The Bulldog is not just another pretty face and most definitely not an "unusual" breed of dog. However, they are a most distinct breed and cannot be categorized as just any breed of dog! They are one of the most affectionate, adorable, courageous, family friendly breeds on earth and are truly "man's best friend"! They are known to be, more or less, a "man-made" breed. This is due to the history of their evolution from a tenacious bull baiting/bull fighting breed of the past that was transformed to their most loving nature of the breed of the present.
It is true that Bulldogs have several known health issues that can be devastating to their owners, but Bulldogs should never be singled out as the only breed with health problems, just because they are Bulldogs. There are just as many breeds with similar or worse problems with health and other conditions that can make ownership of these other breeds questionable at best. You must first understand the great difference between a Bulldog and any other breed of dog.
As with the sporting breeds, working breeds and other breeds, the Bulldog was originally bred for a specific purpose. Unfortunately, that purpose was the cruel and most inhumane sport of bull baiting or bull fighting. The Bulldog would be set loose onto a tethered bull. The Bulldog would grab the bull by the nose and bring him down to the ground and hold him until he was told to let go.
The body of the Bulldog had gone through several generations of perfecting the body to be heavily muscled and strong in order to be on somewhat of an equal footing with any bull they might face. It is assumed that the Bulldog of centuries ago most closely resembled the Olde English Bulldogge. The head of the Bulldog was its most distinct feature and remains that way to present day. Basically, the head was somewhat as it appears today - fairly square with a broad skull and eyes set down low and somewhat far apart. The ears were level with the top of the skull. However, the ears in that century more closely resembled the ears of a hound and were either carried erect or down. Today the shape of the Bulldog's ear is known as the "rose ear" shape which are small with thin ear leather and set as far away from the eyes as possible and with a most distinctive fold about mid-ear that causes the ears to somewhat roll back into one of the most beautifully shaped ears seen on any breed of dog. The face consisted of several thick folds of skin on the head, on top of the nose extending down to the flews and jaws. These folds of skin were valuable, allowing any blood from the bull to flow away from the ears, eyes, nose and mouth of the Bulldog. The jaws were (and still are) most powerful with a grip that was bred into the breed to hold on to the bull until they were forced to release their grasp on the bull. The legs of the Bulldog were somewhat longer than they are today, but they were still powerful for the job they were bred to do.
When Bullbaiting was finally declared illegal in 1778, this inhumane sport was abolished, putting an end to a sport which had existed every year since 1374. Below, far left, is an old painting of how the Bulldog may have looked around the time Bullbaiting was banned. The other old photos and drawings are how the Bulldog evolved through generations of perfecting the breed up to the last drawing, far right, when the British established the first standard for the English Bulldog. Click on images to enlarge.
HISTORY OF THE BULLDOG BREED
You can see, by looking at the paintings/drawings above, the longer length of leg and the longer tail. You would be hard pressed to find a Bulldog of today in the U.S.A. with a longer tail. You would have to search foreign Bulldogs, some of which still carry a longer tail, but not as long as the Bulldog tail of the past. As stated in a popular Bulldog breed book: "the tail does not always commend itself to modern breeders, who, unfortunately, especially in the U.S.A., are far too strongly in favor of the twist or screw tail, which is not and never was a proper appendage of the Bulldog".
Soon after bullbaiting was forever declared illegal, there was little use for the Bulldog and the breed was almost driven to extinction. After all, who would want to own a dog of any breed that had been bred to be so ferocious? Thank goodness for the British! A group of devoted Bulldog fanciers rescued the breed from extinction. In doing so, they set out to reclaim all the good values of the breed for which it was renowned. They aimed to preserve the loyal, dignified and courageous dog that could be gentle and loving, but also mirror the bravery of his ancient ancestors. In the past, the Bulldog has been known by the names "British" Bulldog or "English" Bulldog and although these names are often times used to this day, the breed is best known simply as the BULLDOG!
The greatest injustice done to the Bulldog breed, other than the cruel sport for which they were originally bred, is the present day numerous greedy owners who see their female and/or male Bulldogs as a "Money-making venture". These indiscriminate breeders have caused more misconceptions about this wonderful breed, have produced puppies that grow up to be so poorly bred with serious defects, most of which do not live beyond 5 years of age. The greedy breeders have produced more problems with poor health, poor condition, changes in personality and changes in physical appearance of the Bulldog than any inherited factor could possibly produce. Greedy breeders breed for one thing and one thing ONLY: MONEY! They have no regard for overall health, nor do they care about how their puppies are raised. As long as they can take every short cut available and do every thing on a shoe string budget, they will cut corners as they go so they can demand higher prices for their pups.
If you've lost the true meaning in my ramblings of all of the above paragraphs, I will try to simplify by stating this one belief that I have had for many, many years: If you are going to breed, you should show your dogs. Every good, reputable breeder has a burning desire to improve the breed, not tear it down and make it worse. We always breed for excellence in the breed and if we cannot accomplish that, we do not breed at all!!!
THE BULLDOG TODAY
By surfing the Internet, we are sure, by now, you have found many types of Bulldogs as far as their physical appearance is concerned. Even within the "true" Bulldog of today, it is pretty sad to see the numerous types and styles of Bulldogs. Even in the show ring, we are seeing Bulldogs with poor ear sets and with no evidence of the lovely "rose ear" all Bulldogs should posses. Most ears seen today are called button ears, or tulip ears, prick ears or fly away ears and these are being touted as funny or cute. These faults make a Bulldog look totally ridiculous and does not represent them as a good specimen, much less a superior one and takes away from the overall dignified appearance of the Bulldog and his classic "sourmug" expression. (see below in next paragraph). Below are comparisons of the correct lovely "rose ear" of the Bulldog and other ear shapes, sizes and positions that are most unattractive. On our page "Bulldog Health", we will cover physical characteristics in greater detail that can sometimes cause health problems. This is to show good conformation of the Bulldog vs. the not so good or inferior conformation. Click on the images below to enlarge and for descriptions of each photo. (PLEASE NOTE: This page is to give viewers information regarding the correct vs. incorrect conformation and does not necessarily discuss health. For health concerns please visit our page Bulldog Health. Thank you!)
The Bulldog has always been described as having a "sourmug expression". Others describe this as a "stand-off expression", but the Bulldog's expression is never aggressive or wicked. This is just one more feature of this loving breed that endears him to so many fanciers. To have incorrect size, shape and placement of the ears ruins the overall look of the Bulldog's expression. Another factor is the mouth and teeth of the Bulldog. The bottom jaw should never protrude so far forward that the turn up of the jaw and the bottom teeth overlap the top lip. This produces such a disgusting look and one that distracts from the true sourmug look. For those who have only seen the Bulldog in newspaper articles, or magazines or on TV usually in some commercial advertising, have no clue how a real Bulldog should look. Most who have seen an exaggerated bottom jaw protruding forward from the top jaw believe this makes the Bulldog look funny. Goofy is a better word. The Bulldog was not bred to look "funny" or "goofy" but to look like the dignified gentleman that he is!! Below is one example of how a good Bulldog should look when compared with pictures of extreme over-bites in the Bulldog. Click on the images to enlarge.
Today, there is a genuine concern for how the Bulldog has been bred to the point it has become "over done" and no longer the dog it once was. Critics will blame show breeders, while others blame the breed itself. I will continue to put the blame on the indiscriminate back yard breeder and/or puppy miller who breed for profit ONLY! I've had some people tell me that the Bulldog should never be bred and this argument will probably go on for many years before any real changes are made. I am 100% for making any change or changes that will improve the overall health of the breed. But to change the breed to the point it no longer resembles that special look only a Bulldog has, this would produce another breed of dog......NOT THE BULLDOG! And, how do those who want so much to change this wonderful breed know that making great physical changes could possibly change the Bulldog's beautiful temperament, their personalities and their adorable ways of being the clown of the canine world? This is very disturbing for me and for many Bulldog fanciers. Below are photos of what is now being called the "over done" Bulldog and a comparison picture of a Bulldog that looks just as a Bulldog should! Click on the photos to enlarge and find out descriptions of each individual.
The Bulldog has a body like no other breed. It is unique in every way and the correct conformation of the Bulldog is very important for his overall health. Below are examples depicted in photos of the correct Bulldog body as compared to bodies often times found on Bulldogs that are not well bred.
Most often, the head and body of the Bulldog, when is it not as near perfect as we would like nor does it match with the Bulldog standard, is nothing more than the actual shape and size of the head and/or body. This would also include poor ears and ear sets, poor tails and tail sets and legs too long or too short. We are firm believers in studying canine genetics and trying our best to figure out why one good trait is not carried throughout a litter while other unacceptable traits come to the forefront. Just another reason we take breeding Bulldogs very seriously.......sometimes to the point of becoming extremely frustrated. Be sure to click on all images to enlarge.
THE "PROPER" FRONT VIEW AND SIDE VIEW OF THE HEAD OF THE BULLDOG IS DEPICTED IN THE PHOTOS AT LEFT WITH CORRESPONDING NUMBERS TO THE DESCRIPTIONS BELOW:
1. Top of head broad and flat. Top of ears should be level with top outline of skull with the burr of the ear partially exposed and entire edge of ear visible.
2. The stop is a deep and wide indentation between the eyes
3. An imaginary horizontal line passing through the four corners of the eyes should be at right angles with the stop and just rest on top of the nose
4, Cheeks well rounded and extends sideways beyond the eyes.
5. Viewed from the front, the skull should appear very high from the corner of the lower jaw to the apex of the skull
6. The head and face should be covered with heavy wrinkles.
7, The flews, or "chops" should be thick, broad, pendant and very deep, hanging completely over the lower jaw at the sides (not in front). They should join the under lip in front and cover the teeth completely.
8. Nostrils large, wide and black
9. Well-defined straight line between the nostrils.
10. The Bulldog's expression should be one commonly called "sourmug" or a "Stand-offish" expression. Never a sign of vicious or wicked expression!
1. "Lay-back" - the nose should touch an imaginary straight line going from the center of the brow downwards to the tip of the underlip
2. "Stop" - Deep and wide indentation between the eyes
3. Nose should be large, broad and black. (A liver color or Dudley nose is a disqualifying fault.) The flat of the nostrils should not be vertical but should slope backwards.
4. Rose ears. All other shapes and sizes of ears are most objectionable.
5. Eyes should be very dark, almost black and show no whites of the eyes when looking directly forward.
6. Cheeks should be well rounded and extend sideways beyond the eyes.
7. The flews, called "chops", should be thick, broad, pendant and very deep, hanging completely over the lower jaw at the sides (not in front). They should join the under lip in front and completely cover the teeth.
8. Mandible with the typical "basket-handle" arch, called the "Turn-up".
9. The teeth should not be seen when the mouth is closed.
10. At the throat much loose, thick and wrinkled skin, forming a double dewlap, well divided on each side from the lower jaw to the chest.
THE BODY OF THE BULLDOG - FRONT AND TOP VIEW
The correct conformation for the Bulldog is depicted in the photos at left with numbered corresponding descriptions below:
1. Correct ribcage with plenty of spring.
2. Correct turn of elbow
3. Broad shoulders
4. Near square "box" formed by the straight perpendicular forelegs and correct ratio between spacing and length of the legs
5. Bowed outline
6. Straight forelegs
7. Double dewlap, well divided on each side
8. Rose ears
9. Cheeks well rounded and extended sideways to the eyes
10. Neck very thick and strong, viewed from the front extending sideways of the head.
11. Fore feet turn slightly outward, moderately round, with toes well split up.
12. Hind feet round and compact, and hind legs with the square formed by the forelegs giving the typical pear-shaped body.
THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY
TOPLINES - The first photo in the sequence is the correct topline of the Bulldog. The remaining pictures are of top lines that show very poor conformation.
TAILS - Notice the comparisons of the first 3 photos below of good tails vs. the photos of the incorrect tails below:
LEGS, PASTERNS AND FEET - The photos in the top row of images show good legs. good pasterns and feet. The pictures in the second row represent poor quality legs, pasterns and feet. Click images to enlarge.
BULLDOGS BY ANOTHER NAME
Below are pictures of other breeds that are often times confused with the Bulldog. However, the first photo (#1) in the sequence is the Bulldog! Click on photos for larger images.
ABOVE, LEFT to RIGHT: #1 - The REAL thing - the Bulldog! #2 - The American Bulldog. #3 - The Olde English Bulldogge. #4 - The Victorian Bulldog. #5 - The Boston Terrier.....NOT the Boston Bull or the Boston Bulldog. #6 - The Boxer....NOT the Boxer Bull or Boxer Bulldog. #7 - The French Bulldog
WHY ARE BULLDOGS SO VERY EXPENSIVE?
We receive numerous phone calls and e-mails with statements and/or questions such as: "I am calling about your Bulldogs. I really want a Bulldog and have wanted to own a Bulldog for a very long time. I just love the way they look. I need to know what is the price of your puppies? I know Bulldogs are expensive but I can only afford to spend $500.00 for a puppy". In my attempts to answer these questions, I have repeated myself so often that I feel very much like an old broken recording. Therefore, I will take time now to explain why the Bulldog breed is more expensive than other breeds so the average person who is seriously interested in owning one of our puppies will know all the whys and wherefores!
Currently, there are 39 known inherited diseases, disorders, faults and health problems with the Bulldog breed. These range from allergies to severe heart disease and just about everything in between. Our mission is to breed only the best females to the best males and to produce the healthiest puppies possible. This means a puppy must be sound in body, mind and health.
In the beginning, before a female can even be considered for breeding, she is fed a high quality diet with appropriate supplements that will ready her body should she mature properly to be considered as a brood bitch. She is conditioned in both body and mind and basic training and socialization is done. By the time the bitch reaches 18 months old, she is re-evaluated for soundness of body, mind, spirit and health. And, all the while she has been left to enjoy being a house pet, we have been busy studying pedigrees and looking at several stud dogs that we feel will compensate for any faults the bitch may have and vice versa.
Once, both the stud dog and our female have been thoroughly scrutinized we move on to the next step in our breeding program. We have several health screenings we require the stud dog to pass. Our female will have to pass these screenings as well. Some of these tests are very expensive, but we feel they are necessary to have healthy moms, dads, and babies.
As we've mentioned before, the Bulldog is called a "high maintenance" breed due to inherited factors from generations of perfecting the breed from his not so humble beginnings. The Bulldog is, more or less, a "man-made" breed and he must receive special care in nearly all aspects of life. The Bulldog is NOT just another dog!
The average cost of stud fees is between 500 and 1,000 US Dollars. The average cost of breeding can be as much as 2,000 US Dollars.....that is IF there are no complications with the female.
The female must go through a series of progesterone testing to determine as close as possible the best time to have the female bred. This sometimes means testing is done for approximately 3 to 6 times at a cost of around 125 to 250 US dollars per each test.
All females are bred at the Veterinary Surgeon's office by artificial insemination. As a little extra information for you, in the United Kingdom it is basically "against the law" to breed any dog by artificial means. The problem with natural matings for the Bulldog is the fact both the male and female can become physically overly exerted and become too tired and/or over heated during a vigorous mating. This is another added expense which can range from 150 US dollars to 500 dollars for 2 to 3 matings. Costs depend solely upon the current Veterinary fees for these services.
The female Bulldog returns home, after being bred, to be totally pampered for the duration of her pregnancy. She is watched constantly and treated like a princess, keeping her surroundings free from stress. She is fed a special diet and given appropriate supplements to help her through her pregnancy and help the little lives now growing inside her.
Meanwhile, the "mid-wife" (the owner of the female) is making ready for the new puppies. This means gathering all the needed supplies, from simple swabs to prescription medicine to be sure everything is on hand and ready for the new puppies. There are more supplies than I have room to write about here, so will skip those details, but will tell you the cost of those supplies seem to rise weekly!
When the female is ready to deliver her puppies, she is taken to the Veterinary Surgeon's clinic for a C-Section. She is given a special anesthetic and the pups are delivered quite quickly. If anything should go wrong, the mother and/or all puppies could possibly die! Some female Bulldogs are quite capable of delivering puppies on their own, but this is something I never allow with our females. There is just too much that can and will go wrong. The cost, as of the date of this writing (March, 2012), is 1,200 to 1,500 US dollars for a C-section and that is provided there are no problems with the mom or any of the babies. If complications do arise, costs can exceed 5,000 US dollars.
Once the puppies are home, they are put into a special incubator made especially for puppies. They are kept in the incubator until they are about 4 weeks old. The incubator is very much like a hospital incubator for human babies and these can be very expensive. Luckily I have a good friend who has helped me make my own incubator for a little less money, but all-in-all, the material list is not cheap.
The puppies are given every opportunity to nurse from their mother. However, due to the clumsiness of the mother, puppies can never be left alone while in the nest. The mother is not mean or vicious nor does she try to hurt the puppies. But, with her weight and lack of gracefulness, she can accidentally step on one of the puppies and never realize she has injured one of her babies, and some puppies can die from a minor injury.
Sometimes, the mother Bulldog may have milk that is not rich enough or too rich. Sometimes the mother can have an abundance of milk to feed many puppies and other times not enough milk to feed one puppy. When this happens, the owner must step in and take on the job of hand raising the puppies, giving them a bottle every 2 hours, then a little later every 3 hours and much later very 4 hours. There are several different expenses when hand raising a litter of puppies and the costs continues to climb.
For the first 3 days of life, the puppies are only given colostrum, either from their mother or if mom has no milk, a supplemental source of colostrum must be purchased to give the babies the much needed antibodies mother's milk would have given them. Another added cost of raising a litter.
As the puppies mature and continue to grow, incidental expenses are always encountered and includes just about anything from visits to the Veterinarian to medications to play toys and everywhere in between! So, after adding up expenses using a medium price on everything, the average cost for a litter of 5 puppies is about 4,500 US dollars or approximately 900 US dollars per puppy. This is if there are no unforeseen extra costs or emergency outlays.
We NEVER sell our puppies before 8 weeks of age. We really prefer to hold on to them until they are 3-5 months old. The best puppies out of the litter are always held back just in case we have a very promising show prospect or stud or brood bitch. It is hard to tell exactly how any puppy will mature, so we cannot take a chance to let one of our best puppies go to a pet home. We've done this a couple of times in the past and have been terribly disappointed that we did not hold on to that special puppy just a little longer, who happened to turn out to be the best puppy in the litter.
WHEN WE BREED, WE ALWAYS HAVE DEFINITE GOALS IN MIND!
We breed for the pure joy of seeing each litter, in a long line of progression, better than the previous litter, and that litter less than the next litter should be. In other words, we breed for the betterment of this wonderful breed - which should be the goal of any reputable breeder!! If we cannot do it right, we won't do it at all!!!
A good rule of thumb we follow is: "If the worst puppy in the last litter is not better than the worst puppy in the first litter, progress is not accomplished and that last litter should, indeed, be a breeder's last litter. Likewise, "should the best pup in the last litter be no better than the best pup in the first litter, the breeder is NOT moving forward and should stop breeding"! Our main goal is to breed for show quality pups and through carefully planned and discriminate matings create some of the healthiest Bulldogs in body and mind, and as close to the Bulldog standard as possible! We also hope to, one day, be a part of eliminating as many of the inherited faults, defects, diseases and health concerns in the Bulldog through genetic studies and apply this knowledge to our breeding program!
We strongly believe there is no basis whatsoever for breeding just to produce pets! Every shelter and pound across this nation is full of pets. Many have had to live agonizing lives and end up being put to sleep. In our research, it is the puppy miller, uneducated back yard breeders and others who constantly flood the market with pups so improperly bred and inhumanely treated that has created most of the horrors we read about or see in the news.
Most people tell us, "I don't want a show dog. All I want is a good pet". Well, that is fine! We have no problem with that, but the most important job ANY breed of dog has is to first be "a good pet", whether show quality or not! Isn't it true that even one little puppy destined as a pet for a loving home deserves the right to be the best he/she can be?
There are several qualities a Bulldog needs to be a good pet. It should be healthy and as free of inherited health problems as possible. It should be well-socialized with children, people and other animals. Additionally, it should grow up to look and act EXACTLY what one would expect of a Bulldog! Bulldogs should mature into 40-55 pounds of stocky, well-built and low to the ground adults who adore children, family, other pets and are natural born clowns. A Bulldog should not be a 30-pound Mini Bulldog nor a 70 plus pound Olde English Bulldogge, nor the longer legged version known as the American Bulldog and definitely not any mixes of any of the aforementioned with questionable temperaments, shyness, nor so hyper owners cannot control their behavior!! A Bulldog cannot just be cute nor act cute only for the sake of cuteness.
PLEASE BE ADVISED: ALL OUR PUPPIES ARE SOLD TO APPROVED HOMES ONLY! Any show or breeding quality puppy is sold with FULL AKC registration. All puppies going to pet homes are sold with limited AKC registration and a spay or neuter contract----NO EXCEPTIONS! unless otherwise previously arranged! You must complete our Application and return it by e-mail or snail mail. Once we have gone over your application, we will contact you by phone and set up an interview. We produce top quality Bulldogs not only for the rigors of competition in the show ring, but for families looking for a great pet and loving companion. Our family of dogs are predominately based on a foundation of quality individuals. The use of superior stud dogs help ensure correct Bulldog type, sound structure and movement, elegance and wonderful temperaments in their offspring.
Should you be seriously interested in discussing the purchase of a puppy or young adult with us, please e-mail your inquiry stating whether you are looking for a show prospect, a breeding quality hopeful or a good pet. Also, tell us your color preference, sex and age of the puppy of your heart's desire. Please include your phone number and an appropriate time we can return your call. We look forward to assisting you with your new Bulldog puppy and hope to fulfill your dreams of Bulldog ownership!
Rochdale Show Bulldogs
MORE ABOUT THIS WONDERFUL BREED
TEMPERAMENT - The English Bulldog's appearance can be somewhat intimidating, but it is known to be among the gentlest of all breeds. The Bulldog is very affectionate and craves human companionship, loving every bit of attention they can get. They love children and make wonderful family pets. This breed can also be quite bullheaded, stubborn and very persistent. They do not give up easily. Some Bulldogs can be a bit dominating and need an owner who knows how to display strong leadership and one who truly understands Alpha canine behavior. A Bulldog who understands it's "place" in the human pack is reliable with all people. This breed is good with other family pets, but some can be scrappy with strange dogs. When Bulldogs are young, they are full of energy and are one of the very few breeds who will retain their "puppy-hood" until the age of 3 years old. After the age of 3, the Bulldog becomes more sedate and slows down considerably, loving nothing more than to lie at your feet or on the couch. They snore very loudly,, which can be one of the most peaceful sounds on earth.......at least to us, anyway!
HEIGHT AND WEIGHT: Most Bulldogs stand, at the shoulder, approximately 12 to 16 inches tall. There is no prescribed height for this breed. Male dogs weigh about 50 - 60 pounds while females weigh 45-55 pounds.
LIVING CONDITIONS: The Bulldog seems to fit in just about anywhere, whether it be apartment living or on a large estate. They are very inactive when indoors and will not need a yard for anything other than bathroom duties. This breed is an INDOOR DOG ONLY and must be kept at temperatures enjoyed by their owners. In summer, most Bulldogs can be found lying on or near the A/C vent in the house. During winter months, you can find the Bulldog lying very near the heat registers in your home.
EXERCISE: If you want a dog to go for long walks or a marathon run, please do not choose a Bulldog. Bulldogs enjoy taking a short daily walk in the cool of the early morning hours or early evening as the temperature cools. Most adult Bulldogs would prefer not to take any exercise, while others can have more energy. In any case, remember the Bulldog's short breathing passages and how over exertion can bring stress and possible death if over heated under any circumstance.
LIFE EXPECTANCY: The average life span of the Bulldog is 8 to 10 years. However, some Bulldogs have lived to be 15+ years old. Others have met untimely deaths at a young age. If you take excellent care of your Bulldog friend, he or she should live a happy, healthy life and provide years of love and devotion.
LITTER SIZE: The average litter size is 4-5 puppies. Due to the Bulldog's large head, neck and chest, most puppies are born with Veterinarian's assistance, requiring a Caesarian section.
GROOMING: The Bulldog's smooth, fine, short haired coat is easy to groom. A firm bristle brush or sisal hound glove is all that is required to keep the coat in top condition. Bathe your Bulldog only when necessary. Wipe the face with a damp cloth and clean all wrinkles on a daily basis. You will find that even with their short hair, Bulldogs tend to shed a good bit, so brushing often is necessary.
"I can live with doubt, or not knowing, rather than to have answers that might be wrong" ~ Richard Feynman
ROCHDALE SHOW BULLDOGS
ALL ABOUT BULLDOGS