English bulldogs were developed in 13th-century England to participate in the sport of bull-baiting. The bulldog would bite a bull's nose and hang on as the bull tossed the dog about. The ancestors are thought to have been mastiffs, which can get to be 3 feet tall. But over the centuries, the English bulldog has shrunk.
According to the book Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds, English bulldogs that had to fight bulls had much longer legs and longer noses. It wasn't until the rise of dog shows in the late 1800s did breeders go for the current size.
According to the American Kennel Club, the size of an ideal English bulldog is 12 to 15 inches tall. The ideal weight is 50 pounds for males and 40 pounds for females.
It is possible for a purebred English bulldog to grow taller or shorter than the breed standard. Purebred English bulldogs will still carry the genes of their long-legged ancestors.
Although there are many dogs for sale listed as "miniature English bulldogs," they cannot be shown or registered. They are smaller than average English bulldogs, usually growing no bigger than 14 inches tall.
English bulldogs put on weight fast. Obesity will compromise their health, especially if they are having breathing problems due to their flat faces.