Bulldogs are one of the most beloved family pets in the world. They have a unique look, with their short legs and wrinkly faces, that make them instantly recognizable. Bulldogs are known for being loyal, loving companions who will always be there for you.
If you’re considering adding a Bulldog to your family, there are a few things you should know about this breed. Bulldogs are an intelligent breed that can be trained to do a variety of tasks. They are also very affectionate and love spending time with their owners.
Bulldogs are generally low-maintenance dogs, but they do require regular grooming and exercise. Grooming should include brushing their coat regularly to keep it healthy and free of mats. Exercise should include daily walks or playtime in the yard to keep them healthy and happy.
Bulldogs look like they are built for fighting. This presumption could not be further from the truth. Your Bulldog wants nothing more than to relax the day away. They are very loving and affectionate dogs.
They have less than average intelligence, as far as dog breeds go. This makes them rather slow to learn, and they can be a bit uncomfortable around strangers. They are highly trainable and require a firm hand when it comes to training. They are very protective, especially of children, so their loyalty shines in this respect.
Bulldogs are also known for their stubbornness, so it’s important to be patient and consistent when training them. They can be slow to learn new commands, but with patience and consistency they will eventually catch on.
Bulldogs tend to be lazy, preferring quiet times with lots of attention to exercise or activity. They tend to overeat if allowed, and their diet must be carefully supervised to avoid issues with obesity. The size and shape of their heads and their love of resting contributes to a lot of snoring. This is normal, and not something to worry about.
Bulldogs are not recommended as a first-time pet, due to their size and strength. However, they are a great choice for experienced owners who understand the risks involved.
Bulldogs are an extremely loyal companion animal. They are also very protective of their family, and will guard their home loudly. They make excellent watchdogs and will alert you when someone comes near your home.
If you’re a beginner dog owner, Bulldogs are an excellent choice. They are relatively low-maintenance and don’t require a lot of exercise , making them a great choice for those who don’t have a lot of time to dedicate to their pet. They are also very loyal and loving, which makes them an ideal companion for anyone looking for a devoted friend.
Overall, Bulldogs are an excellent breed that make wonderful family pets. They are loyal, loving companions who will always be there for you. With regular grooming and exercise, they can be a low-maintenance pet that will bring joy and companionship to your home.
- Average Height: 14 to 15 inches
- Average Length: 20 to 27 inches
- Average Weight: 40 – 50 pounds
- Coat Type: Short length
- Coat Appearance: Smooth-coat that is glossy, soft, and fine-textured.
- Coat Colors: Red; fawn; white; brindle and piebald.
- Grooming Needs: High
- Shedding: Medium
- Brushing Requirements: Two or three times
- Sensitive to Touch: Yes sensitive in some areas like skin folds and wrinkles.
- Excessive Barking: No
- Tolerance to Heat and Cold: No
- Good Pet: They are predictable, loving, and an amazing family member, so yes!
- Safe with Children: Yes
- Good with Other Dogs: Yes
- Good with Other Pets: Yes
- Suitable to live in an Apartment: Yes
- Good for Less Experienced Pet Owners: Yes, but they need a lot of daily care
- Training: They are slow learners but easy to train.
- Exercise Needs: Moderate
- Weight Gain: High
- Health Concerns: Pulmonic stenosis (PS), Brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS), hip dysplasia, cherry eyes, heat concerns and skin infections.
- Allergies: Food and skin allergies.
- Average Life Span: 8 to 10 years
Physical Appearance of Bulldogs
Bulldogs have a large and round head with a short snout. Their short snout makes their face look flat. They have a black nose with round and dark eyes. Their cheeks are loose and have a sagging appearance that hangs down from their face. Bulldogs have short, thin ears that fold forward. Some dogs will have ears that fold far enough to have their ears rest on their head, and others will be folded but not long enough to lay on their head.
The shape of their mouth makes it look like they have huge mouths. Their mouths aren’t any larger than any other dog, but the shape, and the way their skin sits makes it look that way.
They have medium-sized bodies with a muscular and sturdy build. Their shoulders are thick and broad with a slight arc on their back. Bulldogs have a deep and full chest. Their legs are short and muscular. Their tail is thick and can be either straight or if they have a genetic mutation their tail can be a corkscrew shape. Bulldogs with a corkscrew tail will need more grooming attention to prevent infections, more on this in the grooming section.
Bulldogs have a short coat that is straight, smooth, and fine-textured. Their coat is loose and soft with their head, neck, and shoulders feeling spongy when touched. The front part of their face has large wrinkles with two folds on their throat. Their coat is one of a variety of colors, solid red, fawn (light or dark), white, and brindle are the more common colors. Another commonly found color is the piebald which is a combination of two or more colors. Bulldogs that have piebald fur have skin under their fur that is not the same color as the fur is.
Temperament of Bulldogs
The Bulldog has a calm and loving temperament. They are also gentle and obedient. Their gentle and loving personalities make them a great pet for families. Bulldogs rarely act aggressively and are almost always in a playful mood, a great combination if you have children and regular visitors. They are known for being protective of their family and can be great watch dogs.
Bulldogs don’t bark very often, which might be because they are not very territorial. They only bark and become aggressive if someone treats them badly. Overall they are very predictable and easy-going pets making it a joy to have them in your home.
Training a Bulldog
Bulldogs, for as loving and loyal as they are, are less intelligent than most other dog breeds. They are known for being slow learners. The good thing is they are not stubborn which will make training them easier, just longer than other breeds. Try not to be too aggressive in your training techniques, otherwise they can become frustrated and will take longer to train.
Pay attention to your dog while training them. If they seem to be having difficulty following or they look tired or confused then consider ending the training. Short training sessions that last for up to fifteen minutes are best. Short training sessions should keep them from losing interest or running out of energy.
Obedience Training Classes
Obedience training classes are a great way to help your dog learn some basic instructions. Obedience training isn’t just for your dog, it also helps owners learn to teach and control their new dog. These classes can teach you as an owner the best ways to teach your puppy.
Bulldogs need to be trained to understand what is good behavior and what is not OK. Clicker training will help them understand what is good behavior. Clicker training has you make a noise with the clicker when the desired action is done. In addition to the click you’ll give them a treat, at least while you train them. Every time your dog hears the click they’ll know they did a good job and you are happy.
If your dog misbehaves, try not to punish them because it can discourage them. Instead, remember the clicker training and divert their attention to something else. You might have to do this several times to help your dog understand that they are not supposed to do the undesired activities.
Early Socialization Training
Early socialization is helpful for Bulldogs. They need exposure to different sounds, places, people, other dogs, and pets right when they are a puppy. By being exposed to so many things it will help interact more confidently with others and teach them appropriate ways for them to interact with people and other animals.
Kennel training works very well with Bulldogs. If done right they will see the kennel as their safe space, and a place that they can relax and sleep. Most dogs enjoy small spaces and will find a sense of security while inside it. Getting them comfortable in a kennel early on will save you a lot of headaches. You know that they can’t get into trouble while you’re sleeping or at work if they’re in their kennel. It’s also a great place for them to dry off after they come into the house when it’s wet outside.
Their Compatibility with Children
Bulldogs are friendly dogs and get along really well with children. They are a breed that loves to play with kids. They are very affectionate with children and will often show their love by licking them.
The smaller size of your Bulldog, the lower the chances that they will accidentally hurt children while playing. No matter their size, they will be protective of children and will protect them from strangers.
You can leave them alone unsupervised to play together without worrying. One thing to be cautious about is leaving small toys around. Bulldogs love to chew things and might occasionally chew your child’s toys. Chewing their toys can be harmful to their health. To keep them from chewing things, always have an adult look over the area where they will play and remove anything that could be a problem.
Teach your kids the best ways to interact with your Bulldog. Children should not disturb them when they are eating because they might get bit because your dog thinks their food is being taken away. Until you know how your children and new puppy will react its best to have an adult supervise their interactions. Supervision is the best way to keep accidents from happening.
Best Climate for Bulldogs
Bulldogs are most comfortable in a moderate climate. They can’t tolerate extreme cold or heat very well. If you stay in an area that experiences freezing temperatures, avoid taking your Bulldog outside for longer than necessary. If you must take them out for more than a potty break, try to keep the walk to less than 15 minutes. A coat or sweater can help keep them warm when you exercise them for longer than 15 minutes.
Never leave them outside for more than half an hour on a hot day. The maximum temperature that they can tolerate is 85 degrees. Anything beyond that can be extremely dangerous for your Bulldog. Because of their breathing problems they are very susceptible to heat exhaustion. The situation can quickly lead to heatstroke that can kill them if they are not closely watched in the heat.
Bulldogs have a short nose that does not allow them to pant efficiently. Because of their short nose, it makes it difficult to regulate their body temperature. They need a nice cool place in the shade when the temperature gets past 80 degrees, and plenty of water.
The Attention a Bulldog Needs
Bulldogs are affectionate dogs and require a lot of attention. They will want a lot of your time to play with them or be around them. One positive aspect of having them as a pet is that they are not very active. Bulldogs are known to be a couch potato and can lay for a long time next to family. While they want to be with you, generally they don’t demand a lot of activity from their family. Time spent with their family does not need to be active time, it can just be time spent together.
Though the breed is somewhat lazy and less active compared to other dogs, they don’t like being left alone. Avoid leaving them alone for longer than necessary because over time it can lead to separation anxiety.
Bulldogs are indoor dogs that have overall good health. But some of them can develop certain health conditions. Bulldogs tend to develop breathing conditions and have low energy. While this is not a disease, it is something to be aware of because of how their face is shaped, they may have breathing problems. They may even snore!
Cherry eye is a prolapsed gland of their third eyelid. Cherry eye is what happens after a tear gland in a dog’s third eyelid becomes inflamed. It’s usually not painful, but sometimes your dog will rub it like it’s itchy.
It’s called cherry eye because of a red sack that swells in the inner corner of their eye. Your dog will start to have some discomfort in their eyes because the gland isn’t able to produce tears as much as it should. If your dog doesn’t tear enough, it could lead to an eye infection.
As soon as you see indications of cherry eyes, contact your vet. They can surgically reposition the gland and fix the problem.
Canine Dry Eye (Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca, or KCS) is a common eye condition with dogs that occurs when their eyes don’t produce enough tears to keep them lubricated and healthy. It can be caused by a variety of factors, including genetics, environmental conditions, trauma, and certain medications.
Symptoms of Canine Dry Eye
- Eye Redness
- Eye Discharge
- Cloudy or opaque eyes
- Corneal Ulceration (in severe cases)
Treatment for canine dry eye typically involves artificial tears or ointments to help lubricate their eyes and reduce inflammation. In more severe cases, medications such as cyclosporine may be prescribed to increase tear production.
Hip dysplasia is a hereditary problem that can make walking, getting up or laying down difficult and painful. When a dog has hip dysplasia, their hip socket fails to fully cover the ball portion of their thigh bone. The looseness between the hip and leg bone leads to partial or complete dislocation of their hip joint and can cause pain and stiffness. In most cases, medication and exercise restrictions are advised by the vet. Over time the condition could become severe enough that your vet might recommend surgery to correct it.
Canine Brachycephalic Syndrome is a condition that affects dogs with short, or brachycephalic, muzzles. This syndrome can cause a variety of health problems due to the anatomical abnormalities associated with the shortened muzzle. Common signs and symptoms of canine brachycephalic syndrome include difficulty breathing, snoring, gagging, and exercise intolerance.
The most common breeds affected by this syndrome are Bulldogs, Pugs, Shih Tzus, and Boston Terriers.
The primary cause of canine brachycephalic syndrome is the shortened muzzle associated with these breeds. This shortening causes a narrowing of the airway, which can lead to difficulty breathing and other respiratory problems.
Additionally, their soft palate may be too long for their shortened muzzle and can obstruct their airway.
Skin allergies are a common issue that can affect any dog breed. Allergies can be caused by environmental factors such as pollen, dust mites, and mold, or they can be caused by food sensitivities. Symptoms of skin allergies include itching, redness, hair loss, and scabbing.
The most common type of skin allergy is atopic dermatitis, which is an allergic reaction to environmental allergens. It can cause intense itching and skin redness, as well as hair loss and scabbing. Treatment for atopic dermatitis includes antihistamines, steroids, and immunotherapy.
Food allergies are another type of skin allergy that can cause similar symptoms. Dogs could be allergic to certain proteins or carbohydrates in their diet.
Canine head shakes can be caused by a variety of factors, ranging from medical issues to behavioral problems. Some common causes include ear infections, allergies, neurological disorders, and even anxiety or fear. In some cases, the cause may be unknown. It’s important to consult with your veterinarian if your dog has head shaking symptoms in order to determine the underlying cause and develop an appropriate treatment plan.
Head shaking can be a sign of pain or discomfort, so it’s important to rule out any medical issues before attempting to address the behavior. If your dog is shaking their head due to an ear infection, for example, your veterinarian may prescribe antibiotics or other medications to treat their infection. Allergies may require antihistamines or other medications to reduce the symptoms. Neurological disorders may require more specialized treatment, such as physical therapy or medications to control seizures.
In some cases, head shaking may be a sign of anxiety or fear. If this is the case, it’s important to identify and address the underlying cause of your dog’s distress. This may involve desensitization training, counterconditioning, or other behavior modification techniques. It’s also important to make sure that your dog has a safe and secure environment in order to reduce their stress and anxiety.
Domesticated cats and dogs can get periodontal disease if their oral health is not taken care of. Periodontal disease is a tooth and gum condition that can become serious in a few ways. One of the biggest problems is that this disease can destroy the gums and teeth of your pet if left untreated.
Another major problem if the bacteria in the mouth enters the bloodstream. Plaque build-up in the mouth can damage the gums and let bacteria enter the bloodstream. If this happens it can cause kidney and liver diseases and narrow their blood vessels which can lead to heart problems.
One of the easiest ways to prevent periodontal disease is to regularly brush your pet’s teeth. More than likely they won’t like it, but regular brushing is the best way you can prevent plaque buildup in your pets mouth.
Other diseases found in Bulldog include respiratory, dry skin, and cardiac conditions.
Bathing, Coat, and Cleaning
When it comes to cleaning, Bulldogs have very high grooming needs. Because they have so many wrinkles and skin folds moisture can collect in a fold and lead to rashes or infections on their skin. If you are interested in having a Bulldog in your family, you should be prepared to wipe their skin once or twice a day to remove moisture and prevent bacteria build up.
Taking care of their wrinkles in the warmer months is very important. The folds can easily trap moisture and eventually crack their skin. You need to take good care of their wrinkles because they can become infected.
Use a wet cotton cloth to wipe their wrinkles once or twice a day. Baby wipes or antibacterial cloths work well to remove moisture and give them some immediate cooling if they are warm. If you see that their wrinkles are too moist, you can ask your vet to suggest an ointment to apply. Many people also apply aloe on their skin to keep it healthy and keep their skin from cracking.
To clean their ears use a moist cotton cloth.
They like to stay indoors and are known to keep themselves fairly clean. They shed only moderate amounts of hair and brushing them once a week should be enough. The only thing you may need to do more often is to clean up any drool that they have.
Because they have a smooth and soft coat, use a soft bristle brush while brushing them. Give them a bath once every two to four weeks. While bathing use an antibacterial and antifungal shampoo to gently rub their coat. When bathing them it’s important to move all of their skin folds so that their entire body is cleaned and not just the convenient parts.
Their nails should be trimmed once a week. Short nails will keep your Bulldog from damaging the floor by scratching it or hurting your family while playing with them.
Every week it’s important to check their nose, paws, and other areas of your dog while brushing them for signs of redness or other infections. If you see any signs of infection, call your vet immediately. Bulldogs are prone to develop eye and skin diseases and need to be inspected thoroughly.
Special Needs of Corkscrew Tail Bulldogs
Bulldogs with a corkscrew tail have extra grooming needs that straight tail Bulldogs won’t have. Many with the corkscrew tail will have what is called a “tail pocket” where the skin in the area around their tail creates an actual skin pocket. This pocket area is known to be moist and full of yeast and bacteria. Because of the yeast and bacteria in the pocket they will have regular infections. You’ll know they have an infection because the pocket will smell terrible.
In addition to the smell, the infection will likely be extremely itchy for your dog. Because the Bulldogs can’t lick this area they will usually drag their butt across the floor to satisfy their itch.
To clean out their tail pocket you’ll want to use an anti bacterial wipe. Other products can help clean, but they won’t kill off the yeast or bacteria like the anti bacterial wipe will. You’ll need to lift the skin right above their tail, opening up the pocket. Using one or two fingers with the wipe around it you’ll want to insert your fingers in the pocket.
Try to go all the way in and move the wipe around to get as much of the area cleaned as you can. Cleaning their pocket will need to be done twice a day to control the bacteria and the smell. Your dog is going to hate this, expect them to try to get away when you are cleaning them.
The bad news is, that was only the top tail pocket. The same thing will need to be done to clean the bottom side of the tail, which is actually known for being a lot more dirty. Because of how the skin folds are and how the tail sits many dogs will have problems pooping. Poop can actually collect in the skin folds under the tail, and needs to be cleaned out just like the top of the tail.
Feeding A Bulldog
Bulldogs need 3 to 4 cups of dog food every day, split into two meals. Don’t leave their food out in the open so your dog can eat it whenever they want. If they don’t eat it all after it’s given to them, put the food away until their next scheduled feeding time.
Avoid feeding table scraps to your Bulldog. If you want to feed them people food, consult your vet before giving them any. They’re not large dogs and their food needs are minimal. Eating more than what they are supposed to can cause them to put on weight or lead to negative health conditions.
Can a Bulldog Swim?
No, Bulldogs cannot swim and can drown within a few seconds. They have short legs with a heavy torso which makes it difficult for them to swim. If you are taking them near the beach or you want to take them swimming, they will need to wear a life vest to ensure their safety.
Do Bulldogs Sleep a lot?
Yes, Bulldogs have a reputation of being lazy and sleeping a lot. They need a minimum of 14 hours of sleep a day. Even when they are awake, they generally tend to lounge and rest most of the time.
Do Bulldogs Snore?
This is a big yes! Some Bulldogs can be quiet while others can snore loudly. They are prone to snoring because of their short nose. You shouldn’t worry if your Bulldog snores because it’s not a serious condition. It is a breed characteristic and very normal.
My Bulldog has a Stinky Corkscrew Tail, What are My Options?
These dogs need to have their pocket tails cleaned twice a day with anti bacterial wipes. Even with twice a day cleanings they can still get infections and your dog’s rear can still be sore and itchy. If the twice a day cleanings are too much, or aren’t preventing the infections you do have an option.
You can talk to your vet about having their tail surgically removed. When the tail is removed, the vet will also remove excess skin from the area so that there isn’t a tail pocket anymore. With the tail pocket gone, there isn’t any place back there for bacteria to build up because the moisture will be gone. Your dog will be much cleaner, smell better, and will be thankful they don’t need probe cleanings twice a day.
Maryna is an animal expert that has had dozens of animals in her life over the years. She has never found an animal that she didn't love immediately. It seems like every year she finds kittens that have been abandoned by their mom and she nurses them to health and finds homes for them. She contributes her vast knowledge about animals and family pets to our website and we're forever grateful to have her working with us. She's also an amazing graphics designer and has designed all of the social media images that we use across all platforms.