English Bulldog

A Quick Look at the English Bulldog…

The English Bulldog, not surprisingly, comes from Great Britain where its first use was in bull baiting – hence the name of the breed. Bull baiting by using dogs came to an end in 1935 when it was officially banned. However, the breed was so loved that it was continued, though its fighting characteristics were bred out until it was developed into a lovable, friendly companion dog.

Here are some fast facts about the English Bulldog:

og Group:
Mastiff, AKC Non-Sporting
Recognized By:
Dogs – 53 – 55 lbs. (24-25 kg)
Bitches – 49 – 51 lbs. (22-23 kg)
Dogs – 12 – 16 in. (31-40 cm)
Bitches – 12 – 16 in. (31-40 cm)
Average litter size:
4 – 5 puppies
Life expectancy:
7 to 10 years (average of 8 years)
Health problems:
Coat care:
Exercise needs:
Suitable for children:
Pet compatibility:
Barking frequency:

Brief History

Today’s English Bulldog comes from an ancestry that had a very different temperament, as it was created in order to be a skilled fighter in a gruesome blood sport. It was developed from an ancient breed called the Asiatic Mastiff, though it did not achieve its more vicious characteristics until it arrived in Great Britain. Once the bull baiting sport was banned, the breed was continued, though much more docile individuals among the dogs were preferred and bred.

English Bulldog Breed Appearance and Characteristic

General Appearance – Overall, English Bulldogs should look solid, compact, strong, and short in the body, with movements that are uniquely rolling; its walk is a cross between a shuffle and an amble at which it is highly skilled. Among the features for which it is best recognized is the loose, wrinkled skin, which is most noticeable around the shoulders, neck, and head. The dog has a very large head.

Typical Temperament – Some English Bulldogs are so friendly that they cannot fulfill a guard dog duty, but typically speaking, members of this breed are effectively on the watch and can be relied upon to give a frightening enough show for unwanted intruders. The English Bulldog remains friendly, but its behaviors can range from playful and silly to thoughtful or almost meditative. This dog craves attention and welcomes the opportunity to receive it, whether through performing tricks or wearing cute, funny, or attractive clothes and costumes.

The English Bulldog can also be quite strong willed and persistent. They do require some dominance training as they are often unwilling to give up once their minds are set on something. Training for obedience and proper “manners” is very important or the result will be frustration in both the human and the animal. Many individuals of this breed require an owner who knows how to show proper consistent leadership. Indications that a dog is being too dominant include guarding over food, toys, or furniture, or displays of aggressiveness.

Basic English Bulldog Care Requirements

Grooming – This type of dog has a smooth, soft, but coarse coat which is very easy to care for. Two to three times per week, a brushing with a stiff-bristled brush is all that is required. However, every day the face should be wiped with a damp cloth so that the spaces between the wrinkles remains clean. Every week, their wrinkles should be carefully washed with a soap-free hypo-allergenic cleanser meant for dogs (which must be thoroughly rinsed away. The areas between the wrinkles must remain very dry or rashes and serious skin problems can occur. If the vet feels that the area is not being properly dried, he or she may recommend dusting baby powder or cornstarch in the area, but this should not be done without a recommendation as over-dryness can also cause problems. Moisturizing with appropriate products may also become necessary if recommended by the veterinarian or groomer.

Exercise – English Bulldogs must be walked regularly as weight problems are chronic in this breed, which is naturally quite a sedate one. The English Bulldog will not simply give itself the exercise it needs and will need to be encouraged to play or take walks that will help to burn off energy and keep the weight down.

This being said, once they have been persuaded to move around, English Bulldogs can go for brisk but short walks and even a bit of rough play with owners or other dogs. Some individuals will prefer a longer, but slower paced walk. Be careful to keep an eye on the weather outside before taking an English Bulldog for a walk as they can suffer health problems and complications from being exercised in very cold or very hot weather. In extreme weather, keep the dog inside most of the time, including for exercise, preferably in a climate-controlled area.

Approximate Food Cost – Consuming in around 3 cups of a typical quality dry food every day, it will cost approximately $25 every month to feed the English Bulldog.

General Health Information

Since the dog’s shape and physical characteristics are so unique and odd for dogs in general, the English Bulldog does unfortunately face a large number of common potential health issues. Among the most common are dysplasia of the patella and the elbow. As these are problems for which a puppy’s risk can be determined by the breeder. It is recommended that potential owners insist upon these tests before adopting the puppy. Though hip dysplasia may also occur, it is a difficult condition to screen as the anatomy of this dog is so unique. As the skull of this dog is so large and their hips so small, English Bulldogs must be born by caesarian section. Artificial insemination is also often required as males often face difficulties mounting.

Common Illnesses include: Challenges in temperature regulation (heat and cold intolerances), inability of males to mount in mating, anascara, uterine inertia, birthing challenges, hip dysplasia, patellar dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, cherry eye, deafness, inherited metabolic liver defect, ventricular septal defect, skin mites (mange), and skin allergies.

Are You the Right English Bulldog Owner?

Living conditions – English Bulldogs are ideal for smaller homes such as apartments and condos. As long as they can enjoy a brisk short walk, a slow long walk, or a good play every day, they have all the exercise they need. They do enjoy the opportunity to roam free in a yard, though, so they certainly do not object to living in houses that have fenced yards in which to play. Temperate climates are best for English Bulldogs as heating and air conditioning are a necessity for this breed in any sort of weather extreme.

Training – English Bulldogs are quite smart but they are also very strong willed so while they are very trainable, it can take some time and persistence. They are very loyal, though, and seek the approval of the owner, so praise in positive reinforcement training can go a long way. Being gentle, firm, and consistent are key to success in training English Bulldogs. Raising the voice can be very upsetting to an English Bulldog and can cause him or her to withdraw, setting back training and leading to stubbornness.

Common Problems – The English Bulldog faces a number of different health problems of which the owner should become very aware even before adopting. There are also rigorous daily grooming requirements, especially in terms of keeping the wrinkles clean and adequately dried or serious health consequences can occur. The breed does not deal well in the cold and can suffer tremendously in the heat due to its unique physical construction and therefore must remain in a temperate climate or a climate controlled environment.

The bottom line…

The English Bulldog is a smart, loyal, and attention-loving breed with a short nose, stocky build, and wrinkles. They are funny, friendly, reliable, and loving, and are great pets due to their gentle natures. They get along well with children and other dogs and cats, as well as full-sized families. With proper training while the dog is young including dominance and obedience, the English Bulldog will live very happily and comfortably in a home with his or her family for many years.

Filed Under: English Bulldog Training


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