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English Bulldog Health

First, let me start by saying that it is not true that all English Bulldogs have health problems. It is true that some Bulldogs, just as with any breed, do have some health problems. This is especially true in purebred dogs because of controlled breeding. However, if a breeder is consistently producing Bulldogs with health problems this is from BAD BREEDING! A reputable breeder should give you a health guarantee against congenital health defects. This should include a reasonable amount of time for you to have your new baby bully examined, normally within 48 hours and it should specify the length of time this guarantee covers, sometimes up to six months. That is always our policy at "The Bulldog Ranch."

Not all veterinarians are knowledgeable about treating Bulldogs. It is best to find one who has experience with English Bulldogs, especially for any procedure that requires anesthesia. If at all possible, you should try to get a veterinarian referral from an established English Bulldog breeder in your area.

Bulldogs do have some special needs and do require some special care. If you are looking for a dog that you can just throw out in the yard and forget, except to provide food and water, than a bulldog is not for you. That kind of treatment just will not work with a Bulldog. However, if you are looking for a lovable, loyal companion who needs, craves and enjoys the daily care you must give him, and if you enjoy having someone dependent on you in that manner, a Bulldog just is just what you need.

Also, Bulldogs can NEVER be just a yard dog, period! Especially if you live in the south like we do. Bulldogs require a climate-controlled environment. You must know that, to a Bulldog, heat is a killer! Our bulldogs have their own air conditioned house. Of course, they get lots of time to play outside with our children, and us but only at appropriate times of the day. If it is at all warm we monitor them closely and bring them in before they get overheated, usually 15 minutes at the most in shaded areas. Heat stroke can happen quickly and suddenly with a Bulldog so please take this into consideration before you purchase one.

Here are some areas you need to be especially aware of with any Bulldog you are considering adding to your family.

English Bulldog Breathing

BREATHING - One of the major potential problems with a mature Bulldog is airway obstruction. This can be influenced by any of the following conditions, as well as some others, but is often a combination of more than one. Tracheal Restriction: You would think that a dog with this size head, neck and mouth would have a large and free-flowing airway, but this is often not the case.

  • Stenotic Nares: This means that the nasal openings are pinched or partially closed rather than open wide.
  • Elongated Soft Palate - This involves the soft tissue at the back of the throat. Often, raspy noisy breathers have this condition, however, a certain amount of this is expected in any Brachycephalic (smashed face) dog. Breathing difficulties are especially important in selecting a puppy, as any problems will only intensify with age.

SKIN PROBLEMS - This is especially important because, although not life threatening, it can be a constant headache and a real challenge to keep under control. The best thing to do is to investigate thoroughly and avoid those bloodlines that have shown tendencies toward skin problems. We would never breed a dog that had any of these problems. I know there are many reputable bulldog breeders out there you just need to really research the breeder before you purchase you English bulldog puppy. The best thing to do, in my opinion, is to avoid buying the cheapest bulldog you can find no matter how good they look, how strong the pedigree, or how good the deal is, it just isn't worth the trouble it brings. One of the main things to be aware of is Demodex: This is commonly called "Red Mange." It is an immune deficiency to hair follicle mites. All dogs have these mites, but they do not affect most. This reduced resistance causes severe hair loss and in more severe cases can lead to raw weeping lesions. This condition is hereditary and is passed down from the parents to the puppies. Again, investigate thoroughly and avoid those bloodlines that are having problems as treating this condition can be costly and is often an ongoing situation.

EYE PROBLEMS - Bulldogs, as do many other breeds, sometimes have Entropian: This is the rolling in of the eyelid causing the eyelashes to rub the eyeball and irritate it. Ectropian: This is the rolling out of the eyelid leaving the eye exposed to collection of foreign material. Another condition to be aware of is "Cherry Eye" which is the protrusion of the gland in the inner corner of the eye and is not hereditary. Some dogs get "Cherry Eye's and some do not. All of these conditions can be repaired with a very minor and relatively inexpensive surgery, but it is better to avoid them.

SKELETAL DISORDERS - Luxating Patella: This is a looseness of the knee joint and is potentially crippling. Dogs with this condition almost always require major and very expensive surgery to have a lengthy active life. Avoid this condition! Hip Dysplaysia: This is a structural deformity of the hip joint and like knee problems is crippling and requires major and expensive surgery. Bulldogs do have a somewhat looser joint structure than many other breeds and those who are not experienced with the breed can misdiagnose this as a problem. You need to be very careful with bulldogs. They are very heavy dogs and they can injury their joints and hips very easily. No jumping off of furniture.

As I said before, these conditions are not rampant in the breed of Bulldogs but can occur. However, you should be aware of them and educate yourself about them. Investigate, ask questions.

We have been very selective about our foundation stock and what we breed to. Getting healthy quality Bulldogs with great temperament is very expensive. Cheap Bulldogs are just that; CHEAP. Be sure that they will have a deficiency somewhere, either in quality, health, pedigree, or temperament. If you cannot afford to make an investment to get a quality Bulldog right now you are much better off to wait and save up the money.

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