Canis lupus familiaris, or English bulldogs, are distinguished by their unusually smushed cheeks, severe underbites, and sluggish personalities. For this reason, they have won over the hearts of dog lovers everywhere! This breed, which originated in the British Isles, made history in 2023 when it took home the Best in Show title at the 22nd Annual American Kennel Club National Championship.
Even though the morality of breeding English bulldogs is a topic of debate, it should come as no surprise that these wrinkled canines are among the most sought-after in the country! That being said, there are situations when training these dogs presents particular difficulties for their owners. But do not panic! In addition to discussing the intriguing history of the English bulldog breed and typical training blunders to avoid, this article will cover everything you need to know to make sure your dog is as happy and healthy as possible!
The History of the English Bulldog
The English bulldog was first bred in the United Kingdom in the 13th century, according to the American Kennel Club. This breed was given its name because to its usage in bull-baiting and is thought to have sprung from the Asiatic mastiff and the pug. This violent blood sport was formerly very common in England, Ireland, and Scotland, but it is now illegal in most nations.
Dogs were let loose to annoy and/or physically assault a bull that was chained in order to “play” this pastime. Additionally, at the time, it was thought that this method enhanced the bull’s meat’s “quality, taste, and tenderness.” Because of their strength, bravery, and general persistence, English bulldogs were specifically developed for this activity, which made them the ideal breed for this medieval European sport.
Health History of English Bulldogs
Bulldogs swiftly changed from vicious matadors to the lovable, amiable pets we know today when bull-baiting was banned because of worries about animal abuse! Although this breed is definitely attractive, potential owners should be informed that they have a few unique health issues. These are the top five health-related things to remember if you now own or intend to get an English bulldog.
Possible Health Conditions
Respiratory Health: Bulldogs are brachiocephalic, just as pugs and Boston terriers. The Greek terms “brakhu,” which means short, and “cephalos,” which means head, are the source of this. Veterinarians often use this word to refer to any dog whose snout (face) is flattened, pushed in, or short. Breathing issues ranging from mild to severe may arise from this, and hot, muggy weather exacerbates them more. This is because they have trouble effectively controlling their body temperature due to their short muzzles. Therefore, if you own a bulldog, try to keep them in cool places and stay away from intense physical activity on hot days. In addition, it’s critical that you never leave them alone for a lengthy period of time in excessively hot or cold conditions.
Skin Fold Maintenance: Bulldogs have a lot of skin folds, especially around their snout and tail, in addition to their extremely smooshed features. This particular characteristic, like that of shar peis, leaves bulldogs vulnerable to yeast infections and bacterial development. If your dog has a lot of wrinkles, be sure to clean and dry them on a regular basis to avoid irritating skin diseases and harmful infections.
Frequent Veterinary Check-Ups: English bulldogs are prone to specific health problems, as previously shown. In addition to skin disorders and issues with body temperature control, hip dysplasia, cherry eye, and cardiac issues are prevalent maladies in this breed. Regular veterinary check-ups are therefore essential to identify any problems early on and assist in their effective management.
Main Mistakes Made During English Bulldog Training (and What To Do Instead)
1. Harsh Training Methods
English bulldogs of today are sensitive even if their ancestors were actual bullfighters. Similar to numerous other dog breeds, they don’t react well to strict training methods. When training your puppy, refrain from using physical punishment or yelling at them since this could cause them to become reactive or even aggressive later on.
Instead, try implementing positive reinforcement.
Since bulldogs might be a little stubborn, it’s important to be persistent and patient right away. Making the most of your training sessions will also greatly benefit from your understanding of your dog’s distinct personality! In general, English bulldogs react favorably to praise. Treats (in moderation), physical love, and praise can all help to reinforce positive behavior in your dog.
When English bulldogs know what is happening and what to anticipate, they behave at their best. Too many changes to the rules, routines, or results might confuse your dog and impede their development as a whole.
Instead, try being consistent with their training.
Just as with any other pet, it’s critical to establish a regular training and discipline schedule. If you adhere to the same procedures, your bulldog’s sound structure will probably help it flourish. It is preferable to begin with basic commands like “sit,” “stay,” and “come” while they are still young. You can progress to more difficult training or even entertaining feats after you are certain they have mastered these fundamentals!
3. Skipping Socialization
Despite their reputation for being sluggish, bulldogs are actually quite gregarious dogs. They therefore learn best from other people! Neglecting to socialize your dog from a young age may result in behavioral problems such as timidity, hostility, or unease around people and other dogs.
Instead, try socialization and reactivity training.
It is imperative that you, as the pet owner, place a strong emphasis on early and ongoing socializing for your animal companions. By introducing them to new people, places, animals, and settings, you can help them become more reactive. This will guarantee that your pet develops into a well-mannered adult!
Given the obesity propensity of the English Bulldog breed, overindulging in goodies during training sessions may result in unhealthful weight gain. This may make some underlying medical disorders worse, like joint and respiratory issues.
Try healthier treats or non-food rewards instead.
Use lower-calorie treats as a training reward to prevent overindulgence and unhealthful weight growth in your puppy, and always pay attention to the recommended serving sizes for your dog. In addition, it is imperative that you, as their caregiver, make sure your puppy eats a nutritious, balanced diet and gets frequent exercise to help them stay within a healthy weight range for their breed.
5. Neglecting Exercise
Bulldogs are generally thought of as the Canidae family’s couch potatoes, so many people believe they don’t actually need any exercise. Even if they could seem indolent, that is a completely false belief! Without a question, one of the most important aspects in deciding their bodily and emotional well-being is regular exercise. English bulldogs who lead sedentary lifestyles may experience serious health concerns or even behavioral disorders.
Instead, try intermittent play.
It is advised that bulldogs engage in consistent exercise for 20 to 40 minutes per day. Make sure they get enough exercise every day to maintain healthy hearts, strong muscles, and happy joints—take them to the dog park or play with them around the house!
All things considered, training an English bulldog may be a demanding and fruitful undertaking. However, it’s crucial to comprehend their background and the distinctive qualities peculiar to their breed in order to facilitate the procedure. But you may expect to have a loving, well-behaved dog companion if you are patient, consistent, and give lots of goodies and positive reinforcement! Make sure your English Bulldog is as happy and healthy as possible by avoiding these frequent training errors and according to the best practices outlined above!