A Guide to English Bulldogs: Puppies, Temperament, Diet, and More
Is the English Bulldog Right for You?
The English Bulldog has been a popular breed since the late 1800s and was initially bred for ferocity and courage. Since then, they have become a devoted and sweet member of the non-sporting group of dogs.
While owning a Bulldog can be very rewarding, you must be committed to meeting their particular needs. It won't be long before you realize that your dog is quite stubborn and doesn't like to listen. Even so, these dogs love to be with family and are generally good with children.
If you are still wondering if the Bulldog is right for you, then the best place to start is to get some books or do some research on the Internet about the English Bulldog. If you happen to know of someone that already has one, they're usually happy to answer any questions you may have about the breed.
Choosing Your First Puppy
Finding a reputable breeder is the only way to ensure that you will end up with a healthy pet. When you have done your homework on potential breeders, ask them if you can visit the puppies' parents in their home. Check out the conditions that they are kept in, and ask:
- Do the puppies seem clean and healthy?
- Do the breeders keep them in the house or are they left outside?
- Do they have kids or cats that the pups can socialize with?
- Are the litter mates kept together so they can play and learn from each other?
- Do they all have healthy appetites and are they free of all parasites?
After you confirm cleanliness and health, then it's time to take a look at them individually so you and your family can choose which one is right for you. Examine them one by one. Are they friendly or do they seem shy or hide in the corner?
Here's what to keep in mind when it comes to this breed's temperament:
- Even though they can look a little intimidating, they can also be very gentle with children.
- They are described as affectionate and dependable, but they're known for their courage and excellent guarding abilities.
- They are very hardheaded and don't give up very easily.
- They love people and need lots of attention. They will actually seek you out to get all they can get.
- They need an owner who knows how to display strong leadership and who understands alpha canine behavior. A Bulldog that knows his place in the human pack is nice and reliable with all people.
- They are good with other pets, but some can to be a little pushy with other dogs while trying to keep their place as leader of the pack.
- When they are young, they are full of energy, but they slow down as they get older.
- They snore very loudly, and most will drool and slobber.
- If yours displays guarding behaviors, such as guarding his toys or food, and shows signs of wanting to be the pack leader of other dogs, he needs to be shown that you are the pack leader and that he is to follow your lead.
Remember: The puppy you choose will be with your family for at least 10 to 12 years, so choose wisely and make sure you don't skimp on the training.
Size and Appearance
The general appearance of this breed is broad, powerful, and compact:
- The head is strikingly massive and seems to be a bit big for their body.
- They have short faces, while the muzzle is broad and blunt and inclines upward.
- The body is short and well-put-together, with limbs that are very strong and muscular.
- The hindquarters are high and strong but somewhat lighter compared to the heavier foreparts.
- They come in a variety of colors, such as red, fawn, brindle, pale yellow, and white.
- The size of yours is determined by genetics and the sex of your dog. A male at full maturity will weigh about 50 pounds, while a female will be about 40 pounds.
Diet and Grooming
English Bulldogs tend to be very high-maintenance. Special attention must be paid to their ears, coat, eyes, and wrinkles. How often you groom yours will depend on their specific needs. They can be bushed daily.
- As your dog gets older, you may see issues with the eyelids. You may notice the eyelids tend to roll inward or outward away from the eyeball. Some may require surgery.
- Brush your dog's teeth about three times a week, and look for toys that can help with canine dental health.
- Be careful not to bathe your dog too often. A bath up to two times a month is sufficient—any more can cause skin irritation.
- After weaning, your puppy's digestive system in not fully developed, giving him a reduced digestive capacity. Situations of high stress, as when being separated from his mother and litter mates, can play a big part in this situation.
- At this stage, it is important to feed food that is for high-energy working dogs. This will help your dog develop better digestive abilities and ensure the intake of both calcium and phosphorus, which are crucial at this stage.
- It is also important to not change the diet for the first 3 to 4 months. Doing this will help alleviate problems of diarrhea and other digestive issues. So when you first bring your dog home, plan on feeding him or her the same brand of food that the breeder was using.
- A balanced diet containing the essential nutrients in correct proportion, with plenty of fresh water, is all your adult dog will need.
- How often you feed your dog depends on your schedule. Some owners, because of working conditions, feed theirs only once a day, while some feed them two times a day. In my experience, when you feed your dog smaller portions throughout the day, it can help reduce the occurrence of flatulence and gastric torsion.
Common Health Issues
As with any other breed, there are a few health issues that you should know before you make your final decision. Keep in mind that dogs may be prone to:
- Heat illness
- Brachycephalic syndrome
- Vaginal hyperplasia
- Facial fold dermatitis
- Interdigital dermatitis
- Hip dysplasia
- Cherry eye
- Keratoconjunctivitis sicca
- Ventricular septal defect
- Tetralogy of Fallot
- Aortic stenosis
- Congenital elbow luxation
- Urethral prolapse
In addition to the above health issues, Bulldogs are prone to:
- Mast cell tumors
- Hair loss
- Elbow dysplasia
- Eyelid problems