Old English Bulldog: A Guide To This Beloved Breed

Photo of an Old English Bulldog

Choosing the right dog can be hard. One popular choice is the Old English Bulldog, a breed full of history and character. This guide will give you all you need to know about this muscular and affectionate companion, from its origins to how it fits into family life today.

Keep reading for more insights.

Key Takeaways

  • The Old English Bulldog has a history of bull-baiting in England, which ended with the Cruelty to Animals Act of 1835. This led to their decline and eventual rebirth through dedicated breeding efforts.
  • They are medium-sized dogs with a muscular build, known for their friendly temperament and good relationship with kids and other animals.
  • These dogs face health issues like hip dysplasia and allergies but live on average 9-14 years with proper care including regular exercise, diet control, and vet check-ups.
  • Training is important for Old English Bulldogs; early socialisation helps minimise aggression, while consistent positive reinforcement aids in obedience.
  • When choosing an Old English Bulldog, consider health concerns, breeder reputation, your living space, budget, and time commitment to ensure a healthy pet.

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History of the Old English Bulldog

The Old English Bulldog began in England, famously known for their role in bull-baiting.

The end of bull-baiting came with The Cruelty to Animals Act of 1835, which banned blood sports altogether.

Physical Characteristics

The Old English Bulldog is a medium-sized dog with a stocky build and a distinctive wrinkled face. Its coat is short, smooth and can come in various colours such as brindle, fawn, red or white.

This breed has a powerful jaw, muscular shoulders and strong legs which give it an imposing appearance.


Photo of an Old English Bulldog

Old English Bulldogs stand out with their compact, broad, and muscular build. Their bodies are strong, showing well-developed muscles that hint at their strength and agility.

These dogs have a distinct square muzzle which makes them easily recognisable as descendants of hearty Bulldogs. With shoulders that are wide and sturdy, they support the breed’s strong frame confidently.

This structure contributes to their striking appearance and their capability as working dogs or loyal family pets.


The Old English Bulldog has a robust build with males standing 43-51 cm tall and weighing between 27-36 kg. Females are slightly smaller, reaching heights of 41-48 cm and weighing in at 23-32 kg.

This breed shows a strong, muscular frame that is both powerful and agile.

Their size makes them standout members of the dog world, fitting perfectly into families or as working dogs. Despite their sturdy appearance, they move with surprising grace. The difference in size between males and females allows potential owners to choose a pet that best suits their living space and lifestyle.

Coat Type and Length

Old English Bulldogs have coats that keep shedding all year. They shed even more during spring and autumn. Their fur is short, making it easier to care for. You won’t need to take them to a groomer often.

You should brush their coat regularly. This keeps the shedding under control and helps their skin stay healthy. These dogs look best with routine brushing, especially in the seasons when they shed more.

Temperament and Behaviour

Photo of a sleeping Old English Bulldog

The Old English Bulldog has a friendly temperament and is generally good with kids and other animals. As with any other breed of dog, their early socialisation is important for their development into happy and health adult dogs.

General Temperament

Old English Bulldogs have a loving and playful side. They enjoy spending time with their families, showing lots of affection. These dogs also shine in sports because of their athletic nature.

Owners often praise them for being reliable companions at home and agile partners during physical activities.

These bulldogs get along well with kids and other pets, making them perfect family dogs. Their friendly behaviour wins the hearts of many. With proper obedience training, they learn to behave excellently around both humans and animals alike.

This breed stands out as a wonderful addition to any home looking for a joyful and active dog companion.

Interaction with Kids and Other Animals

These dogs are great with kids. They have a gentle nature that makes them fantastic family pets. Parents often choose them for their loyalty and protective instinct. Kids can play safely under the watchful eyes of these dogs.

They also get along well with other animals, especially if they grow up together and have been socialised well. Socialisation from a young age helps them understand how to behave around others, making them well-suited companions for various households.

Potential for Aggression

Moving on from their knack for getting along well with kids and other animals, it’s key to touch on the Old English Bulldog’s potential for aggression. These dogs have a historic background tied to bull-baiting and fighting.

This lineage suggests a natural inclination towards boldness and determination. Yet, it is their environment, training, and socialisation that play pivotal roles in shaping their behaviour much more than genetic predisposition.

Experts argue that with proper training and early socialisation, instances of aggression in Old English Bulldogs can be significantly minimised. They stress the importance of introducing these dogs to various people, places, and situations early on to encourage positive interactions.

Such measures help mitigate aggressive tendencies by teaching them appropriate responses from a young age.

Health and Wellness

The Old English Bulldog may experience various health issues such as hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia. These dogs have a relatively short lifespan compared to other breeds, making regular check-ups and proper care essential.

Common Health Problems

Old English Bulldogs can face a few health challenges. They are prone to Brachycephalic Syndrome due to their short nose, which makes breathing hard. Allergies in these dogs can cause itchy skin and discomfort.

Hip dysplasia is also common; it affects the hip joints, leading to pain and lameness. Heart issues may arise too, needing careful monitoring.

Regular vet checkups help catch these problems early. A balanced diet and proper exercise keep the bulldogs healthy. Owners should watch for signs of trouble like difficulty breathing or excessive scratching.

Choosing food with the right nutrients supports their overall well-being. Careful breeding reduces risks of genetic diseases such as hip dysplasia and heart conditions.

Lifespan and Care Requirements

Old English Bulldogges live for 9-14 years. Some can live even longer, up to 11 years or more. This breed enjoys a healthier life compared to other dog breeds. Their strong build means they face fewer common health issues.

Proper care plays a big role in their well-being.

Care requirements include regular exercise and a good diet to prevent obesity, which is crucial for their longevity. Bulldogs need balanced meals rich in nutrients like fats from fish oil and flaxseed, along with meat as a protein source.

Exercise keeps them fit and helps avoid conditions such as arthritis. Regular vet check-ups are important too. They make sure your bulldog stays healthy throughout its life.

well-cared-for Old English Bulldog can be an incredibly loyal and loving part of your family for many happy years.

Now, let’s explore the training and exercise needs of this devoted breed.

Training and Exercise Needs

Photo of an Old English Bulldog with an elderly owner

Old English Bulldogs require consistent and positive training methods. Regular physical exercise is crucial to keeping them healthy and happy.


Training an Old English Bulldog can be quite straightforward because they are keen to please. These dogs respond well to positive reinforcement techniques such as treats and praise.

Start training early, though. Puppies soak up information like sponges do water. Simple cues like “sit,” “stay,” and “come” will lay a good foundation.

Consistency is key with the Old English Bulldog breed. Regular training sessions help them understand what you expect of them.

Patience and consistency will make your bulldog a well-behaved member of the family.

Exercise Requirements

Old English Bulldogs need regular activity to stay healthy and happy. These dogs do well with a garden to play in or regular walks each day. Exercise helps prevent them from becoming overweight and supports their mental health too.

Make sure they get enough playtime and walks, fitting into most family routines.

daily walk is essential for the Old English Bulldog’s wellbeing, offering both physical exercise and mental stimulation.

Activities like playing fetch or tug-of-war can also keep them active. It’s crucial for reducing potential behaviour issues linked to boredom or excess energy. Always provide fresh water after exercising to keep them hydrated, especially on hot days or after intense activities.

The Breed’s Role Today

Old English Bulldogs serve as loyal family pets. They also make excellent therapy animals, providing emotional support to those in need.

As Family Pets

Old English Bulldogs make excellent family pets thanks to their affectionate and playful nature. They adapt well to different living situations, making them suitable for both houses with gardens and smaller flats.

Their versatility means they can be happy in busy families or offer companionship to single owners.

These dogs show a lot of love towards children and often get along well with other animals, which makes them perfect additions to diverse households. Being sturdy yet gentle, they serve as loyal companions.

Choosing an Old English Bulldog

When choosing an Old English Bulldog, consider factors like temperament and exercise needs. Finding a reputable breeder is crucial for getting a healthy bulldog.

Factors to Consider

When choosing an Olde English Bulldogge, there are important factors to consider:

  1. Health Concerns: This breed is prone to health issues. Ensure the breeder provides health clearances for both parent dogs.
  2. Breeder Reputation: Look for breeders registered with reputable associations. Reputable breeders invest in the health and wellbeing of their dogs.
  3. Proper Training: Old English Bulldogs require early socialisation and obedience training to curb potential aggression. Consider the time and effort needed for proper training.
  4. Budget: Prices for Old English Bulldog puppies range from £400 to £1,750. Factor in ongoing costs such as veterinary care, food, and grooming.
  5. Living Space: Due to their size and energy levels, these dogs need ample indoor and outdoor living space. Consider your living arrangements when choosing this breed.
  6. Time Commitment: These dogs thrive on attention and companionship. Consider whether you have enough time to devote to this sociable breed.

Remember that taking on an Old English Bulldog requires careful consideration of these factors to ensure a happy, healthy relationship with your new pet.

Finding a Reputable Breeder

Finding a reputable breeder is crucial for the well-being of your Old English Bulldog. When searching for one, consider the following important factors:

  1. Registration and Membership
  • Check if the breeder is a member of recognised breed associations like the United Kennel Club (UKC).
  1. Health Screening and Testing
  • Ensure that the breeder conducts health screening for common breed-specific conditions in Old English Bulldog.
  • Request to see health certificates and test results to verify the health of the parent dogs.
  1. Breeding Practices
  • Inquire about the breeder’s breeding practices, including socialisation of puppies and care for dam and litter.
  • Ask about genetic diversity in their breeding program and how they prevent inbreeding.
  1. References and Reviews
  • Seek references from previous puppy buyers to learn about their experiences with the breeder.
  • Read online reviews and seek feedback from local owners’ groups or communities.
  1. Contract and Guarantee
  • Review thoroughly any purchase contracts, including details on health guarantees and return policies.
  • Ensure transparency on ownership transfer documents, pedigree papers, and registration with relevant kennel clubs.
  1. Ethical Standards
  • Choose a breeder who prioritises the welfare of their dogs over profit.
  • Avoid supporting breeders involved in unethical practices such as puppy mills or irresponsible breeding.

By considering these factors, you can ensure that you are sourcing your Old English Bulldog from a responsible and reputable breeder who prioritises health, temperament, and breed preservation.


The Old English Bulldog boasts a rich historyrobust physical characteristics, and a lovable temperament. From its roots in England to its recreation by David Leavitt, this breed has captured the hearts of many.

With proper care and understanding of their needs, these dogs can make excellent companions as family pets or working dogs. Whether you’re considering adding one to your family or simply admiring from afar, the Old English Bulldog is truly a beloved breed worth celebrating.


1. What is the Old English Bulldog and how does it relate to the American Bulldog?

The Old English Bulldog is a type of dog that shares some common traits with the American Bulldog.

2. Are there any physical characteristics unique to this breed?

Yes, they have a distinct topline from shoulder blades to hips and an underbite. The shoulders or scapula and humerus form a 90-degree angle at their elbows which gives them power while working.

3. How do I care for my Old English Bulldog’s health?

To keep your bulldog healthy, make sure they get enough vitamins from quality dog food to prevent them from becoming obese. Regular dental hygiene is key too as these dogs can have issues due to their underbite.

4. Is the Old English Bulldog considered a rare breed?

Yes, it’s indeed a rare breed but not recognised by organisations like the American Kennel Club yet.

5. Can an Old English Bulldog be adopted from an animal shelter?

While it’s possible since rescue dogs come in all breeds, finding one might be difficult due to its rarity compared with crossbreeds or designer dogs found in shelters.

6. What were these bulldogs bred for originally?

Originally bred as bull-dogs for bull-baiting sports back then; now they’re more commonly seen as watchdogs thanks to their alert bark.

7. Do Old English Bulldogs shed?

Yes, this breed will shed all year round with a slight uptick in shedding during the spring and fall.

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