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English BulldogThere's a reason they're called bulldogs, although it sometimes comes as a surprise to lovers of this canine "couch potato" that they were, indeed, once bred as canine gladiators

In fact, they were once trained to use their powerful jaws to latch on to a bull's neck or snout (often resulting in the bull lying mortally wounded) - to often uproarious cheers by bloodthirsty audiences in ancient Rome.

While dog "bull-baiting" exhibitions continued in popularity throughout the Dark Ages, the sport rose to most notable prominence in medieval England. That is, before bull-baiting was entirely outlawed throughout Europe some centuries later.

It wasn't until the early 19th century when the bulldog's was first bred out -- to result in a perfectly domesticated household pet, or what we now recognize today as the family-friendly sad sack (and first cousin to the boxer), with the droopy jowls and the big round eyes.

National Dog Show Best in Show
Winston, the French bulldog, took top honors
in the US at the 2022 National Dog Show.

Bulldog behavior & personality

Although sometimes viewed as that short-limbed dog with the sad face, the bulldog is not without its charms and has developed quite a following with fanciers who know it as the English, American, or French Bulldog ("Frenchies") for its sweet, kind and kid-friendly disposition.

With a legendary vicious temperament now completely bred out, today the bulldog is the perfect household pet, proving itself to be a laid-back and extremely loyal breed that sticks close to its adoptive family with all the tenacity of, well, a bulldog of yore.

Despite the famous bulldog snore, the occasional flatulence, and the drooling, who couldn't fall for its often forlorn expression -- surprisingly punctuated at times by a wide open grin?

Care & health tips

As with most dogs that sport a foreshortened muzzle, bulldogs sometimes have breathing problems and should never be exposed to extremes in exercise, especially during the summer.

As their facial skin tends to overlap, extra care should be taken to keep their faces clean to avoid skin infections. Due to their sedentary nature, weight problems often become an issue, so careful feeding and exercise are also important considerations as the bulldog matures.

More information about Bulldogs around the Web:

The Bulldog Information Library
- Check out this virtual English Bulldog encyclopedia with facts & information on health, diseases and hereditary defects, detailed history of its development, guides for breeders, tips on puppy care, bulldog art, humor & fun facts, suggested reading and related resources.

Bulldog Club of America - Discover breeder resources, photo gallery of national show champions, illustrated guide to breed standards, plus basic tips & advice on bulldog care including grooming, bathing & feeding tips.

Bulldog Club of America Rescue Network - Breed information, online contract & adoption forms, and listings for bulldogs & puppies up for adoption in cities nationwide.

Bulldog - Information, photos & breeder listings for the American, English & French bulldog, boxers, bull terriers and related breeds.

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