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April: The English Bulldog

History of the breed: 

The English Bulldog is typically the most docile of creatures, even though the history of the breed is quite gruesome and dramatic. english bulldogMia by esther matheusFirst mentioned in the literature around 1500, the bulldog was bred to fight bulls in the “sport” of bull baiting.  Bull baiting entails setting loose dogs onto a tethered bull and making wagers over which dog could grab the bull by the nose and pin it to the ground.  This “sport” is not only cruel to the bull, but many dogs were also severely maimed or killed during the process.  Thankfully, bull baiting was made illegal by the Cruelty to Animals Act of 1835.

Originally, the breed was selected for its ferocious and savage temperament, as well as its stocky body and massive head and jaws.   After bull baiting became illegal, the bulldog outlived its usefulness as a working animal, and the breed evolved to become more of a companion.   In time, the original English Bulldog was crossed with the pug.  The outcome was a shorter, wider dog, with a brachycephalic skull--a short skull and “pushed in nose."  Today’s bulldog could not withstand the rigors of running and being thrown by a bull, and also could not grip with such a short muzzle and extended lower jaw.  

According to American Kennel Club (AKC) standards, the English Bulldog is now bred to have a disposition that is “equable and kind, resolute and courageous (not vicious or aggressive), and the demeanor should be pacific and dignified. These attributes should be countenanced by the expression and behavior."

Health Concerns: Although one of the best breeds of dog as a family pet, the exotic look of the English Bulldog predisposes it to a whole host of health problems.  If there is one breed of dog in which owners would be wise to purchase health insurance for, it would be the English Bulldog.


Preventative Care for your English Bulldog:

·         We recommend that your consult with your veterinarian about having your English Bulldog’s elongated soft palate or stenotic nares corrected at the time that he or she gets spayed or neutered.

·         English Bulldogs are prone to a number of skin conditions.  If your bulldog is missing patches of hair, or is itchy, please visit your veterinarian.

·         Because English Bulldogs have narrow airways, they can have breathing difficulties if they overheat.  Walk your English Bulldog only in the cool parts of the day.  If he or she shows signs of overheating, like a long, red tongue, immediately cool him down with cold water and allow him to rest in a quiet, cool area.

·         English Bulldogs have the tendency to get overweight which stresses their joints and respiratory tracts.  Consult with your veterinarian about feeding options if your English Bulldog is getting overweight.

·         Purchase pet insurance for your bulldog when he is a puppy and before he develops health problems.  Most insurance companies do not cover pre-existing conditions. Read more here about pet health insurance.

Thinking about adopting an English Bulldog? Why not consider  www.rescuebulldogs.org   or www.petfinder.com

Meet-ups for Bulldog owners near the Twin Cities:  http://engbulldog.meetup.com/cities/us/mn/minneapolis/



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