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Getting to know the English Bulldog

English Bulldogs, also known simply as Bulldog, are considered easy going, low maintenance dogs. Kind, friendly, dignified, stubborn—if these terms appeal to you as characteristics you’re looking for in a canine companion, an English Bulldog may be the right breed for you.

Origins of the English Bulldog

It’s believed the Bulldog originated in the British Isles in the 13th century and were used for “bull baiting,” hence the name bull dog. This barbaric and grisly pastime was outlawed in 1835 when England banned blood sports.

When bull baiting was outlawed, Bulldogs faced extinction until admirers of the breed began the process of taking this dog from fighter to family companion. They bred out the dog’s fighting instinct and they eventually became sweet family companions.  

This breed is the symbol and mascot of many sports teams. The Yale Bulldog mascot, Handsome Dan, is considered the first animal mascot in sports. The Bulldog is also the symbol of the Mack Truck company and the U.S. Marine Corps.

English Bulldog Personality

The Bulldog puppy is frisky and active. An older Bulldog much prefers to spend his time snoring on the sofa. In general, the Bulldog is also: kind, courageous (but not aggressive or vicious), resolute, dignified, and stubborn (but sensitive).

This breed loves to chew and should have access to chew toys to keep her from chewing inappropriate items. This breed is also known to be a resource-guarder of her food. It’s important that you start taking food out of her bowl when she’s young to teach her not to be protective of her food bowl.

This is a friendly breed, but socialization with people and other dogs is important. Training will require patience and repetition because this dog is stubborn and not as eager to please his owner as other breeds may be.

The Bulldog barks rarely, if ever, and this makes him an ideal companion for apartment dwellers (as long as he doesn’t have to climb too many stairs).

Characteristics of the English Bulldog

The face and body of the English Bulldog are unmistakable: The look of this dog is one that suggests strength, vigor and great stability.

The Bulldog has a low-slung, heavy-set body with a massive short face and head, wide shoulders and sturdy limbs. The Bulldog is medium size, although he can weigh up to fifty pounds (averages between 40-50 pounds). He has short hair that requires little grooming other than brushing.

Because Bulldogs are prone to weight issues, he does need exercise to keep him healthy. However, having short muzzles, they may have difficulty breathing and this can be exacerbated in high heat and humidity. So, walks and other exercise should be done in the cooler morning and evening hours.

Stairs and swimming pools are safety hazards for Bulldogs. Bulldogs may enjoy wading in water, but should not be allowed to be in water that is above their bellies and must be supervised at all times.

Health of the English Bulldog

Bulldogs have many potential health concerns that crop up in their life, which spans about eight to ten years. Potential health issues include:

  • A tendency toward obesity
  • Prone to congenital orthopedic issues
  • Heart disease
  • Adult onset hip dysplasia
  • Skin issues
  • Respiratory issues
  • Overheating

Your Bulldog should be kept in an air-conditioned space in hot, humid days and need to be closely supervised when out-of-doors on hot, humid days.

Ask your vet what type of food you should feed your Bulldog and how much. Overfeeding of this breed is easy and can quickly lead to your Bulldog becoming an unhealthy weight and that leads to more health issues. 

Tip: When you decide to welcome English Bulldog puppy, investing in a pet insurance policy at the same time may make financial sense to prepare for potential future health issues.

Is an English Bulldog the right dog for you?

An English Bulldog is an ideal family companion and one who bonds quickly and deeply with his family. There are issues a new Bulldog owner needs to take into consideration. If you have the financial resources to get a Bulldog and provide the care he will need throughout his life, it may be the right breed for you. Knowing that your pet may only be with you for a decade is something you’d need to prepare yourself for before you bring a Bulldog into your life. Just as you would with any breed, take your Bulldog for training classes and assure he is properly socialized.

The English Bulldog is definitely right for you and your family if you want to snuggle up on the couch with a drooling pup who will welcome your love and attention!


Robbi Hess, award-winning author, is multi-petual: She shares her home with two Devon Rex kittens, three adult rescue cats, a mini poodle, a Goldendoodle, three lizards and two ferrets. When not caring for her pets, she is an editor, speaker, time management and productivity guru, content creator, social media manager and blogger. She writes at All Words MatterMy Divas Dish, and is the story editor and chief cat herder at Positively Woof.

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