English or British Bulldogs were originally developed from the Mastiff breeds for bull-baiting, a cruel sport that was banned in the 1830s. Since that time they have been bred as a companion pet and it is possible that the original Bulldogs looked quite different, perhaps more like today’s Pit bull Terrier.
In appearance, Bulldogs have a short, muscular and thickset body, a very big head and a squashed-looking face with a large skin fold. They have a short coat which, according to the Breed Standard, can come in brindles, reds, fawn, fallow, white and pied colours. Bulldogs are quite heavy for their size, with the Breed Standard weight being 25kg for males and 23kg for females.
While they may have been initially developed for a cruel activity, in temperament Bulldogs are a surprisingly gentle and affectionate breed. They are also companionable and most often very good with children, highly devoted and loyal, even-tempered and enjoy family life. They can make a lovely family pet.
Bulldogs may develop a number of healthproblems, some of these being quite serious. These include problems of the knees, hips and elbows, particularly with their heavy frame. Turned-in eyelids are another problem and may require surgery if they occur. Breathing problems due to the structure of the face and palate can interfere with the dog’s ability to pant and may even prove fatal on a hot day. Bulldogs can also suffer from heart problems and eczema, and other skin problems if their skin folds are not kept clean.
A particular health issue of the Bulldog occurs with breeding. The narrow pelvis of the mother dog means that most pups are delivered by C-section, and the puppy death rate is relatively high.
In recent times there have been attempts by breeders to help gradually reduce some of these health problems, by careful and selective breeding. In particular, breeding females with wider pelvises may help them to deliver pups normally.
The average life span of the Bulldog is about 10 years. Careful breeding should hopefully help improve the health outcome of the British Bulldog, in terms of its health and longevity
Caring for a Bulldog
A Bulldog puppy needs feeding four times a day and this should be reduced to twice for an adult dog. A combination of a specially formulated dog mix and some home cooked food should help to maintain nutritional balance and make the diet a bit more interesting for the dog.
Bulldogs take a little bit of grooming, Apart from a regular brush of their coat, the skin folds need constant attention and cleaning to prevent infection. An occasional bath helps to keep him clean.
This breed is prone to tear stains and there are solutions and ointments available to treat your Bulldog for this condition. Your dog’s eyes should be checked regularly for this.
Bulldogs are also prone to feet sores. This can be treated with warm salt water, and clipping of the hair between the foot pads as a preventative measure.
The tail area of the Bulldog is susceptible to irritation in hot weather and this can be treated by washing the area in water and mild disinfectant, and the area completely dried afterwards.
Like all dogs, a Bulldog will need regular treatment for worms, fleas and ear mites, and regular exercise such as a daily walk to help keep his heart in better condition and prevent obesity.
Bulldogs as pets
Bulldogs love attention and affection and can be quite high-maintenance in terms of their care. They can also be quite expensive to purchase and also in Vet bills. They are obviously not a pet to be brought into the household lightly, but with thought and care. However they can make a wonderful addition to the family unit, due to their lovely temperament, affectionate nature, loyalty and devotion to their humans.