English Bulldog Temperament
Just like humans, many of our canine counterparts have struggled with a checkered past, but none as notably as the ‘bull’ breeds. English Bulldog temperament has been in question for many years.
Pitbulls, Bulldogs, Bull Terriers, and other ‘bull’ breeds all suffer from a stigma. But does a dog’s ancestry define his future? Does his origin dictate who he can be today?
The English Bulldog falls into the Bull category, and many of the above questions apply to him. Unfortunately, most of the answers to those questions are not as black and white as we may like them to be.
What Was the English Bulldog Bred For?
The English Bulldog is renowned for his muscular frame, large head, and massive jaws. He started as a hunting and guarding dog and was bred for the cruel practice of bull-baiting beginning in the 1500’s.
Bull-baiting was a blood sport where people would bet money on whether or not the Bulldog would be able to bring the Bull down. Pinning him by his nose and hold him on the ground for a certain period of time.
As you can imagine, many Bulldogs were horrifically killed or maimed during these events.
Because of his past in blood sports, we would be remiss if we didn’t address the notion that the English Bulldog of today has an aggressive disposition, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Today’s account of the modern-day Bulldog is quite the opposite of the Bulldogs of old.
In fact, this breed is an affectionate, calm, and inquisitive dog who makes an excellent family pet that is gentle and great with children.
However, due to irresponsible breeding practices that have altered the physical appearance of the English Bulldog over centuries, this breed is one of the least healthy breeds in existence today.
What Does the English Bulldog Look like?
Just like with personality, the Bulldog of today also looks quite different from his bull-baiting ancestor.
The Bulldog of old was larger and leaner, with a face that resembled the modern-day boxer rather than the modern-day Bulldog.
- Today’s Bully has that famous pushed-in face and a prominent underbite.
- He stands up to 15 inches tall and weighs up to 50 pounds.
- He is bow-legged with a wide head, with either a straight or curly tail and a large jaw.
- His forehead is wrinkled, and he has long, hanging jowls that give him somewhat of a permanent melancholy expression.
Unfortunately, the negligent breeding practices that led to the Bulldog’s squished face also led to an unusually large head size. As a result, Bulldog pups are almost always born via Cesarean Section.
So, Considering Their History, Are English Bulldogs Aggressive?
Despite their history in bull-baiting and blood sports, modern-day breeders of the English Bulldog have worked to decrease aggressive tendencies. And thankfully those efforts have proven successful.
Today, English Bulldog temperament is said to be mild-mannered, and they rarely show aggression or territorial behaviors deemed dangerous to people or children.
Veterinarians say that this breed is less aggressive than many others.
Still, if you are considering adding an English Bulldog to your family, we recommend early socialization and obedience training to ensure healthy development and a well-rounded dog.
Other Health Issues
Due to the irresponsible breeding practices throughout the Bulldog’s existence, he is also more predisposed to several other major health concerns. Including overheating, serious skin problems such as allergies, eczema, dry skin, and acne. As well as orthopedic issues like arthritis, hip dysplasia, and Degenerative Spine Disease.
If the English Bulldog has a curly tail, also known as a cork tail, he can suffer from Hemivertebrae.
A potential owner should also watch out for Cherry Eye, joint and ligament injuries, idiopathic head tremors, digestive issues that cause vomiting and regurgitation, fold dermatitis, and heart disease.
To top it off, the English Bulldog is more predisposed to developing cancer than any other breed.
This chart shows some of the many health problems English Bulldogs face because of breeders’ reckless breeding practices over time.
Something else to keep in mind when considering a Bulldog as a pet is that although Bulldog’s mature slowly, they age quickly, showing signs of age as early as five years old.
In fact, their average lifespan is rather short, considering the average lifespan of a breed of their size is 12-14 years.
If not confronted with the numerous health issues discussed above, the average lifespan of the English Bulldog is still only eight years old English Bulldog breeders