A dog is like family. When you have one, you want to be with him forever. But just like us, dogs need to cross the rainbow bridge when the time calls for it. Worse, dogs don’t have as much time as humans to stay in this world. But what if your dog is among those with a shorter life span? We’re pertaining to the bulldogs, which are renowned for living a short life. Learn more about their life expectancy and common health issues in today’s post.
Bulldogs Average Lifespan
There are different types of bulldogs or bull breeds. The term bulldog actually refers to various types of breeds that originated from Molossian breeds. These are the popular types of bulldogs and their corresponding lifespan:
- English bulldog – 8 to 10 years
- Aussie bulldog – 10 to 12 years
- American bulldog – 10 to 15 years
- Olde English bulldog – 8 to 10 years
- French bulldog – 10 to 14 years
- Miniature English bulldog – 10 to 12 years
- Alapaha Blue Blood bulldog – 12 to 15 years
- Valley bulldog – 9 to 14 years
- Catahoula bulldog – 10 to 14 years
- Victorian bulldog – 12 to 14 years
Among all the bully breeds, the Alapaha Blue Blood bulldog has the longest life expectancy because they were crossed with regional curs and mastiffs, making them healthier than any other type of bulldog. Also, they can easily adapt to hot weather or humid places.
Meanwhile, English bulldogs have the shortest life span among all bully breeds because they are notorious for inheriting a number of problems. They require extra care so they can live 10 years or more.
Common Health Issues
In general, bully breeds are at risk for inheriting or developing the following conditions:
Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome –in layman’s term, this condition is a breathing problem associated to breeds with a short nose or flat face. Because of the bulldog’s narrow nostrils, he finds it hard to breathe properly especially when the weather is hot. Bully breeds should not be exercised for too long and should not do strenuous physical activities.
Severe skin allergies – bulldogs are at risk for skin-related problems like eczema and dermatitis because they have a short coat or less protection from bacteria or environmental causes of allergies. Another reason why bulldogs are prone to allergies is due to the fact that they have facial wrinkles and skin folds. The skin folds attract bacteria and fungi so they should be cleaned or wiped at least twice a week. English bulldogs and French bulldogs are among the bully breeds predisposed to atopic dermatitis.
Degenerative Spine Disease – also called degenerative myelopathy, this disease normally affects dogs aged 8 years and above. Dogs with this condition suffer from ataxia or coordination loss in the hind limbs. The loss of coordination makes it difficult for them to move around and that is why they look like wobbling when trying to walk.
Hip Dysplasia – canine hip dysplasia is the abnormal formation of the hip socket. It can cause pain in dogs and can even develop into arthritis of the hips in later stages. Large breeds are more prone to this condition because of their heavy body mass. It is possible that a dog’s femur did not fit well into the pelvic socket or the pelvic area has underdeveloped muscles.
Pinkeye – in vet terms, this condition is also called conjunctivitis. Bulldogs with “pinkeye” look like they have a red eye aside from having swollen eyelids. Also, watch out for unusual discharges coming from your dog’s eyes. There are many possible reasons why dogs develop conjunctivitis but for bulldogs, it is often caused by dry eyes and allergies. The right treatment for pinkeye will depend on the exact cause so it is important that a dog is first examined by a vet before giving any kind of treatment.
In case your bulldog displays any of the symptoms mentioned above, schedule an appointment with your vet right away. Some diseases have similar sets of symptoms, although some conditions are more serious than others.
Always consult a vet before giving any medication to your pet, including over the counter products. This is because some medicines tend to interact with others and may cause unpleasant side effects to a dog’s health.
How to Care for Bulldogs
Raising bulldogs is not a far cry from raising any other breed of dog. However, because they are more prone to a number of health issues, they require extra care. This way, they can be healthier and enjoy their lives until old age. Here are a few things to consider when raising bully breeds:
Clean their skin folds and wrinkles thoroughly. The most challenging aspect of grooming bully breeds is cleaning their skin folds. These should be wiped at least two times a week to avoid skin fold dermatitis, which is among the most common concerns among bullies. A wrinkle balm can be used for preventing the build-up of crusts and unpleasant odor on the skin folds, aside from preventing yeast and bacterial infections. But if you don’t have a wrinkle balm at home, you can use warm water for cleaning the dog’s wrinkles. Simply soak a soft cloth in warm water then wipe the skin folds with it. Make sure it’s dry enough because any remaining moisture makes the skin more prone to infections.
Invest in high-quality dog food. There are so many dog food brands out there but some of them do not have enough vitamins and minerals to meet a dog’s nutritional requirements. When choosing dog food, remember that the most popular brands are not always the best. You have to consider the main ingredients of the kibble or if it’s appropriate for your dog’s life stage. There are foods only meant for puppies and for adults. Since many bully breeds are subject to a number of allergies, a grain-free formula may be the best choice for them. Many owners of bulldogs also find it helpful to feed foods rich in omega 3 and 6 fatty acids to support a healthy skin and coat.
Maintain a healthy dental hygiene. One of the least prioritized aspects of grooming dogs is maintaining their dental hygiene. However, this is among the most important ones in order to prevent periodontal diseases. It’s also one of the problems with bulldogs, since they have compressed jaws. A dog’s teeth need to be brushed at least three times a week to prevent the build-up of tartar and to keep the breath smelling fresh. There are dental kits for dogs that come with a finger brush and toothpaste especially made for canines.
Groom your dog twice or three times a week. Bulldogs don’t require frequent baths, unless they always end up dirty or wet. If you are planning to bathe your dog, make sure you are using lukewarm water and dog shampoo. Only use products intended for pets because human shampoos, even the gentlest ones, can be bad for your dog’s skin. Remember that dogs have different pH levels than humans so even baby shampoo can dry out your pet’s skin. If your pooch has skin allergies or is prone to developing eczema, use a medicated dog shampoo approved by your vet.
Exercise your bulldog regularly. These dogs love lying down and having their siesta most of the time but to help them have healthy joints, they need to get enough exercise every day. Regular exercise is not only beneficial for their bones but also helps your pooch maintain a healthy weight and avoid digestive problems so he will not be at risk for obesity. Tailor your dog’s activities to his lifestyle. If you have got a more laidback dog, then playing catch would be the best option for you two. Training games are also a nice way to burn some energy. But because flat-faced breeds struggle more than other breeds with heat and humidity, avoid vigorous activities like long walks and morning jogs.
What to Consider Before Buying a Bully Breed
Bulldogs are quite expensive to have as pets. They may be the friendliest and most laid-back breed but the costs of raising them may not be ideal for everyone. In the first place, it will cost a lot to breed them. Preparing them for breeding can be a bit costly. The majority of them give birth via C-section because they don’t whelp their own babies. The average cost of a C-section is $500 to $3,000 per birth.
Another reason why bulldogs are expensive to raise is because of their many health problems. They may require more visits to the vet, which come with a cost. Being brachycephalic or having a short nose makes it hard for them to breathe properly. The most common causes of their mortality are cardiac arrests, cancer (lymphoma), and respiratory problems.
But if you are eager to adopt or buy a bulldog, make sure you are working with a reputable breeder or rescue center in your locality. If you are a newbie in raising dogs, it matters to get help from canine experts and dog associations so you can get guidance in raising your pet. You can also get recommendations from friends and family members regarding veterinarians in your area.
It helps to connect with other people who also own or love bully breeds to make raising dogs a lot easier. You can join small groups on social media or bigger organizations like the Bulldog Club of America, which is the official national breed club of the American Kennel Club.
Bulldogs require some TLC so they can live longer than their average lifespan. Among other things, this involves feeding them the right amount of food, grooming them accordingly and exercising them on a daily basis. If you want to own a bully breed, make sure you thought about it carefully so you will not have regrets later on.