Ferdinand is the titular protagonist of the movie with the same name and the Children’s storybook which he originated from. He is a pacifist bull.
He is voiced by famous WWE wrestler and Internet meme icon John Cena who also voiced J.C. from Surf's Up 2 and John Cenastone from The Flintstones & WWE: Stone Age SmackDown!, Yoshi from Dolittle and Colin H. Murphy as his younger self.
Ferdinand is a sturdy, strong and handsome bull with smooth, smoky black skin. He has a wide, well-built, curved body completed with short legs and a tufted tail. A small amount of bushy, short, dark brown hair sits on his head. He is much bigger than the rest of the bulls. He has moderately long horns and bright blue eyes.
Bulls are known to be fighting machines, but Ferdinand is the opposite of that belief, hence his movie's caption "Built to fight, born to love." He is noticeable for being gentle, compassionate, and friendly by nature. By nature, Ferdinand is a pacifist; he despises violence and the meaning of bullfighting. He prefers calm and peaceful activities; he loves to sniff flowers; when he was with Nina and Juan ever since he was a calf, he goes to the annual flower festival every year. Even as a calf, he watered a flower at Casa del Toro, and would even go as far to protect them from the other calves, who teased and mocked him for his lack of fighting spirit. Having a conversation with his father about not fighting, he tells him that the world can't be what he, or others, want. Ferdinand also enjoys dancing; while growing up with Nina, the two learned to dance. This later shows up again when he showed off the horses after the three arrogantly claimed they are the best dancers.
A truly lovable bull, he exhibits his big heart and love for people, which is often displayed as adorable awkwardness and curiosity. At the flower festival, he peeked behind some balloons and made funny faces that made a baby laugh, and he asked the three hedgehogs if they had a brother name Tres. The three vowed to never speak of him, making the bull feel embarrassed. He watched in awe constantly and wondered about everything as he traveled around Spain.
With his clumsiness, due to his large physique when he grows up, he can cause havoc and damage, which are always an accident, as when Ferdinand was stung by a bee, he rampaged through the town, causing him to crash and destroy everything in his path, and when he found himself in a China shop, he tried to walk carefully; however, a sneeze caused him to destroy everything. This happened when he was brought back to Casa del Toro when he nearly squashed a bunny which nearly died of a heart attack when Ferdinand tumbled over and crashed into a water container that he got his horn stuck in just because he knocked Angus away when he was about to hit the bunny and later performed CPR on him. During the night he was about to escape, and he, along with Lupe, crushed El Primero's car, slipped on the kitchen floor, and crashed the three horses when he, Valiente, and Guapo escaped from the slaughterhouse.
Violence and bullfighting seem to make Ferdinand timid, as seen when he was being bullied by Valiente when they were calves. This was shown again at the bullfighting ring, as he slowly backed away when he was facing El Primero. Ferdinand only seems to be sensitive and insecure when others see him as just a bull that's violent and aggressive, as well as just judging him by his massive size. Ferdinand's childhood bullying coupled with the thought of his father never returning after being selected for being a bullfighter left him timid and wary around others; when he escaped from the ranch to a florist farm, he cowered upon being approached by Nina, a young girl; however, he soon warmed up to her after sniffing the flower she had on her head. Even when fully grown, Ferdinand still possesses this trait when it comes to confrontation, as when Valiente forces him to fight which resulted in him accidentally knocking off one of his horns.
Ferdinand seems to be a bit naïve; in his escape attempt, the hedgehogs told him to do exactly what they do when they were helping him escape, Ferdinand, misunderstood it and attempted to roll.
Ferdinand believes in individuality. Given his life at Nina's farm, Ferdinand holds up to where others can be themselves without being pushed around. He encourages the other bulls to where they can be who they are; this comes to light when Ferdinand shows off his dance skills to the three horses, and the other bulls joined in. Ferdinand also has a strong determination, holding up his belief in individuality and his resistance to be violent, even when faced with doubts from the public, being bullied by the other bulls, and cruelty towards bullfighting, even against El Primero. At the bullfighting ring, when Ferdinand was fighting El Primero, he dodged his attacks without fighting back, to where he even accidentally caught the red cape in his horns and made El Primero look like a fool, though unintentionally. However, when Ferdinand's shoulder was cut by one of Primero's banderillas, he retorted to being aggressive and got him by the horns, literally, although briefly, as when he sees a rose underneath his hoof and sees that he's being the fighter he was unwilling to be, he lets Primero live. This made the audience cheer for him to be spared, being moved by his gentle nature, to which even El Primero spared him and left with dignity.
Not only is Ferdinand kind, but he's also selfless and forgiving. One of the examples is during his escape; upon seeing the horns of other bulls mounted on the wall, he went back to save the other bulls. He also went to the slaughterhouse to save Valiente and Guapo, in spite of how the former cruelly treated him. He even wanted Lupe, the hedgehogs, and the bunny to come with him to Nina's farm, to where he wanted Lupe to feel love since the bull ranch was filled with hate, which the goat described it as being full of. Ferdinand is also loyal, as he selflessly sacrifices himself to be captured, allowing his fellow bulls, the bunny, and the hedgehogs to escape.
- Ferdinand's character design took a year and a half to complete, his fur alone taking three weeks.
- Ferdinand is the fourth Blue Sky Studios animal character to be a protagonist, after Manny from Ice Age, Horton the Elephant from Horton Hears a Who! and Blu from Rio.
- He is similar to the affable bull character "Aff" from the Picture These SAT Words series, as they are friendly bulls and suffer ridiculing from their fellow bulls.