What do England, the U.S. Marines, Yale University, University of Georgia, and dozens of other schools all have in common? The dog they have all chosen to represent their tough, tenacious characters. That dog? Why, it's the Bulldog, of course!
Sometimes called the English Bulldog or the British Bulldog, the breed originated in England and has a bloody past. It descended from fighting mastiffs that were brought to the British Isles by the Romans and was used in a bloody sport called bullbaiting. Today, however, the Bulldog only slightly resembles his ancestors in appearance. And all of the ferociousness that he exhibited in the bullbaiting pens? Gone for good. Despite his still ferocious appearance, you'd be hard-pressed to find a dog with a sweeter, more loving disposition.
Bulldogs are never mistaken for other breeds of dogs. They are a medium-size dog with a thick-set, low-slung body. Their short-muzzled head is massive and square. They have broad shoulders and chests, with thick, sturdy limbs.
Although Bulldogs are low to the ground, they are wide and muscular. Their broad heads have cheeks that extend to the sides of their eyes, and the skin on their foreheads should have dense wrinkles. A Bulldog has a droopy upper lip and his lower jaw is undershot, meaning that his lower teeth stick out farther than his top teeth. The Bulldog's jaws are massive and strong, intended for latching on to his opponent and holding on.
The Bulldog is popular dog in the U.S., but he's not for everyone. He's surprisingly heavy for his size, and if you need to pick him up, say to take him to the vet, it can be a challenge. Inside the house, Bulldogs tend to be inactive, preferring to sleep until it's time to eat again. They love children, but don't expect them to spend hours chasing a ball or running with the kids in the backyard. Your Bulldog may engage in such play for a while, but then you'll find him back at your side, content to watch the world go by and look up at you happily with that face that only a mother - or a devoted Bulldog fan - could love.
The Bulldog is a much different dog today than his ancestors. Descended from ancient mastiff-type dogs, the Bulldog breed was developed entirely in England. The first mention of the breed was in 1500, a description of a man "with two Bolddogges at tayle..." The then-fierce dogs were used in a practice called bull baiting, which involved the dog grabbing onto the bull's nose and roughly shaking.
Breeders started showing Bulldogs in conformation shows in England in 1859. The first dog show that allowed Bulldogs to be shown was at Birmingham, England in 1860. In 1861, a Bulldog named King Dick won at the Birmingham show. One of his descendants, a dog named Crib, was later described as being "close to perfection.
Like every dog, Bulldogs need early socialization-exposure to many different people, sights, sounds, and experiences-when they're young. Socialization helps ensure that your Bulldog puppy grows up to be a well-rounded dog. Enrolling him in a puppy kindergarten class is a great start. Inviting visitors over regularly, and taking him to busy parks, stores that allow dogs, and on leisurely strolls to meet neighbors will also help him polish his social skills.
Like all breeds, Bulldogs are prone to certain diseases and conditions. Not all Bulldogs will get any or all of these diseases, but it's important to be aware of them so you can be informed when you interview breeders and can know what to look for throughout your Bulldog's life.
Buying from a responsible breeder will help ensure that you get the healthiest Bulldog possible. A puppy from a reputable Bulldog breeder will be vaccinated and dewormed before you take him home. Responsible breeders use only physically sound, mature (at least 2 years or older) dogs, and test their breeding stock for genetic diseases pertinent to the breed.
Bulldogs are inactive indoors and don't require a great deal of exercise (although they must be walked every day to keep them from gaining weight). They are indoor
The Bulldog is unlikely to be an obedience-trial star, but once he learns something, he never forgets it. He learns best through fun training sessions that involve repetition and positive reinforcement through food rewards and praise.
How much your adult dog eats depends on his size, age, build, metabolism, and activity level. Dogs are individuals, just like people, and they don't all need the same amount of food. It almost goes without saying that a highly active dog will need more than a couch potato dog. The quality of dog food you buy also makes a difference — the better the dog food, the further it will go toward nourishing your dog and the less of it you'll need to shake into your dog's bowl.