The English Bulldog Loves People and Makes a Great Companion
The ancestors of the English bulldog were strong, fierce competitors in the sport of bull baiting. Fortunately for bulldog lovers, when bull baiting was deemed illegal, breeders developed the affectionate, patient, loyal and good-natured companion dogs of today.
The characteristic large heads, squashed faces and loose wrinkly skin as well as congenital problems complicate life for a bulldog.
• At the very birth of the bulldog, the first obstacle of life presents itself. The large head of the puppy often will not pass through the narrow pelvis of the mother so many bulldog births are by cesarean section.
• Bulldogs stand between 12 to 16 inches at the shoulder and should weigh about 50 lbs. This dog is compact and can easily pack on the pounds if his diet is not carefully monitored.
• Bulldogs can be prone to unpleasant smells from spontaneous expressing of anal glands and flatulence. Sometimes limiting or eliminating table scraps and feeding high fiber diets lessens the intensity, but most bulldog owners learn to live with the odors.
• The pushed in faces and turned up noses contribute to short breathing passages. This results in snoring, not a gentle purr but a full-blown buzz saw snore. The jowls and extra folds of skin hold water and saliva, which is flung far and wide when they shake their heads.
• Air conditioning in summer heat is recommended as the English bulldog is predisposed to overheating due to the square compact physique. This build is not conducive to buoyancy either, so care must be taken around swimming pools to prevent accidental drowning.
• Bulldogs can be prone to cherry eye, an inherited condition whereby a gland pops out from behind the dog’s third eyelid and requires surgery to correct it. Another common eye ailment is “dry eye” which necessitates daily administration of synthetic tears.
• The soft palate prevents food from entering the nasal cavity but an elongated soft palate in some bulldogs interferes with their breathing. The condition is corrected with surgery also.
• Skin and dietary allergies are common for bulldogs and special diets are often necessary to keep the dog comfortable.
• Hip and knee problems can occur as well.
Fortunately, some of the bulldog challenges can be avoided, or dealt with by regular attention.
Choosing a Healthy Bulldog
Reputable breeders are the best bet for purchasing a healthy puppy and referrals from bulldog owners is one resource. The Bulldog Club of America provides a referral list of breeders who enter into an ethical agreement with the club to be responsible breeders. Bulldog rescue groups rarely have puppies for adoption, but they do provide adult dogs and generally, all health and behavioral issues are identified so you know what you are getting.
The short hair of the English bulldog needs minimal brushing. Other grooming needs include:
• Toenails - Trimming is a necessary task and should be started as a puppy so he is accustomed to the process
• Facial wrinkles - need cleaning; daily is necessary for some dogs, others do well with a few times a week
• Backside - the wrinkles and crevices around the tail need to be cleaned as well. Baby wipes with aloe are a good choice for this task.
Other than cleaning the wrinkles, the grooming needs of bulldogs are minimal.
The English bulldog personality outshines all the physiological anomalies. They are wonderful family dogs as they have patience with children, and crave the attention of their human companions.
This dog is a great apartment pet as they are not prone to mindless yapping, in fact, barking is reserved for significant events known only to the bulldog. Their laid-back attitude and low energy level further suits them to apartment living.
Given the bull fighting history of the breed, not surprisingly, the bulldog may exhibit aggressive qualities. Bulldogs live to please their owners, so utilizing proper training techniques is successful in extinguishing the unwanted behaviors or in encouraging good behaviors.
Why Choose a Bulldog?
The average English bulldog lives from eight to ten years. The stately bulldog is a loyal and loving canine that provides quality companionship for their owners.