Most historians theorize that the Bulldog was first bred in England, as a cross-breed between a Pug and a Mastiff. This is subject to debate, however, since the term ‘Bulldog’ was first used around 1568, and may have been used to reference other ancestors of the Bulldog breed. Bulldogs were first bred to be used in ‘bullbaiting’ in the 1600s, a sport in which a trained Bulldog was used to attack a bull that was tied to a post. In 1835, the Cruelty to Animals Act in England banned the use of dogs for fighting sports, and the Bulldog gradually adapted a role as a companion animal.
The Bulldog is very recognizable in appearance, being well-known for its short, thick head. The face of a Bulldog has a ‘squashed’ appearance, as a fold of skin is often present over the nose, right below the eyes. Bulldogs have very thick shoulders, and a typically stocky build. There are usually folds of skin that appear on a Bulldog’s forehead, which extend to give the entire facial area a ‘droopy’ appearance. Most Bulldogs weigh from 50 to 60 lbs when full grown.
Despite their reputation for being ill-tempered, a standard Bulldog is usually very calm and docile when properly trained. Bulldogs can move surprisingly fast over short distances, despite their relatively stocky build. Most modern breeders have worked hard to breed aggressive traits out of Bulldogs, which has resulted in the breed being of general good temperament. Bulldogs are not very active, usually only content to walk about a half-mile per day. As such, they often make good apartment pets, or suitable companion animals for less-active people. Most Bulldogs develop extremely strong bonds with their owners, and may not even venture outside of their homes without their human companions. Bulldogs are also very good with children, as long as they are properly socialized at a young age.
The Bulldog is technically a short-haired breed, though still requires regular grooming as a part of overall pet care. Grooming should be done with a short-hair dog care brush, which is usually made of flexible or dense rubber. Due to the tendency for bacteria to accumulate in their skin folds, it’s important to bathe a Bulldog on a semi-regular basis. It’s also very important to clean a Bulldog’s ears, since they also may become breeding grounds for bacteria.
Despite popular belief, Bulldogs are not technically classified as being extremely stubborn. The phrase “stubborn as a Bulldog” is a reference to a Bulldog’s occasional tendency to be willful. In a study about canine intelligence, it was said that bulldogs are among the lowest-ranked breeds on an intelligence scale. This is due to the results of a study that some Bulldogs may need from 80 to 100 repetitions of a certain command in order to properly understand it. While this may be slightly exaggerated, it’s still important to be prepared to be patient when training a Bulldog. Due to a Bulldog’s tendency to become attached to its owner, it’s very important to only use positive reinforcement tactics in a training program.