What Were Bulldogs Bred For, Did They Actually Fight Bulls?

Written by Alan Lemus
Updated: August 2, 2022
Image Credit Eric Isselee/Shutterstock.com
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Fact TypeValue
Preferred TemperatureTemperate climate
Shedability2
General health5
Size3
Energy Level1
Exercise needsLow 30 minutes daily
Friendly with other dogsGroup – Extremely good with other dogs and prefers being in a group
Family and kid-friendliness5 – Extremely good with children
Trainability and obedience1
TemperamentSocial, friendly and stubborn
Yappiness and barkinglow – rarely barks
Tendency to chew5
Purebred costs to own$800 – $1200
Dog groupNon-sporting
Used for huntingno
Intelligence1
Hypoallergenic (non-shedding)No
Life span3
Female Weight40 lbs
Female Weight44 lbs
Male Weight50 lbs
Male Weight55 lbs
Separation anxietyHigh – Likely to suffer from separation anxiety
Fun factA Bulldog holds the Guinness World Record for the fastest 100m traveled on a skateboard by a dog.

Bulldog Introduction

Bulldogs are medium-sized, stocky dogs. They are a Brachycephalic breed, which means they have flat faces and short noses. The term ‘Bulldog’ is an umbrella term for many different types of Bulldogs, the most popular being the French Bulldog, American Bulldog, and English Bulldog. They are very social dogs, and love attention, making them the perfect pet! However, they are also quite lazy, unintelligent, and stubborn, making them difficult to train. These couch potatoes don’t need a lot of strenuous exercises, just one short walk per day to keep their weight down is all they need. They are one of the most popular breeds, probably due to their low maintenance and funny and loving personalities. Just be prepared for a lot of vet bills, as Bulldogs suffer from many health issues!

What were Bulldogs Bred for?

From the 15th Century to the 19th Century, a ruthless sport took place in which a dog, usually a Pitbull or Bulldog, was placed in a ring with a bull with the goal to latch onto the bull’s nose until it lost too much blood and died or drops from exhaustion. You might question why Bulldogs were used as they’re not the most athletic dogs, but their bodies are actually perfect for this sport for a few reasons. The wrinkles in their face filter the bull’s blood away from the dog’s eyes, and their body is close to the ground which makes it difficult for the bull to place its horns underneath the dog and throw it in the air. Bulldogs are very resilient and can take a beating without it slowing them down very much. It is believed that the Bulldog’s gruesome and dark history is the reason they tend to have a ‘sad’ face.

bulldog running

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The Different Types Of Bulldogs And Bulldog Mixes 

Bulldogs

There are three more popular breeds of Bulldog, and they are:

  • English Bulldog
  • French Bulldog
  • American Bulldog

And then some less popular breeds are:

Bulldog Mixes

  • Beabull (Bulldog x Beagle Mix) 
  • Busky (Bulldog x Husky) 
  • Bullador (Labrador x Bulldog Mix) 
  • Bullcorg (Bulldog x Corgi)
  • Bullbox (Boxer x Bulldog Mix)
  • Bulldoodle (Bulldog x Poodle)
  • Bull Shepherd (Bulldog x German Shepherd)
  • Bullenees (Bulldog x Great Pyrenees Mix) 

3 Pros And Cons Of Owning A Bulldog

ProsCons
Excellent with children – Bulldogs are a very good family dog due to their loving and calm nature.They are quite unfit – This is something you will need to pay attention to and be sure to not overwork them. If you would like a dog you can run and play fetch with, then this is not the breed for you.
They make good watchdogs – Bulldogs are courageous and loyal, which makes them excellent guard dogs, especially for someone who would rather have a smaller dog.They mature slowly – A Bulldog doesn’t grow out of its puppy stage until about 30 months.
They don’t require a lot of exercise – Bulldogs are quite the couch potato, which means they would suit someone who doesn’t have time for a 1-2 hour walk every day! 30 minutes is more than enough for themThey are messy and smelly! – If you’re not a fan of slobber or flatulence… Then don’t get a Bulldog! Due to the fold in their mouth, a lot of dribble is stored here and you will find it all over your house. They also fart a lot!
bulldog
Bulldogs are not the most fit dogs – so if you’re looking for a dog that doesn’t require too much walking, consider adopting a bulldog.

GoodFocused/Shutterstock.com

The Best Dog Food For Bulldogs

A Bulldog is somewhat of a couch potato. They are not only sedentary but unable for a lot of exercise. This must be kept in mind when feeding them so they do not become overweight. On top of this, they tend to have a lot of food allergies or intolerance. Simply put, Bulldogs are lazy, picky eaters! But that doesn’t mean we love them any less. 

Bulldog puppies require a minimum of 22% protein and 8% fat in their diet to optimize growth. Carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals are also an essential part of a growing Bulldogs diet. You should feed your puppy ⅓ of a cup of dry kibble, three times a day.

A popular kibble for your Bulldog puppy is Royal Canin Bulldog Puppy Dry Dog Food.

Our Top Pick
Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Bulldog Puppy
  • Reduce flatulence
  • Specifically designed for purebred Bulldog puppies
  • Contains high-quality proteins
  • Contains antioxidants and vitamin E
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Once a Bulldog reaches adulthood, they require a minimum of 18% protein and 5% fat, as well as carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. A high protein diet is always ideal for a Bulldog due to their high muscle mass and low activity levels. Just like humans, it is advised you feed your Bulldog 1 gram of protein per pound they weigh each day. Minerals such as zinc, calcium, magnesium, sodium, and potassium are necessary for a diet, as well as Omega 3 fatty acids.

An excellent kibble for your adult Bulldog is Taste of the Wild High Prairie with 32% Protein.

Best for Affordability
Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
  • Well-balanced diet
  • Contains buffalo, lamb meal, and chicken meal
  • Contains antioxidants from sweet potatoes, peas, blueberries, and raspberries
  • Added antioxidants and prebiotics
Check Chewy Check Amazon

Size And Weight

Bulldogs are short, but hefty dogs. They have a stocky frame and short legs. A male can reach 16 inches tall and could weigh up to 55 lbs when fully grown. A female when fully grown could be 14 inches tall and weigh up to 44 lbs.

Height (male)14-16 inches
Weight (male)50-55 lbs
Height (female)12-14 inches
Weight (female)40-44 lbs

Bulldog Common Health Issues

Unfortunately, Bulldogs suffer from many health issues, especially bones related issues. Here are some of these problems:

  • Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome
  • Temperature Regulation
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Joint and Ligament Injuries
  • Arthritis
  • Cherry Eye
  • Brachycephalic ocular disease
  • Dry eye
  • Pulmonary Stenosis
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Difficulty Breathing

I’m going to explore in detail the most common health issues found in Bulldogs.

Pulmonary Stenosis

This occurs more frequently in Bulldogs than in any other breed. It is a condition that restricts blood flow to the right ventricle of the heart, causing the heart to work harder and if left untreated, can lead to death.

Cherry Eye 

Cherry eye is the most common eye condition in Bulldogs. This is a dog’s third eyelid, the nictitating membrane becomes mispositioned and causes a red, swollen mass in the eye. Brachycephalic breeds are more susceptible to this condition.

Hip Dysplasia

This is when the hip joint becomes mispositioned and no longer sits flush with the pelvis bone. It leads to reduced mobility, pain, and sometimes limping. Bulldogs have a lot of joint issues and an excellent joint supplement recommended by vets is Lintbells Hip and Joint Supplement for Stiff Adult Dogs.

Breathing problems 

These are very common in Brachycephalic breeds, due to their flat face and short nose. These breeds also have deformed respiratory airways and excess soft tissues in their nose and windpipe.

Bulldogs Temperament

Bulldogs are the type of dog you can help but love! They are very affectionate and love attention. When socialized from a young age, they are great with both kids and other animals. They are very gentle and rarely show aggressive behavior, but due to their brave and loyal traits, they will have no problem doing whatever it takes to protect their owner.

A Bulldog isn’t a very intelligent breed, however. They have very stubborn personalities, and this mixed with their intelligence can cause some difficulties when training. But nothing is impossible, so with the right approach, it is achievable!

Another fantastic thing about Bulldogs’ personalities is they are extremely funny! From their funny snorts to their facial expressions, a Bulldog is sure to make you laugh with their silly behavior!

bulldog
Bulldogs are very sweet and loving dogs, making them great family pets. They aren’t the most intelligent breed, however.

Ezzolo/Shutterstock.com

How To Take Care Of Bulldogs  

Aside from their many health issues, Bulldogs are relatively low maintenance. They have short hair, don’t need much exercise, and sleep a lot! However, you still need to pamper your pooch and keep him clean and happy.

Bulldog maintenance and grooming

As Bulldogs are affectionate, they enjoy being brushed. Using a rubber curry brush, brush your dog about three times a week to remove loose and dead hair from their coat. Bathe them about every 6-8 weeks, and make sure to get in and around those face wrinkles! You should clean their wrinkles every day with a damp cloth to remove any lodged food or saliva, which can irritate your dog. Clipping their nails should be done by a professional every 6 weeks as overgrown nails can be very painful for any dog. And finally, just like us, it is important to brush your doggies’ teeth at a minimum, every second day. This reduces bad breath and also lowers the chances of oral issues such as gum disease.

Bulldog Training

Bulldogs are stubborn and not the brightest breed. This is a recipe for disaster when it comes to training them. I highly suggest training them with basic commands such as ‘sit’, ‘stay’, and most importantly, ‘drop it’. Bulldog’s jaws are very strong which means their grip on toys can be very powerful. This is where the ‘drop it’ command comes into use. It’s always best to train your dog from a young age, as you know what they say, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks! Although this saying is not exactly true, it has reasoning behind it. 

Toilet training a Bulldog shouldn’t be too difficult. The best way to do this is by taking your pup outside every 1-2 hours to give them a chance to go to the toilet. 

Another important aspect of training your Bulldog is socializing them from a young age with other dogs and people. Take him for a walk in a local park, or bring him to your friend’s house.

Bulldog exercise

Bulldogs are relatively inactive, but they still get short bursts of energy now and then. One short 30-minute, slow-paced walk per day is enough for them. Just take care in hot weather as these dogs can handle the heat. Consistent exercise will help with your dog’s heart and muscle health.

Bulldog Puppies

How cute are Bulldog puppies! If your Bulldog is a soon-to-be Mama, expect approximately 3 or 4 beautiful puppies. These puppies will be energetic, social, and brave. Use this time to train and socialize with them. 

Bulldogs And Children

Bulldogs are very people-oriented and trustworthy. As every breed, if they are raised with children they make an excellent addition to the family. They are not too lively, which can be good as it means they will not be jumping up at children. The English Bulldog is especially great with children due to their calm and patient personality.

Dogs Similar To Bulldogs

Dogs similar to Bulldogs in appearance and/or temperament include Pugs, Pitbulls, and Boxers.

Pugs

Pugs are quite similar in appearance, as they too have short noses and wrinkled faces. They also have breathing difficulties just like Bulldogs.

Pitbulls

Pitbulls and Bulldogs share the same history of being bred for Bull Baiting. They both have the same loyal and courageous traits, as well as sharing some features such as frame (both are quite stocky) and color, they both come in many different colors such as black, gray, and fawn, as well as mixes of these colors. 

Boxers

Boxers and Bulldogs are considered cousins. Both are brachycephalic breeds., which means they have short noses and flat faces. Just like Bulldogs, Boxers are brave and loyal to their owners.

Popular Names for Bulldogs

  • Charlie
  • Maggie
  • Daisy
  • Coco
  • Bruno
  • Scout
  • Winston
  • Max
  • Teddy
  • Nellie

Famous Bulldogs

There are many famous Bulldogs throughout history, used in cartoons and movies, and owned by celebrities! Here are a few:

Famous Bulldogs in history

  • Tillman – the skateboarding English Bulldog who holds the Guinness World record for the fastest 100m traveled on a skateboard by a dog.
  • Old Boy – an English Bulldog owned by the 29th President of America, William G Harding.

Bulldogs on TV/ in movies

  • Tyson – another famous skateboarding Bulldog, who appeared in movies such as Undiscovered and Lords of Dogtown, and TV shows such as Rob & Big and The Oprah Winfrey Show.
  • Spike and Tyke – father and son Bulldog duo who appeared in the cartoon series ‘Tom and Jerry’

Bulldogs owned by celebrities

  • Meatball – an English Bulldog owned by Adam Sandler.
  • Large – an English Bulldog owned by Michael Jackson
  • Miss Asia, Koji, and Gustavo – three French Bulldogs owned by Lady Gaga.

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About the Author

Alan is a freelance writer and an avid traveler. He specializes in travel content. When he visits home he enjoys spending time with his family Rottie, Opie.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

How much does a Bulldog cost to own?

The initial buying price of a Bulldog puppy will start at $800 and can be as expensive as $4000. Yearly, expect to pay approximately $2000 on your Bulldog’s food, vet bills, and health care.

How long do Bulldogs live?

The average Bulldog has a short lifespan of 8-10 years.

Are Bulldogs good with children?

Bulldogs are very good with children as they are very patient and loving. It is important to socialize your Bulldog from a young age to familiarize him with other animals and kids. It is also important to teach your children to be gentle towards dogs.

Where did the name ‘Bulldog’ come from?

Bulldogs got their name from Bull Baiting, which is a cruel sport that Bulldogs and Pitbulls were made to take part in, in which they chase and attack a bull.

What colors are Bulldogs?

Bulldogs come in many different colors! They can be black, gray, white, fawn, fawn and white, red, black and white, and many more!

Why do Bulldogs drool a lot?

This is due to the wrinkles and folds in their mouths which gather excess saliva. The purpose of these wrinkles was to filter bulls’ blood away from the dog’s eyes during Bull Baiting.

Why do Bulldogs fart a lot?

Due to abnormalities in a bulldog’s head and digestive tract, they swallow a lot of air, which results in flatulence!

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.

Sources
  1. Pet Keen, Available here: https://petkeen.com/bulldog-mixes/
  2. AKC, Available here: https://www.akc.org/most-popular-breeds/
  3. Daily Paws, Available here: https://www.dailypaws.com/dogs-puppies/dog-names/bulldog-names