How to Draw a Bulldog

One of the most recognized kind of dog is the bulldog. You don’t even have to like dogs to know what this one looks like.  If you watched the cartoon Tom and Jerry, you probably remember the father and son characters Spike and Tyke. Spike, also referred to as Butch, is the big and muscular bulldog with the red studded collar who often beats up Tom. And his son, Tyke, was often underestimated by the cat and always end up being beaten by his Dad. It is usually portrayed as a strong bulky character in movies or cartoons, and there is a pretty good reason for it.

Here's an example of how to draw a bulldog.

  • Draw an oval for the base of the body and a sphere for the head.

This unique-looking bulldog has a relatively thick body and a wide head. the thickness of its body makes up for its relatively short height. To start, draw an oval for the body and a sphere with reference lines for the head. Due to the position of the dog, the sphere should slightly overlap the oval (foreshortening the neck).

  • Draw the short yet thick legs of the bulldog.

Due to its thick body, the legs are widely separated from each other. The front legs are usually slightly slanted so its short legs could support its heavy body. Add four oblongs to represent the four legs. Position each oblong accordingly, without any one of them being in contact of each other (specially in this angle).

  • Draw the face.

The facial features of a bulldog are quite distinct. The loose skin on its short muzzle turns it into somewhat an inverted heart shape or simply a triangular sphere with a slope at the lower side. Use the reference lines as a guide for positioning the facial features. The mouth is cast downwards like an inverted ‘U’. because of the angle and the short muzzle, the nose would appear closer to the eyes. The ears diagonally aligned to the eyes are usually either crumpled or folded.

  • Draw a slanted line from the back of the dog and to back of the head, this would thicken the neck. Define the outline properly once all parts are placed (including the very short tail which is barely seen in this angle.)

  • Add some details portraying the loose skin of the bulldog.

Put a few thin lines to convey the ridges and folds of the body, especially on the face. The skin fold on top of the bulldog’s nose is what gives the muzzle its shape. Define the thick brow line that gives the face a bit of a frowned expression. Add a few more short lines on the forehead as wrinkles, and some on the chest as well.

  • Retrace your pencil outlines.

Re-define the main outlines of the dog’s figure with a pen or any fine point marker. Remember that you should only use thin line marks for the inner outlines of the body (the wrinkles and the skin folds).

Once you are done inking, erase all the pencil markings so you'll be left with only the important outlines.

  • Add some shades to the body to define its dimensions.

Use a gray color to add shades on the inner edges of the figure’s outline, and also on the overshadowed portions such as the farther legs. 

And then add a very thin layer of shading to the body to convey the dimensions. Basically, the shades should lighten until it diminishes when it reaches the areas that should be brighter due to its curved surface (central area of the body and legs). On the head, remember that the folds and the ridges should have a brighter tone from the face to emphasize it.

  • Apply the body details.

Bulldogs varies in different colors and color patterns. The colors are different shades and distributions of red (which is basically brownish orange), black and white. They could have two to three colors on their body, and there are also those that are solid or single toned. the color patterns also vary from two to three colors of brindled colors (combination of two colors) and face markings or piebald patterns (patches of a different color on a base color). The most common color pattern is a two toned bulldog with a base color of white and large patches of a different color.


Since you already applied shades on the body, it can already be considered as a white base color and you only need to apply the patches next.

Start with a light tone of a second color. For a brown tone, you can use something like a cedar brown. Use this to place where you want the patches to be. For the mid tone, apply something like a mocha brown. To establish the curves or dimensions of the areas that the patches are covering, apply a darker tone like umber brown coming from the outlines of the figure.


  • Make your finishing touches and color the other small portions that are left, such as the facial features, and you’re done drawing a bulldog.

More examples are available in the book "How to Draw Dogs for Kids".

This book contains several examples about drawing different kinds of dogs, with each little step carefully explained so the young reader could easily follow through. From composing the figure using a combination of simple shapes, and up to applying the colors. The steps are designed in a way that can be applied to either digital drawing (drawing on a tablet) or traditionally (drawing on a paper). 



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