British Bulldog: Ultimate Breed Guide (2020)
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Are you looking to buy or adopt a British bulldog puppy? Perhaps you already are the proud parent of this spirited and feisty dog with a unique personality and wish to know more about its upbringing. In any case, you’ve come to the right place!
We will tell you everything you need to know about the British Bulldog breed.
The name bulldog is actually misleading, for this breed is a big ‘softy’! Bulldogs, with all their wrinkles and that stocky appearance may look like tough bullies. In reality; they are loyal, loving and affectionate dogs that, when trained properly, can become a loving member of the family.
If those wrinkles and pushed-in nose makes the bulldog have a gruff appearance, read on to find out whether this sweet-natured dog is right for your household.
Most potential dog parents want to know if their English bulldog will adapt to their household. Here are some factors that can help you decide whether the Bulldog (or Bully for short) is right for you:
British Bulldogs are brachycephalic. This implies that their short punched in muzzles can lead to breathing problems. Don’t expect your bulldog to be your jogging companion. He certainly won’t accompany you on your jogs. This gives them 1 star out of 5 as potential pets for athletic or active dog owners.
Bulldogs make excellent companion dogs for moderately active people as well as for seniors or elderly people who are mostly at home. Having said that, they still need their twice-daily walks to keep them healthy and fit. 5 on 5 stars for their status as pets for the laid back couch potato!
Bulldogs get 1 out of 5 stars for adaptability to hot areas. This dog breed is extremely susceptible to heat strokes in summers and especially when they are over-exercised. They are best-suited to cool weather and don’t really care if it rains or snows. 5 on 5 for cold weather pets!
Grooming a British Bulldog is a weekly chore. Their coat does not shed too much but you still need to wipe down those wrinkles. Failure to do so can lead to severe skin infections. 3 out of 5 stars for grooming needs.
All Around Friendliness
British bulldogs get 5 out of 5 stars for overall friendliness. They are considered a great companion breed and are extremely affectionate, gentle, and loving.
With children, British bulldogs are quite friendly and they will love spending time with their little humans. They won’t necessarily play a game of fetch with them, but an occasional game of tag and daily walks with the family are certainly activities they enjoy. 5 out of 5 stars for kid-friendliness.
Bulldogs maintain a sweet and even temperament with most people and that includes strangers as well. They may appear a bit aloof with them in the beginning, but once they see that their owners are comfortable, they can make them feel welcome. They won’t hesitate to defend their territory from unwanted people. 4 out of 5 stars for their ability to bond quickly with strangers.
If your British Bulldog is to join other pets in the family, make sure you socialize them from an early age to other pets. You could try getting dogs of the opposite sex. While bulldogs get along well with the members of the same sex, they could fight later on for a mate or even for attention from the owners. That could pose problems later. Since bulldogs don’t have a high-prey drive, they get along well with rabbits, cats, squirrels, and other small domestic pets. 5 out of 5 stars for other pet-friendliness.
Health and Grooming Needs
A bulldog isn’t high-maintenance, but it does need more care than you may think. Overall, they rate 3 out 5 stars for grooming and health-related issues.
The short hair does not need too much brushing but they do shed once a year. The wrinkles are a huge concern. They must be wiped daily otherwise they could accumulate dirt, drool, and allergens, leading to skin problems. Overall, the British bulldog gets 2 out of 5 stars for grooming needs as they are high maintenance in this aspect.
Drooling is a huge concern as well. They make a huge mess while eating food and also tend to drool all over the place. They get 1 star out of 5 for neatness; certainly not a dog for those neatness freaks!
Flatulence is one more issue in these dogs. So, they can raise quite a stink! Other health problems include the brachycephalic syndrome, snoring, and stenotic nares or pinched nostrils. Many British bulldogs have this condition which could require treatment. Overall, they get about 2/5 stars for having many health issues.
Bulldogs also tend to gain weight very easily. So watch what you feed them. They are not overly active dogs and they tend to get overheated when over-exercised. Therefore, diet control is very important. Be strict with your Bully and do not give in to begging. We give them 3 out of 5 stars for their tendency to weight gain.
You cannot force your Bulldog to do anything. He is bred to be single-minded and unyielding to rough-handling. Fighting with your Bully can aggravate breathing problems. Overall; he gets 3 out of 5 stars for trainability as he can be a stubborn and slow student.
The English bulldog was originally the butcher’s companion used to subdue cattle before slaughter. Later on, these dogs were bred for bull-baiting. All in all; they aren’t specifically bred for trainability and are smart and think for themselves. For their intelligence, we give them 5 out of 5 stars.
They are independent thinkers but they also love attention and approval of their owners. So we give them 4 out of 5 stars for being loyal. Give them a reason why they are supposed to do what it is you want them to do, and they just might obey!
They do not have a high prey-drive, so they won’t be chasing other animals. For this reason, they can live happily with other pets. 5 out of 5 stars for getting along well with other animals!
British bulldogs, when trained properly, will make faithful companions. But, their appearance is certainly worse than their disposition. A Bully is reliable in temper and quite sociable. 5 out of 5 stars for gentle, reliable temperament!
He is not much liable to run away, jump or dig under the fence. 5 out of 5 stars for not having the tendency to run away and escape.
Physical Needs of the British Bulldog
The British bulldog is classified as non-sporting or a companion dog-breed. This means that he loves humans and wants to be with his loved ones. He is content sleeping all day next to his owners or even go for family activities. Young bulldog puppies are energetic and lively but tend to slow down with age.
The Bully can live in any sized house: a small apartment to a large mansion. He doesn’t need much space and is content to sleep anywhere as long as he is close to his master. This is a low energy dog. So if you are an inactive owner, you will love this breed and give them 5/5 stars for low exercise needs.
Though he would prefer not to exercise at all, you must still take your British Bulldog for a walk once or twice a day. This is needed to keep them fit and healthy. 1 out of 5 stars for intensity, zeal, and vigor.
A Bully loves to be with kids. However, you cannot force him to play tag or fetch with them. He would still enjoy a pack walk with his humans. 5 on 5 for bonding with the family members and wanting to be a part of the family.
Bullies will not try to escape from the yard or chase a scent like bloodhounds do. We have already given him 5 on 5 stars for not running away. So you needn’t secure those fences and yards.
A bulldog cannot go outside jogging with you. Nor can he stay indoors in very hot weather for prolonged periods of time. This is not meant to be an outdoorsy dog; rather he needs to stay in a climate controlled environment. They overheat easily which can be fatal.
History of the British Bulldog
Once bred for the cruel sport of bull-baiting, the British bulldog of today is a popular house-pet. The 13th century British/English bulldog was nothing like the ones we see today in households and show rings. The earlier dogs were mainly used as war dogs and later on, were used for bull and bear-baiting. Bull baiting was a barbaric yet favorite pastime in Britain. Many bulldogs were killed in this violent sport.
Soon these cruel sports were brought to an end after which, there was a drop in the breed’s numbers. However, some Bulldog fanciers struggled to keep the line alive. After the British Bulldog Club was formed in the UK, the characteristics of the modern bulldog were brought to the forefront.
Size of the British Bulldog
This is a medium-sized dog with males weighing between 53 and 55 lbs or 24-25 kilo and females weighing between 49-51 lbs or 22-23 kg. The average height is between 12-16 inches or 31 to 40 cm.
What is the Personality of the British Bulldog Like
The British Bulldog is generally good tempered, sociable, and gentle. However, they have a tendency to be stubborn and need firm training and handling. They are not known to bark too much, but are still known for their courage.
The bully loves attention from his owners and generally gets along well with kids in the family. This is a gentle and affectionate dog that also gets along with other pets. However, early socialization is very important to avoid behavioral issues. Bulldogs do well in apartments and do not need too much exercise. Younger puppies are energetic and active. As they get older, they tend to slow down.
They are as lovable as Labradors and Golden Retrievers. They will soon become like a large shadow that follows you around the house! Bullies don’t complain but they can give you a disapproving look if you do something that annoys them.
It is the personality of the bulldog that makes them excellent choice as pets. They are intelligent, loving, and entertaining dogs and these qualities make them great with the crowds. When trained properly, they can even perform a few tricks which can impress your guests. Not a day will go by when your Bully doesn’t do something to make you laugh!
Common Health Issues in the British Bulldog
British Bulldogs have many health issues. The following are some prevalent conditions in the Bully:
This disorder is a result of upper portion of the hind legs not fitting in the hip’s socket. This leads to instability in the hip joint which can lead to severe pain. Many dogs require anti-inflammatory medicines to manage the condition. In dogs prone to this hereditary issue, symptoms may be visible from the age of 2. Symptoms of hip dysplasia are difficulty while getting up or lying down and climbing stairs, waddling or swaying gait, etc. Rough play, jumping, etc can aggravate the symptoms of this disease.
Most bulldogs are prone to this condition. Due to their ‘squashed-in faces’ these dogs tend to suffer from respiratory issues. Noisy breathing, snuffling, snorting, coughing, gagging, and fainting episodes are common in these dogs. Treatment includes oxygen therapy and the use of corticosteroids for managing airway inflammation.
Caring for your British Bulldog
British bulldogs are prone to overheating and breathing issues when over-exerted. So, never walk your dog in very hot temperature. Instead, walk them during the cooler parts of the day. Give your pet plenty of love and attention, along with moderate exercise, regular vet checks ups, weekly grooming, and nourishing food. This will keep them happy and healthy through their lifespan.
Watch out for slippery floors. These are dangerous for all dog breeds but particularly more for breeds like the bulldog that are always fooling around. Laminated and hardwood floors can cause slips and falls which can hurt your pet. Use non-slip rugs to protect your furry companion.
Train em’ young
The best way to get your bulldog to do what you want him to do is to train him well. Start the training from an early age. Be very patient while training because your puppy is bound to have stubborn fits. Remember: it will all be worth it in the end.
Be consistent with training and keep the training sessions short. Use positive reinforcement instead of punishment. This will be much more effective in getting your pet to obey you. Use healthy treats while training. If needed, work with a dog trainer or get your furry companion enrolled in an obedience school or puppy kindergarten near you.
Feeding your British Bulldog
How much to feed your Bully depends on his age and size. Feed younger bulldog puppies high-quality dog food with glucosamine and chondroitin, 2-3 times a day. These are vital nutrients for joint health maintenance.
Since bullies have a tendency to gain weight, make sure you keep an eye on what your pet eats. Do not feed any table scraps or human foods to your Bully. Here are some top brands of dry and wet dog foods suitable for the British Bulldog:
Speak to your vet as to how much food (and the right brand/type of food) to feed your adult Bulldog. In general, you can feed between 1-2 cups of dry food once or twice a day, depending on your pet’s activity levels, overall health, weight, and age.
Coat Colors and Grooming Needs of your British Bulldog
The British bulldog has a short coat that sheds once or twice a year. You can prevent the hair from getting all over the place by brushing the coat once or twice a week. Bulldogs have a wrinkled appearance. You must wipe down the wrinkles to prevent skin issues, allergies, and blisters.
Bathe your pet once a month or as needed. Use a vet-approved shampoo. Avoid using human shampoos for the job.
Bulldogs are droolers and the drool can be messy. So, wipe your pet down from time to time. Also, make sure to trim the toenails and clean the ears out once a month. Inspect your pet’s ears and eyes from time to time. If there is a foul odor from the ears, make sure it isn’t a bacterial or fungal infection. If the smell persists, have your pet examined by a vet right away.
Coat colors are brindle, fawn, white, or brindle and white.
How Does your Bully React to Other Pets and Children?
British bulldogs are gentle, lovable, and affectionate dogs and they generally get along well with other pets and children. Make sure you socialize your pet to both from an early age. It is also important for parents to teach their kids not to trouble, hit, abuse, or tease their bulldogs.
With other pets, the British bulldog is generally quite friendly. They do not have a high prey drive and generally won’t chase or run after smaller animals like cats, rabbits, etc. With other dogs, they will get along fine as long as they are socialized from an early age. It is a good idea to get dogs of the opposite sex so that they bond better.
British Bulldog Breed Organizations in Australia
Here are some organizations that are working for the benefit of the British Bulldog breed in Australia.
Rescue Groups for the British Bulldog in Australia
Conclusion: Should your Buy/Adopt a British Bulldog?
English Bulldogs or British Bulldogs have a sweet disposition and generally get along well with other pets and kids. However, they tend to have a few health issues, which can be minimized and avoided by finding a reputed breeder. A responsible breeder will only breed animals having health clearances obtained from the vet as well as organizations that provide certifications for certain genetic diseases in canines.
These low-activity dogs make ideal companions as they can nap for hours on the couch with you by their side. Of course, you will want to be okay with all that drooling and gas but that is a small price to pay for such a unique and incredible companion!
Now that you know everything there is to know about the British Bulldog, go ahead and decide whether you want one to join your household.
Wait no more!
Get this lovable and affectionate pet home and see how s/he changes your life for the better!