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Should You Own An English Bulldog? ...by Bill Knell

The English Bulldog is an older dog breed dating back to the 1500s and first mentioned in writing during the early 1600s. This dog got its name from the English sport of Bull Baiting, which was a favorite of Queen Anne of England (1665-1714). Once extremely popular throughout Great Britain, the bull was secured to an iron stake by a strong rope that only allowed it to move about thirty feet in any direction. Dogs were then allowed to attack the bull until it was immobilized. Another version had dogs attack the bull one at a time until the dog had it’s teeth firmly embedded in the bull’s snout. English Bulldogs were bred especially for that purpose which accounts for the odd appearance and strength of their jaws.

Unlike many medium sized dog breeds, the English Bulldog does not require a lot of exercise and can easily be kept in an apartment or condo. However, owners should provide brief periods of vigorous daily exercise in the form of frequent short walks. This breed is known to be generally non-violent when it comes to owners and their families. They get along very well with kids and other pets. However, they are also considered less intelligent and more difficult to train than most purebred dogs. English Bulldogs can sometimes be a source of frustration for their owners by acting stubborn, so any prospective owner should have tons of patience and lots of love for this breed.

English Bulldogs are not long lived dogs with an average lifespan of 6-10 years (based on worldwide dog registry statistics). Animals that live past eight years are likely to suffer from various maladies and require a substantial amount of veterinarian care. This breed suffers from a number of common canine health problems including cancer, heart problems, hip dysplasia (more so than most other breeds), cherry eye and allergies. Anyone planning to adopt an English Bulldog should know that they are likely to require a substantial commitment in terms of veterinary check-ups and treatments over the years. English Bulldogs do not thrive well in areas with high temperatures. They are sensitive to heat, requiring a lot of shade and a constant supply of fresh water.

These dogs are best known for being sports team mascots. They make good family pets as long as their owners are willing to supply them with the proper food, environment and health care they require. Feeding an English Bulldog premium dog feed without the kind of cheap fillers that discount dog foods use is an essential of ownership. These dogs require lots of high quality proteins to maintain good health and avoid canine obesity. Table scraps and too many dog treats are also non-starters for this breed because they have a tendency to become overweight. Owners should add high quality and all natural supplements to their food. That addition will provide your pet with the kind of amino acids and minerals it needs to help maintain good health and fitness, beyond what their food delivers.

As far as behavior modification goes, do not expect much from English Bulldogs. You should begin their training as early as possible and keep it as simple as you can. It is unlikely that you will be able to teach your pet not to urinate inside because English Bulldogs are not known for being able to hold back for very long, so be sure you create and stick to a regular schedule of frequent walks. These dogs will have few if any accidents as long as they are taken out around the same times each day. As far as teaching your pet not to do things like laying on furniture and such, good luck! The phrase “stubborn as a bulldog” did not come about by accident.

If you plan to travel with your dog or ship them somewhere by air, be aware that some airlines may not accept English Bulldogs because of their sensitivity to heat and the type of snout they have which can create breathing problems at high altitudes. These dogs travel well in cars as long as the temperature is kept cool and they are not forced to endure direct sunlight, so don’t be afraid to take them with you when you go out. English Bulldogs are social animals that love to be included in most any activity. They enjoy short walks and are not overly curious when it comes to other animals.

If you want to own an English Bulldog, I strongly suggest that you do your homework by contacting other owners. They will tell you about all the DO’s and DONT’s of owning one, as well as all the positive and negative aspects of the breed. This is definitely not an easy type of dog to own and most English Bulldogs owners and fanciers agree that you really have to have a love for the breed to adopt one.


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