The English Bulldog, or more simply Bulldog, is originally from Great Britain. The term “bull” in the name comes from the use of these dogs in bull-baiting, a somewhat bloody activity officially declared illegal in England in the mid-19th century.
The Bulldog is a majestic dog, but at the same time very friendly and an excellent life partner. Despite Its stocky physique and impressive qualities, the Bulldog is an extremely gentle dog and is particularly protective of Its family members.
It’s very affable towards children and generally never appears violent or aggressive. Bulldogs also make excellent watchdogs, although they can still be somewhat stubborn and resolute. Early socialization and constant training can also help them overcome certain behavioral problems.
The History of the English Bulldog
Unfortunately, the history of the English Bulldog is quite bloody. This breed originated between the 16th and 17th centuries and was “created” precisely for bull-baiting, a “sport”, if you can define it that way, rather violent that saw the fight to the death between a dog and a bull.
The original Bulldog specimens had to be fierce, powerful, and courageous in order to survive. For these dogs, therefore, no attention was paid to conformation, temperament, beauty, and physical proportions as for many other dogs. They are dogs bred to be wild, violent, aggressive, and nearly immune to physical pain.
The unusual jaw of Bulldogs shorter than the mandible and characterized by the fact that the lower part protrudes slightly from the upper, as well as being moderately turned upwards, undoubtedly derives from those terrible days in which these dogs, engaged in the fight against a bull, thanks to these peculiarities they could firmly grasp the bull and not let go until the end.
It was certainly not the best time to establish a good man-dog relationship. Clandestine dogfighting in so-called “pits” became very popular when the bull-baiting was declared illegal and was no longer practiced.
In 1885, fighting between bulls and dogs became illegal in England. Despite the fact that this could have led to rapid extinction of the Bulldogs, a number of animal enthusiasts and lovers have tried to keep this breed alive and avoid extinction by preserving and promoting mainly its positive rather than negative qualities.
Within a very few generations, the English Bulldog became one of the best dog breeds both for physical qualities and temperament, especially after it had been possible to completely eliminate the original violent nature of these dogs. The result is the modern, docile, friendly English Bulldog that adapts to any situation. This dog can live anywhere, loves children, It’s very affectionate and loyal and it is also quite easy to take care of It. To date, the Bulldog is probably one of the kindest and most affectionate breeds in the world.
Physical characteristics and health problems of the English Bulldog
The average life span of a Bulldog is around 8-12 years. Due to the large size of the skull, disproportionate to the rest of the body, most female Bulldogs are unable to cope with natural birth. Because of this, Caesarean deliveries are quite common in this breed and are usually scheduled well in advance. Other possible health problems, or other information to know about this breed, include:
- Eye problems: problems or pathologies of the eyes and/or related to the visual abilities of the dog
- Deafness: defined as the complete or partial lack or loss of hearing.
- Cancer (various forms): understood as any malignant tumor
- Hip dysplasia: involves abnormal development and/or degeneration of the hip (or coxo-femoral) joint
- Cryptorchidism: failure of one or both testicles to descend into the scrotal sac
- Defect of the ventricular septum
- Aortic stenosis
- Heatstroke (hypertermination)
- Pulmonary stenosis
- Demodicosis in a generalized form
- Follicular dysplasia
- Cleft palate
- Anconeus process of the ulna
- Spina bifida
- Genetic dwarfism (achondroplasia)
- Ectopic ureter
- Calculosis of the urinary tract, or urolithiasis
- Tracheal hypoplasia
- Upper airway brachycephalic syndrome
Personality of the English Bulldog
When you look at an English Bulldog’s short and slightly pouty muzzle, you certainly can’t imagine this sweet little dog being able to bring a bull to its knees and succumb, although that is precisely why this breed was originally bred for.
English butchers in the Middle Ages used Bulldogs to capture and kill bulls destined for slaughter. Their short face and powerful jaw were essential for the dog to latch onto a bull’s neck and, without ever letting go, bring him to his knees, literally.
Nowadays, however, the Bulldog is more reputed to be a true lover of belly scratches and cuddles than a herculean fighter and hunter. Bulldogs are dogs that love to play, very affectionate and loyal. Excellent with children, they are quite affable and undeniably have the patience of a saint especially with those children who, playing with them, want to hug them or even ” ride ” them.
They are one of the most affectionate and quiet breeds in the world, as well as being very little nervous or irritable like dogs. Although puppies are full of energy and real earthquakes, adult Bulldogs are particularly calm and prefer a nice afternoon nap on the sofa to a long walk in the park.
Bulldogs do not need to do intense physical activity, in fact, they should not do excessive physical exercise especially in the hottest periods of the year. Despite their love of relaxation and the couch, Bulldogs still need to take daily walks so that they can always maintain perfect physical shape, as they are easily prone to obesity and overweight.
A Bulldog can be perfectly happy and comfortable in an apartment or condominium as well as in a house with a large garden. They are animals that adapt very easily, quiet and very little active when they are at home, so the size of your home will never be a problem for a Bulldog, provided of course that they have a nice place to nappy in peace.
Bulldogs are somewhat stubborn so it can be particularly difficult to train them. Tasty Rewards and positive reinforcement are the only two methods that could work with this breed, as using a heavy hand will certainly never get you anywhere with a Bulldog.
Despite the fact that they are generally quiet and easygoing dogs, Bulldogs have a serious behavioral problem: a somewhat aggressive attitude when it comes to food and what is in their bowl. These dogs love to eat, so it is recommended that no one gets in the way of a Bulldog and Its food.
You should therefore teach your children to stay away from the dog’s bowl, and if you have other pets in the house, feed them in areas of the house other than where your Bulldog’s bowl is.
Aggression in these dogs could also be a problem. Grown-up with another dog, Bulldogs shouldn’t present any problems, although males tend to be a little more aggressive as adults, especially towards other males. Bulldogs should therefore be socialized very early so that they quickly get used to spending time with other dogs.
If you are not a fan of dogs that snore, grunt, drool, and suffer from flatulence then the Bulldog is certainly not the dog for you. These dogs in fact have all the aforementioned traits, and even in excessive quantities.
English Bulldogs: frequently asked questions
Is the English Bulldog suitable for families?
English bulldogs are known for their gentle, patient, and tolerant personalities. They thrive in the family environment and love to be involved in everything the family does. They are extremely people-oriented, loyal, and devoted to their owners. They are also friendly tawards children and enjoy their company.
Why is the English Bulldog so expensive?
English Bulldogs are not only one of the most popular dog breeds in America (and other countries around the world as well), but they are also very fun animals to share a home with. Due to their popularity, a puppy with a good pedigree can cost a lot of money.
Also, know that very few puppies are born naturally because the size of their head makes giving birth risky for both the mother and the puppies. On the contrary, puppies are born by C-section; this aspect further increases their cost.
Do all English Bulldogs have health problems?
English Bulldogs are prone to suffering from health problems. More serious problems can involve the heart, bones, or breathing. Thanks to their body structure, they are very predisposed to suffer from hip dysplasia.
Other problems that can affect a bulldog can be: eye problems, allergies, and even serious skin problems, due to the folds that form around the face, on the body, and in particular on the dog’s tail.
Being a brachycephalic breed, they are also known to suffer from dental problems. It often happens that some puppies are born with a cleft lip. Another real problem with Bulldogs is that they are extremely heat intolerant and overheat easily which can prove fatal for them.
How long do English Bulldogs live?
English Bulldogs can live anywhere from 8 to 10 years, although the average lifespan is around 8.5 years due to all the health problems they can suffer from.
In 2013, a survey by veterinary surgery was conducted about the lifespan of a Bulldog; the breed council establishes that the average life span of a Bulldog is between 8 and 10 years, if however properly cared for and fed with an appropriate and varied diet according to the different stages of its life.
Do English Bulldogs shed a lot?
English Bulldogs shed moderately throughout the year. The most intense periods occur in spring and autumn, which is when more hairs spread around the house and more careful care is required.
Frequent cleaning of the dog helps It to remain in contact with dead hair as little as possible and ensures the owner continuous monitoring of the dog’s skin; in fact, it’s frequent that problems arise within the particular folds of the skin.
Do English Bulldogs bark a lot?
Although English Bulldogs are not “frequent barkers”, when this happens they certainly don’t go unnoticed.
That said, if left alone for too long, a Bulldog could develop unwanted behaviors including, perhaps, excessive barking (one of the ways an unhappy dog expresses what he feels).
Keep in mind that English Bulldogs are known to suffer from separation anxiety.
Are English Bulldogs difficult to train?
Although adorable, English Bulldogs have a stubborn streak, which can make training them much more difficult. That is why they are better suited to people who know the breed well than to novice owners. The main reason is that a Bulldog could easily get the better of a novice owner, making it difficult for the owner to manage their canine companion.
Do English Bulldogs need a lot of exercise?
Bulldogs like to exercise regularly on a daily basis, but care must be taken during hot weather as they can easily overheat (remember that overheating can be fatal!) .
That said, they need to get enough exercise not to put on too much weight, bearing in mind that a Bulldog would turn into a “sack of potatoes” if not monitored; in addition, too much weight puts a strain on the heart and can drastically reduce a bully’s life.
Can English Bulldogs swim?
English Bulldogs cannot swim due to their body shape and the fact that they are very heavy. Most bulldogs sink like stones when in water, so they should never be left unattended. The other important aspect is that being a brachycephalic breed, they really have a lot of trouble breathing when they are in the water; this also puts them at risk of drowning.
How do English Bulldogs behave when surrounded by other dogs?
English Bulldogs, like other bulldog breeds, can show aggression towards dogs they have never met before, although they generally get along well they are tolerable towards dogs they already know. However, presentations must be done carefully to avoid any confrontation, which could end with an injured animal and very high veterinary costs. Another good idea is to keep the Bulldog on a leash if you take It for a walk in a park that is usually frequented by other dogs, just to be safe.
Are English Bulldogs good watchdogs?
English Bulldogs are impressive looking dogs though they are not known for being great barkers. However, they are excellent watchdogs, as they are great at letting their owners know that strangers are around or that something they don’t like is going on in their environment. English Bulldogs don’t need any training when it comes to protecting their families and property, because that’s something that is part of the breed’s instinct.