Traditionally recognised as 'the British breed' and renowned for the bulldog spirit and strength and is often referred to as the Churchill dog as it was used to portray the courage and spirit of England during the second world war. It goes back in history in early literature in the 13th century there are mentions of the forerunners of this breed and is best known for being used for bull and bear baiting, its stance giving the weight and power, its wrinkled face supposed to protect their vision from blood........However these barbaric practices were outlawed and the bulldog became bred for his companionship, loyalty.
In 1875 the oldest bulldog club was formed 'the Bulldog Club Incorperated'and it is still the foremost club today,with approximately 20 more clubs throughout the country, serious breeders and exhibitors in the show world work for the love and protection of the breed, improving the health problems associated with the breed.
The character of bulldogs
Bulldogs are quite stubborn, extremely faithful to their owners look quite fierce and when called upon to protect their loved ones,would act accordingly.They are not great barkers and are happy just to be near their beloved owners, they can be lazy and are content to be couch potatoes if you let them but to maintain good health, muscle tone and short nails regular exercise on hard surface (pavements)is recommended.
They will live happily with other animals but need to be young when introduced to live in harmony, they are possessive over toys, treats and food and even their favourite person.
Bulldogs love children make a good family pet known for an affinity with them, but in this I feel its important for the bulldog to be reared with the children from a pup ,and care taken to protect the pup from too much attention and a peaceful haven provided for dog to retreat too. As they are a powerful dog it is important your children respect this addition to the family.My own bulldogs live happily with each other, two veteran cats and visiting toddlers!
A full breed standard is available from the Kennel Club or any of the breed clubs.I don't intend to reprint it in detail here
Bulldogs are approximately 50lbs, the males having a bigger head and looking more impressive than the bitches who should be about 5lbs lighter A heavy stocky looking dog and although described as big dogs, I myself think they are a medium size in height.They can be any colour but black, their coat is short haired and rather spiky, they moult in our modern heated houses , (this can be almost all year round,) they can have straight or screwed tails,they are never docked, their expression should be 'Sour' and it is preferable not to show their teeth.
Their life span is like most heavy dogs average 9 years but I personally know one of 14 years and ofcourse it does depend on the lifestyle, a regular steady walk, not too much weight carried can give your bulldog a good chance of a longer life.
Problems associated with the breed
Hot weather is a danger to bulldogs,their faces are called brachycephalic it means short faced which also means there are problems breathing, they particularly struggle in the heat, travelling in hot cars , sunbathing(which they are partial to) all can result in a dangerous situation which has been known to cause death. immediate but slow cooling down is needed to save an overheated bulldog. White bulldogs can lack protective pigment and may suffer severe sunburn if allowed out in the hottest part of the day, its safer to walk bulldogs in the early morning and late in the evening during the summer.
One of the reasons bulldogs are expensive to buy is they are very expensive to breed as unfortunately they often need a Caesarean section to deliver their puppies,and although they are good mothers they are also clumsy and a 24 hour per day vigil for the first three weeks by the whelping box is necessary to avert the very real danger of the mother overlaying the pups.Unless you are at home all the time, breeding is not an option with this breed and I feel it is not a novice breeders best choice as rearing a litter properly is very time consuming and its very important to get the feeding right. As they are a rapid growth breed if they are not reared well they never achieve the bone, power and stature that is characteristic of this wonderful breed.
The following are a list of other problems that breeders have tried to eradicate but it must be mentioned at this point:
- Entropian this is an eye condition, hereditary caused by eyelids inturning
- Heart murmurs.. sometimes found in puppies and in various degrees of seriousness
- Skin problems.. due to Hormones in bitches
- and in some breeding lines Demodetic mange
- Allergies that can be helped by feeding special diets ie:chicken and rice
- Some hip problems are in the breed but there is no recommendation for the scoring of bulldog hips,as in some breeds.
Its worth mentioning here that bulldogs don't react well to anaesthetics, and it is very important you find and befriend a bulldog knowledgeable Veterinary Surgeon before entrusting your precious friend for an operation.
Insuring is a wise precaution as any treatments are likely to be expensive.
So if you have bought your bulldog this is your daily care......
- A quick rub down with a hound glove to remove that moulting and give the coat a shine
- Washing with a damp cloth the wrinkles of the face, putting a cream in them ( a nappy rash type ) or putting baby talc or chalk in to dry them.
- Wash under the tail if its tight fitting to the body and cream this.. this is very important as this area if neglected can cause so much pain to your dog it can completely change its character. and in severe cases require the tail to be surgically removed.
- A regular walk, good diet as recommended by your puppies breeder.
If you want to buy a healthy puppy from a breeder who will support you with problems as they arise whilst you are learning about the breed , look around for your local dog shows go and look at the dogs and speak to the exhibitors, try not to buy from anyone who doesn't show you the mother and make sure it is not a crossbred puppy.
Having said most of the downside reasons in bulldogs may I just say that they are wonderful to live with, and once you have owned one you will be totally captivated by the nature of these very special dogs.