When you see an English bulldog (or British bulldog, which is exactly the same), you know what it is right away because no other dog looks like this unique dog breed. But don’t let their looks fool you – although these dogs look rather fearsome, they are adorable, loyal, and loving dogs that make wonderful family pets.
Presenting this unique dog breed’s characteristic features.
Cool facts about English Bulldogs
- The Bulldog Club of America was started in the late 1800s by a group of British ex-pats living in the US. Soon the Club was recognized by the American Kennel Club.
- There are three theories about the history and the origins of the English bulldog. The first theory is that the Bulldog preceded the Mastiff, but this is definitely hard to envision given the mastiff’s size. Secondly, some people believe that the bulldog came from breeding pugs and mastiffs. We cannot refute this theory entirely given that the bulldog does resemble both breeds. Thirdly, some argue that both mastiffs and bulldogs descended from a now-extinct breed called Alaunt, a breed used by butchers to manage oxen.
- The breed’s intelligence can be attributed to the fact that it was a working dog. Bulldogs were bred exclusively to manage bulls. That is why ‘looks’ weren’t a part of the features that breeders focused on when they developed the breed. It is little wonder that many early canine reference manuals have described the bulldog as ‘ugly’.
The difference between an American Bulldog and an English Bulldog
American bulldogs definitely have the looks of the English bulldogs but are a good bit taller and heavier. In fact; they are a full head taller than their British counterparts. Their faces are also a mix of Pit bulls and Bulldogs. American bulldogs are more athletic and can also be noisier. There is no registration for the American bulldog with the American Kennel Club. American bulldogs also need a firmer handler than that needed for the British bulldog.
Old English Bulldog vs modern English Bulldog
The Olde English bulldog is now extinct. This breed was extensively used for bull-baiting. The dogs were smaller than mastiffs and extremely fast and powerful. As a result; they could dart in and out to harass bulls and bait them into action. It is believed that even Queen Elizabeth I used to attend such bull baiting events. When the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act was passed in 1836, bull-baiting came to an end. As a result, the interest in the Old English Bulldog also waned and that led to the breed’s extinction. However, many common people who were earlier not allowed to breed large Bulldogs had begun breeding smaller versions of the Old English Bulldog for themselves. This eventually led to plenty of modern bulldog breeds and that includes the American Bulldog and the English bulldog.
The first thing most people notice about the bulldogs is their face. The distinctive face resembles a ‘mug shot’; it gives the impression that the dog is about to fight at any given moment. They have a short snout and an under-bite that makes the lower teeth jut over the upper lips. Their jowls also hang low by the sides of their mouths. Bulldogs also have a heavily wrinkled appearance.
These are short and heavy dogs weighing between 40 and 60 lb. They have bowed legs and a characteristic gait. The finishing touch to their distinctive looks is a spiraling tail that is small and looks rather out-of-place on this intimidating looking dog.
Bulldogs come in the many different colors: Brindle or striped, solid white, solid red, fawn or fallow, and patches of different colors over white or fawn color.
How to identify a purebred English Bulldog puppy
It is often difficult to distinguish between American and English bulldogs, especially when the dogs are younger. Many dishonest breeders try to sell off any bulldog breed just for a want of making a sale. Here are some characteristic features to identify a purebred English bulldog:
- As a puppy, a purebred English bulldog will have shorter legs than its distant cousins.
- The American Scott bulldog has a longer muzzle and long legs. American Johnson bulldog has a stocky build and he is also taller than English bulldog.
- The English bulldog has a ‘classic’ bulldog look and that means more wrinkles than the American bulldog puppy.
- The English bulldog has rose ears that are set as high on the skull as possible and also set wide apart. However, the American bulldog puppy also has rose ears and that is why you will need to look for a puppy that is smaller in stature and marked with rose ears to identify the English bulldog.
Personality and temperament
English bulldogs have amazing personalities that have added to the popularity of the breed. They have amazing patience with children making them great pets for families with kids. These relaxed, laid-back, and friendly dogs are very loyal and they will guard and protect their loved ones fiercely. They also love to do some antics to make their humans laugh!
Bulldogs often forget that they drool massively and the fact that they are heavy! That leads them into thinking they are lapdogs and, resultantly, they always wish to lay on your lap or at least close to you. They will hang around for whatever attention you will give them and every Bulldog owner is sure to feel grateful for the love they receive from this beloved pet. Just being around bulldogs is enough to make one feel great about one’s life, day after day.
English bulldogs are affectionate and gentle. They are every bit as loving as Golden Retrievers and Labradors; just stockier and shorter. They just look fierce and intimidating but, in reality, are loving, and affectionate dogs that are content to spend all day lying next to you on the couch.
Where to find an English Bulldog
As far as possible, adopt don’t shop. Contact animal rescues near you to see if they have an English bulldog with them. In case you do decide to go ahead with buying, seek reputed bulldog breeders near you. The Bulldog Club of America website has a list of ethical breeders. Shortlist a few breeders, speak to them, and even visit their kennels. Ask to see the litters if possible. Also, ask the breeders several questions about the breed. A good breeder will be willing to address all of your doubts. In turn, s/he will also ask you several questions about your household. Purebred English bulldogs cost around $1000 up to $4000. If that is shocking, let us tell you that the cost of owning a bulldog is even higher, since these dogs may have multiple health issues.
Training your British Bulldog
Certain behaviors are cute when depicted by a puppy; not so much when the puppy turns into a 60lb dog. So, start training your pet as soon as he comes home. Be very firm about the house rules and do not keep bending or changing these rules. This could confuse your dog. Also, make sure that all the family members are on the same page when it comes to implementing house rules.
Bulldogs are a mixed bag when it comes to training: they are smart and usually train well but they are also rather stubborn and will simply refuse to do some things. By making sure that you follow through with certain actions, your bulldog will easily pick up on the training.
- Training a bulldog is a long commitment. Be consistent. Spend at least 30 minutes in training, every day. Bulldogs puppies love to have fun; so end each session in lots of play.
- Be gentle. Do not shout, scold, or hit your pet. Use positive, reward-based training only.
- Be consistent with one command and use the same word each time. Once your pet masters that, move on to the next command. Be very patient and you will be rewarded!
- Bulldogs can learn quickly how to have their way with their owners: puppy-eyes and begging are their favorite tricks. Do not give in to these during training.
Bulldogs do need consistent, daily exercise; just not as much as other breeds. They are also brachycephalic dogs; meaning that they have short noses which can cause breathing issues. Do not over-exercise your pet, especially on hot summer days. Keep your pet cool. Gentle walks, twice a day, or a game of fetch is an adequate exercise for a Bulldog. Bulldogs do have a tendency to gain weight. So talk to your vet about the right diet and an exercise regime to prevent your pet from getting obese.
Bulldogs do not need too much grooming. Their coat sheds moderately throughout the year so brushing it regularly can prevent hair from getting all over the place. Bathe your bulldog once every month. This will prevent ticks, fleas, and odor caused by excess drooling. Walk your pet on hard surfaces so that his nails get trimmed automatically. Also, inspect his ears from time to time.
Drooling is a huge problem in bulldogs. Invest in drool bibs to prevent the saliva from getting all over the place. Being brachycephalic, these dogs tend to snore or have respiratory issues, especially a condition called stenotic nares, which could need surgical correction. The average lifespan of an English bulldog is 8 to 12 years.