In choosing a dog as a pet that you would like to show or evaluating a litter of puppies, you need to take additional steps beyond what a pet buyer would do.

First, read the Standard for Excellence for the Breed and understand what the ideal Bulldog is supposed to look like.  Each breed has its own Standard against which dogs are judged.

Breeders try to improve their breeding to get dogs as close to the Bulldog Standard as possible.  As you can see from looking at it, each part of the dog's anatomy and appearance is weighted in importance.  About 40 percent of the score is based on the conformation of the head, about 40 percent on the rest of the dog's structure and about 20 percent on general properties of the dog.  As you read the Bulldog Standard, you will realize how difficult judging the show potential of a puppy can be: weighing each of the written descriptions against a point scale for each imperfect dog present.

The disqualifications for a Bulldog in the Standard are:

  • Blue or green eye(s) or parti-colored eye(s).
  • Brown or liver colored nose.
  • Colors or markings not defined in the standard.
  • The merle pattern

Don't confuse the brown or liver colored nose with the lack of pigmentation in puppy noses.  It can take some time for pigmentation to develop fully in puppies and some pink on the nose can be expected in young puppies.  However, all other things being equal, the younger it's pigmented, the better.

Take the knowledge from reading the Standard to dog shows in your area to look at the dogs in the show ring and see how they compare to the Bulldog Standard.  Specialties or Supported Entries, where entries are large, are especially good for this.  There you can get a feel for what show dogs look like at different ages and can talk to breeders about their dogs.  Most of us are very approachable, especially if you want to know about our dogs and are interested in owning a show puppy.