The Bulldog (also called English Bulldog or British Bulldog) is believed to have evolved from the Molossian dog first brought to Britain by Phoenician traders in the 6th century BC.
The Bulldog breed was used in the sport of bull-baiting, a practice that existed from Roman times.
Though the Bulldog may appear to be oddly made, each point of its structure was bred into the breed to aid or protect it while attempting to overcome a bull.
When bull-baiting was outlawed early in the 19th century, the future looked bleak for the Bulldog until a handful of breeders set to preserving this breed that had become a symbol of British courage and tenacity. When The Kennel Club (England) was organized in 1873, the Bulldog was among the first dog breeds to be recognized.
The Bulldog was first classified as such in the 1630s though there is an earlier mention of similar types referred to as bandogs, a term reserved today for a type of fighting dog. The Bulldog also fought its way through the dog pits but after 1835 began to evolve into the shorter faced, more squat version we now know. It entered the show ring in 1860 and the ensuing years saw a big personality change. A delightfully ugly dog with a pugilistic expression, which belies a loving, affectionate nature to family and friends. One of the oldest dog breeds, known as the national dog of Great Britain, and associated throughout the world with British determination and the legendary John Bull.
For a dog that once faced bulls, the Bulldog is calm and dignified with a steady, even disposition. He is resolute and courageous but not vicious or aggressive. Conveys impression of determination, strength, and activity. Alert, bold, loyal, dependable, courageous, fierce in appearance, but possessed of affectionate nature.
Bulldog’s General Appearance
Smooth-coated, fairly thick set, rather low in stature, broad, powerful and compact. Head fairly large in proportion to size, but no point so much in excess of others as to destroy the general symmetry, or make the dog appear deformed, or interfere with its powers of motion. Face relatively short, muzzle broad, blunt and inclined slightly upwards, although not excessively so.
Dogs showing respiratory distress highly undesirable. Body fairly short, well-knit, limbs stout, well-muscled, and in hard condition with no tendency towards obesity. Hindquarters should be high and strong. Bitches not so grand or well-developed as males.
Viewed from the side, the head appears very high and moderately short from back to point of nose. Forehead flat with skin on and about the head, slightly loose and finely wrinkled without excess, neither prominent nor overhanging face. Face from front of cheek bone to nose, relatively short, the skin may be slightly wrinkled. Distance from the inner corner of the eye (or from the center of stop between eyes) to the extreme tip of the nose should not be less than the distance from the tip of the nose to the edge of the underlip.
Moderate in length, thick, deep, and strong. Well-arched at back, with some loose, thick and wrinkled skin about throat, forming slight dewlap on each side.
Topline: Slight fall to back close behind shoulders (lowest part) whence spine should rise to loins (top higher than the top of the shoulder), curving again more suddenly to tail, forming slight arch – a distinctive characteristic of the breed.
Back: Short, strong, broad at shoulders.
Chest: Wide, prominent and deep. Body well ribbed up behind. Brisket, round and deep well let down between forelegs. Ribs not flat-sided, but well-rounded.
Underline and belly: Belly tucked up and not pendulous.
Set on low, jutting out rather straight and then turning downwards. Round, smooth, and devoid of fringe or coarse hair. Moderate in length – rather short than long – thick at root, tapering quickly to a fine point. Downward carriage (not having a decided upward curve at end) and never carried above back. Lack of tail, inverted, or extremely tight tails are undesirable.
General appearance: Forelegs short in proportion to hindlegs, but not so short as to make back appear long, or detract from dog’s activity.
Shoulder: Broad, sloping and deep, very powerful and muscular giving the appearance of being “tacked on” body.
Elbow: Elbows low and standing well away from ribs.
Forearm: Forelegs very stout and strong, well-developed, set wide apart, thick, muscular and straight, bones of legs large and straight, not bandy nor curved. Metacarpus (Pastern): Short, straight, and strong.
Forefeet: Straight and turning very slightly outward; of medium size and moderately round. Toes compact and thick, well split up, making knuckles prominent and high.
General appearance: Legs large and muscular, slightly longer in proportion than forelegs. Legs long and muscular from loins to hock.
Stifle (Knee): Stifles turned very slightly outwards away from the body.
Metatarsus (Rear pastern): Hocks slightly bent, well let down.
Hind feet: Round and compact. Toes compact and thick, well split up, making knuckles prominent and high.
Appearing to walk with short, quick steps on tips of toes, hind feet not lifted high, appearing to skim the ground, running with one or other shoulder rather advanced. The soundness of Bulldog’s movement is of utmost importance.
Fine texture, short, close and smooth (hard only from shortness and closeness, not wiry). Colour: Whole or smut, (i.e. whole color with black mask or muzzle). Only whole colors (which should be brilliant and pure of their sort). viz., brindles, reds with their various shades, fawns, fallows, etc., white and pied (i.e. combination of white with any of the foregoing colors). Dudley, black and black with tan highly undesirable.
Bulldog’s Height: 12 to 15 inches (31 to 38 cm) tall at the withers.
Bulldog’s Weight: The low-slung, heavy-set Bulldog weighs 40-50 lb (18-22.5 kg).
Bulldog’s Activity Level
The Bulldog has a relatively low activity level. He can adjust to just about any environment and his exercise needs are easily met. Potential owners should be aware that the Bulldog’s facial structure makes him subject to snuffling, snorting, and snoring. He also suffers in hot weather so special care is needed in the summer.
Faults observed in the Bulldog breed
Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog.
Disqualifying Faults: Aggressive or overly shy. Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioral abnormalities shall be disqualified.