The cartoons I watched when I was a kid are a fun memory for me. Bulldogs were often portrayed as strong protectors…or massive bullies. In one cartoon, the bulldog often defended Tweety Bird from Sylvester the Cat.
When I got my first colored computer monitor in the 90s, I chose as my wallpaper a picture of an English bulldog. It intrigued me, how interesting this canine was. After a few searches regarding the personality of the dog, I put it on my wish list because it did not fit my needs and lifestyle then. I always preferred an active dog that required minimal care and was fairly priced.
My family knew about my wish list, and they probably knew me better because in August 2014, my wife Suzie and kids Jamie and Aaron surprised me with an English bulldog puppy. I would say the puppy got me at hello. We named him Thor. He was a gift to me to bring to my office so my bullmastiff Hulk could have a companion—and given how friendly Thor was, he became a great friend to Hulk.
BASIC CARE AND INFORMATION
• Breed group: Non-sporting
• Weight: Males, 53-55 pounds (24-25 kilograms or kg); females, 49-51 pounds (22-23 kg)
• Height: 12-16 inches (31-40 centimeters or cm)
• Lifespan: 5-10 years
• Color: Brindle, fawn or yellow, piebald, red, solid white
• Requires minimal grooming and exercise
• Short nose makes it prone to overheating in warm weather
• Prone to cherry eye and skin infections
• Needs a shady place to rest
• Great jumpers because of their massive legs
BREED STANDARDS – English bulldog must be of medium size and have a smooth coat. They have a massive, short-faced head, wide shoulders, and sturdy limbs. They are wide, medium-sized, compact dogs with short legs and bodies, and massive heads with extra skin on the skull and forehead falling in folds and their skin hanging under the neck. Their attitude should suggest great stability, vigor, and strength. They are kind, stubborn and courageous, but not vicious or aggressive. Friendly, sociable, and sweet, they get along with everyone, from children to other animals.
I have personally experienced my bulldog contracting skin diseases, white retina in one eye, and needing an operation for cherry eye. We are fortunate to have a great veterinarian, Dr. Jerry Hawson, from whom we acquired Thor. Dr. Hawson is very patient with all our dogs and explains every detail to the answers he gives when we inquire from him. I got the opportunity to get information about him and his liking for English bulldogs.
Dr. Jerry Hawson opened his own clinic in 1999 named Pet Bureau located in Del Monte Avenue Quezon City. He got interested in Brachycephalic breeds when he was in his second year of studying pre-vet. “Brachycephalic” means “shortened head” and refers to the short nose and flat face of these dogs.
He started with a pug and was influenced by his friends Marlon Clemente, Dr. Nathaniel Cheng (his business partner in Pet Bureau), and Joey Mancilla. I acquired my Doberman in the past from Joey Mancilla.
Dr. Jerry is fond of bulldogs because of their cuteness and high energy levels from when it is a puppy until it reaches adulthood. Breeding English bulldogs is a great challenge. The timing of labor is critical when they are full term. He learned that other countries wanted to stop the breeding of English bulldogs due to its defects as a breed. He personally feels the breed will endure because people love English bulldogs in spite of its faults.
Every time I am at the office, a happy routine takes place. My dogs always start barking when my car stops in front of the gate, as they know I’ve just arrived.
As I alight from my vehicle, they patiently and quietly watch me from their kennel. I watch them from my office window as they play and engage in their antics.
After my office work, it is time for me to have my regular visit with my pets. I will check on my fish in the pond, then go up to the roof and fly racing pigeons. But my most fun time is giving treats to Thor and Hulk; they get so excited that they start jumping in their kennels. They carefully claim the treats from my hand, avoiding biting me. My hand will always end up wet from their saliva. It is really fun.
Taking care of English bulldogs is a big challenge. They might not be ideal for beginners but with their great personalities and adorable looks and behavior, I would suggest learning about and researching on their care before taking the plunge and getting a pet bulldog.
All of my articles are based on my research and personal experiences. For questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
(John 20:29) Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
This story appeared in Animal Scene’s April 2017 issue.