Bulldog dog breed is medium-sized, with a muscular body and a face defined by a flat nose and wrinkles. It gives the dogs a frowning expression, which has become the most striking feature of this breed. These dogs are so popular that they consistently make the top-ten list of most wanted dogs in the United States.
The exact origin of Bulldog breed is lost in antiquity, but they have been mentioned in 16th century literature, with the old spelling ‘Bolddogge.’ They came to be called Bulldogs because they were pitted against bulls in England in a sport known as Bull baiting. Many dogs would compete in attacking a bull tied to a post, and the first one to grab the bull by the nose and hold it down would be declared the winner. Eventually, the breed developed big, tough, head and strong jaws, with a ferocious temperament and stocky body to match.
With bans enacted against this barbaric sport in England in the early 19th century, this breed went into decline in that country, but the scene had already shifted to America where they had become the fighting dogs entertaining migrant workers. They were even used for grabbing wild bulls in New York.
Cross breeding the old Bulldog with the Pug resulted in the short-nosed (brachycephalic) bulldogs of today. They are structurally and temperamentally far removed from their bull baiting ancestors. The breed got official AKC recognition in 1886.
The Bulldog dog breed typically measures 12 to 15 inches at the withers and weighs around 50 pounds. There are slight differences in size between French, UK, and American Bulldogs, the American breed being the heaviest. They have naturally short tail that may be either straight or coiled.
The head is wide with a dominant lower jaw that gives an underbite in some dogs. Bulldogs have a short coat ranging in colors from fawn and red to white, with brindle and piebald patterns in some.
The face of the Bulldog with its wrinkles and all gives it a perpetually angry and annoyed look. On the contrary, these dogs are generally docile, and have a pleasant personality. They go all out to please their owners, and remain well-behaved inside the house. They are good with children and tolerate other family pets. However, they have a protective instinct that may come to the fore when faced with strangers. They are known to be aggressive with dogs not known to them.
Though these dogs were originally developed with the specific task of fighting tethered bulls and bears, today’s bulldog is a far cry from those bull fighters. Earlier they were as ferocious as they are mean looking, and when pitted against large bulls, they never used to give up until they had bitten off a chunk of their opponent’s nose. But the bulldogs we know now are mild-mannered house pets, but they have an undercurrent of stubbornness and tenacity even now.
Grooming and exercise
The Bulldog breed is not exactly easy to groom even though it has a short coat. The skin folds and wrinkles on their face and around their tail need extra attention. They need to be cleaned every day. However, their coat needs only a light brushing once or twice a week at the most.
The exercise needs of Bulldogs are moderate, but they need it daily. A walk in the park, preferably at a brisk pace is sufficient to keep the dog in good health. Bull dogs are not very gregarious and they seem to like a quiet life at a slow pace. It is quite obvious that this breed is not one for running or vigorous sports.
Bulldogs are capable of outdoor life day and night with ample protection from heat and cold, but it is preferable if they can spend the nights indoors with the members of the family. Bulldogs are not swimmers and they are not usually fond of water.
Common health issues of Bulldog dog breed
Bulldog dog breed comes with a sizeable share of health problems. Among the congenital defects are the stenotic nares and elongated soft palate common in brachycephalic dogs, ventricular septal defects, and ingrown tails. They are prone to musculoskeletal problems such as hip and elbow dysplasia and shoulder luxation. Vaginal hyperplasia and urethral prolapse are occasionally encountered in this breed. They can have eye problems too.
Due to the congestion in the airway of these snub nosed dogs, snoring, wheezing and drooling are common in them. Regular visits to the veterinarian may help keep them in good health. They typically have a short lifespan ranging from 8 to 12 years.