"Boone is THE cutest! I want an English Bulldog so badly!" - This message pops up in my inbox more times than I can count... and my response is usually something like, "Thank you! He's the best! But bulldogs are very high maintenance and require a lot of special attention!"
If you're someone who has sent me that message or maybe you're just interested in owning a bulldog one day... this post is for you!
I did extensive research before we got Boone. So much research - seriously. I was told that there was a lot that came with owning an English Bulldog, but once I started digging in and really looking into the breed, I realized that people weren't kidding and it would be a lot of work (and money).
Here is my opinion of what you need to know before you buy or adopt or buy an English Bulldog. I would never want to deter someone from getting a bulldog, because they are a wonderful breed (I may be biased), but I also want people to make informed decisions before getting one. So many people get a bulldog and realize it was more than they signed up for & that's exactly why there are so many English Bulldog rescues out there. People end up surrendering them because they can't afford them or weren't aware of the attention they require.
I encourage you to to your own research and read about their care requirements and tips through a simple google search, by talking to someone who currently owns one or by going on a rescues website (they usually have information about the breed)!
Here are some of my favorite bulldog rescues, I hope you take a look at them ...and maybe rescue a
bulldog instead of buying a puppy!
Chicago English Bulldog Rescue
Bullies 2 The Rescue
Southern California Bulldog Rescue
Northern California Bulldog Rescue
Kansas City Bulldog Rescue
Good Life Bulldog Rescue
**if you feel inclined, all of these rescues take donations!**
So, you want to own a bulldog? Here's what you need to know...
They have breathing problems. Their snouts are pushed in, making their soft palette very short - this causes them to not easily catch their breath and over heat very easily. Some bulldog have such a bad palette that they require surgery to fix it! Some dogs even require surgery to open their nasal holes more, so they breath easier that way.
They are easily over heated. This goes hand in hand with the breathing problems... bulldogs cannot be in excessive heat for long periods of time. You should be aware of the visual signs of heat stroke and make sure they have a cool place to lay, with plenty of water nearby. As they pant, their airways slowly swell, which can lead to unconsciousness and even death. Seriously.
They are notorious for certain health issues. The common health problems you will see in bulldogs are hip or elbow dysplasia, skin issues (usually allergy related), ear infections, interdigital cysts on their paws and obesity. I highly recommend getting pet insurance as soon as you get your puppy or dog - it will pay off in the long run.
They are extremely stubborn. I repeat, they are extremely stubborn -- We did not potty train Boone, but I have heard that bulldogs are one of the most difficult dogs to potty train as a puppy. They also have selective hearing and if they do not want to do what you're asking, they will stand their ground. This includes walking on a leash... Boone will constantly stop in the middle of our walk and pull back on the leash if he needs a break or doesn't want to walk any further.
They DO need exercise. Bulldogs are by no means active dogs, (Boone sleeps for 14 hours a day)... but they are very prone to obesity because of it. They definitely need to be walked regularly, (it doesn't need to be a long walk), and it doesn't need to be daily... but there should be a consistent walk schedule in their life.
Their wrinkles require weekly, if not daily attention. Those wrinkles that everyone loves so much? Yup. They require lots of TLC. I have to wipe Boone's face wrinkles at least once a week... they are very deep and they get full of yeast and bacteria. You will need to buy special wipes to keep them dry and creams to help if they get red.
They are highly prone to allergies! All the research I did said that bulldogs should not eat any chicken and they should be fed a grain free diet. There is not research that says otherwise... so I encourage you to do your own. I know a lot of bulldog owners who went through many different foods until they found one that worked with their dog. Boone also has seasonal allergies and his paws and wrinkles will flare up in the Summer months... this usually requires 1-2 allergy shots per year (again... pet insurance!)
They shed a lot. Even though they have short hair, they still shed quite a bit in the warmer months! Boone's shedding will decrease in the Winter months, but the summer months, you better be ready to vacuum daily.
That was a lot of "negatives" -- so, here are some
positives of owning a bulldog!
They are very loving. I know every dog is different, but for the most part, I hear that English Bulldogs are lovers. Boone most certainly is... as you all know. They love to cuddle with their owners and be where ever the people are!
They are great for family dogs. The breed is known to be good with kids and a great family dog - Boone loves young kids more than adults. He likes to follow them around and just love on them - he also doesn't ever seem bothered if they aggressively pet it or get too close.
They don't require grooming. While their wrinkles require attention, they actually do not need to be bathed very often. Too many baths and the natural oils from their coat will be stripped and make them smell even more!
They are great apartment dogs. Yup! Even though we waited until we had a house to get Boone, he would have been perfect in our apartment; since they don't require a ton of exercise and they don't need a lot of space to run around.
They are goofballs. Bulldogs definitely have their own personalities! You will see your dog's come out as they grow and I swear... bulldogs are the quirkiest of all the breeds!
If you've come this far and are still saying, "yup! I want an English Bulldog!", or maybe you have a bulldog and want to try some new things - then here are Boone's tried and true products! These are all products I use on Boone or he loves... and trust me when I say -- I have tried so many products, so these are the best of the best in my opinion.
Boone's Tried & True Products
Roller Dog Toy: Boone has his go-to toys and this is one of them. He will either bring it to you so you can play tug-o-war with him or he will chew on it peacefully by himself - it's a favorite of his though, for sure!
Supplement: I just started giving Boone these supplements this year, but I think they have definitely made a difference with his coat and wrinkles! They also have other benefits that I may not be able to see right now, but will pay off long term.
Rope Toy: When we got Boone at 6 months old, we were given some of his puppy toys. He still has a rope toy that he grabs all the time in his toy bin... but beware, they like to tear apart the rope and try to eat it - so supervision is advised with any rope toys!
Coconut Oil: You're probably thinking, "huh?" -- well, fun fact, bulldogs cannot naturally reach their noses with their tongues... which means their noses are always dry! We occasionally rub coconut oil on Boone's nose to help it stay hydrated.
Desitin Cream: Another questionable product for dogs (haha)... well, those wrinkles get chaffed. Especially on a hot day when they are panting a lot and their wrinkles are rubbing together. When Boone's wrinkles get red and irritated, I wipe them with a wet wipe and apply a thin layer of desitin to help soother them. Works like a charm!
Jax & Bones Dog Bed: It's no secret that I love Jax and Bones beds! They are fully washable and Boone absolutely loves them too. He sleeps in this lounger bed every night!
Stainless Steel Dog Bowls: These are a must have for bulldogs. Remember when I mentioned they are prone to skin issues? Well sometimes that means sensitive skin... so when they are eating and drinking, make sure it's from a stainless bowl, so their skin doesn't get irritated.
BOONE'S FAVORITE TOY: Boone will fall asleep every night suckling this donut... I legitimately buy it in bulk from Target -- I actually bought three more today (hah!)
Water Dispenser: This product is amazing & helps so much when we go on long walks... or go to the softball fields on a hot day. It dispenses water when you press the button and then it will suck the water back up! You know... if you stubborn dog decides he isn't actually thirsty, you're not wasting any water! A life saver for us and one of my favorite purchases.
Football Toy: This football is VERY ANNOYING. Fair warning... but Boone absolutely loves it. It's he number one toy that he brings to Nathan or I and wants to play. It makes a squeak noise if it's squeezed and then also squeaks when it's releasing... annoying I know.. but a huge hit with Boone.
Backpack: Boone inherited this backpack from me & I always use it when we bring him anywhere. Softball tournaments, my parent's house, a friend's house, etc. It holds his bowls, his extra food, his toys, his poop bags, and the water dispenser fits perfectly in the side pocket!
Walking Harness: Boone no longer uses a harness, but when he was a puppy this is the one we bought him. Its nice because it doesn't restrict their breathing or neck in anyway and provided me with a lot of control over him when he would pull as a young puppy. Plus, it fits the bulldog body very well and it's very easy to put on and take off.
A Benebone: These are great rawhide alternatives! (you should never give your bulldog rawhide!!) - these come in three different flavors and sizes and do not splinter at all.
Dog Crate with Crate Pad: Boone no longer needs a crate, he has free reign of our house when we aren't home, but when he was a puppy, he was crate trained. I highly recommend crate training your bulldog... it helps create a "space for them" and they learn to love it. Plus it helps keep your home in good condition and your pup from getting into things! He still uses his crate pad as a bed by our front windows & lays in it all the time.
Antlers: Elk or Deer Antlers are Boone's favorite!! I do not recommend them for young puppies though, as they may be too hard... but once your dog is an adult, they will love them. Some people don't like antlers because they think they can break your dogs teeth... but just like everything, give in moderation and monitor them.
A Good Brush: The Furminator brush is amazingggg. It gets out so much of the undercoat - its a lifesaver in the summer time.
Wet Wipes: Public Goods wet wipes are the only wipe I use for Boone's face. I have tried medicated wipes on his face... but they ended up making his face even more red and irritated. I love that these are all natural and have aloe in them to soothe.
A Soft Toy Bin: This is a rope basket that we use for Boone's toys... I like having a soft bin for his toys, so he can easily stick his head in there and pull out whatever he wants (which is does all the time!)
Quality Food: We use The Honest Kitchen Food - we recently switched to this and Boone loves it. The kibbles are on the larger size, but Boone doesn't seem to mind. I have only tried him on the Turkey recipe so far, so I can't report on the two other flavors available.
Ear Cleaner Solution: This was a recommendation from many people on Instagram! And honestly... I think it helped his ears immensely! I have been using it once a week since his big ear infection and it's been keeping his ears in great shape... plus he doesn't mind the solution in his ears too much.
A Dremel: You will need this to do your dogs nails! This is the best purchase I made for Boone.. it makes trimming his nails a breeze (plus he's so good about it)... but it allows me to get his nails nice and short without having to worry about hitting the kwik!
A Cute Leash: I just love this leash... it's stylish and practical.
A Natural Shampoo: Public Good's dog shampoo is amazing! I recently switch Boone to this shampoo and love it! It smells SO good and leaves Boone's coat shiny, fluffy and soft! Plus, it's all natural - which is very important to me when it comes to Boone. You want to make sure not to use anything that will create more yeast build up on their skin.
Yummy (low cal) Treats: These are Boone's favorite treats - I always buy "training" treats for him since he is very food driven... which means he gets lots of treats - but I don't want him to get overweight, so training treats do the trick! They make him feel like he's getting a treat (which he is), but it's small and not a lot of calories.
I hope this post was helpful & you learned a little something about English Bulldogs (or Boone!) I always love when you send me pictures of your pups - so don't ever stop doing that, it makes my day - always!
Talk soon friends,