Why Do Bulldogs Have Wrinkles And When Do They Get Them?

why do bulldogs have wrinkles

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As a dog breed, Bulldogs are well known for their wrinkles,English Bulldogs mostly. They can have wrinkles all over their body, but most times very noticeable around their head and around their abdomen area when they sit down. But why do they have these skin folds and wrinkles exactly on their body? Read on for all you need know and what knowledge to acquire:

Why do English Bulldogs have wrinkles on their bodies?

 Bulldogs have wrinkles due to the fact and the way they were bred across history as fighting and bull baiting canines. The loose skin they have and wrinkles helped in their protection during fighting and also acted as means for blood to run down from their body to keep it out of the Bulldog’s eyes  at all cost.

The History Behind Bulldog Wrinkles

As it is with many other dogs, the reasons for dome certain characteristics and physical distinct features are usually because of what they were  bred for at the inception.These aspects of those dogs then go on about  to become more of a fashion feature that is distinct to the breed.

Bulldogs were originally bred to be fighting dogs. Just like the wrinkly Shar Pei and English Mastiff breeds which are similar, Bulldogs used to be  for bull baiting and for fighting other dogs.

The wrinkles are  just loose skin that are excessive which allows the dog to move around freely within the skin and continue to fight even if their opponent has gotten a hold of them.

The major reason why Bulldogs have wrinkles are all related to how they were bred across history.

Bulldogs also have these wrinkles on their face as they help to prevent the blood from getting into their eyes.The blood will flow down the wrinkles instead of getting into their eyes.

Baiting of bulls was banned in North America and in England in 1835 under the Cruelty to Animals Act during those times, the wrinkles and loose skin has become associated with the breed and are now a very fashionable feature of the breed.

Due to this, their wrinkles have really been bred to become more noticeable and pronounced in recent times.

When do English Bulldogs usually get their wrinkles?

Wrinkles surely adds a certain glow and glare to their adorable charm, but did you know there is an aspect due to their actual development to how and when the wrinkles showcase on a Bulldog? Here is what you should most likely expect to happen

When do English Bulldogs usually get their wrinkles?

 Bulldogs do not have wrinkles when they are born but get wrinkles as they age up. At 4 to 5 weeks old, a puppy will start to add on more fat under their skin and  have some minor wrinkles on their skin. They will vanish when they are about 24 weeks, only to become wrinkled again between 6 to 12 months.

That is a short answer and I imagine you are most likely thinking why the wrinkles actually appear, then vanish, then suddenly appear again.Observe the timeline development below as this will enlighten you and give the details about when English Bulldogs get the wrinkles on their and why it happens.

English Bulldog Developmental Stages While They Are Puppies

Like human beings, English Bulldogs go through several stages of development all through childhood and teenage phases during their life time, where you will start to see both physical attributes and their personality show.

Here is timeline showing development, and I have highlighted up the parts relating to their wrinkle development stages.

  • 0 to 3 weeks oldEnglish Bulldogs will weigh about 8 pounds at their birth and will have no  wrinkles that are visible. At about 1 week after their birth, fur pigment will start to properly show and their eyes open visibly  at about 2 weeks after birth.
  • 4 to 5 weeks oldThe puppies will begin to develop more body fat underneath their skin. This will eventually result in some small and more noticeable wrinkles showing on their body.
  • 9 to 10 weeks oldTheir legs will start growing longer and give them a lanky appearance that will actually look too tall for an English Bulldog. This is a natural phase, though it can be of  worry to new owners as the puppy you have at this stage will probably will not look like the Bully you have been expecting.
  • 16 to 24 weeks oldThe puppy is now at it’s peak “lanky” with longer legs, a smaller head than you would expect, and they will also lose their initial wrinkles they got at the beginning. They will look very well out of proportion but do not worry, this is very normal.
  • 6 to 12 months oldAt this stage the puppy will start to look more like an actual English Bulldog. Their jaws will start to stick out and they will develop a wider stature,which includes their head, shoulders and hips. During this period, they will also develop their wrinkles growing in to how you would actually expect them to look like.
  • 18 months oldAt one year and half your traditional English Bulldog should now be fully developed to maturity. A bulldog at this stage is usually considered to be a full blown adult.

Does The Bulldog Breed Get More Wrinkles As They Age?

Most English Bulldogs will continually keep the wrinkles they formed on their body from 12 months and older for the rest of their lives.By the way, some owners would have have noticed and  reported that their older English Bulldog have wrinkles that get deeper and more pronounced.

It depends to be truthful. Some Bulldogs do not necessarily get more wrinkles as they get age, some do develop more wrinkles.

Do Bulldogs Actually Grow Into Their Wrinkled Skin?

Absolutely, they do. You will often see English Bulldogs within the ages of 6 and 12 months who have grown their wrinkles visibly, but their body has not developed completely. You might not notice your Bulldog fully grow into their wrinkles until as late as when they are 3 years of age.

English Bulldogs have wrinkly skins by nature, meaning that they will not fill out and become really smooth (though some certain breeds of bulldog are quite less wrinkly than the others). However, individual canine do become more wrinklier than the others as they mature, while other ones will have far fewer wrinkles.

One of such type of wrinkle is known as the ‘nose rope’, a wrinkled skin that sits at the top of the snout, like someone who has tied a rope round it’s head,and is more visible on some dogs more than the others.

While English Bulldog puppies will start to develop their wrinkles at about 4 weeks old, they may lose the wrinkles  during their ‘lanky’ phase at about 16 weeks. As they continue to age, however, they may get back some of these wrinkles as they mature and develop,though they will most likely have less wrinkles than they did as a puppy.

Why Do Some English Bulldogs Have More Wrinkles Than Others?

The major reason why some English Bulldogs will have more wrinkles on them than others will be due to a number of reasons. This could include their genetics, lineage, what their parents are like, or it can be as simple as being varied from dog to dog.

Is There Any Such Thing As An English Bulldog That Is Non-Wrinkly?

Actually, there is no such  thing as an English Bulldog that does not have wrinkles.Wrinkles are part of a major trait of the English Bulldog breed itself, which means that most English Bulldogs Will have at least some wrinkles, especially around their face area.

English bulldogs are mostly known for their wrinkled skin, while other types of the Bulldog breed, such as the French and the American Bulldogs, have fewer wrinkles on them.

The weight or size of your dog could also affect drastically the number of wrinkles, with dogs that are overweight having visibly more wrinkles because of the added fat on their body. If you are worried about the size of your dog, it is best to consult your vet doctor who will be able to tell you what a healthy size for your dog is and what you can do to help them lose the weight.

If you are not really determined on a really wrinkly English Bulldog, make sure to do your research to see whether a French or an American Bulldog is better to suit your choice.

As another opinion, adopt an adult English Bulldog from a shelter or home, as you will be able to see clearly the wrinkles they have, unlike puppies where you can not be able to determine until they have fully grown into adult dogs.

Can An English Bulldog Wrinkles Get Infected?

Bulldogs can be highly prone to wrinkle infections as they age, with the flaps of their skin being really difficult to clean thoroughly which means that dirt, mites or injuries can lead to really unpleasant smells, as well as cause discomfort and severe pain for your dog.

If by chance you have noticed some redness or some unpleasant smells from some particular areas around your dog’s wrinkles and body or you have noticed that your dog is rubbing at it’s face more than usual, either with it’s paws or with your furniture, your dog probably has an infection.

This can sometimes be really distressing for your dog, becoming a very painful and sensitive area. If you think that your dog has the possibility of an infection, the best thing to do is to call your vet doctor, who will be able to give you advice and recommended treatments.

To prevent an infection from coming up, make sure you spend some time cleaning  the wrinkles when washing off your dog, use wipes to get into those folds and also dry them off to prevent water from getting trapped and causing infections by itself.

cleaning out your dog’s wrinkles about twice a week is highly recommended, especially if your dog has been around dirt a lot.

If your dog probably already has an infection, topical wipes could be of help, as well as dog friendly topical creams to help soothe and reduce inflammation around the area.

Your vet doctor will be able to prescribe or recommend some particular types of wipes and creams, with some dog owners making them using home made recipes.

What Can I Apply On My Bulldog’s Wrinkles?

Sometimes keeping your English Bulldog’s wrinkles clean majority of the time can sometimes be quite as easy as quickly wiping them with some warm water every few days regularly, as well as always remembering to get shampoo into the folds at each bath time.

If you have ever noticed some build up of dirt around your dog’s wrinkles, a half water half shampoo mixture and some baby wipes will essentially do the trick.

When you want to wash your dog make sure to dry out the wrinkles and any other flaps of skin noticed, as trapped moisture between folds can cause infections as well.

However, do not dry them too much as too dry skin can cause severe irritations and even cause yeast infections. There should be a balance and it is important, but if you are worried about how to execute this, your vet doctor will be able to provide help give you advice and instructions about how to clean and dry your dog properly.


Certain English Bulldog breeds have different physical attributes, including the number of wrinkles on their skin, with English Bulldogs being majorly known for them.

However, if you are new to owning an English Bulldog or breeding English bulldogs, you may actually be wondering why exactly English Bulldogs have wrinkles? Do all Bulldog breeds have wrinkles? And are there any ways in particular to care for them?

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