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What To Look For When Buying An English Bulldog Puppy

A gentle, loving, and dependable English bulldog is the perfect choice when adding a furry friend to a family.

Also known as a “bully,” this loyal and protective dog is ideal for everyone from apartment dwellers to suburbanites.

Bullies have a sweet temperament and get along well with other pets.

The bulldog is gentle with children, making it perfect for families.

A daily walk is enough exercise for this breed, and it craves interaction with people.

But what should you look for when buying an English bulldog?

A bulldog pup represents a significant investment for your family.

You have the price of the puppy plus the cost of her maintenance and care for the next 6 to 10 years.

Here are some things to consider before choosing your new puppy.

The Good, The Bad, and The Snoring

Before selecting this breed of puppy, you should know some of the typical English bulldog traits.

  • This mid-size breed is 16 to 17 inches tall at the base of the neck.
  • Males are about 54 pounds and females 50 pounds. Adult dogs are prone to becoming overweight.
  • Bullies have thick necks, short faces, and heavy wrinkles that need frequent cleaning.
  • A bulldog coat is straight and short and sheds a moderate amount. The bully has low grooming requirements.
  • The standard colors for bulldogs are fawn, red, white, or brindle (tiger-stripe). They can also have 2 (piebald) or 3 (tri-colored) colors.
  • English bulldogs are laidback and only need 20 to 40 minutes of exercise per day. But they are physically unable to swim.
  • Bullies don’t tend to bark and dig, but they may snore, wheeze, drool, and have chronic flatulence.
  • The bulldog is people-orientated and needs a moderate amount of attention.
  • Bulldogs are brachycephalic (flat-faced) and do not do well in hot weather. They tend to overheat and have breathing difficulties.

Still interested in owning an English bulldog?

Then here’s how to pick a healthy and happy companion.

Find a Quality Bulldog Breeder

The English bulldog puppy is expensive, but there’s a good reason for it.

Due to potentially serious health risks, reputable breeders have a significant investment in each puppy.

Their costs include stud fees, c-section deliveries (80% of all deliveries), vaccinations, vet’s fees, puppy health checks, expensive testing procedures, and more.

You can find bully pups online and in pet stores.

They are usually more affordable but also poorly bred.

These dogs typically end up costing their owners thousands more in vet bills due to ongoing health issues.

Buying English bulldogs through these venues also keeps in existence an industry that thrives on the unhappiness and pain of defenseless animals.

To find a reputable breeder, consult your veterinarian, local bulldog rescue, or the BCA (Bulldog Club of America).

A breeder must follow stringent guidelines before the BCA will endorse them.

When picking a reliable breeder, it is essential to know their reputation. How long have they been in business?

Are the dogs allowed to mature before breeding?

Is the breeder comfortable with you visiting their facilities?

A reputable breeder should come across as open and honest and welcome your visit.

At the breeder’s facilities, check that the dogs are clean and free of ticks and fleas.

Preferably, the parents will be together, and the animals can go outside to play.

Check if the puppy has been socialized with cats and children as well as with other dogs.

You should not buy an English Bulldog puppy if they offer to fly it to you.

Because of the English bulldogs’ flat face, most airlines will not allow these dogs on board since the dog might not survive the flight.

Introduce Yourself to the Parents

While you’re visiting the kennel, meet the dam and sire of the puppies you are considering.

Are they healthy and friendly toward other animals and each other?

What do they look like?

Those adorable puppies are likely to grow up to look like and act like one of their parents.

So if you don’t like the parents’ looks or temperament, their puppies won’t be for you.

Meet the Puppies

Of course, you are going to fall in love. Puppies are adorable!

But step back a moment and make sure you pick the right puppy.

Study the puppies to avoid obvious health issues.

Here is a list of what to look for when buying an English bulldog puppy.

  • If the puppy is five to six weeks old, she should walk and breathe normally. Rasping, rattling, or wheezing is a red flag.
  • Is the puppy happy and friendly?
  • His tail should be straight and move easily – not restricted or pointing down.
  • The pup’s nose shouldn’t be too upturned, and its nostrils should be wide, not pinched and narrow.
  • The bully’s ears and eyes should be clean and clear. The puppy should not need to squint when looking at you.
  • Is the dog deaf? White or predominately white bulldogs are prone to deafness.
  • The puppy should be aware of his surroundings and be lively, not sluggish or overly tired.
  • Check the soft tissue in the back of the roof of the pup’s mouth. If elongated, the soft palate can cause issues.
  • Be cautious about selecting the runt of the litter as they may have more health issues.


  • Is the puppy friendly? Did she come to you?
  • Look for signs that the pup is fearful. Is he whimpering, crying, or urinating due to fear?
  • Check for aggression or rebellion. How does the puppy act if restrained for 30 seconds? Will she follow you? Will the pup let you carry him?
  • You want your puppy to be confident, curious, easy-going, and good-natured.


Male or female? Many believe a female bulldog is easier to train, and the males are less emotional.

Every dog has its own personality, so judge the pups by their temperament.

Body Type

All bulldogs have slightly different body shapes.

Observing the parents should give you a good idea of how large your dog will grow and its body type.

Perhaps its head will be a bit larger or its legs a bit shorter.

It’s up to you to decide if you like that or not.


English bulldogs come in eight standard colors.

The piebald (2 colors) and tri-color bullies combine these colors.

  • Brindle (tiger-stripe) – is a striped pattern with a different colored base.
  • Fawn (red) – ranges from a pale tan to deep deer-red.
  • White – a popular choice that may be pure white or have a few freckles in another color.
  • Lilac – rare color variation, the purplish-gray color is a mix of blue and brown hues.
  • Black – a rarer color, the shiny black coat may have a fawn undercoat.
  • Blue – the coat will appear gray in the sun or against darker-colored objects.
  • Chocolate – another rare color. A deep, rich brown.
  • Seal – very rare. These dogs have light-colored eyes and a reddish or brownish cast to their coats. Their legs and tail will be darker than the rest of their coats, and they will have a dark stripe down their backs.

Some experts suggest that bulldogs that are black, blue, lilac, chocolate, or seal color could have more health problems than the brindle, fawn (red), and white dogs.

The Breeder Should Question You

A reputable breeder cares for his dogs and wants them to have a good forever home.

It is usual for them to question you on your suitability as a dog owner.

They will not be enthusiastic about selling dogs for breeding or showing, so you will pay a premium if that is your intention.

A good breeder will not hand over the puppy until it is eight weeks to three months old.

Before eight weeks, puppies need their mothers for health, developmental, and weaning reasons.

Separating them from their mothers too soon can lead to health and behavioral problems.

With another month, the bully pup learns a lot and is less miserable to leave his dam.

Expect to sign an agreement with the breeder that you will have your pup spayed or neutered when they reach the correct age.

Medical Records and Certification

Every dog breed has some health issues, and even the best quality bulldogs can suffer from many ailments.

Minimize the potential for underlying severe health issues by purchasing from a reputable breeder.

Breeders with quality dogs care about their reputations and work hard to produce healthy puppies.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) should have certified the puppy and its parents.

The breeder can provide those records.

A puppy with a historical bloodline of purebreds and champions shows that the line still meets the original bulldog standards and should have fewer health issues.

Since the healthiest puppies are likely to come from parents with the fewest medical conditions, check the AKC and breeder’s medical records for any ailments such as:

  • Brachycephalic syndrome
  • Dystocia
  • Vaginal hyperplasia
  • Facial fold dermatitis
  • Interdigital dermatitis
  • Cryptorchidism
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Skin allergies
  • Cherry eye

In general, breeders will give you a two-year guarantee on their bulldogs.

During the first 72 hours following the puppy’s arrival, they are usually available for any questions or help you may need.

Before picking up the puppy, make sure that the breeder has had it vaccinated and microchipped.

Do not buy the puppy until the breeder provides you with the ready papers, registration, health certificates, and endorsements.

Make sure a veterinarian that specializes in bulldogs examines your puppy as soon as possible.

Since bullies have unique physical attributes and health conditions, you should choose a veterinarian specializing in bulldogs.

The breeder may give you a refund or another puppy if your veterinarian finds a significant health issue during his initial examination.

How Much Will My Puppy Cost?

So you have visited a reliable breeder, picked out a well-bred puppy, met the parents, and evaluated the health risks.

Now is the time to consider the price.

As shocking as it may seem, your puppy could cost anywhere from $2,000 to $4,000.

The prices can differ depending on whether it is a pet or a show-quality puppy.

Geographical location and the breeder’s reputation can also cause price variation.

Be wary of any bulldog pup priced below $1,500.

These dogs most likely come from disreputable breeders or puppy mills and have not had the appropriate testing and care.

These pups are more likely to have multiple health issues.

The dog may not even be a purebred English bulldog.

Final Thoughts

Buying an English bulldog should be a joyous occasion but don’t rush your decision.

Following these guidelines will help you move towards owning the bulldog of your dreams.

Do your homework correctly and choose wisely.

If possible, take time to look at different litters of puppies.

Then make your choice carefully so that you can enjoy a healthy, well-adjusted new addition to your family for many years to come.

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National Canine Research Association of America