Bulldog - breed information and advice

Brave, strong and stubborn with a quirky sense of humour, it’s no wonder the Bulldog is the UK’s unofficial mascot. Characterised by its stocky legs, short face and a rather grumpy expression, it is actually loving and affectionate and very protective of children. It has a distinctive rolling walk and likes a slow, steady pace.

Breed information


Size: Medium

Coat: The Bulldog’s coat is short, but as it sheds it requires weekly grooming

Exercise: Up to an hour a day for adult dogs. Bulldogs don’t like heat, though, so avoid the midday sun.

Life span: Often under 10 years

Breed group: The Utility group is diverse, including a range of breeds that don’t automatically fall into the other six more defined groups. Generally speaking, Utility breeds are medium-sized and even-tempered.

Cherry eye

Eye disorders can be very common in dogs. Bulldogs can suffer from ‘cherry eye’, which occurs when the tear production gland pops out from inside the lower eyelid. Although this isn’t a painful condition, it looks unsightly and will interfere with tear production if it is left untreated. Treatment usually involves corrective surgery, which cures the condition.


In our experience, cherry eye is the most common eye condition in Bulldogs

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Breathing problems

A dog’s respiratory system runs from the nose right down to the tiny air sacs in the lungs. Any part of this system can become diseased. Dogs like Bulldogs with short, broad heads can suffer from a condition known as ‘brachycephalic airway syndrome’, which makes breathing more difficult. Narrow nostrils, a long soft palate at the roof of the mouth and a collapsing larynx combine to partially obstruct the passage of air through the upper airways. The windpipe (trachea) can also be narrower and flatter in some breeds, including Bulldogs. Sometimes the tracheal rings begin to collapse, and air is squeezed through, resulting in a characteristic honking cough. Treatment of these conditions may include surgery if the dog’s breathing is severely compromised.


We paid £2,829 to treat Tallulah the Bulldog for respiratory system disorders in 2016

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Skin conditions

The skin is the largest organ of a dog’s body and a number of disorders can affect it. Like other dogs, Bulldogs can suffer from allergies that lead to dermatitis (skin inflammation). Allergies can be caused by many different items, including things that are inhaled (such as pollen or dust mites), items that are eaten (for example, wheat), items that the dog comes into contact with (for example, washing powders), or bites from parasites such as fleas. Another skin problem, pyoderma (meaning ‘infection of the skin’) is usually caused by bacteria, fungi (‘ringworm’) or yeasts. Skin disorders can be managed using various treatments, usually required long-term, which means the dog can get on with enjoying life.


In our experience, Bulldogs are most likely to need treatment for skin conditions

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Lumps and bumps

Like all dogs, Bulldogs can develop masses (lumps and bumps) in the layers of fat, skin and muscle that cover their bodies. These might be warts, cysts, lipomas (soft fatty lumps), abscesses or tumours, such as mast cell tumours. Mast cells are normal skin cells that help dogs respond to trauma and damage by releasing histamine. However, these cells can sometimes replicate into a serious type of tumour called a mast cell tumour. They vary widely in size and shape, but most take the form of a solitary lump within the skin. Generally, treatment depends on the size, location and exact nature of the lump, but almost always involves surgical removal.


We paid £2,786 to treat Poppy the dog for a tumour in 2016

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Hip dysplasia

Bulldogs are one of the breeds that are prone to hip dysplasia. This occurs when the bones that form the hip joint don’t fit together perfectly, causing wear and tear to the joints. Like other dogs, Bulldogs can develop arthritis (which means ‘inflammation of the joints’) as a result of this wear and tear. They may show signs of stiffness (especially after lying down), and be reluctant to exercise or go up or down stairs and steps. Long-term treatment or surgery will be required to keep the dog active.


We paid £1,309 to treat Maisy the Bulldog for hip dysplasia in 2016

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