We want to know everything about dogs. Everything! But there are countless breeds of dog out there, and each one is a unique animal with its own history. That’s why every week, we shine a spotlight on a different breed. This week, learn some fun facts about English Bulldogs.
Bulldogs were bullfighters
If you haven’t guessed, it’s all in the name. English bulldogs were initially bred in the 14th century for a popular sport called bull-baiting. Bull-baiting was the practice of harassing a tethered animal. The English bulldogs, low and broad stature made it an exceptional animal to harass bulls. They would sit low to the ground and when the time was right they would pounce, grabbing hold of a bull’s nose, and not letting go. This resulted in a lot of tossed, injured, and killed bulldogs, between the 13th century and 1835 when the sport was banned. While English bulldogs remain stubborn, the aggressive and tenacious behavior they were bred for is gone. Now, they are one of the most loyal and lovable dogs in the world.
Bulldogs almost went extinct
Yes, it’s true. One of the most popular dogs in America almost went extinct. It goes back to their effectiveness at bull-baiting. Once, the sport was banned, few saw use for these animals. However, thanks to people who realized how lovable these dogs really were, they survived. Americans and Germans in particular had an affinity for the dogs as herding dogs, and soon after English bulldogs were being bred to have kinder and gentler dispositions. It wasn’t long after banning bull-baiting that English bulldogs were one of the most beloved companions.
Bulldogs are not the Greatest Swimmers
Ever see muscle-bound Mr. Universe try to swim? Probably not, which is the same reason you won’t find many English bulldogs swimming. Their short, stocky, and broad, and none of these things help make bulldogs good swimmers. So, I guess you could think of them as the body-builders of the dog world.
Bulldogs are a popular team mascot
English bulldogs make great mascots. Whether you consider them cute and cuddly, or sturdy and powerful, we love to call them our mascot. Consider the number of teams that have had a bulldog mascot:
- Professional sports teams: 33
- Universities: 41
- High schools and middle schools: 284
Bulldogs are one of the most popular breeds in America
Calm, courageous, and friendly the English bulldog is also one of the most popular dog breeds in America. According to the American Kennel Club, bulldogs rank only behind Labradors, German Shepherds, and Golden Retrievers. That’s pretty good company, considering it was only a few years ago that they almost went extinct.
Bulldogs can run
English bulldogs tend to spend their time eating, sleeping, and being social. Their bodies were designed to be protective and aggressive, not to be sprinters like greyhounds. However, bulldogs can reach speeds of up to 15 m.p.h. which isn’t bad for such small guys. How does that equate to humans? Well, our fastest human to date, Usain Bolt has clocked in close to 28 m.p.h. That’s fast! However, the average human runs at about 15 m.p.h., the same speed as a bulldog. So, who’s the lazy one?
Bulldogs love to eat
There may be few things an English bulldog loves to do more than eat. In fact, if you ever want to bring a bulldog back to its gloried past, pull him away from his bowl of food. Not surprising, these voracious eaters are prone to eat too fast which can be bad for digestion and lead to stomach aches and vomiting. They also eat like a hungry toddler by swallowing all their food without properly chewing. When they do this they swallow large amounts of air, resulting in a bulldog’s popular distinction of a gas-passer.
Bulldogs are not big barkers
While English bulldogs are not big barkers, you might find it surprising that they are one of the noisiest dogs on the planet. Bulldogs, for a variety of reasons, are noisy. Their lifestyle and body shape are the biggest contributors to their snorts, snores, snuffles, wheezing, and grunts. Let’s not forget about their gas-passing abilities. So, while bulldog owners consider these noise endearing, others may prefer to hear barking instead.
Snores, farts, and drools
Bulldogs have some down-right endearing characteristics such as farting, snoring, and drooling. But why does this happen? Well, we’ve touched on the gassiness a little bit already. They are voracious eaters which can often lead to swallowing too much air while they eat. Food is often a contributor, and the farting can be limited with a healthy diet.
Their snoring, grunting, and wheezing are all contributed to their body shape, and the lack of exercise, which tends to leave bulldogs overweight. While these are common characteristics in this breed, abnormal changes should be looked into with the vet as they can be a result of underlying problems.
Drooling is due to the dog’s extreme under-bite. The dog’s flews (upper lips) hang over their lower lips, not providing a seal for the mouth. The end result is drool, especially after drinking water and eating. Remember, falling asleep in algebra class and waking up to a desk of drool? Well, same thing.
Bulldogs have an affluent background
While English bulldogs started out life as gladiators, they also have an affluent background.
Two bulldogs, Strathtay Prince Albert and Kippax Fearnought have respectively won “Best in Show” at Westminster. In addition, United States Presidents Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge had English bulldogs as pets.
Let’s not forget the countless number of celebrities, such as Brad Pitt, Adam Sandler, and David Beckham, who call bulldogs their companions.