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.
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).
READ THE FOLLOWING AND FIND OUT IF A BULLDOG IS RIGHT FOR YOU
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.
WHEN YOU MAKE YOUR CALL TO THE BREEDER REMEMBER THIS!
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!
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.