Bulldog Care

General Bulldog Care

 The Bulldog is a very unique breed, the symbol of all things British. However, owning a bulldog is not as

 straight forward as you might think. He is a totally man made breed and needs human company.

 General Appearance

 Smooth-coated, thick set, rather low in stature, broad, powerful and compact. Head massive, fairly large in

proportion to size but no point so much in excess of others as to destroy the general symmetry,

 or make the dog appear deformed, or interfere with its powers of motion. Face short, muzzle

 broad, blunt and inclined upwards. Body short, well knit, limbs stout, well muscled and in hard

 condition. Hindquarters high and strong but somewhat lighter in comparison with heavy foreparts.

 Bitches not so grand or well developed as dogs.


 Conveys impression of determination, strength and activity.


 Alert, bold, loyal, dependable, courageous, fierce in appearance, but possessed of affectionate nature.


 Fine texture, short, close and smooth (hard only from shortness and closeness, not wiry).


 Whole or smut, (i.e. whole colour with black mask or muzzle). Only whole colours (which should be brilliant

 and pure of their sort) viz., brindles, reds with their various shades, fawns, fallows etc., white and pied (i.e.

 combination of white with any of the foregoing colours).


 Dogs: 25 kgs (55 lbs); bitches: 22.7 kgs (50 lbs).


 Why does he look so funny?

 Over 100 years ago the Bulldog was created to participate in the so called sport of “Bull Baiting”. Everything

 about the bulldog was bred purely so he could carry out that function, the entire head and body shape

 allowed him to do the job he was intended for, his undershot jaw allowed him to grip the bull tightly, his flat

 nose allowed him to breath whilst doing so, the folds in his face took the bulls blood away from his eyes, his

 massive chest and short front legs gave him the strength required to keep the bull pinned, his shallow joints

 allowed him to spring the bull from a standing position. He still possesses these qualities today, except the

 aggression that had taken over 100 years to breed out, today’s bulldogs are one of the gentlest breeds of

 dog known to man and are an ideal companion for our children. He is not designed to be athletic and

 therefore if you are looking for a dog that you can enjoy long walks with then this isn’t the

 breed for you. He is no couch potato either and therefore does require a daily half hour walk.


 As a general rule today’s bulldog is pretty healthy, some do have breathing difficulties due to the

 shape of their head(i.e. brachycephalic- short nosed) and occasionally they may develop

 structural faults due to their shallow joints, for this reason you need to keep an eye on young pups

 (under 9 months) so as they don’t damage their green bones. The shape of his head does make it

 difficult for some to cope with hot weather, but providing you are sensible and appreciate that

 the this breed is totally unique, problems will be few and far between.


 For the same reasons that you wouldn’t buy a long haired breed and never brush it, don’t by a bulldog

 and never expect to have to wash his face. The bulldog will require daily attention to his face

 and maybe under his tail too. Wipe his face over daily, ensuring that you wipe out the wrinkles

 (especially the one that goes over his nose) with a damp cloth or baby wipes, make sure you dry

 thoroughly and if any soreness is present wipe a little Sudocrem into the folds. A dab of Vaseline

 on his nose will keep it soft and prevent it from drying out and becoming flaky. Make sure that

 the ears are clean and that his eyes are bright and clear, tear stains can be combated with a daily

 wipe over with Optrex Eye Lotion and cotton wool, not only is this safe for his eyes but Optrex contains

 Boric Acid that will lessen the stain. His coat should be brushed on a weekly basis which will also give you

 the opportunity to check for any skin soreness and fleas – and during the summer for ticks! All this may

 sound like hard work, but for the time and energy he will request from you, in return he will love you

 unconditionally and be loyal to you and your family no matter what. Owning a Bulldog is something that

 should never be taken lightly, they are a high maintenance breed, so before purchasing that cute little

 puppy read as much about the breed as you can and it’s also a good idea to attend a breed

 show where you will be able to watch the bulldogs in the ring and have the opportunity to talk to

 breeders and other bulldog owners.


 If the Bulldog has a prefix in front of his name then he is NOT a genuine pure bred Bulldog. The ONLY

 exception to this is the French Bulldog and in some parts of the World our Bulldog is known as the English

 or British Bulldog. Olde English / Victorian / American or any other prefix is a cross breed and totally

 unrecognized by the Canadian Kennel Club. Some of these dogs are being sold as “Original” Bulldogs,

 by original they mean before the bulldog looked like he does today because originally “bulldog” was a

 word used to describe any dog of “Mastiff Appearance” and who was vicious enough to require

 chaining up. Bull Baiting began by using Mastiff Dogs, when it became popular they began to

 breed a dog that could do that job efficiently, over time they

 created a dog that looks similar to what we have today, except maybe a little leaner and a

 little taller and a lot meaner!

 Common Ailments

 Itchy skin: Probably an allergy, possibly the food you are feeding – If this cannot be

 controlled by diet then you may need to see your vet.


 Cherry Eye: Where the gland under the third eyelid protrudes and looks rather like a cherry in

 the corner of the eye. Your vet will need to remove the gland (some prefer to tuck). Occasionally

 removal of the gland causes dry eye.


 Entropian: Where the eyelashes have turned inwards and are rubbing against the eye,

 again surgery may be required. Don’t confuse this with stray eyelashes that are just growing astray,

 these can be plucked with tweezers (you may prefer your vet to do this).

 Entropian needs surgery – if left the in-turned lashes will scratch the cornea and the

 result will be a severely damaged eye, at worst blindness or loss of eye.


 Conjunctivitis: You will need to obtain a cream from your vet to apply to the

 affected eye, repeated bouts of conjunctivitis can cause the dog to retract the

 eyeball which in severe cases can lead to entropian.


 Head Shakes: Rather like a fit, but affecting just the head, which will involuntary shake

 from side to side, sometimes violently enough to cause their lips to flap about. We have always

 found them to be linked to stress which may cause the blood sugar level

 to drop enough to trigger the head shake. Giving some glucose or runny honey to bring the

 blood sugar level back up should help although distraction often stops the shaking. If you are unable

to link the attack to a specific stressful incident then your bulldog may be suffering in some way and

 it is advisable that you get your vet to check him over. Note, many vets are unfamiliar with this

 breed specific condition and some breeders attribute them to a lack of calcium as they are common in the

 pregnant or nursing bitch. However please do not give calcium under normal circumstances as this could

 affect the bone formation of your puppy,


 Development Problems: Because of the bulldog’s rapid growth it is very important that you keep play and exercise properly managed in the first 9 months, early joint damage could be permanent

 and may lead to osteoarthritis, irregular growth in the bones could lead to joint deformities.

 Hip/elbow dysplasia is genetic but can be encouraged via environmental factors (i.e.: slippery floors,

 jumping etc). Fairly often puppy limping will disappear at maturity and is usually due to the

 rapid growth spurts or an incorrect diet. Diet plays a large role in bone development;

 because of the rapid growth it is wise to take puppy off of puppy food at 5 months to lower

 the protein intake. Many dog food manufactures recommend that puppy stays on the puppy mix for the

 first year, but the bulldogs bones don’t need such a high protein intake as it speeds up an already

 rapid growth and can lead to development deformities in some cases. The same

 applies to calcium, don’t give puppy any extra calcium – find a good well balanced dog food and stick

 to it. You can help your dog through his puppy limping or Arthritis with a natural product called

 “SeaTone” (Extract of Green Lipped Mussel).These can be bought at any human chemist or via the

 web site link below. Buy the super strength and give 1 or 2 casuals per day depending on the severity

 of the limping, you can either hide the casual in a treat or sprinkle over their food (it smells fishy,

so they love it). SeaTone is a natural anti-inflammatory and will help rebuild any

 defects in the bone. We give this product to our adult arthritic dogs and have never had the need to

 use a prescribed arthritis drug yet. We have also given it to young pups going through their “stiff” stages

 and always give it to any dog that is recovering from joint surgery (i.e.: *Ruptured Cruciate Ligament).

 Remember though, that any form of limping should be checked out by your vet, there are many things

 that can cause limping (see above) although in most cases “SeaTone” will help.

 *For further information on Ruptured Curiae Ligaments, See Amber’s Page


 Elongated Soft Palate and other airway disorders: Every bulldog has an

 elongated soft palate, this is because of the shape of their heads (i.e.: brachycephalic – short nosed).

 In most cases this causes nothing more than snoring, but in severe cases will cause your bulldog

 difficulty inbreathing. Heat and exercise will cause loud, gurgly breathing, (commonly known as

 “roaring”) and your bulldog may appear to be “lazy”. The severity can range from loud breathing when

 excited, during/after exercise to total exercise intolerance, regurgitation

 of food to permanent breathing difficulties. The condition can be corrected with surgery and you need to

 be sure that the vet you chose to carry out this surgery totally understands brachycephalic breeds.


 Tear Stains: If your dog has a white face you may find that over time the tears from his eyes

 cause his face to stain red. This may be attributed to the red colouring in the food he’s eating but this is not

 always the case, some bulldogs produce red tears and some don’t, those with white faces will have these stains

 more than dark coloured faces. A daily wipe with”Optrex” eye wash will help, Optrex contains boric acid and

 witch-hazel which will break up the stain and will not affect the dog’s eyes as the

 solution specifically for use in the eyes.

 Sore Wrinkles: Looking after a bulldog involves daily care of the face and the deep folds.

 Wash their faces on a daily basis with either a soft cloth and water or unscented baby wipes.

 Be sure to dry the face properly and then apply Sudocrem

 to the folds, extra care is needed to the nose roll which in some bulldogs can be very deep.


 Tail Problems: A true bulldog tail is a dream to look after, ideally he should have a nice straight

spiked tail, moderate in length, that can be easily lifted away from the body – however, screw tails in

 bulldogs are not uncommon and this and/or an inverted tail (where the tail is growing back into the body)

 can cause your bulldog a few problems. You should endeavour to keep tight tails clean and DRY,

 but if this proves to be a problem you should consult your vet


 Gas: Goes with the breed I’m afraid, they will lay right at your feet and fart for

 England and be totally oblivious to what’s going on. Charcoal biscuits are great for a windy dog as the

 charcoal will help soak up the internal gasses.


Temperature: Your dog’s temperature should be between 100 and 101 (approx. 38.6)



 Please try to find a vet that understands the bulldog, this breed is a hard breed to anaesthetise so

 be sure that the vet you have chosen is aware of this fact at least, try to only have your bulldog put

 under when absolutely necessary. Bulldogs also have very shallow joint sockets and a vet that is

 unfamiliar with the breed may not only misdiagnose joint problems but may also see you as a

 licence to print money. Almost every Bulldog will have a slightly elongated soft palate

 which is why they snore, this is because of the shape of their heads and because the entire throat is being

 stuffed into a space that is too small in comparison to other breeds, in severe cases it will restrict your

 bulldogs ability to breathe and will need surgery (see above) , but if your dog is comfortable then it’s best to

 leave it be, so be aware – if your vet informs you that he needs to resection the soft palate this may not be the

 case at all. Bulldogs with severe soft palate problems will overheat easily, find it very difficult to cope with

 any form of exercise and may regurgitate their food. If there are other bulldog owners in your area ask them

 who they go to and at least ask your vet what his bulldog experience is.