Official Bulldog Standards
Top of head broad and flat, turn of shoulders, straight forelegs, rear legs visible from front deep chest.
Nose-broad, deep set between eyes lower jaw, undershot brisket, chest back-roach
hocks-slightly bent and well let down.
Sound sturdy limbsand the suggestion of great stability, vigor andstrength areas important.
KEY ATTRIBUTES OF BULLDOG CONFORMATION
Top of Head Broad & Flat Turn of Shoulders Straight Forelegs Rear legs visible from Front Deep Chest Being more narrow in the rear; whenthe Bulldog isviewed from the front, the rear legs should be visible between the front legs. Nose-Broad Deep Set Between Eyes Lower Jaw Undershot Brisket & Chest Back-Roach Hocks-Slightly Bent & Well Let Down From the ground to elbow is approximately half the height of the Bulldog at the withers. Proportion and Symmetry – Balance between all parts so that each feature bears good relationship with all other features.
BULLDOG HISTORY Authorities differ completely about the origin of the Bulldog. They even have differing opinions as to the spelling of the name. Be it Bondogge, Boldogge, Bandogge, the final spelling is Bulldog. Whatever the name or the origin, there is little doubt that centuries ago there was a canine resembling our present day Bulldog. This Bulldog was lighter boned and higher on leg. but with the courage, tenacity and determination that still exists today. Over the years other breeds have crossed with the Bulldog to give these traits to their breeds, perhaps the best known being the Greyhound. After bull-baiting, bear-baiting, and dog fighting were prohibited in England in 1835, a few dedicated fanciers worked diligently to breed out the aggressive, vicious tendencies and to modify the Bulldog to look more like we see him today, shorter faced and heavier in structure. These breeders made it their job to preserve and protect the Bulldog. The modern Bulldog is gentle, intelligent, affectionate. strong and determined. The Bulldog was among the first of the breeds to be granted official recognition when the Kennel Club (England) was organized in 1873. The Bulldog Club of America was formed in 1890 utilizing the English Standard. In 1896, a Standard was adopted by the Bulldog Club of America. it was revised in 1914 to declare the Dudley nose a disqualification. In 1976, the Dudley nose disqualification was redefined as a “brown or liver colored nose”. The Standard was reformatted in 1990 with no changes in wording. In 2016, the coat and eye colors and coat patterns were better defined.
FORM FOLLOWS FUNCTION The Bulldog, like all breeds bred to perform a specific task, is the result of intense selective breeding necessary to produce the conformational structure essential for the successful performance of its duties, in this case, the heinous “sport” of bull-baiting. Every point of conformation was selectively bred into the Bulldog to prevent it from injury as it went about the business of overcoming a bull. The Bulldog’s most unique physical characteristic, the undershot jaw, held onto the bull with a vise-like grip. The “well laid back” nose facilitated the dog’s breathing. Forehead and face wrinkles directed the bull’s blood away from the dog’s nose and eyes. The Bulldog’s low-to-the- ground forefront challenged the bull’s frontal attacks while the shortness of hocks provided excellent stamina. The looseness of the skin of the Bulldog’s body often served as a deterrent to penetration of the bull’s horns. The physical structure of the Bulldog allowed him to perform his duties with remarkable efficiency. He may very well be the most extreme example of genetic manipulation in the entire canine world.
OFFICIAL STANDARD OF THE BULLDOG The official Standard, as accepted by the Bulldog Club of America and approved by the American Kennel Club, is typeset in BOLD TYPE. The clarifications are set in ITALIC TYPE.
GENERAL APPEARANCE The perfect Bulldog must be of medium size and smooth coat; with heavy, thickset, low-swung body, massive short- faced head, wide shoulders and sturdy limbs. The general appearance and attitude should suggest great stability, vigor and strength. Sound sturdy limbsand the suggestion of great stability, vigor andstrength areas important to the present day’s Bulldog as they were to its ancestors. The disposition should be equable and kind, resolute and courageous (not vicious or aggressive), and demeanor should be pacific and dignified. These attributes should be countenanced by the expression and behavior.
1. SIZE, PROPORTION, SYMMETRY SIZE
The size for mature dogs is about 50 pounds; for mature bitches about 40 pounds.
PROPORTION – The circumference of the skull in front of the ears should measure at least the height of the dog at the shoulders.
SYMMETRY – The points should be well distributed and bear good relation one to the other, no feature being in such prominence from either excess or lack of quality that the animal appears deformed or ill-proportioned. Proportion and symmetry are of primary importance when evaluating the overall dog.
INFLUENCE OF SEX – In comparison of specimens of different sex, due allowance should be made in favor of the bitches, which do not bear the characteristics of the breed to the same degree of perfection and grandeur as do the dogs. The bitch shall have equal qualities, but an allowance shall be made for the femininity that is characteristic of the bitch. This femininity allows for less bone and fewer wrinkles.
HEAD EYES & EYELIDS – The eyes, seen from the front should be situated low down in the skull, as far from the ears as possible, and their corners should be in a straight line at right angles with the stop. They should be quite in front of the head, as wide apart as possible, provided their outer corners are within the outline of the cheeks when viewed from the front. They should be quite round in form, of moderate size, neither sunken nor bulging, and in color should be very dark. Blue or green.
2. EYES SHOULD BE ROUND AND DARK
Light eyes are objectionable. An imaginary horizontal line passing through the four corners of the eyes should be at a right angle with the stop and rest just on top of the nose.
FAULTY EYES Slanted Eyes Droopy Eyes Almond Eyes
Slanted Eyes Droopy Eyes
The ears should be set high in the head, the front inner edge of each ear joining the outline of the skull at the top back corner of skull, so as to place them as wide apart, and as high, and as far from the eyes as possible. In size they should be small and thin. The shape termed “rose ear” is the most desirable. The rose ear folds inward at its back lower edge, the upper front edge curving over, outward and backward, showing part of the inside of the burr. (The ears should not be carried erect or prick-eared or buttoned and should never be cropped.) Correct Rose Ears When viewed from the front, the top of the ears should be level with the top outline of the skull with the burr partially exposed and the entire front edge of the ear visible. Thick. heavy ears, folded over or button ears or flying ears are undesirable. Rose Ear Held Back High Set Fly Away Button Tulip or Flying Prick
Correct Rose Ears
Rose Ear Held Back
Tulip or Flying
The skull should be very large, and in circumference, in front of the ears, should measure at least the height of the dog at the shoulders. Viewed from the front, it should appear very high from the corner of the lower jaw to the apex of the skull, and also very broad and square. Broad with good width between the ears Square Viewed at the side. the head should appear very high, and very short from the point of the nose to occiput. The forehead should be flat (not rounded or domed). neither too prominent nor overhanging the face. Good length of head – ears alert. Good length of head ears rosed back. relaxed When a straight edge is placed against the head in the furrow between the eyes. it should touch the tip of the lower lip, the tip of the nose, and the top of head. This is called the layback” in Bulldogs and should be about a 42–45 degree angle. Incorrect layback (Shelf) – Nosey Disfaced – Short Headed – Lacking thrust of jaw Downfaced – Nose below eyes Skull narrow at top – Ears close together Frog faced – Jaw too short, or too narrow Correct Head – Short Headed
Broad with good width between the ears.
Viewed at the side. the head should appear very high, and very short from the point of the nose to occiput. prominent nor overhanging the face.
Good length of head – ears alert. Good length of head ears rosed back.
Incorrect layback (Shelf) – Nosey
Disfaced – Short Headed – Lacking thrust of jaw.
Downfaced – Nose below eyes Skull narrow at top – Ears Frog faced – Jaw too short, or too narrow.
Correct Head – Short Headed
The cheeks should be well rounded, protruding sideways and outward beyond the eyes.
STOP – The temples or frontal bones should be very well defined, broad, square and high, causing a hollow or groove between the eyes. This indentation, or stop, should be both broad and deep and extend up the middle of the forehead, dividing the head vertically, being traceable to the top of the skull. The indentation of the skull, called the “furrow” extends from between the eyes to the top of the head.
FACE & MUZZLE – The face, measured from the front of the cheekbone to the tip of the nose, should be extremely short, the muzzle being very short, broad, turned upward and very deep from the corner of the eye to the corner of the mouth. Muzzle very full and turned upwards. The eyes should be as far from the ears as possible.
NOSE – The nose should be large, broad and black, its tip set back deeply between the eyes. The distance from bottom of stop, between the eyes, to the tip of the nose should be as short as possible and not exceed the length from the tip of nose to the edge of underlip. The nostrils should be wide, large and black, with a well-defined line between them. Any nose other than black is objectionable and a brown or liver-colored nose shall disqualify. The front of the nose slants back, closely following the contour of the head, and has large, open, black nostrils. Closed nares restrict breathing and are a serious fault. In the scale of points, the nose is allotted 6, more than any other feature.
The chops or flews should be thick, broad, pendant and very deep, completely overhanging the lower jaw at each side. They join the underlip in front and almost or quite cover the teeth, which should be scarcely noticeable, when the mouth is closed.
BITE AND JAWS – The jaws should be massive, very broad, square and “undershot”, the lower jaw projecting considerably in front of the upper jaw and turning up. The correct jaw, so eagerly sought after in the fancy, has an upward sweep, retains the curve throughout, and resembles a rocking-chair rocker. The lower jaw should project considerably past the upper teeth. When viewed from the front, it should present a squared off and turned up look, creating an inverted U, rather than an inverted V. Correct width, projection and turn-up are all necessary to produce the desired lower jaw that sets the Bulldog apart from other breeds.
Proper Head – Chops or Flews
The correct jaw, so eagerly sought after in the fancy, has an upward sweep, retains the curve.
The lower jaw should project considerably past the upper teeth. When viewed from the front, it should present a squared off and turned up look, creating an inverted U, rather than an inverted V. Correct width, projection and turn-up are all necessary to produce the desired lower jaw that sets the Bulldog apart from other breeds. Cutaway (flews missing) shows the correct level and parallel teeth. The bottom teeth should be well in front of the top teeth and parallel. The undershot jaw is a unique and important characteristic of the Bulldog. Wry Jaw Neither, level nor parallel. Wryface, nose and jaw out of alignment, offset.
Cutaway (flews missing) shows the correct level and p The bottom teeth should be well in front of the top teeth and parallel. The undershot jaw is aligned.
Wry Jaw Neither, level nor parallel. Wryface, nose and jaw out of alignment, offset.
8. PROPER TOPLINE
Following a slight dip behind the shoulders, the highest point of the correct roach is over the loins, past the last rib.
NECK, TOPLINE, BODY NECK The neck should be short, very thick, deep and strong and well arched at the back. Neck short, but evident & well arched. Too short a neck gives an overall unbalanced appearance.
TOPLINE – There should be a slight fall in the back, close behind the shoulders (its lowest part), whence the spine should rise to the loins (the top of which should be higher than the top of the shoulders), thence, curving again more suddenly to the tail, forming an arch (a very distinctive feature of the breed), termed “roach back” or, more correctly, “wheel-back.”
FAULTY TOPLINES Straight backed – Camel backed – Swaybacked Straightbacked
The brisket and body should be very capacious, with full sides, well-rounded ribs and very deep from the shoulders down to its lowest part, where it joins the chest. It should be well let down between the shoulders and forelegs, giving the dog a broad, low, short-legged appearance. Brisket well let down between forelegs. Fullness of the brisket can be observed in front of the forelegs from the side view and is an indication of correct placement of shoulders. Ears are rosed back in a relaxed position
CHEST – The chest should be very broad, deep and full.
UNDERLINE – The body should be well ribbed up behind with the belly tucked up and not rotund. Well tucked up behind the ribs. Ears are alert.
BACK & LOIN – The back should be short and strong, very broad at the shoulders and comparatively narrow at the loins. Wide shoulders, barrel ribs, and a narrow loin area give the Bulldog a pear shape when viewed from the top. A back of correct length creates a balanced appearance and facilitates correct Bulldog movement.
The tail may be either straight or “screwed” (but never curved or curly), and in any case must be short, hung low, with decided downward carriage, thick root and fine tip. If straight, the tail should be cylindrical and of uniform taper. lf “screwed,” the bends or kinks should be well defined, and they may be abrupt and even knotty, but no portion of the member should be elevated above the base of root. Two types of tail are desired in the Standard, each is short, hung low, heading downward with thick root and fine tip. FAULTY TAILS If screwed, no part of the tail should be above the base of the root.
The tail may be either straight or “screwed” (but never curved or curly), and in any case must be short, hung low, with decided downward carriage, thick root and fine tip. If straight, the tail should be cylindrical and of uniform taper.
lf “screwed,” the bends or kinks should be well defined, and they may be abrupt and even knotty, but no portion of the member should be elevated above the base of root. Two types of tail are desired in the Standard, each is short, hung low, heading downward with thick root and fine tip.
Correct turn of shoulder with proper front legs will show straight perpendicular inner forelegs. A correct front down.
11. FAULTY FRONTS
Narrrow Front – Chippendale or Fiddle-Front. Bowed Front Legs A vertical rectangle between the front legs indicates a front too narrow. A horizontal rectangle could be legs too short or loose shoulders.
FRONT FEET – The feet should be moderate in size, compact and firmly set. Toes compact, well split up, with high knuckles and very short stubby nails. The front feet may be straight or slightly out- turned.
ELBOWS – The elbows should be low and stand well out and loose from the body.
FAULTY ELBOWS Overly loose Elbows – Tight Elbows Feet Tend to Tum Inwards – Tight Elbows “Loose from the body” does NOT mean overly loose elbows. It means they should not be directed toward the ribs (tight elbows). Neither should they be directed outward away from the ribs (overly loose elbows). Overly loose elbows is a VERY serious structural fault.
PROPER FOOT “High Knuckles in a correct foot, the two middle nails are very close together.
FAULTY FEET Splayed – Weak Pastern
12. HINDQUARTERS LEGS
The hind legs should be strong and muscular and longer than the forelegs, so as to elevate the loins above the shoulders. hocks should be slightly bent and well let down, so as to give length and strength from the loins to hock. The lower leg should be short, straight and strong, with the stifles turned slightly outward and away from the body. The hocks are thereby made to approach each other, and the hind feet to turn outward.
PROPER HINDQUARTERS FAULTY HINDQUARTERS Pigeon Toed – Cow Hocked – Too Wide Sraight Hock – Crooked Hock HIND FEET – The feet should be moderate in size, compact and firmly set. Toes compact,well split up,with high knuckles and short stubby nails. The hind feet should be pointed well outward.
13. COLOR OF COAT
COAT & SKIN COAT – The coat should be straight, short, flat, close, of line texture, smooth and glossy (no fringe, feather or curl).
SKIN – The skin should be soft and loose, especially at the head, neck and shoulders.
WRINKLES AND DEWLAP – The head and face should be covered with heavy wrinkles, and at the throat, from jaw to chest, there should be two loose pendulous folds, forming the dewlap. History tells us there should be enough head wrinkles to divert blood from the eyes. The wrinkle(s) over the nose can vary from a complete wrinkle to a split wrinkle. The nose wrinkle should not extend beyond the tip of the nose. obscure the vision in any way or be too large or out of proportion.
COLOR: The color of coat should be uniform, pure of its kind and brilliant. Colors are red, white, fawn or fallow or any combination of the foregoing. Patterns and markings may include brindle, piebald, ticking, black masks, black tipping and a minimal amount of black in piebalds. All other colors or markings are a disqualification. The merle pattern is a disqualification.
GAIT The style and carriage are peculiar, his gait being a loose-jointed, shuffling, sidewise motion, giving the characteristic “roll.” The action must, however, be unrestrained, free and vigorous. The proper Bulldog, with short wide set front legs and longer narrow set rear legs, has a peculiar gait that results in a side to side motion or â€œroll.â€ The Bulldog gaits with his front legs going straight forward from his wide shoulders. The rear legs swing in and out and should hit the ground closer together than the front legs. The longer rear legs, hind feet turned out, create the shuffle of the Bulldog. The roll can be observed by following the â€œsidewiseâ€ motion of the skin over the loin and the â€œsidewiseâ€ movement at the base of the tail.* A Bulldog gait video, showing the peculiarities of gait is available from the BCA Education Committee.
TEMPERAMENT The disposition should be equable and kind, resolute and courageous (not vicious or aggressive) and demeanor should be pacific and dignified. These attributes should be countenanced by the expression and behavior. The Bulldog is a friendly outgoing companionable breed with an expression of intelligence, kindness and dignity.