The English Bulldog is considered a dignified, friendly and kind dog breed.
The breed can trace its history all the way back to the 13th century when the first Bulldogs were created.
Breed name: English Bulldog
Lifespan: 8 to 10 years
Height: 14 to 15 inches
Weight: 40 to 50 lbs
In 1886, the American Kennel Club recognised the English Bulldog as a breed in its own right.
Fast forward to the 21st century and the English Bulldog is considered the fifth-most popular dog breed in the USA.
The AKC highlight why it’s so easy to identify an English Bulldog when you see one:
The loose skin of the head, furrowed brow, pushed-in nose, small ears, undershot jaw with hanging chops on either side, and the distinctive rolling gait all practically scream ‘I’m a Bulldog!’
In this article, we’re going to take a look at English Bulldog pros and cons, examining some of the advantages and disadvantages of the breed.
We’ll speak to some English Bulldog owners who will give us a firsthand take on what life is like owning the breed, including Isaac and Franki (@frankithebully).
English Bulldog Pros
If you’re looking for a dog breed that loves to be around people, look no further than the English Bulldog. These friendly but dignified dogs will make a docile, loyal companion, according to the American Kennel Club. They like to be around their fellow family members, engaging with their owners or taking an active role in playtime. English Bulldogs are usually social dogs that are open to meeting new people, they’re not likely to be aloof, reserved or shy. Having said that, English Bulldogs tend to be more open to meeting new people than new dogs.
Isaac explained that his dog Franki (@frankithebully) occasionally shows his affectionate side.
Sometimes they [English Bulldogs] can be cuddly and want massages in the morning, he will rest his face on my leg or shoe but not often.
English Bulldogs don’t require a lot of space so they could be suited to dog lovers who live in the city or urban areas. They can excel in an apartment, townhouse or even a boat! Their relatively compact size makes these dogs adept to living in small places. English Bulldogs don’t require a yard so you don’t need to fret if you haven’t got some green space for your Bulldog to run and play on your property. Having said that, they’ll still require exercise on a daily basis.
One Redditor shared their English Bulldog’s daily routine.
Nap, move to a sun spot for a sleep, go outside for a bit and then head back to the sofa for another nap. Once you find a food that works the farts disappear! They just want to cuddle and sleep great dogs for an apartment.
Low maintenance coat
English Bulldogs aren’t hypoallergenic so if you struggle with allergies to dogs, this breed could initiate a reaction with their hair, dander or slobber. However, they’re relatively low-shedding dogs so at least you won’t have to worry about dog hair everywhere and spending hours upon hours grooming your English Bulldog.
The American Kennel Club suggest a brief 10-minute brush two-to-three times a week as a grooming routine for English Bulldog owners. They suggest a soft brush to take care of removing dead hair, but recommend a rubber curry brush during shedding season.
Isaac shared his grooming regimen with his English Bulldog Franki (@frankithebully).
Franki does shed sometimes but once I changed his diet to an air-dried venison most of the shedding stopped. It’s also seasonal like other dogs but I think his diet change helped a lot.
Low-to-moderate exercise needs
Unlike other high-energy dog breeds, you won’t have to spend hours and hours exercising your English Bulldog. They’ve got relatively low exercise needs. For instance, dog-walking website Wag recommend around 30 minutes of exercise a day for an English Bulldog. Having said that, you’ll need to ensure your Bulldog gets a chance to enjoy some exercise outdoors and mental stimulation.
Isaac explained that Franki (@frankithebully) requires daily exercise even if he doesn’t need that much.
They need exercise for sure but do not overdo it, but it’s still important for them!
While the AKC recommend giving your English Bulldog the chance to “romp” in the yard or at the dog park, the dog organisation warn that the Bulldog’s short muzzle can make breathing difficult in heat and humidity. So best to stay inside in the air conditioning on hot days!
English Bulldogs have earned a reputation for being relatively quiet dogs when it comes to barking. They don’t bark a lot if at all so you’re unlikely to have to worry about noise complaints from neighbours. This is another reason why they can make great apartment dogs!
The AKC write on the breed page for English Bulldogs that they’re only likely to bark to raise the alarm, identifying some watchdog traits within this charismatic breed.
Isaac confirmed that English Bulldogs aren’t big barkers based upon his experience with Franki.
Franki rarely barks, I would say a few times a day on a bad day. Even if the doorbell rings he does not move. [It] depends on his mood and energy level.
English Bulldog Cons
It can be quite challenging to train an English Bulldog as they can have a stubborn streak. Indeed, it can be described as a mischievous stubbornness. It’s a smart idea to start training your English Bulldog when they’re a puppy to lay down a foundation for good behaviour.
Isaac has confirmed that he has definitely experienced some stubbornness with Franki (@frankithebully).
They’re very, very stubborn but will do anything for a treat, so no [they’re not easy to train]. Franki does not respond to anything unless he really wants to.
Perhaps one of the biggest drawbacks to the breed is the health problems associated with English Bulldogs. They’ve got quite a few ailments that prospective English Bulldog owners will need to familiar themselves with before bringing one of these dogs home. We’ve already touched upon the issue of overheating which needs to be carefully monitored by owners.
The Royal Veterinary College of London carried out a study of English Bulldog health problems in 2019. The results revealed that English Bulldog ownership has doubled over the past decade – but breeding trends have led to some specific problems.
The findings show that due to breeding trends 12.7% of British bulldogs suffer from ear infections, 8.8% from skin infections and 8.7% from obesity.
It also became apparent that there are a number of conditions that are more prevalent in British bulldogs than in other dog breeds: skin fold dermatitis (7.8%), prolapsed gland of the third eyelid or ‘cherry eye’ (6.8%), interdigital cysts (3.7%), entropion or inward turning of the eyelid (3.6%), and corneal ulceration (3.1%). Many of these issues are linked with certain desired aesthetics encouraged when breeding British bulldogs such as the wrinkly face.
Disturbingly, only 3.5% of the 1,621 British bulldogs analysed in the study were diagnosed with brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS). This suggests owners consider breathing problems such as snoring as normal for this short-muzzled breed and therefore not taking the dogs for needed check-ups with their vet.
The English Bulldog is a pricey breed. First of all, you should do careful research to ensure you’ve found an ethical, responsible breeder who is carrying out health checks and screens on their dogs and puppies. It’s a good idea to visit the breeder’s home to see your puppy interact with the mother. Based upon our research, English Bulldog puppies will usually cost between $1,500 and $5,000 but some can cost up to $15,000. It can depend on the puppy’s lineage.
It’s worth remembering that owning an English Bulldog will cost you a handsome monthly sum when you consider high-quality dog food, pet insurance, trips to the vet for vaccinations and health checks and more.
One Redditor joked that his English Bulldog cost him more money than his second-hand car.
English Bulldog puppies are expensive and EB care is expensive too. Ours has cost more than a nice used car.
High maintenance care
While English Bulldogs don’t need a lot of grooming, they’re high maintenance when it comes to overall care. With all their wrinkles, English Bulldog owners will need to keep an eye out for potential infection. The AKC has the following recommendation when it comes to their care:
The wrinkles on the Bulldog’s face need to be regularly checked to make sure the skin is clean and dry, as food or moisture can get trapped and cause irritation or infection. A cotton ball dipped in peroxide can be used to clean the wrinkles, and cornstarch can be applied afterward to aid in drying’¿although neither should be used near the eyes.
You’ll need to check their ears for infection – too. Other basic care needs include their teeth and nails.
English Bulldogs can be quite tricky to potty train. It seems to be a reoccurring theme within the English Bulldog community. We’ve already touched upon their stubbornness and their sensitivity to temperature. So potty training can be quite challenging, especially if you don’t work from home.
Blue Boy Bob explained on Reddit that his English Bulldog really struggled with potty training.
The hardest part is the first 3-4 months while they get potty trained. If you aren’t home they wont be able to hold it while you are at work. At 6 months it is much easier.