Veterinarian speaks out concerning Bulldog health problems

Many new Bulldog owners who love the unusual look of the English Bulldog often don’t know what they’re getting in for.

Now several vets have gotten into the argument that a dog that is so inbred that it cannot breed on it’s own (Bulldogs are artificially inseminated and give birth by c-section) and has become so popular that many back yard breeders are hoping to make a quick buck at the expense of the welfare of the breed, not to mention the heartbreak that newbie owners often feel when their beloved Bulldog has severe health problems.

That’s why I wrote my book on Bulldog Health – to educate owners and prospective owners on the many common health issues of bulldogs.

Here’s some more from the article:

It’s not that no one should own the breed, she says. It’s just that those thinking of acquiring a purebred Bulldog should know that a dog with such a flat, wrinkled face might have trouble breathing, particularly if it becomes overweight. Also, joint problems like arthritis are common as well as reproductive issues. It seems that English Bulldogs often cannot be bred without artificial assistance and surgical delivery of the puppies.

“Bulldog owners are sometimes shocked and dismayed at how high-maintenance these dogs are, and they are not prepared for the high cost of corrective surgeries and ongoing medication and health care,” Kennedy says.

The Bulldog, renowned for its quiet, affectionate disposition, has become hugely popular in recent years. In 1973, the Bulldog was the 41st most popular registered breed in the country, according to the American Kennel Club. But in 2007, it cracked the top 10 most popular breeds and last year, ranked No. 8.

In Los Angeles, the Bulldog is the second most popular breed, after the Labrador Retriever. In Boston, the Bulldog comes in third and No. 5 in Chicago. 

Kennedy says she thinks the breed has been debilitated by show standards that reward exaggerated features like the flat face and large head. She notes that Bulldogs can have such trouble breathing that many cannot exercise normally or even ride in a car that might get warm.

A Bulldog puppy can cost as much as $4,000, although general prices hover around $2,000, he says. 

Unfortunately, the people who buy these trendy puppies often do not know what a healthy Bulldog is, and they get taken in by disreputable breeders who mate dogs that never should have offspring.

Van Der Marliere says he attends the Bulldog Beauty Contest, which has been held in Long Beach for the past five years. The contest, which has no conformation standards, draws more than 300 competitors. He runs into many dogs that rasp and huff when they breathe and estimates that a quarter of those dog owners are unaware that the sound is abnormal and unhealthy. He sees a lot of uncorrected cherry eye as well.

He has to tell the owners these are problems and can be surgically corrected.

The surge in popularity and the prices the dogs sell for is drawing in many disreputable breeders, says Elizabeth Hugo-Milam, chair of the Bulldog Club of America’s health committee. Bulldogs are even being imported from breeders oversea.

“You have ridiculous people breeding dogs who shouldn’t even own one,” she says. “You have buyers who are not being careful and so the breeders are not careful. It’s just a mess.

“I am just heartbroken about the way things are going,” she adds.

Hugo-Milam says public education is critical. She believes that if the public can identify healthy Bulldogs, they will not buy unhealthy dogs and help drive the irresponsible breeders out of the market.

“It is a terrible cycle of a lot of ignorance,” she says.

Objective evidence of breed health generally is not extensive and the frequency of health problems in the breed is not known exactly. The Bulldog community gives different impressions concerning the prevalence of adverse health conditions.

According to the report from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), a survey by the United Kingdom Kennel Club found that the median life expectancy of a Bulldog is less than seven years, compared to 13 years for a Labrador Retriever. K9 Magazine reported in 2007, that annual veterinary costs for a Bulldog were twice that of a Labrador Retriever.

The report also says, “There is little doubt that the anatomy of the English Bulldog has considerable capacity to cause suffering.” 

original article here


Genetics of the Bulldog Reveal Surprising Relatives

Recent advancements in genetic testing have revealed which dog breeds are closely related.  It is well known historical theory that the Bulldog was bred from the Mastiff.  Early illustrations of fierce Bulldogs reveal their similarity to the Mastiff.  When bull baiting was banned in England the Bulldog almost disappeared.  Fortunately for us the breed was saved and the present day incarnation was formed.

Early bull baiting bulldogs

Bulldog Puppy from 1903

Bulldog Puppy 1903

Bulldogs Play with a Ball

Contemporary Bulldogs

We can thank Victorian England with it’s passion for dog shows as a favorite passtime for the revival of our breed. Now genetic testing has revealed the close proximity of the Bulldog not only to the Mastiff, Bull Terrier, French Bulldog, and Boxer as well as some surprises.  A portion of the study defines our group:

The new third cluster consisted primarily of breeds related in heritage and appearance to the Mastiff and is anchored by the Mastiff, Bulldog, and Boxer, along with their close relatives, the Bullmastiff, French Bulldog, Miniature Bull Terrier, and Perro de Presa Canario. Also included in the cluster are the Rot- tweiler, Newfoundland, and Bernese Mountain Dog, large breeds that are reported to have gained their size from ancient Mastiff-type an- cestors. Less expected is the inclusion of the German Shepherd Dog. The exact origins of this breed are unknown, but our results suggest that the years spent as a military and police dog in the presence of working dog types, such as the Boxer, are responsible for shaping the genetic background of this popular breed.

If you want to read the entire scientific study, go here.


Why Does My Bulldog Have Long Ears?


Hi Rodney,

Merry Christmas to your family and Gracie

Interesting question.  The ears are longer because of the original breeding of various dogs to produce the Bulldog, including the Mastiff which was in the “working” group of dogs that have long ears to help them “stir up the scent” when they track.  The Bulldog was also bred from terriers which have short ears as they were bred for “ratting” and controlling vermin.

The modern Bulldog is between these two extremes and the Bulldog standard requires that “the ears should be set high in the head, the front inner edge of each ear joining the outline of the skull at the top back corner of skull, so as to place them as wide apart, and as high, and as far from the eyes as possible. In size they should be small and thin. The shape termed “rose ear” is the most desirable. The rose ear folds inward at its back lower edge, the upper front edge curving over, outward and backward, showing part of the inside of the burr. (The ears should not be carried erect or prick-eared or buttoned and should never be cropped.)

Your Bulldog Gracie may appear to have longer ears because they do not have the “rose ear” shape that stands half way up (my Archie has one floppy ear).  Some dogs come out this way, more like the Mastiff.

for more info on the Bulldog Standard, go to


Bulldog Health: Can the Bulldog Be Saved?

Given the current popularity of the English Bulldog (now in the top 6 most popular AKC breeds) and the short life span (6 years average) and immense health problems, is it right to keep breeding our beloved Bullies?

I have struggled with this question over the years because of the health issues my Bulldogs have had, how I see them suffer, and when I hear so many sad stories from my newsletter readers.

An in depth article in the New York Times Magazine goes into depth about the Bulldog breed, how the British have changed the standard to reduce some obvious health problems such as breathing and hip dysplasia.

Citing the University of Georgia Bulldogs, all named Uga, with their short life spans in the public eye, the article casts a dim view of some breeding practices.

Here are some excerpts:

The short lifespan.

Though there is no recent comprehensive study in this country comparing the life spans of different breeds, a 2010 British study published in The Journal of Small Animal Practice reported that the typical bulldog lives only slightly longer than six years. “The bulldog is unique for the sheer breadth of its health problems,”…

Why are they so popular?

“We have, to some extent, accentuated physical characteristics of the breed to make it look more human, although essentially more like caricatures of humans, and specifically of children,” he told me. “We’ve bred bulldogs for their flat face, big eyes, huge mouth in relation to head size and huge smiling face.”

On Bulldog breathing:

the human equivalent to breathing the way some bulldogs do “would be if we walked around with our mouth or nose closed and breathed through a straw.”

On the history of the breed:

Bulldogs get their name from their role in bull-baiting, arguably the most popular sport of the Elizabethan era…

Fighting bulldogs were leaner and higher off the ground than bulldogs today, and their muzzles were longer. They had smaller heads, fewer facial rolls and a long tail…

“Bulldogs today are not even a figment of what they used to be.”…

The bulldog might have disappeared into obscurity had 19th-century Victorian England not gone dog crazy…

the bulldog underwent a physical, temperamental and public-relations transformation.

On the uneducated owners of Bulldogs:

“A lot of people buy a breed like the bulldog without realizing just how compromised it is,” he said. “They also have no idea how to differentiate a ‘responsible’ breeder from an irresponsible one.”

I heard the same thing from Laurette Richin of the Long Island Bulldog Rescue. When she opened the doors to her rescue organization in 1999, Richin had 13 bulldogs that needed homes. Last year, she had 218. “This breed is so popular right now, and people fall in love with the dog’s face and buy it on impulse without doing their homework,” she said. “Then, when the dog ends up being too ‘needy’ or too expensive, people give them up.”

To read this compelling article on the Bulldog breed in it’s entirety:

Can the Bulldog Be Saved? –


Beware of Blue or Chocolate or Black and Tan French Bulldogs!

Want a blue or chocolate French Bulldog? Think again!  This warning applies to all so called “special” Bulldog breeds like “miniature” or “black English Bulldogs”.   Read this post from Frog Dog:

Due to requests, I’m compiling a list of “Bad French Bulldog Breeder Warning Signs”, which you’ll find serialized here, and on the new! improved! French Bulldog Z website.

Warning Sign:Breeder offers “rare” colors, such as Blue, Chocolate, Black and Tan

Why is this an issue? “Rare” colors are nothing more or less than a marketing scam. There really is nothing rare or unusual about any of the colors listed. In actual fact, they are uncommon simply because ethical breeders choose not to breed for them, because they are ‘DQs’ a show term which is short for ‘disqualification’.  Dogs in DQ colors cannot be shown in conformation show events, thus breeders who compete in conformation and who register their dogs with their country’s body of registry are unlikely to intentionally breed for them.

Additionally, most ethical breeders choose to belong to their national or regional breed clubs, and almost all French Bulldog clubs do not allow intentional breeding of DQ colors by their members.

Any breeder can, by accident, get a puppy of a DQ color in a litter. Reputable breeders simply place these puppies as pets, for the same price as any other puppy. In fact, past breeders who had DQ colors appear would usually place the puppies for free, since their color was considered undesirable.

By pushing these colors as ‘rare’,  Fad Color breeders are attempting to inflate their value, and their price. They want you to become convinced that these puppy have some sort of value added, by virtue of their color, and that this makes them worth a higher price.

They are taking advantage of the naivete of novice owners, who might be attracted to the idea of owning something ‘unique’, and who don’t understand the truth behind ‘fad’ colors.These breeders understand full well that they are scamming you into paying a higher price for a puppy that, years ago, would have been given away for free. Many of them brag, in private, about how the ‘stupid pet people‘ are ‘paying off their mortgages twenty years early‘ actual quote from a private email that was shared with me.

Some fad colors have been linked to health conditions, specifically, Blues with a condition called color dilution alopecia this condition is so common in Blue dogs of every breed that it is often referred to as “Blue Dog Alopecia”.CDA can result in hair loss and chronic skin inflammation. This inflammation can lead to skin ruptures, cracks and injuries, leaving the dogs afflicted by it prone to Staph infections, or even MRSA.

In Collie puppies, blue dogs an suffer from an immune linked disorder which can cause them to die within the first few weeks after birth.Early breeders noted all of these factors, and declared “Blue”, “Mouse” and “Grey” all of which are now believed to be the same, genetically in French Bulldogs to be a disqualification because they did not want to see breeding stock afflicted by these devastating conditions.Only a breeder who truly cares about nothing more than the money would resurrect them, at the potential detriment to the breed, and to the puppies produced.

A well thought out breeding program, in French Bulldogs or any other breeds, is essentially a pyramid.The base of our pyramid is our stable foundation – health and temperament. They are the base on which all else must balance. Above that, we put conformation, then above that movement which requires both proper health and proper conformation to exist. Above that, we put fanciful preferences, like color or pattern.

Imagine, now, if we invert that pyramid, and try to balance our ENTIRE breeding program on that tiny, unimportant tip? We will never be able to achieve balance, symmetry and harmony in our dogs, and our pyramid will crumble into a heap of unhealthy, improperly conformed, ill tempered dogs.Color fad breeders don’t care if their breeding program crumbles or fails, because, by the time it does, they will be on to the next new money making scheme. They will leave the breed, and the owners who bought from them, to fend for themselves.

via French Bulldog Breeder Warning Signs, Part One – Fad Colors : Frogdog Blog.


Finding a Healthy Bulldog Puppy

6 Tips to Bring Home a Healthy Bulldog Puppy

1.  Don’t ever buy a Bulldog puppy from a pet store. The Bulldog’s popularity means he’s often found in pet stores, puppy mills and in the hands of people more interested in the thousands of dollars a Bulldog puppy commands than the well-being of the dogs themselves. The lucrative trade in Bulldogs has even interested international crime syndicates, and some puppies advertised as “locally bred” may have in fact been imported from overseas puppy mills.

2.  Look for a good, reliable Bulldog breeder. While the Bulldog Club of America is usually a good place to find a responsible breeder, the traits that make a Bulldog a show ring success are the very ones that lead to many of the health problems common in the breed. Look for a breeder who abides by the club’s Code of Ethics and seek out one whose dogs are active in agility, obedience and other sports that require athleticism and good health, and not just ribbons from the show ring.

3.  Don’t fall for a bad breeder’s lies. Many breeders who have no motive other than profit will try to take advantage of people seeking a healthier Bulldog. These breeders seem too good to be true – because they are. They will brag that they’re trying to breed an “original” or “genetically improved” Bulldog, so don’t be fooled.

4.  Ask your breeder for the the results of genetic screening tests. Those include testing for the spine, hips, elbows, knees, thyroid, hearing and heart from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA), and for eyes from the Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF).

5.  Puppy or adult, take your Bulldog to your veterinarian soon after adoption. Your veterinarian will be able to spot visible problems, and will work with you to set up a preventive regimen that will help you avoid many health issues.

6.  Make sure you have a good contract with the seller, shelter or rescue group that spells out responsibilities on both sides. In states with “puppy lemon laws,” be sure you and the person you get the dog from both understand your rights and recourses.

via Finding a Healthy Bulldog by Embrace Pet Insurance.


Want a Bulldog? Know the Genetic Health Risks First!

Bulldogs have many genetic conditions that may plague them over their lives.  And if you get insurance they will not be covered.  So know what you’re getting into before you purchase a Bulldog.  And be very careful where you get your Bulldog.

Health Issues Common to Bulldogs

Bulldogs’ hips and spines are often malformed, as are their mouths. They suffer from a long list of respiratory ailments. Their many wrinkles and folds, and tightly curled tails, mean lots of skin infections. Cherry eye, inverted eyelids, cataracts and dry eye are just a few of the eye abnormalities that can affect the Bulldog.

Many conditions have no screening tests, even though they’re known or believed to be genetic. These include seizure disorders, allergies and skin problems, several kinds of bladder stone, a long list of airway defects, birth defects, infertility and cancer, and more. Bulldogs are also at high risk for “bloat and torsion,” where the stomach twists on itself, trapping air inside, and requiring immediate emergency surgery.

Condition Risk Profile Cost to Diagnose and Treat

Pulmonic Stenosis

High $1,000-$7,000

Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (Bloat)

High $1,500-$7,500

Elbow Dysplasia High $1,500-$4,000

Aortic Stenosis Medium $500-$1,500

Colitis High $500-$3,000

Entropion High $300-$1,500

Deafness High $100-$300

Fold Dermatitis Very High $300-$2,500

via Finding a Healthy Bulldog by Embrace Pet Insurance.


Blue Gene Bulldogs – Good Color or Not?

jan do you know of any books or info about blue genes in bulldogs?

the only thing I know is the “blue genes” are recessive ‘d’ genes that when
combined will produce a bluish color instead of black. They are more common
in French Bulldogs where breeders try to hype them up.  They are not up to
the French Bulldog Club of America standards and cannot be shown.  Some
breeders are now touting them as special.
I do not know of any English Bulldogs with these genes but if there are,
they are not a normal genetic make up and not a breed standard.
Read this update for the truth about certain breeders
Here’s what the French Bulldog Club of America has to say about blue genes:


The Constitution of The French Bull Dog Club of America says: “The objects of the club shall be . . . to urge members and breeders to accept the standard of the breed as approved by the American Kennel Club as the only standard of excellence by which French Bulldogs shall be judged

Our Standard has included basically the same color requirements and disqualifications since they were added in 1911. During the intervening 97 years, it has listed the following as disqualifications: solid black, black and white, black and tan, liver and mouse color. In the FCI (Fédération Cynologique Internationale) Standard, the term “mouse grey” is used (Mausgrau in German, gris souris in French). Since our color disqualifications were added the same year that a Conference of French Bull Dog Clubs of Europe, at which our club participated, developed the European countries’ standard, it is clear that the “mouse” in the US Standard referred to the mouse-grey coat color shown by dogs expressing the recessive “blue dilution” (D/d) gene.

The genetics of canine coat color is complicated because there are several genetic loci involved, some of which control the color and intensity of the pigments, and some of which control the pattern of distribution of these colors.

Briefly, there are two types of pigment in dogs— a light pigment (phaeomelanin) which may range from reddish through yellow to pale cream; and a dark pigment (eumelanin) which is either black or brown. French bulldogs should carry only the gene for the black type of dark pigment and therefore should have only black noses, lips and paw pads. Brown pigment in the coat or nose/lips/pads is unacceptable (and is the “liver” that our Standard deems a disqualification; it is also a DQ by the FCI standard). The light pigment gives rise to a range of fawn coat colors — all phaeomelanin, but in various degrees of concentration to produce the range of pigmentation from red through fawn to cream. Some fawn Frenchies have a black mask, which is a recognized and acceptable coat.

There is a “pattern” genetic locus that gives rise to brindle coats. Brindle Frenchies have a base coat of fawn hairs through which black hairs extend in bands to produce a coat ranging from a “tiger” brindle in which the fawn hairs predominate, to the more common dark brindles in which the black hairs predominate. In some of the latter, the black hairs are so numerous that there may be only a small number of fawn hairs arranged in one or more bands. Our standard refers to “a trace of brindle,” which should have enough fawn hairs to demonstrate this pattern. There is no such thing as a “brindle hair” since brindle is a pattern consisting of a mixture of black hairs and fawn hairs.

Another ‘pattern” gene produces pied (piebald) in which the coat is white with

pigmented patches most commonly located on the head, tail base, and “saddle”. The pigmented patches may be either fawn or brindle, but in a brindle pied dog there must be enough fawn hairs visible in at least one of the pigmented patches to provide the brindle pattern, so that it is not the disqualified “white with black.”

Another pattern gene gives rise to black-and-tan (black with tan points), also a disqualification in both the US and the FCI standard. While there have been some black and tan Frenchies, these are rarely seen.

The color that has become more widespread in recent years, and which some are promoting as “rare,” is the “blue” coloration caused by the recessive gene called “Blue Dilution” (D/d). This gene can act on both the dark (black or brown) and light (red to yellow) pigments.

In a brindle or a brindle pied dog, what should be black hairs (as well as black pigment on the nose, and paws) is a slatey blue-grey color. In a fawn or fawn pied (white with fawn markings) dog, the fawn hairs are a silvery fawn and the nose, the dark mask (if there is one) and paw pads are slatey blue-grey. Any French Bulldog that has mouse colored hair – whether on a brindle or a fawn dog – should be disqualified as mouse. The coat color constitutes a disqualification – as does the nose color.

Although some people find blue Frenchies attractive, neither they nor their offspring should be sold for show or for breeding, as they all carry a disqualifying genetic fault. If a blue dog (d/d, with two copies of the recessive “blue gene”) is bred to another blue (d/d), all of the resulting puppies will also be blue (d/d). If a blue dog (d/d) is bred to a non-blue who is NOT a carrier of the blue gene (D/D), ALL of the puppies will be carriers of, but will not express, the blue gene (D/d). If a carrier of the blue gene (D/d), is bred to a non-carrier (D/D), 1/2 of the puppies will be normal non-carriers (D/D) and 1/2 will be carriers (D/d). If two carriers are bred together (D/d X D/d), 1/4 of the puppies will be blue (d/d), 1/2 will be carriers (D/d), and 1/4 will be normal non-carriers (D/D).

Some people mistakenly believe that even though a dog may have a blue dog in its ancestry, that if no blues have been produced in several generations that means that their dog can’t be carrying the blue gene. This is wrong. It is not like mixing paint in a bucket, progressively diluting out the undesirable gene. A recessive gene will keep passing hidden and unchanged through an infinite number of generations of carriers. The insidious thing about a recessive gene is that carriers pass the gene on to about 1/2 of their offspring, producing another generation of carriers; then those carriers pass it on to 1/2 of their offspring, and so forth, so that the gene spreads unnoticed through the gene pool as people unaware of an affected ancestor breed its descendents. It will only surface when a carrier is bred to another carrier (or to a blue), which happens when people do

linebreeding. This is one of the beneficial things about linebreeding; it exposes the presence of undesirable recessive genes in a line, so that responsible breeders can undertake to eliminate them.


Bulldog Snoring and Elongated Palate

Hi Jan,
We had traded a few emails about a month ago regarding my then 7 (now he’s 8) English Bulldog named Tyrus. After reading your book and doing some research online about the breed and there breathing problems, I was wondering if it wouldn’t be to risky to at least have tyrus examined for any of those type of problems? i.e palate issue, etc…. Jan, His snoring is soooooooooo loud, seems to have gotten louder by the day. He has no other issues. No regurgitation, vomiting, none of that. But his breathing and snoring when he sleeps is a whole different story. Sometimes I feel I have to wake him up if I don’t here him. He’s always snored, never this loud. Is this just part of him getting a little older? Is it worth getting him examined for these issues? I’m so confused. I don’t want to have to put him through that, but I also would feel awful if there was something going on that I could have possibly looked into. Thank you for your time in reading this email, I know i’m like a worry wart, but this guy is my best buddy, and I want to do the right thing for him.


Hi Chris,

My personal opinion is that he’s probably fine, just getting older, since you say he
does not suffer fainting spells, gagging, coughing, or other palate issues, doesn’t get
blue gums or tongue when exercising, foam at the mouth or other signs of overheating.

All Bulldogs have elongated palates.  It’s a condition caused by breeding the nose/snout back into the head for bull baiting.  So the palate and tongue are forced back into the head. The Bulldog’s problems comes from not being able to cool off like a normal dog does by air passing over the tongue/palate. It can get worse with age.

Here are a couple links to more information on this Brachycephalic Syndrome:

My Vivy snored so loud I would awaken when she stopped!  The surgical procedures have improved since I had her and many vets as well as bulldog owners think this something to do to all bulldogs.  I tend to think if the dog is able to function well (no bulldog does well in the heat) then they should not be tampered with.  If the breathing issues are so bad that health is compromised then the surgery would be necessary.  You would usually know this at a pretty early age.  Since Tyrus is older and has been healthy I’d be inclined to forego any surgery.

You certainly can take him in for an evaluation but bear in mind a surgeon likes to perform surgery!

Keep me posted,

your bulldog pal,

Mange in Bulldog – Hereditary or Stress Related?

I am getting a one year old frenchie and they said that she has stress mange and that it is haredity. vet said that spaying her should fix it so the people have had her spayed is this true will that stop her mange just wondered

It will help but it may not stop it.  Stress is definitely a factor is the health
of a dog, especially when it comes to skin disorders.  Mange occurs when
otherwise harmless little parasites live at the base of the hair follicules of
a dog.  When immunity is compromised these little critters multiply and
take over, destroying the base of the hair follicules and causing hair loss
and a ratty look.
Mange can be passed on from mother dog to pup although most breeders
would not allow this to occur.  Mange or demodex as it’s called in young
dogs may resolve itself on its own or may need treatment which usually
consists of a course of Ivermectin.
It can go away on it’s own in a couple months in a healthy dog but a
bulldog with a compromised immune system will need treatment.

Bulldog Puppy with Weakness in Back Legs


I just wanted to get your opinion on my bulldog Bitzy(Bo Bo).  She’s about 7 months old and has already been through her first heat.

For the last few months(4 or so) we noticed she babies her hind legs quite a bit, mostly when she gets up from sitting, and she doesn’t like for us to touch her hind legs,but mostly down towards the bend of her legs. She doesn’t yelp if we do touch them she just kinda pushes/licks our hand if we do. She also tends to lick and bite at her legs out of the middle of no where as if something has bitten her.

Once she’s up if there something she wants to stay up for like playtime,eating or to go to bed, then she stays up, but if she just gets up to go outside or to wonder around the house then she usually will sit down not much after getting up.

Although she has no problem running around the yard at full speed pickin on my twice her size old english buddy, or chasing the garden hose when it on. For a while we thought she was just being lazy maybe,or maybe overweight, but now as the time has progressed and she’s lost a little baby puppy pounds and we’ve noticed how she sometimes just want to lay and sleep were thinking it’s probably something a bit more serious. if you have any idea in what could be wrong with our bitzy bo bo please let us now asap.

thanxs very much.

Hi Dawnette,

English Bulldogs go through growth spurts at certain ages. During growth some
orthopedic symptoms can appear that will take care of themselves as she grows.
Since this has been going on since she was a puppy, there could be other causes.
There are some spinal conditions in bulldogs that could be affecting BoBo’s hind legs.
If she is showing weakness in the legs, I think you should take her to an orthopedic
vet for evaluation.
She may be biting at her legs when she gets a twinge of pain.  It’s often difficult for
us to tell when a dog is in pain because they are very stoic and do not like to show
any pain or weakness.  This is an instinctual response to pain left over from when
they lived in the pack in the wild.
Because of their breeding, all bulldogs have hip dysplasia to a certain degree.  That’s
the source of their charming “rolling gait” where their hind end sways when they trot.
Some bulldogs may even have their joints come out of the sockets.  Most show no
serious problems related to this but some can have pain.
There is also a spinal condition that can cause some nerve damage that can cause
weakness in the hind quarters.  It is also a genetic condition due to over breeding.
Sometimes they can get sore muscles like the rest of us but since she seems to have
had this for a while and she appears to be getting worse, she may be in pain.  Some
x-rays may be in order to rule out anything serious.
your bulldog pal,

Bulldog Tear Stains and Puppy Limping

Hi Jan,

First off, thank you again for your extensive knowledge that you pass on to us other bulldog owners!

Well I have 2 questions, the first; My wife and I have noticed our little guy, Travis, who’s 8 months occasionally limps when he runs hard or plays rough; the leg that is affected is the back left leg. Due to some excitement, he slipped on our tile and he started to limp again. I put him on his back as if i was going to rub his belly to inspect his leg. I stretched it out and it sounded/felt like I “pop-ed” it back in place. What can you recommend? He walks fine, but when he starts playing again, he starts to limp?

my last question is, he currently has those dreaded tear stains, which in turn became infected. I clean off the area 2-3 times a day and rub some triple antibiotic and its starting to dry out and heal fine. Can I start to use the over the counter tear stain removal pads even though the open wound hasn’t healed yet?

Thank you again for you time and generosity!


Anthony and Shelley


Hi Anthony & Shelly,

It sounds like your bulldog Travis has two common bulldog conditions that I write about in my book The Healthy Bulldog, both of which will need vet attention to remedy.

The limping and popping of Travis’s leg is an orthopedic condition found commonly in bulldogs where the knee socket is malformed.  It is a genetic problem and bulldogs with this should not be bred.  It requires reconstructive surgery to correct.

There is a chance that it could resolve itself as he reaches maturity but ususally it does not.  You should consult an orthopedic specialist to find out exactly what it is.

Your description of Travis’s tear stains sound like he has one of the bulldog eyelash conditions which are quite common.  If his eyes run constantly they are probably being irritated by errant eyelashes.  If so, you need an opthamologist specialist to look at him.  They usually permanently remove the eyelashes.  This will stop the tearing and therefore stop the tear stains and infections.

Triple anti-biotic will not work on tear stains and you must be careful not to get it in his eyes as this can cause eye damage.

Unfortunately our bulldogs can require expensive procedures at times, especially when they have these genetic conditions.  That said, both are ‘fixable’ and Travis should live a full healthy life if you have them properly cared for.

Your Bulldog Pal,



Bulldog Breeding

Hi Jan.

Would like to ask a couple of questions please..:

Q1; Just like to enquire if you have any recommendations for best breeders?

Q2; Also which age is best for a female pure breed English Bull Dog to get pregnant?





Hi Bailey,

I think the best way is to go to the shows and meet the dogs and breeders,
you can see upcoming shows here:

The Bulldog Club of America has a reference list for breeders on their site:

As for breeding your bulldog, in my opinion she should not be bred before
the age of two and she should have a complete physical to check for any
health or bulldog genetic abnormalities to be sure you are not passing on
heartbreaking bulldog defects.

your bulldog pal,



Where To Get a Bulldog Puppy?

Hi Jan i was wondering if you would give me your phone number so i can ring and talk to you about the bulldog that i am going to get i have some questions that i am trying to find out if this alright with you. I am going to buy your book but i have to get the dog first. thank you Leean


sorry, I get so many questions, I can only communicate by email.

I can give you some guidelines on getting a bulldog.
You must do research in your local area – meet other bulldog owners,
go to any local shows, find out who the reputable breeders are, and
never purchase from the internet.

Google your area plus bulldog club and you should find a club near
you.  These people know the most about their dogs in their area.

Championship bulldogs are not always the healthiest since they are
bred for looks and not for health.  That said, I got my current bulldog
from a local breeder with championship dogs.  But I made sure that
their dogs have few health issues and I talked to many people who
had purchased their dogs from them.

Here’s links to a couple posts on my blog you may find interesting:

your bulldog pal,


Continuing Controversy over AKC Breed Standards

Nightline produced a controversial piece on the
breed standard practices promoted by the AKC,
following the controversy over breeding that started
in the UK.

Of course they feature the Bulldog as a prime example
of inbred genetically caused health issues.

You can see the video here:

I have mixed feelings about this because I love my
bulldogs and the Bulldog breed, but I have had a very
compromised bulldog and I also hear so many
sad stories from people who have sickly bulldogs.

It’s unfortunate that our breed has to be one of the
targets for criticism but I’m afraid it’s also well documented
how many health problems they have.

So go watch the video and hug your bulldog!

your bulldog pal,


Should I Breed My Beautiful Male English Bulldog?

I have been visiting your website for the past 3 or 4 years.
I have three wonderful bulldogs.  One female and two males.

The only one not fixed is my youngest male (8 months old).
He is sooo beautiful that we didn’t rush to get him fixed as
we thought he would make an awesome stud.  But I know
nothing about studding out a dog.

I am not a breeder, just an avid lover of bulldogs!

I was hoping that you might shed some insight on this subject for me.
Or maybe point me in the right direction on how to educate myself on the subject.

Thanks for your help!



Hi Kelly,

I don’t breed bulldogs, I like to leave that to the experts, but I
know a few things about the breeding.

Your handsome guy is too young right now – he won’t be full
grown until he’s about 18 months old.  Then you will have a
better idea about his suitability for breeding.

It’s obviously easier for the stud dog than the female,
but there are many important things
to consider before breeding your bulldog.

One is lineage – it is critical that bulldogs not be bred to relatives
since so many of their health problems come from inbreeding.
Casual breeding or breeding for looks has led to many of the
devastating health problems our bulldogs suffer from.

Next, you need to have your bulldog fully checked out to make sure
he does not have any orthopedic problems.  This will require x-rays.

Third, the elongated soft palate.  If your bullie has breathing problems
due to his palate, he should not be bred.

Also you need to keep in mind temperament.  You really only want
to breed bulldogs with sweet dispositions since their origins and
history involved fighting and aggression.

Here’s a link to a great site that has lots of information on breeding:
This article tells what to look for in a stud dog and will let you know
what you need to do:

This one concerns whether to breed:

Good luck with your decision making process.

your bulldog pal,


Stenotic Nares in English Bulldog

Can stenotic nares be identified without putting a bulldog under anesthesia?

Yes, they are readily visible in the nose,
I’ve attached two photo.  The bigger the
nares, the less air can come through the nostrils.

The second photo shows nares that are
blocking the nostrils and may be hampering breathing.
The first photo in my opinon shows normal bulldog nares.

If they are so big as to hamper breathing,
by actually closing the nasal opening,
some people have them surgically removed.

If they are not hampering your bulldog’s ability
to breathe, I would not recommend removing
them.  Any surgery on a bulldog involves risk.

There are a lot of vets who routinely recommend
removing nares and doing palate surgery, but I
think a lot of this is done for cosmetic reasons and
really don’t think for the most part this is necessary
since these are characteristics of the bulldog breed.

your bulldog pal,


Olde English Bulldog versus English Bulldog


I have an Olde English Bulldog. I am finding several differences
between the English Bulldog and the Olde English Bulldog. Even the
Veterinarian is confused about the two. Thanks!


Hi Susie,

My understanding is the Olde English Bulldog was one breeder’s
attempt to return the English Bulldog back to it’s origins and
make breathing easier as well as produce a healthier dog,
with more endurance than our breathing compromised English

They have an association and website:
International Olde English Bulldogge Association

I’m not sure what they mixed into the English Bull to get
this new “breed” but they do have some guidelines.

I hope your bullie is very healthy!

your bulldog pal,


Bulldog Water Puppies: Is this Normal?

do bulldogs usually have a water puppies in all their litters?


Hi Rosa,

I hear of them pretty frequently, sometimes all the puppies are
water puppies, but I would not say it is normal to have one in
each litter.

A “water puppy” is a puppy born alive that has retained a lot of
fluids and looks bloated and larger than normal.  Water puppies
may die soon after birth because the excess fluid starts to fill
up the puppy’s lungs and he will suffocate.

This type of disorder is more common in the flat faced breeds
such as English Bulldogs, Frenchies, Boston Terriers, and Pugs.

If your vet does an ultrasound of the puppies about 30 days into
the pregnancy, many of these cases can be detected and action
taken to remedy the problem by putting the bitch on a low salt
diet (under your vet’s supervision).

Treatment needs to be immediate, which is one reason to have
bulldog puppies birthed by c-section at your vet’s facility.

If you have a water puppy, immediately raise the puppy’s head
and extend the neck to allow for better air intake into the lungs.
Massage the puppy’s genitals to encourage urination.

A shot of Lasix can be given to encourage urination – use caution
as too much can cause dehydration.

Many of these puppies can survive if they are treated quickly and
vigilantly.  If they survive three days then they will usually go on
to have normal lives.

your bulldog pal,



Bittersweet Story That Will Warm Your Heart

I just ran across this story about an English Bulldog that
came from a pet store – read that as puppy mill (I just can’t
caution people enough about this topic).

Anyway, an adorable bulldog named Brutus has a
loving owner who cares for him despite a crippling
genetic disorder due to irresponsible breeding.

And to make matters worse, she purchased him from
the original owner who unloaded him for ??? reasons.

Click this link to read the whole article and see
a photo:

It just goes to show how much we love our bullies and
the lengths we’ll go to for them!

Your Bulldog Pal,

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