The English Bulldog has long been a popular breed of dog ranking 5th overall according to the AKC. This friendly and courageous breed of dog has won the hearts of many people over the years, and remains a mascot of the country of England. But are Bulldogs high maintenance?
As a whole Bulldogs are high maintenance dogs due to their various inherent health issues, predisposition to allergies, skin issues, eye problems, breathing problems, and general maintenance. Getting an English Bulldog is a serious commitment to their general care and wellbeing.
Due to the well earned popularity of the English Bulldog their overall health and maintenance has suffered. The irresponsible breeding practices to produce some of the more exaggerated features of the English Bulldogs have led to higher costs of maintenance both monetarily and time wise.
When considering getting an English Bulldog for your family it is crucial to understand the various needs, precautions, care practices, and time allotment that will be required. The English Bulldog is a high maintenance breed, and you should be prepared for this. Keep reading to learn some more facts and tips for English Bulldogs.
Do All English Bulldogs Have Health Problems?
To one degree or another all English Bulldogs will have health problems. Specifically all English Bulldogs will struggle with Brachycephalic Syndrome. The short pushed in face, narrow nostrils, and elongated palate of the Bulldog is a defining feature of the breed, and one of their downfalls.
Other health problems common with the English Bulldogs can vary from dog to dog, though they are still fairly prevalent. The Bulldog Club of America has recognized this and worked diligently to establish Ambassador of Health programs to help correct some of the unhealthy breeding practices over the decades.
Though the efforts of responsible breeders are beginning to right the wrongs of the past, there are still many health problems that are common among English Bulldogs. Such problems include:
Bone and Joint Problems
One of the most common health problems for English Bulldogs is hip and elbow dysplasia. The abnormal formation of bones and joints can be caused by these diseases eventually leading to arthritis. Stiffness and even lameness can appear in your Bulldog.
These kinds of mobility issues can be assessed by your vet for treatment to help your English Bulldog lead a more comfortable life. Additional supplementation of joint and hip chews and omega rich salmon oil can help prevent early onset and severity of dysplasia.
Additionally the use of CBD oil for Bulldogs can be a safe and effective way to treat stiff and painful joints. CBD is a natural remedy that can provide your Bulldog with some much needed relief. I have written about some of the best CBD brands available on my The Best CBD Oil For Dogs resource page if you wish to learn more.
Spinal deformities can often be detected at birth and treated accordingly with your Vet. One of the more common deformities in English Bulldogs is hemivertebrae, a condition where only half a vertebrae forms. This can result in scoliosis is most likely to affect the nervous system of your English Bulldog.
Eye problems for English Bulldogs are far too common, and can be extremely painful for them. If left untreated many can lead to blindness and severe pain. Distichiasis, entropion, keratoconjunctivitis, and cherry eye are all common in English Bulldogs.
Bladder or Kidney Stones
English Bulldogs are particularly susceptible to different forms of bladder and kidney stones. More so than other breeds of dogs. These can be incredibly painful and need to be treated immediately by a vet. If you Bulldog is having difficulty urinating, or has blood and noticeable discomfort in their urine, call your vet right away!
Respiratory Distress Syndrome
The English Bulldog is the poster child of a brachycephalic breed of dog. The flat face, narrow nostrils, elongated palate, and development of the throat all lead to brachycephalic syndrome in English Bulldogs.
Brachycephalic syndrome leads to difficulty in breathing and heat regulation for your Bulldog. These narrow airways and tissue blockages are the reason why Bulldogs are know for their heavy breathing and noises.
Exercise and temperature need to be monitored with English Bulldogs to prevent further problems.
Bleeding disorders similar to hemophilia in humans can be common in English Bulldogs. Von Willebrand’s disease is a condition that varies in severity, but can cause issues in blood clotting from simple wounds and injuries. Screenings can be done to diagnose Von Willebrand’s disease and treatment is available.
Pulmonic Stenosis is a congenital narrowness or constriction of the outflow from the right side of the heart. This kind of heart disease is unfortunately far more common in English Bulldogs than other breeds. Cases of pulmonic stenosis can be mild and not affect the general wellbeing of your Bulldog, but can lead to heart failure in more severe cases.
Cancer is the second most common cause of death in English Bulldogs, right behind heart disease. English Bulldogs are particularly prone to lymphoma and mast cell tumors. Many types of cancers can be removed through surgery, but must be detected early one to increase chances of survival.
All dogs are susceptible to periodontal disease, but the English Bulldog appears to be a little bit more likely to have issues. Periodontal disease is a build up of bacteria between the teeth and gums that can lead to gingivitis and gum disease. Regular dental care at home is recommended for you English Bulldog to help prevent periodontal disease.
I have some highly recommended products on my resource page for The Best Dental Care Products where you can find some great solutions.
It is no secret that English Bulldogs have trouble giving birth. The years of selective breeding for large heads, and narrowing hips has led to dystocia. This difficulty in giving birth often results in c-sections needing to be performed on the female mothers to birth the puppies.
Additional problems with whelping can occur as a result. Important hormones are released during the process of puppy births, and the use of c-section can block the release of these hormones.
The result is the mother may lack some maternal instincts and ability to lactate, causing the breeder to have to feed the puppies themselves.
Multiple Skin Problems
Many Bully breeds are prone to skin problems, but the English Bulldog is particularly susceptible. Sensitive skin due to allergies, bacterial growth in skin folds, and hot spots are all too common in the English Bulldog.
Proper attention to grooming, diet, and environmental allergens are important to keep your English Bulldogs skin healthy. A premium high quality dog food, the proper shampoos, and a good set of dog wipes to clean their face, ears, and feet will be needed.
English Bulldogs are particularly sensitive to allergies. Both food sensitivities and environmental allergies are a common occurrence in Bulldogs that will need to be managed. Finding the right food can be a trying affair, but resolving the proper diet for your Bulldog is imperative.
Environmental allergies like Atopy can be treated and prevented to a certain degree. My Staffy has a mild case of Atopy, and with a regular medication, and daily wipes during the high pollen seasons, she is able to live a very comfortable life.
Are English Bulldogs Expensive To Maintain?
English Bulldogs are expensive to maintain. The price of an English Bulldog is only the beginning when it comes to care and maintenance of the English Bulldog. Among the three highest expenses you will have are health care, food, and grooming.
The long list of English Bulldog health problems are by far one of the largest expenditures you will incur. Regular checkups and treatments of hereditary conditions will be a larger expense than most other breeds. Even among the healthier English Bulldogs, regular vet visits will be common.
This also brings in the cost of health insurance for your English Bulldog. According to Consumer Reports, insuring a purebred dog of any kind will already run up your insurance costs due to the prevalence of hereditary conditions.
Food can be a large expense for your English Bulldog. Not necessarily because of the quantity they eat, but because of the quality. Getting a premium dog food and proper supplementation to ensure the long term health of your English Bulldog can add up.
As mentioned previously, English Bulldogs are prone to food allergies and sensitivities, as well as joint and skin problems. Finding a proper hypoallergenic, or limited ingredient food can cost more than your average bag of food. Add in some supplements, and fish oils and you will be looking at spending a fair chunk of money each month.
The cost upfront of a good diet and supplementation can prevent many health issues and vet visits down the road however. Spending a little bit extra on your English Bulldogs diet will not only give them a fantastic quality of life, but save you money down the road.
Are English Bulldogs Hard To Maintain?
English Bulldogs are relatively hard to maintain. Specifically when it comes to their grooming needs English Bulldogs are high maintenance. This is due to their sensitive skin as well as their daily cleaning of skin folds.
A regular routine of bathing and a daily practice of cleaning skin folds is important to maintain your English Bulldogs health. Skin infections can quickly develop causing skin fold pyoderma, and yeast dermatitis, some very nasty and uncomfortable skin infections.
If you thought cleaning your English Bulldogs face made them a high maintenance dog, wait til we get to the rear. Tail fold dermatitis can also be an issue with English Bulldogs due to the irregular bone structure of their tails. You will need to regularly clean the folds that form on their backside to prevent any skin infections.
On the plus side regular brushings is all the English Bulldog will need. No trips to the groomers for those expensive hair cuts. A weekly brushing to remove loose hair, dirt and allergens will take a matter of minutes and help maintain their skin and coat health.
I have a great selection of The Best Dog Brushes on my resource page to help you keep your English Bulldog looking fabulous, with minimal cleanup.
How Often Should A English Bulldog Be Bathed?
An English Bulldog should be bathed every 6-8 weeks. Bathing your English Bulldog too often can lead to dry and irritated skin by removing some of the natural oils from their body. Bathing your English Bulldog less every couple months is plenty to keep them happy, healthy, and smelling great.
Using a gentle hypoallergenic shampoo for your English Bulldog is your best bet to avoid skin problems. A nice soothing oatmeal based anti-itch shampoo is what I use on my Staffy’s sensitive skin and it works wonders.
I have all of my top choices, including the ones I use on my Staffordshire Bull Terrier over on my Best Shampoos For Bully Breeds page. These are the best of the best when it comes to keeping your English Bulldogs skin and coat in prime condition.
What Do You Wipe A Bulldog’s Face With?
A daily routine of cleaning your English Bulldogs routine is an important skin care routine. Using a gentle hypoallergenic pet wipe is a simple and affordable way to prevent skin infections from bacteria build up in those cute little wrinkles.
I personally use the Earth Rated dog wipes on my Staffy all the time. They are gentle, eco-friendly and really affordable. They are a great way to give my dog a good wipe down after being outside, especially during the spring when dust, pollen and other allergens can gather on her coat.
Check out my top recommendations for dog wipes on my resource page. These are all products I use myself, and are among the top rated products on the market.
I always have a box or two of these wipes handy, and they will certainly come in handy for your English Bulldog.
Can You Use Baby Wipes On Bulldogs?
Generally you can use baby wipes on your Bulldog, but there are far better solutions available. Dogs have a different PH balance in their skin than humans. Using a dog wipe that is specifically formulated for a dog’s skin is a far better choice.
Using a baby wipe on your English Bulldog could lead to skin irritations, even with the gentlest of baby wipes. Other chemicals present in baby wipes such as propylene glycol can be toxic to dogs when ingested. Your dog licks themselves to groom, and if these chemicals are present they will ingest them.
Though the levels of propylene glycol need to be high to be toxic in dogs, I say it’s better safe than sorry. You can find dog specific wipes just as easy, and just as affordable as regular baby wipes, so why take the risk.
Are English Bulldogs Easy To Train?
I could write a whole post about this, and perhaps in the near future I will. English Bulldogs are not easy to train. In fact they can be one of the hardest breeds to train. The English Bulldog is notoriously stubborn, and according to the Intelligence of Dogs ranking, placed almost near the bottom.
The English Bulldogs are charming, loyal, cute, and loving dogs, but they aren’t very bright. Pair that with their stubborn streak and you have a high maintenance English Bulldog that will need training.
A calm, consistent, and positive approach will be needed with the English Bulldog training. Starting early can help reduce the stubborn streak if you can display the leadership skills your Bulldog will be seeking.
Check back here at Pibbles & Bits in a few weeks. I will have an entire post on some training techniques and resources available to help with your English Bulldog training.
Do English Bulldogs Get Separation Anxiety?
English Bulldogs are very family oriented dogs that love spending time with their loved ones. This attachment to their owners can lead to separation anxiety in Bulldogs. Cases of separation anxiety can vary from general sadness, to full on destructive behaviors.
Some tips to manage and prevent your English Bulldog’s separation anxiety would include some training, exercise, and possibly supplementation to ease their stress.
One of the best solutions to separation anxiety is exercise. Giving your English Bulldog the proper amount of exercise each day, and especially before you leave the home, will make a huge difference. A tired dog is a happy dog after all.
Pent up energy from a lack of exercise can lead to stress and anxiety. This is only amplified when your English Bulldog’s favorite people leave them alone in the house. By burning off some of that extra energy, you can leave your Bulldog in a calm, peaceful state of mind.
Desensitizing your English Bulldog to your coming and going from the house is a great training technique to use. Simply by making leaving the house a non-event you can show you Bulldog it’s okay to be alone. Raising levels of excitement when you return can be counter productive to this technique so arrive home in a calm manner as well.
To practice this you can start off slow and simple. Start by very uneventfully leaving your home. No goodbye kisses, “Mama’s gonna miss you!” talk. Just up and leave for a couple minutes. Then return back as if nothing had happened. Try these a few times and reward all calm behaviors with a treat, or some unexcited affection.
Soon with enough practice you can let your English Bulldog see that being left alone is fine. You will return eventually, and there’s nothing to get excited, or stressed about. This is the technique I used for my Staffy’s initial separation anxiety and it has never been an issues since.
When exercise and training seem to be falling short, there is always a third option of supplementation. A calming chew, or some CBD Oil can be a great way to give your dog some relief from their separation anxiety. Though I highly recommend exercise and training as top solutions, additional supplements can aid in keeping your Bulldog calm.
Exercise Tips For English Bulldogs
English Bulldogs are a fairly energetic dog. Not super athletes, but also surprisingly spry and full of life. They will require daily exercise as puppies and adults for roughly 30-45 minutes each day. A good brisk walk is ideal. Walking with your dog is the best exercise to strengthen your bond with your pet. Make this a part of your everyday routine with your English Bulldog.
Mental stimulation is also important for your English Bulldog. Though I mentioned they aren’t the brightest of dogs, they can still learn, and like to be challenged. Incorporate some daily training exercises for about 15 minutes.
This will give them some good mental exercise, as well as help aid training consistency and retention. Through some other activities like fetch to further incorporate some physical and mental exercise.
It is very important to note that you must be careful when exercising your English Bulldog. They are a bracelphaylic dog that has trouble breathing and regulating heat. Keep the intensity of exercise to a manageable level, and avoid hot temperatures.
Always monitor your English Bulldogs energy level and heaviness of breathing. When they are really panting hard it is time to slow down, take a break, and let them recover. Pushing your Bulldog too hard can have serious health consequences.
Can English Bulldogs Go For Long Walks?
English Bulldogs can go for long walks so long as it’s at a manageable pace. They can get tired easily, and overheat just as fast. Start going for shorter walks and eventually extend the length of the walks to gauge what your English Bulldog can handle.
The last thing you want is a Bulldog that has decided the long walk has become too long, and gives up on you. Try carrying an English Bulldog all the way home. That will be an exercise you won’t want to do twice.
But seriously, monitor your dog’s energy level, breathing, and environment. It is always best to be cautious when exercising this breed to avoid heat exhaustion and breathing issues.
Can English Bulldogs Run Long Distances?
English Bulldogs are not known to be good long distance runners. It is not recommended that you take your English Bulldog for long distance runs. This can easily overheat them, and cause breathing issues resulting in health problems.
Running can also be very hard on the joints of your English Bulldog. They are prone to hip and elbow joint issues to begin with, and the added stress to these joints from a long distance run can result in injury. Unnecessary wear and tear on your dogs joints from a run are not recommended.
Can English Bulldogs Go On Hikes?
English Bulldogs can go on hikes, so long as the terrain and temperature is ideal. A hot summer day over rough terrain can be very taxing on an English Bulldog. Start taking shorter, easier hikes to begin, and gradually increase the duration.
Like running, rough terrain that forces your English Bulldog to jump, leap, and bound while on hikes can be tough on their joints. Don’t push your dog too hard, and always make sure they are cool enough to continue.
If you’ve made it this far in the post I congratulate you. Learning the various reasons why the English Bulldog is a high maintenance breed can be exhausting. From the various health issues, costs, and time consuming grooming, they are not a breed for everyone.
They are however a great breed nonetheless. The English Bulldog is the 5th most popular dog in America for a reason. The charming personality, courageous and calm demeanor, and playful zest for life makes them a very loveable dog.
Finding a responsible breeder is your top priority if you are still considering bringing an English Bulldog into your home. The Bulldog Club of America has a great breeder resource available on their website to help you find someone committed to the health and temperament of the breed.
Even with the healthiest of English Bulldog puppies, you need to commit to the work. This breed is high maintenance and can be expensive to maintain. Training will take a little longer than average, and daily hygiene is a must.
When you have made that decision you will find that it is well worth the efforts. The English Bulldog is a wonderful family pet and will bring loves, laughs and happiness to any household willing to give them the care and attention they deserve.