The Bulldog Information Library
Complete Info about the English Bulldog
The English Bulldog
Breed Standard
(part 1)

detailed and explained by Catherine Marien
General Appearance

The general appearance is the first impression the dog makes as a whole, and should be first considered.

Secondly should be appraised its size, shape and proportions in the relation they bear to each other. One will notice that the bulldog breed standard, unlike most other standards, never mentions measurements, nor minimum and maximum sizes, but only proportions. The perfect bulldog is a question of being well-balanced, in other words, no point should be so much in excess of the others as to destroy the general symmetry, or make the dog appear deformed, or interfere with its powers of motion.   The bulldog is what is called a head-breed meaning that the head is preponderate over the rest of the body when judging a bulldog.

Thirdly its style, carriage, gait, temper and its several points should be considered separately in detail. 

The general appearance of the Bulldog is that of a smooth-coated, thickset dog, rather low in stature, but broad, powerful and compact. The head is strikingly massive and large in proportion to the dog's size. The face short, the muzzle broad, blunt and inclined upwards. Dogs showing respiratory distress are highly undesirable.

The body short and well-knit; the limbs stout and muscular. In hard condition with no tendency towards obesity. The hindquarters high and strong but somewhat lighter in comparison with its heavy foreparts. 

Sexual dimorphism
is obvious in the bulldog breed, which means that there is a clear difference between the male and the female type.  Sex-specific differences include size, weight and grandeur.  Indeed, the bitch should be less imposing and less well developed than the dog.


The dog should convey an impression of determination, strength, and energy.  He is alert, loyal, dependable, intrepid, fierce in appareance but truly even-tempered and affectionate.

Head and Skull

The skull should be large.  The circumference, measured round in front of the ears, should equal at least the height of the dog at the withers (shoulder height).

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feet, tail , gait, coat, colors
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The face, measured from the front of the cheek-bone to the nose, should be as short as possible, and its skin should be deeply and closely wrinkled. The muzzle should be short, broad, turned upwards and very deep from the corner of the eye to the corner of the mouth.

Viewed from the front the head should appear very high from the corner of the lower jaw to the apex of the skull, and also very broad and square. 
Viewed at the side, the head should also appear very high, and very short from its back to the point of the nose and should present a layback, meaning that when a straight edge is placed on the centre of the brow downwards to the tip of the underlip, the top of the nose should touch this
Correct head with
massive skull and

Incorrect head with
button ears and
protruding teeth

Incorrect head with
eyes too large,
prominent and
incorrectly placed

Rounded skull rather
than flat between
the ears,
lacking massiveness.

Correct head
viewed from
the side with flat
forehead,  correct
turn-up and lay-back

Undeveloped puppyish
head with rounded
skull and
weak under-jaw

Head too short in
skull from eye to ear,
jaw without typical
basket-handle arch,
and protruding teeth

Head lacking in
basic skull structure.
Forehead rounded
rather than flat.
Weak turn-up
and lay-back

line, provided that, first, with the dog's head carried in the normal position, the line of the layback makes an angle of between 35 and 45 degrees to the horizontal . 

The second proviso is that the flat of the nostril should not be vertical but should slope backwards. An extending nose accompanied by a receding jaw, and large protruding eyes, is called a frog face. 
The forehead should be flat, neither prominent nor overhanging the face. The default of a round-shaped skull with round forehead is called an apple head. The cheeks should be well rounded and extended sideways beyond the eyes.  The skin upon the forehead and about the head very loose and well wrinkled. The projections of the frontal bones should be very prominent, broad, square and high, causing a deep and wide indentation between the eyes termed the "stop". From the "stop" a furrow both broad and deep should extend up to the middle of the skull, being traceable to the apex.
If the angle is nearer the vertical than 45 degrees or, in other words, if the angle fromthe horizontal line is larger than 45°, the dog is becoming too short faced.   If, on the contrary the angle is nearer the horizontal than 45°, meaning the angle to the horizontal is smaller than 45°, the dog is too long faced.
Too long-faced

Too long-faced

Frog face

Apple head

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