Description

English Bulldogs or 'Bulldogs' are a short-coated, medium-sized dog breed. They are intelligent, patient and well-mannered companions who often have funny personalities and a love of children. Despite their aggressive looks, they are calm and friendly so they do not pose a threat as long as they are properly trained and socialised from a young age. Their unique look has led to some common health issues, so be sure to educate yourself before committing to owning one.

Neonatal

During the first 4 weeks of your Bulldog's life, they should spend most of their time with their mother and litter-mates. It is highly unusual for the puppy's owner to care for them during this time and is best left to a responsible, reputable breeder. Your puppy's body will double in weight as their muscles, organs and bones develop.

Nutrition During the neonatal stage, your English Bulldog puppy will get almost all of their nutritional from their mother. At around 4 weeks you may wish to introduce a mush of minced protein such as beef, but always consult your vet first before changing your puppy's diet at this stage.
Health During this time it is important to monitor your Bulldog for any infections, diseases or birth defects. Puppies are unable to urinate or defecate by themselves initially, so their mother helps them but may additionally require your assistance. Keep your vet's contact details close by and educate yourself thoroughly on this stage of puppy development. By the end of this period, your puppy will be mobile and will explore the world mouth first — be sure to keep choking hazards and toxic foods out of their reach.
Behaviour During most of this time your Bulldog puppy will be asleep or inactive, but they will soon be playing with their brothers and sisters. After 3-4 weeks they will go through as much sensory development as a human baby does in a few months. It is important to avoid disturbing the puppies' mother as she will be likely be protective, but some interaction with the young pups is normal so they become used to human touch.

Weaning

When you take your English Bulldog home (usually at around 6-8 weeks) you should provide them with lots of stimulation and attention. This is a formative time for your puppy and will be when they learn to walk, play, bite, hold their bladder, and interact with others. English Bulldogs are intelligent and crave affection but are stressed by loud voices, so do not scold them excessively or they will likely run away from you. Establish boundaries early as your puppy will only become more stubborn as they get older. 

 

Nutrition During the weaning stage, you should slowly introduce into their diet a nutritionally complete dog food which is appropriate to your Bulldog's moderate size and young age. This breed tend to be greedy eaters so care should be taken to avoid overfeeding them to prevent bloat. Monitor their bowel movements for oddities as they may require a special diet. You should also familiarise yourself with lists of toxic foods and plants to avoid.
Health During this time you should provide your puppy with a small, shallow bowl of clean water and refresh the contents frequently. Regularly touch your Bulldog puppy between their wrinkles as this will become a necessity later in life — many Bulldogs get skin infections if they do not have special lotion applied to their skin. Monitor your puppy's breathing during play and allow regular breaks to avoid exhaustion.
Behaviour Due to the changes in their environment, your Bulldog will be under a significant amount of stress. It's important that you provide lots of attention and affection, however, due to their stubborn nature you should establish your dominance early. It is recommended that for Bulldog puppies you should normalise taking things from their mouth and removing food from their bowl to avoid possessiveness later in life. You should also start toilet training and leash training early to avoid bad habits forming.

Puppy

By the time your English Bulldog reaches puppyhood their personality will be well developed and you will have a easygoing and fun friend. Your bulldog will be relatively energetic and enjoy playing tug-of-war, but care should be taken not to overly exert them on hot days or they will have difficulty breathing.

 

Nutrition Your Bulldog puppy's diet should be based around a high quality, nutritionally complete puppy food. You may also wish to introduce them to fresh, lean raw meat — however, don't feed your puppy any meat you would not feed to a fellow human being. It is particularly important that you make sure you do not overfeed your pup as Bulldogs can become incredibly lazy.
Health English Bulldogs are moderately energetic but are quickly exhausted, so only take short and relatively brisk walks with them when the weather is not hot or humid. Many develop breathing problems due to their short snout, and they don't do well in humid climates as they may develop skin conditions. You can keep them cool on a hot day by bringing them into an air conditioned room. After around 8 weeks your puppy will be due for some vaccinations, so they will need a checkup at the vet and to arrange for boosters after that.
Behaviour English Bulldogs are friendly, but even as puppies they can be intimidating or act aggressively around strangers who invade their personal space. You can combat this by taking them to obedience classes and getting them into good habits early. Training your Bulldog early to release things from their mouth is essential as they have incredible jaw strength from their heritage as bull fighting dogs. Discourage jumping from ledges and stairs as these can result in long-term shoulder and back problems.

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