Despite their history as bull baiters and fighting dogs, the American Kennel Club (AKC) lists the dignified bulldog, with his strong, stocky body and large, wrinkled face, as one of the most popular breeds in the United States. These medium-sized beauties embody the perfect balance of power and gentleness. Their grooming needs, however, span the width of frequent and necessary to hands-off and minimal.
Bulldogs are notorious for having sensitive skin. Choosing a shampoo that is pH-balanced for canines and has soothing, moisturizing ingredients, such as jojoba oil, aloe and oatmeal is the best choice for your bully. Most bulldogs only need a bath when they've started to smell or rolled around in mud; frequent bathing can dry out their sensitive skin. However, bulldog owners should take extra time and care with their buddy’s skin folds. The folds of skin around a bulldogs snout and tail require daily cleaning to prevent infection, but take caution. A bulldog's large head and shortened snout can make breathing difficult so it's important to clean his folds gently and take a break if he snorts or squirms; these can be signs of labored breathing.
A bulldog’s coat can be brindle, white, red or even fawn, but it always is short and low-maintenance. Unlike long, thick-coated breeds, bulldog coats don’t require frequent brushing to stay mat-free and healthy. It is, however, a good idea to brush your bully a few times a week to distribute natural body oils evenly and keep his coat glossy. Brushing time also can be a perfect time to cuddle up and bond. Though bulldogs were originally bred to bait bulls fiercely, nowadays they're quite loving, low energy and enjoy one-on-one attention.
If dogs could get braces, bulldogs would be one of the first breeds to sign up. A bulldog’s jaw is compressed tighter than other breeds, not to mention there is the presence of that stunning underbite. With teeth like that it's a good thing bulldogs are a placid, gentle breed as extra care should be taken with their teeth to prevent the accumulation of tartar-causing plaque. Your tolerant bully most likely will allow you to brush his teeth without so much as a whimper. That's great news for your patience and his oral hygiene.
The breed standard indicates bulldog ears should be rose-shaped. This means he should have small, gently drooping ears that fold over and backwards, somewhat resembling an open rose. A bulldog's rose ears tend to accumulate a larger amount of earwax than some other breed, and require weekly cleaning with a veterinarian-approved cleanser to prevent bacteria and fungus accumulation and subsequent infection.
- PetMD: Bulldog
- AKC: AKC Meet the Breeds -- Get to Know the Bulldog
- Bull Paws English Bulldogs: English Bulldog Grooming
- English Bulldog Savvy: English Bulldog Care – Cleansing Skin Folds
- AKC: AKC Dog Registration Statistics
- The Bulldog Information Library: Breed Description
- Bulldog Club of America: Grooming
Christina Stephens is a writer from Portland, Ore. whose main areas of focus are pets and animals, travel and literature. A veterinary assistant, she taught English in South Korea and holds a BA in English with cum laude honors from Portland State University.