Is An English Bulldog The Right Dog For You?

Bulldogs tend to look “tough” but in reality, most of them are just big sweethearts. They are great pets for families with children because they form especially strong bonds with younger people and they’re very gentle with everyone and protective of their families. In fact, despite their typically laid-back nature, these dogs are bred to be brave enough to bait bulls, so you know they’re not short on courage! They’re sensitive to their owner’s moods and in fact are often considered clowns! They also require very little exercise and grooming so they can be considered good dogs for lower-energy households.

The English bulldog can, obviously, trace its heritage all the way back to England. The term “bulldog” was first used sometime around 1568 and applied to the modern bulldog’s ancestors. Most people believe that English bulldogs were bred in England to be a mix between the pug and the mastiff.

Bullbaiting

In the 1600s, bulldogs were used for both bullbaiting (and to a lesser extent bearbaiting). Bullbaiting was a popular sport where bets were placed. A bull was then lashed to a post, and a bulldog would leap at the bull, latch onto its snout, and attempt to suffocate the bull. However, the breed was also used for other purposes as well: for instance, in the mid 17-century in New York City, bulldogs were used in a city-wide effort to round up wild bulls. They were trained to seize a bull by its snout because it was too dangerous to approach them any other way, and they would hold on long enough for a rope to be secured around the bull’s neck. (It’s interesting to note that bulldogs today cannot perform these tasks anymore – despite being originally bred for it, the breed’s crossing with pugs has shortened the body enough that a bulldog would no longer be able to grip a bull’s snout!) Because of this history, and their fierce looks, they’re even a popular breed to use for mascots – schools and teams all over the United States and the United Kingdom have a bulldog as their mastiff.

A standard bulldog’s weight depends on the country you’re in – in the United Kingdom, 55 pounds for a male and 50 for a female is considered standard, while in the United States, a male should be around 50 pounds a female 40 pounds although in some cases males can be up to 70 pounds!

Like all breeds, English bulldogs also have health problems that come associated with their breed. Because of their bulk and the shortness of their muzzle, they often develop an assortment of breathing issues. They are also famous for snoring loudly. They can also be prone to cysts between the toes which can cause the bulldog a great deal of discomfort. In addition to that, the folds on a bulldog’s face need regular cleaning to avoid infections from developing and they can develop something called “cherry eye” – a protrusion of the inner eyelid that must be corrected by a veterinarian. Again because of their weight and the way their bodies are proportioned, bulldogs tend to be bowlegged in their hind legs. This can cause a rash of hip problems including hip dysplasia. Bulldogs are also extremely susceptible to heat. They do not do well during overly hot periods so keep them out of the heat as much as possible.

If you are planning to breed bulldogs, you should also know that most bulldog puppies are not delivered vaginally because their large heads often get stuck in a mother’s birth canal. Instead they are delivered by Caesarean section.

If you are planning to show an English bulldog, there are a few things you need to know first. English bulldogs come in a great variety of colors and have smooth, short coats. In order of desirability their colors are brindle – more specifically red brindle – red, white, and fawn (fawn-colored bulldogs tend to have markings of other color as well.) A dog is disqualified if their nose if pale or liver-colored and judges typically frown on black-coated bulldogs as well. And while bulldogs have naturally short tailed that usually do not require docking, a longer – or “gay” – tail is considered a serious fault among show bulldogs.

English bulldogs are wonderful dogs to have. Their sweet, gentle natures make them great for families and they’ll always stick by you, no matter what.

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