Breeds 101: The dignified Bulldog

Classy, kind, courageous and dignified, the floppy-jawed Bulldog is a favorite.

The Bulldog is the fourth-most popular breed in America, according to the American Kennel Club‘s records, and with good reason.

They stand about 14-15 inches high at the withers (shoulders), and females weigh around 40 pounds, while males weigh about 50 pounds. They have a life expectancy of around eight to ten years.

Their coat is short and glossy, and it may be in a variety of colors. Excess skin leaves the breed with a kind of wrinkled look.

“The general appearance and attitude should suggest great vigor and strength,” according to the AKC Breed Standard, while the temperament “should be equable and kind, resolute and courageous (not vicious or aggressive), and demeanor should be pacific and dignified.”

While they aren’t among the smartest breeds ever, they are good-natured and generally get along well with children and other pets.

The breed arose from the barbaric practice of bull- or bear baiting in England, where a massive animal was tied up and several dogs tried to pin the animal’s nose down. Thankfully, this was outlawed by a law known as the Cruelty to Animals Act of 1835. While the breed continued afterwards, modern bulldogs are much weaker than their ancestors due to their original job being lost.

Instead they became companion animals, which is basically what they are to this day. The Bulldog Club of England was formed in 1878, The AKC first recognized the breed in 1886.

Bulldogs can become overweight fairly easily, so moderate exercise is highly encouraged. Many may develop hip dysplasia, and some might have breathing problems due to their smashed-in faces.

Bulldogs also are highly prone to overheating, and as a short-nosed breed they drool a lot.

Many high schools and universities use the Bulldog as their school mascot, and the breed is also considered an unofficial animal symbol for England, in much the same way the bald eagle is symbolic of the U.S.

The most famous Bulldog would be Uga (pronounced “Ooh-ga”), the live mascot of University of Georgia athletics.

They are classified in the AKC’s “Non-Sporting Group” for the purposes of dog shows.

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