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Is an English Bulldog Right for You?

        
          

The quest to find the perfect dog breed for your family can be difficult.  Pet owners should match activity level, space requirements, and trainability with their individual needs.  Listed here are considerations pet owners should make before purchasing or adopting a Bulldog. 

Cost

English bulldogs are among the most expensive of breeds because of the cost that goes into their health and care.  A well-bred Bulldog will cost $1,500 – $4,000.  Potential Bulldog owners should ask themselves whether they are willing to pay this price, as a poorly-bred Bulldog may be prone to a myriad of serious (and expensive) health problems. 

Why is the cost so high?  Part of the reason is that English Bulldogs have a difficult time reproducing.  This breed is known for having an exceptionally wide head and body.  Adult Bulldogs are unable to reproduce naturally, and therefore must be artificially inseminated.  Additionally, it is rare for a female Bulldog to give birth to a litter of puppies naturally.  Instead, nearly all Bulldog puppies are born via Cesarean section, which can be dangerous for the mother.

Temperament

A well-bred English bulldog will have the temperament of a “gentle giant.”  Per their breed standard, Bulldogs should be docile, gregarious, willful, and friendly.  In this regard, Bulldogs can be good companions for first time dog owners.  Although puppies can be energetic, adult bulldogs are generally quiet and calm.  However, it should be noted that many Bulldogs exhibit guarding tendencies over their food bowls, so this breed should not be fed in the presence of children or other animals. 

Good with Kids?

English bulldogs are extremely good companions for children.  Their patience is unparalleled, and they are extremely tolerant of well-mannered kids. 

Good with Dogs?

In general, English Bulldogs get along well with other dogs.  However, some male Bulldogs may clash with other male dogs.  Given their strong jaws and steely resolve, extreme care should be taken when introducing male Bulldogs to other male pets until the animal’s personality is fully understood.

Grooming and Care

English Bulldogs have a short, easy-to-care-for coat.  Their grooming needs are generally minimal.  However, they do shed heavily which can exacerbate human allergies.  One grooming consideration, however, is the English Bulldog’s wrinkles.  These wrinkles are prone to yeast infections, and sometimes require frequent cleaning with a medicated wash or ointment.  In addition, English Bulldogs drool profusely, particularly after eating or drinking. 

Breed-Specific Legislation

Potential English Bulldog owners should beware that this breed is sometimes prohibited by landlords under the guise of breed-specific legislation.  Always check with a landlord, rental property owner, or home owner’s association before bringing home any bully breed.  Some towns and cities even outright ban the ownership of Bulldogs, regardless of whether you own your home.              

Training

Like all dogs, English Bulldogs should undergo obedience training.  This breed can be extremely stubborn, so patience and diligence are required.  Otherwise, Bulldogs can be easy to train when properly motivated. 

Exercise

English Bulldogs are largely exercise-intolerant.  This condition is due to their Brachycephalic nature and shortened airways.  In addition, many English Bulldogs are prone to overheating and suffer from joint problems.  Even well-bred Bulldogs do not tolerate exercise well.  For this reason, English Bulldogs are best for families that are not highly active and do not live in hot climates.  Most Bulldogs only require 1 – 2 short walks per day. 

Health

The most stressful component of owning an English Bulldog is the potential for poor health.  In fact, the Bulldog breed is the most expensive to insure, due to the sheer number of claims made each year.  Common health problems for this breed include:

Respiratory problems 

Since Bulldogs are bred to have short noses with squished faces, they often have difficulty breathing.  Many English Bulldogs are unable to exercise and have poor heat tolerance for this reason. 

Skin Allergies and Conditions

Due to their excessive skin folds and the poor breeding habits of many breeders, English Bulldogs suffer a higher rate of allergies and skin conditions.  Eczema, acne, dry skin, itchy skin, and yeast infections are all common for this breed.

Arthritis / Hip Dysplasia

English Bulldogs are bred to have large, muscled bodies.  However, their bones and joints are not always able to support the additional weight.  Additionally, Bulldogs are bred to have frames that are much wider than the average dog’s, which places undue strain on joints.  Arthritis and hip dysplasia are two problems that many Bulldogs face. 

Cancer 

Researchers estimate that English Bulldogs suffer from cancer at a higher rate than any other dog breed, including Golden Retrievers.  Mast cell tumors are most common type of cancer in English Bulldogs. 

Due to these common health problems, English Bulldogs have an average life expectancy of 8 years. 

Overall

English Bulldogs are gentle dogs that have minimal exercise and grooming needs.  However, they require pet owners who fully understand the potential drawbacks of this breed.  In addition, Bulldog parents should have the financial means required to pay for common medical problems that arise. 

Check out other dog breed specific information, and find the one who fits you best.

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Anna Weber

Anna Weber

As a life-long dog owner and animal lover I have dedicated my adult life to rescuing and fostering dogs, particularly seniors and behaviorally at-risk animals.I believe that nearly every animal can be rehabilitated with love, kindness, training, and proper exercise.
Anna Weber

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