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English Bulldog - History and Health

Source: PetWave, Updated on July 16, 2015


The history of the English Bulldog is unfortunately a violent one. This breed was created, sometime in the 1500s or 1600s, specifically for the purpose of bull-baiting, a cruel so-called “sport” that pitted a dog against a bull for a fight to the death. The original Bulldog must have been ferocious, powerful and courageous. Attention to conformation, temperament, beauty or symmetry of form was not valued. Instead, they must have been bred to be savage, vicious and almost immune to pain. The Bulldog’s unusual extremely undershot jaw stems from those awful days, as it enabled him to grab a bull and clamp down, and hang on until the end. It was not a good time for the human-canine relationship. Dog fighting in underground “pits” became popular as bull-baiting’s popularity waned.

In 1885, bull and dog fighting became illegal in England. Despite the fact that this could have led to the disappearance of the Bulldog, a number of fanciers attempted to preserve this fine breed, to retain its good qualities without promoting its bad ones. Within a few generations, the English Bulldog became one of the finest physical and temperamental specimens among canines, with its original viciousness completely gone. This is the English Bulldog of today, who is docile and adaptive. He can live anywhere, loves children, is easy to care for and is affectionate and loyal. The Bulldog is probably one of the gentlest breeds in America today.

Health Characteristics

The Bulldog has an average life expectancy of 8 to 12 years. Because of the large size of their head in disproportion to their bodies, most Bulldog bitches cannot deliver their litters naturally. As a result, Caesarian sections are extremely common in this breed and are typically planned in advance. Other breed health concerns may include:

  • Eye Problems: Issues relating to the dog's vision and/or ability to see
  • Deafness: Defined as the lack or loss, complete or partial, of the sense of hearing
  • Cancer (Various forms): Defined as any malignant, cellular tumor
  • Hip Dysplasia: Involves abnormal development and/or degeneration of the coxofemoral (hip) joint
  • Cryptorchidism: Cryptorchidism is the physical absence of one or both testicles in the scrotum of a dog
  • Ventricular Septal Defect
  • Aortic Stenosis
  • Pulmonic Stenosis
  • Generalized Demodicosis
  • Canine Follicular Dysplasia
  • Cleft Palate
  • Ununited Anconeal Process
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Hemivertebrae
  • Spina Bifida
  • Genetic Dwarfism (achondroplasia)
  • Ectopic Ureters
  • Urate Urolithiasis
  • Hypoplastic Trachea
  • Dystocia
  • Brachycephalic Upper Airway Sndrome
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