|Barked: Thu Mar 7, '13 9:19am PST |
|You hear it all the time, English Bulldogs are a walking vet bill. It is not a joke.
Audrey said it all - proper breeding plays a very important role in this. ANY dog breeder should ONLY breed towards the improvement of a line. Money should be of a lower priority than this. But, even then, the traits that make an English Bulldog an English Bulldog is detrimental to its health.
The snub-nose on a massive head that gives the EB its distinctive look gives the EB a breathing disadvantage. Therefore, these dogs have a relatively more difficult time breathing than most dogs. Therefore, a bulldog has a disadvantage when trying to cool itself during hot weather or while exercising and has a disadvantage when sticking its head out of a car window and has a disadvantage with air pressure like on the cargo of an airplane, etc. Common genetic respiratory issues are stenotic snares and elongated soft palate. You might say - get only a bulldog with a long pedigree that doesn't have this problem then you won't have this problem. Not necessarily. If you're breeding a snub-nosed dog, you have a higher chance of having this problem crop up in the litter. You can always breed for a longer snout... but then, you won't be breeding a standard English Bulldog. A lot of these issues can be alleviated by proper care of the Bulldog. Don't exercise him when it's hot, space out his exercise to several times a day instead of one long one if he starts to breathe heavily, when you make long car trips make sure the car is well ventilated and air-conditioned, and avoid the cargo area of the van on longer trips, etc.
The thick, wrinkly skin of an EB also give EBs a disadvantage. It is prone to yeast/bacteria infections, demodectic mange, pyoderma, etc. A lot of this can be alleviated by proper care of the wrinkles from head to tail.
The massive chest of an EB also give EBs a disadvantage. A lot of EBs suffer from an enlarged heart, valve defects and heart murmurs. Structural joint problems are common such as elbow and hip dysplasia, athritis, etc. As EBs are predisoposed to these issues, proper nutrition is very important. The problem is - even vets have no clue what is proper nutrition for a dog, let alone an EB! An EB parent would need to research and study dog nutrition. Giving the dog the cheapest food you can find at Petsmart may just end up costing you thousands at the vet office.
The tail of an EB is naturally stubbed. This EB trait can also be detrimental to its health. A lot of EBs are prone to tight tails prone to infection, inverted tails that would require surgery, and impacted anal glands. Proper care of the EBs tail pocket and regular cleaning of anal glands is needed.
A female bulldog is at a very high risk when having babies. EB puppies have a relatively big head so it is common for the puppy to get "stuck" on its way out putting the mother and the puppy at great risk. If you don't plan to breed your bulldog, spay her. If you plan to breed your bulldog, plan for a c-section.
EBs are also prone to allergies, urinary infections, bladder infections, pyometra, etc. EBs have a weaker immune system than most dogs and they can be either allergic (over-active immune system) or yeasty (non-active system). This is also alleviated by proper nutrition. And just a note - one EB may do really well with Blue Buffalo Wilderness while it would cause health problems on another EB. What's the best food for an EB? The good quality food that your EB does well on...
I have 2 English Bulldogs. But if anybody asks me if they should get one, I always say, get a non-standard one. Look for one with a longer snout, lesser wrinkles, narrower chest... basically, the ones that are not cute. When you're looking at a bulldog, don't pick the ones with the eyes far apart ("Mongoloid" looking). And yes, always know the history of its parentage and what health problems they have. There are some breeders that are breeding non-standard bulldogs to eliminate the common issues with bulldogs. An example is the Amitola Bulldogs. I'm not recommending them. I just found them on google. But, if I was to buy a bulldod instead of rescuing one, I would get one from breeders like those.
Because... even with all the health problems of a bulldog and having to be ready to mortgage your house to pay the vet, these dogs are just the most amazing personalities of all the dogs that I've had. They're not for everyone, that's for sure. They are independent dogs - they act like human children - having the "terrible two's" stage (between 0 - 2 years old) when they're puppies, stubborn brats at "teen-ager" age (2-3 years old), and mellow lazy bums at "adult" age. You tell them to "Sit" and they look at you with their brains working, weighing out what advantage it would be for them to "Sit" or just ignore what you said... I love that about them!
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