With such a huge number of dog breeds out there, sometimes it can be difficult to choose which kind of dog you'd like to own - a bulldog is consistently among the most popular breeds in various top 10 and 20 lists, determined by number of registrations per year. There's no mistaking the Bulldog's characteristically wide head and broad shoulders as well as its distinctive face that sports a protruding lower jaw. Though there are many variations such as the American, French, and Olde English Bulldogge (ironically an American Breed), the British Bulldog is what is being celebrated in this article, which hopes to provide some more information on this wonderful breed.
Origins of the Breed
The breed has its origins at around the time of the middle ages. Sadly, the designation of 'bull' in its name refers to the practice of bull baiting; the bulldog (as well as some other breeds) was used to bait larger animals until they were immobilised. The Bulldog's purpose in the middle ages therefore was the facilitating of a largely recreational (though baited meat was also believed to be superior) practice, one which today is deemed as wholeheartedly cruel and unnecessary.
Thankfully, the practice of bull baiting was outlawed in 1835 and though as a result of this the breed was essentially without purpose, Bulldog lovers at the time chose to preserve it. The undesirable characteristics were then bred out of the Bulldog within a few generations. Today, the breed is loved by many and has many clubs associated with it like the Bulldog Club of America.
The original temperament of the Bulldog was after all one of not only courageousness but also fierceness and violent nature , born from necessity as a result of its use in bull baiting and the rounding up of livestock. If you own or are familiar with the Bulldog breed today however, then you can instantly recognise its courageousness and other traits that are present as a result of the one-time requirements of these wonderful animals.
Overview and Physical Characteristics
The Bulldog's appearance is one of the most distinctive in all of the canine world: a relatively large width of shoulder and also in its face as well as the recognisably droopy lips and oft protruding teeth are just a few of the traits that make them instantly identifiable as Bulldogs. Other physical attributes include mandibular prognathism (in this case a protruding of the lower jaw), folds of skin on the face and forehead, very wide (and cute-looking) eyes, and a fairly short coat.
Typical weight standards of Bulldogs in the UK are around 50 and 40 lbs for males and females respectively. They have an expected lifespan of between 8 and 12 years and have an average height spread of between 1ft and 1 ft 3 inches. As of 2013, the Bulldog was ranked by the American Kennel Club as the 5th most popular pure-breed dog in the United States.
A Bulldog's Temperament
In recent history, the Bulldog has been bred specifically to remove once-prevalent characteristics that made it excellent for bull baiting such as fierceness and aggression. These traits have since been bred out of the Bulldog breed, leaving a friendly and largely patient temperament, though still extremely courageous. This breed is notorious for being very friendly in nature, particularly towards children as well as other pets. This makes the Bulldog ideal for people that already have children or other animals; you can worry about conflicts less with this breed when compared to other more unpredictable breeds of dog.
In terms of exercise and activity, the Bulldog will of course enjoy walks but such is its affection for its human companions that it can eventually become so attached that it will require human companionship in order to even venture out of the house (the back garden, for example). For those that enjoy animals sleeping on their lap, the Bulldog is an ideal breed as it has the tendency to enjoy long bouts of rest, with particular affinity for sleeping on their owner's laps in many cases.
Common Health Issues
Though not plagued by as many health problems as some other purered dogs such as Pugs, Bulldogs can still suffer from a number of different ailments. For example, figures from the Orthopaedic Foundation for Animals show that out of a sample size of 467 Bulldogs tested over a 30 year period, around 73% were found to have some degree of hip dysplasia. Patella Luxation (moving of the kneecap to abnormal positions) is also prevalent in around 6% of Bulldogs.
Other common issues for Bulldogs include cardiac problems, respiratory disease, and cherry eye. The skin folds on their face require cleaning regularly in order to reduce the risk of preventable health problems. It is strongly recommended that you go to the Bulldog Canine Health Info page in order to check for the kinds of screening that your Bulldog will benefit from.