A Bulldog, also known as British Bulldog or English Bulldog, is a breed of dog which traces its ancestry to England. It should not be confused with other varieties such as the American Bulldog or the French Bulldog, which have a similar appearance.
The bulldog is a breed with characteristically thick shoulders and a matching head. There are generally thick folds of skin on a bulldog's brow, followed by round, black, eyes that are far apart, a short muzzle with characteristic folds called "rope" above the nose, drooping lips, and the pointy teeth. The coat is short, flat and sleek, with colors of red, fawn, white, brindle (mixed colors, often in waves or irregular stripes), and piebalds of these.
In the US, the size of a typical mature male is about 50 pounds and that for mature females is about 45 pounds. In the United Kingdom, the breed standard is 55 pounds for a male and 50 pounds for a female, though it is not uncommon for males to be 60 pounds.
While some canine breeds require their tails to be cut or "cropped" soon after birth, bulldogs are one of very few breeds whose tail is naturally short and curled. A longer or "gay" tail is a serious fault in a show bulldog.
Despite their famous "sourpuss" expression, bulldogs are generally docile although can prove to be very fast movers over a short distance. They are friendly and gregarious but occasionally willful. The phrase "stubborn as a bulldog" is loosely rooted in fact. They rank 77th out of 79 in Stanley Coren's The Intelligence of Dogs, being of lowest degree working/obedience intelligence.
Breeders have worked to breed aggression out of the breed, and as such the dog is known to be of generally good temperament. Bulldogs can be so attached to home and family that they will not venture out of the yard without a human companion. Due to their friendly nature bulldogs are known for getting along well with children, other dogs and pets.
Adult female bulldog with under-bite
Some individuals of this breed are prone to interdigital cysts, which are cysts that form between the toes. These cause the dog some discomfort, but are treatable either by vet or an experienced owner.
Other problems can include cherry eye, a protrusion of the inner eyelid (which can be corrected by a veterinarian), certain allergies, and hip issues in older bulldogs. However, bulldogs are bred to be bowlegged in the hind-legs and thus do not usually develop hip dysplasia.
Puppies are frequently delivered by Caesarean section because their characteristically large heads can become lodged in the mother's birth canal during natural birth. However, it is not entirely uncommon for a bulldog to whelp naturally and successfully.
The folds or "rope" on a Bulldogs face should be cleaned daily to avoid unwanted infections caused by moisture accumulation. Also, some bulldogs' naturally curling tails can be so tight to the body as to require regular cleaning and a bit of ointment.
Like all dogs, bulldogs require daily exercise. If not properly exercised it is possible for a bulldog to become overweight, which could lead to heart and lung problems, as well as joint issues.
Bulldogs are extremely sensitive to heat. Extra caution should be practiced in warmer climates and during summer months. Bulldogs must be given plenty of shade and water, and must be kept out of standing heat.
In January 2009, after the BBC documentary Pedigree Dogs Exposed, the The Kennel Club introduced revised breed standards for the British Bulldog, along with 209 other breeds, to address health concerns. Opposed by the British Bulldog Breed Council, it was speculated by the press that the changes would lead to a smaller head, less skin folds, a longer muzzle, and a taller thinner posture, in order to combat perceived problems with respiration and with breeding due to head size and posture.
The term "bulldog" was first used around 1568 and might have been applied to other various ancestors of modern bulldog breeds before adorning the breed we recognize today.
It has been theorized that bulldogs were bred in England as a cross between the Mastiff and the Pug, though their genetic origin is debated. Since the pug did not arrive in Europe until the late 16th century, it is unlikely that the breed is an original progenitor of the Bulldog. The Bulldog and the Mastiff are widely thought to have common roots in the ancient Pugnaces Britanniae of Great Britain.
In the 1600s, bulldogs were used for bullbaiting (as well as bearbaiting)--a gambling sport popular in the 17th century with wagers laid while trained bulldogs leapt at a bull lashed to a post. The bulldog's typical means of attack included latching onto the animal's snout and attempting to suffocate it.
However, the bulldog's early role was not limited to sport. In mid-17th century New York, bulldogs were used as a part of a city-wide round-up effort led by governor Richard Nicolls. Because cornering and leading wild bulls was dangerous, bulldogs were trained to seize a bull by its nose long enough for a rope to be secured around its neck. . The use of dogs for fighting with other dogs or other animals was banned in the United Kingdom by the Cruelty to Animals Act 1835, but Bulldogs as pets were continually promoted by dog dealer Bill George.
In time, the original Old English Bulldog was crossed with the pug. The outcome was a shorter, wider dog with a brachycephalic skull. Though today's bulldog looks tough, he cannot perform the job he was originally created for, as he cannot withstand the rigors of running and being thrown from a bull, and cannot grip with such a short muzzle.
Champion Rodney Stone, 1907
The oldest single breed specialty club is The Bulldog Club (England), which was formed in 1878. Members of this club met frequently at the Blue Post pub on Oxford Street in London. There they wrote the first standard of perfection for the breed. In 1891 the two top bulldogs, Orry and Dockleaf, competed in a contest to see which dog could walk the farthest. Orry was reminiscent of the original bulldogs, lighter boned and very athletic. Dockleaf was smaller and heavier set, more like modern bulldogs. Dockleaf was declared the winner that year. Although some argued that the older version of the bulldog was more fit to perform, the modern version’s looks won over the fans of the breed because they proved they were equally as fit and athletic in the walking competition.
At the turn of the 20th century, Ch. Rodney Stone became the first Bulldog to command a price of $5000 when he was bought by controversial Irish-American political figure Richard Croker.
The breed is the official mascot of the United States Marine Corps and many bases have their own mascot on base. Thirty-nine American universities use a bulldog as their mascot. This includes mascots such as Yale University's Handsome Dan, Georgetown University's Jack the Bulldog, the University of Georgia's Uga, Gonzaga University's Spike the Bulldog, Butler University's Blue, Louisiana Tech University's Tech, Mississippi State's Bully, and Western Illinois University's Rocky.
above information courtesy of Wikipedia.org