Bulldogs originally were used to drive cattle to market and to compete in a bloody sport called bullbaiting. Today, they’re gentle companions who love kids. A brief walk and a nap on the sofa is just this dog breed’s speed.
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.
The Bulldog is a breed with characteristically wide head and shoulders along with a pronounced mandibular prognathism. There are generally thick folds of skin on a Bulldog’s brow; round, black, wide-set eyes; a short muzzle with characteristic folds called a knot above the nose; hanging skin under the neck; drooping lips and pointed teeth, and occasionally an underbite. The coat is short, flat, and sleek, with colours of red, fawn, white, brindle, and piebald.
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.
The Bulldog is popular dog in the U.S., but he’s not for everyone. He’s surprisingly heavy for his size, and if you need to pick him up, say to take him to the vet, it can be a challenge. Inside the house, Bulldogs tend to be inactive, preferring to sleep until it’s time to eat again. They love children, but don’t expect them to spend hours chasing a ball or running with the kids in the backyard. Your Bulldog may engage in such play for a while, but then you’ll find him back at your side, content to watch the world go by and look up at you happily with that face that only a mother – or a devoted Bulldog fan – could love.