Known for their massive, short-snouted head, wrinkly face and shuffling gate, the English Bulldog comes in a variety of colors.  The English Bulldog may be brindle, white, red, fawn, fallow or piebald. They would like to be (but they are definitely not) your typical lap dog!

In the United Kingdom, the breed standard is 55 pounds for the male and 50 pounds for the female.  In the United States, the size of a typical mature male is about 50 pounds and a typical mature female is about 40pounds.  It is not uncommon for large males to reach 70 pounds.


The English Bulldog is descended from ancient Mastiffs that originated in Asia and were brought to Europe by nomade.  Mastiffs had been bred for ferocity in fighting and were known for their ability to bite, hold and bring down aggressive prey.

In 16th century England, the bulldog was bred to be used for bullbaiting and also bearbaiting.  The term bulldog was first used around 1568.  Bullbaiting was a brutal gambling activity in which a bull was tied to a post and the specially trained bulldog would bite the bull's snout and attempt to suffocate it.  The short muzzle and wide lower jaw were needed for the dog to clamp itself to the bull's nose like a pair of vice grips.  The bulldog's nostrils needed to be turned upward so that the dog could still breathe while it was clinging to the bull.  Bull baiting was named in many historical documents, including Shakespeare's King Henry VI.

After these events were outlawed in 1835, the very aggressive and athletic bulldog was bred with the pug in order to improve its temperament.  Today, the bulldog still looks tough,  but...


Despite their history (as a bull baiter) and their powerful look and build, English Bulldogs are generally docile, friendly, gregarious, lazy and stubborn.  They have a reputation for getting along well with children and with other dogs.  They are gentle and protective.  Their original breeding seems to have made them courageous, confident and almost insensitive to pain.  The one thing that has not been bred out of the English Bulldog is its stubbornness.  English Bulldogs are not good students for obecience training enthusiasts!

Because of its tenacity, the English Bulldog is often chosen to be the mascot for various organizations that take pride in their strength. The English Bulldog is obviously the symbol of the United Kingdom and England in particular.  It is also the unofficial mascot of the United States Marines, and the official and proud mascot for several universities (Yale, Georgia) and numerous high schools, middle schools and even elementary schools.


A number of fallacies surround the health of this breed.  Our experience is that most of the health problems associated with English Bulldogs are NOT a result of their genetics but are the result of improper diet.  Bulldogs are known to snore loudly.  They will if you feed them improperly.  Our experience is that when fed properly,  the snoring stops.  The same applies to allergies, hip problems and eye problems.

Bulldogs are very sensitive to heat (and cold).  Great care should be given to ensure that they are given plenty of shade and water during hot weather.  They (surprisingly) love to bask in the sun and seem to be able to withstand the heat,  but when they are exercised, they have difficulty releasing the internally generated heat.  Special care should be taken to "powder" the creases and folds on their face and around their tails in warm weather.

Whelping (Birth)

Another fallacy is that female English Bulldogs ALWAYS have to deliver their pups through Caesarean section.  While this may occasionally be necessary when birthing is difficult, HEALTHY English Bulldogs can certainly deliver their pups naturally and successfully.

Wikipedia - Definition for the BULLDOG.

AKC Breed Standard

The Breed Standard (The American Kennel Club)
First registered in the NON-sporting group with the AKC in 1934
Approved July 20, 1976
Reformatted November 28, 1990

The numbers (N) in parentheses below reflect the percentage given by that category to the overall total rating.  The total of all the numbers below add up to 100.

General Apperance

The perfect English Bulldog must be of medium size and smooth coat, with heavy, thick-set, low-swung body, massive, short-faced head, wide shoulders and sturdy limbs.  The general appearance and attitude should suggest great stability, vigor and strength.

Temperament (3), Expression (2)
The disposition should be equable and kind, resolute and courageous (not viscious or aggressive).  Demeanor should be pacific and dignified.  These attributes should be countenanced by the expression and behaviour.

Size (3)

The size for mature males is about 50 pounds; mature females should be about 40 pounds.

Proportion and Symmetry (5)

The circumference of the skull in front of the ears should measure at least the height of the dog at the shoulders. The "points" should be well distributed and bear good relation one to the other, with no feature being in prominence from either excess or lack of quality that the animal appears deformed or ill-proportioned.

Influence of Gender

In comparison of specimens of different gender, due allowance should be made in favor of the bitches, which do not bear the characteristics of the breed to the same degree of perfection and grandeur as do the males.

Eyes and Eyelids (3)

The eyes, seen from the front, should be situated low down in the skull, as far from the ears as possible, and their corners should be in a straight line at right angles with the stop.  They should be quite in front of the head, as wide apart as possible, provide that their outer corners are within the outline of the cheeks when viewed from the front.  They should be quite round in form, of moderate size, neither sunken nor bulging, and very dark in color.  The lids should cover the white of the eyeball when the dog is looking directly forward, and the lid should show no "haw".

Ears (5)

The ears should be set high in the head, the front inner edge of each ear  joining the outline of the skull at the top back corner of the skull, so as to  place them as wide apart and as high and as far from the eyes as possible.  They should be thin and small in size.  The shape that is termed "rose ear" is the most desirable.  The "rose ear" folds inward at its back lower edge, the upper front edge curving over, outward and backward, showing part of the inside of the burr. The ears should not be carried erect or prick-eared or buttoned and should never be cropped.

Skull (5)

The skull should be very large, and in circumference, in front of the ears, should measure at least the height of the dog at the shoulders. Viewed from the front, it should appear very high from the corner of the lower jaw to the apex of the skull, and also very broad ans square.  Viewed at the side, the head should appear very high, and very short from the point of the nose to occiput.  The forehead should be flat (not rounded or domed), neither too prominent nor overhanging the face.

Cheeks (2)

The cheeks should be well rounded, protruding sideways and outward beyond the eyes.

Stop (4)

The temples or frontal bones should be very well defined, broad, square and high, causing a hollow or groove between the eyes.  This indentation, or stop, should be both broad and deep and extend up the middle of the forehead, dividing the head vertically, being traceable to the top of the skull.

Face and Muzzle

The face, measured from the front of the cheekbone to the tip of the nose, should be extremely short, the muzzle being very short, broad, turned upward and very deep from the corner of the eye to the corner of the mouth.

Nose (6)

The nose should be large, broad and black, its tip set back deeply between the eyes.  The distance from the bottom of the stop, between the eyes, to the tip of the nose should be as short as possible and not exceed the length from  the tip of the nose to the edge of underlip.  The nostrils should be wide, large  and black, with a well defined line between them.  Any nose other than black is objectionable and a brown or liver-colored nose shall disqualify.

Lips/Chops (2)

The chops or "flews" should be thick, broad, pendant and very deep, completely overhanging the lower jaw at each side.  They join the underlip in front and almost or quite cover the teeth, which shoult be scarcely noticeable when the mouth is closed.

Bite/Jaws (5)

The jaws should be massive, very broad, square and "undershot," the lower jaw projecting considerably in front of the upper jaw and turning up.

Teeth (2)

The teeth should be large and strong, with the canine teeth or tusks wide apart, and the six small teeth in front, between the canines, in an even, level row.

Neck (3)

The neck should be short, very thick, deep and strong and well arched at the back.

Body Ribs (3), Brisket (2)

The brisket and body should be very capacious, with full sides, well-rounded ribs and very deep from the shoulders down to its lowest part, where it joins  the chest.  It should be well let down between the shoulders and forelegs, giving the dog a broad, low, short-legged appearance.


There should be a slight fall in the back, close behind the shoulders (its lowest part), whence the spine should rise to the loins (the top of which should be higher than the top of the shoulders), thence curving again more suddenly to the tail, forming an arch (a very distinctive feature of the breed), termed "roach back" or, more correctly, "wheel-back."

Underline Belly (2)

The body should be well ribbed up behind with the belly tucked up and not rotund.

Chest (3)

The chest should be very broad, deep and full.

Back and Loin (5)

The back should be short and strong, very broad at the shoulders and comparatively narrow at the loins.

Tail (4)

The tail may either be straight or "screwed" (but never curved or curly), and in any case must be short, hung low, with decided downward carriage, thick root and fine tip.  If straight, the tail should be cylindrical and of uniform taper.  If "screwed," the bends or kinks should be well defined, and they may be abrupt and even knotty, but no portion of the member should be elevated above the base or root.

Shoulders (5)

The shoulders should be muscular, very heavy, widespread and slanting outward, giving stability and great power.

Forelegs & Elbows (4)

The forelegs should be short, very stout, straight and muscular, set wide apart, with well developed calves, presenting a bowed outline, but the bones of the legs should not be curved or bandy, not the feet brought too close together. The elbows should be low and stand well out and loose from the body.

Feet (3)

The feet should be moderate in size, compact and firmly set.  Toes compact, well split up, with high knuckles and very short, stubby nails.  The front feet may be straight or slightly out-turned. The hind feet should be moderate in size, compact and firmly set. Toes compact, well split up, with high knuckles and short, stubby nails.  The hind feet should be pointed well outward.

Hind Legs (3)

The hind legs should be strong and muscular and longer than the forelegs, so as to elevate the loins above the shoulders.  Hocks should be slightly bent and well let down, so as to give length and strength from the loins to the hock.  The lower leg should be short, straight and strong, with the stifles turned slightly outward and away from the body.  The hocks are thereby made to approach each other, and the hind feet to turn outward.

Coat (2)

The coat should be straight, short, flat, close, of fine texture, smooth and glossy.  (No fringe, feather or curl.)

Color of Coat (4)

The color of the coat should be uniform, pure of its kind and brilliant.  The various colors found in the breed are to be preferred in the following order:
(1) red brindle
(2) all other brindles
(3) solid white
(4) solid red, fawn or fallow
(5) piebald
(6) inferior qualities of all the foregoing

Note: A perfect piebald is preferable  to a muddy brindle or defective solid color.  Solid black is very undesirable, but not so objectionable if occurring to a moderate degree in piebald patches. The brindles to be perfect should have a fine, even and equal distribution of the composite colors.  In brindles and solid colors, a small white patch on the chest is not considered detrimental.  In piebalds, the color patches should be well defined, of pure color and symetrically distributed.

For more details regarding coat colors, 




The skin should be soft and loose, especially at the head, neck and shoulders.

Wrinkles (5)

The head and face should be covered with heavy wrinkles.

Dewlap (2)

At the throat, from jaw to chest, there should be two pendulous folds, forming the dewlap.

Gait (3)

The style and carriage are peculiar, the gait being a loose-jointed, shuffling, sidewise motion, giving the characteristic "roll."  The action must, however, be unrestrained, free and vigorous.

CLICK HERE to visit the American Kennel Club Bulldog page

CLICK HERE for an explanation of the PERFECT BULLDOG!