Bulldog History Authorities differ completely about the origin of the Bulldog. They even have differing spelling
of the name. Be it Bondogge, Boldogge, Bandogge, the final spelling is BULLDOG.
There are even those who dispute why he is called Bulldog. Is it the shape of the head or
because of his use in the barbaric sports of bull-baiting, bear-baiting and dog fighting?
Whatever the name or the origin, there is little doubt that centuries ago there was a canine resembling
our present day Bulldog. Lighter boned and higher on leg, but with the courage, tenacity and determination that still exists
today. Over the years, other breeders have crossed with the Bulldog to give these traits to their breeds, perhaps the best
known being the Greyhound
After bull-baiting, bear-baiting and dog fighting were prohibited in 1835, a few dedicated fanciers
worked diligently to breed out the aggressive, vicious tendencies and to modify the Bulldog to look more like we see him today,
shorter faced and heavier in structure.
The first Bulldog Standard in England was drafted in 1864 and adopted in 1875. The Bulldog Club of
America was formed in 1890 utilizing the English standard. In 1896 a standard was adopted by the Bulldog Club of America.
It was revised in 1914 to declare the Dudley nose a disqualification. In 1976 the Dudley nose disqualification was redefined
as a "brown or liver colored nose." The standard was reformatted in 1990 with no changes in wording.
Official Breed Standard
The perfect Bulldog must be of medium size and smooth coat; with heavy, thickset, low-swung body, massive
short-faced head, wide shoulders and sturdy limbs. The general appearance and attitude should suggest great stability, vigor
Sound sturdy limbs and the suggestion of great stability, vigor and strength are as important to the present
day's Bulldog as they were to its ancestors.
The disposition should be equitable and kind, resolute and courageous (not vicious or aggressive), and
demeanor should be pacific and dignified. These attributes should be countenanced by the expression and behavoir.
Size, Proportion, Symmetry
Size -- The size for mature dogs is about 50 pounds; for mature bitches about 40 pounds.
Proportion -- The circumference of the skull in front of the ears should measure at least the height
of the dog at the shoulders.
Symmetry -- The "points" should be well distributed and bear good relation one to the other, no
feature being in such prominence from either excess or lack of quality that the animal appears deformed or ill-proportioned.
Influence of Sex -- In comparison of specimens of different sex, due allowance should be made in
favor of the bitches, which do not bear the characteristics of the breed to the same degree of perfection and grandeur as
do the dogs.
|The bitch should have equal qualities, but an allowance shall be made for the
femininity that is characteristic of the bitch.|
Eyes and eyelids -- The eyes, seen from the front, should be situated low down in the skull, as
far from the ears as possible, and their corners should be in a straight line at right angles with the stop. They should be
quite in front of the head, as wide apart as possible, provided their outer corners are within the outline of the cheeks when
viewed from the front. They should be quite round in form, of moderate size, neither sunken nor bulging and in color should
be very dark. The lids should cover the white of the eyeball, when the dog is looking directly forward, and the lid should
show no "haw".
An imaginary horizontal line passing through the four corners of the eyes should be at a right angle with
the stop and just rest on top of the nose. Though the shape of the eye is round, the eyelids give a more almond look
to the eye.
Ears -- The ears should be set high in the head, the front inner edge of each ear joining the outline
of the skull at the top back corner of skull, so as to place them as wide apart, and as high, and as far from the eyes as
possible. In size they should be small and thin. The shape termed "rose ear" is the most desirable. The rose ear folds inward
at its back lower edge, the upper front edge curving over, outward and backward, showing part of the inside of the burr. (The
ears should not be carried erect or prick-eared or buttoned and should never be cropped).
When viewed from the front and side, top of ears should be level with
top outline of the skull with
the burr partially exposed and the entire
edge of the ear visible.
Skull -- The skull should be very large, and in circumference, in front of the ears, should measure
at least the height of the dog at the shoulders. Viewed from the front, it should appear very high from the corner of the
lower jaw to the apex of the skull, and also very broad and square.
Viewed at the side, the head should appear very high, and very short from the point of the nose to occiput.
The forehead should be flat (not rounded or domed), neither too prominent nor overhanging the face.
Head very high showing good layback. An imaginary line should
touch the lower jaw, tip of nose
and top of head. LONG, FLAT
Cheeks -- The cheeks should be well-rounded, protruding sideways and outward beyond the eyes.
Stop -- The temples or frontal bones should be very well defined, broad, square and high, causing
a hollow or grove between the eyes. This indentation, or stop, should be both broad and deep and extend up the middle of the
forehead, dividing the head vertically, being traceable to the top of the skull.
Indentation in skull, called "the furrow" extends from between the eyes to top of head. Not to be obscured
by forehead wrinkles.
Face and muzzle -- The face, measured from the front of the cheekbone to the tip of the nose, should
be extremely short, the muzzle being very short, broad, turned upward and very deep from the corner of the eye to the corner
of the mouth.
Nose -- The nose should be large, broad and black, its tip set back deeply between the eyes. The
distance from bottom of stop, between the eyes, to the tip of the nose should be as short as possible and not exceed the length
from the tip of nose to the edge of underlip. The nostrils should be wide, large and black, with a well-defined line between
them. Any nose other than black is objectionable and a brown or liver-colored nose shall disqualify.
Front of nose slants back closely following contour of head. Not perpendicular. Large, black, wide nostrils.
In the scale of points, the nose has 6, more than any other feature.
Lips -- The chops or "flews" should be thick, broad, pendant and very deep, completely overhanging
the lower jaw at each side. They join the underlip in front and almost or quite cover the teeth, which should be scarcely
noticeable when the mouth is closed.
Bite-Jaws -- The jaws should be massive, very broad, square and "undershot", the lower jaw projecting
considerably in front of the upper jaw and turning up.
Skull formation showing correct swing of jaw.
A wry or crooked jaw is a serious fault.
The correct jaw, so eagerly sought after in the fancy, with the upward
thrust, retaining the curve
Teeth -- The teeth should be large and strong, with the canine teeth or tusks wide apart, and the
six small teeth in front, between the canines, in an even, level row.
Neck, Topline, Body
Neck -- The neck should be short, very thick, deep and strong and well arched at the back.
Topline -- There should be a slight fall in the back, close behind the shoulders (its lowest part),
whence the spine should rise to the loins (the top of which should be higher than the top of the shoulders), thence curving
again more suddenly to the tail, forming an arch (a very distinctive feature of the breed), termed "roach back" or, more correctly,
Body -- The brisket and body should be very capacious, with full sides, well rounded ribs and very
deep from the shoulders down to its lowest part, where it joins the chest. It should be well let down between the shoulders
and forelegs, giving the dog a broad, low, short legged appearance.
Wide shoulders, barrel ribs and a narrow pelvic area give the
Bulldog a "pear-shaped" body.
Brisket well let down between the forelegs. Fullness of the brisket
can be observed in front
of the forelegs from sideview.
Chest-- The chest should be very broad, deep and full.
Underline -- The body should be well-ribbed-up behind with the belly tucked up and not rotund.
Back and Loin -- The back should be short and strong, very broad at the shoulders and comparatively
narrow at the loins.
A back of correct length creates a balanced appearance and
facilitates correct Bulldog movement.
appear to be slightly longer in body than their height at the
Tail -- The tail may be either straight or "screwed" (but never curved or curly), and in any case
must be short, hung low, with decided downward carriage, thick root and fine tip. If straight, the tail should be cylindrical
and of uniform taper. If "screwed", the bends or kinks should be well-defined, and they may be abrupt and even knotty, but
no portion of the member should be elevated above the base or root.
Two types of tail are desired in the Standard. Each are short, hung
low, heading down with thick root
and fine tips.
Shoulders -- Should be muscular, very heavy, widespread and slanting outward, giving stability
and great power.
Forelegs -- The forelegs should be short, very stout, straight and muscular, set wide apart, with
well-developed calves, presenting a bowed outline, but the bones of the legs should not be curved or bandy, nor the feet brought
too close together.
Correct turn of shoulder with proper front legs showing straight
perpendicular inner forelegs will
form a near square from the top of
the legs and across.
Narrow-fronted showing a vertical rectangle between the front legs.
An obvious rectangle between the front legs, indicating legs that
are too short, of shoulders that
are too wide or both.
Elbows -- The elbows should be low and stand well out and loose from the body.
Well constructed Bulldogs from ground to elbow should be about 50%
of the distance from ground to height
at the withers.
FAULTY ELBOWS -- "Loose from the body" does NOT mean overly loose elbows. It means that
they should not be directed towards the ribs (tight elbows). Neither should they be directed outward away from the ribs
(overly loose elbows). Overly loose elbows is a VERY serious structural fault.
Feet -- The feet should be moderate in size, compact and firmly set. Toes compact, well-split-up,
with high knuckles and very short stubby nails. The front feet may be straight or slightly out-turned.
Legs --Hind legs should be strong and muscular and longer than forelegs, so as to elevate loins
above shoulders. Hocks should be slightly bent and well-let-down, so as to give length and strength from loins to hock. Lower
leg should be short, straight and strong, with stifles turned slightly outward and away from the body. Hocks are thereby made
to approach each other, and the hind feet to turn outward.
Feet -- Should be moderate in size, compact and firmly set. Toes compact, well-split-up, with high
nuckles and short stubby nails. Hind feet should be pointed well-outward.
Coat and Skin
Coat -- Should be straight, short, flat, close, of fine texture, smooth and glossy. (No fringe,
feather or curl).
Skin -- The skin should be soft and loose, especially at the head, neck and shoulders.
Wrinkles and dewlap -- The head and face should be covered with heavy wrinkles, and at the throat,
from jaw to chest, there should be two loose pendulous folds, forming the dewlap.
Forehead wrinkle should not obscure furrow in skull.
Wrinkle(s) over the nose to be of moderate size,
beyond the tip of the nose, obscuring vision in any way nor being too
large and out of proportion.
Color of Coat
The color of coat should be uniform, pure of its kind and brilliant. The various colors found in the breed
are to be preferred in the following order: 1. red brindle; 2. all other brindles; 3. solid white; 4. solid red, fawn or fallow;
5. piebald; 6. inferior qualities of all the foregoing. Note: A perfect piebald is preferable to a muddy brindle or defective
solid color. Solid black is very undesirable, but not so objectionable if occuring to a moderate degree in piebald patches.
The brindles to be perfect should have a fine, even and equal distribution of the composite colors. In brindles and solid
colors a small white patch on the chest is not considered detrimental. In piebalds the color patches should be well-defined,
of pure color and symmetrically distributed.
The style and carriage are peculiar, his gait being a loose-jointed, shuffling, sidewise motion, giving
the characteristic "roll". The action must be, however, be unrestrained, free and vigorous.
The proper Bulldog, with short wide set front legs and longer narrow set rear legs has a peculiar gait
that results in a side to side motion or "roll". The roll can be observed by following the "sidewise" motion of the skin over
the loin and the "sidewise" motion at the base of the tail. A Bulldog gait video, showing the peculiarities of gait,
is available from the BCA Education Committee.
The disposition should be equable and kind, resolute and courageous (not vicious or aggressive), and demeanor
should be pacific and dignified. These attributes should be countenanced by the expression and behavior.
A friendly outgoing companionable breed which is readily observed
in its expression and demeanor.
Scale of Points
|Proportion and symmetry
|Color of coat
|Eyes and eyelids
|BODY, LEGS, ETC.
|Forelegs and elbows
DISQUALIFICATION-- A brown or liver-colored nose.