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About Bulldogs


The Bulldog was originally thought to be a butcher's dog, used to subdue an animal for slaughter. It was then bred to participate in the "sport" of bullbaiting, an extremely cruel activity. The original Bulldog had to be courageous, very ferocious and savage. It also had to be almost insensitive to pain. Many of the features in the current bulldog standard are derived from the physical requirements needed by these dogs.

When bull baiting was outlawed in England in 1835, the Bulldog, as it then existed, had outlived its purpose and would no longer exist as a breed. However, a group of Bulldog lovers felt that the breed should not disappear and decided to preserve it. In order to preserve the breed, they had to remove its undesirable fierce characteristics, while preserving and accentuating its finer qualities. Within a few generations the Bulldog became one of the finest physical specimens of dogdom without the viciousness they previously exhibited. The people who saved the breed formed an organization that eventually became The Bulldog Club, Inc. - the "mother" club of the breed worldwide.

Constant learning, a knowledge of genetics and inheritance, familiarity with health issues, and understanding pedigrees is essential to develop breeding programs devoted to producing of healthy, sound dogs with good temperaments.

It is important that you get your dog from a reputable breeder or rescue group and that you have a veterinarian who is knowledgeable and has experience with Bulldogs. If you are looking for a puppy, BCA members have the highest standards in breeding bulldogs and must comply with the BCA Code of Ethics. Breeders listed in the Breeder Referral Directory must exceed these standards by meeting the additional requirements of the program.

Bulldog Health

Like any other breed, bulldogs may be prone to a variety of health problems. It is important to purchase your puppy from a reputable breeder who performs the necessary health certifications on their sires and dams. Even if both parents are healthy, a puppy can develop any of the more common health problems from several generations back. This is why the purchase of a puppy should not be an impulse buy.
Bulldog health problems that may be encountered include an elongated soft palate, small tracheas, allergies, dermatitis, demodex mange, ectropion and entropion (eyelid anomalies), stenotic nares, hip dysplasia problems, cherry eye, and heart problems.

The average life span of a bulldog is about 7 to 11 years with some living past 12 years.

A veterinarian who understands the breed and their unique characteristics can help you maintain the health of your dog and reduce the risk of potential complicating problems. For example, Bulldogs can have an adverse reaction to certain anesthetics. The Phoenix Bulldog club will be able to provide you with a list of the veterinarians in the area that are used by their members.

Grooming is important to your bulldog’s health, the toenails need frequent trimming, teeth need to be brushed, the ears and wrinkles need frequent cleaning, and they need to be bathed regularly.

Always provide your bulldog with clean fresh water and a correct and nutritious diet. Feed a premium Kibble free of corn, wheat and soy.

Common Health Issues

Skin Wrinkle Infections
This infection can be found as tail-fold pyoderma in bulldogs (screw tails). The usual signs are irritation and inflammation of the skin, causing discomfort to the dog and "scooting." The moist skin becomes infected and gives off a foul odor.

Acute Moist Dermatitis
Hot spots are warm, painful, swollen patches of skin which exude pus and give off a foul odor. These circular patches appear suddenly and enlarge rapidly, often within a few hours. Hair is lost rapidly. It is a bacterial skin infection

Demodectic Mange
Demodectic mange is an inflammatory skin disease in dogs in which a larger number than normal mites inhabit visible skin lesions. The mite is present in very small numbers in most healthy dogs.

Puppy Dermatitis
This is a mild surface skin infection found in young dogs under 12 months of age. There are two typical conditions: Impetigo and Acne: Impetigo (or milk rash) can be recognized by finding pus-filled blisters on the hairless parts of the abdomen and groin. These rupture easily, leaving thin brown crusts.

Acne is found on the chin and lower lip, or occasionally in the genital area, the perineum or the groin. It is identified by finding purplish-red bumps which come to a head and drain pus (like pimples or blackheads). The condition is sometimes found in older dogs on their chins.

Bulldogs and Hot Weather

Hot weather is detrimental to your Bulldog!

Bulldogs and hot weather are two things that don't mix well. Because of the bulldog's throat anatomy, excessive panting is quite dangerous. When the throat becomes irritated from too much panting, it can swell shut, causing suffocation. The preventive measures you take beforehand will be well worth your time. Here are a few:

Heatstroke can result from overexposure to the sun, strenuous or too much exercise in hot weather, or from being in a car on a hot day. Being confined in a building, room or crate without adequate ventilation/cooling is dangerous.

Some symptoms of heatstroke may include difficulty breathing, panting, foaming at the mouth, thick stringy saliva, noisy breathing, tongue hanging out, collapse, or unconsciousness.

During hot weather, to avoid heatstroke, keep your bully in your air conditioned home.

We all know how dangerous being confined in a car on a hot day is for people and animals. Well, this goes DOUBLE for bulldogs! On an 85 degree day, the inside of a car (even with windows partially rolled down) will heat up to 102 degrees in ten minutes. In thirty minutes, it will go up to 120 degrees. On warmer days, it will go even higher. LEAVE YOUR BULLY HOME ON SUCH DAYS, but if you must take him with you, be prepared. Use the air conditioning if you have it; wet him down with lots of water before you leave home and take along a good supply of water and ice, including a spray bottle to redampen him if necessary. A wet towel for him to lie on will also be helpful. It is a good idea to carry a squeeze bottle of lemon juice or a can of 7-UP to help clear phlegm from the bully's throat if needed to avoid respiratory distress.

If your bulldog is overcome with heat exhaustion, immediate first aid on your part could be lifesaving. You must immediately bring the body temperature down. The best way to do this is to immerse in cold water. Get the dog into your bathtub/shower and run cold water over him. A cold compress on his head will help reduce swelling of the brain (which can cause brain damage). Normal body temperature for a bulldog is 101.5 degrees, so take his temperature and see how close to normal it is. If he is gagging on thick saliva or phlegm, use the aforementioned lemon juice or 7-UP to cut it. Then use a paper towel to clear out the throat. If his tongue is swollen, causing a blockage of air flow, use a paper towel to grab hold of it (The towel will give you a better grip.) and pull the tongue out, allowing air flow again. These are just emergency first aid tips only. The most important thing you must do is to: GET YOUR BULLY TO THE VET'S OFFICE IMMEDIATELY.