Deciding on a Bulldog

Love Dog
In This Chapter
  • Discovering the ins and outs of Bullies
  • Owning a Bulldog: What does it really cost?

Bulldog puppies are adorable, and adult Bullies have an engaging seriousness in their wrinkled faces, but looks alone aren’t reason enough to run right out and purchase a Bulldog. Before you commit to ten years of Bulldog care, take a minute to consider whether a Bulldog is what you really want. This chapter provides key facts to keep in mind before taking the step of getting a Bully of your own.

The Bulldog Point of View

Bulldogs possess behavioral quirks specific to their breed that require you to take some time to think about how good the match would be before you get one. If any of the traits mentioned in this chapter doesn’t fit in with your lifestyle or with what you expect from your dog, consider getting a different breed. However, a Bulldog may be perfect for you if the following list represents your behaviors and the kind of dog you want:
  • Couch Potato is your middle name.
  • Grooming isn’t on your list of fun things to do.
  • You leave for much of the day.
  • You want a companion to hang out with after a hard day’s work.

Remember

Bulldogs love to be with their families, but they also like to snooze the day away. You can go off to work and know that your Bully isn’t desperate for an afternoon game of fetch. And when you return home, your pal will be waiting for a snuggle on the couch.

When you come home and plop down on the couch, you may notice that your Bully has left behind a present for you. You have dog hair all over your black pants! A Bulldog’s short and smooth coat sheds much more hair than you may imagine, and your Bulldog sheds year round, but you won’t have the hours of combing, brushing, and trimming maintenance that you would with many longer-coated breeds. Do pay attention to his wrinkles, though; you can easily manage a little touch up during your evening TV time on the couch. See Chapter Grooming Your Bulldog for tips on grooming your Bulldog.

Recognizing that Bullies aren’t athletes

You must realize that your Bulldog is your companion; she isn’t an athlete. In fact, Bulldogs are predisposed for lounging around.
If you want a dog to keep you company in your active lifestyle, consider a different breed. The Bulldog isn’t built for speed, and even if she wanted to run, jump, and play for extended periods of time, she just can’t. Her short, pushed-in nose doesn’t allow airflow like active dogs, and an elongated soft palate and small trachea further hamper a Bully’s breathing. High heat and humidity also make Bulldogs unhappy, and hot conditions can affect their health. Overheating poses a real danger for a Bulldog.

Warning!

If you expect to spend a day paddling around the lake with your Bully, you may need to reconsider. Drowning is a major cause of death in Bulldogs. As one breeder says, “They swim like a rock.”

A Bulldog’s temperament slows her down, too. Bulldogs want to please themselves. They aren’t driven to work, and they don’t act on command to please their owners.

Integrating Bullies with children and animals

If you have children, trust that your sturdy Bulldog can take a bit of rough play and is gentle enough in nature not to snap at your kids. With that said, supervise your child and dog at all times. You don’t want either to get too rough. Teach your children to be gentle with any dog. Be aware that the Bulldog is powerful, and small children may get knocked over during playtime.

Warning!

Never leave any dog unattended with a baby. Babies make fast, jerky movements and high-pitched noises. Instinctively, dogs like to catch and kill critters that make these movements and sounds.

If your Bulldog joins other pets in the family, he tends to fit in just fine. Bulldogs generally get along with other dogs, but to be on the safe side, choose a dog of the opposite sex to the one in residence. Same-sex dogs may get along at first, but after the puppy reaches sexual maturity, jealousy and territorialism can present trouble. Same-sex dog fights can be very serious, and once the dogs have decided they don’t like each other, they’ll always need to be separated. Spaying and neutering your Bulldog often eliminates some of this behavior (see Chapter Recognizing and Tackling Bulldog Health Issues).
Bulldogs adjust appropriately to cats if raised with them. Perform introductions gradually, and don’t leave the pets alone together until you’re sure that everyone gets along.
Rabbits, gerbils, hamsters, guinea pigs, and other small pets top the list of prey for a Bulldog. Use caution, because it’s the Bulldog instinct to catch and kill these critters. Keep smaller pets out of harm’s way when you can’t supervise interactions.

Examining the Cost of Ownership

Bulldogs require investments of both time and money, so make sure you’re vested in the process. The following list provides time and money issues to consider before getting your Bulldog. I don’t give exact cost figures — cost can vary depending on where you live — but you’ll get the general idea:

– A Bulldog puppy costs between $2,000 and $3,000.

– All dogs need regular veterinary checkups, and over the course of your dog’s life, he’ll need vaccinations, medicines, and possibly surgeries (see Part IV).

– Bulldogs love to chew and seem to have a preference for drywall. Their sturdy jaws can do serious damage to kitchen cabinets and furniture. If your adult Bully suffers from separation anxiety, the loneliness may manifest itself in destructive chewing. Consider crate training to alleviate some of these problems. (Head to Chapter Ten Important Things to Do for Your Bulldog for crate training suggestions.)

– Surgical procedures may cost more for a Bulldog than for most other breeds. Bullies need constant supervision in recovery. Their elongated soft palates and enlarged tonsils may block airways and cause suffocation during recovery. During this period, some veterinarians charge extra for the time needed to sit with the Bulldog. Ask your veterinarian ahead of time whether there’ll be an extra charge.

Tip

Careful breeding is reducing the incidence of some of the Bulldog’s conditions. Most Bulldogs are sensitive to the preanesthetic acepromazine, and most vets familiar with the breed avoid this anesthetic. The largest issue is that Bulldogs take far less of most anesthesia than other dogs their weight. Finding a Bulldog-savvy vet can save both lives and pocketbooks.

– Your Bulldog requires time but not excessive amounts. Make sure you have the time to housetrain and walk and play with your Bulldog before you bring him home. Schedule time for cleaning face wrinkles and clipping nails, too.

– Don’t forget the things that all dogs need: daily meals, dishes, toys, bedding, and other items that you think are essential for your Bulldog’s well-being! (Check out Part II.)

Also understand the problems your Bulldog faces as a result of his build. Consider where he’ll live. Be prepared to make adjustments and sacrifices to keep him happy and healthy. Do your homework, and run your budget, and then go find the Bulldog of your dreams.

Want ad: Bulldog for sale. Eats anything. Very fond of children.

Upon entering a small country store, a stranger noticed a sign stating, “DANGER! BEWARE OF DOG!” posted on the glass door. Inside, a Bulldog slept on the floor beside the cash register. The man asked the store manager, “Is that the dog folks are supposed to beware of?”
“Yep, that’s him,” came the reply.
The amused stranger inquired, “That certainly doesn’t look like a dangerous dog to me. Why in the world would you post that sign?”
The owner responded, “Because before I posted that sign, people kept tripping over him.”

 by Susan M.Ewing

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