Why It’s Difficult to Breed English Bulldogs

Although breeding English Bulldogs can be limiting and costly, there are many dedicated, qualified breeders who take the responsibility of safely carrying on the breed very seriously.  If you would like to find a good breeder, be sure to do your homework to ensure the heath and safety of all females and their puppies.

I recently spoke with an English Bulldog owner who mentioned that he had encountered a lot of difficulty when trying to find a breeder.  Initially, I thought that he meant that all the pups were spoken for, but he went on to explain that breeders were rare because the process was difficult.  Not wanting to take up too much of his time, I made a note to do some research as to why it’s difficult to breed English Bulldogs.  I was surprised to learn of all the challenges that were involved in the breeding process.

I am neither a veterinarian nor a medical professional. The information in this article has been researched and sourced at the end of the post if required. All safety and medical issues or questions regarding your pet’s health or symptoms should always be brought to the attention of your veterinarian for clarification, assessment, advice and treatment.

Learning About the Dogs’ Medical History

When planning to breed any dogs, it is important to get a medical background check from both parents to be sure that there are no genetic issues that could be passed down to the pups.  It is also imperative that the female only be bred a certain number of time and with appropriate recovery time between litters.

Testing for health issues is the first financial investment for the breeder. For the health of the parents and the puppies, a breeder wants to rule out any potential illnesses, genetic disorders or physical abnormalities.  Common medical concerns found in English Bulldogs are:

  • Respiratory (Brachycephalic Syndrome)
  • Lung issues
  • Cardiovascular concerns
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Various eye health and vision issues

Brachycephalic Syndrome

Many English Bulldogs have breathing issues.  You cannot breed a male or female with existing or surgically repaired breathing issues.  The genetic makeup of many bulldogs includes physical crowding in the back of the throat that make it difficult to breath.  This is known as Brachycephalic syndrome Many will wheeze or snort especially in the warmer months or when exerting themselves, as it is very difficult for the air to pass through the nose and throat.  This will not only be a condition that will be passed onto her pups, but it will make the strain of the pregnancy difficult for the mom in the later stages.

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Physical Issues Obstruct the Mating Process

Tan and white English Bulldog standing in a field.
The English Bulldog’s round bodies and short legs can make it difficult for them to mate.

Another potential problem with breeding English Bulldogs is that they can’t always mate naturally.  Their round bodies and short legs can make it difficult for the male to mount the female. In this case, artificial insemination may be necessary.  This makes the process difficult and costly for the breeder.

Difficulties with the Birth of the Puppies

The final obstacle when breeding English Bulldogs, is when the mother goes into labor. Once again, the physical shape of the pups can cause issues. The size of the puppy’s head may be difficult to push through the birth canal.  An emergency Cesarean Section is often required. The danger involved with natural delivery makes it necessary for the mom to be monitored regularly by a vet. Many breeders and veterinarians plan a C-section ahead of the expected birth date to avoid the trauma of natural birth becoming a C-section mid-delivery.  This reduces the risk for the mother and her puppies.

Consider the Financial Side of Breeding English Bulldogs

The average litter size for an English bulldog is 3 to 4 puppies.  This means that after all of the expenses of preparation, monitoring and delivery, the breeder only has 4 pups to sell.  High demand for these little ones makes the price per pup very expensive. Many other breeds will produce 8 – 10 pups with significantly fewer expenses during the pregnancy and early weeks of the pups’ lives.

An English bulldog can only be bred 3 times in its lifetime. This means that a breeder will generally have 12-16 dogs available to sell for each set of Bulldog parents that are qualified for breeding.

Being the nature of the breed, some pups may have breathing issues regardless of the health of the parents. Because of the awkward nature of the English Bulldog, there are situations where the pups are accidentally injured by the mother when she is nursing or sleeping with them.  This will make the pups less desirable to potential adopters and the selling price will have to be reduced.

The bottom line is that the revenue from breeding English Bulldogs can be very low.  There is a lot of work and money put into the entire process for little outcome. This makes breeding English Bulldogs as a profession less appealing, therefor there are fewer pups available for sale.

What to Remember when Looking for An English Bulldog Breeder

If you are searching for a English Bulldog pup, be sure to do your homework.  Ask for the DNA test results for both parents.  When working with any breeder, be sure that you can meet both parents and the pups together.  If possible, talk to the vet who is responsible for the care of the mother and babies throughout the process of the breeding.  This will help to ensure that you are dealing with a legitimate and responsible breeder. It will rule out the possibility of a puppy mill and ultimately, protect the health and well-being of many dogs.

Are English Bulldogs Good Pets?

English Bulldog are wonderful family pets and are relatively low maintenance.  They are not very active, so they are perfect for dwellings without a yard.  Short walks and lots of love are what they need the most. They tend to have difficultly breathing when hot. In warmer seasons, it may be best to limit their outdoor activities.

They are very loyal and love spending time with their people.  Having said that, they are also great protectors.  If they detect a stranger, they will warn you. If they sense danger they will immediately switch into protect mode. As with any dog, proper socialization and training are an important aspect to help your dog to understand the world around them.

Conclusion

Although breeding English Bulldogs can be limiting and costly, there are many dedicated, qualified breeders who take the responsibility of safely carrying on the breed very seriously.  If you would like to find a good breeder, be sure to do your homework to ensure the heath and safety of all females and their puppies.

For a guideline of questions that you should ask a breeder, you can refer to this document:

https://humanecanada.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Essential-questions-to-ask-a-breeder.pdf

Do you have any first-hand information regarding why it’s difficult to breed or English Bulldogs? Have you ever found it difficult to find a breeder? Please drop a comment in the section below.  I am always happy to learn more!

Further Reading:

https://lazypawvet.com/blog/2016/01/24/the-english-bulldog-as-a-pet/#:~:text=The%20Bulldog%20is%20a%20very%20loyal%2C%20loving%20and%20calm%20dog.&text=They%20get%20along%20well%20with,if%20they%20feel%20a%20threat.

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Why Do Some Dog Breeds Have Their Tails Cut Off?

One method of tail docking is performed when a puppy is between 2 and 5 days old. The breeder uses surgical scissors to cut off the puppy’s tail without anesthetic.

I was playing with one of my favorite neighborhood dogs the other day.  He is a beautiful Boxer with the sweetest disposition and is the patriarch of the neighborhood dogs.  He has not been neutered, but he has no tail.  I asked his owner why he would have one of the procedures done and not the other, and why he chose tail docking.  His response was that the breeder had done it before he adopted his dog.  He wasn’t even offered the option.  I have heard this before, from a client who owns a Cockapoo.  She said she wasn’t even aware that there was a choice until after she had picked up her puppy.  This made me wonder why some dog breeds have their tails cut off?  What is the reasoning behind the procedure and how it benefits the dog?

I decided to do some research and came up with some surprising information.  I had always assumed that was supposed to have some kind of medical benefit, but why?  Here is what I discovered:

I am neither a veterinarian nor a medical professional. The information in this article has been researched and sourced at the end of the post. All medical issues or questions regarding your pet’s health or symptoms should always be brought to the attention of your veterinarian for clarification, assessment, advice and treatment.

What is Tail Docking and how is it done?

Tail Docking, also known as Tail Bobbing or Tail Cutting, is the process of removing most of a dog’s tail at the base.  There are 3 methods of removal. 

The first is performed by the breeder.  A strong rubber tie is wrapped around the tail.  This cuts off the circulation from the body to the tail.  The part of the tail beyond the tie is expected to fall off after a few days.  This has to be performed when the puppy is between 2 and 5 days old.

Some dog breeds have their tails cut off (Tail Docking) because they are working dogs, but most have it done for aesthetic reasons. Many owners don't even know  how the tail is removed or that Tail Docking is an option.
Some dog breeds have their tails cut off (Tail Docking) because they are working dogs, but most have it done for aesthetic reasons. Many owners don’t even know how the tail is removed or that Tail Docking is an option.

The second method, also performed by a breeder when the puppy is between 2 and 5 days old, is performed by cutting off the puppy’s tail using surgical scissors. Neither of these two processes involve the use of anesthetic and the puppies are awake.  Because of the circulation to the tail at this age, stitches are not usually necessary. 

The third method involves a veterinarian.  This is done when the dog is over 8 weeks old. The vet will place the puppy under anesthetic and use a scalpel to remove the tail.  The skin at the base of the tail is pulled over the open wound and held together with stitches.

According to the RSPCA and many other studies, any of these processes cause considerable pain at the time of removal and can result in long term pain as well as associated medical, emotional and social issues.

In 1996 The University of Queensland did a study of 50 puppies.  This was included in their findings:

“The behaviour of 50 puppies of traditionally docked breeds was recorded during and after the procedure of tail docking at the University of Queensland Companion Animal Veterinary Hospital. The behaviours were recorded at the time of the procedure and then in 5 second intervals for the first minute followed by 10 second intervals until the pup settled to sleep. All puppies vocalised intensely (‘shrieking’) at the time of amputation of the tail, averaging 24 shrieks (range of 5 to 33).”

Read more here:  https://espace.library.uq.edu.au/view/UQ:712177

History of Tail Docking

Tail docking began many centuries ago.  Dogs were not pets in the sense that they are today.  Although still considered companions, most were working dogs. They were used for herding on farms or as hunting dogs.  On farms, dogs would round up cattle or sheep. Because of their close proximity to the larger animals as well as their exposure to machinery, it was felt that their tails were subject to injury. It was thought that removing the tail was a preventative measure to ensure the dog’s safety.

A hunting dog had the potential to engage in fights with other animals.  It was felt that the tail provided a disadvantage as the opponent had something to grab on to, leaving the dog vulnerable. In both cases there was also the concern that if these dogs got too dirty, there could be issues with infection. In later years, when employed as police or guard dogs, this same principle of the dog being vulnerable applied, and the tails were removed for these working dogs.

This post may contain affiliate links.  Although we may make a small commission it is at no cost to you.  See “Disclosure and Legal Things” section for complete details.

Current Reasons for Tail Docking:

For working dogs in the military, on the police force or on farms, the reason for tail docking continues to be for the safety of the dog.  Many dogs who do not work also have their tails docked.  This is often for aesthetic reasons.  The owners feel the dog looks better without a tail or that this provides a look that is familiar to the breed.  Tail docking, for some breeds, has been a requirement for some show dogs to be allowed to compete. 

There is also the belief that it is required.  Many people who are purchasing dogs from breeders are not even aware that tail docking is an option.  The breeders perform the docking and sell the pups already altered.  The owners, in a number of cases, are not even aware of the reasoning behind the removal of the tail, the process by which it is removed nor the potential hazards associated with it.

Which Breeds Most Commonly Dock Tails?

Only certain breeds customarily have their tails removed.  These include:  Dobermans, Rottweilers, Boxers, Cocker Spaniels, Schnauzers and Poodles.  The American Kennel Club has identified over 60 breeds that are known to have docked tails.

NOTEWORTHY:

In most areas of Canada and the US, tail docking is not illegal.  In many countries the procedure is illegal, banned or, at the very least, must be performed by a veterinarian and a medical or other suitable reason is required before the surgery is performed.

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