be a little difficult to train and sometimes down right lazy. He isn’t known to win obedience competitions but when he does learn a trick he will never forget it, and if treats are the reward he is more likely to learn it faster.

Children and Other Pets

The Bulldog’s sturdy body and love of people make him a perfect candidate for families. He loves children and is large enough to not be fragile, yet small enough to not over power and knock children over with a wag of his tail.  Many describe Buldog’s as the perfect family companion, for the young and old alike.  He is a very patient dog and will take a lot from children and usually walks away when he is done.  It is important to still teach children how to properly play with dogs and show respect. If other pets are in the home he will love them just as much, dog, cat, rabbit, he will love them all.


Bulldogs are generally a fairly healthy breed but, as with all breeds, there are some health conditions they are more prone to.  It is important to note that not all Bulldogs will have any or all of these conditions, but it is good to be aware of possible health conditions they may have. If you have access to your dog’s parental health records that would be a great place to do some research and see what he may be prone to having.  You can obtain health clearances for both of the parents of your dog to make sure they’ve been tested and cleared from the following conditions. Health clearances can be confirmed by checking the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) website.

Bulldogs have a few specific health conditions and tend to need a little more medical attention than other dog breeds.  Be sure you are able and willing to monitor his health and properly take care of him. 

Hip Dysplasia: This is a genetic condition passed down from parents in which the femur does not fit snugly into the pelvic socket of the hip joint.  This condition can exist without clinical signs so it is important to have X-ray screenings done.  Dogs with this condition can be in pain and exhibit lameness in one or both rear legs. Ask the breeder for proof that the parents were tested and cleared for hip dysplasia. 

Entropion:  This is an eye condition where the eyelid rolls under allowing the hair and eyelashes to com in contact with the eyeball.  Frequent rubbing against the eye will cause irritation and damage to the eye.  Contact your vet is you notice this and see what the best treatment option is for you dog.

Ectropion:  An eye condition where the lower eyelid droop down to where the conjunctival tissue can be seen.  This makes the dogs eyes very susceptible to infections and other eye damage.  If you notice this condition occurring with your dogs eyes, take him to the vet and see what the best treatment would be for your dog, sometimes surgery in necessary to correct this.

Cherry Eye:  This eye condition is unpleasant to look at but not painful.  This condition occurs when the third eyelid containing a tear gland has prolapsed causing a red bulge in the corner of the eye. It generally is only unsightly and not life-threatening. Surgery can correct it, but it is mostly done for cosmetic reasons.

Demodectic Mange:  This condition is a severe dandruff and then hair loss due to a mite.  The mite eats the hair Follicles and oils from the dogs coat.  If gone untreated the dog will lose his coat in large patches.  If you suspect this take your dog to the vet informing them, as the mite spreads extremely quickly and easily making this condition highly contagious, the vet can prescribe medicated shampoos and lotions to take care of this condition.

Patellar Luxation: This is a very common problem in Bulldogs.  This is when the patella, the kneecap, slides in and out of place. It can cause pain ranging from minor pain to crippling pain.  Most dogs with this condition live normal lives without much of a problem. 

Inverted Sneezing: Not necessarily a health problem but something that all Bulldog owners should be aware of.  This occurs when Bulldogs have nasal fluid dripping down onto their palate it causes it to close.  This can also occur when he gets something stuck in his nose.  Just calm him down and it generally corrects itself in a few minutes.

Brachycephalic Syndrome: Dogs with short muzzles or elongated soft palates frequently suffer from this.  This condition occurs when his airways are obstructed to varying degrees from minor to very severe. Symptoms can be snorting while breathing, wheezing, to more serious labored breathing and complete collapse of the airway.  Treatment depends on the severity of the condition, generally oxygen therapy will be used and at times surgery to widen the nostrils or shorten his palate.

Head Shakes: This condition occurs when his head shakes involuntarily either form side to sid eor up and down. It appears the dog is conscious of what is happening. It is believed that this occurs when he is under stress or low blood sugar.  If this occurs give him a little bit of honey and that brings his blood sugar back up and also distracts him from the shaking.  This generally will make the shaking stop. If the shaking does not stop get him to a vet as soon as possible.

Tail Problems: Some Bulldogs have tight tails, screw tails,, or even inverted tails.  This can cause some skin problems.  Be sure to keep his tail area clean and dry to help prevent skin irritations and  infections.



Bulldogs don’t require large amounts of exercise or mental stimulation games but that doesn’t mean they can be left alone for hours on end.  They are capable of long walks but are also just as happy to go for a 20 minute stroll.  They do need minimal exercise to prevent them from gaining excessive weight.  They are indoor dogs, when they are not walking or playing outside with their owner they should be indoors. 

They need to be trained from puppyhood, they won’t win obedience competitions but they still need to be trained to help them reach their potential as the “perfect dog” many others claim them to be.  Once they learn one command he will never forget it, so training him isn’t without its rewards.  He trains well with treats and praise.


As with any dog, purchase high quality and nutrient-dense dog food.  Ask your veterinarian what food blend would be best-suited for your dog.  Factors such as age, size, and activity level will make a difference on what kind of food he needs and how much.  Typically,  Bulldogs will need 1/2 cup to 2 cups of dry food a day.  It is recommended that the amount be divided into two separate meals, one in the morning and one at night.


The Bulldog is a fairly easy dog to groom, he needs a weekly brushing with a firm bristle brush.  This will keep shedding down to a minimum and help spread oils throughout his coat to keep it smooth and glossy.  During seasons when he sheds heavier, brush him more often to control the shedding.To keep the wrinkles around his face clean, wipe them with a damp cloth or even a baby wipe.  Make sure they are dry and clean to prevent infection. It is also a good idea to wash his nose daily and rub petroleum jelly on it to prevent to from getting dry and chapping.  

You can bathe him once every couple of months as need be.  His nails will need to be trimmed if he doesn’t wear them down on his own.  Typically they will need to be trimmed once or twice a month.  If you can hear them clack on the floor when he walks then they are too long.  You can trim them or have a groomer trim them.  Be aware that they do have blood vessels in their nails so if you trim them too short they will bleed and he won’t be so keen on getting them trimmed again. 

Brush his teeth at least a few times a week, daily is best.  This will help prevent tartar buildup and keep his breath smelling much better.  Grooming is a great time to look over your Bulldog and check for any sores or infections.  Make this a time where he feels loved and safe and he won’t mind being groomed.

Common Questions

Are Bulldogs aggressive?

Very rarely is a Bulldog aggressive, they are a docile and affectionate breed that loves people.  Their ancestry was aggressive but character traits of aggression and dominance has been bred out of the breed over the course of 170 years.  Now Bulldogs are known for their kind, gentle, and patient temperament.

How much does a Bulldog cost?

The cost of purchasing a pure bred Bulldog can vary depending on breeder and pedigree of parents etc.  You can expect to pay between $1,500 to $5,000 for a pure bred Bulldog.  They can be expensive due to the fact that the puppies are usually delivered via C-section and litters are small in number.  

What different types of Bulldogs are there?

There are quite a few different kinds of Bulldogs available now, many of which are considered their own breed with their own standard of conformity.  The following is a list of other dogs under the Bulldogs umbrella: French Bulldog, American Bulldog, English Bulldog, Boxer, Spanish Bulldog, Old English Bulldog, among other types that are now extinct.

Do Bulldogs like to swim?

No, they are not good swimmers.  They love to splash around in a kiddie pool but they do not have the body structure to make them good swimmers.  With their heavy, massive head, short muzzle, and short legs they are not built for swimming.  In fact they drown very quickly.  If you are going to be near deep water ti is strongly advised to have a doggie life jacket on him.

Is a Bulldog a good family pet?

Absolutely!  They are friendly and affectionate.  their compact size makes them easy to have in the house and they love to play with children.  They are not too small to be too fragile for children yet they are not too large to be knocking them over all the time.


Unfortunately, not everyone that purchases a Bulldog fully understands everything that goes into raising and training a well behaved Bulldog.  There are many Bulldogs in need of a loving home whether that be through adoption or fostering.  Below is a list of Rescue agencies that have Bulldogs.  If you do not see a local rescue below, you can contact a BUlldog Breed Club and ask them. 



Adult Bulldogs for Purchase

Puppy Bulldogs for Purchase