"Due to purebred breeding practices, many
bulldog health problems are now common. So much so, that this should be
a major consideration for anyone considering the breed. The breed is
the 6th most popular, even though many American and English bulldog
health disorders exist. The flat or short faced head and other
desirable traits lead to health issues that range from respiratory
problems to anatomical and genetic issues that result in a relatively
While it is possible to have a healthy
odds are low. This breed ranks number 2 for likelihood of death from an
inherited disorder, and ranks number one for death due to respiratory
disease. Future owners should absolutely buy pet health insurance since
costly medical issues are common in this breed. Action is being taken
by the UK Bulldog Kennel Club, which is now accepting a wider range of
characteristics to give breeders greater flexibility. This is not the
case in the U.S. where a more restrictive set of standards is used. Be
prepared to spend between $5000 and $8000 over the lifetime of the dog,
which can be offset with bulldog health insurance.
Note that many
reputable breeders disagree with the assertion that the breed has
medical issues, particularly if a breeder with an excellent reputation
is used. Check with your breeder that the parents have been tested for
several genetic health conditions as recommended by the Bulldog Club of
America. These include tests for patellar luxation (kneecap problem),
congenital heart disease and tracheal hypoplasia."
Video on English Bulldog Health Problems
The purebred bulldog is known to have a range of genetic
medical issues. Think twice before owning this breed or at minimum,
check on the health of the parents and siblings before adopting any
pup. Bulldogs used for breeding should be tested according to the
recommendations of the Bulldog Club of America (BCA). This includes
Congenital heart disease
Patellar luxation (kneecap that moves out of place)
Other recommended tests include checking for tracheal hypoplasia, a
breathing issue that is causes by a narrow trachea.
According to the Journal of Small Animal Practice, the
average bulldog has a life expectancy of 6 years.
Healthy English Bulldog
Source: Washington State University
These are the types of bulldog health concerns that every
owner of this breed should have:
Canine respiratory issues - breed most likely to die from
respiratory illnesses such as aspiration pneumonia. The breed has
airway syndrome: refers to several
respiratory problems that affect the dog's mouth, throat and nose such
as some type of airway obstruction. This can include problems such as
stenotic nares, which is a narrowing of the nostrils, an overlong soft
palate, everted laryngeal saccules or a larryngeal collapse. Problems
with the trachea called hypoplastic trachea are often concurrently
diagnosed with one of the other problems. These breathing problems can
affect the respiratory, cardiovascular (airway obstruction can cause
cardiovascular collapse) and gastrointestinal (reluctance to eat, cause
Overheating due to breathing problems
Many bulldogs require respiratory surgery where the
elongated soft palate at the back of the throat is shortened, allowing
the dog to breath easily
Pulmonic stenosis: lung disease seen in young puppies (French
and English Bulldog Health Problem)
Tracheal Hypoplasia: check at age 12 months, occurs when the
trachea is under sized
If you bulldog is breathing heavy, or the breathing seems labored, be
sure to visit your veterinarian for a checkup
Health Problems Can Be
Detected During Annual Exams. Genetic Issues Are Well Known to
Veterinarians. Catching Breathing Issues Early Lead to a Better
Movement or locomotor issues
Canine hip dysplasia (highest incidence of this disorder
than any breed - source: Orthopedic Foundation for Animals).
Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy (ARVC)
Hyperuricosuria (HUU): refers to excess uric acid or urates in
Hearing: check at 35 days old for deafness
Thyroid: check at 12 months of age
food, the physical characteristics of the kibble must be adapted to the
Bulldog’s size and jaw shape
Source: Royal Canin Group
Bulldogs have difficulty eating due their unique head shape.
For this reason, we recommend the Royal
Canin Bulldog Dry Formula that was made specifically for
breed. The food has a unique shape that
makes it easier for this breed to chew and contains ingredients which
are more easily digested.
Prevention of Bulldog Health Problems
Avoid Air Travel:Avoid
bringing bulldogs on airplanes. The incidence of bulldog death during
airplane flights is higher than any other breed. Some
airlines will refuse to take bulldogs. This is due to the
brachycephalic airway syndrome (B.A.S.). Similar problems are seen
Boston Terriers, Pub and Pekingese breeds.
Avoid Sun Exposure:
Bulldogs, due to their limited breathing capacity, can overheat easily.
Since dogs cool themselves by breathing or panting, overheating
becomes a particular problem for this breed.
Maintain a Health Weight:
keeping a bulldog at a healthy weight can ease breathing issues while
avoiding costly surgery.
Bulldogs and Dog Health Insurance
Dog insurance claims are higher for this breed based on the many
bulldog health problems described above. For this reason, you may
higher fees when insuring this breed. To keep costs low we
suggest getting quotes from several insurance companies.
When applying for bulldog health insurance, we suggest
contacting the following reputable companies for a quote:
This company has a flexible range of programs to meet the needs of all
dogs and all budgets. 24PetWatch offer unlimited lifetime accident
coverage and unrivaled service standards – to mention only a few
reasons why they are a leading provider of accident and illness
insurance for dogs.
Best: Pets Best offers a simple
80% reimbursement after meeting the selected deductible.
These policies work everywhere since they allow you to choose
any licensed vet. They are known for simple, quick claims
reimbursement with no annual reimbursement limit or age restrictions,
important considerations when considering the best policy for a bulldog
and dog health insurance.
Alternatives to the American and English Bulldog
Breeds that are similar to bulldogs, but that do not have the
health problems are the Old English bulldogge and Leavitt bulldog.
Note that these breeds are not recognized by the Bulldog Club
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