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American, French and English Bulldog breed profiles

All the pet care tips you’ll want to know for the many varieties of this dog breed.

Whether your dog is a purebred bulldog, or a bulldog mix, learning about their breed can explain a lot about your pet’s personality, habits and overall health. 

Bulldogs, which are short, stout and flat-faced pups, are known for being loving, playful and loyal, Dr. Aliya McCullough, Fetch’s on-staff veterinarian, explains. But, there’s more to learn about this unique breed (and the several types). 

What are the different types of bulldogs?

From American to English to French Bulldogs, there are several different bulldog types and each have their own unique personalities. American Bulldogs are generally loyal, friendly and playful, Dr. McCullough says. While French and English Bulldogs are also pretty friendly, but more easygoing. 

No matter the type, bulldogs’ friendly demeanor makes them great pets for households with other pets or children, Dr. McCullough adds. However, it’s important to remember that each pet is different and has experiences that may make them incompatible with other pets or children. 

If you think a bulldog would fit nicely into your family, Dr. McCullough has tips on what type of lifestyle is best for this breed. 

“Bulldogs are not lazy, but are generally happy to both relax and play,” she says. “Moderate exercise is typically best for these dogs, taking care not to expose them to hot temperatures or over-exert them.”

What do bulldogs look like? 

Bulldogs’ sizes vary depending on their type. French Bulldogs are usually 11 to 13 inches tall and weigh around 30 pounds. English Bulldogs are typically 14 to 15 inches tall and between 40 to 50 pounds. The largest bulldog type is the American Bulldog, which usually weighs 75 to 100 pounds and is 20 to 25 inches tall. 

This dog breed has a short, smooth fur coat, but they may not be great for people with allergies due to allergens in their dander or saliva, Dr. McCullough says. If you are prone to allergies, talk to your doctor before welcoming a bulldog into your home. 

RELATED: Breed profile: Norwegian Forest cat

What are common health issues for bulldogs? 

Brachycephalic, or short-muzzled, dogs, like bulldogs or pugs, tend to have brachycephalic airway syndrome, Dr. McCullough says. This condition can cause obstructions to a bulldog’s airway, making it hard to breathe, especially in warmer temperatures or during exercise. Bulldogs are also predisposed to obesity, which can make the condition worse. 

The symptoms of brachycephalic airway syndrome include noisy breathing, inability to exercise, snoring, high pitched wheezing sounds, gagging, restlessness, blue-colored gums and tongue, high body temperature and collapse, she adds. 

If you think your pup has brachycephalic airway syndrome, Dr. McCullough says that your veterinarian may recommend surgery to correct the abnormalities. Unfortunately, this condition is not preventable as it’s passed from parent to puppy. 

Bulldogs are also susceptible to several other conditions. Talk to your veterinarian about how to prevent the following possible health issues from affecting your pup: 

  • Skin allergies or infections in their facial and tail folds
  • Corkscrew tails
  • Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD)
  • Hip and elbow dysplasia 
  • Arthritis 
  • Eye issues
  • Ectropion and entropion (outward or inward rolling of their eyelids, respectively)

How to care for a bulldog

The first step to caring for your bulldog is by visiting your veterinarian. Together, you can establish a schedule for preventive care and create a diet plan to support your pup’s health conditions, age and activity level, Dr. McCullough says. 

There are also other vet-recommended ways to ensure your bulldog is comfortable:

  • Use a harness instead of a collar to prevent additional pressure on your bulldog’s neck (collars can make it difficult to breathe). 
  • Make sure your bulldog has a climate-controlled area to hang out in, and keep your pup inside during hot weather. 
  • Keep the folds of their skin clean and dry. 
  • Work with your veterinarian to ensure your bulldog is always at a healthy weight and body condition.

‍Adopting a bulldog

Are you interested in adopting a bulldog, bulldog mix or any pet at all? We think every pet deserves a home and encourage you to check out our shelter partners

Tips for welcoming a bulldog into your home

Once you’ve decided to welcome a bulldog into your family, you’re off to begin a beautiful adventure. To get you set up for success, Dr. McCullough shares some tips on how to prepare your home for a bulldog:

  • Puppy and dog-proof your home by hiding electrical cords, chemicals and medications; locking your trash cans and keeping household plants and small items out of your dog’s reach. 
  • The same goes for your backyard and outdoor areas! Remove poisonous plants, toys and trash and check your fence for gaps or weak areas so your bulldog can’t get out. 
  • Head over to your local pet store. Dr. McCullough recommends buying bowls, a leash and harness, beds, crates, blankets, towels, an identification tag, toys, grooming supplies and more.

The Dig, Fetch's expert-backed editorial, answers all of the questions you forget to ask your vet or are too embarrassed to ask at the dog park. We help make sure you and your best friend have more good days, but we’re there on bad days, too.

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