So you are thinking of getting an English Bulldog, eh? That is wonderful news! English Bulldogs are wonderful companions, and becoming a "Bully Lover" will completely change you and your life - forever!
You can research, you can read, you can dive into books and internet for information. You can learn all about English Bulldogs, read a lot of scary health articles, funny stories, but nothing can ever prepare you for actually owning one.
Society has become very accepted when dismissing their pets so it is very important you understand what may lie ahead in your future Bulldog ownership. I have written this article from my own personal experience of being a Bulldog owner of 20 years. I not only want to prepare you with the best parts of being a Bulldog owner, but I want to also prepare you for the worst!
The first thing I tell anyone who wants an English Bulldog is that they are just like having kids, and Bulldogs are in no way an easy pet to own. But, a Bulldog will repay you with plenty of love and affection!
When I describe them as being like kids, I am describing how bulldogs are very human-like. They are not as obedient as most breeds, because they seem to have the ability to "make choices". This quality, to me, makes them more special and endearing. They are loyal and loving, and they absolutely love their human companionship. Many people think of bulldogs as lazy couch potatoes, which is true.... but not until they are completely out of the puppy stage. Puppies are very active, playful, and destructive, so your role as the owner, as well as a trainer, is a very important one. You may also want to consider giving a home to a rescued Bulldog. Adult Bulldogs from rescues are wonderful companions, many are already trained, and just want a comfortable spot to snooze in, food and most importantly, love.
Indoor crate training usually works very well with Bulldogs. They have jaws of steel and can destroy furniture and toys in minutes, so even a quick trip to the store can have very destructive results as you may discover when you get home! They should be supervised as much as possible, especially during their first year. They can also swallow very large objects due to the shape of their mouths, so anything that is the size of their mouth should not be within their reach. Obstructions are very common with Bulldogs.
Overheating is one of the leading causes of death in English Bulldogs. Even in cool temperatures, on a nice day outside, they can overheat if they lay in the sun too long. An English Bulldog should NEVER be housed outdoors.
Don't you just love those cute squishy wrinkles? They are so darling, but with those wrinkles comes many days in your future of keeping them clean and dry. Bulldogs can also have something that is called a tail pocket
, that needs to be cleaned regularly. They shed quite a bit, so brushing and a good diet should be at the top of your list, as well as a good vacuum. The better the diet and more brushing they get, the less they shed. They do blow their coats twice a year, at this time the hair can seem endless! Some Bulldogs shed more than others, and a few of my Bulldogs don't shed much at all unless they are blowing their coat.
Stairs and jumping should be avoided as much as possible with Bulldogs. This very much does depend on their build, many bulldogs these days have a more lean and athletic build, and seem to do fine with stairs and jumping. However, Bulldogs who are very thick boned and have a very heavy girth in front can cause severe damage when they jump down from high places. Especially while they are young and their bones are still soft. You may not see any trauma from small undetected injuries until they become older. Jumping can also cause torn ligaments and the surgeries for these issues are not only expensive, but the recovery is also a very long and slow process. Assisting your Bulldog up and down from high places (like an SUV/Truck, couch, bed) is always a good idea.
Bulldogs can easily have skin issues, so a good diet and regular grooming is key to keeping them healthy and happy. Allergies are also very common in Bulldogs. Other common conditions are eye issues, such as entropion, ulcers and cherry eye. The most common problems deal with yeast or bacterial infections in the wrinkles. It is always a good idea to consider getting pet insurance when you get an English Bulldog, and if you are lucky enough to never use it, that is a good thing. The more you read the experiences of members here on EBN, the more you can learn and avoid trips to the vet. Anytime you have a question, please create a new topic or search for an existing one, we are here to help each other care for our bully babies.
Bulldogs vs. Children
The best way I can describe what it is like to be owned by a Bulldog, is comparing them to a young child or toddler. I know not everyone has had children, but this can prepare you for having both!
This will probably make a few Bulldog owners giggle but I am completely serious. They are little humans trapped in fur!
Let's do some side by side comparisons, shall we?
•Children spill their drink and leave drip marks all over your floor
Bulldogs spill their drink and leave drip marks all over your floor
•Children leave fingerprints on walls, windows, mirrors and doors
Bulldogs leave slobber marks on walls, windows, mirrors and doors
•Children make you laugh and smile because they just do cute stuff that you just are not expecting
Bulldogs make you laugh and smile because they just do cute stuff that you just are not expecting
•You sometimes have to clean very gross areas on your children, including cracks, ears, between toes and more
You sometimes have to clean very gross areas on your Bulldog, including cracks, ears, between toes and more
•You have to bathe your children and brush them.
You have to bathe your bulldog and brush them.
•You have to feed your children good nutritious meals, and lay off the junk food. It is your responsibility to keep them on a good healthy diet.
You have to feed your bulldog good nutritious meals, and lay off the junk food. It is your responsibility to keep them on a good healthy diet.
•You have to guide and teach your young children, they don't know or understand the difference between right and wrong without you.
You also have to guide and teach your bulldog, they don't know or understand the difference between right and wrong without you.
•You have to potty train your child, and during this time, they may accidentally pee in their bed.
You have to potty train your Bulldog puppy, and during this time, they may accidentally pee in their bed.
•You have to change a child's diapers and clean up the poop.
You have to take a Bulldog out to potty and clean up the poop.
•You have to make sure your child gets some form of exercise so they don't become overweight couch potatoes.
You have to make sure your Bulldog gets some form of exercise so they don't become overweight couch potatoes.
•You need to give your child plenty of love and affection so they grow confident and well socialized.
You need to give your Bulldog plenty of love and affection so they grow confident and well socialized.
•You have to bring your child to the doctor and make sure they are current on their vaccinations.
You have to bring your Bulldog to the vet and make sure they are current on their vaccinations.
•You have to regularly groom your child's nails.
You have to regularly groom your Bulldog's nails.
•Your children live in your home, where they are kept in comfortable living conditions.
Bulldogs must also live in your home, where they are kept warm or cool. They are not to be kept outdoors.
•Children are so stubborn! They do what they want, when they want, and need much guidance to understand that it is "your home and your rules". They know what the rules are, they just don't always find it convenient to follow them.
Bulldogs are also so stubborn! They do what they want, when they want, and need much guidance to understand that it is "your home and your rules". They know what the rules are, they just don't always find it convenient to follow them.
•Many Children learn well with positive reinforcement. Negative reinforcement many times do not help improve bad behaviors.
Bulldogs learn well with positive reinforcement. Negative reinforcement many times does not help improve bad behaviors.
Treats and Praise is the best way to train your bulldog.
If you're ready for all the above, then you're ready for an English Bulldog!