The Bulldog is one of those breeds where just about everyone loves them (including us here at IndulgeYourPet), but only a few will decide to adopt one. This is probably a good thing because while Bulldogs are fantastic animals, they’re certainly not going to be the “right” dog for everyone. And the last thing we here at IndulgeYourPet want to see happen is for someone to choose to adopt one of these adorable guys only to regret their decision six months from now!
To prevent this from happening, we wanted to take a moment and discuss some of the pros and cons of owning a Bulldog so that you’ll have a better idea if this particular dog breed will be a good “fit” for you. So, without further ado, let’s dive right into it.
Bulldog Fast Facts
Country of Origin: Great Britain
Original Purpose: Companion Dog
Height: Varied but typically 12 to 15 inches tall.
Weight: 40 to 50 pounds
Life Span: 8 to 10 years
Dog Breed Classification: Non-Sporting
Origin of the Bulldog
While it is clear that the Bulldog was initially developed in England over 500 years ago, over the centuries, this breed has undergone many changes. This is why you might be surprised when we discuss what they were initially bred for! After all, the current “version” of the Bulldog isn’t much of an athlete and not necessarily a dog you would place a wager on to win a bet for anything other than being a great “napper.”
But truth be told…
The “original” Bulldogs bred in the UK over 500 years ago were quite big and VERY AGGRESSIVE! And when we say “big,” we mean like Great Dane or Mastiff… Big! And there was a reason why the Brits wanted them this big. You see, Bulldogs in Britain were first bred to “bait” bulls in a practice known as “bull baiting.”
At this point, we should probably explain what “bull baiting” was. This was a practice whereby a dog, in this case a Bulldog, would be tasked to “fight” or “herd” a bull to slaughter or castration. In cases where the bull was being led to slaughter, it was believed that the “beef” would taste better if the bull was “baited” before the massacre. In cases like these, the Bulldog would be encouraged to bite a bull’s nose and hang on while the bull thrashed around in pain/anger.
Sounds horrible, right?
We here at IndulgeYourPet think so, but back in the 13th century, this was considered quite entertaining. Fortunately, the practice was outlawed in 1835, but that’s 300 to 400 years later! It should be noted that Bulldogs were not the only dogs used in this way, which is why, over time, the Bulldog was slowly replaced by more prominent and more substantial breeds, allowing the Bulldog to assume more “leisurely” occupations.
Post-19th century Bulldogs have had it more accessible than their earlier ancestors. You see, once they were no longer needed to bait bulls, breeders began to breed these magnificent animals for other purposes. Purposes like companionship. As a result, breeders began breeding Bulldogs with shorter legs and larger heads. This new “type” of Bulldog no longer needed to be as aggressive as his predecessor, which is why our modern-day Bulldogs are big sweethearts compared to their ancient ancestry.
These new “modern” bulldogs…
Then, they quickly became the quintessential symbol of Britain, which is why they’re often referred to as English Bulldogs or British Bulldogs. Plus, it never hurts to have a celebrity admirer in your corner, precisely what these dogs had in the name of Sir Winston Churchill, the former Prime Minister of Great Britain, of course…. The Bulldog even has that famous Churchillian jowl, believe it or not!
The Bulldog makes it to America.
The Bulldog was brought to America in the 19th century, where he was an instant hit. Everyone wanted a Bulldog for a pet. As a result, it didn’t take long for the American Kennel Club (AKC) to recognize the Bulldog in 1886. There was even a Bulldog Club of America, formed shortly afterward by their owners in 1890.
His popularity also created a “trend” by many universities and organizations across America to adopt the Bulldog as their mascot. For example:
- Yale adopted a Bulldog by the name of Handsome Dan as its mascot,
- And the University of Georgia had a Bulldog called Uga as their mascot, to name a few.
We would be remiss not to mention that the U.S. Marine Corps chose the Bulldog as their mascot at the end of World War I. They continue to be a proud mascot for the Corp and are uniformly called “Chesty.”
The Bulldog quickly identifies with his big head, robust torso, and short legs. He has a unique shuffling walk and sideways roll. The Bulldog may be one of those few dog breeds where you would have a decent chance of identifying even if you were “blindfolded”! And that’s because our typical Bulldogwillo is a heavy breather. And will likely begin breathing heavily or even panting after a short walk!
There’s not all that much one can do about that because the “modern-day” Bulldogs have been bred to “accentuate” certain “traits.” Traits that make them susceptible to overheating and making “breathing” a chore! For example, the Bulldog’s thick coat, which can come in a variety of colors including fawn, white, red, or piebald, will undoubtedly make him overheat in the wrong environment as well as a shortened or flattened face that can lead to all sorts of breathing difficulties including a condition known as a brachycephalic syndrome.
Bulldogs also have a unique corkscrew-type tail. Don’t be surprised if your breeder automatically amputates or recommends amputating them to prevent or reduce the risk of future infection. On a side note, if you have a pool at home, it’s better not to get a bulldog pup from a breeder, as he cannot swim. He is too “heavy” to float and can barely keep his head above water.
Personality and Temperament
You’ve got to go out of your way to upset a Bulldog. And we’re just going to say it… if you have an angry Bulldog on your hands, chances are, you’re at fault! The Bulldog has one of the best “temperaments” of any dog breed. Generally, a typical Bulldog will be calm, composed, friendly, and loyal! Plus, they’re brilliant. He knows when you are sad and will try to cheer you up. He is kind and generous, and he loves his human family. But remember, he is not a watchdog or a guard dog, but he will do everything he can to protect you – but all he’s probably going to be able to do is make your attacker laugh!
Did we mention that Bulldogs love kids?
Well, he does! And kids love him back! So, if you’re considering getting a dog and introducing it to a household with children, this may be just the “kind” of dog you’re looking for. We should point out that the Bulldog is an indoor do and does not tolerate hot weather all that well. So, if you live in parts of the country, you may consider that a bulldog may not suit you.
Bulldogs will drool all over the place and snore… a lot! So, if you think this might bother you, you may also want to rethink adopting a Bulldog puppy.
Potential Health Concerns
The Bulldog is not the healthiest of breeds. Bulldogs suffer from a host of respiratory problems, including brachycephalic syndrome. And as we said earlier, they breathe heavily after even the slightest physical activity. But that’s not all. Bulldogs can suffer from a long list of ailments, including:
- Hip issues,
- Spinal issues,
- Skin infections,
- Eye problems such as,
- Inverted eyelids,
- Cherry eye,
- And dry eye,
In addition to the following issues:
- Pulmonic Stenosis,
- Aortic Stenosis,
- Bloating or Gastric Dilatation Volvulus,
- Elbow Dysplasia,
- Fold Dermatitis,
This is probably why everyone seems to “love” Bulldogs, but most don’t choose to own one! And we haven’t even mentioned how expensive Bulldog puppies can be, have we?
But if you are a “true”…
Bulldog person, none of this is going to matter! And we know there are a lot of you out there! We’ve got a few of them here at IndulgeYourPet, too! But it’s important to understand that if you decide to purchase or adopt a Bulldog rescue, you should consider purchasing a pet insurance policy for your bull! Because the last thing that you want to do is be on the “hook” for all of these vet bills, mainly if there is another option out there.
For more information about pet insurance policies, we recommend you check out our Best Pet Insurance Companies article.