UPDATED! English Bulldog: Breed of the Week

Are English Bulldogs Good City Dogs?

If you live in New York City, chances are you have seen an English Bulldog. They are one of the most popular breeds in the city.

The English Bulldog that we know today shares very little in common with its ancient ancestor, the Bulldog, which was a taller dog that looked more like a Mastiff. The modern breed is a product of extensive breeding. Today, English Bulldogs have become city slickers, but like their predecessors, they are still very tough dogs. Many of the attributes of the English Bulldog, the protruding under jaw, excess skin, short ears, and large head, all help this scrapper in a fight.

Lulu, the English Bulldog
Lulu, the English Bulldog

English Bulldogs are confident, independent and powerful. According to Animal Planet’s Dogs 101, the breed nearly went extinct in 1885 as a result of their main task in life, participating in the sport of bull baiting, being outlawed. They were saved by a group of Bulldog lovers who bred a more gentle version of its fighting ancestors.

The bulldog faces many health issues. They are brachycephalic which means that they have short snouts and often breath through their mouths. The many wrinkles on their faces need constant cleaning and they are subject to a number of heredity illnesses. Because of these problems, many vets and dog lovers are pushing for changes in the way the breed is maintained. There’s a push to improve the breed’s DNA to get rid of many of the problems that plague English Bulldogs.

English Bulldog (Photo: Natalie Siebers)
English Bulldog (Photo: Natalie Siebers)

Despite all this, its lovable personality and funny face have made this breed one of the top city dwellers. According to the American Kennel Club, the English Bulldog was the third most popular pure breed dog in New York in 2017, after the French Bulldog and the Labrador Retriever.

Do English Bulldogs Bark?

Because of the genetic problems, you might want to think twice about getting an English Bulldog. But clearly many New Yorkers have decided they are the Urban Dog for them.

It is important to train your city dog. You don’t want your pooch to misbehave in your building’s common areas. English Bulldogs are not the easiest dogs to train. They score “Fair” among  dogs when it comes to understanding new commands. They obey first commands only about 30% of the time according to Stanley Coren, a professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia who studies dog behavior. That means it takes forty to eighty repetitions for them to learn new commands.

English Bulldogs are not considered excessive barkers. UC Davis researchers Benjamin and Lynette Hart devised a chart ranking dogs by the likelihood of barking at inappropriate times. On a scale of one to ten — with one being the least offensive barkers and ten the most excessive barkers — they get a three rating. Click here for more on Urban Dog’s take on barking.

English Bulldog
English Bulldog

Click here to visit the American Kennel Club’s page on the breed. And here’s a link to the Bulldog Club of America. They can make great Urban Dogs, just make sure you keep them active and engaged.

For tips on how to find a pet-friendly apartment in New York and other cities read Urban Dog’s guide. Big dogs pose a particular challenge, but don’t worry, you can find places that accept large breed dogs.

And we’ll leave you with this video of Tillman, the famous skateboarding and surfing English Bulldog.  It’s a little long, but definitely worth watching.

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