The English bulldog is an intelligent, if stubborn, breed that does well with children and other pets. Although it is now considered a good breed for a family pet, the English bulldog originally was bred to participate in blood sports.
The English bulldog originated in the British Isles. They were bred to participate in bullbaiting, a sport popular in England in the mid-18th century. A bull was tied to a stake and bulldogs were sent in to attack and fight the bull.
To achieve this task, English bulldogs were bred to be large enough to be strong, but small enough to remain agile. They also were expected to be courageous and aggressive.
Modern English Bulldogs
Bullbaiting was banned in England in 1835 and the English bulldog breed became nearly extinct. The breed was saved by dog show fanciers who attempted to maintain the physical characteristics of the bulldog while minimizing his aggressive nature.
The modern breed maintains his courageous nature, but is also kind and dignified. According to the American Kennel Club, the bulldog is one of the most popular breeds thanks to their "lovable and gentle dispositions and adorable wrinkles." As a medium-sized dog, the English bulldog isn't considered a lapdog, but not for lack of trying.