Bulldog Intelligence


New member
May 7, 2010
Southern California
Bulldog(s) Names
The English Bulldog breed was listed in the "Top 10 Dumbest Dog Breeds." Whats everyone's thoughts on this?

I think it was obviously written by someone who has never had one, stubborn and at times lazy but FAR from dumb!


Staff member
Community Veteran
Jan 28, 2010
Tucson, Arizona
Bulldog(s) Names
The Home of the Desert Sky Pack
They are actually ranked the third dumbest- but I must say that all dogs must be smart then ;)

Trainable- now here is where it may be more accurate. But to me, a stubborn dog means they are MORE intellegent because they know who they can get away with stuff with! Believe me- I have a stubborn and "less trainable" child- and that is because he is the smartest of the lot!! Oh and did I mention I have 4 kids? ;)


New member
Jun 16, 2010
Laval, Qc, Canada
Bulldog(s) Names
Destiny and Maximus
Dumb? pleaseee my Lola was mad at me last night for putting eye drops on her eyes, she stay at the balcony and wouldn't come back in for 30 mins I had to carry her back in. These people don't know what they're saying!!!


New member
Aug 7, 2011
I totally disagree with the dumb rating ... I have 2 English bulldogs and my dog Archie is incredibly smart. Not just b/c he's mine but some of the things he does and anticipates what we do is really amazing. I'm very surprised by the rating. Yes he is lazy -- but very smart in my opinion.


I am in total control....I think
Feb 25, 2011
Louisville, KY
Bulldog(s) Names
Gator & Lucy Goosey, the Basset and Gigi (AKA Gypsy)
I think they are like cats in how they behave, and no-one thinks they are dumb! One thing I noticed is when an airplane goes overhead or a bird flies by, both bulldogs look up and watch it, but my basset (who is actually VERY smart) just looks around like, "duh, where is that?". lol


New member
Jul 7, 2011
New Zealand
This (that bulldogs are stubborn not dumb) is a stock response when this question is raised in a bulldog forum, for understandable reasons.

I think a more realistic answer is that at least most bulldogs are not that smart. Our boy is smart in some ways; he is good at finding his way around, and I'm pretty sure if I dropped him most places in our quite large suburb he could find his own way home. He also shows some signs of intelligence eg unlike a very small child he knows that a ball that rolls under a chair will probably come out the other side and has not disappeared. He has also learned to be pretty good at meeting other dogs eg when he was a puppy he would rush other dogs, but now he uses the "calming signals" as described by Turid Rugaas to defuse tension when meeting other dogs. Also he is sometimes really perceptive at what I am feeling (knew I was suspicious that a dark car had potential burglars as he surprisingly growled under his breath).

All that said, he does not show much intelligence when he repeatedly drinks sea water at the beach, or shakes himself when still in the water, or still wants to go for a walk when we've already gone for a long walk (but drive past an old haunt) although too much walking could give him a limp, or greets me as if I have been away a year after 15 minutes away, or won't eat dog biscuits (as opposed to other foods) in his bowl, or will wait patiently for one car to go by when crossing the road, but does not check if another one is coming etc


Aug 12, 2010
Milwaukee, WI
Bulldog(s) Names
HRH Princess Gracie, aka: HRH; Princess Amelia Pond, aka: Amy
I just read somewhere ( I cant remember where) that bullies are one of the more intelligent breeds. It went on to say that they are comparable to a 5 year old human child. Wish I could remember where I read that. :D


If they are considered dumb well then I guess the best dogs in the whole world are the dumbest!


New member
Aug 4, 2011
Red Wing
Bulldog(s) Names
Dumb??? I think not. Last night I watched a bulldog ride a skateboard on a halfpipe. I have yet to see one of the smarter breeds of dogs accomplish something as this. I agree though, bulldogs do what they want to do, they just need motivation. I'm the same way, heh, I work because I need money, not because someone tells me to do it...


New member
May 28, 2011
Bulldog(s) Names
violet elizabeth
Wow violet was sitting, laying down and shaking by 9wks old. She knows when it's bedtime. And she taught herself to ride my daughters skateboard. I don't like that they mistake stubborn for dumb

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Well-known member
Jul 26, 2011
Bulldog(s) Names
Bullie (RIP) & Angus (RIP)
Here I go again, sticking my neck out there! The thread responses so far have completely misunderstood the research conducted.

The bulldog was listed as #108 out of 110 dog breeds in the canine intelligence ranking published by Stanley Coren in his book The Intelligence of Dogs. No, Dr. Coren doesn't own a bulldog and he doesn't own a Border Collie either. Dr. Coren is a neuropsychologist. His ranking was based on scientific research methods and not emotional attachment.

Dr. Coren presented in his book that there are 3 types of canine intelligence.

1) instinctive intelligence - is bred into the dog in it's domestication history. A retriever, for instance, is bred to retrieve something. This trait became enhanced in the breed by selective breeding. Therefore, a labrador retriever breed will always be more intelligent than a bulldog at fetching something. A bichon frise was bred to be pretty and that's about it, so it doesn't really have much instinctive intelligence.

2) Adaptive intelligence is not breed specific. This is a particular dog's learning and adaptation. For example - all labradors have the same instinctive intelligence and will fetch a ball - but you will find that some labradors, when they see the ball roll under the couch will think the ball gone and return to his parent without it, whereas some labradors will go behind the couch and catch the ball as it comes out the other side. My very first companion was a purebred German Shepherd. Ranked 3rd on the Intelligence ranking. Super smart dog - she is show quality on obedience! But, when she gets her leash wrapped around a tree trunk, she is stuck, because, even after I showed her multiple times how to unwrap herself, she just never learned it. My 2nd dog was a Lhasa Apso. Ranked #68. Never had a problem unwrapping himself out of the tree... Because, unwrapping a leash out of a tree is not instinctive and cannot be breed specific - it's adaptive learning that varies for each individual dog.

3) Working intelligence - this is what "the ranking" is based on. Because it is the only type of intelligence that can be compared by breed. Working intelligence is susceptibility to obedience training (command and reward). This study gives researchers a starting point in choosing the best breed to do human assistance work such as guide dogs for the blind or police dogs. Although each individual dog, regardless of breed, can have different levels of obedience depending on the trainer, the study was conducted on the ease and consistency of obedience training. Therefore, a Border Collie is ranked #1, because all dog trainers who joined the study named the Border Collie as the breed that required the least number of command repititions to learn a new command and the breed that recalls that command at first issue (only has to say the command once for the dog to obey) 95% of the time or better. So, if you are a trainer for guide dogs and you have 2 pupies to choose from - a German Shepherd and a Bulldog, you will not choose the bulldog, guaranteed.

It is no surprise to us bullie lovers that the English Bulldog is ranked 108. My Bullie knows all the basic commands but, she obeys them, I'd say less than 20% of the time at first issue and only if there's a treat involved. And I'm fairly certain it took several reiterations for her to even just learn them in the first place (I got her at 3 years old). My bichon, for sure, took days just to learn "Stay", but he's consistent on it now with no more than the 3rd issue, usually obeys at first command issue. My German Shepherd is like a robot - I don't even have to say the command, he can anticipate "Sit" before it is issued. And she learned each command very fast - Sit was a 5 minute session.

So, is my English Bulldog dumber than my German Shepherd? Depends on what your personal criteria of what you consider intelligent. Stanley Coren's criteria is for a specific type of intelligence for a specific purpose and has its specific uses. In my opinion, Bullie the bulldog, is just as smart as Megabyte, the Shepherd, because they both figured out how to become a value addition to my eccentric lifestyle. They both got ME trained.
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