Bulldogs are very special dogs requiring special attention and care. They are not an easy breed to have, and most bulldog breeders and owners agree they are not fit for a novice dog owner. They aren’t recommended for first-time dog owners for a few reasons.
The five main problems which arise with the English bulldog:
If you're looking for a friendly pet to motivate you to take that morning jog or bike ride, bulldogs are not the right answer. Most bulldog owners agree that they aren't tolerant of excessive exercise, as they typically run full speed, then collapse with all four feet stretched on the floor. Bulldogs are indoor dogs and cannot be left alone outside for long. They don't tolerate cold well, either.
Dermatitis is inflammation of the skin. Where there are excessive skin folds or wrinkles, fold dermatitis occurs due to rubbing of skin and trapping of moisture in the folds. Pyoderma (bacterial skin infection) commonly develops. Common forms are tail, lip, and facial fold dermatitis in breeds where there is skin folding in these areas. Bulldogs need regular grooming because these wrinkles need to be cleaned daily. Bulldogs are in the top five dogs with skin irritation, causing expensive vet bills.
Elbow and Hip Dysplasia:
Hip and elbow dysplasia results from the abnormal development of the joints in a young dog. Most dysplastic dogs are born with normal hips and elbows, but due to genetic and possibly other factors, the soft tissues that surround the joint start to develop abnormally as the puppy grows. Dogs may alter their running or walking, often resisting movements that require full extension of their legs.
Many times, they 'bunny hop.' They will show stiffness and pain in the rear legs after exercise or first thing in the morning. Most dogs will warm up out of the muscle stiffness with movement and exercise. Some dogs will limp, and many will decrease their level of activity. As the condition progresses, the dogs will lose muscle tone and may even need assistance in getting up. Bulldogs should be administered a joint supplement daily to help them be more comfortable.
Narrow Nasal Opening/Breathing Problems:
The flat facial structure of the bulldog restricts their air intake. In addition, many bulldogs also suffer breathing difficulties as a result of their elongated soft-palate (tissue in the back of the throat). The soft palate can be fixed with surgery, but if left untreated, the dog can develop sleep apnea or suffocate.
Inability to Swim:
Because of their unusual body proportions, bulldogs cannot be left unattended by the pool because they will drown. Their short legs cannot support their heavy, compact bodies in the water. If you have a pool or plan to take your bulldog around water, they need to be supervised at all times and provided with a properly fitting life jacket.