SO YOU WANT A BULLDOG PUPPY?
And why not, they are one of the most loving breeds of dog ever invented – but they are not for everyone. The Bulldog is a “marmite” kind of dog – you either think they are absolutely amazing, or you think they are the most disgusting thing on the planet. But whatever your opinion of the breed – where you buy your puppy from will make a huge difference to their life and even their life span.
It’s a sad fact that many bulldogs require a c-section to give birth to their pups and although massive strives have been made to address this, with many many serious breeders understanding the concept of giving birth and going down the free whelping route, there is a quicker way to get rich off the back of breeding bulldogs without having to pay out for either the upfront cost of a Stud Fee or the worry of the bitch not being able to give birth or developing eclampsia. And that is to CROSS IT!
A male bulldog put to another Bull Breed or Mastiff type female will produce pups that resemble bulldogs and therefore can be sold as such for huge amounts of money. Give them a fancy name such as Victorian, Sussex, Old English, Olde Tyme etc etc – market them has the “healthy alternative” to a purebred bulldog alongside a made-up registration system and you have a way of making lots of money with very little outlay.
There are two major problems with this
To understand this, you need to firstly understand the history. The word “Bulldog” “Bulldogge” or “Bandog” as it wasn’t used to describe a breed, but instead it was a description of a Mastiff type dog vicious enough to fight or bull bait (which was of course their original purpose). It took over 100 years to breed that out when Baiting was abolished which was achieved by very selective breeding.
So, support the breeders that are working to improve our breed, working towards natural births and natural matings. Who care about the temperament of their pups, who have health tested the parents and show what they produce to prove they are doing it properly? All you need to produce a healthy bulldog – is two healthy bulldogs!
The recent boom of fad colours has brought with it its own problems. Many on the same lines as the crosses, but the scariest of which is the shear lack of health testing or lack of thought that goes into producing a litter over and above “what colour will the pups be”
Many of the more recently acquired bulldogs are Lilac, Black or Chocolate and because these colours are considered “undesirable” – they are being deliberately bred and then sold as “rare”.
It started with breeders looking to make a quick buck and realising that 2 standard red bulldogs could occasionally throw a Black Coated dog. They were rare back then, some lines produced them naturally and these dogs went into pet homes and were kept out of breeding programs. Sadly, they are not so rare these days and it wasn’t long before they realised that doubling up on the Black coat produced other colours also not in the Breed Standard – Blue and Lilac dogs began to arrive as well as Chocolate Tri coats. Colours that never naturally occurred and because these were considered even rarer, they demanded even more money (upto £20k in the beginning). But you must put this into perspective. The Black Coat was written out of the very first breed standard written in the late 1800s – Blue and Black was described as “Very Bad Colours” and “Previously considered Good Colours”. The reason for this was because these were the dogs that made the best fighters. The dogs with the worst temperament.
When Bullbaiting was abolished, these breeders really did know what they were doing. They didn’t need “Fertility Clinics” or fancy Instagram Accounts – all they needed was the knowledge to realise that the if the bulldog as a breed was going to survive beyond the abolition of baiting, they had to stop using those coat colours in their breeding programmes.
Like I said Red coats can occasionally produce a Black coat – it’s all to do with the dominant “B” gene against the diluted “b” gene. Whereas “B” is black - a dog with a coat considered “BB” will be black coated; a dog with a coat considered “bb” will have a lilac or liver (Dudley) coat and that’s where the Lilac and Chocolate Tri stems from.
But of course, dilution means skin problems, deafness and something that has increased massively from these lines – Spina Bifida!
So, when you hear a bulldog breeder complaining about colour breeders, it’s not them being purist, or racist – it simply a case of trying to continue the fight to make this breed healthier and happier than ever before. Stick to standard breeders – the standard is the blueprint for a healthy bulldog and although some breeders misinterpret certain aspects of it, a good breeder will understand exactly what is required of a winning dog and winning dogs produce healthy offspring (in most cases)
Having said all that – Standard bulldogs are not immune from bad breeders. So, find a Breeder that shows, they care about what other breeders think of the dogs they take in the ring so have put the most thought into a mating. If your breeder doesn’t show, has bred 2 pet bulldogs together or did it as a “one off” because they thought she’d like some babies – avoid because there is very little chance that any health testing has been done.
The Bulldog Breed Council run a very good Health Scheme and the levels are BRONZE, SILVER and GOLD. Having a Bronze level certificate isn’t a guarantee though, nonstandard dogs and dogs with one thing wrong can still achieve Bronze Standard so you are looking for a breeder whose dogs are at a minimum of Silver.
Of course, the other thing you need to consider is if the breeder actually exists. Don’t fall for the online or newspaper ad that claims to have “cute” puppies who’ve had “their shots” and are looking to be “adopted” – adverts that carry those words are almost definitely Scam ads. Neither the dogs or the breeder exists and it’s always worth running an image search because many of the photos that accompany these adverts are stolen from genuine adverts. In many cases once you have made contact you will be told they are “out the Country” or “Overseas on a family emergency”. They will ask for a deposit to fly or ship the dog to your door. You must never aim to purchase a dog as if it was a car on Cazoo – you must always always always go to the breeder and see the pups with their mum and always always always follow your gut feeling.
Never purchase a pup because you feel sorry for it, all that does is encourage the breeder to breed again.
So, with all that in mind we suggest you now start your search with your local Breed Club. Meet the breeders at the next Dog Show, look at the dogs in the ring and see the massive advancement we have made to improve the health of the bulldog and be prepared to wait for the next litter.
Avoid anyone promoting their dogs as “Healthy Alternatives”, “Rare” or off the back of a flashy website or social media page. Really do your homework and remember once you’ve got your first bulldog you will never go back to any other breed.
For details on how to contact your breed club please go to either