The English Bulldog of today would not be recognized by fanciers of the earliest dogs of the breed. Those early dogs had a specific use, that of bull holding, which was a legitimate part of the butcher's business. Unfortunately, this also developed into the grisly sport of bull baiting, and they were also pitted against other animals, as well as their own kind. When these "sports" were outlawed in Britain, the breed's function essentially ceased. The Bulldog eventually developed into a shorter, squattier version of its progenitors, as that is what was preferred in the show ring. Regardless, the Bulldog has endeared itself to many because of its loving, gentle temperament.
The English Bulldog was recognized by the United Kennel Club in 1935.
The ideal English Bulldog is a medium size, short coated dog with a thick, rather low slung body that is wide and heavy in the shoulders and lighter in the hindquarters. He is powerful and compact, with a large, short, broad head. General appearance, coupled with attitude, suggests great stability, vigor and strength.
When comparing both sexes, due consideration is to be given to females as they do not bear the breed characteristics to the same degree as the males.
All points of the standard are well distributed and bear good relation one to the other. No feature is so prominent or so lacking that it makes the animal appear deformed or out of proportion.
The English Bulldog has an equable and kind disposition; and is resolute and courageous. The characteristic demeanor is one of peace and dignity. These attributes are evident in the expression and behavior of the breed.
When viewed from the front, the head is very broad and square. In profile, the head appears very high and very short from the occiput to the point of the nose. The forehead is flat, never rounded or domed; and never too prominent nor overhanging the face.
The well-defined temples (frontal bones) are broad, square and high, causing a deep furrow that extends from the stop to the middle of the skull. The stop is a deep, wide indentation between the eyes. The well-rounded cheeks protrude sideways and outward beyond the eyes.
SKULL - The skull is very large in circumference, and appears very high from the corner of the lower jaw to the apex of the skull.
MUZZLE - The extremely short face is measured from the front of the cheekbone to the tip of the nose. The very short muzzle is turned upward and is very deep from the corner of the eye to the corner of the mouth.
The distance from the bottom of the stop (between the eyes) to the tip of the nose is to be as short as possible, and does not exceed the distance measured from the tip of the nose to the edge of the under lip.
The massive jaws are broad and very square. The undershot lower jaw projects considerably in front of the upper jaw and turns up.
The thick, broad, pendant flews, referred to as the "chops", are very deep. They completely overhang the lower jaw at each side. In front, they join the under lip, quite covering the teeth, which are not noticeable when the mouth is closed.
TEETH - A full complement of large, strong, white teeth meet in an undershot bite. The canines are wide apart; and the incisors are in an even, level row.
EYES - The very dark eyes are quite round and moderate in size; never being sunken nor bulging. When the dog is looking directly forward, the lids cover the white of the eyeball. There is no haw showing.
Viewed from the front, the eyes are situated low down in the skull, as far from the ears as possible. They are set in the front of the head and are wide apart but with their outer corners within the outline of the cheek, when viewed from the front. The eyes and the stop are set in the same straight line.
NOSE - The large, broad nose is black in color. Its tip is set back deeply between the eyes. The wide, large nostrils are also black in color.
Very Serious Fault: Any nose color other than black.
EARS - The small, thin, "rose" ears are set high on the head. The front inner edge of each ear joins the outline of the skull at the top back corner of the skull, placing them wide apart and as far apart from the eyes as possible.
Very Serious Faults:
Erect ears; prick ears; button ears; cropped ears.
The short, very thick neck is deep, strong, and well-arched. The skin is loose, thick and wrinkled, forming a dewlap on each side from the jaw to the chest.
The shoulders are very broad and muscular. They are widespread and slant outward, providing stability and great power.
FORELEGS - The short, very stout forelegs are straight and muscular. They are set wide apart, their well-developed calves presenting a bowed outline. The legs themselves are not curved or bandy, nor are the feet brought too close together. The low elbows stand well out, and loose, from the body. Pasterns are short, straight and strong.
The brisket and body are very capacious, and the chest is very deep and well let down between the front legs. Forechest is prominent. The body is well ribbed up behind the forelegs, and the ribs are well rounded. The back is short and strong, wide behind the shoulders and comparatively narrower at the loin. The topline is a distinguishing characteristic of this breed. There is a slight fall off behind the shoulders to the beginning of the back, which is the lowest part of the entire topline. It then rises to the loin, which is higher than the shoulders. The croup then curves downward to the set on of the tail, creating the arch that is distinctive to the breed. The belly is tucked up.
The rear legs are strong and large, and they are longer than the forelegs, which elevates the loin above the shoulders.
HIND LEGS - The legs are long from hip to hock and short from hock to ground. The stifles are rounded and they turn slightly out away from the body, which results in the hocks turning inward and the rear feet turning out. There is slight angulation at the hock joint.
The compact, thick feet are moderate
in size. The toes are well split up and have high knuckles. The front feet may point straight ahead or slightly outward. The hind feet point well outward.
The short tail is set low, and has a thick root, a decided downward carriage and a fine tip. It may be straight or "screwed," but never curved or curly. A straight tail is cylindrical and is tapered uniformly. A screw tail has well-defined bends or kinks that may be abrupt or even knotty, but no portion of the tail may be elevated above the base or root.
Very Serious Fault:
The skin is soft and loose, especially at the head, neck and shoulders.
WRINKLES & DEWLAP - The head and face are covered with heavy wrinkles. There should be two loose, pendulous folds forming the dewlap at the throat, from the jaw to the chest.
Nose roll overhanging or partially covering the nose.
The short, straight coat lies flat and close, and is smooth, glossy and of a fine texture. There are no fringes, feathers or curls.
Coat color is uniform, pure, and brilliant. The various breed typical colors are to be preferred in the following order:
1) Red brindle;
2) All other brindles;
(Note: to be considered perfect, brindles are to have a fine, even, and equal distribution of the composite colors.)
3) Solid white;
4) Solid red, fawn, or yellow;
6) Inferior specimens of all the foregoing. (Note: a perfect piebald is preferable to a muddy brindle or a defective solid color. Solid black and black and tan are very undesirable, but black is not so objectionable if occurring, to a moderate degree, in piebald patches.)
Note: A small white patch on the chest is acceptable in brindles and solid-colored dogs. Color patches on piebalds are expected to be well-defined, of pure color, and symmetrically distributed.
Weight for mature males is approximately 55 pounds. Weight for mature females is approximately 50 pounds.
Movement style and carriage are distinctive to the breed. It is heavy and somewhat constrained, moving with short, quick steps on the tips of the toes. The rear feet skim the ground; they should not be lifted high. There is a characteristic roll to the gait.
Unilateral or bilateral cryptorchid. Viciousness or extreme shyness. Albinism.