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English Bulldog Pros and Cons: Is This Dog For You?

Last Updated: December 29, 2023

English Bulldogs are one of the most popular dog breeds in the world for a reason. They make for fun, cute, and loyal pets. However, before getting one for yourself, you should consider the English Bulldog pros and cons.

The pros of English Bulldogs include being great with kids. They’re also non-aggressive, low-maintenance, and overall loving and fun pets. However, the main cons of owning an English Bulldog is poor health resulting from low genetic diversity. They’re also harder to train and can be noisy.

In this article, I’ll explain the main advantages of having an English Bulldog and the features that make them stand out among other dog breeds. I’ll also cover the concerns about these dogs and discuss the drawbacks of choosing them as pets.

English Bulldog with puppies

The Good and the Bad: Understanding English Bulldogs

Dogs are the most prevalent pets in our homes. For centuries, they’ve earned their famous title as people’s best friends.

Owning a dog is known to have many advantages for humans, but dogs also have traits that may challenge their owner’s patience, increase their financial burden, and strain their time management.

Like all dogs, one should weigh up an English Bulldog’s advantages and disadvantages, so here’s a tabled view of the pros and cons of Bulldogs.

Bulldog ProsBulldog Cons
Bulldogs are extremely friendlyBulldogs are very stubborn
Bulldogs are easy to care forBulldogs are difficult to train
Bulldogs are good protectorsBulldogs are unhealthy due to inbreeding
Bulldogs are great with childrenBulldogs have difficulty breathing
Bulldogs are a low-shedding breedBulldogs often develop ear & eye problems
Bulldogs are fun and lovingBulldogs are extremely noisy
Bulldogs have great personalitiesBulldogs have a short lifespan
Bulldogs attract attention

Advantages of English Bulldog Ownership

To make the right decision about whether or not this breed is for you, let’s first look at the advantages of owning an English Bulldog.

They Attract Attention With Their Looks and Behavior

The English Bulldog is known for its distinctive looks and often clown-like behavior, which has made it a popular and beloved pet for many people worldwide.

The Bulldog’s physical appearance is often described as unique and distinct. They have a muscular and sturdy build, a wrinkled face, and a short, stocky stature that makes them instantly recognizable.

Their distinctive features, such as their squashed noses and droopy jowls, give them an adorable and endearing look that many people find irresistible.

These dogs attract attention due to their distinctive swagger you won’t find in other breeds. Coupled with their charming and playful personalities, they make wonderful family pets.

Bulldog sitting

English Bulldogs Are Easy To Care For

One of the main pros of having an English Bulldog is that they don’t demand excessive care. Possible health issues aside, their daily maintenance is undemanding and won’t be hard to keep up for any owner, even if you’re usually busy.

English Bulldogs aren’t sporty creatures. Unlike many other dog breeds, they don’t require regular and intensive exercise, which means you don’t have to fit several hours of walking the dog into your schedule.

About half an hour of walking or running daily is sufficient for an English Bulldog. In fact, you may find it challenging to get even that much exercise done, as your dog may resist getting out of the house at all. 

In addition to not being the most active breed, English Bulldogs have short coats, so less grooming maintenance is required. Brushing them from time to time is all they basically need.

However, their wrinkled skin, one of English Bulldogs’ most distinctive and recognizable features, requires more attention.

Most dogs have to be regularly bathed. However, when it comes to this dog breed, proper washing several times a week is crucial to keep them healthy.

If dirt gathers in their skin layer, it may lead to bacterial infections and other dangerous conditions.

English Bulldog Puppy staring at the owner

They Are Extremely Friendly

Another great benefit of this breed is they’re very outgoing. English Bulldogs form meaningful relationships with their owners, love human company, and can be playful and social, even around strangers.

Bulldogs make especially wonderful family dogs, as they love kids and make great friends with them.

They’re not aggressive and pose no danger to children. Instead, they typically grow fond of the younger family members and are always ready to protect them.

It’s also important to note that English Bulldogs are also known to be friendly with other animals in the house. Even cats, who often have strained relationships with dogs, typically are on good terms with this dog breed.

Overall, English Bulldogs are friendly and affectionate creatures that won’t conflict with other members of your household. You can expect them to make friends with everyone and be the family’s favorite.

Check Out More Bulldog Pros and Cons In This Video…

You Can Count on English Bulldogs for Protection

Bulldogs are also very protective of those they love and are exceptionally great at defending their family.

While they’re usually not aggressive, especially to others at home, you’ll find them ready to fight courageously if they sense you’re in danger.

Initially, Bulldogs were bred as fighting dogs. Of course, back when they first appeared, the breed was significantly bigger and more aggressive. They participated in bull-baiting, which required them to ‘pin’ an actual bull.

“Thankfully, sporting animal cruelty is long out of fashion, and consequently, the breed has changed a lot over the centuries.” – World of Dogz

Today, English Bulldogs are much smaller and more gentle at heart. Vicious fighters have been turned into adorable apartment dogs.

However, modern English Bulldogs are still considered excellent guard dogs.

Their strong and muscular build makes these dogs powerful animals, while their instincts make them willing to fight against any threat to their owner or family.

English Bulldog Chewing a Stick

They Have Great Personalities and Gentle Temper

You’ve probably seen countless videos and pictures of adorable English Bulldogs online. That’s because they have unique and charming personalities, making these dogs even more wonderful to spend time with.

Typically, an English Bulldog isn’t a dog you may expect to be aggressive, violent, or confrontational. They are sweet creatures with gentle tempers, very affectionate and loving.

This breed is also rather patient and doesn’t get irritated easily, which is another valuable quality if you have kids at home.

English Bulldogs Are Fun and Loving

Owning an English Bulldog will bring much joy into your life. With their adorable, goofy character and outgoing nature, Bulldogs are among the most fun and loyal pets you may ever have.

This breed is known for how much love they bring to the household. Bulldogs adore their humans and develop precious relationships with children; seeing them around kids may be the cutest thing you’ll ever witness.

Overall, with a dog like this, you’ll never be bored.

Disadvantages of English Bulldog Ownership

While English Bulldogs are lovely and loyal pets who let you enjoy their company without hassle, owning one has some drawbacks. So, before making a decision, consider these disadvantages. 

They Are Very Stubborn

While the personalities of English Bulldogs are sweet and charming, one distinctive trait you’ll find in virtually every dog is stubbornness. Sometimes, it can cause a great deal of frustration and trouble out of nowhere.

For instance, you may have planned to walk your dog at a certain time of day when you have a free minute. With an English Bulldog, you should be prepared for challenges.

Dragging your pet off the couch will be a struggle if they’re not in the mood for walking!

The stubbornness of this breed can show in mischief or complete indifference to whatever you want them to do.

This behavior also makes English Bulldogs difficult to train. They won’t obey your orders and participate in games or exercises unless they’re in the mood to do so.

However, English Bulldogs also have a great appetite, and a yummy treat can typically make them reconsider. To learn more about training and disciplining your Bulldog, read this article, in which I cover the topic extensively.

Two Bulldogs Chewing a Stick

English Bulldogs Are Extremely Noisy

You may have heard that English Bulldogs don’t bark nearly as much as most other dog breeds, which is true. However, a Bulldog wouldn’t be your ideal choice if you want a noiseless dog.

English Bulldogs were bred to have those lovely deformed faces everyone adores them for. However, this facial structure causes them difficulty breathing, so they grunt, snort, and snore a lot.

While some people find these noises cute, others think they will be a constant source of irritation. Moreover, they often have gas issues, although those can be effectively fixed with a proper Bulldog diet.

English Bulldogs Have a Short Lifespan

The estimates of how long English Bulldogs live on average vary. Different studies suggest various numbers, yet all of them are depressingly small when we look at the longevity of other dog breeds. 

For instance, this study states that Bulldogs’ average age at death is only 8.4 years, while the median lifespan for dogs in England is 12 years. Such a short lifespan is, in large part, due to inherent genetic issues. 

They Are Unhealthy Due to Centuries of Inbreeding

The sad truth about English Bulldogs is they’re born unhealthy. Owning one of these charming creatures also means battling for their health throughout their life. 

The main reason for the persistent unhealthiness of Bulldogs is how they were bred. People used to widely utilize inbreeding to get the desired qualities in dogs, which caused extremely low genetic diversity within the population.

By securing the favored traits in dogs, early breeders also fixed the genes that cause Bulldogs to develop severe illnesses and health conditions.

And with the gene pool being as poor as it currently is, there’s little hope for improvement.

The study I mentioned in the previous section contains other important statistics. While the average longevity of English Bulldogs is disheartening, cross-bred dogs’ lifespan is longer than that of purebred ones.

That’s because additions to the gene pool allow nature to do its job of mixing and matching. In the wild, where dogs can mate with each other freely, faulty genes get pushed out, and better ones are secured in the population.

On the other hand, human interference caused massive problems for many dog breeds, including English Bulldogs. Purebreds are doomed to struggle with health issues unless we let genetic diversity increase.

Therefore, a Bulldog will likely require a lot of medical care, so before getting a purebred dog, consider how our idea of purebreds damages the health of our pets and shortens their lifespans.

Hip Dysplasia is Prevalent

One of the most common health conditions English Bulldogs face is hip dysplasia. It’s not unique to Bulldogs; other breeds suffer from it. However, this illness is associated with their intentionally bred body shape in the breed in question.

Hip dysplasia is when the femoral head of the hip bone doesn’t fit into its socket. This condition causes pain, makes it hard for the dog to move freely, and can eventually lead to degenerative arthritis.

English Bulldogs are heavy and disproportionally built, raising the risk of developing this condition.

An English Bulldog panting in the sun.

They Have Difficulty Breathing

One of the biggest health issues in English Bulldogs is also associated with the traits bred in them. While Bulldogs’ faces look lovely to us, their respiratory anatomy is deformed, causing them to have difficulty breathing.

As I’ve mentioned, you can hear their daily struggle through the funny noises they make while breathing. It’s not as amusing, however, when you learn they sometimes experience oxygen desaturation in their sleep and sometimes die due to respiratory issues.

English Bulldogs Are Prone to Heart Diseases

Research that studied death causes in English Bulldogs in 2013 found that the most common health conditions that led to a fatal outcome were related to cardiac issues.

The prevalent one is pulmonic stenosis, which is also more typical in English Bulldogs than in any other dog breed.

Pulmonic stenosis is a condition that affects blood flow and usually starts showing symptoms only in the later stage.

A dog suffering from this disease will be reluctant to exercise, unenergetic, and may collapse. A Bulldog may experience heart failure and eventually die when the illness gets severe.

They Often Develop Issues With Their Ears and Eyes

As I’ve already mentioned, Bulldogs’ skin requires a lot of care and attention. Various skin conditions can develop without proper hygiene, mainly skin fold dermatitis. However, the same skin wrinkles also lead to ear and eye diseases.

For instance, some dogs suffer from the so-called ‘cherry eye,’ which looks like a red lump and occurs due to genetic damage to the eyelid tissue.

It’s very common in English Bulldogs. However, ear diseases are even more widespread, with almost 13% of Bulldogs suffering.

A Weakened Immune System is a Disadvantage

In addition to the genetic predisposition to numerous illnesses, English Bulldogs suffer from low immunity.

They’re prone to allergies, and their bodies aren’t always able to fight diseases effectively. Centuries of inbreeding also made Bulldogs prone to autoimmune disorders.

Check Out The Bulldog Breed Profile In This Video…

Final Thoughts

English Bulldogs are goosy, funny, friendly, and charming. They may be stubborn and hard to train, but their distinctive personalities, protective instincts, and love for kids make them wonderful pets and loyal friends.

The main issue with Bulldogs is their genetic predisposition to numerous health issues, such as heart conditions, hip dysplasia, skin fold dermatitis, ear infections, and many others.

They’re one of the many purebreds left with a shorter lifespan due to human intervention.

Sharon Waddington
Sharon Waddington is the founder of World of Dogz. With over 30 years of experience working with dogs, this former Police Officer has seen it all. But it’s her trusty German Shepherd, Willow, who steals the show as the inspiration behind this website. As Sharon’s constant companion Willow has played a pivotal role in shaping her passion for dogs. Recently, Sharon has become deeply passionate about the plight of rescue dogs and is an active advocate for dog rescue, striving to make a difference in the lives of dogs in need.

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