This short article is designed to be a nice lead in to the next one which focuses more acutely on the proper eating and living habits of bulldogs. It is not an easy article to write from the first go because it is attempting to respond to some ill-conceived myths on the old English bulldog. Long before drawing up this short introductory article, designed to feed dog enthusiasts with a little bit of inspiration and enthusiasm for giving the care of bulldogs a chance, one caricature was always in our mind.
Those who know their English history well will have always been familiar with one of the United Kingdom’s greatest leaders, one Sir Winston Churchill. Ever since he stepped down from public office for good, the association of the cartoon-like cigar-chomping bulldog, with bowler hat and umbrella, a typical characterization of the modern urban English gentleman for most of the last century, led many observers and admirers to Churchill.
But on closer reading on some of the more natural characteristics of the bulldog, some of the analogies seem to be quite unfair. Unlike the bull terrier, the bulldog is far removed from being a fierce fighter. He is almost certainly not suited to being a good domestic guard dog, in spite of his fierce physical appearances. His thick folds of skin and his droopy and searching eyes which seem only to say that “I love you” or “when is dinner time” seem to give his old game away.
The dog has a wrinkled face and his nose is distinctively pushed in. As a domestic pet, the Bulldog was ranked as the fourth most popular thoroughbred dog in the United States just over a year ago. That is quite a feat for this small dog, given the illustrious company of fascinating canine species he is in. To us, what makes the eating and living habits of bulldogs all the more fascinating is that the bulldog’s eating and living habits are characterized not so much by his breed but by the fact that every bulldog seems to have its own quirky personality.
The bulldog has quite a wide head and broad shoulders. To match his lovable eyes, he has drooping lips. In a contemplative mood, rather than emitting a fierce growl at strangers, observers will witness his pointed teeth. Once you get to know the old bulldog, you soon learn that a dog’s bark is far worse than his bite. Physically and emotionally, from puppy dog age right through adulthood, the bulldog is among the most sensitive and vulnerable canine species.
For instance, over a period of thirty years, the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals found that over seventy percent of four hundred odd bulldogs tested were found to be positive with hip dysplasia, said to be the highest figure among all canine breeds. There are also a minority of bulldogs that contract what is defined as interdigital cysts. These cysts form between the dog’s toes, making life a tad uncomfortable for the poor old fellow.
One analogy associated with bulldogs over the years is quite true, something that young children have picked up often enough in their favorite cartoons where hapless chasing bulldogs are teed up against cats and mice. Those that have bulldogs at home will also attest to this fact. Bulldogs are great snorers. But there’s a good physiological reason for this. Bulldogs have small nasal cavities and tend to be quite heavy breathers.
We hope this short introduction to bulldogs has sufficiently wetted your appetite for our next article where we will be placing emphasis on treatment and care for bulldogs.