English Bulldog Standard

Bulldog Standard UK


General Appearance

Smooth-coated, thick set, rather low in stature, broad, powerful and compact. Head (#), fairly large in proportion to size but no point so much in excess of others as to destroy the general symmetry, or make the dog appear deformed, or interfere with its powers of motion. Face short, muzzle broad, blunt and inclined upwards.

Dogs showing respiratory distress highly undesirable.
Body short, well knit, limbs stout, well muscled and in hard condition with no tendency towards obesity. Hindquarters high and strong but somewhat lighter in comparison with heavy foreparts. Bitches not so grand or well developed as dogs.

Conveys impression of determination, strength and activity.

Alert, bold, loyal, dependable, courageous, fierce in appearance, but possessed of affectionate nature.

Head and Skull
Skull large in circumference. Viewed from front appears very high from corner of lower jaw to the apex of skull; also very broad and square. Cheeks well rounded and extended sideways beyond eyes. Viewed from side, head appears very high and short from back to point of nose. Forehead flat with skin upon and about head, loose and finely wrinkled, neither prominent nor overhanging face. Projections of frontal bones prominent, broad, square and high; deep, wide indentation between eyes. From stop, a furrow, both broad and deep extending to middle of skull being traceable to apex. Face from front of cheek bone to nose, short, skin wrinkled. Muzzle short, broad, turned upwards and very deep from corner of eye to corner of mouth. Nose and nostrils large, broad and black, under no circumstances liver colour, red or brown; top set back towards eyes. Distance from inner corner of eye (or from centre of stop between eyes) to extreme tip of nose not exceeding length from tip of nose to edge of under lip. Nostrils large and wide and open with well defined vertical straight line between. Flews (chops) thick, broad, pendant and very deep, hanging completely over lower jaws at sides, not in front, joining under lip in front and quite covering teeth. Jaws broad, massive and square, lower jaw projecting (##) in front of upper and turning up. Nose roll must not interfere with the line of the layback. Viewed from front, the various properties of the face must be equally balanced on either side of an imaginary line down centre.

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
Head lacking in
basic skull structure.
Forehead rounded
rather than flat.
Weak turn-up
and lay-back
Head too short in
skull from eye to ear,
jaw without typical
basket-handle arch,
and protruding teeth
Undeveloped puppyish
head with rounded
skull and
weak under-jaw
Correct lay-back
Too long-faced
Too long-faced
Correct turp-up
with typical basket-handle
arched mandible
No turn-up
Long, straight, protruding jawbone
(excessively undershot)
with exposed canines
Apple head
Frog face

Seen from front, situated low down in skull, well away from ears. Eyes and stop in same straight line, at right angles to furrow. Wide apart, but outer corners within the outline of cheeks. Round in shape, of moderate size, neither sunken nor prominent, in colour very dark – almost black – showing no white when looking directly forward. Free from obvious eye problems.

Set high – i.e. front edge of each ear (as viewed from front) joins outline of skull at top corner of such outline, so as to place them as wide apart, as high and as far from eyes as possible. Small and thin. ’Rose ear‘ correct, i.e. folding inwards back, upper or front inner edge curving outwards and backwards, showing part of inside of burr.

Correct “rose” ears, level with skull
Faulty, high-set ears
Faulty, low-set ears
Button ears,
with typical
forward carriage
most prevalent
type of faulty ears
flying ears
poor carriage,
common fault with
large, tick ears
not to be confused
with button ears
(no forward carriage)
Erect ears
or bat ears,
with broad base
and facing forward,
nowadays a
very rare fault
Tulip ears,
common among
the early
bull-baiting bulldogs

Jaws broad and square with six small front teeth between canines in an even row. Canines wide apart. Teeth large and strong, not seen when mouth closed. When viewed from front under jaw directly under upper jaw and parallel.

Correct undershot, slightly
prognathous because of
turn-up also called ‘reverse scissors bite’
Incorrect, too prognathous common error in the Bulldog
retruded, also called
overshot, overbite or
parrot mouth
level bite, the upper and lower teeth meet each other edge to edge.
Scissors bite, incorrect in Bulldogs, but normal bite in most dog breeds

Moderate in length (###), very thick, deep and strong. Well arched at back, with much loose, thick and wrinkled skin about throat, forming dewlap on each side, from lower jaw to chest.

double dwelap, well divided on each side
correct neck arched at the back, presenting
a convexe line. Short, but very thick and strong

Shoulders broad, sloping and deep, very powerful and muscular giving appearance of being ’tacked on‘ body. Brisket capacious, round and very deep from top of shoulders to lowest part where it joins chest. Well let down between forelegs. Large in diameter, round behind forelegs (not flat-sided, ribs well rounded). Forelegs very stout and strong, well developed, set wide apart, thick, muscular and straight, presenting rather bowed outline, but bones of legs large and straight, not bandy nor curved and short in proportion to hind legs, but not so short as to make back appear long, or detract from dog’s activity and so cripple him. Elbows low and standing well away from ribs. Pasterns short, straight and strong.

Typical, well-balanced front, broad and deep, body swung low with the legs placed wide and the feet planted firmly
Although well muscled,
far too narrow,
lack of chest and
too close a stand
Chippendale front,
very poor front
showing general weakness
with bowed legs and
feet turned out excessively
Loose font and slack
shoulders, scant muscular
development, lack of
power, small bones

Chest wide, laterally round, prominent and deep. Back short, strong, broad at shoulders, comparatively narrower at loins. Slight fall to back close behind shoulders (lowest part) whence spine should rise to loins (top higher than top of shoulder), curving again more suddenly to tail, forming arch (termed roach back) – a distinctive characteristic of breed. Body well ribbed up behind with belly tucked up and not pendulous.

Correct body with pear-shaped outline,
heavy front and lighter hindquarters,
and powerful shoulders and neck
Poorly built body, lacking pear-shaped
outline instead, straighter-bodied outline,
more suggestive of the terrier
Correct body with typical roach (wheel back) which rises over the loins then curves down to the base of the low-set tail
Incorrect flat backline
(characteristic of
the Terrier)
exaggeration of the
roach, found in dogs
lacking firm musculation
Camel back,
arched back
Belly well tucked-upbehind the ribs
Chest and brisket lack depth,lack of tuck-up at loin

Legs large and muscular, longer in proportion than forelegs, so as to elevate loins. Hocks slightly bent, well let down; legs long and muscular from loins to hock; short, straight, strong lower part. Stifles round and turned slightly outwards away from body. Hocks thereby made to approach each other and hind feet to turn outwards.

Correct hindquarters
The slight turn-out at
the stifle permits the
hocks to approach each
other just a bit.
Incorrect hindquarters
cow hocked, i.e. hocks
turning in provoking
toeing out of rear feet
Incorrect hindquarters
Pigeon-toed, i.e. hocks
turning out and
toes pointing inwards
Hindlegs to wide apart
Body is missing the
“pear shape”

Correct hind legs, the knee
joint (stifle) and the heel
(hock joint) should be slightly
bent and the lower part of
the leg from the hock to the feet
(the pasterns) should be short.
Incorrect hindquarters with sickle hocks,
over flexion of the hock joint (impression of a ‘sickle’). The result is an unnatural, ‘waterpumping’
action of the hind legs during movement.
(compare normal on the right)
Incorrect hindquarters
Straight stifles, no flexion
of the stifles or hocks,
resulting in a stilted,
unnatural movement.
(compare normal on the left)

Fore, straight and turning very slightly outward; of medium size and moderately round. Hind, round and compact. Toes compact and thick, well split up, making knuckles prominent and high.

Correct feet
slightly turned-out
Incorrect hare feet
Incorrect turned-out feet
Incorrect splayed feet

Set on low, jutting out rather straight and then turning downwards. Round, smooth and devoid of fringe or coarse hair. Moderate in length – rather short than long – thick at root, tapering quickly to a fine point. Downward carriage (not having a decided upward curve at end) and never carried above back.

Proper tail, straight
Screw tail.
Faulty tail carried gaily
Faulty high-set tail
Faulty inverted tail

Peculiarly heavy and constrained, appearing to walk with short, quick steps on tips of toes, hind feet not lifted high, appearing to skim ground, running with one or other shoulder rather advanced.

Soundness of movement of the utmost importance.

Fine texture, short, close and smooth (hard only from shortness and closeness, not wiry).

Whole or smut, (i.e. whole colour with black mask or muzzle). Only whole colours (which should be brilliant and pure of their sort) viz., brindles, reds with their various shades, fawns, fallows etc., white and pied (i.e. combination of white with any of the foregoing colours). Dudley, black and black with tan highly undesirable.

Dogs: 25 kgs (55 lbs); bitches: 23 kgs (50 lbs).

Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog.

Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

September 2003