The bulldog's origins date back to the 16th century, when bulldogs were bred for demanding farm work. While they nearly disappeared in the 19th century, the Bulldog Club formed in 1874 to help preserve the breed and transition them from worker dogs to pets. This period resulted in bulldogs with different temperaments as well as different physical characteristics from 16th-century bulldogs. Today there are English, French and American bulldogs, all of which are popular as pets. If you're considering adopting a bulldog or recently became a pet parent yourself, here's what you should know about their care.
What Does a Bulldog Look Like?
Bulldogs are typically characterized by a squished or wrinkled face, a short, stocky and medium-sized body, a small straight or curly tail and short legs with large paws. These features are joined by a large jaw and tongue. Variations from these features can indicate your bulldog may have another breed mixed in.
Are Bulldogs Hypoallergenic?
Despite having short fur, bulldogs aren't a hypoallergenic breed. This is due to their high saliva production, as well as the proteins present in their skin and dander.
Bulldogs tend to vacillate between extremes. On one hand, many describe them as friendly and affectionate, especially with people. On the other, they have a stubborn, difficult side that poses challenges for training and socializing with other pets. Owners are advised to be patient and expose them to various socialization opportunities starting from when they're puppies.
What Types of Health Issues Do Bulldogs Have?
The wrinkles present on bulldogs' faces can cause dirt, debris and allergens to gather. This increases their risk for yeast and other infections, as well as inflammation. You're recommended to clean this area daily. Safe, non-irritating Bulldog Wrinkle Wipes from Eye Envy® were designed to make cleaning bulldogs easy. Signs of insufficient facial cleaning include a strong body odor, frequent shedding, patches of exposed skin, red or raw skin and brown residue.
Heat and allergens can cause bulldogs' eyes to water. Tears then run down their faces, getting trapped in their wrinkles. In addition to cleaning your bulldog's facial wrinkles daily, keep safe and non-irritating tear stain remover products on hand.
Along with infections related to facial wrinkles, other concerns include:
- Tail pockets: Bulldogs frequently have an indented area behind their tail. This area becomes a magnet for debris, dirt and moisture and should be cleaned regularly to avoid infection. Bulldog Wrinkle Wipes are great for this purpose. In addition, dry skin can develop in this area. A soothing itch relief spray can help manage this condition.
- Cysts: Interdigital cysts, sometimes called interdigital furuncles, can emerge between your bulldog's toes. These can indicate a bacterial or fungal infection, so keep an eye on your bulldog's paws.
Training Your Bulldog
Due to their physical characteristics, bulldogs get easily fatigued in response to exercise and excessive movement. They may start breathing heavily in response. You're advised to keep this in mind as you train them, and keep sessions short - no more than 10 minutes.
Despite having a sometimes-difficult disposition, their friendliness to humans makes bulldogs receptive to training through positive reinforcement involving treats. You'll want to focus on:
- Obedience training: Train your dog to respond to "sit, "stay" and "down." This approach, often with the encouragement of food as a treat, will involve some repetition.
- Safety training: Train your bulldog to keep away from more dangerous dogs and to avoid getting into fights. Use treats to train them to appropriately respond to "drop it" (put an item down) and "leave it" (leaving a situation).
- Potty training: Take your bulldog outside every two to three hours, including after meals and naps, so they associate this action with relieving themselves.
- Crate training: Provide your bulldog with an appropriately sized crate - the dog should be able to stand, sit up and lie down with relative ease. Help your dog get comfortable with this area so that it responds by going to it when you say "crate."