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English Bulldogs -- Choosing the Breed of Dog That's Right for You

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Author: Anita Funkhousre

When choosing a dog, it's important to choose the breed that's right for you. In order to do that, you need to know the characteristics and temperament of the breed you're thinking about adopting or purchasing before you do so. The English Bulldog is just one breed among many from which to choose.

History/Background: The English Bulldog descended from the ancient Asiatic mastiff and was brought to Europe by nomads. It was bred for bull baiting in the early 13th century. The name "bulldog" (medieval in origin) refers to the robust look of a little bull and also the power with which this dog attacked bulls in arena combat before that practice was outlawed in the 19th century. The last of the working bulldogs in England were crossed with Pug dogs to create the English Bulldog. This breed was first registered by the American Kennel Club in 1935.

Physical Characteristics: The English Bulldog has a short but wide, compact and muscular body with stocky legs and a short tail. The head is broad, with dense skin folds on the skull and forehead, and the cheeks extend to the sides of the eyes. The muzzle is short and sometimes dark, with a broad black nose and large nostrils. The upper lip is pendant and the lower jaw undershot. The eyes are very round, far apart and dark. The small, thin ears are folded back in the form of a rose. The coat is short and smooth, and the color can be red, fawn, brindle, pale yellow, washed-out red, white or any combination of these colors. The English Bulldog's height is about 12 to 16 inches, and weight is 49 to 55 pounds.

Personality/Temperament: The English Bulldog, in contrast to its aggressive and fighting ancestors, is gentle and very affectionate. It typically does not beg for attention but seeks for it, and lots of human attention is required for its happiness. It is content to lie peacefully at its owner's feet or just to be in the same room with its owner. It is sensitive to its owner's moods. This breed makes a good companion and is good with children and the elderly and also with family pets.

Although known for its courage and excellent guarding abilities, an English Bulldog does not necessarily make a good watch dog. It usually only barks when there is really a reason or sometimes if furniture has been moved or there is something new in the house. This breed of dog can be bullheaded and determined and does not give up easily. It can be dominating and needs an owner who displays strong leadership.

A young English Bulldog will be full of energy but will slow down as it gets older. Although it appears lazy, this is not really the case. It doesn't jump at every command but evaluates the command against its own priority setting to decide whether to obey the command and with what urgency. This breed snores very loudly and tends to slobber and drool. It rarely whines or complains.

Possible Health Conditions: Some of the health conditions that plague this breed of dog include breathing problems, poor eyesight, susceptibility to heat stroke in warm weather or hot rooms or cars, sensitivity to cold, skin infections and hip and knee problems. This breed also has an active digestive system. Puppies are often delivered by cesarean section because of the broad head. The life expectancy for this breed averages 8 years.

Exercise/Grooming: English Bulldogs need daily short walks but are not tolerant of excessive exercise. Some adult bulldogs would rather not exercise while others are full of energy. Grooming is fairly easy and consists of combing or brushing with a firm bristle brush and bathing only when necessary. The face should be wiped with a damp cloth every day to clean inside the wrinkles. This breed is an average shedder.

Living Conditions: This breed of dog is good for apartment life, is inactive indoors and does okay without a yard. It chills easily in cold weather and has trouble cooling off in very hot weather. It should be kept indoors.

Summary: The English Bulldog needs lots of human attention and strong human leadership, is very good with children and the elderly, makes a good companion and is relatively easy to groom but doesn't typically have a lot of energy and has a shorter life expectancy than most breeds. If you are looking for these characteristics and traits in a dog and are able to fulfill its needs, then perhaps an English Bulldog is the right breed for you.

About the author: Anita Funkhouser is the owner of, offering high-quality, eco-friendly dog beds, toys and sweaters made from recycled materials, and, a blog about various breeds of dogs.

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