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Alternative names
British Bulldog
English Bulldog
Country of origin
Common nicknames
Classification and breed standards
FCI: Group 2 Section 2 #149  
AKC: Non-sporting  
ANKC: Group 7 (Non-Sporting)  
CKC: Group 6 - Non-Sporting Dogs  
KC (UK): Utility  
NZKC: Non-sporting  
UKC: Companion Breeds  
Not recognized by any major kennel club
This breed of dog is extinct
For information about many breeds of the bulldog type, see Bulldog breeds.

The Bulldog, often called the English Bulldog, is a medium-sized dog breed that originated in England.


The ideal show Bulldog must be of medium size and smooth coat; with heavy, thick-set, low-slung body, massive short-faced head, wide shoulders and sturdy limbs. The size for mature dogs is about 50 pounds (23 kg); for mature bitches about 40 pounds (18 kg).


Contrary to classic cartoon parodies and nicknames of the breed, such as 'Sour-Puss', that depicted the bulldog as ferocious and wearing a spiked dog collar, the bulldog is not a vicious dog breed (though it was during the days of bullbaiting, the aggressive tendencies were bred out of them by the time of the Second World War) and gets along well with both humans (including children) and sometimes other dog breeds. Bulldogs are very friendly and playful, whilst also being stubborn and protective, characteristics which have helped make the breed one of the unofficial symbols of the United Kingdom.


Bulldogs tend to have breathing problems as their flat face restricts air; because of this they should be closely monitored in hot weather as they can suffer heat stroke easier than breeds with long noses. They also have problems swimming and can drown if left unattended near a pool. Other common health problems include cherry eye, allergies, and (among older bulldogs) hip problems and cataracts. Because of the large heads in proportion to body size, baby bulldogs are usually delivered by c-section as most pups get stuck in the birth canal during natural birth.


Bulldogs were originally used for bullbaiting, a wagering sport popular in the 17th century in which trained bulldogs leapt at a bull lashed to a post, latched onto its snout and attempted to suffocate it. It is adaptation to these rough origins that resulted in the bulldog's unusual look. Its short and slightly upward facing snout enables it to breathe while keeping hold of the bull, its wrinkles allowed blood to flow away from the dog's eyes and nose, and its thickly-muscled neck and light hind end helped to prevent the thrashing of the bull's head from breaking the dog's spine. The practice of bullbaiting was banned in England in 1835.

After bullbaiting was banned, the breed began to die out (known as the Old English Bulldog) until fans turned to dog shows. The first show to have a class for bulldogs was in Birmingham. Just a few years later, in 1864, a club was organized to enhance the breed. Unfortunately, this group never picked a specific breed standard, and in 1891 the two top bulldogs, King Orry and Dockleaf, were greatly different in appearance. King Orry was reminiscent of the original bulldogs -- lighter boned and very athletic. Dockleaf was smaller and heavier set -- more like modern bulldogs. Dockleaf was declared the winner that year. Although some argued that the older version of the bulldog (known as the Old English Bulldog) was more fit to perform, the modern versionís looks won over the fans of the breed.

Recently, many people have tried to recreate the a breed more akin to the original bullbaiter. Examples of the trend are the Olde Englishe Bulldogge, Renaissance bulldog, Victorian, Continental and Dorset Old Thyme bulldog. The American bulldog is also thought by some to have similarities to the original bullbaiters.


Bulldogs in the Arts

  • Hector the Bulldog, and Spike the Bulldog are animated cartoon characters in the Warner Bros. Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series of cartoons.
  • Marc Antony, an animated cartoon character in the Warner Bros. Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series of cartoons.
  • Spike, Tom's nemesis in the theatrical cartoon series Tom and Jerry
  • Francis from Oliver and Company
  • Bandit from Jonny Quest
  • Carface from All Dogs Go to Heaven
  • Angus from the 1997 Mr. Magoo movie
  • Ripper and many others belonging to Marjorie Dursley in Harry Potter.
  • Frog from the TV series "MacGyver"


"Do you know why the English Bulldog has a jutting chin and sloping face? It is so he can breathe without letting go." - Sir Winston Churchill, to a Nazi envoy, 1940

"I ask the enemy, who wants a piece of this Bulldog?" Commander Jim Pate, Franco-Prussian War, 1871


Because of their tenacity, the bulldog is the symbol of Great Britain and is popular as the mascot of universities, military institutions, and other organizations, including:

  • Bancroft School
  • Butler University
  • California State University, Fresno
  • The Citadel
  • Georgetown University (though called a Hoya)
  • University of Georgia
  • Louisiana Tech
  • Mack Trucks
  • Mississippi State University
  • University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez
  • University of Redlands
  • Texas Lutheran University
  • Truman State University
  • Western Bulldogs
  • Yale University
  • U.S. Marine Corps
  • An English Bulldog was the mascot of WWF Tag Team The British Bulldogs
See [1] for bulldog logos of various entities.

See also

External links

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