A Guide to the English Bulldog

The Breed Standard

The features of an English bulldog are unmistakable. He/She is medium-sized with a smooth, shorthaired coat of brown, white, tan, red, or brindle. Broad shouldered, a flat face, an underbite, and a large head. In addition to their physical appearance, the typical English bulldog is brave, but not aggressive, and kind.

This is a photo of "Henry" the English Bulldog

Personality at Home

English bulldogs are, well, unique. They don’t require extensive exercise. In fact, most of the time, they prefer lounging around. For this reason, the bulldog frequently hears himself called a “couch potato.” His reaction? Eh. There are more important things to worry about, like naps. If you’re looking for a low-energy dog that you can leave unattended for longer periods of time than, say, a golden retriever, an English bulldog might be a good fit.

Don’t be fooled, though. In between those naps, you’ll find your bulldog to be quite playful. Whether it’s playing tug-o-war or the doggie version of peek-a-boo, the bulldog will relish the opportunity to have fun with your family. Just be prepared for something mischievous and funny in the midst of that play, like steeling your favorite spot on the couch the moment you get up or acting surprised by a loud and sudden “noise” that emanates from behind and stops your best friend cold in their tracks.

Along these lines, the typical English bulldog is known for their stubbornness. Let’s just say there’s a reason you don’t see bulldogs in agility competitions, and it’s only partly because of their stockiness. Unlike working dogs such as border collies and shepherds, the bulldog is not exactly interested in doing what their told. Somehow, they knows they are going to get fed and loved anyway, even if  your bulldog jumps on the couch when you’ve told them a million times not to.

For more in depth info on the Bulldog Personality Click Here

Training Your Bulldog

Because of that stubbornness, the bulldog can be a bit difficult to train. The most important advice for training a bulldog is to have patience and to be consistent. If your bulldog keeps jumping on the couch, don’t let him stay on there some times and not others. Stay the course, and wait for him to come around. Eventually, they will do it. Hopefully.

Another thing to remember is that positive reinforcement works best for bulldogs. For this, treats work exceedingly well. (He/She will jump off that couch pretty quickly if there’s food involved.) Do be careful with treats, though, because bulldogs have a tendency to become overweight. If you do use treats and notice your dog stops following commands without them (this will probably happen, by the way), pretend to have a treat in your hand. When your dog does as they are asked, praise them. Your bulldog will sniff your hand and give you that “what the heck” look, but they learn to be motivated by something other than food.

Health Issues

Generally, the English bulldog is a healthy dog. However, it’s important to note that quality dogs come from quality breeders. Any dog that comes from a puppy mill or a disreputable breeder will have a higher risk of health problems. That’s because many of the problems common in bulldogs are inherited. Since puppy mill breeders are more interested in money than their animals’ quality of life, they don’t breed out these undesirable traits. In fact, they breed dogs with these traits over and over. Quality dogs are bred in a way that weeds out these problems. Do your research so you and your dog can avoid some pretty nasty issues! Regardless, all dogs, like all people, come with a risk of health problems. Here are the most common.

Bilateral_hip_dysplasiaCanine Hip dysplasia is the abnormal development of the head of the femur. Instead of fitting properly in the socket of the hip joint, the femur fits loosely. Because of the bulldog’s unique skeletal structure and stature, they can often be misdiagnosed with hip dysplasia. Bulldogs naturally have shallow hip and joint sockets. However, in the case of bulldogs their unique muscular structure has adapted to support the hip in a way that is not seen in other breeds.….Mother Nature’s own compensation for the uniqueness of Bulldogs. For more info on Bulldog Hip Dysplasia visit the Orthopedic Foundation For Animals

Cherry Eye

Another common ailment in bulldogs is cherry eye. This is when a gland underneath their eyelid protrudes. While that sounds terrible, it is neither life threatening nor an emergency. However, the quicker you take your dog to vet for treatment, the more effective the treatment will be.

Bulldogs Allergies And Infections

Bulldogs can also suffer from allergies and infections, especially in their folds (aka wrinkles). Those cute wrinkles harbor a lot of bacteria and get hot and moist easily, which helps the bacteria grow. So, to avoid infection, it’s important to clean those folds daily with a washcloth or a wet wipe. It’s also important to keep your dog on quality grain-free diet to avoid food allergies. Oh, and now’s probably a good time to mention that you might have to wipe your dog’s behind after his business, both to remove leftover “material” and to keep the tail from getting infected from that “material.”

Heat Exaustion

The last major health concern in bulldogs is heat exhaustion. This is an important one. English bulldogs are brachycephalic, meaning their faces are “smushed.” Most dogs have elongated snouts. Brachycephalic dogs, on the other hand, like bulldogs, pugs, and Shih Tzus, have short snouts. This means that breathing can be harder for them. And since dogs cool themselves off by panting, brachycephalic dogs don’t cool off as easily. To avoid heat stroke, walk your bulldog in the morning or at night on hot days, and always have water available. Another great tip is to get a kiddie pool and fill it with water. Your dog will love it.

Overall, while the English bulldog is healthy, it is very important to use a vet that is familiar with the breed. This is especially important when surgery is involved since bulldogs have a higher risk of complications when under anesthesia. A vet experienced with bulldogs will know exactly what to do to keep your dog safe. Aside from surgery, a vet experienced with bulldogs will be better at diagnosing and treating bulldog-specific ailments. So, again, do your research. A little work will save you and your dog a lot of problems.

Taking Your Bulldog Puppy Home


When you finally bring your bulldog puppy home, it’s important to have a few things in order. Of course, you’ll want the necessities, like a leash, a bowl, a bed, and a couple of toys, but you’ll also need a few other things. For starters, get a kennel. Although it tugs at your heartstrings to see your puppy behind bars, dogs really like kennels. It makes them feel safe. It is also a great way to start potty training your dog, who will not want to soil his living quarters. You’ll also want to puppy-proof your home by keeping hidden anything that your dog can chew on or digest. You don’t want any unexpected emergency room visits.

Once your puppy gets settled and properly vaccinated, make sure you socialize him. This means inviting other people around to interact with him, and taking him to dog parks or to houses with other dogs. This will ensure that he grows up used to other dogs and people and will not be aggressive or neurotic around them. It’s also a great way to work with your dog on not jumping up on strangers.

This is also a great time to establish a system for personal care. Now is the best time to start cleaning your bulldog’s folds daily. Also get your dog used to teeth cleanings, baths, and nail clippings so they all become routine.

We have compiled a great list of recommended supplies for your new best friend here

The Takeaway

Bulldogs truly do make great pets. They are funny, kind of weird, expressive, and adorable. While they do require some maintenance and attention, the work you put in will be worth it for such an amazing companion.

If you are interested in buying a bulldog puppy and would like more information on the selection process you may visit our “Bulldog Puppies For Sale Page”