The bulldog looks like a gruff fellow, but his low slung, jowly appearance belies his jolly personality. Hundreds of years ago, this breed had a violent history, used by people to bait bulls and fight other dogs. The bulldog has overcome his ferocious past and has many traits making him a loyal family pet.
The bulldog's unique appearance makes it difficult to confuse him with any other dog. He's a stout, sturdy guy, standing between 12 and 15 inches at the shoulder and weighing between 40 and 50 pounds. His head is large, sporting a broad, black nose, round eyes, wrinkles and a flat muzzle. Massive jaws contain large teeth, which come together in a distinct underbite. His short, smooth coat comes in a variety of colors, including brindle, fawn, solid white or red, pale yellow or a combination of colors. His short tail, either straight or screwed, punctuates his strong hindquarters.
The bulldog's flat face makes him one of the brachycephalic breeds. What he gains in a unique visage is sometimes sacrificed for breathing difficulties. His upper airway is constricted, so he often has a hard time breathing, meaning you may hear him wheeze or snore. Those tight airways also make it difficult for him to cool off, so he's prone to overheating. Other health problems to look out for include canine hip dysplasia, bladder stones, difficulty giving birth and skin infections and allergies -- meaning you'll need to keep his wrinkles clean.
If you're looking for an engaging companion for yourself or the whole family, the bulldog is a solid choice. Generally, this is a guy who loves children and is amiable with other pets. He's affectionate, smart and loyal, and tends to respond well to training with time, patience and treats. Because of his breathing challenges, he won't make a good running partner, but he'll be game for a nice walk or settling in with the family for movie night.
A stout body and powerful rear legs that are shorter than the front legs mean the bulldog has a unique gait. When your dog comes running to greet you, you'll notice what the American Kennel Club calls his "characteristic roll: a loose jointed, shuffling sidewise motion." Your bulldog will never be a swimming partner; with his large head, short legs and heavy body, this breed isn't built for the dog paddle.
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