The stereotype of the Bulldog breed is that the dogs are lazy, ugly, and lacking intelligence. However, this stereotype is the product of a misunderstanding–on purpose and accidental–of the dogs’ characteristics. In reality, Bulldogs are highly prized by their owners for their loyalty, tenacity, and devotion to the people and animals they love.

Bulldogs make excellent companions for children, the elderly, and everyone in between. They are people dogs, meaning they like hanging around their humans. Because of this, they do require quite a bit of attention. In return, though, they will be your best friends. They are sensitive to your moods and will laugh when you laugh, and comfort you when you cry. They easily forgive transgressions and will do things just to make you laugh.

While they may look intimidating, they are really gentle and easygoing–at least around their family and friends. Bulldogs won’t hesitate to come to the rescue of a loved one if they think the person is in trouble or being threatened. They will even bark at parents disciplining small children and come to the aid of other animals in the home.

However, the wide range of personality types within the breed makes it a poor choice for those looking for full-time guard dogs. Some Bulldogs are quite capable of being dragons at the gate, defending their territory with a ferocity commonly seen in guarding breeds. Others are perpetual puppies who consider everyone a friend, even total strangers. If you are looking for a dog for personal protection, you are better off going with a breed known for that type of guarding behavior like a Doberman.

The thing that many people mistake for lack of intelligence is actually a talent for prioritization. Bulldogs are not dumb or lazy. Rather, they consider all the stimuli occurring around them and prioritize their response according their internal value systems. Bulldogs do not jump up at every command. They first evaluate the command to determine if it is good and then decide just how urgently they should respond. Many people can learn a thing or two about time management from Bulldogs.

Lastly, Bulldogs are highly observant. While it may seem like they are just lazing about in their dog beds, they are actually monitoring their environments. They will take note of everything in your home and will let you know when something is out of place. If you rearrange furniture in the house when they are not around, you may have to deal with them occasionally barking at you to let you know something is off.

Like humans, there are some Bulldogs who exemplify the stereotype attached to the breed. Generally, these dogs are the exceptions rather than the rule and often the result of bad breeding. Good breeders work to expel these characteristics from their dogs, and you would do yourself the biggest favor by committing to only getting Bulldogs from reputable breeders.