Archive for August, 2011
Bulldogs are usually delighted to share your bed or sleep on their own in your bedroom. But beware – most English Bulldogs snore. They do not have a quiet, soft snore, either. It is a loud, regular snore. To the experienced Bulldog owner, this snore is music – an indication that all is right in the household. But if you are someone who must have absolute silence in your bedroom, your English Bulldog must sleep at the other side of the house.
If, for some reason, it is impossible for your dog to share your bedroom, select a permanent spot for him to sleep. A laundry or utility room, if it is cool in the summer and warm in the winter, is ideal. A wire crate with a blanket or rug (not indoor-outdoor carpeting) for a bed is the next best thing to sharing your bed. This setup also gives the Bulldog a place of his own during the day. He can go there as he wishes, or you can put him there and close the door if things are happening in your home that a dog should not be part of.
Unpleasant Noises and Smells
Unfortunately, Bulldogs are prone to flatulence. This flatulence is not just a mild whiff of an odor, but can be a room-clearing, eye-watering, sneezing type of flatulence.
When my husband and I were still caring for Chesty, we were all (my husband and I, the two German Shepherd Dogs, and Chesty) in the living room one evening with all the dogs asleep on the floor. Suddenly Watachie, our older German Shepherd, got up and left the room. This was odd, because the German Shepherds liked to be close to us, but I figured maybe he had a bad dream.
A few seconds later, though, Michi, our younger German Shepherd, left the room – quickly! Just as I was ready to get up and check on both those dogs, a foul odor wafted over. I began to choke, my eyes watered, and my nose began to run! My husband soon smelled it too, and we left the room. Chesty, unaware that he had cleared the room, slept on.
Luckily, as we soon learned, when Bulldogs are fed a good-quality diet, the flatulence will decrease. It rarely disappears, but it will be less.
English Bulldogs Need Exercise
English Bulldogs are not high-energy dogs. Unlike the Border Collies, Australian Shepherds, or Labrador Retrievers, Bulldogs will be happy with a walk, a play session, and then a nap.
Although the English Bulldog doesn’t exactly crave exercise, he does need some. Exercise is necessary for maintaining his good health, just as it is for keeping his human friends in their prime. A walk at a brisk pace will be good for both you and your dog. Having your Bulldog chase and retrieve a ball gets him running about, as well. In addition, Bulldogs are prone to obesity, and exercise can help prevent that.
English Bulldogs Can’t Stand the Heat
Bulldogs are bracycephalic (short-muzzled), and they tend to overheat easily. Dogs do not perspire over their entire body and are only cooled by panting and sweating through the pads of their feet, so extra precautions must be taken in hot weather. Walk your dog in the early morning or after sundown. Never leave your dog in the car, even if the windows are down. Stationary cars become very hot in just a few minutes and are virtual death traps.
Don’t take your English Bulldog for a walk in hot, humid weather or ask him to play ball then, either. Training classes should be in the morning or evening, and if you’re going to a ball game, picnic, or family reunion in the heat, leave the Bulldog at home.
English Bulldogs Like Other Pets
In addition to people, English Bulldogs also like other dogs and cats if they grow up together or if they are introduced correctly. English Bulldogs are not inherently aggressive (although they are creatures of habit), and if introduced in a positive man-ner, they will accept just about anything.
However, if another dog (or other animal) challenges a Bulldog, the Bulldog will not back down. This can cause problems, so make sure introductions are handled on leash and with praise, treats, games, and just enough obedience training to enforce good behavior. If you need help, call a dog trainer to give you a hand.
English Bulldogs Love Life
Bulldogs have a definite joy about life. That smile is not just because the breed has a wide jaw; it’s also representative of the Bulldog’s attitude toward every-thing. English Bulldogs feel there are fun and laughter everywhere. What a wonderful attitude!
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English Bulldogs are people dogs. Unlike other breeds, which might be happy outside sniffing out rodents or flushing birds in the backyard, Bulldogs need to be inside with their people. A English Bulldog left outside for many hours a day will be very unhappy. This could cause barking that will annoy your neighbors or destructive chewing that could destroy your wooden deck, the lawn furniture, or anything else in the backyard. Unhappy Bulldogs have also been known to be self-destructive, chewing or licking on a paw until they create a sore that will not heal.
English Bulldog Characteristics:
- Good with kids
- Dislikes rain
- Likes routine
- Thrives on attention
A happy English Bulldog, however, is unmistakable. His smile, wiggling body, and twitching tail will tell you exactly how much he loves you!
Kids and English Bulldogs
Bulldogs seem to understand that babies and little children are special and need special treatment. He will tolerate their poking and prodding, and if a child gets too rough, the dog will simply leave. However, in all fairness to the dog and for the safety of children, they should not be left alone together. Small children and puppies are not a good combination, simply because Bulldog puppies are big, clumsy, and often have little self-control.
Some people believe a puppy and a baby must grow up together if the puppy is to accept the child. This is not necessarily true. Some toddlers think puppies are toys. They like to poke at the puppy’s eyes or pull at his ears or maybe use the puppy to sit on. The puppy might think the toddler is something to chew. When the pup tries to defend himself by biting, he is reprimanded, although he has really only protected himself from the curious toddler.
English Bulldogs Like Routine
If you take your English Bulldog for a daily morning walk, he will come to expect it and may even bring his leash to you. (Unless it’s raining; most Bulldogs do not like to walk in the rain or through puddles after a rain.) Your Bulldog will also learn when to expect his meals, when to go to bed, and even when to expect you home from work.
Bulldogs are very much creatures of habit. Although this can help in some respects – housetraining is much easier on a schedule – it can have some unexpected consequences. If the schedule changes, your Bulldog may be unhappy. Say, for example, you are due home from work at 5:30 but decide to stop off to visit a friend. Your Bulldog will be waiting for you to come home, and when you don’t show up on time, he may begin to bark, or he may have a housetraining accident.
Introducing New Things
Sometimes a English Bulldog’s need for routine can cause problems beyond a time schedule. New furniture may be chewed on simply because it’s new and different. New dogs in the household may not be allowed inside or a new cat may be chased.
Anything new needs to be introduced to the Bulldog. With the dog on a leash, walk him up to the new item (or pet) and in a happy tone of voice, introduce them, “Bugsy, see the new chair? Yeah, sniff it!” and then let Bugsy investigate the chair.
New dogs and cats should be introduced in neutral territory, with both on a leash, and then supervise activities at home for several weeks until you’re sure there won’t be any problems.
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Adding a English Bulldog to your household should be a well-thought-out decision. You will be taking on the responsibility of a living, thinking, caring animal who will give you his heart. That’s a big responsibility.
A dog should never be acquired as an impulse. It’s always best to think through what is involved in owning a dog and be honest with yourself. So let’s take a look at dog ownership and see if you can do what is needed for any dog, and then we’ll look specifically at English Bulldogs.
- Do you have time for a dog? Dogs need your time for companionship, affection, play, and training. You cannot dash in the door, toss down some dog food, and leave again. That’s not fair, and the dog will react badly to it.
- Do you live in a place where dogs are allowed and welcome? If you rent your home, do you have permission from your landlord to have a dog? Not all neighborhoods are dog friendly, so make sure a dog will be wel¬come before you bring one home.
- Who, besides yourself, will be living with the dog? Is everyone in agreement to get a dog? If you want the dog but someone else in the household is afraid or doesn’t like the dog, the situation could become very difficult.
- Is there someone in the family who could have a hard time with the dog? Is there a baby in the house, someone who is very frail, or a senior citizen with poor balance? Dogs can be unaware of their strength and size, especially when they’re puppies.
- Do you have other pets in the household? Will your cat enjoy having a dog in the house? You may have to protect your rabbit, ferret, or gerbil from a rambunctious puppy.
- Have you lived with a dog before? Do you know what to expect? Really? Dogs can shed, drag in dirt and leaves from outside, catch and kill a rodent and then throw up the remains on the living room sofa.
- Do you have the money to care for a dog? Dogs need to be spayed or neutered, need vaccinations, and may hurt themselves, requiring emergency veterinary care. They’ll need regular vet checkups, too. Plus, you will need a dog crate, leash and collar, toys, and dog food.
English Bulldog ownership is wonderful. Dogs are the ultimate confidant and never reveal your secrets. They are security in a scary world and the best friend a person could have – but only if you are really ready for the responsibilities of caring for one.
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Today’s English Bulldogs make wonderful pets. After many years of careful breeding, all of the English Bulldog’s excellent qualities have been retained and the fighting temperament has been bred out.
While we were in the U.S. Marine Corps, my husband, Paul, and I cared for and trained one of the Marine Corps’ mascots named Chesty. We were assigned to Marine Barracks “8th & I” in Washington, D.C., and Chesty went to work with us every day and came home with us at night. He played with our two German Shepherd Dogs and had no idea his legs weren’t as long as theirs; he sure tried hard enough to keep up! Chesty played hard, trained hard, slept hard, and ate, well, you know.
Every English Bulldog is unique, but they all share many of the same characteristics. First and foremost is a courageous personality. Second is a distinctive appearance. And third is a devotion to their people.
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Unfortunately, the English Bulldog’s appearance, popularity (in numbers), and ancient occupation have often lead to trouble. The breed’s unique face is often seen as aggressive rather than comical, and people are afraid of her.
There have also been Bulldogs who have bitten people. Poorly bred, unso-cialized, abused or neglected, untrained English Bulldogs can be a threat to anyone within reach. These dogs may bite out of frustration with their lot in life, or they may bite because they are afraid. Unfortunately, any bite by a Bulldog reflects badly on the breed as a whole.
What Is BSL?
Breed-specific legislation (or, as it is commonly known, BSL) is any law that limits or forbids the ownership of certain kinds or dogs. Although Pit Bull-type dogs have been the primary target, Bulldogs have also been the focus of many breed-specific laws. These laws are usually introduced after a bad biting incident in a community. Perhaps a dog ran out the front door and chased down some kids running past, and when she caught the kids, she bit one of them. City or community lawmakers and parents hate incidents like these (so do dog owners!) and strive to prevent any more of them.
Unfortunately, BSL is not fair. An entire breed should never be punished because one or a few dogs have caused a problem.
There Are Better Ways
Another problem with BSL is that it doesn’t work. Many communities that have passed BSL laws have found that the incidence of dog bites has increased rather than decreased. This is usually because the legislation focused on a few breeds rather than on problem dogs and problem owners. Wiser communities have instituted other programs to counter dog bite problems.
- Dog clubs, dog trainers, veterinarians, humane societies, and shelters can emphasize responsible dog ownership. Flyers, brochures, classes, and news-paper articles can help dog owners learn more about their dogs and how to train and care for them correctly.
- Dog bite prevention programs in day care centers and schools have been very successful. Many dog clubs offer these programs, and the AKC has a free education program for elementary school children.
- Instead of blaming a breed of dog for a problem, the owner should be held responsible for the actions of his dog—or the owner’s lack of action in confining, controlling, training, and socializing his dog.
All dog owners need to be involved in their community. Legislation that threatens to erode dog owners’ rights to keep a dog are dangerous. Know what’s going on in your city, county, and state, and stay involved.
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Bulldog breeders and owners have a sincere interest in protecting the breed from overbreeding. To some extent, the EnglishBulldog herself provides some protection against that happening, because Bulldogs are not prolific breeders. Their litters are small when compared with many other breeds, and cesarean sections are almost always necessary, so the initial cost of breeding is greater than with most other breeds.
Bulldog breeders recognize that there are too many puppies being born (of all breeds) each year who will become homeless and die untimely deaths. Breeders do not want this fate for Bulldogs (or any dog), so, under the direction of BCA, a Bulldog rescue group was established. Humane societies and animal shelters know whom to call in their area if a English Bulldog is brought to them; veterinarians also know whom to call if they receive an unwanted Bulldog. At the expense of BCA, this homeless, unwanted animal is given a complete physical examination, medical care, and neutering, and will soon be ready for a new home that has been evaluated for suitability. For a reasonable sum, the new owner has a wonderful English Bulldog. The dog is to be returned to rescue if for some reason she can no longer stay in her new home. Many other breed clubs have established the same type of rescue program.
Breeding dogs and owning dogs are serious, long-term commitments. It has been said that the measure of a man can be taken by the way he treats children and dogs!
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The breeders and fanciers of the English Bulldog have taken part in a remarkable process of evolution. Although it has taken many, many years, a snarling, fighting, aggressive animal has been changed into a gentle, quiet companion. Bulldogs have gone from bull-baiting arenas and fighting rings to becoming the beloved mascots of football teams. Many colleges have the English Bulldog as their sports mascot because of the Bulldog’s history of giving her all to be the winner. Today we expect to see the Yale Bulldog or the Butler Bulldog sitting on the team bench. Many high schools throughout the nation also have Bulldog mascots, hoping that the Bulldog tenacity will somehow rub off on their team.
Advertisers are using the Bulldog more and more to attract public attention to their products. Mack trucks were long represented by a Bulldog. The term Bulldog grip is often used to describe the hold of various tools, especially wrenches and pliers. The English Bulldogs appearance is unique, and she gives a good account of herself before the camera.
The English Bulldog who played Lucky Dog entertained us at dog shows as he toted his Purina dog food. Many of us enjoyed the television series Jake and the Fatman because we always anxiously awaited the appearance of Max (actually, Ch. Breckley Buford Win and Grin). In addition to his skills as an entertainer, this dog won his AKC championship and Companion Dog obedience title all in one year. He brought honor to the breed and joy to his owners.
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The first English Bulldog to be exhibited at a dog show in North America was a dog named Donald, who was whelped in 1875. He was shown at New York in 1880 by Sir William Verner. Donald was brindle and white and reportedly weighed about 40 pounds.
The first English Bulldog was registered with the American Kennel Club in 1886. He was a brindle and white dog named Bob, sired by Taurus ex Millie and owned by Thomas Patten of Appleton, Wisconsin.
In 1888, a British-bred Bulldog named Robinson Crusoe became the first AKC Bulldog champion.
Ambassadeur, a male owned and bred by Charles Hopton. Hopton was a successful breeder on both sides of the Atlantic, and his Rodney kennel name was said to denote both quality and soundness in the breed. The first American-bred Bulldog bitch to attain her AKC championship was Princess Merlow, owned by Harry Ruston.
Developing an American Standard
Americans used the British breed standard until a committee was formed in 1894 to modify it. The club officially adopted what was believed to be a more informative, concisely worded standard in 1896.
Since then, the American conformation standard has remained almost entirely intact. There have been only two revisions, and both times they concerned the dog’s nose. On September 5, 1914, the description of the “butterfly or parti-colored” nose as highly undesirable was deleted, and instead, the “dudley or flesh-colored” nose was made the breeds only disqualifying fault. The latest revision, on July 20, 1976, deleted “dudley or flesh-colored nose” and substituted “brown or liver-colored nose” as the disqualifying fault.
English Bulldog Club of America
English Bulldogs were being imported, bred, and shown in the United States about ten years before H. D. Kendall, a breeder from Lowell, Massachusetts, conceived the idea of forming a Bulldog club in the United States. The objective of the organization was “to join together for the purpose of encouraging the thoughtful and careful breeding of the English Bulldog in America, to perpetuate the purity of the strain, to improve the quality of native stock, and to remove the undesirable prejudice that existed in the public mind against a most admirable breed.”
With those goals, the Bulldog Club of America (BCA) was formed by a group of eight interested fanciers at a New England Kennel Club all-breed dog show in Boston on April 1, 1890. The club was incorporated in New York State on February 29, 1904. The Bulldog Club of America is one of the oldest active purebred dog clubs in the United States.
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Selective breeding brought into being the English Bulldog of today, who is as loving and loyal as her predecessors were vicious. Among those who saved and transformed the breed was William George, who devoted himself to securing a more honor-able status for Bulldogs. Breaking away from the low and cruel practice of dog-fighting, he gave his kennel the lofty name of Canine Castle. There he produced several outstanding dogs. One of them was Young King Dick, who was reputed to be a remarkable specimen of that era.
Recent research reveals that the first known written description of the breed was produced in 1860 on a parchment scroll in Britain. The first class for English Bulldogs at a dog show was at Birmingham, also in 1860.
The first Bulldog club, simply named the Bulldog Club, was organized in Britain on November 3, 1864. The club had thirty members, and their motto was “Hold Fast”. Their stated objective was “the perpetuation and the improvement of the old English bulldog”.
The Bulldog Club’s major accomplishment during the three years it existed was drafting in 1865 the first official Bulldog breed standard. It was written by the club’s treasurer, Samuel Wickens, and was referred to as the Philo-Kuon standard – which was actually the author’s pen name.
For the next ten years, the number of Bulldogs entered at dog shows began to increase, and classes for dogs and bitches were offered in various weight categories from 12 pounds to 25 pounds and over. However, it was not long before Spanish Bulldogs – some weighing as much as 100 pounds – were imported into Britain. The British breeders believed these dogs could threaten the continuation of the purebred English Bulldog.
In March 1875, a group of British breeders met and reconstituted the former Bulldog Club at a London pub called the Blue Post. (The pub still exists today at Newman and Oxford Streets, but has been renamed the Rose and Crown). At this time, a written standard of perfection for the breed, describing the complete anatomy of the English Bulldog, was formulated; it was published on May 27, 1875. A table of points for the standard was adopted by the club and published on September 2, 1875.
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Both the Bulldog and the Mastiff are believed to have a common origin in the extinct breed known as the Alaunt (also written Alaune or Allan). In “The Knight’s Tale”, published in 1390, Geoffrey Chaucer described the Alaunt as a white dog “as large as any steer” and having great strength and courage. The breed was used for chasing lions and bears.
Randle Cotgrave’s A Dictionarie of the French and English Tongues, published in London in 1611, says the Allan de Bouchere, “is like our Mastiff” and is used “to bring in fierce oxen, and to keeper their stalls”. In the descriptions of these dogs, there are three distinct Bulldog characteristics that remain to this day: large, thick heads; short muzzles; and fierce courage. When attacked, they hung onto their opponent by their teeth. Bandogges or Bulldogs also were known to have been crossbred with various other breeds to correct the other breeds’ lack of courage, tenacity, and determination.
Early English Bulldogs were heavier than they are today, although they have always maintained an exceptional degree of tenacity and stamina. The early Bulldogs were also quite powerful, ferocious animals. In temperament, they were not the soft-hearted, friendly companions of the modern era.
There can be no doubt that the English Bulldog was originally bred for bull- and bear-baiting, as well as for fighting other dogs. These “baits” were held in roped-off enclosures, and the object was to see whether the dog could approach a tethered bull or bear, grab him, and pin him to the ground. The enraged animal would attempt to dislodge the dog, and terrible injuries to both often resulted. Spectators lost and won large sums based on the outcome of such contests.
At that time, the English Bulldog was quite large, weighing from 80 to 100 pounds or more. The sport of bull-baiting was popular with all classes of British society in the 1500s and 1600s, particularly around London and the Midlands. There were bullrings and dog pits in many areas. In the beginning, the dog would attack the bull by the ear and hang on until the bull was exhausted. Later, the bull’s nose was the target, and a smaller, quicker dog was more efficient.
The inhumane practice of bull-baiting was finally outlawed in Great Britain in 1835. Although there were still illegal dogfights, Bulldog breeding soon diminished, since the dogs apparently no longer served a useful purpose. Had it not been for a handful of Englishmen who saw the virtue of preserving this exceptional breed, the banning of bull-baiting would have resulted in the extinction of the Bulldog.
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