Cute, funny, and lovable, English Bulldogs are among the few dogs who can't swim. Their heavy body and short legs make them plop like a stone in water. English Bulldogs belong to the non-sporting group of the AKC and were bred for their strong heads, powerful shoulders, and friendly personality. 


History

English Bulldogs go way back to the 13th century during the reign of King John. These dogs were used for a recreational sport called bull-baiting, where a pack of bulldogs fought a bull, and people bet on who would win. In 1835, the sport was banned, and the breed started moving away from being fighters and towards being loyal companions. 


About the Breed

Nutrition

EBs should be on a high-quality diet that is appropriate for their age, size and activity level. Since the breed is prone to obesity, it is important to count calories and watch their weight. And mind you, Bulldogs love to snack! Treats must be given in limitation, i.e. during training or when you need them to do something. Free feeding and table scraps always do more harm than good. Remember to start your EB on supplementation as early as two weeks to prevent age-related deficiency disorders.

Grooming

Coat care is minimal - a weekly brushing and fortnight bathing is all that is required to keep your EB looking their best. However, the hardest part about grooming a bulldog is cleaning his wrinkles since food and moisture gets trapped, leading to irritation and infection. Use a warm damp cloth after every meal to wipe your EBs wrinkles, followed by a wipe with a dry cloth. Besides this, it is important to trim their nails and clean their ears frequently.

Exercise

Bulldogs prefer being couch potatoes, but exercise is required to keep them healthy. Since the breed suffers from a short life span along with health complications, exercise must never be ignored. The right type of exercise can help keep a Bulldog's heart healthy - slow-paced frequent walks, treasure hunts, and drafting. Remember to give your Bulldog exercise when the sun isn't out since hot days make it difficult to breathe or cause heat strokes.

Training

Bulldogs tend to be possessive/protective of their food; hence this behaviour must be curbed at the beginning through positive reinforcement training. Bulldogs are easy to train and eager to please, but they aren't one to mind their manners wherever they go. Bulldogs need to be taught every command from the beginning to keep them from indulging in undesirable behaviours like chewing. Chewing is an all-time favourite of Bulldogs; hence, it is best to have a good set of chew toys to keep your furniture from destruction.

Health

Bulldogs primarily suffer from heatstroke; hence parents need to always have fresh water and an air condition available for their EBs. English Bulldogs cannot live in mildly hot weather without getting overheated - they tend to breathe hard, and their tongue turns to a bluish hue from a healthy pink. Overheating is a life-threatening situation that requires immediate medical attention. Besides this, Bulldogs suffer from obesity, hypothyroidism, diabetes, hip and elbow dysplasia, heart disease, and respiratory problems. 

Temperament

Bulldogs are calm, friendly, gentle, and loyal to their families. They enjoy being playful throughout their life. That said, there will never be a dull moment with this breed around.

What are the advantages of raising an English Bulldog?

EBs are excellent watchdogs and can live in apartments
They love the company of children because of their playful, goofy nature
EBs are known to be funny dogs because of their clownish antics
EBs are friendly, patient, gentle, and calm
They are best suited for cold weather

What are the disadvantages of raising an English Bulldog?

EBs are tough to train.
They have a short life span and suffer from many health complications
EBs are not the most hygienic
They do not enjoy being disciplined despite knowing the rules
They can be aggressive chewers and nippers if not given sufficient mental stimulations and physical exercise.

English Bulldogs need extra effort to raise them, but with the right family, they will thrive on being wonderful companions.