The English bulldog is an instantly recognisable British institution, for which many dog lovers have a significant soft spot! These stocky, slow-moving and yet undoubtedly noble dogs with a leg at each corner appearance are actually rather less common in the UK today than they were historically, but nevertheless, many dog lovers aspire to owning one as a pet!
While every dog, even from within the same litter, will have its own unique temperament, personality and specific traits, there are still many universal generalisations that can be made about the vast majority, if not all, of the dogs of any given breed, and the English bulldog is no exception!
In this article, we will share five universal personality traits of the English bulldog.
The English bulldog was originally bred as a dog for fighting and baiting, where they were prized for their strong bites, tenacity when riled, and ability to shake off an opponent with minimal damage, due to their loose, wrinkled skin.
Fortunately, dog fighting and baiting has been outlawed in the UK for many years, but the popularity of the English bulldog has endured, as these traits have other applications that have helped to keep the breed popular and in demand.
The English bulldog is a very bold dog that is not afraid to stand its ground, and they can be very protective of their owners and possibly, territorial over their property. While this can manifest as aggression with poor training or handling, in the well-raised English bulldog, these traits can become positive ones, making the dog very loyal and loving with their families, and forming lifelong bonds with the people that they love and trust.
The English bulldog is among the strongest of all of the dog breeds in the world when you take into account their height and build, and the neck, shoulders and hindquarters of the English bulldog are heavily muscled. You are highly unlikely to win a tug of war with a bulldog, and would be unwise even to try!
Their innate strength can make it hard to work with an English bulldog that has decided that they don’t want to do something, and trying to physically overpower them or push them into doing something that they don’t want to do is unlikely to prove effective!
Most English bulldog owners use a harness rather than a collar on their dog, as this provides more control, and also, as pulling against the lead when wearing a collar can actually enhance and strengthen the muscles of the dog’s neck. Added to this, the width of the neck of the average English bulldog is almost as wide as their head, or in some cases even wider, and so they are apt to slip their collars too!
Few breeds of dog can be considered to be as stubborn as the English bulldog can be on occasion, and when they have had enough or just don’t want to do something, they will flatly refuse to comply! Bribery and rewards in the form of treats are sometimes the only way to get the bulldog moving, and if your dog has decided that they aren’t feeling cooperative, they can become very challenging!
Added to this, the English bulldog ranks very low-second to last in fact- in the Coren rankings of canine intelligence, which means that their ability to learn and execute commands is not generally great either!
English bulldogs are naturally very muscular and stocky, and they very much like to eat! They are one of the breeds most likely to suffer from obesity or weight problems, and ensuring that their diet matches their exercise levels to keep them at a healthy weight is vitally important. Because of the shape and build of the English bulldog, excess weight also places additional strain on their limbs and back, which can manifest as health problems, so measure their food carefully and keep a close eye on their weight.
They also tend to be competent and experienced beggars and scavengers too, and should not be left around unsupervised food at any time!
English bulldogs generally enjoy meeting with and playing with other dogs, particularly when they are young, but they are one of the slowest breeds of dog and also among the laziest! They make for terrible hiking or jogging partners, and added to this, their brachycephalic muzzles and heavy builds mean that they can soon overheat if exerting themselves in hot weather, and it does not take a lot for this to happen.
It is vitally important that your English bulldog receives enough exercise, but this exercise should be tailored to the needs and build of the dog, incorporating regular short walks at your dog’s pace, rather than long walks and trials, or high-impact activities.