The word ‘bulldog‘ encompasses a wide range of breeds. The best known are the classic stocky shouldered British Bulldog, the smaller wrinkly faced French Bulldog, the long-legged Boxer, and the chunky American Bulldog, although there are several other lesser known breeds and ‘bully’ types.
Although bulldogs are loved for their easygoing characters – which can nonetheless hide a stubborn streak – their history tells a different story. Their ancient ancestors were what the Romans called pugnaces britanniae – the war dogs of Britain. Hard to believe when your pooch is snoozing at the end of the sofa, but these dogs likely gave rise to the fierce canines used in the illegal bull baiting of the 1800s, when a low slung body was a serious advantage. Despite a bloody history, bulldogs these days are known for being good natured.
British bulldogs are a good choice for city dwellers in cool climates and anyone after a less active breed, while the decidedly more bouncy Boxer is good for families with plenty of energy. You’ll never be bored if you own a Frenchie – known for its endearing and often comical attitude – and the American bulldog is unendingly loyal, if equally strong-willed. Fair warning though, some bulldog breeds suffer with well-documented health conditions, particularly issues related to their short muzzles, so it’s essential to do your research beforehand.
Read on for seven reasons you need a bulldog in your life – everything from their adorably folded faces and oversized skin to their engaging personalities and devoted natures.
- THAT FACE
Most dog-owners melt when confronted with a pair of imploring eyes, but add the British bulldog’s underbite, jowly face and wrinkly forehead and you’re going to have a hard time saying no. It’s the same story with the Frenchie, whose enormous bat-like ears only up the cute factor exponentially.
2. THEIR BARKING (OR LACK OF)
While we can’t promise absolute silence, British Bulldogs and French Bulldogs aren’t known for being barkers, making them a good fit if you’ve got vigilant neighbours. That said, their short faces do result in a whole symphony of snorts, snuffles, snores and wheezing, which can take some getting used to.
3. THE PERSONALITY
Whatever type of bulldog, this is a breed that’s packed full of personality, known for forming strong bonds with their owners. The French Bulldog or Boxer is just the kind of joker you want to come home to after a long day at work, while British Bulldogs are a good companion if you’re more of a couch potato – happy to curl up with you and nap the afternoon away.
4. THEIR ENERGY LEVELS
Depending on how active you are, there’s a bulldog breed to suit your lifestyle. Boxers and American Bulldogs are on the athletic end of the spectrum, and will require longer walks to make the most of their boundless energy. But if you’re more of a stroller than a sprinter, British Bulldogs and French Bulldogs are much less demanding. They’ll still need their daily walk, but will be satisfied with a gentle wander round the park.
5. THEY’RE (RELATIVELY) LOW MAINTENANCE
While some dog owners are off to the salon every six weeks, the bulldog’s short and smooth-haired coat is much less demanding. You won’t need to spend a fortune at the groomers, but be sure to clip their nails and take care of those adorable face folds – which need gentle cleaning on a daily basis.
6. THEY MAKE GREAT FAMILY DOGS
If you want a pooch that’s happy to be around children, then the Boxer or American Bulldog could be the right choice as both are known as family dogs. British Bulldogs are also a good fit, with their stoic nature a good match for curious kids.
7. THEY’RE INTELLIGENT
Don’t be fooled by their goofy appearance, bulldog breeds aren’t stupid. Although you might not be performing Border Collie-style agility tricks, bulldogs are keen to learn, with Boxers, French Bulldogs and American Bulldogs in particular known for being intelligent. Beware of their stubborn streak though, which can make training a challenge.