Common Health Issues in Bulldogs

Bulldogs are medium-sized dogs that originated in England, where people began to breed them in the second half of the 16th century. They were used for bull-baiting, and that’s how the breed got the name. Today, there are several breeds of bulldogs, but the three most popular are the French Bulldog, English Bulldog, and American Bulldog.

Compared to their ancestor, the Old English Bulldog, the appearance of these dogs has changed drastically over the years, making them susceptible to a number of serious health issues. The English Bulldog and the French Bulldog are particularly susceptible to numerous health problems, while the American Bulldog is a healthier breed because its physical constitution hasn’t undergone such major changes.

Below you can find the lists of diseases that have been reported in each of these breeds. The purpose of these lists is to inform French, English, and American Bulldog owners about the health problems that can potentially occur in their dogs.

Common Health Issues in English Bulldogs (British Bulldogs)

The English Bulldog as we know today is very different from its ancestor the Old English Bulldog, which was a much healthier breed. Former English Bulldogs served for bull baiting, and their build was adapted to the purpose for which they existed. They were stronger, taller, and heavier than today’s English Bulldogs, and had a stronger and wider jaw. As these dogs became less and less used for bull baiting, breeders wanted to get slightly smaller dogs of a milder nature through selective breeding. Thus, certain body parts of the former English Bulldog were drastically changed, which led to a huge increase in health problems in this breed.

The health issues that have been reported in English Bulldogs over the years are:

  1. Orthopedic issues: hip dysplasia, arthritis, patellar luxation, cruciate ligament rupture, intervertebral disc disease, hemivertebrae
  2. Eye problems: corneal ulcers, cherry eye, brachycephalic ocular disease, dry eye/sicca syndrome, entropion, distichiasis
  3. Skin problems: atopic dermatitis, bacterial infections, skin fold dermatitis, acute moist dermatitis, interdigital cysts, dry skin, Demodex (demodectic mange)
  4. Cancer and tumors: lymphoma, mast cell tumors, perianal gland tumors, tumors of the central nervous system
  5. Reproductive issues (they cannot mate without assistance, due to their physical build, large heads and wider shoulders, most puppies are being delivered by c-section)
  6. Problems related to the nervous system: idiopathic head tremors (IHT), hydrocephalus
  7. Food allergies
  8. Hyperthyroidism
  9. Heart diseases: aortic stenosis, pulmonary stenosis, mitral valve disease
  10. Ear infections: otitis externa
  11. Tracheal hypoplasia
  12. Brachycephalic Airway Obstructive Syndrome (BAOS)
  13. Megaesophagus
  14. Pyloric stenosis
  15. Overheating/heat sensitivity
  16. Deafness
  17. Hyperuricosuria
  18. Von Willebrand’s disease
  19. Bloat
  20. Laryngeal paralysis

Due to the drastic changes that have been caused in the appearance of the English Bulldog over the years, this breed is more susceptible to a large number of diseases than any other. The list of potential diseases above is not exhaustive, which means that there is a possibility that your dog may have a disease that we didn’t mention. Also, keep in mind that this list has been compiled with the aim of informing you as an English Bulldog owner about the potential health problems of your dog, this doesn’t mean that most of these health issues will inevitably occur in your dog.

Common Health Issues in American Bulldogs

Although American Bulldogs are generally a healthy breed, unlike English Bulldogs that are susceptible to a large number of health issues, still there are certain health problems that can occur in these dogs.

Health issues that American Bulldogs are prone to are:

  1. Orthopedic issues: ACL tears, hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, patellar luxation, arthritis
  2. Skin problems: demodectic mange, ichthyosis
  3. Eye problems: cherry eye, entropion, dry eye/sicca syndrome, ectropion
  4. Neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis (NCL)
  5. Bone cancer
  6. Food allergies
  7. Hypothyroidism
  8. Obesity
  9. Inherited deafness
  10. Respiratory issues
  11. Bladder or kidney stones
  12. Heart disease
  13. Dental diseases
  14. Overheating/heat sensitivity

It’s not entirely certain that these diseases will occur in your dog, but they have been reported in this breed over the years. We wanted to cover as many potential health problems as possible with this list, but that doesn’t mean your American Bulldog can’t get some disease that isn’t on this list.

Common Health Issues in French Bulldogs

The French Bulldog breed is, just like the English Bulldog, susceptible to a number of health issues. These two types of bulldogs have become extremely popular in recent years, and along with their popularity, there has been a growing number of debates about whether it’s ethically correct to breed these two types of dogs at all, given a large number of health issues they are prone to.

Here are the diseases that the French Bulldog is susceptible to:

  1. Orthopedic issues: hip dysplasia, hemivertebrae, intervertebral disc disease, patellar luxation, elbow dysplasia
  2. Eye problems: conjunctivitis, cherry eye, cataracts, distichiasis, entropion, corneal ulcer
  3. Heart diseases: cardiomyopathy, pulmonic stenosis
  4. Problems related to the nervous system: degenerative myelopathy, epilepsy
  5. Ear infections: otitis externa
  6. Skin problems: skin fold dermatitis, pyoderma, atopic dermatitis (Atopy)
  7. Deafness
  8. Dental problems: overcrowded teeth, bad breath
  9. Reverse sneezing
  10. Brachycephalic Respiratory Syndrome
  11. Tracheal Collapse
  12. Von Willebrand’s disease
  13. Anal Sac Impaction
  14. Hemophilia A and B
  15. Allergies
  16. Colitis
  17. Gastroenteritis
  18. Perineal Hernia

The purpose of this list is to inform owners of French bulldogs (or those who are just about to become one) about the potential health problems that can occur in these dogs. The list is not comprehensive, which means that there is a possibility that your French Bulldog may have a health issue that is not listed here.