The AKC Standard says the disposition of the English Bulldog should be "equable and kind, resolute and courageous.... demeanor should be pacific and dignified."
In other words, the English Bulldog is one of the most amiable of all breeds. Despite his gloomy mug.
Bulldog puppies are frisky, but adults are quiet and rather phlegmatic, spending much of the day snoring on the sofa. But they definitely need some exercise to stay fit, preferably walks in cool weather.
Some English Bulldogs are friendly with strangers, while others are politely reserved.
Though not a barking watchdog, his blocky build and his rolling, shuffling gait give intruders pause. It takes a tremendous amount of serious teasing or threatening to provoke this sweet-natured breed, but once aroused, he can be a force to reckon with.
His tenacity and resolve mean that it's difficult to change his mind once he decides to do something.
Usually peaceful with other pets, some male Bulldogs may engage in a battle of wills (or jaws) with other males.
Though stubborn, the English Bulldog is surprisingly sensitive, remembers what he learns, and responds well to patient, persistent training.
If you want a dog who...
- Is moderately-sized – built low to the ground but very heavy
- Has a short easy-care coat that comes in many colors
- Is easygoing and dependable with most of the world
- Doesn't need much exercise and spends much of the day snoring on the sofa
- Seldom barks
An English Bulldog may be right for you.
If you don't want to deal with...
- Tenacious stubbornness if he decides he really, really doesn't want to do something
- Serious food possessiveness – Bulldogs should not be fed around small children or other pets
- Snorting, snuffling, wheezing, grunting, loud snoring
- Slobbering and drooling
- Gassiness (flatulence)
- High cost
More traits and characteristics of the English Bulldog
If I was considering an English Bulldog, I would be most concerned about...
- Stubbornness. Despite their sweetness, most English Bulldogs are very stubborn. You must show them, through absolute consistency, that you mean what you say. On the plus side, once Bulldogs mature, they seldom get into real trouble.
To teach your Bulldog to listen to you, see English Bulldog Training.
ossible animal aggression. Most Bulldogs get along very well with other pets in the family. However, some Bulldogs may act aggressively toward other dogs of the same sex. And some Bulldogs do not get along with cats.
Be aware that English Bulldogs can be very possessive of their food bowl. Don't feed an English Bulldog in the presence of other animals. Children should also be kept away, just to be safe.
- Shedding. Bulldogs shed more than you might think! Their short, coarse hairs stick tenaciously to your clothing and furnishings.
- Bulldog sounds. Though they don't bark much, English Bulldogs are far from silent. Because of their deformed face, they go through life snorting, snuffling, wheezing, grunting, and snoring loudly. Some people find these sounds nerve-wracking; others find them endearing. I'm sure if it was up to the dog to choose, he would prefer to breathe normally.
- Slobbering. Most people are not prepared for how much English Bulldogs slobber and drool, especially after eating or drinking.
- Gassiness (flatulence). All short-faced breeds gulp air when they eat, and that air has to go somewhere, after all. However, commercial diets make flatulence worse by including fibrous or hard-to-digest ingredients. Bulldogs who are fed a Homemade diet of real meat an vegetables have much less trouble with gassiness.
- High cost. English Bulldog breeders charge over $2000 for their dogs, often over $7,500. They explain that this is to cover their costs of artificial insemination (because most Bulldogs are too deformed to be able to mate without assistance) and C-sections (because the puppies' heads are too over-sized to be born normally). But that's just the beginning of your money outlay, because typically you'll be spending a great deal of money on veterinary care for this breed.
- Serious health problems. It's been said that if you feel like supporting your vet with great chunks of money, get an English Bulldog. They suffer from hip problems, heart problems, and skin problems. Their respiratory system is compromised, so it's even risky to anesthetize them for dental cleanings. In hot weather they should be kept in an air-conditioned environment and supervised during outside activity so they don't over-exert themselves and become overheated.