You can be bullish on Bulldogs. Bulldogs can make great pets.
But if you are planning to make a Bulldog part of your family, there are some facts about Bulldogs you need to know first.
Bulldogs Only Look Fearsome
When you look at a Bulldog, there is no doubt about the breed. No other breed of dog looks quite like a Bulldog.
Their bowed legs and low-hanging jowls can invoke fear in people who don’t know them.
But a better indicator of what a Bulldog is really like is its curly tail. Bulldogs are home-loving lap dogs that are everything a dog owner could ever want.
There was a time when it made sense to be afraid of Bulldogs. The first English Bulldogs were bred for dog fights.
But when dogfights were outlawed in the United Kingdom in 1835, the breed was preserved by selecting Bulldogs with unusually gentle natures, the exact opposite of what had been desired in Bulldogs during when dog fights were legal.
A Bulldog’s fierce bark and intimidating demeanor still make it an excellent guard dog — at least for keeping away people who don’t know what Bulldogs are really like.
Bulldogs are actually extremely friendly.
Their natural agreeable behavior makes them terrific mascots, at once fierce-looking and fun-loving. But Bulldogs aren’t easy to train.
Training Your Bulldog will be Challenging
Some trainers refer to Bulldogs as “show me” dogs.
They need to know what is in it for them before they do what you tell them to.
Fortunately, Bulldogs will also fulfill their end of the bargain when they understand the exchange.
Your Bulldog will be stubborn
Bulldogs tend to suffer selective deafness.
That is, they hear the commands they want to hear.
If you call out “Dinner time!” to get your Bulldog off the couch, your Bulldog will instantly comply.
If it’s time to go for a walk and it’s cold and raining outside, your Bulldog may suddenly become deaf.
Some commentators describe Bulldogs as three-year-olds in dog suits.
Your Bulldog’s stubborn attitude can be vexatious, but it is also what makes them lovable. You must establish your authority over your Bulldog to keep them safe.
Just as you might need to direct your three-year-old child to come to you rather than running out in the street or you might put strict limits on what your child can eat, you will also need to be your Bulldog’s boss for your dog’s own good.
Your Bulldog will sometimes sulk
Bulldogs tend to get sulky from time to time. You won’t necessarily have any idea what you did to them.
A Bulldog that feels she has been mistreated may stare at the wall or life down on her blanket and refuse to move, and there will be nothing you can do to interrupt their mood.
Bulldogs love to be the center of attention when they are puppies, but also when they are adults.
If their sulking leads to you trying to bribe them to be “happy,” they may continue their obstinate, sulking display to keep your attention on them.
Your Bulldog can get jealous
Every family that has two or more Bulldogs has to deal with the issue of jealousy.
Bulldogs will fight over toys, food, and attention from humans. A female Bulldog in heat will be especially unwilling to share food, sleeping areas, or time with people.
Bulldogs are probably more territorial than other breeds because of their history as fighters.
Aggression that starts as a growl to protect a toy can blossom into something more destructive very quickly.
It is important to supervise small children when they are around Bulldogs.
Children may not understand their Bulldog’s concept of “Mine!” and try to play with the Bulldog’s toys.
They may get too close to the Bulldog too fast, pull on ears, or even put their hands in the dog’s mouth.
Children must be taught NOT to treat Bulldogs like the cuddly toy animals they appear to be.
Bulldogs need love to be emotionally healthy
Bulldogs need human companionship to develop balanced, amicable personalities.
They don’t do well as outdoor dogs, and they don’t do well in kennels.
Bulldogs are well known for claiming furniture as their own, and if you let your dog sleep with you, your Bulldog will be a bed hog.
Bulldogs are famous for taking an entire double bed and pushing their people to one edge.
Bulldogs are more clever than they let on
Bulldogs are a lot more clever than they let on. Their human families can get so used to their human-like ways that they forget they really are dogs.
On the positive side, your Bulldog will always remember treats and rewards.
The greater part of training your Bulldog comes down to praising and rewarding your Bulldog over and over again for doing the right thing.
Now let’s consider the health issues that may arise with your Bulldog.
Bulldogs have some serious health issues
Bulldogs come with some well-known health concerns. It’s important to be aware of them from the very first to keep your Bulldog healthy and happy as long as possible.
We will start with three issues that can be deal-breakers for keeping your Bulldog if you don’t know in advance how to take care of them.
Bulldogs and brachycephalic airway syndrome
The most serious health condition that most Bulldog owners will have to deal with is brachycephalic airway syndrome, breathing problems caused by the fact that Bulldogs have short faces.
The nostrils may be too narrow for a Bulldog to breathe comfortably through its nose.
Air passages behind the nostrils become twisted and the muscles around the throat may collapse.
Since dogs cool themselves off by panting, the shortness and flatness of a Bulldog’s face make it susceptible to heatstroke.
But even in cold weather Bulldogs can snore at night and go through the day with low oxygen levels.
It’s also hard for the vet to give them anesthesia when they need surgery.
Bulldogs are messy eaters
Your Bulldog will find a way to swallow every morsel of food you put in his bowl.
Your Bulldog won’t manage to swallow that last sip of water, though, and will walk around the house with water dripping from his chin.
You will spend a lot of time wiping your dog’s chin or cleaning up the floor.
Bulldogs get Gas
Another thing Bulldog owners have to deal with is flatulence. Because of the shape of their faces, Bulldogs ingest a lot of air when they eat.
The gas that goes in one end of your Bulldog’s digestive tract will come out the other, only more (sometimes a lot more) odiferous.
When you own a Bulldog, farting and belching become almost like a soundtrack for your dog’s daily life.
Some owners get used to it. Some owners even find them comforting reminders that their pet is with them.
But digestive eructations are not the only noises made by Bulldogs.
All dogs with short noses snore, and Bulldogs are no exception to the rule.
Bulldogs can snore so loud that they keep the entire household awake.
You can’t make your Bulldog stop snoring, but you can keep Doggie on a diet to reduce the intensity of snoring.
Your veterinarian may have treatments for throat and nasal swelling that cause canine sleep apnea.
On the plus side, Bulldogs seldom bark and never whine. They make a kind of “ooooh” sound when they want attention.
In addition to the health issues, every Bulldog has all the time, there are some health problems common in Bulldogs that can require attention from your vet.
Bulldogs can Overheat
The condition that Bulldog owners have to deal with the most often is also the condition that is least likely to be mentioned by the vet. That issue is overheating.
Bred in the cool, rainy British Isles, Bulldogs don’t take heat very well.
In most of the United States, Bulldogs need to be kept in air-conditioned quarters whenever the temperature outside is over 85° F (about 30° C).
Fortunately, Bulldogs don’t need a lot of outdoor exercises, which they can’t handle in the heat.
Bulldogs get hip dysplasia
Bulldogs rank No.1 in the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals listing of dog breeds that are susceptible to hip dysplasia.
Hip dysplasia is a deformity of the hip socket. It’s caused by a failure of the “ball” at the top of the thigh bone (the femur) and the “socket” (the acetabulum) at the end of the pelvis to grow at the same rate.
The cartilage around the hip joint fails to keep the thigh bone in place, so the Bulldog can develop a limp.
Later in life, the dog will suffer arthritis of the hip.
You can help keep hip dysplasia from getting worse by making sure your Bulldog puppy doesn’t have to go up and down stairs and by avoiding “growth” formula puppy chow.
It’s better for Bulldogs to mature slowly than to put on weight fast.
When Bulldog puppies are overfed, they may not develop a limp or lameness right away, but they will be especially prone to hip arthritis as they grow older.
Bulldogs get skin infections
Face wrinkles and a curly tail predispose Bulldogs to a kind of infection in the folds of their skin called intertrigo.
The folds of skin rub against each other and become raw, and they get infected.
Bulldogs are also more prone than other breeds to have skin allergies triggered by fleas or eating the wrong foods.
Female Bulldogs have trouble giving birth
If you are planning to raise Bulldogs, you need to know that the mother Bulldog will probably need to have a Caesarean.
Because Bulldogs don’t get a lot of exercises, the mother dog will usually have poor muscle tone.
The average litter is five puppies, but it’s not unusual for Bulldogs to give birth only to have energy for pushing out one or two.
The fact that Bulldog puppies have large heads and the Bulldog female has a small pelvis makes whelping more difficult.
It’s best to be prepared to take a pregnant female to the vet for a Caesarean as soon as she begins to give birth than to wait for her to become exhausted trying.
It is always a good idea to invest in pet health insurance when you adopt a Bulldog into your family.
Bulldogs will need annual checkups at the vet’s office and chances are you will have to deal with at least one canine health crisis in their time with you.
What Makes Bulldogs Great Pets for the Right People
It’s important to know exactly what you are getting when you take a Bulldog into your home.
There will be some adjustments in your daily life when you adopt a Bulldog.
But you will also experience years of unconditional love from a Bulldog that reminds you how special you are to him every time he wags his tail.
Bulldogs can be irresistibly cute, and their charm never gets old for people who understand and care for them.
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