By Dr. Watuwa JamesDr. James Watuwa Last updated: 3rd May 2023

English Bulldog

English bulldogs are medium-sized dogs with large heads, flat faces, and protruding lower jaws. They are very popular pet dogs and a symbol of courage and ferocity in England. Despite having a ferocious appearance, they are naturally sweet, easygoing, and kind. Their gentle and friendly demeanor makes them great pets. They are loved by children and adults alike and adjust well to apartment life.

English Bulldog Pictures

Quick Information

Other NamesBulldog, British Bulldog
CoatShort, Flat, and Sleek
ColorRed, Fawn, White, Brindle, and Piebald
Breed  TypePurebred
GroupNon-Sporting Group, Companion Dog
Life expectancy  8 – 10 years
HeightMale – 17 in Female – 16 in
WeightMale – 54 lbs; Female – 50 lbs
Litter Size 4 – 5 puppies
Behavioral characteristicsSweet, gentle, people-oriented
Good with ChildrenYes
Barking Tendency Low
Climate CompatibilityCan’t tolerate extreme heat
Apartment CompatibilityHigh. Can adapt well to apartment life
Do they shedModerately
Are they HypoallergenicNo
Trainability Moderate
How much do they cost$1000 – $1500
Competitive Registration Qualification/Information The Bulldog Club of America
Country England

History and Origin

The origin of bulldogs dates back to 13th century England during King John’s reign when blood sports with animals, such as bull baiting, were prevalent. In this sport, a pack of dogs was made to fight a bull. The bull was known to be a strong animal and a good fighter. Bulldogs were created for bullfighting games, and over time, they became stronger and developed adaptations for fighting a bull. They often defeated the bull by grabbing it by the nose and pinning it to the ground while the spectators enjoyed it from a distance. Betting and gambling were very common in this sport. 

After 1835, the bulldogs stopped participating in sports because bull baiting was banned in England under the “Cruelty to Animals Act of 1835”. Despite that, they did not lose their usefulness. Emigrants used them to bring bulls under control. Because they could grab a bull by its nose and hold the grip for some time, they participated in a citywide roundup effort led by Governor Richard Nicolls.

By this time, bulldogs have gained a lot of admirers in England. People started loving them and wanted to have them as a companion. Soon bulldog lovers started grooming the dogs to become family pets. Their appearance was modified, and their temperament tamed. Under proper training and guidance, the bulldogs transformed from wild and ferocious animals to calm, sweet, and friendly pets.

Temperament and Personality

The temperament and personality of today’s bulldogs are very different from their ancestors. They are gentle, sweet, friendly, easygoing, sociable and enjoy the company of humans. Their reliability and trustworthiness make them a dignified breed of dog.

They inherited certain traits from their ancestors, like strength and resilience, which make them excellent watchdogs. Although they are docile and obedient, they occasionally display stubborn behavior. Early socialization plays an essential role in shaping their personality. A puppy that is more exposed to people grows up to become amiable and people-friendly. Despite their calm and composed nature, they sometimes act aggressively towards unfamiliar dogs.



Bulldogs require regular exercise to stay fit and healthy. They need to be taken for a walk every day. Comfort-loving and lazy by nature, they spend most of their time lying on a couch or sleeping on a bed indoors, making them prone to weight gain. They must be taken outdoors once a day for some physical exercise.
These dogs cannot tolerate extreme weather conditions. Their short muzzle makes breathing difficult for them at very high temperatures. They are susceptible to heatstroke and can even die within half an hour if exposed to very hot weather.
In summer, it is advisable to avoid taking them for a walk in the daytime. Keeping them in an air-conditioned room during the day and taking them for a walk at night when the temperature falls is suitable for their health.


Being an average shedder, they are easy to groom with their soft, smooth, and short-haired coat. They need all-over brushing with a soft brush two to three times a week for 10 minutes.
Bulldogs have wrinkles on their face, which needs to be cleaned regularly because food and moisture can get trapped there, causing irritation or infection. The wrinkles can be cleaned with a cotton ball dipped in peroxide. Applying cornstarch on the face after cleaning prevents dryness. The ears and the area under the tail also need cleaning. Their nails should be trimmed once every two weeks.

Health Problems

Bulldogs suffer from brachycephalic airway obstructive syndrome, because of which they are intolerant to heat and physical exertion. They should be kept away from the scorching heat. When they face difficulty breathing, they start panting, hanging out their tongue unusually far with a bluish cast instead of normal pink. If this happens, the dog should be cooled down immediately by soaking in cool water or giving ice.
Other diseases the English bulldogs are susceptible to are Skin Fold Pyoderma and Allergies, Hip Dysplasia, Entropion, and Obesity. Because of their severe health problems, English Bulldogs are banned in Norway and the Netherlands.


English Bulldogs should be fed good quality dog food made exclusively for them. There are foods available in the market made for these dogs which are dry kibble shaped, for easier eating and rich in ingredients that help promote gastrointestinal, joint, and skin health. The foods are also segmented for puppies and older dogs.
Portion control is vital while feeding them, as overfeeding can lead to weight gain. They should be fed twice a day, in the morning and evening. There are slow-feeding bowls specially formulated to stop them from eating too quickly, which might cause regurgitation of food or aspiration pneumonia.

It is advisable to consult a veterinarian to decide the amount and type of food given based on weight and other health conditions.


Socialization: English bulldogs should start socializing from a very young age. Early exposure to social training helps them absorb better and faster. These dogs are quite friendly and love mingling with other dogs and humans. The puppies that are socialized more grow up to be calm and gentle dogs, while the ones who are not socialized grow up to be aggressive and difficult to handle.

Leash: Using harnesses instead of collars is a better option for English bulldogs, as collars can add to their existing breathing problems. Harnesses are gentle on their neck and do not come off easily, even when the dog tries to get rid of them.

It requires patience to teach the dog to walk after you. In the early stages, it can pull the leash and try to lead the walk. It takes time for the dog to follow directions and move only when the leash is slack. Rewarding his correct behavior with treats and praises can motivate him to be obedient.

Interesting Facts

  • The now-extinct Old English bulldogs were taller, heavier, and had a longer lifespan than English bulldogs. They were less likely to suffer from respiratory problems.
  • English bulldogs are bad swimmers. Their flat faces, barrel-shaped bodies, and short legs make swimming difficult for them.
  • Despite being smart and intelligent, English bulldogs are sometimes difficult to train because of their stubborn nature.


Q. What is the difference between the English bulldog and the French bulldog?

French bulldogs are lighter and more active than English bulldogs.

Q. What is the difference between the English bulldog and the American bulldog?

American bulldogs have longer legs and are more athletic than English bulldogs.

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