A Guide To Help You Select a Bulldog
Many readers have a similar reaction to this website, “I want a bulldog!” In the history of bulldogs, we documented several traits that make them a nice breed to own. Bulldogs are loyal, affectionate and thrive in tight quarters. Nearly half of all Americans live in an urban environment and bulldogs are suited to that lifestyle. If there is a single notion that encapsulates the breed, it is this: The English Bulldog is all the fun of a big dog in a small package.
This article was written to help you select a bulldog pet. While some traits we’ll describe are prized in show dogs, this is not a manual for those who wish to show or breed their animal. For those who are undecided between a pet and a show dog, let’s take some time to address an important issue: If you show your dog it must have it reproductive fascilities in tact. So if you go down this path, then you’ll have to live with testicles or a bitch’s heat period. Still undecided? Personally, my dog was fixed the day he was elligible.
While it might sound cruel to cut into a healthy dog consider this: neutered pets have a longer lifespan and a decreased risk of cancer. Neutered males are less likely to run away. They can still roam, but their incentive to flee is decreased. “I could chase a bitch right now …. but there’s nobody on the couch and I could use the sleep.”
Male of Female
You’re considering an addition to your family so there’s a lot to think about. Before we run off to a breeder, let’s consider some big decision points. Here’s the first one: what sex should we get? (And, really, if you landed on this site because you googled “sex” you’re way too deep in the search result.)
If males and females were identical, then we wouldn’t need words to describe them. They’re not different and there are ramifications associated with the sex you select. Generally speaking, female dogs are easier to raise. Right now our female readers are saying, “Isn’t that the truth!” Female bulldogs tend to be smaller, easier to train, easier to assimilate into the family and more protective of house and home.
Males, on the other hand, are larger and stronger. They might make better guard dogs but generally speaking any dog is a good guard dog. If an intruder knows a dog is present, he’ll move on.
At the end of the day, this selection will come down to a matter of personal preference. We have a male because I like saying “Good boy!” That’s right. Females are easier to train and assimilate but my decision was based on a phrase. “Good boy!” Pommie Jones was near me now.
Puppy or Adult
While this decision is partially based on preference there are practical considerations as well. I find it satisifying to guide a pup from immaturity into dignified old age. But a puppy requires considerably more time than an adult.
Puppies need to be fed more often, let out more often, walked more often and they need to be trained. You might have to house break your dog a room at a time. “What, I can’t go in this room either? Well what about this one?” If you select an older dog wisely, it will be house broken out of the box. If you don’t want to clean up messes, it’s hard to place a value on that!
If you have the time, we recommend you choose a puppy. A young dog will grow up assimilated into your environment. Each new rule he learns is a rule of your house. If you don’t want a dog on the furniture but the previous dog didn’t mind, there is going to be conflict in your house. And did I mention that bulldogs are headstrong? Trust me, they are.
Selecting A Breeder
Pommie lives in Pennsylvania but we can’t recommend breeders in that state. Amish breeders are a particular problem. Too many Amish treat these canine companions as livestock. Stacked in crates at an early age, puppy mill dogs lose touch of an important instinct. Even as a puppy, a dog won’t relieve itself in its sleeping area. If a dog is confined to a small area for lengthy periods, necessity overrides that instinct. Depending on how long he’s confined like that, you might not be able to house break him. Ever.
There are certainly responsible Pennsylvania breeders but if we had to provide one rule of thumb it’s this: avoid Pennsylvania. Along with Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma, it classified as one of the nation’s seven worst puppy mill states.
A good way to select a breed is through recommendations. If you have a friend with a bulldog, then ask her where she got it. Was the experience with the breeder positive? If you don’t know someone like that, then call local veterinarians. They’re undoubtedly treating bulldogs and they should be able to help you find a reputable breeder.
Selecting a Puppy
Before you consider a puppy, you want to make sure you feel good about its sire and dam. They don’t have to be the products of champion bloodlines, but they should be solid healthy dogs with good temperments. Good dogs tend to breed good puppies. Ideally, you’d like to meet the sire and dam. At the very least, the breeder should provide pictures and AKC registration numbers.
Once you feel good about the breeder and his dogs, you can select a puppy from the litter. Unless you’re connected, chances are you won’t have pick of the litter. That choice will probably go someone who shows them. A breeder is not going to let his best dog become a neutered pet. It will go to someone who can help provide him acclaim. That’s okay Twice I’ve had a later pick and both times I got the dog I really wanted.
The ideal puppy will be alert and in tune with its surroundings. It should be friendly and outgoing. The traits you see at this point are traits that will last a lifetime. My personal preference is for middle-sized dogs. The biggest puppy may turn into a bruiser or a tubby while the runt could be timid and prone to health issues.
Take a hard shell dog crate to the breeder with you. If you select a dog, it will probably go home with you that day. Make sure you understand its feeding schedule and its diet. Learn all you can about its daily routine. Get its vaccination records and all other paperwork. When you get your puppy home, immediately make an appointment with a vet for a checkup. If everything checks out, enjoy your new puppy.