Do English Bulldogs Have Health Problems?

English Bulldog

Short, stocky, and oh-so-adorable, the English Bulldog of today is known for its gentle nature, stocky built and wrinkled face. However, this wasn’t always the case. 

In the early 1800s, Bulldogs were used in a brutal sport called bull-baiting (boo!). Dogs would be pitted against a bull in a small arena and people would bet on to see who would come out victorious. This barbaric practice continued until 1835 when it was finally outlawed. 

It wasn’t until the late 1800s that the English Bulldog began to be bred for companionship instead of aggression.

Over time, their appearance changed as well, becoming less like their wild ancestors and more like the friendly dogs we know today. 

Thanks to the efforts of dedicated breeders, the English Bulldog is now a cherished member of many families.

Of course, nothing is perfect! The stocky build of the English Bulldog and the flat face and short muzzle give rise to several potential health issues. 

In this blog post, we’ll look at the common health problems of English Bulldogs, how to tell, and what to do about them. 

Bulldogs Are A Brachycephalic Breed

The first thing you should know about Bulldogs is that they are a brachycephalic breed, which means they have short muzzles, wide heads, and flat faces. 

While these dogs may have a cute, “squished” face, their anatomy can cause a number of health problems.

Because of their short muzzle, brachycephalic dogs often have trouble breathing. They can also suffer from eye problems, skin infections, and heat intolerance. 

While some people may think that the brachycephalic look is desirable, it is important to realize that these dogs often suffer from serious health issues.

Other brachycephalic dogs include Boxers, Pugs, Shih Tzus, and Mastiffs.  

Most Common Health Problems For English Bulldogs 

While English Bulldogs can be generally healthy, poor breeding practices can pass on genetic diseases and conditions that the breed is predisposed to. In addition, their cute little flat face can also cause certain problems. 

Respiratory Problems 

Bulldogs have respiratory problems for several reasons. First, their short noses make it difficult for them to breathe properly.

Second, they are susceptible to a condition called brachycephalic syndrome, which causes the soft palate to block the airway. 

Bulldogs also have narrow tracheas, which can make it difficult for them to get enough air. Finally, they tend to drool, which can lead to aspiration pneumonia. 

As a result of these problems, bulldogs often snore loudly and have difficulty panting. While some of these problems can be mitigated through surgery or other medical interventions, Bulldogs will always be prone to respiratory difficulties.

Intolerance To Heat 

Because of their unique anatomy, Bulldogs are much less tolerant of hot weather than other dogs. Their short muzzles make it difficult for them to pant properly, and they are unable to insulate themselves as well as other dogs. 

In addition, their bodies are often quite bulky, which makes it difficult for them to stay cool. As a result, brachycephalic dogs should be kept out of the heat as much as possible. 

If they must be outdoors in warm weather, they should be closely monitored and given plenty of water to drink.

Dental Problems

Like many other breeds, Bulldogs are prone to dental conditions such as periodontal disease which affects 80% of dogs above the age of three. Bulldog owners often face unique challenges when it comes to dental health. 

Because of their short muzzles, Bulldogs tend to have crowded teeth, which can make it difficult to brush and floss properly. In addition, Bulldogs are prone to tartar buildup and gum disease.

Hip And Joint Problems 

Bulldogs are also prone to joint problems due to their short legs and heavy bodies. Bulldog puppies are especially susceptible to these issues, as their bones and joints are still developing. Common problems include hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and patellar luxation. 

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a condition that can cause pain and mobility problems in the hips. It occurs when the hip joint does not form properly, causing the thighbone to rub against the hip socket.

This can damage the cartilage and bone, leading to pain, stiffness, and eventually arthritis. Hip dysplasia is most common in large breed dogs, but it can also occur in smaller breeds. 

Early diagnosis and treatment are important to prevent the condition from becoming worse. Treatment options include weight management, exercise, and joint supplements. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to correct the problem. 

Patella Luxation 

Patella luxation is a condition that affects the kneecap or patella. The patella is a small bone that sits at the front of the knee and helps to hold the knee joint in place. In dogs with patella luxation, the patella becomes dislocated from its normal position. 

This can occur either periodically or permanently. Patella luxation can be a painful condition, and it can lead to arthritis and other problems if left untreated.

Surgery is the only way to correct the problem, and it is important to catch it early. Dogs with patella luxation should be seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible for diagnosis and treatment. 

These conditions can cause pain and mobility issues, and often require expensive surgery to correct. Bulldogs that are kept at a healthy weight and given regular exercise are less likely to develop joint problems later in life. However, those that are overweight or inactive are at a higher risk. 

Ear Infections

Ear infections are a common problem in dogs, and they can be painful and frustrating for both dogs and their owners. There are two main types of ear infections: Otitis externa, which affects the outer ear, and Otitis media, which affects the middle ear. 

Ear infections can be caused by several things, including allergies, bacteria, foreign objects, and excess wax buildup. Dogs with floppy ears are more prone to ear infections because their ear canals are narrower and trap more moisture. 

Treatment for ear infections typically includes antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs, and cleaning of the affected area. If left untreated, ear infections can lead to serious health problems, so it’s important to see a veterinarian if you suspect your dog has an ear infection.

Eye Problems

Bulldogs are notoriously prone to eye problems. Some of the most common issues include corneal ulcers, entropion, and cherry eye. These conditions can be extremely painful and may lead to blindness if left untreated. 

Bulldogs’ eyes are relatively large and protrude from their skulls, making them more vulnerable to injury. Their short noses also make it difficult for them to breathe, which can lead to infections and inflammation. 

In addition, Bulldogs are notorious for snorting and snoring, which can cause their eyes to water excessively and predispose them to irritation and infection. 


There are many reasons why dogs may suffer from allergies. One of the most common causes is environmental allergies, which can be triggered by anything from pollen to mold. Another common cause is food allergies, which can be caused by ingredients in their diet. 

In some cases, allergies may also be caused by medications or other substances that come into contact with the skin. Regardless of the cause, allergies can cause a range of symptoms in dogs, including itching, redness, and swelling. 

In severe cases, they may even lead to difficulty breathing. If you suspect that your dog has an allergy, it is important to visit a vet so they can determine the cause and provide treatment.

Just like people, every dog is different and will have different things that trigger their allergies. 


Hyperthyroidism is a common endocrine disorder in dogs caused by the overproduction of thyroid hormones. 

If left untreated, hyperthyroidism can lead to heart failure, kidney disease, and even death. Early diagnosis and treatment are essential for the best possible outcome. 

Unfortunately, there is no cure for hyperthyroidism in dogs, but the condition can be managed with medication and close monitoring by a veterinarian. 

With proper treatment, most dogs with hyperthyroidism can enjoy a good quality of life.

How To Tell If Your English Bulldog Has Health Issues

Symptoms Of Common Health Problems For English Bulldogs.


Although it is most commonly seen in hot weather or during strenuous exercise, dehydration can also occur due to illness, diarrhea, vomiting, or insufficient water intake.

Clinical signs of dehydration include sunken eyes, dry nose, and gums, increased thirst, lethargy, and decreased skin elasticity. 

Dental Problems

Dogs suffering from gum disease typically exhibit some telltale symptoms. For instance, their gums may appear red, inflamed, and bleeding. They may also have bad breath, and their teeth may be loose or fall out. 

In addition, dogs with gum disease may be more prone to infections and other health problems. If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, it’s important to take them to the vet as soon as possible for treatment. With early intervention, most cases of gum disease can be successfully treated. 

Left untreated, however, gum disease can lead to serious health complications for your dog.

Joint Problems

Dogs are prone to a variety of joint problems, which can cause pain, stiffness, and lameness. One of the most common symptoms is limping, which may be caused by arthritis, hip dysplasia, or ligament damage. Another common symptom is joint swelling, which can be caused by inflammation, infection, or injury. 

If your dog is showing signs of joint problems, it is important to take him to the vet for a diagnosis and treatment plan. 

Ear Infection

The symptoms of an ear infection typically include pain, itching, and redness in the affected ear. However, some ear infections may also cause fluid to leak from the ear, hearing loss, or vertigo. If you suspect that your Bulldog has an ear infection, it is important to see a doctor for treatment. 



Symptoms can vary depending on the severity of the condition but may include weight loss, increased appetite, panting, hair loss, and diarrhea. 

How To Treat Or Prevent Health Issues In Bulldogs

Here are a few tips to ensure you have a healthy, happy English Bulldog! 

  1. Always have water on standby. If you are exercising, check frequently for signs of dehydration and slow it down if it seems that your pooch is overheating. 
  2. Keep your Bulldog out of the sun and try to keep him cool during the hotter months. 
  3. Give generous amounts of dental chews and sticks. 
  4. Daily brushing with a pet-safe toothpaste is a great way to remove plaque and prevent tartar buildup. 
  5. In addition, periodic teeth cleanings by a veterinarian can help to remove calculus and other buildups. 
  6. Avoiding rough play and keeping their faces clean to prevent eye injury and problems.
  7. Clean their ears regularly with a veterinarian-approved cleaning solution. 
  8. Feed a top-quality diet and think about adding joint-friendly supplements like glucosamine.
  9. Keep your English Bulldog at a healthy weight. Don’t overfeed, and exercise loads. 

Preventative Care and Annual Checkups 

Going to the doctor isn’t just important for humans–it’s essential for our furry friends, too. Dogs need an annual checkup for the same reason that we do: to catch any problems early and prevent serious health issues down the road.

During a checkup, your vet will give your dog a thorough physical exam. This includes checking their weight, listening to their heart and lungs, and feeling their abdomen for any abnormalities. Your vet will also take the time to answer any questions you may have about your dog’s health, diet, or behavior.

Check Out The Best Pet Insurances for Bulldogs

Final Thoughts 

Annual checkups are an important part of keeping your dog healthy and happy. They give you a chance to ask your vet about any concerns you may have and learn more about how to care for your pet. 

Plus, they help to catch problems early, before they become serious. So make sure to schedule an appointment with your vet today. Your dog will be glad you did.

Recent Posts