British Bulldog

A Complete Breed Guide for English Bulldogs

Last Updated 26 AUGUST 2022

This article is written by Pet Circle veterinarian, Dr Maree Monaghan, BVSc (Hons)

British Bulldogs are often considered very stubborn, determined dogs, but they make incredibly loving pets. They are known for their stocky, well-muscled bodies, their flat faces and their wrinkled skin.


Facts about the British Bulldog



Distinguishing Features

Health Problems

Diet and Nutrition

Related Breeds

Further Reading

Facts about the British Bulldog

Breed size: Place of origin: Other names:
Medium Britain English Bulldog, Bulldog
Breed group: Energy level: Weight range:
Non-Sporting/Utility Low 23 - 25kg
Life expectancy: Tendency to bark: Height range:
8 - 10 years Low 35-40cm
Drool factor: Coat length: Colours:
High Fine texture, short, close and smooth Red, white, fawn, fallow, or any combination of these. Patterns and markings may include brindle, piebald, ticking, black masks, black tipping, and a minimal amount of black in piebalds.
Shedding factor: Overall grooming needs: Activity needs:
Low Low 20 to 40 minutes of exercise per day is important to keep them at a healthy weight. Limit walks and active play to cooler temperatures during early mornings and evenings.

Do British Bulldogs shed?

British Bulldogs have a smooth, short single coat that requires minimal grooming. While British Bulldogs are classed as low shedders, they will shed some hair, particularly in the summer months. Regular grooming with a rubber brush or glove can help to remove loose hairs before they are shed. The wrinkles on the face should also be cleaned regularly to prevent skin infections.

How much do British Bulldogs cost?

Expect to pay between $3000 - 5000 for a British Bulldog puppy. On top of this, it's important to budget for veterinary bills, pet insurance, a good quality diet and regular flea and worming medication. Check out our New Puppy Shopping List for more information!

How long do British Bulldogs live for?

On average, British Bulldogs live between 8 - 10 years.

How big do British Bulldogs get?

British Bulldogs weigh between 23 - 25 kg, with the males typically weighing more than females. The typical height of a British Bulldog is between 35 - 40 cm at the shoulder.

Are British Bulldogs good pets?

Despite their somewhat fearsome appearance, British Bulldogs are very people oriented and make wonderful family pets. They are a dependable and gentle dog that is an excellent companion for children. British Bulldogs generally get along well with other family pets, however they can be aggressive to unfamiliar dogs.

Do British Bulldogs bark?

Generally speaking, British Bulldogs are not big barkers. They will bark if they feel their family is in danger or when they get excited.

How do I know which British Bulldog breeder to choose?

British Bulldogs are predisposed to a number of health conditions, most notably Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome (BAS). Because of the poor welfare implications of this condition, vets recommend to avoid breeding from British Bulldogs that have shown any signs of BAS or have had any surgical intervention for the condition.

For a full checklist of questions to ask when choosing a breeder, read our vet article How to Find a Good Breeder.

British Bulldog History

British Bulldogs were developed in the early 1600's in Britain for the cruel sport of bull baiting. This activity required dogs with stocky bodies and massive heads and jaws who could grab a bull by the nose and pin it to the ground. Thankfully, bull-baiting was made illegal in England by the Cruelty to Animals Act 1835. This may have spelled the end of the British Bulldog as a breed if it wasn't for the start of the dog show era at around the same time.

British Bulldogs were selectively bred to transform them from their sporting and working origins into the family companion we know today. The first British Bulldog entered into The Kennel Club stud book was a male dog named Adam (Adamo), born in 1864. The Bulldog Club was formed in England 1878 and the Bulldog Club of America was formed in 1890.

The British Bulldog became the symbol of Britain during World War II, largely due to the famous wartime prime minister Winston Churchill's resemblance to this jowly faced and portly figured dog. The British Bulldog also exemplified Britain's tenacity in the fight against her enemies. Winston Churchill was a great animal lover and, along with his many other pets, owned a British Bulldog named Dodo.

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Their unmistakable appearance has led to British Bulldogs becoming an icon in popular culture. Spike and his son Tyke are an example of the memorable British Bulldogs in television history, having appeared in Tom and Jerry cartoons since 1942. British Bulldogs are also companions to a large number of celebrities including Adam Sandler, Ozzy Osbourne, Pink, Brad Pitt, Gloria Estefan, David Beckham, Reese Witherspoon and Miley Cyrus.

British Bulldog Personality

The British Bulldog is an outgoing, confident and affectionate dog that will often adopt the role of the clown of the party. Courageous and dependable family guardians, the British Bulldog can also be stubborn and needs patient consistent training to be convinced that it is not always "their way or the highway".

British Bulldog Features

The British Bulldog is unmistakable in appearance with its massive head, wrinkled face, long jowls and distinctive rolling gait. With their thick set, low stature and well defined muscles, British Bulldogs are a lot of dog in a relatively small space.

British Bulldog Health Problems

Unfortunately there are a number of common health issues which affect British Bulldogs. Some of these conditions include:

Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome

British Bulldogs are a Brachycephalic ('flat faced') breed which can lead to obstructive airway syndrome in certain individuals. Affected animals can vary in severity from noisy or laboured breathing to complete collapse of the airway. This condition is worsened by heat and exercise therefore extreme caution is advised when exercising and playing in the heat.

Heat Stroke

Due to their brachycephalic anatomy, British Bulldogs may not pant effectively. Since panting is the main method by which dogs cool themselves, British Bulldogs are very susceptible to heat stroke. During summer, they must always have fresh, cool water available and be kept indoors, preferably in air conditioning. Limit walks to the early morning or late evening to avoid over-exerting them in the heat.


British Bulldogs frequently suffer from skin allergies which need to be managed throughout their lifetime with medications and often a special diet.

Skin fold dermatitis and Pyoderma

The characteristic folds around a British Bulldog's face can cause problems by trapping moisture and heat, leading to an overgrowth of bacteria and yeast. It's recommended to gently clean your British Bulldog's skin folds regularly to prevent bacterial and yeast infections (pyoderma).

Ear infections

Unfortunately, skin allergies and ear infections often go hand in hand in British Bulldogs. The ear canal can become inflamed due to seasonal allergies and this warm, moist environment can breed yeast and bacteria. This requires topical antibiotics or antifungals to treat the infection, as well as managing the underlying cause.

Screw Tail

Screw tail - also known as ingrown or corkscrew tail - is an inherited condition in which fused tail vertebrae form a downward or spiralled curve. This abnormality causes excessive skin folds and an immobile tail that blocks the anus which leads to skin infections and faeces being trapped under the tail. Screw tail is treated medically or by surgical removal of the abnormal tail.

British Bulldog Diet and Nutrition

British Bulldog Puppies

British Bulldogs puppies benefit from a premium diet that has undergone digestibility testing and is high in protein to support healthy muscle development.

Best food for British Bulldog Puppies

We have selected the following diets as they contain high quality protein sources and beneficial nutrients, such as omega fatty acids, to support your pup's skin health.

Royal Canin Bulldog Puppy

This premium dry food is formulated with an adapted calcium and phosphorus content to support your puppy's growing bones and joints. The unique size and shape of the kibble also makes it easier for your puppy to pick up the food and chew.

Advance Puppy Medium Breed

This diet contains antioxidants to help strengthen the immune system, zinc and linoleic acid for healthy skin and a shiny coat, and prebiotic fibres to promote healthy bacteria in the gut for better digestive health and smaller, firmer stools.

Open Farm Puppy Recipe Dry Dog Food

This recipe contains meat as the first ingredient, and contains zero artificial nasties. With humanely raised chicken and pork, fresh Pacific salmon and superfoods like coconut oil, this diet is highly nourishing and wholesome for your pup.

ZiwiPeak Free-Range Chicken Wet Dog Food

91% premium New Zealand Free - Range Chicken, organs, bones and 3% New Zealand Green Mussels (a great natural source of glucosamine and chondroitin)

Best food for Adult British Bulldogs

British Bulldogs should be fed premium, complete and balanced diets formulated for medium breed dogs. It is very important to keep your British Bulldog at an ideal body weight because being overweight can exacerbate their respiratory issues, particularly during exercise and in hot weather. For more information, have a look at How much to feed your dog to help you calculate an appropriate feeding amount for your British Bulldog.

The following high quality diets contain beneficial nutrients to support your British Bulldog's skin, coat and digestive system.

Royal Canin Bulldog

Because Bulldogs are notorious for their flatulence, this formula contributes to reducing intestinal fermentation and also helps with bad stool odour and other digestive issues.

ADVANCE Adult Dog Sensitive Skin and Digestion

With increased levels of omega-3 fatty acids, a synergistic skin vitamin cocktail and the addition of high quality salmon, this dry food is ideal for those dogs prone to itchy and sensitive skin.

Hill's Science Diet Canine Adult Perfect Weight

With real chicken as the number one ingredient, this high quality dry food contains a proprietary ingredient blend that supports healthy weight loss and lean muscle maintenance

Royal Canin Adult Digestive Care Wet Dog Food Pouches

This premium quality loaf texture wet dog food is made with highly digestible proteins to manage protein fermentation in the gut which can contribute to flatulence and dietary upsets.

Shop All Medium Breed Dog Food Now

Related Breeds

French Bulldog

Undoubtedly one of the most popular breeds at the moment, the French Bulldog is the smallest of the Bulldog breeds.

American Bulldog

American Bulldogs are much bigger, faster and more agile than their British counterparts and, having been bred as working dogs, they are much more active.

Australian Bulldog

The Australian Bulldog encompasses all of the valued traits of the British Bulldog such as loyalty and its affectionate nature but cancels out some of the physical characteristics that has made British Bulldogs ill-suited to Australia's climate.

Further Reading

Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome in Dogs

How to Choose a Dog Breed That's Right For You

Premium Pet Food: Is It Worth It?

New Puppy Guide

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