AKC English Bulldog Standard/What a Bulldog Should Look Like

English Bulldog AKC  Standard

Indy + Libby

This page has helped thousands of well-meaning folks who are constantly taken advantage of by dishonest breeders or just plain weren’t sure what their English Bulldog should look like, act like, or cost, etc.

Yes, our Bulldog Puppies do come with AKC Registration. See our plans for the next litter!

First, give me a quick second to explain just what the AKC Standard for a Bulldog is, then I’ll help shed some light on why it’s so crucial for you to understand it. Once you’ve made your way through this little article it is my hope you’ll better understand the AKC Standard for Bulldogs and therefor feel completely confident about finding and pruchasing the perfect bully for your family!

Need To Register Your Puppy With The AKC?

What Is The AKC?

The American Kennel Club (AKC) is a recorded archive of purebred dog pedigrees in the United States. The AKC sets a standard for the way each purebred dog is to appear physically. The temperment of each dog is also of great importance in setting the AKC standard. Without the guide of the AKC, there would be no clear understanding for what a purebred dog actually is.

Check Out Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds! A fun tool, Profiling Every Dog Breed in the AKC Including the Bulldog. Also has in depth Breed Anaylisis and Full Color Profile Photos defining what makes each breed unique. What a great source for those not sure which dog most suitably fits their family!

- hardcover

Get a Firm Grasp On The AKC Standard.

akc standard bulldog ears

akc standard bulldog ears

Many families begin the process of purchasing the “Bulldog of their dreams” only to end up with a less than quality Bulldog in spite of the large sum of money they may have spent to acquire him. Too many folks don’t have the slightest understanding of what the AKC Standard for Bulldogs is, nor do they care.

AKC Bulldog Ears

At left you’ll see some examples of acceptable/unacceptable setting of the ears on a Bulldog’s head. The proper setting of the Bulldog ears as determined by the AKC are shown top right in the picture. The depiction represents just one of many important physical traits in which a Bulldog of a lesser quality may not posses. The Bulldog’s head arguably holds his most distinguishing of all physical properties. Whether it’s a silly look brought about by misplaced ears, or a stunning appearance achieved with perfectly positioned, rosebud ears, most bulldog lovers agree, it’s the head that makes the Bulldog.

We’ll show another exemplary drawing concerning the Bulldog AKC Standard later. For now, we’ll further discuss why it’s so important to study the English Bulldog Standard and what a Bulldog should look like.

Meet The Bulldog. From the American Kennel Club’s, Meet The Breed Series, is a jam-packed paperback with a plethora of information on topics from- participating in AKC Dog Shows to how to Pursue the AKC S.T.A.R for your puppy and getting your Bulldog Certified as a Therapy dog for visiting hospitals + nursing homes!

- paperback

AKC Standard Mishaps.

This is a common occurrence- A person looking to buy an English Bulldog searches on websites and in newspapers for their beautiful English Bulldog Puppy. The search is then narrowed down to a few breeders or pet stores that caught their eye with fancy advertising or a lower than usual price. When the buyer goes to view his possible new Bulldog pup he’s got high hopes. All of his excitement is derived by the remnant of the beautiful puppy pictures that drew him to the breed when he first began his search.

When the buyer visits these puppies he’s forgotten or never even knew what exactly it was he was supposed to be looking for in a purebred English Bulldog. You could say the buyer’s knowledge on the Bulldog breed and the AKC Standard is somewhat lacking. He’s wooed by the breeder and he’s unaware the puppies look more like a Beagle physically than what the AKC says he should look like. The poor soul still falls in love because after all, puppies so easily melt the heart of someone seeking their “best friend”. Then the proverbial “Nail in the Coffin.” The breeder exclaims, “all of our puppies are akc registered”, and after hearing those golden words, the buyer places complete confidence in his purchase.

We’d hate to see anyone spend their hard earned money on a “Bulldog puppy” that matures looking nothing like a Bulldog. Read on to learn more about the akc standard and how to spot a fake!

Find The Author of This Article On Google Plus!

Dishonest Breeders Fool The AKC Daily!

It’s True!  Just because a puppy is akc registered does not mean that he is purebred or matches the AKC Standard. Any breeder can get AKC papers for a litter of puppies regardless of how the pups look.

  • Let’s say Dishonest Breeder has a couple purebred Bulldogs with AKC papers.
  • The female is mistakenly bred by some random mut running the streets.
  • Dishonest Breeder will not give up the $2,000 he could get for “AKC registered English Bulldog puppies” so when the litter is born, he simply fills out the litter registration paperwork – claiming that his English Bulldog was indeed the father.
  • The AKC then mails him an envelope full of English Bulldog registration papers for each puppy, which he then happily passes along to the buyer of each puppy….collecting his $2,000 as he does so. And no one will be the wiser until the puppies grow up and begin to look nothing like a real Bulldog.

Related: Bulldog Puppy Scams

Bulldog Physique As Determined By AKC.

Porper English Bulldog Form

Porper English Bulldog Form

To the right, we’ve posted a great depiction of proper English Bulldog form. Take a good look. No, better yet, I want you to study and meditate on this picture especially if you’re currently in the market for a new Bulldog puppy. Notice the space on the top of the head is flat and not rounded. In other words, there’s no downward slant from the middle of the head to the ears. A Bulldog should have a wide stance up front narrowing toward the rear. That’s another defining characteristic of the Bulldog profile.

The reason I tell you to study these depictions of the AKC Standard for Bulldogs is so you’ll know how to spot a fake when looking for your perfect Bulldog pup. Think of it this way. If you worked for the FBI with the purpose of detecting counterfeit money, you’d spend hours examining and memorizing nothing but all the fine details on a hundred dollar bill. After continually analyzing  and familiarizing yourself with real hundred dollar bills you’ll easily know when you’re eyes set their gaze on fraudulent money. It’s the same principle with the English Bulldog AKC Standard. Once you’ve devoted a reasonable amount of time evaluating the AKC’s standard for Bulldogs, you’ll then be prepared to pick out the studs from the duds. Of course it’s much easier just believing the breeder’s sales pitch, but you want to know for yourself right? I mean, when you’re spending a large amount of money, you should get the best. You simply cannot rely on the breeder to tell you how a Bulldog should look. To make sure you receive a high quality English Bulldog Puppy whose anatomy mirrors the AKC Standard is entirely your responsibility.

AKC Bulldog Puppies For Sale/No Papers??

AKC Registration Papers

AKC Registration Papers

If you’re breeder says his puppies are AKC, but he has no registration papers you should take your business elsewhere. There is absolutely no reason the breeder can’t get registration papers for legitimate AKC puppies. The registration papers come from AKC to the breeder for only $30. Once the new puppy owner takes possession of the puppy he/she can fill it out and send it in to AKC. You literally check like 2 boxes and fill in the puppy’s new name. The registration fee is around $20 and the form is very simple to understand. Also, we’ve heard of breeders charging the buyer extra for AKC papers. There is no acceptable reason for this. The akc registration papers should be included with the puppy just as you should expect a spare tire and jack to come with a brand new car. Need To Register Your New Pup or Litter?

Honest Breeders Can Still Be Negligent.

Possibly more common is an Honest breeder who isn’t very serious about producing quality English Bulldogs, or is simply ignorant to how this is done correctly. It’s possible for a breeder to start out with any quality of English Bulldog(Excellent-Poor) and over time with each litter, degenerate characteristics that are key in the Bulldog breed. For instance, one of his puppies may be born with longer legs or smaller paws than are appropriate features in an English Bulldog. The breeder may choose to breed this puppy, therefore using a Bulldog with less than perfect genes. Every time these Bulldogs with undesirable physical character traits are bred they will pass these imperfections along to the next generation and they’ll begin to look less and less the way an English Bulldog should. Finally, you’re left with a horrible looking AKC Registered English Bulldog. Remember, even a car comes with registration tags, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a piece of junk.

Should I Register My Bulldog With The AKC?

We asked that same question in a google search and we found front and center on the American Kennel Club’s website, this answer-….because you love your dog. The AKC – We’re more than champion dogs. We’re the dog’s champion. Probably like you, we thought that answer sounded like a bunch of bologna when we read it. Of course we love our Bulldogs, but the question of why should I register wasn’t exactly answered by that simple sentence, so we looked through the site in search of a list mentioning the pros of registering.

Right off the bat you see a few great incentives for registering:

  • They’ll give you a 60 day free trial in their AKC Pet Healthcare Plan.
  • A coupon making your first visit to your puppy’s veterinarian FREE with a participating Vet!
  • Become eligible to participate in new and exciting AKC programs, including agility, obedience, tracking, field  trials, dog shows, junior showmanship, and much more!
  • It’s for a good cause! Reportedly, over the last seven years, AKC has allocated nearly $30 million in funding to invaluable programs like Public Education, Kennel Inspections and Canine Search-and-Rescue.

There’s a whole slew of other benefits to registering your purebred dog listed on their site. They even give you a frameable AKC Registration Certificate and record your dog’s name in the AKC Registry.

I hope after reading this article you understand the AKC Standard for Bulldogs more clearly. Please know also that I have no intention of talking down about anyone or their Bulldog. If you’ve found yourself with a long snout Bulldog, or one that’s a little taller than the AKC says is perfect, that’s ok! Love your Bulldog the way he is. It’s what’s in the heart that counts. No doubt, your Bulldog will love you abundantly in spite of his short comings!

For More On The English Bulldog AKC Standard Click This Link:  http://www.akc.org/breeds/bulldog

Check out the amazing plans we have for Our Next English Bulldog litter!

39 Responses to Bulldog AKC Standard

  • Terry Howell

    I am looking for a genuine, pure breed male English bulldog for my family. I looking to purchase around Christmas time and I see that you have a coming soon. Can you please send me information on your puppies at the email address provided above? Appreciated and hope to hear from you soon,

    • dan weese

      All of these comments have been answered by us via email :)

  • Patricia Brunelle

    I am seriously thinking of becoming an English Bulldog breeder. It is a breed I have always loved. Could you please lead me in the right direction so that I am able to provide healthy bulldogs legally.
    Thank you..

    • dan weese

      Patricia I’m glad you asked. It’s good to hear someone sincerely concerned about responsibly and lovingly breeding Bulldogs. This really is a big topic. There is a lot of research you must do before you get started, as I see you’ve already begun. I trust you know there is a lot of work involved with breeding bullies. Google is your friend here, but be sure to read our “why english bulldogs cost so much” page as well. Please feel free to direct any specific questions you may have to our Bulldog QandA and I or another user will answer you as best we can
      Good Luck :)

      Dan @ RedWhiteandBulldogs.Com

  • Patricia Brunelle

    Thank you so much Dan, I am so ready to do this. I understand the dedication and responsibilities in caring for these beautiful dogs. I have had eight children and have had many sleepless nights LOL, it will be like have a second family all over again. Now how do I go about finding a bulldog? Do I let the breeder know that I want to become a breeder also and where do I need to get a license to start? Thanks


    • dan weese

      You should definitely let the breeder know your plans to breed. Often times the puppy you purchase will be restricted from breeding on it’s AKC Registration papers so you need to make sure you get full rights with the dog. You may need a license both on the state and County level, but each state is different. In Ohio you don’t need a State level license, but are required to register with the county.

  • Patricia Brunelle

    You have been such a wonderful help. Thank you so much. I will keep you posted :)


  • Steve Carey

    Wish I had read this earlier before I ran into all the scummy breeders here in ohio. I’m sorry to say i got one of those “bulldogs” that actually looks more now like a bullgle (beagle-bulldog mix). I have papers that says hes AKC too. I love my dog though but definitely see the differecne now looking at yours.

    • dan weese

      Hey Steve. There are thousands of people who have been given the run around and gotten a less than perfect Bulldog. You would think that if you’re getting AKC registration papers you’re getting the real deal, but unfortunately in most cases it just isn’t working out that way. I hope your bully is at least healthy. It’s great that you honored your commitment to your Bulldog even though he wasn’t what you thought. Inbox me if you have any questions.

      • Steve Carey

        Thanks. Ok so if I get a bulldog with no papers is it possible to get him registered with the akc??

        • dan weese

          Steve usually if a puppy doesn’t come with papers you have to wonder why the breeder didn’t get them in the first place. The papers are easy for the breeder to get and only cost about $20. Your going to need the registration numbers of both the Sire and Dam of your puppy. AKC registration is a huge topic so I thought it best to go and fetch this link of Common Questions from the AKC website. Hopefully this helps. http://www.akc.org/contact/answer_center/faq_dogreg.cfm

  • carolina

    Hello, I am glad that I ran past this forum. I have always loved teh English Bulldog. I have been one of those indivuduals who has been googling like crazy and falling in love with any videos and pictures that I see from any petstores (that have finance options), etc. It makes it so easy to just get my hands on one, but I do want to know what I am getting myself into, because you are very correct about everything you say about buying resposibly. People will do and say just about anything to get a hold of your hard worked money and it just isnt right. Do you know any valid sites where I can check for a good breed of puppies? I know that I am ready to take on the responsibility!

    • dan weese

      Carolina I’m glad you have decided to stay away from the pet stores who usually get their puppies from puppy mills. As far as your question about a valid breeder, I’m pretty partial to our puppies, but I do know of one other breeder I believe you can trust. Check out steelbulldogs. Let me know if you have any other questions.

  • Amber

    Hello my name is amber Palmer and I recently bought a red ad white female english bulldog with great bloodlines. She is an 18th generation I was wanting to see if she is show worthy how can I tell?

    • dan weese

      Amber I would say there are many ways you could go about doing this. First, lots of research as I can see you’ve already begun. Study the winners. Look at lots of pictures of previous show winners. Remember the best way to spot a great looking bulldog is to study the AKC standard. Think about it, if you wanted to be able to spot a fake twenty dollar bill you wouldn’t study fake money, you would continuously analyze the real thing. It definitely wouldn’t hurt to go to a few shows and look into a local bulldog club. At the end of the day you can enter your dog into a show even if he isn’t perfect. Just have fun. Good luck!

      • Amber

        Thank you so much, I’ve been studying her compared to the standards and she seems to have every quality. She has the biggest nose wrinkle the vet has ever seen and multiple breeders have said she is beyond a beautiful dog. She also loves her picture taken. Any more advice?

        • dan weese

          It sounds like you’ve got yourself a great Bulldog! Go get ‘em :)

  • Mari castillo

    Hi I have two bulldogs one male one female … female has papers, male has papers also but I lost his papers both pure breed.. they just had a litter of four puppies and I wanted to get the puppies registered? Is it possible to get thier papers with out the fathers registration number.

    • dan weese

      No its not possible to get the puppies register without the fathers registration number because he is registered with the AKC you may simply call the AKC and get his number to complete the registration of your puppies.

  • Jaime Jorgenson

    So, we just picked up our first bully baby and would like to look in to the possibility of breeding & becoming more educated on the breed. I used to own Shar-peis and had the same intent, but I didn’t feel I could better the breed with my dogs. I grew up raising Arabian horses, so I do understand the importance of only breeding the best. I would love to have our pup evaluated. Suggestions? We are in Washington State.

  • Brian Massey

    I am very interested in bringing a English Bully into our little family. We are looking to have one home Mid September, early October. I have been researching my brains out, and am afraid of the scams and greedy “breeders”, who are really only middlemen to who knows who.
    I don’t mind spending a bit to have a healthy, happy young pup!

    Here’s the thing, I would like to be able to drive to a breeder, about 5 hours max, and I live in Brooklyn, NY.
    Are there any great breeders in the Northeast you may be able to point me towards? I don’t mind delivery, though it does scare me a bit because I can’t see the premises, but I really think getting the family in the car and having a drive to meet the newest member would be a great experience for all of us.

    I’m currently looking at “TopLine Breeders” who are based in North Carolina, a 7 hour drive. With my 5 year old son, this may turn into a 10 hour drive and I can’t imagine a young puppy enjoying it that much either.
    Any assistance would be greatly appreciated!

    • dan weese

      I’m sorry I don’t know of anyone in the area your willing to drive. I’m glad your being diligent in your search for a quality english bulldog puppy. Your right there are lots of scams out there. I assume you’ve read my post on how to avoid being “taken”. Good luck and let me know if you have any other questions. Thanks

  • Darlene

    I recently purchased an English bulldog and im not sure if her ears are correct for show if I were to send a picture could you let me know your thoughts on her

    • dan weese

      I can take a look at his ears. Send a picture via our contact page.

  • Willie

    What about an English Bulldog with a blue eye, Does akc register these dogs? Will they be disqualified from the show ring. Just wondering people seem to sure be inflating the price of these dogs, The standard calls for dark eyes. Thanks for any help

    • Dan Weese

      Good question. You’re right, the akc standard for Bulldogs does call for brown or black eyes. Considering blue eyes are not standard I think it’s obvious these dogs probably wouldn’t make it too far in competition. I don’t know that they would be disqualified. I mean I could enter a bulldog that looks horrible if I wanted to as long as I have registration papers. Oh and yes, you can get a bulldog with blue eyes registered with the AKC. I myself would steer clear from bulldogs with blue eyes-tells me something in the blood line might be a bit off.

  • Linda Kochert Woodrow

    Stella Rose October Girl…………..xoxo

  • Joseph


    Can I send you some pics of sume bulldog puppies. I am finding it hard to tell if the ears are correct according to AKC. Thanks

    • Dan Weese

      Joseph, I just responded to your message on Facebook. Hope that helped.

  • nestor

    how do I know if my English bulldog is purebred
    I got one . but the person who sold the dog to me didn’t had papers.. help…..

    • Dan Weese

      The only way to tell if your bulldog has papers is to ask your breeder. Ask why he didn’t provide registration papers with the sale.

  • sassie

    Hi. I want to buy this puppy, i need to let the breeder know by tomorrow as he has another person interested in her. Pls could you look at the picture and tell me what you think. just your opinion, about eats etc? I just not confident and so many scammers its difficult to get bit of honest help!! I from ireland. Thank you

    • Dan Weese

      Sassie, I would be happy to give you my opinion. You may email me via the contact page or message me on facebook

  • scott

    Where in ohio did you get yours?

  • Dustin

    Mr. Weese,
    My wife and I are getting ready to invest 2400 in an English Bulldog. Would you be willing to look at a picture for us?
    Thank you,

    • Dan Weese

      I would like to take a look Dustin but I’m on the road traveling so I might not see it very quickly. You can try and text it to me 330 703 2901 if you like. – Daniel

  • Meagan

    We are lookibg to purchase a bulldog pup this summer. I have researching for months regarding information on what to look for in a pup when purchasing but continue to find breed standards that are directed at the adult bulldog. I see too often bulldogs that have slender heads and look like boxers rather than bulldogs. I want to know if there is a way to tell from a pup if their heads will be round and body stocky rather than tall and slender. Thanks!

    • Dan Weese

      You’re right. There should totally be a standard set for Bulldog puppies. Looking at puppies can often be deceiving. Even when a pup appears to have the perfect conformation there can be imperfections. Your best bet is to consider the parents first. Then compare that couples previous puppies after they’ve become fully grown if possible.

  • dan weese

    Well if the puppy isn’t registered you have to wonder why not. As stated in the article, the breeder can get registration papers for all of his puppies for around $25. If there are no papers it means your puppy is the product of something other than a Bulldog. I would be weary of purchasing an english bulldog pup for any less than 1,500. The price could be as much as 4,500 from a reputable breeder. Please don’t even consider buying a puppy with no papers. Chances are you won’t be happy with what you get.

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