Buying a Puppy
First of all, before buying a puppy, research the breed thoroughly, there are lots of books published about owning bulldogs (check out our library) and there is a wealth of information on many individual websites. Be sure that the character and the lifestyle you lead matches up to owning a Bulldog, whose breed characteristics are a companion dog that thrives on human company, sleeping a lot is how most people view the breed but in reality a young Bulldog is every bit as active and boisterous as any breed of puppy. If left alone for long periods it can be destructive out of boredom!
Having decided on a Bulldog, beware of the many crossbred Bulldogs being advertised, you need a Kennel Club registered BULLDOG, any dog with a prefix like 'Old Tyme', 'Victorian' or 'Regency' and selling for a very much cheaper price should be avoided as if you want the 'Churchill' type, you just want a BULLDOG.
You'll find some good resources on our Publication page but also read the articles below.
Finding Your Bulldog
When you have made your mind up you would like a bulldog you are then faced with the task of finding one, which, from the many phone calls we get, is difficult. The best and recommended way is to look for the secretary of your local bulldog club on this site www.bulldogbreedcouncil.co.uk; they may know of a litter belonging to one of their members. Enquire when their next shows are and go to see a show.
There are two main types of show where you may meet some breeders. Open shows where the atmosphere is very informal, and Championship Shows where the dogs have serious winning potential and these are very competitive. Once there you can watch the dogs and speak to the many breeders around some of whom may be expecting a litter or have one at home. Expect to be quizzed as most caring breeders are very particular to which homes their puppies are sold. Read all you can about the breed and try to buy from someone who comes highly recommended. Reputable breeders do not have to advertise so you will not find them in the pages of the local newspaper or bargain pages, you will probably have to travel and you will probably have to wait. You are purchasing a member of your family, hopefully for the next 9 years [average] so a few months wait for the right dog will be worth it. See the puppy with its mother and its litter mates. Remember although the sire may be a Champion or class winner at Crufts the mother has still 50% input, and your puppy may look just like her in the future, or it may be a mixture and look like neither of them.
Dog or Bitch?
Things to consider before you choose: If you are thinking of showing your pet it is wise to start with a very good pedigree bitch as there are no guarantees with this breed that at 9 weeks a future show winner can be picked, a sound healthy bitch can be bred from in the future if she doesn't quite make it as a show dog. Bitches are not as impressive as dogs but if you purchase a dog and he doesn't make it in the show ring you can't move on from him without a further purchase. If, however, you want a pet, a dog can be the most faithful loving companion you could have. His typical bulldog head makes sure no one is in any doubt he’s a BULLDOG our national breed. Bitches have seasons and this can be messy and if you have another male dog it can mean separating them for 3 weeks twice a year or spaying, this can be difficult. They carry on having seasons every 6 months for life. It is worth thinking carefully before you decide to buy a puppy. There should be no difference in the price of a dog or bitch unlike some other breeds which generally charge more for bitches.
Some breeders are selling bitches with breeding contracts, some of these may work out fine but if you agree to this there are proper legal forms from the Kennel Club where the terms and arrangements are laid out and signed for at the time of purchase. Do not enter into any verbal agreements not covered by these forms as in 15 months when the breeder will want you to breed your bitch you may have forgotten or disagree the terms. This can be a very stressful time and involve solicitors if you do not have the original agreement in writing. Many enemies are made in the dog world over this matter.
The pedigree is just the family tree; you need a Kennel Club registered document, make sure you see it. Ask if the puppy is being sold using a Breed Council Puppy Contract.
Take your new puppy to your own vet within 48 hours of purchasing it and have it health checked, inform the breeder immediately if there are any problems. It is advisable that your new puppy has already received its first vaccination before it leaves the breeder where it should have already been checked for general health. It should have been wormed at regular intervals, instructions on this and the puppy’s diet sheet should be provided by the breeder at time of collection. Join your local Bulldog Club you will receive independent help and advice if you run into problems and you will make new friends who share your love of this wonderful breed ....good luck and enjoy your new friend.
When you buy a pedigree puppy you need and are entitled to be given the Kennel Club Registration Document by the seller which ensures the details of the puppies parents are verified at the Kennel Club. It is, at present, a green document with the Kennel Club insignia on it. The Pedigree on its own is NOT the dog’s registration form, without the Kennel Club Registration Document you cannot breed or show your dog at KC licensed events. As a pet it may not seem important but cross bred puppies are often sold as pedigree, which really is only the 'Family Tree' All pedigree breeds of dog have certain breed specific problems, responsible breeders are aware of these and will hopefully try to breed to minimise the problems by having their breeding stock checked by a veterinarian before breeding puppies. However with the best care possible sometimes things crop up from the ancestors so all we can do is our best with what we can see.
Choosing your Puppy
Bulldogs do come in all shapes and sizes, not all puppies will resemble the show winning sire whose photo you may have been shown. The mother of the puppies and the ancestors will have a huge input too!!
The utmost importance is the temperament of the mother and the general attitude of the puppy. Bulldog mums are very protective of their tiny defenceless puppies but by the time the puppies are ready to sell she should be outgoing and friendly towards you. If you aren’t shown the mother you should question her temperament. A properly socialised puppy should, after first weighing you up, be approachable and keen to play and be petted by you. At this age if they are not sleeping or eating they are chewing, nipping in play, this is normal and can be quite boisterous, a toy or chew to bite should be offered in place of your hand or feet as this behaviour on skin has to be curbed.
Bulldog puppies are usually sold at 8-9 weeks of age. They should have received their first immunisation, been examined by a veterinarian and been micro chipped. The breeder should offer you a puppy contract on which should be detailed advice on feeding, worming and general problems in the breed. The pedigree (family tree) of the dog and its registration at the Kennel Club should be available for inspection. Characteristics to look for:
- Wide Open Nostrils, this will enable better breathing and reduce much of the noisy breathing bulldogs have bad press about.
- A small nose roll or a split one is preferable. Heavy nose rolls and folds all increase the risk of skin problems as bacteria grows in sweaty folds, big nose rolls look cute but can become infected, they requires daily care as the puppy becomes an adult. However even large nose rolls can reduce as the puppy grows.
- Watch the bulldog run in the garden. It should move freely and not be unduly breathless. · Ideally the Bulldog should have a mobile tail, this is not always the case as often they may have tight tails. This may produce problems later in life such as infection as it is difficult to clean under a tight tail. The ideal is a straight tail.
- Eye problems are quite common in the breed. Beware of the puppy that blinks a lot or has heavy tear stains at 8-9 weeks although the staining may be aggravated by sweating.
- The construction of the puppy should be nicely balanced with a good neck length [for breathing] and a back of moderate length. [Too short can be unhealthy causing vertebrae problems] Bitch puppies if used for breeding can be longer as this gives more room for puppies to be carried.
- Puppies at 8/9 weeks should be nice and “chunky” this doesn’t mean overly obese, as carrying too much weight as they grow puts undue strain on their joints, heart and breathing. As they approach 5 months of age, they should be showing some shape, active puppies become more muscular and less flabby which will be better for their health. Big framed bulldogs does not mean obese so weight guides are all in proportion to the skeleton of the dog in question, if the mother is large there is a possibility that the puppy will be of good size when full grown.
Depending on why you are buying a dog should decide whether you buy a dog or bitch puppy . If you want to start showing, buy the best possible bitch with as good a pedigree as you can find. Study the bulldog standard and learn what the show ring requires. If you buy a promising dog and he does not turn out you must make another purchase whereas with a bitch you have the chance to breed something better. For a pet, one cannot beat the male bulldog. He will be more impressive to look at as the breed characteristics of males mean their heads are larger and they are extremely faithful loving and companionable.
You need to see its official registration and have the dog signed over to you.