English bulldogs are prone to a host of hereditary ailments, so the odds are that if you adopt a bulldog, he'll come with some baggage. That doesn't mean he won't become a true member of the family, but understand the needs of the breed before bringing him into your home.
While it's traumatic for all dogs to lose their home, the English bulldog probably suffers more than average. He needs to be with his person, craving attention and affection. As the Bulldog Club of America Rescue Network notes, "It is nearly impossible to lavish too much love and attention on a bulldog." That means an abandoned bulldog might be even more needy and clinging, because he has known what it means to be discarded.
Bulldogs belong in the house, and an air-conditioned house at that. Because he doesn't require much exercise, he's also suitable for apartment living -- air-conditioned apartment living. Because of the bulldog's facial structure, he can't take in as much air as the average canine and easily overheats. If you live in a hot climate, think twice about adopting a bulldog. Your bulldog needs regular grooming and skin inspection, along with cleaning of his wrinkles. Being proactive with his coat and skin nips potential issues in the bud. When going for walks, use a harness instead of a collar attached to the leash because you don't want to inadvertently damage his windpipe with a strong tug.
If you adopt your bulldog from a reputable rescue, he's been evaluated for temperament. The dog is also spayed or neutered and up-to-date on current vaccinations. Good rescues match the dog and potential adopter. If you have other animals or small children and the rescue doesn't think a particular dog would be a good match, wait until a more suitable bulldog comes along. Most bulldogs do get along well with cats and other dogs and are good with kids, but that doesn't hold true across the board. Trust the rescue to make the right placement -- otherwise, the dog comes back to them, the sensitive bulldog once again rejected by an owner.
Before adopting a bulldog, find a vet familiar with the breed and its many issues, or ask the rescue for a vet reference. It's usually a matter of sooner rather than later that a bulldog health problem arises, and the breed also runs risks from certain anesthetics. Your bulldog is prone to eye problems, skin diseases, heart issues, hip dysplasia and respiratory ailments. The average lifespan of a bulldog ranges between 8 and 10 years, although well-cared for dogs with fewer genetic issues can live longer.
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.