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Buying or Adopting an English Bulldog

By Michele Welton, Dog Trainer, Behavioral Consultant, Author of 15 Dog Books

English Bulldog

Interested in the English Bulldog? Read each post on this page. Make sure the breed is right for you (and that YOU are right for the breed). Decide on sex and age. Then begin the exciting adventure of finding and evaluating breeders and rescue groups and selecting the right Bulldog. Don't be in a hurry!

Don't set your sights on the English Bulldog until you read my advice in these posts.

Obedience instructor and author Michele Welton Should You Even Get a Dog? Are You Sure?
Important – I've been helping people choose and find dogs for nearly 40 years, and honestly, some people who decide to get a dog are making a big mistake... [read more]

Purebred dogs The Truth About Purebred Dogs
Pros and cons... (most people don't know about the cons)

Crossbred dogs The Truth About Crossbred Dogs
Pros and cons... (don't get taken by breeder hype)

Mixed breed dogs The Truth About Mixed Breed Dogs
Pros and cons... (are mixes inferior to purebreds and crosses?)

Is an English Bulldog the right breed for you?

Obedience instructor and author Michele Welton English Bulldog Review
I'll tell you what's good about 'em, and what's bad about 'em... most honest review you'll ever find


Dog Breed Traits – Which Traits Are Right For You?

In this brand new series, I'll help you decide which dog breed traits would best suit you and your family, your home and yard, and your lifestyle, so you can choose the best dog breed for your family.

Are YOU the right owner for an English Bulldog?

Can you provide what this breed needs?

  • Someone home most of the day
  • Fenced yard (not an electronic/underground fence)
  • Sufficient exercise after maturity – enough ongoing exercise that your Bulldog stays slim and is tired enough to sleep contentedly and not get into mischief
  • "Mental exercise" – interesting activities that keep the mind stimulated, such as challenging dog toys, or tricks and games such as Hide 'n Seek; instructions in my training book, Teach Your Dog 100 English Words
  • An indoor lifestyle, except for exercise and bathroom breaks
  • A meat-heavy diet, either homemade or commercial – meat is expensive, so people with less money should opt for a smaller dog
  • An owner with enough money to treat the health problems English Bulldogs are prone to (pet health insurance can really help here!)
  • An owner who is okay with moderate/heavy shedding, and lots of slobbering, snorting/wheezing, and flatulence (aka gassiness!)
  • Commitment to provide thorough socialization – introducing your Bulldog to lots of people and other animals
  • Commitment to establish the right Leader-Follower relationship with your Bulldog, teaching him to listen to you and do what you say

Which sex? What age?

Symbols for male and female Male Dogs vs. Female Dogs
Which one makes a better pet?

Girl hugging a dog Puppies vs. Adult Dogs
Should you get a young puppy, an older puppy, or an adult dog?

Where can you buy or adopt an English Bulldog?

English Bulldogs are an extremely common breed in the United States. Out of 189 breeds in the American Kennel Club, where 1 is most popular and 189 is least popular, English Bulldogs rank 4th. Unfortunately too many people acquire one on impulse, falling in love with the cute puppy and not appreciating all of the serious health issues.

Adopting From Dog Rescue Organizations
English Bulldogs are often available from Dog Rescue groups. Bulldogs may be turned over to Rescue because they're aggressive toward other dogs. Or perhaps the owner can't stand the snorting and snuffling sounds, or how often their dog has to visit the vet due to the health problems inherent in the breed. Other Bulldogs are given up simply because of changed family circumstances.

Adopting From Public Animal Shelters and Humane Societies
English Bulldogs are sometimes found here, but Bulldog Rescue groups keep their eyes peeled on shelters and humane societies across the country. When an English Bulldog turns up at a shelter, the rescue group typically moves in quickly to take the dog.

Buying From a Dog Breeder
You can buy an English Bulldog from a show breeder, who breeds Bulldogs to match a detailed standard of appearance for the dog show ring. You can also buy an English Bulldog from people who "just breed pets" or "just had one litter." But should you? Be sure to read the article to learn more about these people.

Whether show breeder or pet breeder, here's one huge difference between a responsible breeder and an irresponsible breeder – BOTH PARENTS of an English Bulldog puppy should have:

  • a certificate from the Orthopedic Foundation of America (OFA) or a report from a veterinary cardiologist – dated within the past year – certifying that the dog has had an Advanced Cardiac Exam and has a normal heart
  • a certificate from the Orthopedic Foundation of America's CAER (Companion Animal Eye Registry) – dated within the past year – certifying the dog to be free of eye diseases
  • a certificate from the Orthopedic Foundation of America (OFA) certifying the dog to have normal hips
  • a certificate from the Orthopedic Foundation of America (OFA) certifying the dog to have normal elbows
  • a certificate from the Orthopedic Foundation of America (OFA) certifying the dog to have normal knees
  • a certificate from the Orthopedic Foundation of America (OFA) certifying the dog to have a healthy trachea (windpipe)
  • a DNA certificate certifying the dog to be free of a urinary disease called hyperuricosuria (HUU)

Having trouble finding a breeder who is doing all of this recommended testing? Sadly, that's because breeders aren't doing the tests – probably because they know their dogs can't pass them. But they breed those dogs anyway. And people buy the puppies. And the cycle continues.

Puppy in a pet shop window Pet Shop Puppies: Buying a Puppy From a Pet Store
Lots of English Bulldogs are seen in pet shops. I have plenty to say about buying a puppy from a pet shop!

Which puppy?

Symbols for male and female Choosing the Right English Bulldog Puppy
How to test the temperament and personality of English Bulldog puppies and pick the best puppy in a litter.

Girl hugging a dog AKC Registered Puppies: Are AKC Papers Important?
Should you buy only an AKC registered English Bulldog puppy? Do AKC papers and pedigrees really matter?

Michele Welton with BuffyAbout the author: Michele Welton has over 40 years of experience as a Dog Trainer, Dog Breed Consultant, and founder of three Dog Training Centers. An expert researcher and author of 15 books about dogs, she loves helping people choose, train, and care for their dogs.

My best-selling books – now available  FREE  on my website

book coverRespect Training For Puppies: 30 seconds to a calm, polite, well-behaved puppy is for puppies 2 to 18 months old. Your puppy will learn the 21 skills that all family dogs need to know. Click here to read for free.
book coverTeach Your Dog 100 English Words is a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your adult dog to listen to you and do what you say. Click here to read for free.
book cover11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy helps your dog live a longer, healthier life. Get my honest advice about all 11 Things before you bring home your new puppy, because some mistakes with early health care cannot be undone. Click here to read for free.