The English bulldog is of course a dog breed that most of us could easily pick out of a line-up, and it is one of our homegrown British favourites that hold a special place in the hearts of many dog lovers.
The English bulldog is also one of the longest established dog breeds in the UK, and one that has always been hugely popular, and in great demand with puppy buyers. The English bulldog is in fact the seventh most popular dog breed in the UK overall, which gives some indication of how many of them there are around, and how appealing they are to different types of owners.
There are a lot of positives to English bulldogs that make them a good fit for owners that other breeds just won’t suit – they tend to be slow and fairly sedentary dogs that only need a couple of daily walks to keep happy, and they love their home comforts too.
But the English bulldog is also a very high-profile breed for some not-so-good reasons too, and anyone considering buying a dog of the breed has a responsibility to do plenty of research first, to ensure that they know what they’re getting into and make the right choice.
If you’re just beginning to learn more about the English bulldog with a view to potentially buying one yourself, this article will share ten important things you need to know about the breed before you go out and buy one, to help to ensure that you make the right decision. Read on to learn more.
The English bulldog’s appearance is very distinctive and easy to recognise, and part of this is due to their brachycephalic faces. This is what gives the English bulldog their short muzzle, flat face and often, narrow nostrils, and which may make their eyes appear protruding and prominent.
The degree of shortness of the muzzle within individual dogs of the breed can vary a lot, but some breeders specialise in breeding very flat-faced examples with narrow nostrils, which can in turn lead to health issues and discomfort for the dogs themselves.
Before you buy any brachycephalic dog breed, you need to learn about the implications of owning and caring for a dog of this type, and how to judge how exaggerated the dog’s features are.
Because English bulldogs are very muscular and well-padded and also due to their flat faces, they often find hot weather a challenge. Care must be taken to keep the dog cool, provide shade, and monitor how they are coping with the weather, and dogs of the breed with very short muzzles and narrow nostrils often suffer during the summer, and require close monitoring on the part of their owners.
One trait that the English bulldog can’t really claim to possess is high intelligence, and in fact, the English bulldog is way down near the very bottom of the list of dog breeds ranked in terms of their working smarts.
This means that if you are looking for a breed that can learn a lot of commands, fulfil a working role or take part in canine sports, the English bulldog probably won’t be a good choice.
English bulldogs are very courageous and bold dogs that won’t back down from a fight and that are not easily daunted, and they don’t tend to be overly flighty or nervous.
However, they do need rules, boundaries and clear direction from their owners, as otherwise this confidence can manifest as dominance, and an English bulldog that thinks they’re the boss can soon turn into a real handful!
English bulldogs are naturally quite heavily built with lots of musculature, and they are really strong as a result of this. This means that you won’t be able to win a physical tussle with your dog and so need to train them to display good manners, and not to pull on the lead or use their strength to get their own way!
Additionally, the English bulldog’s neck is sometimes as wide as their heads, which means that they can easily slip their collars, and so a harness is usually a better choice for walks.
Skin conditions like dermatitis, allergies and other ongoing challenges don’t affect all or even most dogs of the breed, but they do affect as significant percentage.
Managing and caring for skin problems in the English bulldog can be time consuming and mean a lot of expensive veterinary consults, and generally such issues are ongoing or will have a tendency to flare up now and then over the course of the dog’s life.
English bulldogs in general are associated with complex health and a number of prevalent health issues within the breed, which mean that buying any dog of the breed is something of a gamble in terms of their future wellness.
If you are thinking of buying an English bulldog, research the breed’s health in detail to find out about the most common health conditions that can be present, and to learn about health testing protocols for English bulldogs too, so that you can choose a breeder who performs the appropriate tests on their parent stock.
The English bulldog’s average longevity across the breed as a whole is not great – dogs of the breed reach an average age of 8-10, which is below the norm compared to the broad averages across dog breeds of a similar size.
The large number of health and conformation issues that can be found in the breed as a whole is a large part of the cause for this, but obesity, not enough exercise, and an inappropriate diet or lifestyle all have their part to play too.
Many English bulldogs snore, lots of them are quite vocal, and they have their share of other bad habits too – like a tendency to drool, be quite flatulent, and be quite destructive about their toys.
Dogs of the breed are often quite territorial too, and may not be keen to let strangers into their homes.
Finally, English bulldogs are often prohibitively expensive to buy, with the average pedigree dog of the breed costing around £1,690 each, and non-pedigrees, £1,466. Figures in this ballpark are well over double that of the average for most equivalent sized breeds, and mean that some prospective English bulldog owners simply can’t afford to buy one.
Dogs of the breed also eat a lot and can be quite expensive to own in general, so make sure that you can afford their care as well as the initial purchase cost.