Elbow and Hip Dysplasia:

According to engbulldog.com, hip and elbow dysplasia results from the abnormal development of the joints in a young dog. Most dysplastic dogs are born with normal hips and elbows, but due to genetic and possibly other factors, the soft tissues that surround the joint start to develop abnormally as the puppy grows. Dogs may alter their running or walking, often resisting movements that require full extension of their legs.

Many times, they 'bunny hop.' They will show stiffness and pain in the rear legs after exercise or first thing in the morning. Most dogs will warm up out of the muscle stiffness with movement and exercise. Some dogs will limp, and many will decrease their level of activity. As the condition progresses, the dogs will lose muscle tone and may even need assistance in getting up. My dog, Lucy, is three years old and always limps in the morning before her joints have become active.

Narrow Nasal Opening/Breathing Problems:

All of the bulldogs I have owned have had breathing troubles of some sort. Whether they snore loudly at night, or pant excessively after minimal exercise. Their flat facail structure restricts their air intake. In addition, many bulldogs also suffer breathing difficulties as a result of their elongated soft-palate (tissue in the back of the throat). The soft palate can be fixed with surgery, but if left untreated, the dog can develop sleep apnea or suffocate.

Inability to Swim:

Because of their unusual body proportions, bulldogs cannot be left unattended by the pool because they will drown. Their short legs cannot support their heavy, compact bodies in the water.

Unfortunately, I didn't know this in my experience with my first English bulldog, Hailey. I left the sliding glass door open to the patio one October night to let the cool air in, and within five minutes the dog had fallen in the pool and drown. It was a horrible experience, but I am able to share my story to worn others to get a baby gate surrounding the pool, or make the dog wear a life jacket, like the video below.

English bulldog in life jacket Back Home

Traci Coates 2007