With lineage tracing back to the Asiatic Mastiff, the Bulldog originated in the British Isles and is popularly titled the National dog of Great Britain, featuring in various patriotic pictorials. Perhaps the oldest of the country's indigenous breeds, the Bulldog is distinctive in appearance and has long since abandoned its fighting instincts, having been bred primarily for the purposes of bull and badger baiting. Once the sport was finally dispensed with in 1850, the Bulldog grew in popularity as a fearless yet increasingly placid companion dog.
With a medium-sized, muscular build, the Bulldog is easily identified by its wide muzzle, deep-set eyes and squared jaw with overhanging upper lips. Commonly recognised in colour variations of fawn, piebald, red brindle, solid white or pale yellow, the breed is attractive and distinctive. Whilst originally a highly active breed, the Bulldog has since gained bulk and lost some of its early athleticism. Despite being well suited to apartment life, gentle exercise is essential for the physical and mental enrichment of the Bulldog, however due to its heavy build, strenuous or regular exercise is not encouraged.
Bearing in mind its early sporting heritage, the appearance of the Bulldog is somewhat intimidating, however such is not a fair reflection of its nature. The breed possesses an easy and affectionate temperament, is protective of children and its home, and is a great lover of people. A loud bark can be exercised to warn of potential danger, making it an effective guard dog. Heavier than it once was, the average weight of a healthy Bulldog is between 20-25 kg depending on its gender, with a life expectancy of 8-10 years.
Due to the breed's build and loose skin, the Bulldog is unsuited to extreme temperatures, being especially susceptible to heat stroke. Optical disorders and cherry eye are particularly common with the breed, as are skin infections and breathing difficulties. Ensuring a balanced diet is administered is essential and feeding human foods is not recommended as the Bulldog gains weight easily, which can be detrimental to its general health and happiness.