Why Bulldogs Are So Wrinkly and When They Develop Wrinkles

Bulldogs, especially English Bulldogs, are famous for their adorable wrinkles. These folds of skin can be found all over their body, but they are most noticeable around their head and abdomen when they are sitting down. Have you ever wondered why Bulldogs have so many wrinkles? Well, let me tell you all about it!

The History of Bulldog Wrinkles

As with many dog breeds, Bulldogs have their wrinkles due to their historical origins and purpose. Bulldogs were originally bred as fighting dogs, used for bull baiting and fighting other dogs. Wrinkles were an advantageous trait for these dogs during fights. The loose skin and wrinkles allowed Bulldogs to move freely within their skin, even if their opponents had a hold of them. Additionally, the wrinkles acted as channels for blood to run down, keeping it out of their eyes during battles.

When Do Bulldogs Develop Wrinkles?

Wrinkles add to the irresistible charm of Bulldogs, but did you know that there is a developmental aspect to when these wrinkles appear? Let me walk you through the timeline:

When Bulldogs are born, they don’t have any wrinkles. However, as they age, wrinkles slowly begin to form. Around 4 to 5 weeks old, puppies start gaining enough fat under their skin, resulting in some minor wrinkles. These wrinkles will disappear around 24 weeks, only to reappear between 6 to 12 months.

Now you might be wondering why wrinkles come and go. Don’t worry, let’s take a closer look at the Bulldog’s developmental stages to understand when and why they develop wrinkles.

English Bulldog Puppy Development Stages

Similar to humans, Bulldogs go through various stages of development as they grow up. Here’s a breakdown of their developmental timeline:

  • 0 to 3 weeks: Bulldogs are born weighing around 8 pounds, and they have no visible wrinkles at this stage. Their fur pigment starts appearing around 1 week old, and their eyes open around 2 weeks.
  • 4 to 5 weeks: Puppies develop body fat under their skin, resulting in small and noticeable wrinkles.
  • 9 to 10 weeks: Bulldogs’ legs start getting longer, giving them a slightly awkward appearance. This is a natural development phase, although it may surprise new owners.
  • 16 to 24 weeks: Bulldogs reach their peak “gangly” phase, with long legs and a slimmer head. At this stage, they lose their initial wrinkles and might look a bit out of proportion. But don’t worry, this is perfectly normal.
  • 6 to 12 months: Bulldogs begin to resemble the traditional look of an English Bulldog. Their jaw starts jutting out, and they grow wider in stature, including their head, shoulders, and hips. It is during this period that their wrinkles start growing in, giving them the expected wrinkled appearance.
  • 18 months: At around a year and a half, Bulldogs are considered fully developed adults.

Do Bulldogs Get More Wrinkles as They Age?

While most Bulldogs retain the wrinkles they develop after 12 months of age, some may find their wrinkles becoming deeper as they grow older. It varies from dog to dog, so some Bulldogs may not become significantly wrinklier with age.

Do Bulldogs Grow Into Their Wrinkles?

Yes, Bulldogs do grow into their wrinkles. Between 6 and 12 months, you might notice Bulldogs starting to grow wrinkles but not filling out completely. Some Bulldogs may only fully grow into their wrinkles as late as 3 years old. Bulldogs are naturally wrinkly, and although they won’t become entirely smooth, they may develop more wrinkles as they mature, depending on the individual dog.

Why Do Some Bulldogs Have More Wrinkles Than Others?

The number of wrinkles on Bulldogs can vary from dog to dog and depends on several factors. Genetics, lineage, and the traits inherited from their parents can all influence the number of wrinkles a Bulldog has. Some Bulldogs naturally have more wrinkles than others.

Is There Such Thing as a Non-Wrinkly Bulldog?

In short, not really. Wrinkles are a defining feature of the Bulldog breed as a whole, and most Bulldogs, especially English Bulldogs, have at least some wrinkles, particularly around their face. However, other types of Bulldogs, like French and American Bulldogs, tend to have fewer wrinkles. Additionally, an overweight Bulldog may have more wrinkles due to the accumulation of fat. If you prefer a less wrinkly Bulldog, consider looking into French or American Bulldogs.

Caring for Bulldog Wrinkles

Bulldog wrinkles require proper care to prevent infections or discomfort for your furry friend. Here are some tips to keep those wrinkles healthy:

  • Regular Cleaning: Wipe your Bulldog’s wrinkles with warm water and use dog-friendly wipes to keep them clean. During bath time, make sure to get shampoo into the folds.
  • Drying is Essential: After cleaning, ensure that you dry the wrinkles and other skin folds thoroughly. Moisture trapped in the wrinkles can lead to infections.
  • Balance is Key: Avoid over-drying the wrinkles, as this can cause irritation and even promote yeast infections. If you are unsure about the process, consult your vet for guidance on cleaning and drying your Bulldog’s wrinkles.

Wrinkle Infections in Bulldogs

Bulldogs are prone to wrinkle infections, especially as they grow older. The folds of skin can trap dirt, mites, or cause injuries, resulting in unpleasant odors and discomfort for your dog. If you notice redness, odor, or excessive rubbing of the face, your Bulldog may have an infection. In such cases, it’s best to consult your vet for proper diagnosis and recommended treatments.


Bulldogs are known for their distinctive wrinkles, which add to their charm. The history and purpose of the breed explain why Bulldogs have wrinkles and when they develop. While most Bulldogs keep their wrinkles after 12 months, individual variations exist, and some Bulldogs may wrinkle more with age. Proper care and regular cleaning will help keep your Bulldog’s wrinkles healthy and free from infections. Remember, every Bulldog is unique, and the number of wrinkles can differ from dog to dog.

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