A Bulldog is the common name for a breed of dog also referred to as the English Bulldog. Other Bulldog breeds include the American Bulldog and the French Bulldog. The Bulldog is a muscular heavy dog with a wrinkled face and a distinctive pushed-in nose. The American Kennel Club (AKC), The Kennel Club (UK) and the United Kennel Club (UKC) oversee breeding standards.
The Bulldog is a breed with characteristically wide shoulders and a matching head. There are generally thick folds of skin on a Bulldog's brow, followed by round, black, wide-set eyes, a short muzzle with characteristic folds called "rope" above the nose, with hanging skin under the neck, drooping lips, and pointed teeth. The coat is short, flat and sleek, with colors of red, fawn, white, brindle, and piebald.
In the US, the size of a typical mature male is about 55-60 pounds and that for mature females is about 45 pounds for a Standard English Bulldog. In the United Kingdom, the breed standard is 55 pounds for a male and 50 pounds for a female.
While some canine breeds have their tails cut or docked soon after birth, Bulldogs are one of very few breeds whose tail is naturally short and curled.
Bulldog breed clubs put the average life span of the breed at 8–12 years, although a UK survey puts it at 6.5 years. The leading cause of death of Bulldogs in the survey was cardiac related, cancer and old age. Those that died of old age had an average life span of 10 to 11 years.
Statistics from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals indicate that of the 467 Bulldogs tested between 1979 and 2009, 73.9% were affected by hip dysplasia, the highest amongst all breeds. Similarly, the breed has the worst score in the British Veterinary Association/Kennel Club Hip Dysplasia scoring scheme, although only 22 Bulldogs were tested in the Scheme. Patellar luxation is another condition which affects 6.2% of Bulldogs.
Some individuals of this breed are prone to interdigital cysts, which are cysts that form between the toes. These cause the dog some discomfort, but are treatable either by vet or an experienced owner. They may also suffer from respiratory problems.
Other problems can include cherry eye, a protrusion of the inner eyelid, certain allergies, and hip issues in older Bulldogs. Puppies are frequently delivered by Cesarean section because their characteristically large heads can become lodged in the mother's birth canal during natural birth. However, it is not entirely uncommon for a Bulldog to whelp naturally and successfully. Over 80% of Bulldog litters are delivered by Caesarean section. The folds or "rope" on a Bulldog's face should be cleaned daily to avoid unwanted infections caused by moisture accumulation. Also, some Bulldogs' naturally curling tails can be so tight to the body as to require regular cleaning and a bit of ointment.
Like all dogs, Bulldogs require daily exercise. If not properly exercised it is possible for a Bulldog to become overweight, which could lead to heart and lung problems, as well as joint issues.
Bulldogs are very sensitive to heat. Extra caution should be practiced in warmer climates and during summer months. Bulldogs must be given plenty of shade and water, and must be kept out of standing heat. Air conditioning and good ventilation is required to keep them healthy and safe. Bulldogs actually do most of their sweating through the pads on their feet. You will notice Bulldogs really enjoy cool floors such as tile or cement. This helps keep them cool. Due to the airway obstruction problem Bulldogs may have, like all brachycephalic or "short-faced" breeds they can easily get overheated and even die from hyperthermia. They can be big snorters and heavy breathers due to this obstruction, and by and large they tend to be loud snorers. These are all issues that are easy to keep under control as long as you stay aware and protect your Bulldog from these unsafe conditions.
In January 2009, after the BBC documentary Pedigree Dogs Exposed, The Kennel Club introduced revised breed standards for the British Bulldog, along with 209 other breeds, to address health concerns. Opposed by the British Bulldog Breed Council, it was speculated by the press that the changes would lead to a smaller head, fewer skin folds, a longer muzzle, and a taller thinner posture, in order to combat perceived problems with respiration and with breeding due to head size and width of shoulders.