"The Sourmug"

Photo of Bulldog


The origin of the Bulldog is widely accepted as Great Britain. As a matter of record, the Bulldog is informally considered the national breed of England. In its distant past, breeders used them as bull-and-bear baiters in what was known then as the “blood sports.” They were taught to bite the nose and legs of their opponents. This accounts for the development of its large undershot jaw, allowing for a firmer grip on its victim. Its pushed-in nose was developed so that it could breathe while it gripped a bull or bear in its teeth. In centuries past it was used to control oxen for butchering, as a guard dog, and for hunting. Bull baiting was a cruel sport that usually ending with the killing of the bull. Such activities were banned by law in 1835 and ever since the ferocity and desire to fight has been bred out of the modern Bulldog. Today, the Bulldog is beloved for its impressive physique, tenacity, and sweet, gentle nature. It looks and acts nothing like its ferocious ancestors, but its original stamina, intelligence and courage remain.


Bulldogs are even-tempered but somewhat dominant animals with a high degree of tolerance. Children can play vigorously with them and roll all over the floor in good fun. They can chase them, run with them, and do just about anything -- with one very important exception. Bulldogs do not tolerate anyone, including humans and other pets, to come near their food bowl, especially at mealtime. Many have a stubborn streak and require early training to get control of their behavior. They do not have good table manners. Bulldogs are sloppy eaters and drop food from their mouths onto the floor. The sounds they make while eating involve snorting and gulping and what sounds like gagging. This is probably caused by their shortened airways and undershot jaws. They also drool at the most inopportune times and experienced owners always have a damp towel with them to wipe away what collects between the jowls or what drips to the floor. Wheezing, flatulence, grunting and slobbering water are all part of the Bulldog's unique and lovable character. This breed enjoys everyone's company and is a superb home companion, blending in with other dogs, cats, children and extended family members. Although Bulldogs are not known to be competent guard dogs in the traditional sense, they will let you know when someone enters your home who does not belong there. These stocky dogs with their pushed-in faces, flapping jowls, and barrel-shaped bodies will snort out their love and affection to you or frighten away those that do not know them for the sweethearts that they are. They also snore when they sleep.


Bulldogs seem bigger than they actually are because of their massive bodies and even more massive heads. They are medium-size dogs with smooth, short coats. Their shoulders are wide-set and their legs are thick and muscular. When they walk, they give the appearance of great strength and stability along with confidence in what they choose to do. They look ferocious because of their hanging jowls on each side of the mouth, along with their undershot jaw and jutting teeth. They have small, thin, ears that are set back on the head and curl inwards. The Bulldog seems to swagger or roll in a sidewise motion as she walks, bringing a smile to all passersby. This blocky, shuffling gait is reminiscent of a retired fighter with a heart of gold.


Because Bulldogs are strong, stubborn, and slow to respond, obedience training should begin at an early age. Although they are capable of tolerating strong corrections because of their strapping bodies, the trainer must understand that these are sensitive dogs and must not be subjected to strenuous training techniques. Persistent and loving demands are the keys to training Bulldogs. They respond best to spoken corrections and remember well what they have learned. It is easy to hurt their feelings.

Grooming & Care

The Bulldog coat is short and glossy and requires a diligent brushing once a week with an eye to removing loose or shedding hair. Little or no trimming is required but it is best done by a professional groomer. Basic skin and teeth hygiene are required.

Health Concerns

They are vulnerable to heatstroke and breathing difficulties in hot, humid weather; predisposed to sinus arrhythmias, hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, various skin ailments, and eyelid and eyelash abnormalities. Ask the breeder if your puppy is OFA and CERF certified. One special note concerning bulldogs: they cannot regulate their own body temperature well and must be protected from extreme heat and cold. They are at great risk in airless, humid environments and after physical exertions. They should have constant supervision, access to water, shade, and air conditioning in warm weather.

Famous Bulldog

Mack, the logo of the Mack Truck; Bull from "Lady and the Tramp;" Handsome Dan, Yale University's mascot.

Ideal Owner
Activity Level Moderate
Schedule Full-time (but no overtime)
Personal Style Easygoing and casual
Training Style Firm, Confident
Home Anything goes with enough exercise
Children Gentle and respectful kids
Experience Not necessary
Quick Facts
Size Medium
Grooming Brush a few times a week
Exercise Moderate - needs to walk or play every day
Training Fast learner, Can be stubborn
Temperment Friendly, Confident, Headstrong
Challenges Drooling, gassy, tends to snore and snort, intolerant to heat and heavy exercise, some are dog-aggressive
Height 14 to 16 inches
Weight 40 to 50 pounds
Life 8 to 10 years
Home Alone Fine as a trained adult
With Kids Fine if raised with them
With Strangers Indifferent
Availability Available, so choose your breeder carefully

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