The AKC Standard says the disposition of the English Bulldog should be “equable and kind, resolute and courageous…demeanor should be pacific and dignified.” Despite their gloomy mugs, English bulldogs are among the most amiable of breeds. They are gentle, affectionate, dependable animals, known for getting along well with children and other dogs and pets. Well-bred bulldogs spend more time with people than with their mothers as newborns (for their own safety), and as a result can become extremely attached to human companionship. A lot of human attention is required for the breed’s happiness.
Some English bulldogs can be a bit dominating and need an owner who understands alpha canine behavior and who knows how to display strong leadership. They should be taught to heel beside or behind the person holding the lead while on a walk, as in a dog’s mind the leader leads the way, and that leader needs to be the human. They should also be taught to enter and exit all doors and gateways after their human.
A Bulldog who understands its place in the human pack is nice to, and reliable with, all people. Bulldogs who display guarding behaviors, such as guarding furniture, food, toys, or other spots in the house, or who are aggressive to other dogs, do not have humans who are being the pack leader. Though they are docile, bulldogs are known for their courage and will see off intruders. It takes a tremendous amount of serious teasing or threatening to provoke this sweet-natured breed, but once aroused, he can be a force to reckon with. Observable day-to-day bulldog traits include snoring, eating messily, and drooling.
Bulldogs are full of energy as puppies, but they slow down as they get older and prefer to spend their days snoring on the sofa rather than playing outside. They are less active than many dogs and this, combined with their temperament, make them ideal companions for less active people. Because they need less exercise than other dogs, and due to their compact size, bulldogs are perfect pets for urban living.