Search Menu

The Bulldog is one of the United States’ most popular dog breeds. They’re laid back, lovable, and family-friendly., and their wrinkled skin and slobber makes them even more endearing. But Bulldogs weren’t always a breed that came to mind when you thought of sweet, cuddly dogs. They actually started out being used for a vicious sport, and there is more to this breed that meets the eye.

1. They Get Their Name From the Sport of Bullbaiting

The Bulldog got its name because this type of dog was preferred for the English sport of bullbaiting, which involved tethering a bull to a stake in the ground and encouraging dogs to try to bite the bull’s nose. Bulldogs were well-suited for this sport because of their strong, fearless nature. Breeders bred the dogs to have large, powerful heads and loose skin, so that they could recover from an attack and keep fighting.

2. The Breed Almost Became Extinct

The English Parliament outlawed bullbaiting in 1835, leaving the Bulldog with no immediate purpose. Bulldog numbers rapidly declined, but Bulldog lovers didn’t want to see the breed die out. Bulldog breeders eliminated the breed’s viciousness, breeding them into the Bulldog pets we know and love today.

Courtesy of the AKC Library and Archives

3. They Aren’t Great Swimmers

Of course, not all dog breeds are made to be Olympic-level swimmers, but if you put a Bulldog in the water without a doggie life jacket, he will be in some trouble. Even though he is only 16 inches tall, he can weigh 50 pounds. Their short legs and small hindquarters aren’t equipped to keep their dense body afloat and his large head above the water.

4. They Were Known As “The Churchill Dog”

During World War II, the British referred to the Bulldog as “The Churchill Dog.” Apparently, Prime Minister Winston Churchill and the English Bulldog both symbolized the courage and strength of England. Churchill himself actually didn’t own any Bulldogs, though – he preferred Poodles.

5. Two Presidents Have Owned Bulldogs

Winston Churchill may not have been partial to Bulldogs, but Presidents Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge each owned one. Harding’s Bulldog, “Oh Boy“, had the official title of First Dog while he was in office, and Coolidge’s was named “Boston Beans.”

puppy and adult dog playing outside - bulldog puppy 3 months and adult 6 years

6. Many Celebrities Have Owned Bulldogs

The Bulldog is one of the most popular dogs in America, so it’s no surprise that many celebrities have them. To name a few, you can look at the Jolie-Pitt family’s Bulldog, “Jacques,” or the Beckham family’s dog, “Coco.” Michael Phelps has a Bulldog named “Herman,” and Criminal Minds actor Shemar Moore has two Bulldogs, “Shug” and “Moe.”

7. The Bulldog Is the Most Popular Dog Mascot

You probably already know at least one sports team that uses a Bulldog as its mascot. There are 49 universities in the United States have a Bulldog mascot, including Georgetown and Yale. This is a testament to the Bulldog’s well-known toughness and courage.

Bulldogs in harnesses on leashes greeting each other.
©Tatiana Katsai -

8. Most Bulldog Moms Have C-sections

Because Bulldogs have such large heads, the safest way for a Bulldog to give birth is actually via C-section. About 80% of Bulldog litters are delivered this way, to avoid the risk of a puppy getting stuck in the birth canal.

9. Bulldogs Have Broken Guinness World Records

In 2015, a Bulldog named “Otto” set the world record for the longest human tunnel traveled through by a skateboarding dog. Otto rolled through the legs of 30 people, a delight of the crowd that had gathered to watch him. Otto’s owners were actually inspired to get a Bulldog after they saw videos of another Bulldog world-record holder, “Tillman,” who was at one time the world’s fastest dog skateboarder.

 At AKC Marketplace, we can help you find your dream dog. You can find AKC-registerable puppies from responsible, passionate breeders, and we provide the tools you need for every step of the process. Visit to start connecting with dog breeders in your area!

Related article: French Bulldog Facts You May Not Know
Get Your Free AKC eBook

Selecting a Puppy

How do you know what breed is right for your family? How do you find a reputable breeder? What questions should you ask a breeder? Download this e-book for guidance on these questions and other important factors to consider when looking for a puppy.
*Turn off pop-up blocker to download
*Turn off pop-up blocker to download