English Bulldog (Bulldog)
The English Bulldog is a stately but still amicable and outgoing breed, which was originally bred on the British Isles. In spite of its burly physique and somewhat intimidating features it has calm and sweet character, which makes it a highly popular family companion. This dog requires only minimal amount of physical activity and suits ideally for an apartment dweller.
The English Bulldog came to existence in England sometime in the XV or XVI centuries. It’s thought to have been developed from the ancient Asiatic mastiff although its detailed ancestry is impossible to trace. The breeds’ early version was strong, large and fierce, essential qualities for a canine whose duty was to grasp a bull by the nose and keep it from moving. This operation was called bull-baiting and was at first conducted for very practical purposes – to put a bull down for breeding or castration, for example.
Over time however the bull-baiting began to provide amusement for broad masses of English population. Thereby it was crucial for the bulldog of that time to be cruel, tough and highly pain tolerant. Its peculiar undershot jaw served to empower the dog to grab a bull and repress it, and stick to it till the end.
The English Bulldog retained its powerful constitution and ill-temper up until the early XIX century but the prohibition of dog fighting and bull-baiting in England brought a major turn in the breed’s fate. Since its carrier on the fighting arena was essentially over some dog lovers assumed that it was doomed to complete extinction. Luckily large group of the Bulldogs’ devoted fanciers resorted to laborious selective breeding in order to modify its personality traits as well as conformation.
Eventually they produced the same stocky and strong but smaller Bulldog with low-slung trunk, broad shoulders and a heavy head. However the most drastic changes were made in the temperament of this dog that from aggressive and unbalanced evolved into an affectionate, tranquil and sociable creature. The today’s type of the English Bulldog is well-known for its universal friendliness, which invariably earns it a place in the top ten of companion breed.
At the end of the XIX century the first English Bulldogs were imported to the United States. The breed attained recognition of the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1890. The popularity of this dog sky-rocketed in the 50s and 60s of the XX century and it still has numerous armies of followers all over the world. Thanks to its excellent adjustability and unpretentious in grooming the Bulldog won repute of a perfect pet for virtually any type of households.
Martial appearance of the English Bulldog may mislead you into thinking that it reflects its ferocious nature. In reality it is widely praised as one of the most gentle, kind and even-tempered canine varieties. Because of its somewhat laid-back attitude and low energy level it’s much less prone to destructive behaviour indoors than other dogs. The breed is also famous for its extreme affection for children with whom it handles with utmost care. Despite its overall tolerance of child’s abuse this dog brooks no interference during mealtime. That’s why it’s highly important to teach the child not to meddle with the dog’s food.
The English Bulldog is amiable yet slightly reserved with new people. Correctly socialised dog will accept petting even from strangers and its standard doesn’t permit any form of human aggression. It lacks territorial instinct and some specimens are too lazy to bark when somebody enters their home. But at the same time there are Bulldogs that alert and attentive enough to make an outstanding watcher. Naturally it’s rather unwise to charge it with guarding duties because of its trustful and friendly demeanour.
The English Bulldog is not especially dog aggressive but it may have certain issues with other dogs. It will interpret other canine as a member of its pack if they have been brought up together. Aggressive tendencies are usually more expressed in males than in females but it’s still advisable to always keep your pet safely leashed while in public places. The dog is exceptionally compatible with other types of pets (including a household cat) although early socialisation is still a must in this case.
The most common problems for the breed include:
· eye problems;
· cancer (various forms);
· hip dysplasia;
· ventricular septal defect;
· aortic stenosis;
· generalised demodicosis;
· canine follicular dysplasia;
· cleft palate;
· ununited anconeal process;
· spina bifida;
· genetic dwarfism (achondroplasia);
· ectopic ureters;
· urate urolihiasis;
· hypoplastic trachea;
· brachycephalic upper airway syndrome.
The maintenance of the English Bulldog is a task of average difficulty. It’s advisable to brush its coat at least once a week to remove dead hair and promote the distribution of skin oils. The dog should be bathed only if it’s absolutely necessary. Additionally the wrinkles on the Bulldog’s face will require wiping after each meal and drying after bathing in order to avert harmful bacteria from developing.
The English Bulldog is predisposed to bad breath so brush the teeth of your pet on a weekly basis. The rest care is very simple and includes regular nail clipping and ear cleaning. The breed is a year-round moderate shedder, but more frequent brushing usually helps to keep shedding process under control.
The training of the English Bulldog poses very significant challenge. This dog preserved much of tenacity and stubborn nature of its forebears and will obey only to very confident and dominant person who has respect for an occasional unwillingness to study. On the bright side, when this dog truly grasps some tricks it will be able to repeat them even after a long time.
Training sessions should be kept short and entertaining and be accompanied by plentiful of delicious treats and praise. Negative reinforcement should be avoided as much as possible since it will only provokes the dog to more wilful behaviour.
The English Bulldog is sturdy and strong but also quite sedentary dog, which needs minimal physical exercise to remain fully satisfied with its life. It would rather prefer to quietly relax on your couch than to undertake a long and strenuous trip to a local park.
But because of its propensity to obesity this dog should receive from 45 to an hour of physical activity on the daily basis. This breed is fairly inactive indoors and can be successfully kept in a large mansion as well as in a small city apartment.