The English Bulldog, also known as the British Bulldog or Bulldog, is a medium-sized dog breed known for its distinctive appearance, including a short, muscular body, wrinkled face, and pushed-in nose. They are known as friendly, courageous, and calm dogs. The English Bulldog is the fifth most popular breed in the United States. They are categorized in the non-sporting group by the American Kennel Club.
Characteristics specific to the medium-sized breed include the short, stocky physique; broadheads and shoulders; thick folds of skin on the brow; round, black or dark brown, wide-set eyes; a short muzzle with folds of skin above the nose known as a rope or nose roll; hanging skin under the neck; drooping lips and pointed teeth; and the noticeable underbite. A dewlap is the two loose folds from the jaw to the chest at the throat. The nose is black and slightly upturned. The jaws are massive and strong since the breed was initially intended to latch onto an opponent, such as a bull, and hold on until the opponent was subdued. The ears are small, thin, and fold forward like flaps framing the forehead. The neck is short and thick. The chest is deep and full, while the back is broad and slightly arched with rounded hips slightly protruding above the back level. The coat is smooth, short, and flat. The breed's standard colors are red, white, fawn, fallow, or a combination of these colors. Patterns and markings include brindle, piebald, ticking, black masks, and black tipping. The Bulldog's naturally short, stubby tail is thick and straight or screwed. The short, stocky legs are muscular, splayed out, and slightly bowed at the elbows and hocks to form a sturdy and wide stance. The distinctive body also gives the Bulldog a distinctive gait that is more of a waddle than a walk.
"Bull" in Bulldog comes from their use in the blood sport of bullbaiting. They are descendants of ancient mastiff-type dogs entirely developed in England. The English Bulldog breed's history began bloody and cruel in England in the 13th century, during the reign of King John, as they were specifically developed for use in this sport, which consisted of putting dogs onto a tethered bull betting on which dog would subdue the bull by grabbing it by the nose and pinning it to the ground. The original Bulldog breed developed for bullbaiting was a ferocious breed with large jaws, slightly taller, more muscular, and could withstand the pain the sport subjected them to. In addition to bullbaiting, original bulldogs were also used to drive cattle to the market. Bullbaiting was eventually made illegal in England with the Cruelty to Animals Act in 1835. Since they could no longer be used for bullbaiting, the breed faced extinction; however, some admired its strength, determination, and appearance and did not allow it to die out. These people strove to change the breed from the ferocious bull baiter to the sweet and mellow breed, especially fond of children we know today. Breeders selected only dogs with a docile temperament for breeding. It is said that the breed of today inherited its tenacious nature from the early Bulldogs.
British Immigrants brought the breed to the United States and settled in New York. In the mid-17th century, New York had a significant problem with numerous wild bulls running throughout the city. To address the issue, Governor Richard Nicolls had English Bulldogs bred and trained to catch the wild bulls by the nose and hold them until a rope could be put around the bull's neck. With time, the English Bulldog became popular in the United States, and the American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1886.
According to the BBC, "too many the Bulldog is a national icon, symbolizing pluck and determination." During World War II, the English Bulldog was personified by Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who was known as a steadfast leader known for his defiance to Nazi Germany, when the physical similarities between the breed and Churchill were recognized. Today, the English Bulldog is known as the national symbol of England and the world's symbol of tenacity and courage. The breed is often chosen as a mascot because of its tough and tenacious characters. Yale University's Handsome Dan was the first known animal mascot for all sports. The University of Georgia's Bulldog mascot, Uga, enjoys watching the team from his comfortable, air-conditioned dog house located on the sidelines. The Bulldog also represents the Mack Truck Company and the United States Marine Corps. President Calvin Coolidge had a Bulldog named Boston Beans. Other famous Bulldog owners include Brad Pitt, John Legend, and Michael Phelps.
Breeders have diligently worked to reduce or remove the aggressive nature of the original English Bulldog. They are currently characteristically known to be friendly, patient, sweet, and gentle, but they are also known to be stubborn. The breed is people-oriented, eager to please its human family, and loves human attention. Their dependable and predictable natures make them great pets for the family because of their strong bonds with children. They are known to get along well with children, other dogs, and other pets. They can be very affectionate with their human family, good with young children, and good with other dogs. If they are not appropriately socialized as puppies, they can be territorial and unmanageable with other dogs and animals and defensive with strangers. The English Bulldog is not known to be an aggressive breed. However, they are courageous, and they will protect those they love. They have retained the courage of the early, bullbaiting dogs so that they make good watchdogs. While their ferocious appearance may be intimidating to some people, they are the happiest lounging on the couch or as lap dogs, despite their weight. They are currently known as one of the gentlest and friendliest breeds today.
Puppies with good temperaments are curious and playful. They will approach people and allow themselves to be picked up. It is crucial to socialize your puppy by exposing him to numerous different people, sights, sounds, and experiences to ensure he grows into a well-rounded and well-behaved adult dog. Additional ways to socialize a Bulldog puppy include
The English Bulldog's laid-back nature makes them ideal for any living environment as long as a couch or dog bed for naps is available. They tend to be inactive indoors, preferring to sleep until mealtimes. They do best in temperate climates because they do not tolerate excessive heat or excessive cold. They like to be indoors with air conditioning, especially during summer afternoons. The breed's short snout can cause labored breathing in hot and humid weather. Their low energy level makes them ideal for apartment living. They do not need a large yard for running since they quickly get tired and need a nap. The English Bulldog is also perfectly comfortable in a loud and noisy home with young children. They tolerate the high activity level of children, including the yanking and tugging small children are known for with animals. Instead of getting angry, they are more likely to walk away from a situation that bothers them. They are also versatile in city environments because the breed does not bark excessively. They are an endearing breed despite some drooling, snoring, snorting, wheezing, and farting. You need to be especially careful if you have a pool, spa, or pond because their big heads and muscular bodies make them poor swimmers.
An English Bulldog's fine, short, smooth, glossy coat only requires weekly brushing. The breed does not shed a lot, so weekly brushings should be sufficient. Keeping the breed's face clean and dry is far more important than brushing. The folds of skin on the Bulldog's face should be cleaned daily because moisture and dirt can cause irritation or infections. A cotton ball dipped in peroxide can be used to clean the wrinkles. Applying cornstarch after cleaning with peroxide can help with drying. However, it is important to ensure neither the peroxide nor the cornstarch is applied near the eyes. Bulldogs are prone to skin-fold dermatitis because of the skin folds throughout the body. It is important to ensure that the inside area of the wrinkles is well dried after bathing. Those with curling tails may require regular cleaning and ointment because the tail can be tight to the body. Their nails should be trimmed monthly to avoid the clanking of their nails on a hard floor. Weekly teeth cleaning is recommended to prevent dental problems in the future. Also, it is essential to keep the ears clean and dry to avoid infection.
They prefer a relaxed life of napping. The breed's wide skull and flat face (brachycephalic) make exercising a challenge. The short muzzle can make breathing difficult in heat and humidity. However, they require daily, moderate exercise of 20 - 40 minutes a day to avoid excessive weight gain, which could cause heart and lung problems and excessive stress on the joints. Walking in the neighborhood during the cooler hours or a quick play session is sufficient exercise since they get tired quickly. Despite their easygoing natures, they enjoy brisk walks. They also tend to get overheated quickly. The English Bulldog's owner needs to be diligent to avoid overheating. Assuring that the breed has a shady place to rest and plenty of water. A kiddy pool placed in a shaded area while the family is outside is recommended for the breed that overheats easily. The Bulldog should never be left unsupervised in the hot sun without shade and water. Leaving a Bulldog in an enclosed car is dangerous even on a mildly warm day. If your Bulldog becomes overheated, immediately soak him in cool water and give him ice to cool down. Their stature makes stairs and pools dangerous for the Bulldog. They are not good swimmers because of their heavy heads and chests. They need to be supervised closely to avoid any distress in water or drowning. They enjoy wading in shallow water, but water deeper than elbow height can be dangerous.
Because the breed is low-key and easygoing, English Bulldog owners need to be patient when training the Bulldog puppy. They can be stubborn, but they do want to please their owner. Early socialization and obedience training are necessary. Early potty training is also essential because of their stubborn nature. Potty training should begin with crate training to establish a schedule. They should immediately receive a reward when potting in the crate or outside to reinforce good potty habits. Training, in general, should be positive and encouraging for as long as the dog has energy and interest in it. Training sessions should be short to avoid overheating. Treats should only be given in moderation since the English Bulldog is prone to excessive weight gain.
The English Bulldog's diet should be high quality and appropriate to the life stage (puppy, adult, or senior). The breed is very food motivated, which assists with the training process; however, the owner needs to be especially careful with feeding and treats because the breed is prone to excessive weight gain. Calorie consumption and weight should be monitored carefully. Free feeding, where food is left out all day to munch on, is not recommended for the breed. You will be able to maintain your dog's weight better with two measured meals a day. A half-cup to two cups divided into two meals a day is recommended. It is important to ensure the Bulldog always has access to clean freshwater.
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