Lifestyle

Owning an English Bulldog: The 411

November 19, 2016

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Have you or anyone close to you ever considered getting an English Bulldog? Just so you know, I wouldn’t be surprised. I’ve grown up with bulldogs for the last 12 years and I may be a tad bit biased, but they really truly are the best dogs. I wanted to dedicate this post to my family’s bulldogs and share some pictures along with some pros and cons of owning the breed.

Now I don’t want to preach at you guys as though I’m a parent scolding their six year old for begging for a puppy, but still as a reminder – as with any breed, being a dog owner is a huge commitment and responsibility. Okay, that’s all I’ll say on it. Let’s move right along shall we?

My parents had bulldogs before I was born, and didn’t get their next round of them until I was 10. My first set of bulldogs were a brother and sister pair that we bought in early 2005, Pepper (female) and Tiger (male). We ended up having to re-home Pepper a few years later when she was about 3 (along with 3 of our cats and all 4 guinea pigs) because we just had way too many pets and it was costing my parents so much money to care for all of them. As heartbreaking as it was, we were forced to downgrade. My parents actually would’ve re-homed Tiger as well, but he was aggressive towards other dogs so we had to keep him, which worked out because we technically didn’t want to get rid of any of them. Especially my mom, she and Tiger had a very strong bond.

Tiger passed away suddenly in July of 2011 at the age of 6 and a half. We never got an autopsy done or anything, but suspected it was a heart attack because he was still relatively young and was otherwise completely healthy. Needless to say, his death was a complete shock and was my first time ever experiencing the death of a pet. It was absolutely heartbreaking. I couldn’t even talk about him for a solid month afterwards without breaking down. We loved him so much.

That December, my mom saw an ad in the paper for English bulldog puppies and we decided to go look at them. Just as a note, if you ever see an English bulldog puppy in person, you will not be able to leave without one. They are the cutest things on this planet. You have been warned. These bullies were a bit cheaper than typical bulldogs so we bought another brother/sister pair – Bella (female) and Butters (male). Even though we were still sad, we had mostly healed from losing Tiger and we missed the breed and having that kind of presence in our home, so we were excited to bring these two home.

Currently, we still have Bella and Butters (they just turned 5 at the beginning of October) and we also have another brother and sister pair from a different breeder that we bought in February of 2015 –  Xena (female) and Dozer (male). They will be 2 in about a month. That’s right, that makes a total of 4 dogs. Four. We love all of them so much, but as a heads up…4 dogs are a little much!

Anywho, here are a handful of pictures of our lovable little bullies throughout the years!

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As with any breed, there are pros and cons. I wanted to share a few that my family has come to learn about bulldogs over our years of owning and raising them. Here is some honest and hopefully useful knowledge about them in case you are currently considering or may in the future consider bringing home an English Bulldog!

PROS

  • English Bulldogs are  absolutely amazing family dogs – They do really well with children (young & old) and form close bonds with all of the members in their family.
  • They are gentle giants – Nearly every time you see an English bulldog in cartoons, they are portrayed as big vicious dogs with spiked collars and huge sharp teeth. This frustrates me a bit as an owner, because they really are the complete opposite. Their size and the way their bottom jaws and teeth can protrude can make them look intimidating, I’ll admit, but they are gentle, loving, and sweet as can be.
  • They have the most entertaining personalities – Each of the 6 bulldogs we’ve owned has had a completely different personality from the next. They each have their favorite toy, favorite food, way of sleeping, playing, loving, barking, etc. It really is so cool to learn each of them and their quirks, they are just like little people.
  • They are eternal puppies – By this I mean that they are like little puppies, even as adults. They are silly and spunky and we like to joke that they are little Peter Pans. They never want to grow up. It is the cutest thing.
  • They love EVERYONE – All of our bulldogs run right up to anyone that comes in our house and love to be petted and loved by everyone. They have their favorite people of course, but they give their love to all.
  • They generally do well with cats and other dogs – I say generally because there are obviously exceptions. We’ve had one bulldog that was aggressive with strange dogs, but loved his sister. We’ve had some that will sleep with one of our cats, and lick each other, but we have others that either ignore them or chase after them. It really depends. They do, however love to have a buddy and they bond well with other dogs they grow up with.
  • They are not big barkers  Obviously, they will bark here and there because they’re dogs, but none of our dogs bark much (only if the doorbell rings or if there’s a loud sudden sound).
  • They are couch potatoes and don’t require much exercise – Bulldogs are a lazy breed, especially as they get out of the young puppy stage. We don’t even take ours for walks. As long as we toss their ball or favorite toy around a few times throughout the day for them to fetch, they’re good to go. Because of this, they can do well in smaller homes or apartments.

CONS

  • They are expensive – All of our bulldogs were between $1,100 to $1,500 a piece. For higher quality or more unique coat colors, they can cost up to $3,000. I told you, expensive. They are not necessarily rare or anything, but it’s usually because they need human help to mate (in fact, a lot of females are artificially inseminated) and because of their big heads and the mother’s narrower hips, puppies need to be delivered via C-section. For these reasons, breeders need to be knowledgeable and genuinely in love with the breed. If you see an English bulldog for sale for less than $1,000, it raises a bit of a red flag. It usually means the breeder is not as experienced and is not producing high quality, healthy puppies. Definitely, still check it out, but just have your guard up and make sure to check over the puppies thoroughly, the area in which they’re being kept, talk with the breeder and ask questions. If you don’t feel comfortable or something just feels off, thank them and leave. We’ve done it. Also, we personally would not pay more than $2,000 for a bulldog puppy.
  • Bulldogs are very stubborn and like to have their way – Females more than males it seems. For this reason, they are a little more difficult to train than other breeds. It can be done obviously, but it requires more work and dedication from the owner. They need consistency and a strong hand that doesn’t let them get their way. If they see a chance to step over you, they will.
  • They have shorter lifespans – English bulldogs have an average lifespan of 8-10 years. I’ve heard of some even living to 12, though it’s not very common.
  • They are high maintenance – Not because of their personality, but because of their physical attributes. Bulldogs have lots of loose, wrinkly skin. Their faces have folds which need to be cleaned daily or at the minimum a few times a week to ensure they don’t become wet and raw. My mom uses unscented baby wipes to clean out their folds and smears some Desitin in them as well to keep them dry. Bulldogs also have short, stumpy tails. Some stick out more and some are clamped inwards. It is very common for bulldogs to get raw and sore underneath their tails, so these also need to be checked and cleaned regularly. It is very important to check over and clean your bulldog daily or every few days at the minimum to ensure they stay healthy and comfortable.

General Tips & Facts

  • English bulldogs walk with a rolling gate. This means that they turn their paws inward when they walk and sometimes appear as though they’re walking a little sideways. It’s hard to explain, you really just have to see it. Because of this, they tend to drag their paw pads and nails against the ground when they walk and can rub them raw and bloody. This is why we don’t take our bulldogs for walks, we just exercise them by playing with them in the house.
  • They are indoor dogs & and DO NOT do well in the heat. This is a biggie. They do best in cooler, more mild climates and can overheat very easily. Make sure to keep bulldogs inside in air conditioning in the summer (or all year round if you live somewhere that’s hot all year round) and always make sure they have enough water to drink.
  • Bulldogs snore. It’s not obnoxious, enough to echo throughout the house or keep you awake, but they do snore. Our family is so used to it and my mom says she can’t sleep without it now!
  • Even though they are a short haired breed they still shed. Not excessively, but enough!
  • Please, please do your research before adopting one! We bought books, special pet magazines and looked up things online and made sure we knew them and their needs inside and out before getting ours. Bulldogs are a unique breed and there is lots to know about them to make sure you are caring for them properly.
  • As they get older, it is common for bulldogs to develop hip and back problems, among other common old age dog problems.
  • English bulldogs have wide shoulders, big heads, narrower hips, short smushed noses, and a swayed back. They come in many different colors – white, tan, brindle, black brindle, black, gray, mixed, etc.
  • Some puppies have full black noses, some have full pink noses, and some have a mix. This doesn’t mean anything as all noses darken to full black as they grow into adults.
  • Bulldogs have super strong jaws. Because of this, they need chew toys they are incredibly tough and can withstand their strong bite. Our family primarily uses the Nylabone brand. Pretty much anything else they will shred or destroy right away.
  • As babies, they seriously are the cutest puppies ever. Look up some pictures & videos, you’ll see what I mean! Just know, you likely will not be able to go see one in person without bringing it home!

Okay, I think that’s all I have for you – sorry for such a long post, but I wanted to make sure I was covering everything! I love English Bulldogs so much and would recommend them to anyone. They are wonderful companions and such a unique and beautiful breed. If you have any questions for me, I’d be more than happy to answer them!

Have a wonderful rest of your weekend!!

Miranda ♥

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