As the fifth-most popular purebred dog breed, the English bulldog is a sought-after choice for a family pet. This working dog-turned-lapdog is great for cuddles and love. Although they have low energy levels, they are a symbol of determination, strength, and courage and are even used as the symbol for the Marine Corps. With all that cuteness and cuddly nature, you may consider owning an English bulldog, but what if you have little ones at home? This article will answer whether English bulldogs are good with kids and will address everything you should know before adding an English bulldog to your home.
About the Breed
Before purchasing an English bulldog, you should learn a bit about the breed, what they were bred for, and how big they will get. All these factors may influence your decision about adding this furry friend to your home.
Size and Physical Appearance
While not the largest of breeds, English bulldogs can still weigh a fair amount. Both males and females only reach heights of between 12-16 inches tall, but their weight varies from 49 to 55 pounds when they are fully grown. Their weight doesn’t stop them from crawling into your lap for a cuddle either. The English bulldog comes in a variety of colors as well. Ranging from fawn to white to red brindle. Also, they can be a variety of mixes of the colors. In addition, they have various markings such as black mask, white markings, or brindle to name a few. Some distinguishing traits that make this dog easy to recognize are the loose skin of its head, pushed-in nose, and undershot jaw, which leaves hanging chops on either side of it.
English Bulldog Personality Traits
A great asset of the English bulldog is their calm temperament. Despite their intimidating physical features, they have a very gentle nature and are highly affectionate. This breed craves attention from its humans and thrives when it is given. The calm nature of the English bulldog makes them seem like a great choice with kids. However, one thing to be wary of is that they can attempt to become dominant in the household. This behavior should be addressed and trained out when your English bulldog is a puppy.
How Much Energy Do English Bulldogs Have?
If you are looking for a rambunctious dog that will go on three walks a day and run around in the backyard with your kids for hours, this is not the dog for you. English bulldogs have a low energy level. However, even with this low energy level, it is recommended that they exercise 15-30 minutes a day to help prevent obesity and maintain overall health.
Training Your English Bulldog
The key to training your English Bulldog is to start early. While English bulldogs are great with kids, they must be shown early on that they are not alpha. When your dog is young, establish yourself and your family as pack leaders. While this breed may be slower to pick up on commands, be patient. With your patience and socialization with other animals and humans, your pet will have a wonderful temperament and should not display aggressive behaviors.
Additionally, while your dog may take a bit longer to train and they may be weighing what is in it for them, they have a high desire to please you. So, in the end, all of that training should pay off. Some tips for training your English bulldog are:
- Keep the training sessions short and fun, with lots of positive reinforcement.
- Only focus on basic commands and not fancy tricks.
- Have patience! This breed can be stubborn, and it will take a few times for them to get it right.
How Old Should Your Child Be When You Get an English Bulldog?
English bulldogs are a favorite among families with children. They love children and usually exhibit patience and a gentle nature with them. Additionally, English bulldogs tend to be even better companions for children than traditional bulldogs. When it comes to the specific age that your child should be before owning an English bulldog, it comes down to preference and preparedness. It is always best to exercise caution when very young children are around dogs. If you have the dog first, or if you know that your dog will be around small children, ensuring that they are properly trained before interacting with the children is extremely beneficial.
Additionally, baby gates can be used to separate the dog and your children if need be. One other thing to keep in mind, the older your child is the more they can help care for the dog and the chores that come with owning one.
Are Allergies an Issue With English Bulldogs?
Although the temperament of the English bulldog makes them good with kids, how do they fair with a family with allergies? While this breed does not shed a lot, it does still shed throughout the year. For those who suffer from severe allergies to dogs, the English bulldog may still cause them some discomfort. Additionally, the English bulldog is known to drool. Drool from the dog can also cause problems for those who suffer from allergies. So, while they may not rank highest on the allergy list, they could still definitely cause some irritation if someone in your house does have an allergy.
General Tips For Owning an English Bulldog
Here are some general tips for owning an English bulldog that you should consider before adding one to your home.
English bulldogs are subject to certain health conditions. Due to their skin folds, they can contract skin disorders such as atopic dermatitis. They also tend to suffer from eye issues such as cherry eye, which is where the red tissue of the tear gland pokes out through the eye socket. Those along with respiratory system disorders, tendon and ligament disorders, and ear disorders are all things to be aware of when purchasing an English bulldog.
Also, don’t let your bulldog become overheated. Their short snout can cause labored breathing in hot or humid weather, so you want to prevent them from overheating. If your bulldog gets too excited and begins to breathe too hard, its tongue will have a bluish tint; if this happens, cool your dog by giving it cool water and ice. Additionally, the American Kennel Club recommends having your English bulldog tested for the following:
- Patella Evaluation
- Tracheal Hypoplasia Radiographic Evaluation
- Cardiac Exam
The English bulldog requires a little more effort when it comes to grooming. They don’t shed much, so a weekly brushing with a bristle brush will suffice. However, something else that you need to clean is the inside of their wrinkles. English bulldogs have a lot of wrinkles or folds in their skin; those folds can get dirty when not maintained. Take a wet cloth and wipe the areas down; be sure to dry properly. This should be done daily.
While gentle exercise for this breed is important to help mitigate the obesity they are prone to; your English bulldog will not be begging you to go on walks or play fetch all of the time. The English bulldog would much rather lounge around inside than go out and play. A quick walk around the block or 15 minutes of play daily is plenty of activity for this breed. Their medium size and gentle temperament make them a great dog for your child to walk as well. Teaching your child the responsibility of caring for a pet and getting your pet the exercise that it needs. Also, be sure to avoid exercising your bulldog in the summer afternoons. Their short snout can cause breathing to be difficult in hot or humid weather.
Your English bulldog has some girth to it, requiring between 1.5 and two cups of high-quality dog food a day. However, ensure that you only leave the food down during meal times. This breed is subject to obesity, so you don’t want to give them the option of grazing all day. The exact amount of food depends on your dog's size and activity level. More active pups will require more food. For suggestions on high-quality dog food, you can always check with your local veterinarian.
Pros and Cons of Owning an English Bulldog
While English bulldogs have shown that their temperament makes them good with kids, here are additional pros and cons to consider before adding one to your home.
|Loving Personality: This breed is a big snuggler and will deliver all the love to you and your children, making them a great choice for a family dog.
|They Snore: Because of their flat faces and overall structure, bulldogs are prone to snoring. For some dog owners, the sound can be irritating.
|Calm Temperament: English bulldogs are calm and have a gentle temperament. This makes them a great addition to a variety of households.
|They Drool: While the hanging jowls on either side of your bulldog's face are a cute and distinctive feature, they also allow their drool to get everywhere. While it is a totally normal part of their digestion, it can make a mess and bother some owners.
|Low Shedding: English bulldogs do not shed as much as other breeds, making them a popular choice because you don't have to fear so much pet hair and dander.
|Messy Eaters: Similar to the drooling, the structure of their face and jaw makes this breed a messy eater. Owners who do not feel like dealing with the mess may think twice before purchasing an English bulldog.
|Quiet: If you want a dog that does not bark at everything and everyone, then this breed may be a good choice for you. The English bulldog is a calm dog and often stays very quiet.
|Require More Grooming: While they are not big shedders, their many skin folds require frequent and careful attention. Daily cleaning and drying of their skin folds is a task not every owner wants to take on.
|Loyal: English bulldogs are extremely loyal creatures and will become very attached and protective over their humans. This makes them a great addition to a family.
|Can be Territorial: Due to their background of being used for guarding and fighting, English bulldogs can be territorial. If left unchecked and untrained, that territorial nature can shift into aggression.
In the end, it is clear to see that the English bulldog is a great family pet and is an excellent dog with kids. Their docile nature, calm temperament, and willingness to please their humans are all traits that make them a wonderful family dog. Adding this breed to your home will make it full of love and joy; just be sure to properly train your bulldog and ensure that you follow all of the care guidelines to provide them with the best quality of life. Also, if introducing a new dog to your home, be sure to discuss with your children how to interact with the animal respectfully. Once you do all of that, have fun adding your new furry friend to the family.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©WilleeCole Photography/Shutterstock.com.