The Bulldog's origins can be traced to the Mastiff - the Asian Mastiff in particular. For many years, the purpose of the Bulldog was as the aggressor in the bullring. Until this pitting of dog and bull, the sport was popular in many cultures and was often an entertainment event that drew hundreds or even thousands of spectators.
Today, the Bulldog retains some of those characteristics that made the Bulldog of centuries ago a formidable opponent, but has a grace and charm that's made him a popular choice for owners, showmen, breeders and families everywhere. Surprisingly, the Bulldogs were not giants among dogs despite their purpose as a combatant. Bulldogs - also known as English Bulldogs - typically weigh in at somewhere in the 50 pound range. Also surprisingly, these large dogs do best as indoor pets and tend to be very popular for those living in apartments who want a larger dog.
They'll be content to lie around the house for hours at a time and can be quite healthy with only a moderate amount of exercise. When it comes to temperature extremes, the Bulldog is extremely sensitive, another reason this is a good indoor pet. This breed doesn't handle hot or cold weather well and may quickly succumb to either extreme. One of the most notable features of the English Bulldog is that this is a short dog who is almost as wide as he is tall. In movies, books and on television, the Bulldog is often portrayed as a dignified old man. Cartoon versions often include monocle and top hat to further that image.
Remember that these dogs were bred for bull baiting - luring the bull into chasing them and then attacking. With that kind of ferocity, tenacity and bravery, the Bulldog is a formidable enemy for anyone (or anything) who proves themselves a serious threat to the Bulldog's turf. But as a rule, these dogs are extremely good-natured. They tend to really love their people with all their heart and make very devoted pets. They do, however, also desire that their humans be devoted to them.
They'll do what they can to seek out human companionship. Some Bulldog owners report that these dogs will make pests of themselves at inopportune times in order to get that attention. Don't expect that you're going to have a quiet chat with a friend if your Bulldog is craving your attention as well.
He's very likely to put himself into the middle of the conversation. The face, while sometimes being described as "ugly enough to be cute," is also the source of some of the biggest negatives of this breed. Because of the flattened face, Bulldogs tend to snore - some quite loudly. These dogs also slobber, not to the point of some breeds but enough to be a nuisance nonetheless.
There's no doubt that this isn't the breed for everyone. It may take a special person to love that face and to ignore the snores, slobber and attention-seeking antics of this dog. But if you get past that to the courageous, loyal companion, the Bulldog can't be beat.
For more information on Bulldogs and other Popular, and not-so-popular breeds of dogs, visit The Non Sporting Dog Directory