English bulldogs—or British bulldogs, or simply bulldogs—are immediately recognizable by their scrunched-up faces and barrel chests. The breed was developed in England for hunting and for the now banned sport of bull baiting. Modern breeding has selected for dogs that are gentle and patient, and they are known to be especially good with children. Just be sure to let your bulldog in on all the action around the house, since they hate to be alone.
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Unfortunately, bulldogs have relatively short lifespans, less than ten years on average. The most common causes of death are heart disease and cancer, and they are at risk for a number of other health problems:
- Hip dysplasia: these dogs may inherit a condition where the hipbone fails to fit correctly into the pelvis. Over time, wear and tear can cause these joints to become inflamed, resulting in pain and restricted movement. The condition can often be reversed with surgery. Owners are urged to ask breeders for confirmation that the hips of the parents are not affected, though this does not guarantee that puppies will not develop dysplasia.
- Interdigital furunculosis: some bulldogs develop non-malignant cysts on the webbing between their toes, which cause pain and restricted movement. The cause is often bacterial, so a biopsy and culture are usually part of the diagnosis; treatment may involve administration of antibiotics, application of topical medicines and, in extreme cases, laser surgery.
- Patellar luxation: the kneecap (patella) of some dogs may become dislodged, causing pain and restricted movement. In severe cases, surgery may be required to reposition the affected bone and connective tissue.
The sad fact is that your bulldog is probably going to have some medical problems, and some treatments can be quite expensive. One way to be sure that you will never have to let financial concerns get in the way of tending to your bulldog’s health needs is to purchase the right pet health care plan.
For other types of dogs, check out our full list of dog breeds.