English Bulldog: Your Complete Bulldog Dog Breed Guide

The English Bulldog, with its distinctive wrinkled face and pushed-in nose, is a breed that leaves a lasting impression. Recognized for their loose, sagging skin and muscular, hefty build, these dogs carry a demeanor that’s both courageous and kind. Their loving nature combined with a courageous spirit made the breed popular among dog enthusiasts. Emerging from its ancestors that were bred for the now-outlawed sport of bull-baiting, the modern English Bulldog is a far cry from its aggressive forebears, making a remarkably affectionate and dependable household pet.

As you consider bringing an English Bulldog into your life, it’s important to understand their unique needs. Despite their sturdy appearance, they come with a set of health considerations that require attention, and their laid-back personality often belies the necessity of regular exercise to prevent obesity. So before you start searching for English Bulldog puppies for sale, we gathered up some Bulldog experts, like Marion Thomas of Top Chart Bullies, to give you the low down on if this is the right breed for you.

So, What Is An English Bulldog? Breed Overview

The English Bulldog, often simply referred to as the Bulldog or British Bulldog, is a medium-sized breed known for its loose, wrinkled skin and distinctive pushed-in nose. Originally bred for bull-baiting, today’s Bulldogs are gentle, affectionate, and excellent companions for your home.

For many dog lovers, the Bulldog is a perfect companion. This is especially true for less active households, or even the elderly, children, or people with physical limitations that may struggle with the power of other breeds, but still want a larger dog.

As somebody who suffers severe from severe health issues that causes severe daily pain, Marion Thomas chose the English Bulldog as the dog best suited to his needs. Mr. Thomas explains, “I live with pain constantly… there are days where if I have a dog on a leash, my hand grip [may not be adequate] if the dog pulls. So I needed a dog that was not that active or trying to pull me or overexert themselves. I needed a breed that could understand that.”

He goes on to say, “I love their nature, their loyalty, their kind-heartedness… I needed a dog that was very low-maintenance, not in terms of taking care of them, but low maintenance in terms of activity. The English Bulldog does not need that much space. They are very good in house or apartment living.” 

Of course, Bulldogs have a specific set of guidelines that describe the ideal characteristics, temperament, and appearance of the breed. The breed standards will give you detailed insight into what an exemplary Bulldog should be like. Additionally, the Bulldog’s classification within the Group 2 highlights their historical significance and role within the canine world.

So let’s dive deeper into everything you need to know about our favorite breed and whether this is the right breed for you.

English Bulldog History and Origin

The English Bulldog has a lineage that heralds from ancient war dogs and has transformed remarkably into the companionable breed you see today. Recognized for its distinctive look and historical purpose, this breed’s journey from aggressive bull baiter to beloved pet is filled with significant changes.


Your English Bulldog’s ancestors were originally used in England for bull baiting, a gruesome sport wherein the dogs would latch onto a tethered bull’s nose. These early bulldogs (now an extinct breed called the old English Bulldog) were bred for aggression, strength, and tenacity. Over time, after bull baiting was outlawed in the 19th century, these dogs were bred to have a gentler demeanor.

Historical Significance and Breed Development

The transition from fierce participant in a violent sport to a sociable household pet significantly altered the breed. English Bulldogs served in another important role as a symbolic representation of British resilience and determination during times of national adversity. Known as British Bulldogs, they’ve come to embody a spirit of fortitude.

The Breed Today

Today’s English Bulldogs are far removed from their ancestors in temperament, having been bred to be affectionate and loyal companions. Although they retain the muscular build and distinctive pushed-in nose of their forebearers, you’ll find them to be gentle and great with families. Their popularity led to the formation of dedicated breed clubs like the Bulldog Club of America, which helps to maintain breed standards and ensure their continued well-being.

Kennel Club Recognition

The Bulldog has garnered recognition from major kennel clubs around the world. In the United States, they have long been a recognized breed by the AKC (American Kennel Club), with standards that emphasize their characteristic appearance and agreeable nature. Similarly, they are listed under the international breeds category of Group 2 by the FCI, which includes Pinscher and Schnauzer – Molossoid breeds, classified for their utility and historical use in herding and guarding.

Physical Characteristics

When you’re looking to understand your English Bulldog better, it’s essential to know about its distinctive physical traits. These characteristics range from their impressive build to the texture and colors of their coat.

Size and Build

Your Bulldog is likely to exude a sense of power and stability due to its heavy, thick-set, low-slung body. To grasp a better understanding of how big English Bulldogs can get, consider their impressive stature, with a skull circumference that should match their height at the shoulders.

Here is a chart to explain how big bulldogs get:

Height14-15 inches35.5-38 cm
Length12-16 inches30.5-40.5 cm
Weight (Male)50-55 pounds22.5-25 kg
Weight (Female)40-50 pounds18-23 kg


Characterized by a massive short-faced head, wide shoulders, and sturdy limbs, Bulldogs have a striking appearance. Their faces feature heavy wrinkles, especially at the head, neck, and shoulders. Understanding why Bulldogs have such distinct wrinkles can help you provide better care.

The ears, known as “rose ears,” should be set high and fold inwards, contributing to the unmistakable Bulldog profile. A Bulldog’s tail may be straight or “screwed” and is carried low. You might already be familiar with their friendly and laid-back demeanor reflective in their courageous but dignified attitudes. Remember, because of the shape of their faces and jaw (they often have an underbite), these dogs do snore and drool.

Coat and Colors

The Bulldog’s coat is straight, short, flat, and smooth, showcasing a fine texture that’s glossy to the touch. Colors can range from red, white, fawn, fallow, or any combination of these, with possible markings including brindle, piebald, or black masks

Increasingly, it is more common to find bulldogs in rare coat colors and patterns such as merle. But these coat colors are not officially recognized by the AKC, and can be associated with certain health issues.

Since Bulldogs are not hypoallergenic and do shed, their coat requires regular grooming to keep it in top condition. The loose, soft skin and the breed’s signature facial wrinkles call for special care to prevent irritation or infection. 

Temperament and Personality

When you’re deciding if an English Bulldog is the right addition to your family, understanding their personality is key. These dogs are known for their calm and gentle character, showing great resolve and bravery without being hostile.

General Disposition

The English Bulldog has a calm and even-tempered nature, often appearing dignified and mellow. This breed is neither overly excitable nor too lazy, maintaining a nice balance that makes them a loyal companion. They typically exhibit a sweet disposition, making them a well-suited family pet that’s neither timid nor aggressive.

Suitability with Children and Other Animals

Bulldogs are known for being particularly gentle with children, often becoming a protective and affectionate member of the family. Their docile nature means they tend to be good around other animals too, including pets you may already have at home. However, early socialization is important to ensure they remain friendly and tolerant with both two-legged and four-legged family members.

Common Behavioral Traits

You might find your English Bulldog to be somewhat possessive with their food or toys, which is a trait that can be managed with proper training. Their energy level is typically low to moderate, so they don’t require as much exercise as some breeds, but be aware that they can be stubborn at times. 

This breed is not known for being overly friendly towards strangers immediately, which is why introductions should be made carefully and positively. While English Bulldogs can be a bit reserved, they won’t generally display aggression when meeting new people or animals.

Health and Lifespan

When it comes to your English Bulldog, understanding their health and expected lifespan is crucial for proper care. Here’s what you need to know.

Average Lifespan

Your bulldog is likely to be a loving companion for about 7.2 years, although they have a life expectancy of 7 to 10 years with proper care. Visualize this time as precious and focus on quality care, ensuring the best possible life for your furry friend. Keep a close eye on their health, as certain conditions can affect this average.

Common Health Issues

Unfortunately, bulldogs often face specific health challenges. They are prone to ear infections with 12.7% experiencing this discomfort. Skin infections are also common, affecting about 8.8% of the population, and obesity can be a concern for 8.7%. Particular attention should be directed at issues such as skin fold dermatitis, which occurs due to their wrinkled skin.

Other common conditions include cherry eye and entropion — where the eyelid turns inward. Bulldogs may also suffer from interdigital cysts and hip dysplasia, where the hip joint doesn’t fit together perfectly, which can lead to pain or lameness.

Sadly, these health issues, such as brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS), and Brachycepalic Ocular Syndrome, that gives them breathing difficulties and eye problems, are often due to breeding for certain physical traits. These issues include narrow nares (nostrils), an elogated soft palate, and even a large tongue that can making breathing so difficult they even get severe sleep apnea.

Preventative Care Tips

To prevent health problems, a focus on diet and nutrition is key. Feed your bulldog a balanced diet to manage their weight and avoid obesity. Ensure they have regular veterinary check-ups to catch any skin or breathing issues early. Regular exercise tailored to their abilities will help maintain joint health and combat hip dysplasia. 

It’s also important to be aware of any breathing difficulties, as surgery might be required to correct genetic issues related to their brachycephalic nature. This could include surgery to correct eyelid abnormalites like entropion or to help them breath easier.  Although these surgeries can be expensive, they can greatly improve your dog’s quality of life.

Exercise and House Needs

English Bulldogs have unique needs when it comes to exercise and their living environment. Being aware of their requirements will ensure your Bulldog stays healthy and happy.

Daily Exercise Requirements

English Bulldogs need regular, but moderate exercise to maintain their health. Aim for at least 15 minutes of walking twice a day, although they often enjoy playtime in the house or yard as well. It’s crucial to avoid strenuous activity, especially in hot weather, as they are prone to heat exhaustion due to their brachycephalic (short-snouted) nature.

Space Requirements

Despite their robust appearance, English Bulldogs do not require a vast amount of space. They can thrive in apartment settings as long as they get their daily exercise. However, you should make sure they have enough room to move around comfortably and a cool, shaded spot to rest, as they can overheat easily.

Housing Needs

Your English Bulldog should live indoors with you because they thrive on human companionship and are not suited to live outside. Extreme temperatures can be dangerous for Bulldogs, so a stable indoor environment with temperature control is ideal to prevent heat exhaustion or hypothermia. Make sure your home is air-conditioned during the summer months and adequately warm during the winter.

Training and Socialization

When you bring your English Bulldog home, your main focus should be on proper training and socialization. These aspects are crucial, whether you’re dealing with a puppy or an adult Bulldog. Your approach should be consistent, gentle, and understanding of their unique personality traits.


English Bulldogs can be quite stubborn, which sometimes makes training a challenge. Begin training your Bulldog early on to take advantage of their impressionable puppy stage. When they’re young, their eagerness to please can overcome some of their natural resistance to following commands.

  • Puppy Training: Start with simple commands like “sit” and “stay”. Keep sessions short to maintain their attention.
  • Adult Bulldog Training: If you have an older Bulldog, you may need more patience. Introduce new commands gradually and always use positive reinforcement.

Socialization Needs

Your Bulldog needs early socialization — it’s as critical as training. A well-socialized Bulldog puppy is less likely to be fearful and more likely to become a friendly and confident adult.

  • Meeting New People: Introduce your Bulldog to various people to develop their social skills.
  • Exploring New Environments: Take your Bulldog to different places so they can get used to various sights and sounds.

Behavioral Training Tips

Behavioral training helps your Bulldog live harmoniously with you and others. Since Bulldogs can be sensitive, use positive methods like treats and praise for motivation.

  • Consistency Is Key: Bulldogs learn best with consistent rules and routines.
  • Seek Professional Help: If you’re struggling, don’t be afraid to consult a professional dog trainer.

Remember, your Bulldog is an individual with their own personality. Tailor your training and socialization to their unique needs and characteristics for the best results.

Diet and Nutrition

When it comes to your English Bulldog’s health, their diet is super important. It helps them stay fit and avoid some common health issues.

Dietary Needs

Your English Bulldog has specific dietary needs that are important to meet. They need a balanced diet rich in proteins, fats, and carbohydrates to maintain their robust physique. Proteins are crucial for muscle development, while fats provide energy and support healthy skin and coat. Carbohydrates offer energy too, and they should come from vegetables and whole grains for better digestion. Vitamins and minerals are also essential, especially calcium for strong bones. But watch out for overfeeding; Bulldogs can easily become overweight.

Your dog could have issues if their diet isn’t right. One study reported a case of an English Bulldog facing severe nutritional deficiencies due to an unbalanced homemade raw diet. To avoid such risks, choose high-quality commercial dog foods or consult your vet to approve any homemade meal plans.

Feeding Schedule

For your Bulldog’s feeding schedule, consistency is key. Typically, adult Bulldogs do well with two meals per day. Puppies may require more frequent feeding, about three to four times daily, to support their growth. Space the meals to prevent overeating at once and divide the daily food portion accordingly.

Always make sure fresh water is available, especially since Bulldogs are prone to dehydration. Stick to regular meal times, and avoid feeding them scraps from the table, as it could disrupt their nutrition balance and lead to obesity.

Remember, no two dogs are the same. Always watch your Bulldog’s weight and adjust their diet as needed, in consultation with your vet.

Special Dietary Considerations

When considering your English Bulldog’s diet, it’s essential to support their joint health. Look for foods enriched with glucosamine and chondroitin, ingredients that help maintain healthy joints. Additionally, their skin can benefit from diets high in omega-3 fatty acids for their sensitive skin and to reduce inflammation in their body.

Many English Bulldogs may exhibit food sensitivities. It’s crucial to identify and avoid ingredients that trigger allergies. If you suspect your dog has a food allergy, have your vet do a test to identify what they are allergic to and than just remove that from their diet. You can also do an elimination diet test.

For heart health, ensure your pup’s diet includes nutrients like taurine and carnitine. Along with these, a moderate amount of MCT oil could also support their cardiac function. Also, consider foods with ample vitamin E to aid in cancer prevention (it also helps their skin and works as an anti-oxidant).

Because they are quite prone to cancer, many Bulldog owners prefer a low-processed diet, such as freeze-dried dog food. But if you choose food that is not heat processed, be sure it is properly formulated to be complete and balanced. Avoid canned wet food, as this can make dental issues worse. 

Kidney stones, particularly calcium oxalates, can be an issue. A diet low in oxalates and with controlled levels of calcium and phosphorus might be necessary (with a specific food PH). Your vet will need to identify if your dog has kidney stones and prescribe a suitable diet for kidney health.

Finally, addressing their tendency towards obesity and hypothyroidism means monitoring caloric intake is critical. Prefer diets that are low in saturated fats and designed for weight management. 

Regular exercise, alongside a controlled diet, will help maintain a healthy weight. Keep an eye on their thyroid health as well, consulting your vet for proper dietary adjustments. Remember, a little vigilance goes a long way in safeguarding your Bulldog’s health!

Grooming Needs

Caring for your English Bulldog’s coat and skin is crucial. They require regular grooming to keep their skin healthy and coats shiny.

Grooming Frequency

You should brush your English Bulldog at least once a week. This breed is known to shed, so frequent brushing will help manage the loose hair and keep their coat clean.

Grooming Tools

For grooming your bulldog, you’ll need:

  • A rubber grooming brush to gently remove loose hairs.
  • A fine-toothed comb to keep their wrinkles free of debris.
  • Canine shampoo, specially formulated for sensitive skin, to use during baths.

Grooming Tips

  • Pay special attention to their wrinkles. Clean each fold with a damp cloth and dry them thoroughly to prevent infections.
  • Bathe your bulldog no more than once a month unless they get particularly dirty. Overbathing can strip their coat of natural oils.

Cost of Ownership

Owning an English Bulldog can mean a significant financial commitment. You’ll face an initial purchase price and then ongoing expenses like food, grooming, and medical care.

Initial Cost (English Bulldog Puppy Price)

When you’re looking to bring an English Bulldog puppy into your home, the price can vary widely. Buying from reputable breeders or organizations such as the Bulldog Club of America could mean prices ranging from approximately $1,500 to $4,000. Many top Bulldog puppies from champion lines may cost even more. Rare color puppies can also fetch exorbitant prices.

On the other hand, if you choose adoption from a rescue group, you may pay a lower fee, which often includes vaccinations and spaying/neutering costs. Remember, the cheapest option might not always be the best, as it could potentially point to irresponsible breeding practices.

Ongoing Costs (Food, Grooming, Vet)

After the initial purchase, you’ll need to budget for:

  • Food: English Bulldogs require high-quality dog food that may cost around $40 to $80 per month.
  • Grooming: They need regular cleaning, especially in their skin folds. Professional grooming can cost $30 to $50 per session.
  • Veterinary Care: Routine vet check-ups, emergency health issues, and bulldog-specific needs like treatment for respiratory issues could add up. Set aside around $700 to $1,500 annually for potential healthcare costs. Pet insurance can also go along way to help with those pesky vet bills, and I highly recommend that if you have a Bulldog, you have it as much insurance as possible.

Keep in mind that the kennel club or breeders may offer guidance on the proper care for these dogs, helping you manage costs effectively. Your English Bulldog’s health and happiness will depend on your investment in their wellbeing.

Bulldog Adoption and Buying Tips

When looking for a Bulldog to bring into your home, it’s important to consider where to find one, how to identify a responsible breeder, and how to choose the right dog that fits your lifestyle. It’s also crucial to understand the ethical implications involved in breeding Bulldogs due to their unique health needs.

Where to Adopt/Buy a Bulldog Puppy

You can find Bulldogs available for adoption at animal shelters, rescue organizations, or through reputable breeders. When choosing where to get your puppy, consider these options:

  • Shelters and Rescues: Often have Bulldogs needing homes, and adopting from them can be rewarding.
  • Reputable Breeders: Ensure they perform health screenings and provide a conducive environment for the dogs’ upbringing.

What to Look for in a Breeder

A good breeder should be transparent about the Bulldog’s health and breeding history. Look for these signs:

  • Health Clearances: Breeders should provide proof of genetic testing and health clearances for both parents.
  • Open Communication: Breeders who are happy to answer your questions and offer lifelong support for the Bulldog are ideal.

Choosing the Right Puppy/Dog

When selecting your Bulldog, consider whether you’re ready for a puppy or if an older dog might be more suitable.

  • Puppies: Require more time and training but allow you to shape their behaviors early on.
  • Older Dogs: Might be a good fit if you are looking for a Bulldog with a known personality and perhaps less energy.

Bulldog Ethical Breeding Practices

Ethical breeding is critical for Bulldogs due to their health challenges. Bulldogs often require assistance to mate and give birth. Some points to remember:

  • Natural Mating: Bulldogs often cannot mate without human assistance due to their body structure.
  • Litter Size: A Bulldog litter typically ranges from three to four puppies.
  • Natural Birth: Most Bulldogs require a cesarean section for delivery as natural birth can be risky for the mother and puppies.

Bulldog Breed Special Considerations

When you decide to bring an English Bulldog into your life, it’s important to consider their unique needs. This can ensure a happy and healthy life for your new furry friend.

Climate Suitability

English Bulldogs are not well-suited to extreme temperatures. They do best in moderate climates. Your Bulldog might struggle with breathing if it gets too hot because they have short noses. So, it’s really important to keep them cool in summer and warm in winter.

Compatibility with Lifestyle

You might wonder if an English Bulldog will fit into your life. They are laid-back and enjoy relaxing. If you live in a small place or don’t do a lot of active stuff, a bulldog might be a good match. They don’t need a lot of exercise, but they do love being with their people.

Bulldog Special Needs

Bulldogs have some special health things to think about. Because of their unique shape and face, they can have breathing issues. Their wrinkles are cute but you gotta keep them clean to prevent skin problems. Also, they can have joint issues, so it’s important for them to not get overweight. To help with their breathing, make sure they have a cool and comfy place to hang out.

Best Names for An English Bulldog

Choosing a name for your English Bulldog can be as fun as it is meaningful, reflecting your dog’s sturdy build, amiable personality, or even their comical nature. Below is a table with 100 name options that range from tough-sounding names that nod to the Bulldog’s strong appearance, to those that capture their unique charm. Whether you prefer traditional names, something more modern, or names with a touch of humor, you’re sure to find inspiration.

Classic ChoicesTough NamesCharming PicksWitty OptionsModern Monikers
WinstonTankDaisySir ChompsalotGizmo
DaisyBrutusRosieBark TwainLoki
BettyHunterAmeliaDroolius CaesarPhoenix
ArchieDieselHoneySir Snorts-a-lotLeo
CliffordRockEllieTater TotJagger
MinnieT-boneSweet PeaBulldozerXander

When choosing a name, it’s a good idea to think about the personality traits or physical characteristics that stand out in your Bulldog. Perhaps Butch suits your Bulldog’s beefy structure, or Coco is perfect for their sweet disposition. If your dog has a memorable quirk, Sir Chompsalot might capture that spirit. Go with what feels right for your pet and what will resonate with your Bulldog’s unique character.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

When it comes to English Bulldogs, you probably have a lot of questions. Here we’ll answer the most common ones to help you understand this unique breed better.

What is the bite force of an English Bulldog?

The bite force of an English Bulldog can vary, but it is not as strong as some of the larger dog breeds. It’s estimated to be around 210 pounds of pressure per square inch (PSI).

How much does an English Bulldog puppy Cost?

An English Bulldog puppy can be quite expensive. Prices typically range from $1,500 to $4,000, but they can be higher depending on the breeder, location, and pedigree.

Is an English Bulldog a good family dog?

Yes, an English Bulldog can be a wonderful family dog. They are known for their loyalty and affection towards their families.

How strong is the English Bulldog?

While they may appear robust and muscular, English Bulldogs are not the strongest dogs in terms of endurance or athleticism. They are, however, quite resilient and determined when motivated.

Is an English Bulldog Aggressive?

English Bulldogs are not typically aggressive. They can be very friendly dogs but, like any breed, they require proper socialization and training from a young age.

Can English Bulldogs be left alone?

English Bulldogs can suffer from separation anxiety if left alone for too long. It’s best not to leave them alone for more than a few hours.

Is it true that English Bulldogs are dumb or are they secretly clever?

Despite some misconceptions, English Bulldogs are not dumb. They may have a stubborn streak, but with patience and consistent training, they can display their cleverness.

Why might an English Bulldog be more costly compared to other breeds?

English Bulldogs often come with a higher price tag due to their breeding requirements. They often need assistance with reproduction and can have health issues which necessitate careful, and sometimes costly, breeding practices.

Can a English Bulldog be guard dog?

An English Bulldog may appear intimidating, but they are typically not used as guard dogs. They are more likely to greet an intruder with a wagging tail than a fierce bark.

Do English Bulldogs bark?

English Bulldogs are not known for excessive barking. They will bark to alert their owners of strangers or if they need attention, but they’re generally not yappy dogs.

Final Thoughts

When choosing to bring an English Bulldog into your life, it’s essential to remember their unique needs. Bulldogs have a distinctive appearance and a lovable personality, which make them popular companions. Yet, those same charming traits can come with challenges.

Health Considerations

  • Brachycephalic dogs like the English Bulldog may experience breathing difficulties, so it’s crucial to be mindful of this and avoid strenuous exercise, especially in hot weather.
  • Regular vet check-ups are important to monitor and manage potential health issues.

Care Requirements

  • Due to their physical build, Bulldogs often require special attention with diet and exercise to maintain a healthy weight.
  • Skin folds need regular cleaning to prevent infections.


These dogs often form strong bonds with you and your family. They are known for being affectionate and thriving in human company, so make sure you have ample time to spend with your Bulldog.

Concluding Thought

If you are looking for a loyal and charming pet and are ready to provide the care they require, an English Bulldog might just be the perfect addition to your family. Remember, every dog deserves a loving and informed owner — this is especially true for these wonderful dogs.

Here’s an interesting read for those wanting to dive deeper into the relationship between dogs and their owners, specifically for brachycephalic breeds like the English Bulldog.


Tamsin de la Harpe

Tamsin de la Harpe, with a lively spirit and 15 years of experience in dog training and behavior, brings a unique flair to the team. Based in South Africa, she is deeply engaged in rehabilitating dogs, focusing on their mental and nutritional health. Tamsin's approach to dog behavior is hands-on and heartfelt, shaped by her life with her own dogs and horses. Her journey in canine behavior is ongoing, as she continues advanced studies in this field.

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