Bulldogs Today (Book of the Breed)


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Bulldogs, also called English Bulldogs, are often cited as a walking example of the harm done to dogs by people breeding for appearance. These dogs tend to have nice natures, but suffer from a range of health problems, including breathing trouble from their squashed noses, and an inability to give birth without a caesarian in many cases, due to their big heads. They also don't walk easily, but rather tend to waddle, and may suffer from hip and knee trouble. They both feel the cold and suffer when it's hot, and can suffer from skin problems. Their facial wrinkles need regular cleaning. Bulldogs also have a tendency towards flatulence, and soya-based foods can exacerbate this. Their health problems mean that Bulldogs tend not to live as long as the other bully breeds, such as Bull Terriers.


Modern English Bulldogs are a different beast from the original Bulldog, which was both healthier, and more aggressive. Modern Bulldogs are usually calm and gentle, and can be good companions for children because they are generally tolerant and affectionate, and love attention. However, like all bully breeds, they can be headstrong, and need socialization and training from when they are pups, because of their potential for causing damage when things do go wrong. The breed's headstrong nature means that it can be too much of a handful for novice dog owners. People who already have experience of dogs should perhaps think long and hard about the health problems of this breed, and whether it is a good idea to perpetuate breeding for appearance when this results in a dog which has problems that threaten its survival. However, Bulldogs do have a special appeal because of their combination of strength and gentleness, courage and affection, and their slow gait is an advantage for many older people who have no desire to go jogging with a Saluki. Bulldogs sometimes need to be persuaded to take exercise, especially as they get older and their joints get creakier, but regular walks are good for them.

This book is a good introduction to the breed, which is well illustrated and gives a lot of help with general care, including health care. It gives a good picture of the breed and explains the appeal of the Bulldog personality well. However, breeders who write books are more likely to give a rosy picture of their breed. Anyone considering a Bulldog should read more than this guide, and do a great deal of research on their health problems, looking at a range of sources, and talking to vets with experience of the breed.