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Alongside pug and French bulldog, English bulldog is another lovely creature that has earned tremendous popularity with dog owners all around the world. It is not a burrowing dog, nor a hunting pointer. It’s just another planet – affectionate and querulous. No one can withstand these English “round features” and lovely muzzle that will certainly draw anybody’s attention. English bulldog puppies are the same as British bulldogs. It’s just misconception in terms of the word, but the breed itself remains the same ordinary Bulldog. Therefore, when someone speaks of “English bulldog” while the other tells you about “British bulldog”, you should know that both people speak of the same breed. English/British bulldog is a breed that has a long history behind. The first passage of this article will tell you more about the origin of this breed.
The History behind the Breed
The term “Bulldog” is more than 500 years old. Before the beginning of the 16th century, consonant words like “Bolddogge” and “Bondogge” were already used. Only in 1631, someone by the name of Prestwick Eaton wrote a letter in which he mentioned the modern-era pronunciation “Bulldog” asking for a couple of animals to be brought to him by first ship. In 1666, Christopher Merret, an English scientist, wrote a treatise called “Pinax Rerum Naturalium Britannicarum” in which he mentioned a “bear dog or a butchers bull”. The dog was used for bull baiting, thence its name derives. The sport of baiting bulls was widely spread in England until 1835 when it was finally abolished. Early era bulldogs were presumably an ultimate muscle mean-machine capable of bringing down a big bull. The dog would grab the bull by its nose and pin it down to the ground. But the size of a bull was a challenging feature that explained the presence of a big pack of dogs most of which were usually maimed or killed while chasing and pinning down the bull. Over centuries the evolution made dogs gain more muscle mass, develop a wider stance, shorter legs and of course, the trademark “secateurs-like” jaws. Bull-baiting, bear-baiting and other types of sports involving animals were popular throughout the country until being prohibited by the Cruelty to Animals Act of 1835 (according to Wikipedia). This act amended the legislation making any fighting sport illegal and thus protecting animals from mistreatment. Now working days of Old English bulldog were numbered but the New World was a more liberal and open society for barbaric entertainment and new fashion. In the mid-17th century in New York, the city governor Richard Nicholls used bulldogs as part of a citywide gathering. Their dogs were used to entertain the public but the rules were altered: now a dog could grab the bull by its nose and hold it long enough for a rope to be put around bull’s neck. At this time, bulldogs brought from England were crossed with the pug. A shorter, wider dog appeared as outcome, but it was another breed not capable of doing any feats that were commonly attributed to Old English bulldog: short muzzle did not give the steel grip and the dog could no longer withstand the fast pace of any sport not saying bringing down a huge bull.
In 1878, The Bulldog Club of England was formed and remains the oldest single breed specialty club. Meetings of members of this club would commonly take place at the Blue Post pub in Oxford Street in London. There, in the pub, members wrote first rules and directions that would evaluate the performance and appearance of every bulldog. In 1886, the breed was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club.
Character and Temperament
Being originally ferocious and bloodthirsty creatures, bulldogs evolved into exemplary peaceful companions that bond very well with children and other animals. After the bull baiting was abolished, there was no necessity in keeping fearsome dogs. What was done? The pug added mild-mannered genes and altered the physique making a bulldog somewhat sluggish and more communicative. The difference between modern day English bulldog and early one is opposite. Let’s go through all trait of character and behavior we know about English bulldogs:
Despite the gloomy look, a bulldog is among the most amiable breeds.
- The American Kennel Club gives a comprising hint on their character: “They are equable and kind, courageous and resolute; their demeanor is dignified and pacific”. Total contradiction to what we have read before!
- Despite the gloomy look, a bulldog is among the most amiable breeds.
- Puppies are frisky, but when growing up they change their temper dramatically. Imagine how a juice turns into a jelly inside a fridge – this is the perfect depiction of what happens with dog’s behavior. It “freezes” – they become phlegmatic, spending much of the time snoring on sofa. Therefore, they need constant exercising and proper nutrition.
- English bulldog is stranger-friendly. The least attitude the dog can show is being politely reserved or paying no attention at all.
- Bulldog is not a barking dog, so your neighbors will hear nothing. It will take serious effort to provoke dog’s sweet nature.
- His stubbornness and tenacity are almost impossible to change. Once your dog decided to do something, you can only try to limit his actions by locking him in certain premises. However, the need to do what he was originally planning will stay with him until first opportunity available.
- Bulldog has sensitive nature. Their memory can be very helpful when learning commands but also be a drawback for you! Should you offend your dog, he will remember it for long time and it will take you serious efforts to restore his trust.
- Their everlasting patience is legendary! They can take so much teasing from children that not every human parent can bear! A teased bulldog will be sighing dissatisfiedly and resenting and should he begin slobbering, as children will leave him alone in a flash.
- Bulldogs are very lazy. Your dog will stretch along the sofa with you and won’t move until urgent need. It makes them perfect apartment dwellers.
- Any bulldog hates being left alone. Despite their lazy nature, the lack of attention or leaving them like some latchkey kid may result in total destroy all over your apartment. They can be bored too!
English Bulldog is a relatively active, good-tempered dog that all of your household members (including other animals) will be mad about.
Types of English Bulldog Puppies
English bulldog puppies differ in their coloring and the breed comes in a wide variety of solid colors as well as patterns:
- Red. This type of coat is rich, warm, and may have brown-reddish hue with white markings on the face. Red comes in several patterns.
- Red brindle. Coat of such bully has darker color – black or dark brown, which makes a strip on the coat. The brindle may come in thin or thick pattern, which makes this particular set of colors the most recognizable and desirable among breeders and owners.
- Red brindle and white. The coat is initially white having big patches of brindle.
- Red and white. Don’t mistake it for piebald! This coat is by default white with large spots of red. Red-and-white bulldogs usually have almost white faces.
- Red and white with black. Coat comes in white and red patterns with black markings. Black is seen around the eyes and cheeks.
- Red and white piebald. A white bulldog with small red patches. The name of the coloring comes from horse coat pattern.
- Red with black mask. This dog is likely to have black markings all over its face. Dark mask covers eyes, ears and the whole muzzle. Some dogs have a white stripe coming down the chest, which is not uncommon.
- Fawn. It reminds of a baby deer, which is not far from truth. But unlike wild deer, English bulldog doesn’t have white spots on the fur. Fawn is a warm and a richer shade of brown that can range from pale gold to deep amber.
- Fawn and white. A white dog marked by fawn patches. Many have black rings around eyes or even black edge of the muzzle.
- Fawn with black markings. Initially a fawn-colored bully wearing a black mask like that of Zorro. Sometimes black muzzle may have white blaze.
- Brindle fawn piebald. This dog is originally white with fawn brindle patches. Fawn brindle is coloring that comes with thin black/another color stripes going through patches.
- White. It is not an albino with red eyes! White-coat bully has dark eyes, black nose and black pads. The color ranges from snow white to ivory.
- Brindle. Black stripes are not blended together. Brindle dog may have a white patch on the chest.
- Dark brindle. White dog has dark brindle patches on its coat. The base of the coloring is gray or deep brown with black stripes crossing patches of color.
- Black brindle with mask. Solid brindle of chocolate brown or fawn tone with black stripped patterns. The face is covered by a solid mask stretching from the muzzle up to ears rounding eyes.
- Brindle piebald. Mainly white bully with small brindle patches that can be of any color.
- Brindle and white. Also, a white dog with big patches of brindle shade. Brindle and white may be mistaken for piebald but in a brindle and white the patches are large.
- Solid colors. While color variations are numerous, there also exist solid colors like gray, black, brown or cream that are considered by the AKC as “undesirable” as they overpower other colors and patterns which are not as rare as these solid shades are. Hence, comes a big price difference between two puppies: one may be of solid metallic gray, while the other will be a white with several patches and the difference of the price tag for them will be like 100%.
Colors are not the only difference that sets puppies apart. Appearance and the built of face and jaw are also a vital feature. Some have evident underjaw sign: their lower jaw sticks out which is considered normal for the breed and is seen in 50% of all dogs. However, there are also other signs (more faults) like long nose, dishface, frogface, appleheaded round forehead that are considered somewhat mutation but do not affect the comfort of life for dog. But these dogs should not participate in dogs shows as they are subject to early disqualification.
Picking an English Bulldog Puppy
Picking the right puppy that is going to spend years living side by side with you is challenging to say the least. The fact that an English bully puppy may cost several thousand dollars will make you think about every aspect of choice twice. In order to make the right choice easily we have prepared a three-step guide:
Bulldog never grows up
Step 1. Is it the right breed for you and your family?
Many dogs are abandoned by their owners. When choosing a dog, people think that they are cute and popular but do seldom understand the real responsibility of caring after their dog in proper way. Any dog requires much dedication despite the imaginary need only to feed and walk the dog. Being intrigued by the look of an English bully, you may later discover that your dog particularly needs special care and attention to its wrinkles, flat face, and tail, unusual built, varying levels of activity and defects of growth. Bulldog never grows up; there is no vivid transition from puppyhood into adult dog. While other dogs become adult within 12-18 months, bulldogs do not mature until 3 years of age! It is an upsetting fact as English bulldog lives 7-10 years only while other dogs can reach even 20+ years of age. However, bully’s life may be fulfilling and exciting nonetheless.
Step 2. Choosing a breeder.
A breeder operating on a small scale is the one and only you should trust. Reliable kennels breed one or two breeds at the same time, delivering one litter every two years. They spend more time and fund on taking care of all puppies born and are devoted people who understand and follow one common truth “do what you do better than anyone else and the popularity will be a collateral reward”. Those breeders who pay attention to every aspect of growing healthy and fully socialized in good conditions need no advertising. You can find them via the American Kennel Club. Being cited at this site means that they correspond to many requirements and you can hope to have success when buying a puppy there.
Step 3. Picking out your puppy.
Lori Cochran, an English bulldog breeder from Naples, Florida, describes five types of bulldogs you may come across:
- Unpredictable and anxious – not good for those who leave house for the whole day.
- Affectionate and needy – great pals for children.
- Obedient, stable and docile – great choice for older couples.
- Self-assured and independent – bad choice if you have kids.
- Rebellious and dominant – good guardians.
These are several distinct traits one of which you may notice later when your dog grows older. However, at an early age, it is hard to trace all these particularities in their behavior. There is just one hint that may be helpful: if you have taken notice of some particular puppy, visit the kennel several times to trace its behavior and goings-on to take a final decision.
When picking a puppy, ask its age. Reputable breeder will never sell you a dog that hasn’t reached 8 weeks of age yet. The breeder may also ask you some questions concerning your lifestyle, your habits and home environment to make sure he is selling a puppy to the right people.
Before Bringing Your Puppy Home
All puppies are curious about their new home. Poking nose into everything may result in some trouble if you do not “puppy-proof” your home in advance. Moving to a new home is always difficult, so you should make the move as easy as possible for him. It means that first weeks at new home should be similar to those that it had previously. How can you make the transition as easy as possible?
Go to local pet store and get bowls for water and food. Ceramic, glass bowls can easily be broken and plastic will be chewed for sure. Thus, a stainless steel bowl is the only option. Also, get a bowl holder so that your puppy doesn’t push her dinner around the kitchen and dining room. A bed and accessories are an absolute must. Bed will be puppy’s retreat spot where it may hide from overly agitated children or simply to get some rest in privacy. As for accessories, think of a chewable toy to keep her company for first couple of weeks and an old t-shirt bearing your scent.
Adjustable soft collar with an ID tag is a vital necessity needed for identification. A leash may be required for walks later when your puppy is already feeling comfortable in new environment.
Safe, solid toys that do not break and have no small parts that may be chewed off are the best companions for weeks and even months to come. Balls size of a softball, bones, greenies, tug ropes are the best things that will spark pup’s interest.
Grooming tools like scissors, nail clippers, brush, and dog shampoo will be used systematically, so prepare a set beforehand.
Baby gate and pen are very helpful if you want to limit puppy’s movement. Curiosity may lead puppy to steep stairs that will result in accidental fall and injury. Pen is a soft transition from previous cage to a more open space: you set some boundaries comprising bed, bowls with food and water first and some time later you expand the space eventually switching to absolute freedom.
Wires, shoes, precious possessions, coins, money, papers, notebooks, household chemistry must be put away!
Puppy food cannot be anything bought with a “puppy” label on it. It must be the exact chow your puppy was feeding on while being kept at breeders. When buying and taking the puppy home, the breeder will give you some food for the puppy and will suggest particular puppy dog food. Just follow his/her directions and feeding schedule.
Wires, shoes, precious possessions, coins, money, papers, notebooks, household chemistry must be put away! Wires can be hidden behind a removable plinth or be hanged above the floor level and attached with adhesive tape.
Clean up your back yard. Any small object (like a toy, ball or a rock) may be devoured, the pool should be covered and the fence must not have free spaces between fence boards. Garden plants like poinsettias, azaleas, rhododendrons, dumb cane, Japanese yew, oleander and English ivy are poisonous for a puppy so keep them covered or remove them completely.
Care tips will be presented in informative manner so that you do not pass by vital info. Following the mentioned tips is easy and moreover – they will extend the life of your English bulldog. Let’s take a look at feeding tips first.
Feeding Your Puppy
You should be feeding the same puppy food that your bulldog has been fed before coming home. You should change his eating habits gradually if you want to switch to another brand. During first week give him 10-20% of another food and see how he reacts. The next week make the ratio 70/30 and the next week add another 10%. At the end, you will switch to the new brand completely. Such gradual transition ensures that your puppy’s digestive system won’t get shocked.
Feeding on regular schedule is the best habit to make your puppy learn. Feed him 3 times a day at the exact same time. At 6 months, you may feed puppy 2 solid meals a day and after 1 year you can cut further giving him one solid meal in the morning (lots of carbs and protein to charge him with energy) and offering one slight snack in the afternoon (read more at Best Puppy Food: How Much, Schedule, Tips and Tricks).
Feeding quality is also important. You are what you are eating, right? So make sure you give your puppy balanced food or packed puppy chow that contains solid meat instead of by products, veggies and grain. What is more, meat and veggies must comprise more than 50% of the content, because eating carbs only is a way for building fat.
Avoid feeding people food and table scraps. Such products like chocolate, grape, nuts, garlic and onion, doughs, chewing gum, alcohol are strictly forbidden! It will make your puppy severely sick to say the least…
Watching dog weight is also a necessity. English bulldog can bulk incredibly fast so you should be on the alert when feeding him. Take your puppy and palpate its belly and rib cage. You should be able to feel ribs but not see them. If the dog is gaining excessive weight, you will feel that his rib cage has become also flabby and his “tucked” abdomen is gone.
Provide clean and fresh water at all times. Change his bowl 2 times a day and wash dog dishes couple of times a week, as bulldogs are slobbery.
Teething is the first point that you should pay attention to. Provide many chew toys to ease this transition period for your dog. Cow hooves, special chow bones, solid rope toys or any other firm toys without fragile elements that can be swallowed will do just fine.
Monitoring health is easy to do: if you switch to another dog food brand, keep an eye for possible diarrhea. If your dog develops it, stop feeding him for 12 hours. If it continues for 24 hours, you should visit veterinarian immediately as your puppy losing too much fluid, that results in total dehydration.
Preventative treatment against parasites and pests like worms, fleas, ticks, mites and lice. Any dog is a perfect host for all sorts of parasites, but a couple of meds prescribed by the vet will eradicate the possibility of infestation for months to come.
Desexing puppy is more favorable to its health than it is thought to be. Spaying/neutering decreases chances of tumors and infections and positively influences behavior, which is commonly affected by hormones.
Examining and cleaning ears once a week is a must. Puppy’s ear must not smell nor have any discharge inside or on the flap. If your dog is pawing its ears or shaking the head excessively, you should check his ears and clean them. Hydrogen peroxide is a universal cleaning solution that you should apply topically with the help of a cotton ball. Do not stick a q-tip inside the ear as there is a chance that dog will shake its head reflexively thus damaging the eardrum.
Brushing teeth daily is a preventive measure against bacteria and plaque. But don’t use human paste! Use dog paste only as fluoride in human paste may cause serious problems. Get soft toothbrush and use it gently on daily basis. However, in the beginning you may apply some paste on your finger and go forward-backward along the teeth and gums and gradually switch to brushing as it is.
Folding skin is a perfect spot for dirt to accumulate. You should smooth the folds, soak a rag in warm water and clean all the skin crevices. Bathing must be done at least once a week. Brushing is another point of proper care: using a soft bristled brush eradicates excessive shedding.
These tips are easy to execute. Perform them according to the recommended schedule and your puppy will grow into a healthy adult dog with many years of happy life to come.