AskDefine | Define bulldog

Dictionary Definition

bulldog adj : stubbornly unyielding; "dogged persistence"; "dour determination"; "the most vocal and pertinacious of all the critics"; "a mind not gifted to discover truth but tenacious to hold it"- T.S.Eliot; "men tenacious of opinion" [syn: dogged, dour, pertinacious, tenacious, unyielding] n : a sturdy thickset short-haired breed with a large head and strong undershot lower jaw; developed originally in England for bull baiting [syn: English bulldog]


1 attack viciously and ferociously
2 throw a steer by seizing the horns and twisting the neck, as in a rodeo [also: bulldogging]

User Contributed Dictionary



English, from bullbaiting, and dog.


  • Hyphenation: bull·dog


  1. A breed of dog formerly used for bullbaiting that has a very smooth coat, a flattened face, wrinkly cheeks, powerful front legs and smaller hind legs.
  2. A shortened form of British bulldog.
  3. A stubborn person.



breed of dog
the game British Bulldog See British bulldog

Related terms


  • 1971, Carol King and Gerry Goffin, “Smackwater Jack”, Tapestry, Ode Records
    Big Jim the Chief stood for law and order.... Now from his bulldog mouth... Came the cry, “We got to ride to clean up the streets...!”

Extensive Definition

The Bulldog, colloquially known as the British Bulldog or English Bulldog, is a medium-size breed of dog that originated in England.



Its shape results in a peculiarly unusual gait (dog), often called a "rolling gait". Bulldogs are known for their short muzzles and the saggy skin on their faces, creating the apparent "frown" that has become a trademark of the breed. Bulldogs come in a variety of colours and ideally have a smooth, short coat. The only disqualifier for the breed in the show ring is a liver colored nose; however, a black-coated bulldog is also not preferred. In the US, the size of a typical mature male is about 50 pounds; that for mature females is about 40 pounds. In the United Kingdom, the breed standard is 55 pounds for a male and 50 pounds for a female.

Temperament and characteristics

Contrary to popular beliefs, the temperament of the bulldog is generally docile, friendly and gregarious but are known to be fiercely loyal and occasionally willful. Breeders have worked to breed aggression out of the breed, and as such the dog is known to be of generally good temperament. Bulldogs can be so attached to home and family that they will not venture out of the yard without a human companion. Due to their friendly nature bulldogs are known for getting along well with children, other breeds of dog and any house-broken pet in general.
A bulldog is suitable for houses as well as apartments due to their size and comparative lack of energy, but puppies may be destructive until they reach maturity. They are easily trainable as compared with many other breeds.


The bulldog is prone to health issues. Breathing issues can be prevalent in the breed due to the shape of the "undershot" lower jaw and the shortness of muzzle, which was originally bred for gripping. In particular, bulldogs are known to snore. In the United Kingdom, some dogs can be prone to interstitial cysts, which are cysts which form between the toes. These cause the dog some discomfort, though they are treatable either by vet or an experienced owner. Other problems can include cherry eye, certain allergies, and amongst older bulldogs hip issues.
Because of the large heads in proportion to body size, puppies are frequently delivered by Caesarean section as they can get stuck in the birth canal during natural birth. However, it is not uncommon for a bulldog to whelp naturally and successfully.
Bulldogs require daily cleaning of their face folds to avoid unwanted infections caused by moisture accumulation. Daily teeth brushing with a regular human soft toothbrush using a vet approved toothpaste is also recommended.
Like all dogs, bulldogs require daily exercise. If not properly exercised the bulldog could gain weight, which could cause health problems relating to the lungs and heart. Bulldogs are extremely sensitive to heat and cold and great care should be given to the dog during overly warm periods. During these times, the owner should ensure that the dog has plenty of shade, water and should be ideally kept out of standing heat.
As the breed has developed, the tail in some dogs can be tight to the body and can cause infection if not treated or cleaned underneath regularly.


The term "bulldog" was first used around 1568 and might have been applied to various ancestors of modern bulldog breeds. Bulldogs were bred in England as a cross between the mastiff and the pug.
In the 1600s, bulldogs were used for bullbaiting (as well as bearbaiting), a gambling sport popular in the 17th century with wagers laid in which trained bulldogs leapt at a bull lashed to a post, latched onto its snout and attempted to suffocate it. Bulldogs have many distinct characteristics that were bred into them so they would be better suited to bullbaiting. The bulldog's body is short, low to the ground and compact, allowing it to be able to scuttle or crawl low under the bull's horns. The lower jaw sticks out further than the top one allowing the bulldog to grip on the nose of the animal and still be able to breathe due to the lay-back of the nose. The wrinkles on the bulldogs face allow the blood from the other animal to run down the bulldogs face instead of going into its eyes.
The oldest single breed specialty club is The Bulldog Club (England), which was formed in 1875. Members of this club met frequently at the Blue Post pub on Oxford Street in London. There they wrote the first standard of perfection for the breed. In 1891 the two top bulldogs, Orry and Dockleaf, competed in a contest to see which dog could walk the farthest. Orry was reminiscent of the original bulldogs, lighter boned and very athletic. Dockleaf was smaller and heavier set, more like modern bulldogs. Dockleaf was declared the winner that year. Although some argued that the older version of the bulldog was more fit to perform, the modern version’s looks won over the fans of the breed because they proved they were equally as fit and athletic in the walking competition.
Recently, many people have tried to recreate a breed more akin to the original bullbaiter. Examples of the trend are the Olde English Bulldogge, Renascence Bulldogge, Victorian, Continental and Dorset Old Tyme Bulldog. The American Kennel Club does not recognize any of these newly "recreated" breeds of dogs.

Popular mascot

Because of its tenacity, the bulldog is a symbol of the United Kingdom and is a popular mascot of dozens of American universities, as well as numerous high schools throughout the United States of America.
It is commonly accepted that Handsome Dan, the Bulldog mascot for Yale University, is the oldest-running traditional live mascot in the United States, since some incarnation of Handsome Dan has served at Yale for more than a century.
A bulldog named Chesty is the official mascot of the United States Marine Corps.


External links

Bulldog rescue

General bulldog information

bulldog in Bulgarian: Английски булдог
bulldog in Czech: Anglický buldok
bulldog in German: Englische Bulldogge
bulldog in Spanish: Bulldog
bulldog in French: Bulldog anglais
bulldog in Interlingua (International Auxiliary Language Association): Bulldog
bulldog in Icelandic: Enskur bolabítur
bulldog in Italian: Bulldog
bulldog in Hebrew: בולדוג אנגלי
bulldog in Lithuanian: Buldogas
bulldog in Hungarian: Angol buldog
bulldog in Dutch: Engelse buldog
bulldog in Japanese: ブルドッグ
bulldog in Polish: Buldog angielski
bulldog in Portuguese: Buldogue
bulldog in Russian: Английский бульдог
bulldog in Finnish: Englanninbulldoggi
bulldog in Swedish: Engelsk bulldogg
bulldog in Chinese: 斗牛犬

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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