English Bulldog Pros & Cons

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Are you wondering…

“Should I get an English Bulldog?”

Or…

“Is an English Bulldog right for me?”

Then you’ve come to the right place!

While flat-faced dogs like the English Bulldog are easy to love, they’re not for everybody.

English Bulldog making a funny face
“Not for everybody…? What do you mean!?” — a crazy English Bulldog

Every breed has its pros & cons— but the question is,

“Do the pros outweigh the cons?”

And…

“Is this the right breed for my family?”

Remember: No breed is perfect, it’s just a matter of finding what’s right for you.

Read on to learn…

Pros

English Bulldogs ranked at #6 on the AKC’s Most Popular Dog Breeds list in 2021, making them more popular than 97% of dog breeds.

Why?

Here are 7 reasons to love the English Bulldog…

  1. They’re great family pets
  2. They are small & low maintenance
  3. Their cute looks
  4. Their goofy personalities
  5. Don’t bark much
  6. Not big shedders
  7. Good with other animals

1. English Bulldogs make great family pets

English Bulldogs ranked #2 on the AKC’s Top 10 Family Dogs, just under the Labrador Retriever (ranked #1).

English Bulldogs are…

  • Super friendly
  • Calm & patient
  • Attention-seekers
  • Loving & protective
  • Stubborn & difficult to train
  • Gentle giants (but not that giant)

The perfect addition to any family

While English Bulldogs are the perfect addition to any family, they’re also exceptionally good with children.

Here’s why…

Why English Bulldogs are good with children

  • They’re friendly, loyal, and protective
  • They’re big enough to deal with children’s roughhousing but small enough to not be a danger to your children
  • They’re relatively low-maintenance so they won’t take away from the time needed to take care of your children

2. They are also small & low maintenance

English Bulldogs aren’t tiny, but they’re the perfect size to live in apartments & small houses.

While they’re too big to travel on a plane with as adults (unlike the Frenchie or Pug), they’re still portable enough to ride in the car with you with ease.

English Bulldogs are also low maintenance in that…

  • They don’t shed much
  • They are easily entertained
  • They require minimal grooming
  • They don’t need lots of exercise
  • They’re friendly and get along with anybody

Couch potatoes

If you’re looking for a little couch potato that’ll snuggle up with you all day, you’ll love the English Bulldog. (but beware of their farting!)

3. Their cute (cutest) looks

You don’t get an English Bulldog because of their top-class athleticism or exceptional intellect…

You get an English Bulldog for their adorable appearance & goofy personalities.

YouTube player

Somewhere, somehow, an English Bulldog is being mistaken for a Frenchie…

4. Their goofy personalities will warm your heart

If there’s any reason to get an English Bulldog, it’s for their amazing goofy personalities that will have you laughing & entertained for hours and hours and hours.

English Bulldogs have amazing personalities…

  • Their expressive facial expressions
  • They love to entertain (and do so effortlessly)
  • They’re so stubborn it’s obvious they have a mind of their own
  • Their silly & goofy behavior make everything worth owning an English Bulldog
YouTube player

5. English Bulldogs don’t bark much (thank god!)

Nobody likes a constantly barking dog (especially your next-door neighbor)

Fortunately, for some reason, Bulldogs — like the English Bulldog, French Bulldog, and American Bulldog — don’t seem to bark that much.

They only bark when they’re alerted to things, rather than just yapping away all afternoon.

This is great if…

  • You live in an apartment
  • You want a dog that won’t disturb the household peace
  • You want to bring your dog in public without being the center of attention (in a not-so-great way)

6. And they’re not big shedders

Shedding is so frustrating to deal with as dog owners…

Dogs that shed a lot can be frustrating

With big shedders, you’re either grooming & brushing them constantly or cleaning up fur on your clothes and furniture.

Fortunately, English Bulldogs aren’t one of those

While every dog sheds, you can expect your English Bulldog to shed minimally.

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7. They’re friendly with other animals

English Bulldogs weren’t recognized as a Top 10 Family Dog for no reason— they’re good with all members of the family, including other animals.

What makes English Bulldogs good with other animals

  • They’re gentle and calm
  • They have a low prey drive 
  • They are not aggressive, but protective
  • They’re lazy, low-energy, and easy-going

Cons

While there are many many reasons to love the English Bulldog, they sure aren’t perfect.

It’s important to be aware of their drawbacks such as their health problems & difficulty to train.

So before you run out to get yourself an English Bulldog, make sure you’re able to deal with these downsides.

Here are 7 reasons the English Bulldog isn’t perfect…

  1. Their health issues
  2. Difficult to train
  3. Prone to overheating
  4. They snore a lot & make a lot of noises
  5. They are prone to obesity
  6. They’re farters
  7. They drool & slobber everywhere.

1. They have some health issues…

Bulldogs aren’t known for being the healthiest breed…

Notorious for breathing issues

English Bulldogs are particularly notorious for their breathing issues caused by their flat faces.

While their breathing issues are the most notable, they also are prone to joint, eye, and heart problems as well.

Common English Bulldog health issues include…

  • Eye problems— cherry eye, entropion, distichiasis, and more
  • Joint issues— hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and luxating patella
  • Heart problems— heart murmurs, cardiomyopathies, and pulmonic stenosis are often seen in English Bulldogs
  • Breathing issues— almost every English Bulldog will have some degree of breathing issues due to their flat faces… but there are also other conditions such as stenotic nares (pinched nostrils) or an elongated soft palate that can worsen the issue even more

Consider getting Pet Insurance

If you want an English Bulldog, it’s strongly recommended that you look into Pet Insurance.

You don’t want to find yourself stuck paying thousands in unexpected vet bills— or worse, unable to pay for the vet bills.

2. They’re difficult to train

Some dogs are highly motivated to please & eager to learn…

The English Bulldog is not one of those dogs.

Stubborn, not stupid

While they’re smarter than you’d think, they’re more stubborn than you could imagine.

Their stubbornness leads them to being categorized as a “dumb dog”, but they’re anything but that.

Training can be tough, but it’s possible

While training an English Bulldog may be tougher compared to your average dog, this doesn’t mean they can’t be trained!

Things to know about training English Bulldogs…

  • Be patient— they’re stubborn and you know it!
  • Consistency is key— it might take a long time & many repetitions of a command for them to really “get it”
  • Highly food-motivated— they might not listen to your commands when there’s no reward
  • Short sessions work better— it’s best to train your English Bulldog for 5–10 minutes multiple times throughout the day than an hour once a week

3. Prone to overheating

All flat-faced dogs struggle to regulate their body temperatures compared to “normal” dogs.

Flat-faced dogs are 2x as likely to develop heatstroke!

— Nature.com
A White English Bulldog
English Bulldogs can’t spend too long outside

They aren’t as effective at panting

This is because their flat faces make it tougher for them to breathe as well, so they aren’t as effective at cooling themselves down when they pant.

4. They snore a lot & make a lot of noises (love it or hate it)

There’s no way around it…

English Bulldogs are LOUD!

YouTube player

If you don’t mind listening to their snoring at night and snorting throughout the day, you might get along well with the English Bulldog.

Lots of us flat-faced dog lovers think these noises are cute… to each their own I guess.

5. They are prone to obesity

English Bulldogs love to eat… and they don’t necessarily love running on the treadmill.

While English Bulldogs aren’t necessarily lazy, they’re not the most active dogs…

So when you combine their low activity level with an above-average appetite, you get a dog that easily gains weight but struggles to get it off.

“Who you calling lazy?”

Tips to keep your English Bulldog a healthy weight

  • Get at least 30 minutes of exercise per day— this can be walking, playing, or anything else that gets their heart rate up
  • Try breaking bigger treats into smaller pieces— they don’t need the whole thing!
  • Don’t feed them table scraps (even if they’re begging!)— check out these foods that are safe for your English Bulldog to eat
  • Use low-calorie training treats when training your English Bulldog— you might also want to cut back on their meal portions if you’re doing a lot of training
  • Make sure you’re feeding them the proper amount of food to maintain their weight— this info is usually on the side of the food bag
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6. They’re farters… stinky smelly farters

Yes, that’s right.

English Bulldogs are known for being big farters. 

Their flat faces make them inhale a lot of air when they’re eating which leads them to be gassy.

All hope is not lost, though

Fortunately, there are ways that you can reduce your English Bulldog’s farting.

Ways to reduce English Bulldog farting…
  • Use a slow-feed bowl
  • Feed them a high-quality diet
  • Don’t share table scraps with them— especially fermentable foods & dairy products
  • Experiment with other protein sources if you suspect they have an intolerance to their current food (e.g. switch them from chicken to beef)

7. They drool & slobber everywhere

As if a big stinky farting Bulldog wasn’t enough to handle— they also drool & slobber everywhere.

Messy dogs

There’s no sugarcoating it… English Bulldogs are quite the messy dog.

Say goodbye to a perfectly clean house and hello to random wet spots on the floor, furniture, and clothes from their slobber.

Messy drinkers

Whenever Bulldogs drink from their water bowl, they seem to always leave a trail of water behind after… (my Frenchie does this too!)

An English Bulldog might be right for you if…

  • You want a couch potato to snuggle with
  • You want a loyal companion that’ll always be by your side
  • You don’t mind all the snorting & snoring sounds they make
  • You are aware of their health issues and prepared to handle any problems that arise (both emotionally & financially)
  • You are willing to work around the English Bulldog’s special needs (like being careful that they don’t overheat & take care of their joints)

An English Bulldog might not be right for you if…

  • You think the English Bulldog’s snoring will disturb you at night
  • You’ll be super grossed out if they fart & stink around you
  • You want a super low-maintenance dog that doesn’t have any special needs
  • You aren’t willing to deal with their health issues & take them to the vet for regular checkups
  • You want a highly athletic dog to do lots of stuff outdoors with

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