Have You Met the English Bulldog? Here’s What You Need to Know

The English Bulldog, also known as the British Bulldog, is an affectionate, low-maintenance dog breed that will be loyal to you and your family.

However, the Bulldog was bred for a blood sport called bull baiting. Despite that, this Old Boy will make a gentle companion.

An English Bulldog sitting for a portrait
An English Bulldog sitting for a portrait

Do you want to get to know the English Bulldog? Then keep on reading!

What’s the origin story behind the English Bulldog?

The English Bulldog was initially bred in England in the British Isles in the 1500s, which is where they got the “English” part in their name.

The “Bulldog” comes from the reason they were bred, which was a bloody sport called bullbaiting.

The British Bulldog was used to fight bulls to tenderize their meat before they were slaughtered. They would grab hold of their snort and roughly shake it up.

It became a bigger event broadcasted on TV where people spectated and gambled on the fight’s outcome.

Luckily, the sport of bullbaiting and other blood sports were outlawed in 1835. However, because the Bulldog was no longer needed, the dog breed started to become extinct.

People admired the breed so much that they decided to re-invent the wheel.

Aggressive Bulldogs were not allowed to breed as they bred the dog to be a loving, domesticated companion.

It’s believed that the English Bulldog came from the Asiatic Mastiff and the Pug.

When brought to the United States, the American Kennel Club (AKC) recognized the breed standard in 1886, making the dog breed the 26th breed to be added to the club.

In 1890, the Bulldog Club of America was founded by H.D. Kendall.

They have become quite a popular dog breed over the years. In England during World War II, the British Bulldog was compared to Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

Meanwhile, in America, this dog was used as the mascot for Yale University. In addition, President Calvin Coolidge had a Bulldog named Boston Beans.

What does an English Bulldog look like?

A brown English Bulldog looking sad but not really and sitting under the the sun on a garden
Image source

It’s hard to mistake an English Bulldog for any other dog breed because they look so unique. They have a short and stout body that’s low to the ground with a large, round head.

They have a flat forehead, but their face is covered with wrinkles, with a dewlap formed from the jaw’s throat to their chest.

Like any other puppy, the British Bulldog will teethe and lose their baby teeth for adult teeth to grow in.

This occurs around three months of age and will most likely have all their adult teeth in by six months. However, teething can last until they’re up to a year old.

The Bulldog has soft and loose skin at their neck with a broad, deep chest. Their shoulders are widespread and muscular, leading to their forequarters.

The forelegs are short and stout, just like their body and muscular. Their feet and toes are compact, with the toes well spread apart from one another.

The back legs are strong but longer than the forelegs, with their hind feet turned outward.

How big does an English Bulldog get?

A full body image of an English Bulldog standing
Image source

This dog breed will grow to be about 12 to 15 inches in height. In terms of weight, males and females will differ from one another.

Males will grow to weigh about 50 pounds, while females will weigh about 40 pounds. Newborn males should be about five ounces, while female newborn puppies should be about four ounces.

When your English Bulldog reaches ten to 18 months of age, they should be fully grown and mature.

Due to their size, the English Bulldog will be suitable to live in any housing situation, including apartments.

What type of coat does an English Bulldog have?

Their coat will come in one type but may come in a variety of different colors and patterns. They will have a short coat that’s straight and smooth, fine-textured, and glossy. It won’t have any fringe or curls.

Colors the coat can come in are as follows:

  • Fallow
  • Fawn
  • Fawn and Brindle
  • Fawn and White
  • Fawn, Brindle, and White
  • Red
  • Red and White
  • Red and Brindle
  • Red, Brindle, and White
  • White

The Bulldog breed can also come in lilac, blue, chocolate, and black, but these colors are rare. The most common of these rare colors are black.

This pup can also come in merle, but like black Bulldogs, this color is not recognized by the AKC.

Merle is a genetic pattern that will create mottled patches of color in solid or piebald coats. It might also give the Bulldog blue eyes or another eye color that isn’t typically seen with this breed.

Speaking of patterns, this dog breed can come in a few patterns, such as:

  • Black Mask
  • Black Tips
  • Brindle
  • Piebald
  • Ticked
  • White Markings

Are English Bulldogs good family pets?

English Bulldogs make a great family pet. If you bring home a Bulldog puppy, they will be hyper because they’ll need a lot of attention and playtime.

Like any puppy from other breeds, the British Bulldog puppy will be curious and rambunctious.

Puppies can also be aggressive, though. This is due to their original instinct for what they were initially bred for.

While that has been mostly bred out, they might still have that tendency to be aggressive. Also, puppies don’t yet know how to play and behave.

So, if they’re aggressive and bite a lot, they’re most likely trying to play and need to be taught how to do so correctly.

In terms of aggressiveness in older English Bulldogs, they will just fine as long as they’re properly trained and socialized with others.

Overall, English Bulldogs will make a great companion dog for any family. They’re a friendly breed that will do well with other dogs, cats, and pets in the house.

They’ll do okay with strangers and strange dogs as well, though they might be timid at first.

They will be amazing with kids and babies. They tolerate a lot from younger children and, if they get annoyed, they’ll simply get up and walk away.

Just take a look at this adorable compilation of English Bulldogs playing with kids at home!

In fact, English Bulldogs love their family so much that it might be difficult for them to stay home alone for a while. It’s doable, and if they’re adequately trained and have a crate, they will be able to stay home alone for a bit.

They might not like it at first, though. As a companion dog, English Bulldogs thrive around their humans.

On the plus side, this dog breed doesn’t bark a lot. They’ll sometimes bark if they feel threatened or sometimes for no reason at all. For the most part, though, they’re not too vocal.

They might make some other noises such as whining to get attention, or they’ll snore when sleeping.

The British Bulldog is incredibly smart though they’re considered a lazy breed. However, they’re not “lazy,” per se; they’re just extremely laid back and chill.

Despite them being known for being lazy, they do love to play a round of fetch. English Bulldogs enjoy the chase and being able to spend quality time with their family.

On the other hand, they can be stubborn. This might make it difficult to train them. If they don’t feel like doing something and would rather sleep, they’re going to do just that.

These couch potatoes will respond well to positive reinforcement when training, though. (Especially if the reward is treats!)

In addition, this pup might be difficult to potty train as well. They enjoy marking their territory and may be prone to wetting their bed or marking various areas around the house.

They don’t like to soil where they sleep or eat, though, so properly crate training will help with this.

Consistency and persistence are key when it comes to potty training this breed. It might take a while, but they’ll learn.

Caring for an English Bulldog

For the most part, this dog breed is low maintenance to care for. They will enjoy sitting on the couch with you all day long and will take frequent naps throughout the day.

A very tired British Bulldog snoozing
Image source

If you have an English Bulldog puppy, they will most likely sleep about 18-20 hours per day.

Puppies need this amount to grow into healthy, smart adults. When awake, they’ll be pretty energetic so will need plenty of time to recharge.

The English Bulldog is sensitive to the cold as well as the heat. They’ll need to live someplace with an air conditioner and can’t be left outside in the heat for too long, or else it could kill them.

Due to their loose skin and pushed-in face, which already makes them breathe heavier, this breed can’t tolerate the cold and heat.

60-70 degrees is an ideal temperature for them, and they should be indoor dogs or could get heatstroke.

Exercise for an English Bulldog

This burly breed has low to moderate energy levels. Believe it or not, they don’t require too much exercise throughout the day. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give them exercise, though.

The English Bulldog will enjoy playing a couple of rounds of fetch, playing with other toys, and even go on short walks.

However, after 15 minutes or so of this, they’ll get tired and want to take a nap so they can recharge their batteries.

Since they can be a bit of a couch potato, you need to give your pup an adequate amount of exercise each day. About an hour per day is recommended, but not all at once.

Fifteen minutes here and 15 minutes there is good enough. This is to combat obesity and keep your pup engaged and spend some extra time with them.

When going for walks, keep it short and sweet. No jogging, running, hiking, or else your pup will tire easily and may have a hard time breathing, especially depending on the weather.

Grooming: does the English Bulldog shed?

Despite their short fur, this breed is not considered to be hypoallergenic. In fact, they shed an average amount. This is one of the reasons why they need frequent brushing and grooming.

English Bulldogs are unique when it comes to their wrinkled, pushed-in face. One important thing to do when grooming your pup is to make sure they’re wrinkles, and skin folds are clean.

Wipe their face daily and clean in between their wrinkles and then dry them completely to make sure no dirt or anything else is hiding between their skin folds.

Additionally, you’ll want to check their skin in between the wrinkles as it can get irritated and cause skin infections.

They also tend to drool a good amount, so you’ll want to keep their face well clean to help control where the drool goes.

A British Bulldog on a tub ready for a bath
A British Bulldog on a tub ready for a bath

English Bulldogs are known to be a bit stinky as well. They can develop skin problems such as skin fold dermatitis from the wrinkles on their face, which can cause an odor.

They might also have a tail pocket hidden under their nub of a tail that tends to be forgotten about and never cleaned properly. This breed is also known for being gassy.

Needless to say, bathing your English Bulldog at least once a month is a good idea.

When bathing your pup, be sure to check for skin irritation and other sores to ensure your dog is healthy. Trim their nails once or twice a month and brush their teeth regularly as well.

Brushing their teeth will not only help with tartar build-up, but their lower jaw is longer than their upper jaw giving them an underbite, exposing their teeth.

Feeding: what should an English Bulldog eat in a day?

How much you feed your adult or puppy will depend on their needs, current weight, and what your veterinarian recommends.

A British Bulldog eating in a red dog dish
A British Bulldog eating in a red dog dish

However, it is recommended to feed your adult English Bulldog about ½ to two cups of food each day, split between two meals.

Your Bulldog puppy should have about ⅓ of a cup of kibble each day divided between three meals.

Here are some of the best dog food you can get for your adult or puppy:

  • Royal Canin Bulldog Adult Dry Dog Food
  • Hill’s Science Diet Adult Perfect Weight Chicken Recipe Dry Dog Food
  • Royal Canin Bulldog Puppy Dry Dog Food
  • Royal Canin Medium Puppy Dry Dog Food

Your English Bulldog needs a proper diet of dog food, whether it’s canned or kibble with a treat here and there. You should never feed your pup table scraps or people food as it can mess up their system and cause health issues.

Health problems: what do English Bulldogs usually die from?

This particular breed has a good amount of health issues, but this isn’t to say that they won’t live a long, happy, and healthy life with you.

An English Bulldog wearing a medical cone and being checked by a veterinarian
An English Bulldog wearing a medical cone and being checked by a veterinarian

The lifespan for the English Bulldog is about 8-12 years.

This breed has many health issues due to their thick-set body and legs, along with their pushed-in face with wrinkles to boot. This can cause skin irritations and breathing issues.

Let’s take a look at some of the common health issues they can have.

First, the English Bulldog can have various eye problems such as:

  • Cherry Eye
  • Dry Eye (Keratoconjunctivitis sicca or KCS)
  • Entropion
  • Ectropion
  • Distichiasis

They may also have orthopedic problems, including:

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • Patellar Luxation
  • Shoulder Luxation

They may have heart problems such as Ventricular Septal Defect, respiratory problems such as Laryngeal Paralysis, Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (or simply known as Brachycephalic Syndrome), and Tracheal Hypoplasia.

Other common health issues may be:

  • Head Shakes
  • Cancer
  • Mast Cell Tumors
  • Demodicosis (Demodectic mange)
  • Internalized Tail
  • Elongated Soft Palate
  • Bleeding Disorders
  • Stenotic Nares
  • Urethral Prolapse
  • Skin Problems
  • Flatulence
  • Spinal Deformities
  • Kidney Stones
  • Reproductive Difficulties
  • Vaginal Hyperplasia

Other health problems might be:

  • Overheating
  • Obesity
  • Inverted or Reverse Sneezing
  • Tail Problems
  • Dental Problems
  • Infections
  • Parasites

To prevent these health issues, you should take your English Bulldog for regular check-ups at the vet. In addition, there are a few health screenings and occasional tests you can do for your pup, such as:

  • Cardiac Exam
  • Patella Evaluation
  • Tracheal Hypoplasia Radiographic Evaluation
  • Eye Evaluation
  • Heart Examination
  • Periodic Tests for Cancer
  • Genetic Test
  • Hip, Elbow, Knee, Cardiac, Eye, and Tracheal Hypoplasia

Depending on the color and pattern of your English Bulldog, they might have some other health concerns as well.

For example, a white Bulldog is more prone to have congenital deafness. In addition to the other health screenings listed above, you can get your pup’s hearing often checked as well.

Buying an English Bulldog puppy: how much do they cost?

An English Bulldog puppy pointing
Image source

Buying and owning an English Bulldog is expensive. There are quite a few reasons for this.

For one, this breed’s large head and body structure make it difficult for them to mate and naturally give birth.

Because of this, breeders will use artificial insemination for breeding the pups, and then, when giving birth, the mom pup will have to go through a C-section. This makes the vet bills too costly for the breeder.

Also, a reputable breeder will make sure the two-parent dogs are healthy to breed, so they will go through genetic testing for both dogs, which is also costly.

A litter of English Bulldog puppies will consist of about four to five puppies.

When buying a puppy, you should expect to pay anywhere between $1,500 to $4,000. Rare puppies will cost much more.

For example, a black Bulldog will be between $4,000 and $5,500, while a blue pup will cost $8,500 to $14,000. A merle dog will cost as much as $16,000 to $30,000.

The cost doesn’t end there. When you buy an English Bulldog, you’ll need some supplies and accessories such as:

  • A collar
  • A leash and harness
  • A dog bed
  • A crate
  • Grooming supplies
  • Dental products
  • Food
  • Toy
  • And more

After the first year of having your puppy home, you can expect to spend about $50 to $100 per month on food and other supplies needed.

That’s not all – medical bills can add up as well since this breed has many health concerns.

For example, if your pup gets Cherry Eye, it may cost between $500 and $1,500 to fix, while surgery for hip dysplasia may cost up to $5,000.

Where can I find reputable English Bulldog breeders?

Before you start your search for an English Bulldog breeder, be sure you know what to look for in a reputable breeder.

A good breeder will:

  • Give their puppies proper socialization with humans
  • Let you meet at least one of the parents
  • Know the genetics of both parents
  • Won’t separate the puppies from their mother until they’re at least eight weeks old

When searching for a breeder, some places to start are as follows:

Where can I find English Bulldogs for adoption?

Alternatively, you can look for an English Bulldog through rescues and shelters.

Some shelters might include Pet Finder or Adopt a Pet. You can also reach out to a local shelter near you and ask if they have any English Bulldogs and, if not, see if they can give you a call if they get any in.

There are a few rescues you can look at, as well, such as:

Are you thinking about getting an English Bulldog mix?

Like any other purebred, there are bound to be some crossbreeds. There are a few English Bulldog mixes that would make another great companion dog for you and your family.

English Bulldog and Boxer mix (Bulloxer)

An English Bulldog and Boxer (bulloxer) mix standing on a rock
Meet Hannah, a Bulloxer on a rock – Image source

This crossbreed is active and loyal. They can adapt to any living situation, so they’ll be suitable to live in apartments or be with a large family in a home with a fenced-in backyard.

Unlike their Bulldog parent, this hybrid might tend to bark a lot.

English Bulldog and Australian Shepherd mix

An English Bulldog and Australian Shepherd mix smiling and sitting on grass
An English Bulldog and Australian Shepherd mix smiling and sitting on grass – Image source

This designer dog is intelligent and loyal to its family. They will seek a lot of attention and are fairly active, unlike their English Bulldog side of the family.

English Bulldog and Beagle mix (Beabull)

A English Bulldog and Beagle (Beabull) puppy mix sitting on a blankie
Meet Romeo, a Beabull puppy sitting on a blankie – Image source

This adorable mixed breed will be a great companion dog for big or small families alike. They can live in an apartment or a large house with a fenced-in yard. They’re playful and active.

English Bulldog and Labrador

An English Bulldog and Labrador mix attentively sitting and smiling
Meet Puschin, an English Bulldog and Labrador mix dog – Image source

The English Bulldog crossed with a Labrador will be a medium to a large-sized dog that is social, active, and friendly to anyone they meet.

However, they enjoy being around their family, so they can’t be left home alone for too long, or else they could become destructive.

English Bulldog and Poodle mix

An English Bulldog and Poodle mix standing
An English Bulldog and Poodle mix standing – Image source

This hybrid is intelligent and friendly with kids but needs a lot of attention. This crossbreed is suitable for any home or family, whether it’s coupled with or with kids, single homes, or the elderly.

Verdict: should you get an English Bulldog?

An English Bulldog resting on a couch
Image source

An English Bulldog will make a great addition to any home. If you’re home, they’ll be right beside you on the couch, but they’ll snooze the afternoon away if you’re at work.

However, this breed is heavy on the wallet. They’re expensive to buy and medical, and other costs can add up quickly.

Are you thinking of becoming one of the English Bulldog owners? Let us know in the comments!

Further reading: similar breeds to an English Bulldog

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