The Standard was developed when bull-bating was outlawed in England and designed to permit the continuation of the breed. A Bulldog should not be vicious or aggressive, but rather resolute and courageous. Its attitude should be pacific, dignified, equable and kind. Its coat should be gloss and with brilliant color. The forelegs, although having the appearance of being curved because of it musculature, should be straight and heavy boned.
The Standard of the Breed, which has existed for over 100 years, describes a dog that is healthy and strong, able to move in an unrestrained, free and vigorous manner. Its nose should be large with wide nostrils to ensure its ability to breathe. Bulldogs perform in both conformation and performance activities where they could not compete successfully if they were not a healthy breed.
As with any species, even closely related individuals may vary from the ideal description. However, the conscientious breeder strives to produce dogs that come most closely to this ideal
General appearance: smooth-coated, fairly 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 relatively short, muzzle broad, blunt and inclined slightly upwards, although not excessively so.
Dogs showing respiratory distress highly undesirable. Body fairly short, well-knit, limbs stout, well muscled and in hard condition with no tendency towards obesity. Hindquarters high and strong. Bitches not so grand or well developed as dogs.
Behaviour and temperament: conveys impression of determination, strength and activity. Alert, bold, loyal, dependable, courageous, fierce in appearance, but possessed of affectionate nature.
Head viewed from side, head appears very high and moderately short from back to point of nose. Forehead flat with skin on and about head, slightly loose and finely wrinkled without excess, neither prominent nor overhanging face. Face from front of cheekbone to nose, relatively short, skin may be slightly wrinkled.
Distance from inner corner of eye (or from centre of stop between eyes) to extreme tip of nose should not be less than the distance from tip of the nose to edge of the under lip.
Skull: skull relatively large in circumference. Viewed from front appears high from corner of lower jaw to apex of skull; also broad and square. From stop, a furrow, extending to middle of skull being traceable to apex.
Viewed from front, the various properties of the face must be equally balanced on either side of an imaginary line down centre.
Nose: nose and nostrils large, broad and black, under no circumstances liver colour, red or brown. Nostrils large wide and open, with well-defined vertical straight line between.
Muzzle: muzzle short, broad, turned upwards and deep from corner of eye to corner of mouth. Over nose wrinkle, if present, whole or broken, must never adversely affect or obscure eyes or nose.
Pinched nostrils and heavy over nose wrinkle are unacceptable and should be heavily penalised.
Lips: flews (chops) thick, broad and deep, covering lower jaws at sides, but joining under lip in front. Teeth not visible.
Jaws / teeth: jaws broad, strong and square, lower jaw slightly projecting in front of upper, with moderate turn up. 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.
Cheeks: cheeks well rounded and extended sideways beyond eyes.
Eyes: 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, 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.
Ears: 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.
Neck: moderate in length, thick, deep and strong. Well-arched at back, with some loose, thick and wrinkled skin about throat, forming slight dewlap on each side.
Top line: 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 slight arch - a distinctive characteristic of breed.
Back: short, strong, broad at shoulders.
Chest: wide, prominent and deep. Body well-ribbed up behind. Brisket, round and deep. Well let down between forelegs. Ribs not flat-sided, but well rounded.
underline and belly: belly tucked up and not pendulous.
Tail: set on low, jutting out rather straight and then turning downward. 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. Lack of tail, inverted or extremely tight tails are undesirable.
Forequarters: general appearance: forelegs short in proportion to hind legs, but not so short as to make back appear long, or detract from dog’s activity.
Shoulder: broad, sloping and deep, very powerful and muscular giving appearance of being “tacked on” body.
Elbow: elbows low and standing well away from ribs.
Forearm: forelegs very stout and strong, well-developed, set wide apart, thick, muscular and straight, bones of legs large and straight, not bandy nor curved.
Metacarpus (pastern): short, straight and strong.
Forefeet: straight and turning very slightly outward; of medium size and moderately round. Toes compact and thick well split up, making knuckles prominent and high.
Hindquarters: general appearance: legs large and muscular, slightly longer in proportion than forelegs. Legs long and muscular from loins to hock.
Stifle (knee): stifles turned very slightly outwards away from body.
Metatarsus (rear pastern): hocks slightly bent, well let down.
Hind feet: round and compact. Toes compact and thick well split up, making knuckles prominent and high.
Gait / movement: 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.
Coat: hair: fine texture, short, close and smooth (hard only from shortness and closeness, not wiry).
Colour: 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.
Faults: 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.
Aggressive or overly shy.
Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities shall be disqualified.
n.b.: male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.
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