6 Common Bulldog Health Problems Explained

Last Updated: 1 year ago

The Bulldog, be they an American Bulldog, English Bulldog, or French Bulldog, is a beloved breed that many people search for when they want to be a dog in the family.

Despite their fierce appearance, Bulldog is incredibly lovable and sweet-natured. Unfortunately, the breed may be in jeopardy due to the litany of Bulldog health problems that are the result of centuries of inbreeding.

According to the Journal, Canine Genetics, and Epidemiology, “The English Bulldog truly is a breed in trouble,” they report. “Inbreeding … has brought the breed to a crisis point.”

What are these common Bulldog health problems, you ask?

We’ll talk about a few, which include:

  • Breathing problems
  • Dermatitis
  • Difficulty giving birth
  • Dysplasia
  • Heat intolerance
  • Cherry eye

In this article, we’re going to discuss some of the most pressing Bulldog health issues.

We hope that before you adopt a Bulldog of your own, and giving him an appropriate bulldog name, you consider these health issues and decide if you can handle caring for any American Bulldog health issues your pup may suffer from throughout its life.

Bulldog Health Issues

bulldog health problems


Bulldogs are prone to having some kind of respiratory problems because of the shape of their face. In fact, they tend to suffer from Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome.

This is a condition that is a result of having a shortened nose and narrow nostrils which cause them to have breathing problems, they’ll pant a lot, and will always be uncomfortable.

Not only does this affect their breathing, but they have an intolerance to exercise, and they’ll even have trouble eating since they have to get their faces right into the food to eat.

With these factors combined, your dog is going to be more likely to become obese, which only worsens its breathing problems.


Although those wrinkles all over your English Bulldog are cute and add to the breed’s charm, they can cause problems for your dog if they aren’t taken care of.

Bulldogs are prone to dermatitis, which is when the skin becomes inflamed due to excessive skin rubbing and moisture buildup.

You should always make sure that you care for your Bulldog’s wrinkles by cleaning them every day with a medicated pad or a cotton ball with some baby oil on it.

When you do this, you are lessening the chances that the wrinkles will get a bacterial infection called pyoderma. You can spot skin fold dermatitis when there are red bald spots that look inflamed and have a pungent odor emanating from the folded skin.

Giving Birth

bulldog puppies playing

When it comes to giving birth, you might think that all dogs can give birth to their puppies naturally. That isn’t always the case, especially with English Bulldogs.

In many cases, if a breeder wants to breed, they will have to artificially inseminate the female Bulldog because the male’s body makes it difficult for proper breeding.

Also, when it comes to giving birth, the female will have to undergo a cesarean section because the puppy’s head is larger than the mother’s pelvis, thus making it difficult to deliver without breaking her pelvis.

Hip And Elbow Dysplasia

Hip and Elbow dysplasia is a condition that is the result of the elbow and hips forming incorrectly. Symptoms of this condition can include:

  • Pain
  • Lameness
  • Decreased activity
  • ​Difficulty standing
  • Unwilling to run, jump, or climb stairs

You can help decrease these symptoms in your Bulldog by maintaining a healthy diet and weight. It’s true that Bulldogs aren’t extremely active dogs, but it is still important that they get some form of regular exercise.

The most effective course of action that you can do will be to take them on a walk when the weather permits and give them proper bulldog toys to occupy their time.

Intolerance To Heat

Many people who are looking to live healthier lifestyle choices get a dog in the hopes that the dog will serve as motivation to get out there and start exercising.

A Bulldog, unfortunately, is not going to be that dog. Bulldogs are intolerant to heat, and they’re prone to overheating.

On the flip side of the coin, these dogs also cannot take cold weather, either. They are inside dogs that can only tolerate moderate temperatures. This heat intolerance is about their breathing problems.

Cherry Eye

bulldog eye issues

This condition is when the gland that is under the lower eyelid on the inside corner “pops” out, making it look like there is a cherry in the dog’s eye.

This condition is nearly as bad as it looks and it doesn’t require a trip to the emergency room at the vet, but it does need to be treated as soon as you can make an appointment to see one.

The sooner you can get to the vet, the better the chances are that the gland won’t have to be surgically removed.

Final Word

Due to centuries of inbreeding, the Bulldog is going to have an increased chance of experiencing any of these health problems.

As we mentioned, breeders have made steps to breed the Bulldog with other breeds to “expand” the gene pool. There have already been some instances of this, and it’s already resulted in healthier dogs.

There is no denying that a Bulldog is a wonderful pet, but it comes at a cost. With their health problems, you, as the potential owner, have to consider the work that will be involved and required when adopting a Bulldog.

Are you ready to handle that kind of responsibility?

Do you have the means to do so?

Pet surgeries can get pretty expensive, especially with a breed that is prone to many disorders.

However, if you’re ready to take on everything that goes with caring for a Bulldog, then you’ll find no better breed than those lovable wrinkled pooches!


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