Interested in becoming the owner of an English Bulldog? Here is a brief overview of the English Bulldog, and what it is like to own one.
English Bulldogs have a very good temperament. They are very friendly and loyal. They are loving to their owners and families, and will always give you a good laugh with their quirky personalities.
If an English Bulldog becomes aggressive, there may be an underlying cause such as poor training, medical issues, emotional triggers or bad breeding.
If you wish to have a dog that is very protective, this is probably not the dog for you. They do not make the best guard dogs. However, if there is something not right- your bulldog will be sure to let you know. Many bulldogs become so in tune with their environment and their routine, they will bark at the strange box your mailman has dropped off just because it does not 'belong' there!
While they are puppies, they will bite & chew, and this is normal. They are actually teething, and it feels good to them to bite on everything, even you! As with all dogs, redirection during teething time will help this behavior.
While most bulldogs are very lazy, you may not notice this behavior until they are two or three years old. As puppies and young adults, bulldogs love to play and are frequently active. If they continue to enjoy activities, they may remain active for most of their lives, but most will become big piles of wrinkles laying in a comfortable spot, usually close to their owner. So while many see the bulldog as a great "lazy" dog, they are not necessary couch potatoes for a long time.
Bulldogs are not in the highest level of intelligence when it comes to dogs, (ranked 77 of 79 on Stanley Coren's Intellegence of dogs). Those of us who own bulldogs will beg to differ! These rankings are based upon doing work, listening and doing commands and training. The difference between a bulldog and another high ranking dog would be that the bulldog makes a choice. It does not necessarily heed your command unless they want to. For example, you instruct your bulldog to do something. They know the command, they understand what you want. They just have to think about it first.
Here is a typical day at my house:
"C'mon Molly, it's time to go outside to go potty.", I say.
"Hmmmmm, I do need to go potty, but I'm not too sure I want to get off the couch.", says Molly. "Because I am very comfortable right now."
"Molly, c'mon, lets go outside. C'mon. Let's go. Let's go. Let's go, chop chop, move them hamhocks girlie!", I continue to cheer her on.
"Okay, mom is not going to let me be. Obviously..... *sigh*, okay, okay, fine!" says Molly as she slowly lifts her body off the couch and then walks as slow as possible to the door.
Molly then turns back to look at the couch, and then at me, with as much stink eye as she can give, to gently remind me that she has been disturbed from her spot.
Once that is over, she wiggles her bottom, does a little dance around my feet and runs outside for a potty break.
Bulldogs make Choices. This, in my personal opinion, does not make them dumb. To the contrary, I think it makes them even more intelligent.
This is also what makes them so wonderful, because when they make these choices they really show how much they are just like humans. A well trained bulldog will likely be as wonderful of a worker as another smart breed, but most bulldogs are thoughtful, kind, and you can see they are thinking about things. If their owner is sick or not feeling well, they won't leave their side. If you are crying, they are there licking up your tears. If you are laughing, they are probably the center of your attention.
Bulldogs are great pets, even for houses with small children or the elderly. With one exception being is that sometimes they do not realize their own brute strength, so accidents can occur because of their weight and size. My bulldogs are members of our home, and never hurt our children, even the little babies. Proper training around young children is essential.
English Bulldogs require daily care. They are very friendly dogs, and require plenty of love and attention from their "humans". This is not a dog that should be living anywhere but in the home with their family, and should have plenty of time to spend with its owners on a daily basis.
Wrinkles should be looked at and wiped out daily with a nice clean, warm washcloth and dried. Ears should be cleaned out when you give them a bath. I recommend a bath every 2-4 weeks or when they start to smell. Over bathing can lead to dry skin. Use good quality hypoallergenic or natural shampoo and conditioner so they do not get dried out and start itching. If you are not ready for daily wrinkle wipes and sometimes bum wipes, this is not the breed for you.
Bulldogs tend to have allergies to many foods, even bulldogs from the very best bloodlines. Giving your bulldog a good high quality dog food is highly recommended. Do not get processed foods from the grocery store! Please visit our forums to see what other bully owners are recommending, as this is the #1 thing you can do for your new bully.
Bulldogs should be primarily indoors. If you wish to have an outdoor dog, you will need to choose a different breed. Bulldogs can get easily overheated, even in the mildest of weather conditions. They love to sun bathe, and need plenty of water. They should not be left outdoors in the sun for long periods of time. Many bulldog owners lose their bulldogs due to this tragedy.
One problem- or blessing, whichever you wish to call it with bulldogs is that they are so darn tough!!! If something is wrong with them, you will not know unless you are paying attention. They need you to watch over them, keep them from harm. You do not want your bully to get overheated, and you want to make sure they eat and drink enough everyday, just as you would for a child. Bulldogs tend to just keep going, and if YOU forget to feed them, or if YOU forget to give them water, they will most likely not even remind you, or show any obvious signs of hunger or thirst. If they get too hot, they will pant, but they will not get out of the sun. Even bulldogs who have just had major surgery are ready to play the very next day. So then you have to keep them isolated so they will relax.
Look for signs of odd behaviors. If they are hurt or sick, you will not know unless you are paying attention. Things they do not do normally, like try to reach or itch somewhere. The biggest clue there is something wrong would be not eating or drinking, as most bulldogs will never miss a meal. Ever.
English Bulldogs have many common health issues. Most reputable breeders try to breed these problems out of their lines, to reduce the likelyhood of their occurrence. Here is a list of common issues.
- Cherry Eye
- Brachycephalic Syndrome
- Elongated Soft Palate
- Tracheal Stenosis
- Eye Problems
- Hip Displyasia
Quoted from the AKC.org webiste:
In 1835 dog fighting as a sport became illegal in England. Therefore, the English Bulldog had outlived his usefulness and his days were numbered. However, there were dog lovers who felt deep disappointment at the passing of the breed, and they set themselves the task of preserving it. They proceeded to eliminate the undesirable fierce characteristics and to preserve and accentuate the finer qualities. Within a few generations, the English Bulldog became one of the finest physical specimens, minus its original viciousness.
We may be justly proud of the Bulldog we know today, and we must express our gratitude to our British cousins, who realized the value of the English Bull sufficiently to preserve him for posterity.
This video is of the Breed Standard in the UK, it is very informative. The breed weight differs in the USA, where the weight should be around 45lbs for a female and 55lbs for a male.
If you would like to show your English Bulldog in the ring, here is the Official Illustrated Bulldog Standard from the Bulldog Club of America. An excellent resource. BREED STANDARD
Whether you plan or rescuing or getting a puppy, doing your research prior to choosing an English Bulldog is very important. Please visit the following links for more information on buying or adopting your new friend for life.