The English Bulldog was first bred in England. It was a cross between the pug and the mastiff, with its main purpose being entertainment in the form of bull-baiting. Bull-baiting was a popular game during the Middle Ages, and the role of the dog was to attack and bite the bull. It would then hold on tight and not release it until the bull was brought down. The owners of the Bulldogs always boasted about the courage and ferocity of their dogs. Their loyalty was evidenced by their willingness to keep up the fight to the end, even when they were in severe pain.
The entire society took part in bull-baiting, and even Queen Elizabeth enjoyed it. For a long time, people believed that exciting the bull before slaughter would make their meat more nutritious.
The banning of bull-baiting in 1835 opened a new chapter for the Bulldog. Even though it has lost much of its popularity, the Bulldog was still appreciated by some for its fortitude and devotion. Many enthusiasts rescued the breed from extinction and took care of them. A docile and gentle disposition replaced their ferociousness. The dog always maintains its ferocity when faced with danger, and it will fight to the death to protect the family. It is also a reason for the dog’s popularity as one to keep in the family.
Owing to its amiable and even clownish personality, the English Bulldog has become a favorite among many pet owners. Institutions also favor it worldwide as many use the English Bulldog as a mascot to denote their strength in battle. They include the U.S. Army, the United Kingdom, the Marine Corps, and the Navy. Hundreds of businesses, schools, and university sports teams also use the English Bulldog as their mascot.
On average, the English Bulldog lives between 8 and 12 years. It has a short head and snout, which can lead to several health challenges. For instance, it can easily develop problems in the nose, eyes, teeth, and respiratory system. The nostrils tend to be narrower, and the soft palate is longer. As such, the palate’s skin can obstruct the airway, causing serious breathing problems. Whenever the dog is overexcited or overheated, the block occurs, causing breathing problems.
Heat is another major concern for the English Bulldogs as they cannot pant to cool themselves as other breeds do. Due to the additional amount of work required to bring air into the body, any situation that needs them to breathe harder will cause irritation and throat swelling. It can cause respiratory distress, and heatstroke is common with the breed.
Some of the major problems that the Bulldog is susceptible to include:
- Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca
- Ventricular septal defect
- Canine Hip Dysplasia
- Shoulder Luxation
- Stenotic nares
- Internalized tail
- Elongated soft palate
- Urethral prolapse
- Cherry eye
- Elbow dysplasia
- Patellar luxation
It would help if you also take precautions whenever you are dealing with the English Bulldogs. For instance, ensure that their facial and other body wrinkles are clean and dry. It will be very useful in the prevention of skinfold dermatitis. The breed is also known to require a Caesarian delivery whenever giving birth. Consultation with the veterinarian is important before you consider breeding your Bulldog.
While under anesthesia, the breed suffers from complications due to the unusual nature of its airways. The concern should be discussed with the veterinarian before any surgeries are conducted on the dog. The application of anesthesia during the surgery can mean a blockage of their airways and breathing complications. Assisted breathing is recommended for the surgeries that are necessary for the dog.
English Bulldogs live comfortably in apartments, and they will not need to have a yard. They are typical low-endurance dogs and only require a moderate amount of exercise. They also thrive best in temperate climates. Hot weather causes them to overheat and have difficulties breathing. On the other hand, cold temperatures cause them to chill easily.
They are also loud breathers and will wheeze and snore while they are asleep. Many of them have also been known to drool.
Their shedding is moderate, and only a little grooming is needed for their short coats. The wrinkles on their face must be wiped regularly to prevent skin infections.
If they are left unattended, an English Bulldog’s wrinkles will easily become cultivate yeast, get inflamed, or infected. The result is discomfort for your dog and can even lead to bigger issues when left untreated. You must keep your Bulldog’s wrinkles clean and dry through daily cleaning. Face wrinkles are especially sensitive since their eyes may water. The watering eyes will drain into the creases, and deep wrinkles are the perfect breeding places for bacteria and yeast.
Bulldogs also have food allergies, and finding the right food for them can be very difficult. Giving them the proper nutrition will take time, and you should ensure that you read food labels. As such, you will be in a better position to choose food that fits your dog’s needs.
Bulldogs also love their daily outings, but you cannot take them for long distances. They can also not be expected to dart from great heights. Most of them do not enjoy swimming, and you can use sunscreen on their skin whenever you intend to spend time in the sun.
- From 1206 to 1835, bull baiting was a common blood sport in the United Kingdom. Bulldogs, specially bred for these sports, would creep low to the ground and attempt biting the bull’s nose. They would then hold on for dear life, most of the time getting thrown into the air by the bull. There were a lot of deaths and injuries associated with this sport.
- There is a reason they appear the way they do as they were bred for a reason. Their bodies kept them on the ground despite the bull’s best efforts to throw them into the air. Their loose skin acted as a shield that protected their vital organs, and their undershot jaw pushed their bottom teeth up. It gets them a better grip to hold on to the bull for much longer. With the short snouts, the bulldogs could keep breathing while holding on to the bull’s nose, and with the smaller back legs, the dog could be roughed up without getting spinal injuries.
- Determined and self-sufficient, bulldogs are independent. Their confidence means that they can solve problems on their own and don’t rely on their owners for guidance. They should also be kept away from the water as not all can swim and they can drown when they slip.
- The awkward biology of the bulldogs makes it difficult for them to conceive. The males usually have a hard time reaching the females, and breeders usually choose artificial insemination. The birthing process itself is also a bit of an ordeal due to the breed’s big heads and small birth canals. Natural birth mostly leads to injury and death, making it necessary for C-section for most deliveries.
- England loves the Bulldog, and they are the national breed. In World War II propaganda, England was illustrated as a tough-looking Bulldog with Winston Churchill called the “British Bulldog.”