Just the name “Bulldog” conjures up an image of a real tough guy, and when you put a picture of the dog with the name, you get an image of a real tough dog. Bulldogs are stocky, sturdy dogs with a solid, foursquare stance and a face that says, “Bring it on; I can take it.” All those wrinkles and that pushed-in nose give an impression of gruffness and a ready-to-fight attitude. No wonder the Bulldog is the mascot of the United States Marines!
The English Bulldog was unofficially adopted as the Marine Corps mascot during World War I, when the German army reportedly nicknamed the attacking Marines Teufelhunden, meaning “Devil Dogs.”
Transitioning from the Bull Baiter to Loving Companion
Getting to Know the Bulldog
Be aware of the fact that your Bulldog can’t be your jogging companion. He isn’t built for that, and his breathing (see Chapter Recognizing and Tackling Bulldog Health Issues
The Bulldog is too large for the toy group, and he definitely isn’t a terrier — he’d never fit down the burrow of any small animal. The Bully isn’t a sight or scent hound and doesn’t have the endurance for chasing game, even if he wanted to. The Bulldog doesn’t herd sheep or cattle, so that eliminates the herding group. He’s not a sporting dog. He doesn’t flush or point birds, and he can never retrieve a duck from a pond. He doesn’t fill the bill as a dog to pull a cart or guard a flock or help fight crime as a policeman’s pal. The non-sporting group categorizes all dogs that don’t fit in any other class.
Caring for and Feeding Your Bulldog
– Hair: Those tiny, short hairs shed, but the coat isn’t the biggest concern with Bulldogs.
– Wrinkles: Wrinkles are the biggest issue concerning the Bulldog. Make sure your daily routine includes cleaning the wrinkles and drying them thoroughly to prevent rash, infection, or other skin problems.
– Skin: Bulldogs are prone to skin ailments and allergies. Check for hot spots and bald patches (see Chapter Recognizing and Tackling Bulldog Health Issues
– Feet: Trim your Bully’s foot fur, and check between those toes for any sign of interdigital cysts. Interdigital cysts are pus-filled growths between the toes and are frequently caused by ingrown hairs. Check out Chapter Recognizing and Tackling Bulldog Health Issues
– Ears: Keep the ears clean and dry.
– Tail: Don’t forget your dog’s tail. The base of some Bulldog tails fits into a sort of pocket of flesh, and that needs to be kept as clean and dry as the wrinkles. A dab of petroleum jelly in the pocket helps prevent irritation.
– Regularly visit your veterinarian. Keep your vaccinations up to date, and consult your veterinarian if your dog is sick. Even if the sickness turns out to be something minor, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. (See Chapter Knowing Your Veterinarian, Vaccinations, and Common Treatments
– Make sure that your dog has identification. Attach her license and rabies tags to a buckle collar. You may also want to include a tag with your name and phone number. Consider getting your Bully microchipped as another form of ID. (See Chapter Preparing for Your Bulldog
– Watch what you feed your Bulldog. Control her weight, and don’t let her get too heavy. An overweight dog has even more trouble breathing and may develop hip problems and arthritis. Extra weight puts extra stress on her heart and lungs, too. Extra pounds can aggravate any existing problems and may cause others (see Chapter Feeding Your Bulldog
No matter what you feed your Bulldog, keep her fit and trim and healthy.
Know that your Bulldog comes with a price tag. Don’t be scared off by the costs; one dog costs a family roughly $6,000 over the lifetime of the dog.
Showing Your Bulldog
– Conformation: You may want to show your dog in conformation, which some people describe as a beauty contest for dogs. The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is an example of a conformation show.
– Obedience: You can try obedience. In obedience, at the basic level, your dog is judged on how well he walks by your side (heels), sits, downs, and comes when called. At advanced levels, your dog must also retrieve and jump high and broad jumps.
No matter what you decide to try with your dog, teach him some basic commands. Even if you never go beyond Sit, Down, and Stay, these commands can help make daily living more enjoyable. Chapter Mastering Good Manners and Basic Commands
– Rally: The relatively new sport of rally may attract you. Rally judges the same behaviors as obedience, but in rally (see Chapter Showing and Showing Off Your Well-Trained Bulldog
– Agility: If your Bully is athletic, agility may be just the activity you’re looking for. An agility course consists of several jumps, a teeter-totter, a tunnel, an elevated dog walk, and an A-frame, and your dog must run the course in a specific amount of time.
– Tracking: Last, you can compete in tracking — it’s just what it sounds like. Your dog follows a track with a specified number of turns and must find one or more specific articles on the track. For more information on showing your Bully, see Chapters Acquainting Yourself with the Bulldog Package and Showing and Showing Off Your Well-Trained Bulldog.