The English Bulldog is a sturdy, stocky, stalwart breed—and the definition of “don’t judge a book by its cover.” Once a force to be reckoned with in the bull-baiting ring, the muscular English Bulldog is now a force to be cuddled with.
Don’t let that droopy mug fool you, either. Though they may have a “resting glum face,” English Bulldogs are happy-go-lucky characters who are always ready to prance and play at the park. Perhaps that’s why they consistently rank at the top of America’s most popular dog breeds.1
Whether you’re looking to expand your big family or double the population of your bachelor pad, this dog breed is eager to join you.
Also Known As…
British Bulldog. Bulldog. EB, Ye Olde Bulle Dogge, “Why the long face, pal?”
What Is The History Of The English Bulldog?
One look at the broad shoulders and brawny physique of the English Bulldog should tell you everything you need to know—this dog was first bred as a fighter, not a lover.
Indeed, evidence suggests that the Bulldog found its early start as a butcher’s dog—tasked with subduing the soon-to-be slaughter—and as a key player in the cruel “sport” of bull-baiting, in which people began pitting this dog breed against tied-up bulls several times their size.2
This (exceptionally awful) practice was a source of entertainment for many from the 13th century until it was banned in 1835.3 It’s where the Bulldog earned its name—and plenty of fans, all enamored with the pup’s courageous, tenacious spirit.
After “retiring from the ring,” the Bulldog found fame in a new profession: family furball. With all the aggressive personality traits bred out, English Bulldogs became household icons. Fast forward to today, and you can hardly go for a walk around the block without spotting one of these burly bruisers.
How Big Do English Bulldogs Get?
Height: 13–15 inches
Weight: 35–55 pounds
How Long Do English Bulldogs (Generally) Live?
As long as you take proper care of your Bulldog puppy, you can expect to spend a solid 8 to 11 years with your furry friend.
What Is An English Bulldog’s Temperament & Personality Like?
The Bulldog’s history as a ferocious fighter is well and truly behind it. While English Bulldogs are still as brave and loyal as they were in their bull-baiting days, those are hardly the first words you’d use to describe the breed.
EBs are curious, friendly fellows who are typically down to play with anyone. But play isn’t always their primary goal—Bulldogs are often calm and easygoing, preferring to rest their bodacious bodies on the closest available lap.
With all of that said, remember that it’s impossible to generalize the temperament of an entire breed. Puppy personality traits aren’t one-size-fits-all, and depending on how you raise and care for your Bulldog puppy, your experience may differ. Just know this: you are going to love having an English Bulldog around.
Are English Bulldogs Good With Kids? Cats? Dogs?
Your English Bulldog is an equal opportunity snuggler, so long as the snuglee isn’t an angry bull. Kids have absolutely nothing to worry about when it comes to these lovable lumps; just supervise your little ones to ensure no tail-tugging occurs, and your EB and your bb will be the best of friends.
The same goes for cats. Of course, a hiss and a swipe from a fickle feline may put an English Bulldog on edge—just as it would for anyone. But these two species usually get along, especially when they’re introduced at a young age.
As for other dogs, English Bulldogs are skeptical socializers. They may take a moment to feel comfortable around the neighbor’s golden retriever, but once they do, it’s playtime, baby.
Do English Bulldogs Need A Lot Of Exercise?
Despite their roly-poly appearances, English Bulldogs can be relatively active animals. If you can convince them to hop up from their comfy dog bed, they’ll gladly accompany you to the mailbox or frolic in a nearby field.
However, there’s somewhat of a Goldilocks zone when it comes to English Bulldog exercise. Too little activity can lead to excessive weight gain and health concerns; too much in a day can lead to breathing problems for your Bulldog.
All in all, aim to give your furry friend an average of 30 minutes of activity each day. And if it’s hot out, that exercise should be in the form of an air-conditioned game of indoor tug-o-war.
Are English Bulldogs Hard To Train?
Although they may look like the not-so-bright henchman from your favorite Bond movie, English Bulldogs are fairly intelligent. These smarts—coupled with loyalty and an eagerness to please their owners—make them terrific candidates for obedience training. As with all dogs, the sooner you start training, the better.
Do English Bulldogs Have Health Issues?
Like pugs, boxers, and other squishy-faced dogs, English Bulldogs are more susceptible to breathing problems. Along with the telltale sneezing and wheezing of these so-called brachycephalic dogs, Bulldogs can sometimes struggle with exercising. This breathing issue (called BOAS) is usually due to narrowed nostrils or an elongated soft palate.4
Other potential EB issues include:
- Eye and eyelid problems – Bulldogs sometimes deal with entropion (drooping eyelids that irritate the eye), dry eye, cherry eye (a “turning out” of the third eyelid), and other eye-related conditions.
- Joint pain – Elbow and hip dysplasia, which can lead to arthritis in the joints, are somewhat common among Bulldogs.
- Skin infections – You aren’t the only one who loves your bully baby’s squishy face. Bacteria does too. Take care to clean your pup’s excess skin folds to prevent the chance of a skin infection.
Don’t let this list of health concerns frighten you. Even if some of these issues do show up in your pup, many are treatable through surgery or medication.
Do English Bulldogs Need To Be Groomed?
Yep. Keeping a regular grooming schedule is essential for every English Bulldog owner. For general brushing, aim to pencil in a pampering session two to three times per week.
However, the most important parts to clean are the skin folds. Because bacteria can build up in these nooks and crannies, you need to get in there almost daily. These areas around the eyes, ears, and tail should be kept clean and dry 24/7.
Finally, don’t forget to clip your English Bulldog’s nails every few weeks—long nails can be a little painful for pups.
How Much Does It Cost To Care For An English Bulldog?
From dog food and toys to vet and groomer visits, the costs of caring for a canine can add up. For the average English Bulldog, you should budget at least $1,400+ per year.
All that muscle (and lovable jiggle) doesn’t just magically appear one day. To maintain their fit physiques, Bulldogs need 3-4 cups of food every day. Total it all up, and you might spend $35–60/month on kibble.
As a dog parent, you want the best for your barkin’ baby. Give it to them with BARK Eats—the one-stop food shop that sends perfectly-portioned, veterinarian-vetted meals right to your door! Every month, you’ll receive a batch of nutritionist-formulated food made with your Bulldog in mind. Get 50% off your first month!
Routine Vet Care (Healthy Dog)
Because English Bulldogs have a longer list of potential health problems than some pups, it’s best to stay well ahead of the game. Even a healthy Bulldog should visit the vet around three times a year. Each time you go, these are some of the fees you might incur:
- Vet fees (~$50 per visit)
- Heart disease tests (~$45)
- Vaccines ($20–$30/dose)
Keep in mind that your first-year expenses may be a bit higher; microchipping costs around $60, while a spay or neuter will run you $150–400.
Preventative Medications For English Bulldogs
Anti-tick and flea medication is a must for any outdoor dog; plan to spend about $140 per year on preventative treatments.
Aside from that annual dose of itch-be-gone, you might also want to pick up a year’s worth of glucosamine chondroitin supplements (~$90). These tablets help with hip and elbow dysplasia, which are common in English Bulldogs.
Before you click “add to cart,” be sure to confirm with your vet, as not all dogs will benefit from glucosamine.
English Bulldog Grooming
The short-haired, small-bodied English Bulldog is easy enough to groom. Depending on the cost of living in your area, a quick bath should run you ~$45, while a full-service visit will likely cost ~$85.
Toys, Treats, Beds, & Accessories
Whether you’re deep into training mode or simply want to spoil Spot, treats and toys are a must. Treats will likely run you $40/year. Depending on how much tug-o-war you plan to play, budget an additional $50 per year for toys.
Are you and your Bulldog into ballin’ on a budget? Try a BarkBox subscription! For just $23/month, you’ll receive 2 treat bags, 2 toys, and one meaty chew. Upgrade to the $29/month Super Chewer tier, and you’ll score 2 bags of tasty treats, 2 rugged toys, and 2 mouth-watering meat chews. DOUBLE YOUR FIRST BOX FOR FREE!
To complete the English Bulldog care package, you may also want to pick up:
- A leash and collar set ($15–35)
- A cozy dog bed ($40–75)
- Food and water dishes ($20)
- Grooming supplies ($40)
- USA Today. The 50 most popular dog breeds in America. https://www.usatoday.com/picture-gallery/life/2021/06/28/the-50-most-popular-dog-breeds-in-america/45134329/
- The Bulldog Club of America. About Bulldogs. https://bulldogclubofamerica.org/about-bulldogs/
- American Kennel Club. Bulldog. https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/bulldog/
- The People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals. Bulldog. https://www.pdsa.org.uk/pet-help-and-advice/looking-after-your-pet/puppies-dogs/medium-dogs/bulldog