Dog Breeds: The English Bulldog
The English bulldog is a medium-sized dog of British origin. It is low to the ground, with a barrel chest and a ‘smushed’ face. The male typically weighs 5o lbs (22.6kg), but the United Kingdom standard is 55 lbs, with some reaching as much as 70 lbs (31kg).
The bulldog is a British invention. Bred for the bloody sport of bullbaiting, the bulldog is a cross between the pug and the mastiff. The first recorded use of the word ‘bulldog’ was in 1568.
The term ‘mastiff’ was originally used for any large dog. In the 17th century, a bull would be lashed to a post while mastiffs would attack and try to suffocate it. The distinctive short muzzle of the bulldog was ideal for this, since it allowed the dog to latch onto the nostrils of the bull. After bullbaiting was outlawed, people began breeding the big, athletic bull mastiff with the pug.
Today’s English bulldog is more compact than his ancestors, with a big head. Though no longer capable of canine athletics, they are noble animals.
All signs of aggression have been bred out of the modern bulldog. In fact, it would be difficult to find a gentler, more docile dog. They are ideal pets for small children. Bulldogs need daily exercise, but not necessarily a large amount of space.
Grooming and Health
Bulldogs are overbred. Their genetic history shows itself in their stunted limbs and brachycephalic head. They are prone to cherry eye, hip problems, allergies and (because of their abbreviated muzzle) respiratory problems.
The characteristic folds of skin have to be cleaned daily to prevent infection. Infection can also plague the other end of the dog; the tail of some bulldogs is so tight to the body that it must be cleaned regularly underneath. Veterinarians recommend that bulldogs have their teeth brushed regularly as well.
The English bulldog is a popular mascot. Its face is the symbols of toughness and strength. The word ‘bulldog’ is an epithet for someone who just won’t let go. The viciousness of the bulldog has been lost to history. What survives is a remarkable pet, one that relates easily with humans large and small, especially sports fans. It is instantly recognizable, has a legacy of winning, and is extremely loyal. Who wouldn’t want a bulldog on their team?