The Bulldog has been mentioned throughout literature since around the 1500s. He was originally bred for Bull-bating and Bear-bating, a cruel part in his life, but this cruel sport was to stop, under a new law passed in 1835 by the “Cruelty to Animals Act prohibiting such evil to continue. Later, the Bulldog was believed to have been crossed with Pugs! The result was a Bulldog with a shorter, much wider animal with a Brachycephelic skull and no longer able to withstand the rigours of past Bulldogs. In 1878 The Bulldog Club was formed, making it the oldest single, breed-pacific, dog club in England today. It is believed that during the turn of the twentieth century a Bulldog name Champion Rodney Stone, a brindle, was sold for $5000.
The Bulldog is, characteristically, wide in head and wide in shoulders. He has moderately thick folds of skin along his brow; the muzzle is short with folds, called ‘rope’ above his nose. His body is pear-shaped with a moderate tuck-up. He is well boned; tail is very short and twisted; the under-jaw is wide; his nose is black; Teeth are set with a slight undershot bite. His short coat comes in a range of colours and shades – fawn, red, brindle, all with, or without, white markings and then there are those in solid white.
IMPORTANT. A Bulldog with exaggerated features is the result of bad breeding. Credit; The Breed Club Connection.
If you’re buying a puppy, find a good breeder who will show you health clearances for both your puppy’s parents. Health clearances prove that a dog has been clinically tested for and cleared of a particular condition.
Bulldogs have a plethora of health problems including cardiac and respiratory disease, hip dysplasia, cherry eye, and other concerns. They are extremely susceptible to heat problems, can easily drown in swimming pools or other water, and need daily cleaning of their skin folds to avoid problems.
Statistics from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals show that of the 467 Bulldogs tested between 1979 and 2009 (30 years), 73.9% were affected by hip dysplasia, the highest among all breeds. Similarly, the breed has the worst score in the British Veterinary Association/Kennel Club Hip Dysplasia scoring scheme, although only 22 Bulldogs were tested in the scheme. Patellar luxation is another condition; it affects 6.2% of Bulldogs.
Some individuals of this breed are prone to interdigital cysts—cysts that form between the toes. These cause the dog some discomfort, but are treatable either by vet or an experienced owner. They may also suffer from respiratory problems. Other problems can include cherry eye, a protrusion of the inner eyelid (which can be corrected by a veterinarian), allergies, and hip issues in older Bulldogs.
Over 80% of Bulldog litters are delivered by Caesarean section because their characteristically large heads can become lodged in the mother’s birth canal. The folds, or “rope,” on a Bulldog’s face should be cleaned daily to avoid infections caused by moisture accumulation. Some Bulldogs’ naturally curling tails can be so tight to the body as to need regular cleaning and ointment.
Bulldogs have very small nasal cavities and thus have great difficulty keeping their bodies cool. Bulldogs are very sensitive to heat. Extra caution should be practiced in warmer climates and during summer months. Bulldogs must be given plenty of shade and water, and must be kept out of standing heat
HAVE WE OVER BRED BULLDOGS
By Joe Wilkes
I love bulldogs. I don’t own one myself, but I have lots of friends that do. In Los Angeles, where I live, they were named the most popular breed by the American Kennel Club, and I can see why. They have lots of personality, are very calm, and don’t require a lot of exercise, which makes them a good pick for apartment dwellers.
I was surprised to hear last week that Crufts, the world’s largest dog show, had taken bulldogs as well as the Westminster winner, the Pekingese, out of competition, because they had failed veterinary inspections. When I asked my bulldog-owning friends, they all said they weren’t surprised. While they loved their bulldogs, they had all endured health problems with their pets and incurred large veterinary bills.
Bulldogs have a plethora of health problems including cardiac and respiratory disease, hip dysplasia, cherry eye, and other concerns. They are extremely susceptible to heat problems, can easily drown in swimming pools or other water, and require daily cleaning of their skin folds to avoid problems.
So the question is, why are there so many problems with this breed? And the answer is as with so many breeds, we may have gone too far with the bulldog. We’ve bred certain traits in and certain traits out over generations. Many attribute the popularity of the bulldog to the fact that it has a flatter face than most dogs, giving it a more human-like expressiveness. This shorter muzzle though contributes to the breed’s respiratory problems. In other words, we’ve made them cuter but they can’t breathe.We’ve created a breed that has such a large head that 80 percent of bulldogs have to be delivered by Caesarean section. This was likely not what nature intended. Over the years you can look at pictures of bulldogs and see how the breed has evolved or devolved into what it is today because of our breeding practices. The legs are shortened, the muzzle is shortened, the underbite has grown. And the health problems have increased.It’s not just the bulldog. Many other breeds, especially the toy and teacup variety, have horrible medical problems that we’ve created because of the perceived worth of the animal’s appearance over its wellbeing. As a culture we are clearly prone to valuing looks over health. You only have to flip through the channels to see the stories of plastic surgery, eating disorders, and other extremes we’ll take to achieve some imagined state of perfection. And we’ve projected that urge onto our dogs.I want to make the distinction between responsible breeding and genetic engineering of dogs as well. Every dog I’ve had since childhood has come from a breeder (although my next one will be a rescue) and I’ve loved them all. It’s understandable to want to select your dog based on breed or breed mix. Everyone has different things they look for in a dog like size or temperament, and looking at breed qualities helps us choose the dog that’s right for us. But when we breed dogs to make them more marketable and it ends up causing endless health issues and a lifetime of pain for the dog, something’s gone terribly wrong.
When you’re getting a dog there’s a difference between a breed and a brand. If you love your dog, who cares what breed it is. Dogs don’t know whether they’re in style or not. They’ll just love you no matter what. You want a great dog, not a certificate.