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Bulldog Tattoo Designs, Meanings, and Ideas

Richard Hale is a tattoo enthusiast who studies and researches tattoo symbolism, meanings, and history.

All about the bulldog tattoo.

All about the bulldog tattoo.

Bulldog Tattoos: Which Country Do They Represent?

Bulldog tattoos are often chosen by those who wish to represent their English pride and heritage. In this case, the ink might also depict the flag of England or other symbols tied to England, like St. George's cross, a red rose, or the Three Lions crest.

Since the bulldog was originally bred in England, it has become a national symbol. The BBC called them "a national icon, symbolising pluck and determination."

The bulldog might also be a symbol of the United States Marine Corps. During battles in World War I, Germans referred to the US Marines as "devil dogs." The Marines relished the symbolism and began using the bulldog in recruiting ads for the USMC. For this reason, a bulldog tattoo is a common choice for US Marines. The USMC bulldog is one of the most recognized symbols in the military.

What Does a Bulldog Tattoo Mean or Represent?

Besides England and the USMC, the bulldog tattoo can represent several other meanings, such as:

  • patience
  • tenacity
  • defiance
  • family
  • strength
  • courage
  • toughness
  • determination

But remember, in the end, your tattoo symbolizes what you want it to.

Where Does the Bulldog Come From?

The bulldog is a popular breed from England (the Olde English Bulldogge), but there are many bulldog species including the American, French, and Australian bulldog. They're all rather muscular, barrel-chested and heavy dogs with short legs, a wrinkled face, and a distinctive pushed-in nose that looks like a boxer's.

Before you get your tattoo, you'll want to peruse the different kinds of bulldogs and make sure you choose the one that appeals most.

Bulldogs in Sports

The bulldog is also a common symbol for a variety of sports teams, worldwide. In the US, the bulldog is a symbol of the Citadel, University of Georgia, Fresno State, Georgetown, and Yale. In total, there are over 30 different universities that use the bulldog as a school symbol. If you go to one of these schools or you are a fan of the team, you might choose this design.

What Does "Bulldog" Mean?

"Bulldog" is a verb that means to wrestle and hold something to the ground. The word "bull" was used to describe this breed because it was originally used in the sport of bull-baiting, a gambling game. Dogs with powerful, stocky bodies and huge heads and jaws did well at this "sport." They would sic many of these dogs onto a tethered bull in a ring. The one that pinned the bull to the ground won.

Bulldog Tattoo Design Ideas

  • You could go for the look of the English bulldog or perhaps you like the look of the French or Continental one. Make sure you know the difference before you get inked.
  • You might choose a realistic version or a cartoon style.
  • Bulldog tattoos often portray the dog looking tough, without fear.
  • These designs often include symbols and elements of England, like roses, flags, or a coat of arms.
  • Those portraying the USMC may include the American flag, ranks, class, or even guns.
  • Bulldog owners or breeders (anyone who loves these beautiful dogs) may get a portrait of their prized pet tattooed on them. You may have a special bulldog that has been there for you during hard times. If you're considering this route, do make sure to take a photo with you.

Research Is Important

Before you get any tattoo, make sure you take the time to research what you want. Don't rush to get inked! Those that rush to get tattooed on an impulse usually regret it later in life. If you are not completely sure, give it time. Thanks for your visit.


Richard Ricky Hale (author) from West Virginia on September 29, 2012:










Appreciate all of you for stopping by and commenting. I don't know KJ. I am going for a complete series. I still have 50 or so in mind, plus probably many more. I plan to mix other things up and starting on my dreams again so I don't know just yet. For now, forward.

Brenda Barnes from America-Broken But Still Beautiful on September 04, 2012:

These are nice. I love bulldogs and actually have a bulldog nephew. He is my human nephew's dog and id hilarious. Thanks for this Hub. It is fun and interesting.

Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on September 03, 2012:

It's interesting that while many of these tattoos look fierce, a lot of them portray bulldogs as cute and sometimes comical. Voting this Up and Beautiful.

Gypsy Rose Lee from Daytona Beach, Florida on September 03, 2012:

Awesome tattoos. Voted up.

Alastar Packer from North Carolina on September 03, 2012:

That was some good info to know on the US Marine history, Ricky. English symbol, U of Georgia mascot, bull-baiting, all of it. There was, is rather, a special breed called a Georgia Tiger dog I'd love to see a tat of sometime. Dig how you always remind folk not to rush in to a tat- bravo my friend. Up use n inter!

Thomas Silvia from Massachusetts on September 02, 2012:

Hi my friend great hub on Bulldog tattoos, they all looked so beautiful in the photos .

Well done and vote up and more !!!

Rosemary Sadler from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand on September 01, 2012:

Interesting facts Ricky, I think the bulldog is a perfect symbol for the marines. The tattoos are awesome

Voting up and more

Dianna Mendez on September 01, 2012:

These are amusing, especially the bulldog in sports photos. What a cute way to make these lovable dogs stand out.

kjforce from Florida on September 01, 2012:

thelyricwriter...You finally did it...This hub was a " DOG " are broadening my level of knowledge with your information...nice pics though and thanks to you I have subjects for conversation for the next dinner party I attend..

nice long do you think you can continue ? enjoy your week-end

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on September 01, 2012:

I can hear the Beatles singing "Hey Bulldog" as I read this. Very interesting as always. Good job my friend!

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