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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, esp. toward cats and littler 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".
This is a Dead Horse Trope now. Bulldogs were vicious many years ago when they were still bred to fight 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 Bulls and German shepherds.
Subtrope of Dog Stereotype.
- 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.
Film - Live Action
- Mr. Beefy from Little Nicky.
- 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.
Film - Animated
- Francis from Oliver and Company. A little haughty, but otherwise rather nice. Just don't call him Frankie.
- Carface from All Dogs Go to Heaven.
- The Beatles' song "Hey Bulldog" from the film Yellow Submarine, with animated blue two-legged, three-headed bulldogs.
- Lady and the Tramp has a bulldog on the pound where Lady is taken. He's not vicious, just a little rough around the edges.
- About halfway through the film Gnomeo and Juliet, Gnomeo is actually dragged away to the William Shakespeare statue in the park by one of these.
- Averted in Rio where Luis the bulldog is actually friendly.
- Gamma from Up.
- 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."
- Averted with T-Bone from Clifford the Big Red Dog.
- Bulldogs are also extremely popular as sports mascots.
- The Cleveland Browns' official mascot may be a brownie, but it's more likely you'll see someone wearing the "Dawg" on his shirt, a big orange bulldog!
- There are also the Bulldogs who are the mascots of Yale, the University of Georgia, Gonzaga, Butler and the Citadel.
- 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 and act mean to hide their cowardice), with their most common ability being Intimidate. Funnily enough, they're also popular pets among fashion conscious young women.
- Muggshot from Sly Cooper 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.
- The Moblins in The Legend of Zelda, humanoid bulldogs that are occasional Mooks fought in the game.
- Spike and his son, Tyke, from Tom and Jerry.
- Spike and Hector from Looney Tunes.
- Butch from the Classic Disney Shorts.
- Butch from the MGM Tex Avery shorts starring Droopy.
- There was also the unnamed bulldog from the short "Bad Luck Blackie", as seen above.
- Another "Butch the bulldog" is small red one in a Gene Deitch short called "Shove Thy Neighbor".
- GT from Turbo Dogs.
- Subverted when Mr. Peabody was posing as the Yale bulldog, in order to cox a boatload of college rowers.
- 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 adaption.
- Bluto's eyepatch-wearing bulldog in the Popeye cartoon "Protek the Weakerist" and its remake, "Barking Dogs Don't Fite"
- Bandit from Jonny Quest appears to be a bulldog, though he's actually a bit of a scaredy cat.
- 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.
- Rock Bottom from the 1950s Felix the Cat TV Show
- Earl from Rocko's Modern Life.
- Ma-Mutt, Mumm-Ra's beloved pet/guard dog/minion from Thundercats.