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Bully Bulldog

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"Hey, bulldog!"
The Beatles, Hey, Bulldog

This trope is prevalent in (but not exclusive to) old cartoons from the 1940s as both Warner Bros. and MGM had a surfeit of bulldog characters. Generally they were vicious guard dogs or bullies, especially toward cats and smaller dogs.

Since a lot of the examples are in cartoons and because of the stubby snout and large jowls, the bulldog was probably used where they wanted what Preston Blair called the "Heavy Pugnacious Character". In many cases, the breed's characteristic features are exaggerated—for example, the lower teeth that protrude slightly from the mouth in many bulldogs may be depicted as full-on tusks like those of a pig.

Bulldogs being vicious and short-tempered is a Dead Horse Trope now since bulldogs were vicious many years ago when they were still bred to fight Brutish Bulls for sport, hence the name. When this sport was outlawed, bulldogs had their viciousness bred out of them so they could be kept as pets. It's reflected in fiction, too: Modern "mean dogs" are almost always Rottweilers, Pit Bull breeds, Chihuahuas, Doberman Pinschers, and German Shepherds.


Almost Always Male. Subtrope of Dog Stereotype.

Compare Psycho Poodle, another breed-specific trope. Contrast Big Friendly Dog.


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  • Front Row Joe: Downplayed. A scary-looking bulldog appears as an usher in one trailer, but all he does is punish the bad guy, Clyde, with Amusing Injuries.

    Anime & Manga 
  • The main villain of the Doraemon movie "Doraemon: Nobita and the Haunts of Evil" is a humanoid bulldog named Dafranda. Subverted, however, with Furususu, a much stronger bulldog who is one of the heroes.
  • In the fourth episode of Sally the Witch, Cub transforms himself into an angry-looking Bulldog... with a cat's body. This causes the triplets to tease him and beat him up, until he turns into a full English Bulldog. They end up confusing him until he runs away.
  • In SPY×FAMILY, the Forgers visit a dog park and Anya encounters a bulldog who takes her gloves and growls at her when she tries to get them back. Fortunately, it cowers in fear when it spots Anya's new dog (later named Bond) looming over it.

    Comic Books 
  • Zig-Zagged with Terror from The Boys. On the one hand, he's a fairly decent dog if you're a friend of the protagonists. On the other hand. . . well, let's just say there aren't many dogs who have been trained to have sex with anything that moves on command.
  • Donald Duck comics have this in almost every issue. Normally it's someone climbing a fence just to notice he's landed on the bulldog territory. This is a stock scene, and is sometimes parodied. It might not be a bulldog, but an equally vicious poodle for instance, or even if the dog is just a sleeping puppy, the character is terrified.

    Fan Works 
  • She's not a literal example, but Jowls Kazkani from the Steven Universe fanfic We Can Be Heroes invokes this trope in spirit. She's a goblin-like alien built like a bulldog thanks to her stocky build and saggy, droopy face, and is a high-ranking mobster who spends all her pagetime being an abusive, unpleasant brute to anyone who earns her ire.

    Film — Animation 
  • Carface from All Dogs Go to Heaven is a bull terrier rather than a bulldog, but shares many traits with this trope, including a top-heavy physique and a vicious, violent personality.
  • Subverted in the third act of The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales, when Rabbit, Duck and Pig accidentally land in a dog pound and are confronted by a gang of dogs led by a bulldog and his daughter, who are interested in eating the three main characters, but change their minds when they learn they're on a mission to deliver Santa's presents.
  • In A Christmas Carol (1997) Scrooge keeps a bulldog named Debit around to chase off people he doesn't like, and tries to sic him on Marley.
  • At one point during Gay Purr-ee, as Meowrice and his goons chase after Mewsette, they run into a bulldog who attacks them for disturbing his sleep.
    Meowrice: (calling out to his goons) Get rid of that dog, you bumbling idiots!
    Bulldog: Your whiskers tickle cats, and since I can't stand to be tickled by no cats, I'm going to tear your tails off and have 'em for breakfast.
    Meowrice: (pleading) We understand your feelings, sir, nothing like cats' tails for breakfast, but (spots Mewsette) back there among those barrels is—
    (The bulldog at Meowrice and his goons and attacks them)
    Meowrice: Please, let's talk this over!
  • About halfway through the film Gnomeo & Juliet, Gnomeo is actually dragged away to the William Shakespeare statue in the park by one of these.
  • Lady and the Tramp has a bulldog on the pound where Lady is taken who averts it. He's not vicious, just a little rough around the edges.
  • Averted with Francis from Oliver & Company. A little haughty, but otherwise rather nice. Just don't call him Frankie.
  • Averted in Rio where Luis the bulldog is actually friendly.
  • Rudolf the Black Cat: Devil the English Bulldog is the closest thing to an antagonist. He taunts Gottalot for having been abandoned by his owner and almost kills him when he comes asking for a favor. He ends up reforming and befriending the protagonists after admitting he was envious of Gottalot for not being confined to a backyard.
  • Gamma from Up.
  • The Beatles' song "Hey Bulldog" from the film Yellow Submarine, with animated blue two-legged, three-headed bulldogs.

    Film — Live Action 
  • Mr. Beefy from Little Nicky.
  • Averted with Chance from Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey. He is an American Bulldog but is the most energetic, friendly, and kiddie of the main characters.
  • Subverted in the Halloween sequence in the movie Meet Me in St. Louis. When Tootie has to "Kill the Braukoffs," another child protests, "The Braukoffs have a fierce bulldog! She'll be torn to pieces!" After Tootie throws flour into Mr. Braukoff's face to "kill" him, the bulldog is seen quietly and unconcernedly snuffling up the flour rather than noticing Tootie at all.
  • Meet the Feebles has Barry the Bulldog. To the Feebles troupe, he is a talented opera-singer. However, when he's not performing onstage, he's working as Bletch the Walrus's bodyguard and thug enforcer. He is also shown to be quite skilled in melee combat, as seen during the Mob War near the film's end.

  • Averted with T-Bone from Clifford the Big Red Dog, who is very friendly.
  • Discussed in Doglands. Kinnear, a soft and lazy English bulldog, talks about how bulldogs were once vicious bull-fighters, but the aggression has been bred out of them to make them placid and "perfect" pets. Furgul (a lurcher) finds this more pitiful than anything; he loves being a wild and free dog.
  • In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry's mean aunt, Marge, breeds bulldogs. She brings one of them named Ripper, which has some nasty implications, when she visits the Dursleys, who used to chase Harry around when he was ten. In that case of course, its more the owner who is the bully and the dog is a product of its upbringing.
  • Jack from Little House on the Prairie is the pet English Bulldog in the 1800s. He is an aggressive guard dog towards wild animals and is wary of strangers, but is friendly and protective towards his family.
  • Averted with Alfie from Survivor Dogs. He's more impulsive than the other dogs due to being an adolescent, but he's well-meaning and friendly. Sadly, he gets offed by Alpha at the start of A Hidden Enemy, but he reappears as a spirit in Storm Of Dogs to give Lucky a prophecy.
    • Played straight with Terror, a pit bull-mastiff mix who is a Bad Boss to his subordinates. He gets Killed Off for Real in the first book, however.
  • In the novel White Fang, the wolf fights a bulldog in a dogfight. Cherokee the bulldog subverts this trope because he is described as neither vicious or bullying: "Cherokee did not seem anxious to fight. He turned his head and blinked at the men who shouted, at the same time wagging his stump of a tail good-naturedly. He was not afraid, but merely lazy." He's more an instance of Killer Rabbit with a side Implacable Man, calmly wearing White Fang down to the strangling point.

     Live Action TV 
  • In Power Rangers S.P.D., Drill Sergeant Nasty Sgt. Silverback owns a robot bulldog, similar to the team's own robot dog Team Pet. Averted in that the team's Cloud Cuckoolander, Bridge, also mentioned owning a bulldog as a kid; and that both of these came from the fact that the writer/director was a dog lover who owned bulldogs as a kid himself.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • There have been various one-off bulldog characters that Garfield has runs into on occasion.
  • Heathcliff has a bulldog named Spike. On the other hand, he's the one usually bullied by Heathcliff.

    Video Games 
  • Completely averted in Animal Crossing, given all the animals in the games are friendly animals, even Cranky and Snooty ones.
    • The bulldog character Booker is quite nice, along with being rather meek, and he is either a cop or a guard depending on the game.
    • The jock villager Mac resembles a bulldog, and also averts this.
  • In Bonkers Capcom, bulldogs serve as enemies in the Mansion stage. The game's cover art depicts one chasing Bonkers.
  • One of the minor villains in Conker's Bad Fur Day is a "bull-shark"—a cross between a bulldog and a shark.
  • One of the enemies in Ed, Edd n Eddy: The Mis-Edventures is an angry bulldog that attacks the Eds. Sometimes it's a chained up guard dog that you must either sneak by or throw a cat at to distract it.
  • The Moblins in The Legend of Zelda are humanoid bulldogs that are occasional Mooks fought in the game.
  • In the Pokémon games, Snubbull and Granbull are basically bipedal bulldogs. Both tend to be callous bullies (although in Snubbull's case, they are actually affectionate, much like real bulldogs, and act mean to hide their cowardice), with their most common ability being Intimidate. Funnily enough, Snubbulls are also popular pets among fashion conscious young women — and as of Gen VI, they're both pure Fairy types.
  • Muggshot from Sly Cooper series could be considered the epitome of this trope. A super-tough nigh-invulnerable Jerkass with two gigantic tommy guns, he's definitely not a nice guy. Ironically, his Freudian Excuse is that he was bullied as a child.

    Western Animation 
  • Averted with Jake the Dog in Adventure Time. He's a bit of a Blood Knight, but mostly laid back and friendly.
  • In Around the World with Willy Fog, one character is a bulldog named Bully, but he's actually the harmless Butt-Monkey of the show.
  • Binky Barnes from Arthur is an anthropomorphic bulldog and is The Bully early in the series. He is later shown to have Hidden Depths such as liking ballet and having a secret soft side. Over the course of the series he becomes less and less of a bully. Subverted with his mother, who is a very nice woman, and in fact works as a nurse.
  • Pitts the bulldog in the Bonkers episode "Dog Day After Toon."
  • Defied in one episode of The Busy World Of Richard Scarry: when a bulldog kid named Billy Dog joins the class, everyone think he's going to be The Bully, and avoid him. At the end of the episode they realize that he's a pretty nice guy who just looks scary.
  • The Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers episode "Catteries Not Included" features a whole army of robotic bulldogs. These were also featured in the video game adaptation.
  • Butch from the Classic Disney Shorts, who is a recurring nemesis for Pluto.
  • Played with in Creature Comforts, where a bulldog acts as the Claymation Suit Actor for a private security guard; he comes off as a fairly nice guy, despite his profession.
  • DuckTales (2017) has the Bombie, an anthropomorphic bulldog who is an unstoppable Solomon Grundy-esque monstrosity cursed to hunt down and destroy the richest person in the world. That is, unless if the richest person in the world gets a taste of Humble Pie.
  • Rock Bottom from the 1950s Felix the Cat TV cartoons.
  • Spike from Heathcliff cartoon could be this at times.
  • Heckle and Jeckle frequently squared off against a bulldog who was unnamed in the cartoons but was named Chesty in the comic books.
  • Bandit from Jonny Quest appears to be a bulldog, though he's actually a bit of a scaredy cat.
  • Looney Tunes:
    • The unnamed bulldog in "Chow Hound". This guy repeatedly bullies a cat and mouse into getting him food, and beats them up when they don’t, claiming they forgot the gravy. He gets what he deserves at the end of the short when he overeats and winds up in a hospital, and the cat and mouse force feed him gravy.
    • Spike, in all of his appearances looked and acted like a tough guy, even down to wearing a bowler hat. He also acted very rudely and aggressively even towards his fawning toady Chester, shouting at him and hitting him to shut him up. Nonetheless, he did care about his opinion saving face in front of him, when against apparently Sylvester (who in truth was either an escaped panther or the Mister Hyde version of Sylvester). He wasn't so tough with them.
    • Hector. Most of the time his role consisted of presenting a physical protection of Tweety from Sylvester whom he effortlessly beat up. Many times though this seemed to be an excuse rather than the reason, making him more of a Heroic Comedic Sociopath.
    • Subverted with Marc Anthony from Feed the Kitty, who turns out to be a completely nice and kind dog.
    • The next-generation equivalent in Tiny Toon Adventures is a Pit Bull, reflecting the changing stereotypes that discredited this trope.
  • Butch from the MGM Tex Avery shorts starring Droopy.
    • There was also the unnamed bulldog from the short "Bad Luck Blackie", as seen above.
  • Kevin from Mr. Bogus will very often chase Bogus around the house, but he will sometimes assist him when there's any kind of problem.
  • Subverted when Mr. Peabody was posing as the Yale bulldog, in order to cox a boatload of college rowers.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: A set of one-off villains called The Diamond Dogs are drawn to look like bulldogs. They try to kidnap Rarity to force her to use her magic to get gems for them.
  • Completely averted with Rubble in PAW Patrol. While he can be a tad childish at times, it doesn't stop him from being a valuable member of the team. That said, he does sometimes try to project an image of himself as the tough guy.
  • Bluto's eyepatch-wearing bulldog in the Popeye cartoon "Protek the Weakerist" and its remake, "Barking Dogs Don't Fite".
  • Earl from Rocko's Modern Life is a mean bulldog who escaped from a science lab who often tries to eat Rocko, Spunky, and Mr. Bighead. In "Frog's Best Friend", he becomes the Bigheads' pet, as Mrs. Bighead protected him when she found out that he was used for animal testing.
  • Another "Butch the bulldog" is small red one in a Gene Deitch short called "Shove Thy Neighbor".
  • Gibber from TaleSpin was an anthropomorphic bulldogish dogface.
  • Ma-Mutt, Mumm-Ra's beloved pet/guard dog/minion from ThunderCats.
  • Spike and his son, Tyke, from Tom and Jerry. Inverted when Spike only acts tough when defending his son, or Tom clearly started the fight, which often he does (and isn't always setting out to).
  • GT from Turbo Dogs.
  • The We Bare Bears episode "The Demon" has a rare cross between this trope and Mister Muffykins. Chloe loses her sweater in the neighbor's yard and needs Ice Bear's help retrieving it because the neighbor's French Bulldog is small, but dangerous.