The English Bulldog: A Proper Gentleman

Background

Although the English bulldog was initially bred for fighting, the breed has since been reborn into a lifestyle of gentility. As you can guess from their name, bulldogs were originally used in the sport of bullfighting. These brave dogs would bite onto the bull’s nose in order to provoke the bull. Many physical features of today’s bulldog were developed during selective breeding for bullfighting: the bulldog’s low-slung body made it easy for the dog to crawl out of reach of an angry bull’s horns, while its distinctive underbite allowed it to latch onto a bull’s nose, and its own scrunched nostrils were still able to inhale and exhale while pressed against the bull. After bullfighting was outlawed for its inhumanity, English bulldogs were repurposed for dogfighting – which was considered a “more humane” form of entertainment at the time. After dogfighting was also outlawed in 1835, the bulldog breed’s ferocity was eliminated through selective breeding, acclimating the dogs to a life of love and leisure. The pets we adore today have very little in common, temperamentally, with their ancestors.

Shapes and Sizes

These dogs are heavy and powerful. Males typically weigh about 55 lbs, while females average a little lighter at around 51 lbs. Their short, smooth, and glossy coat requires very minimal care and comes in a variety of colors and blends, including brindle, solid white, red, fawn, and piebald. A bulldog’s wrinkled skin can harbor skin infections, so be sure to use a damp cloth to clean out your pet’s skin folds on a regular basis.

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Axle Klysen as a puppy, sporting his Carthage Bulldogs jersey!

Personality Traits

Bulldogs’ tranquil and outgoing personalities make them exceptionally compatible with children. This breed’s courage is perhaps the only personality trait the dogs have retained from their bullfighting days, and it only serves to make them more lovable. They also have a tendency to be a little obstinate, which can sometimes be quite comical. According to the American Kennel Club, the bulldog is the 4th most popular dog breed in the United States.

Health Issues

Their short, squished snouts make it difficult for bulldogs to cool off, so this breed is especially sensitive to both excessive exercise and heat. Don’t think that these dogs can get away without any exercise, though! Bulldogs still need their regular walks. Just be watchful, because these dogs can be susceptible to heat stroke, especially when they get overheated or overexcited. Bulldogs are also known to occasionally suffer from respiratory issues if the folds of their palates sag enough to block their airways. Additionally, if you’re thinking of breeding your bulldog, keep in mind that these dogs often require a C-Section for successful delivery – the puppies’ heads are so large that they have difficulty fitting through the birth canal.

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Another picture of Axle Klysen, reminding everyone that rest is a necessity, especially for bulldogs!

Fun Facts

  • If you didn’t already know, bulldogs are a favorite as a mascot for athletic teams. (Go Dawgs!) Many claim the most famous bulldog mascot is the live one belonging to the University of Georgia, affectionately called “Uga.
  • Quite a few celebrities own bulldogs! The list includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Reese Witherspoon, Zac Efron, David Beckham and Martha Stewart, to name a few.
  • When the breed originated, bulldogs were prized for their facial wrinkles, which strategically helped prevent blood from trickling into their eyes while wrestling with a bull.
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Ay, Chihuahua(s)!

Background

Chihuahuas have appeared in the canine limelight several times in the past decade, with the beloved pooches starring in Disney’s Beverly Hills Chihuahua films. The films’ recurring theme of “We are tiny, but we are mighty” hearkens back to the breed’s origination in ancient times. Although there is a bit of controversy over the exact origin of this breed, most sources agree that Chihuahuas were originally viewed as sacred animals in Mexico and other South American countries. In fact, a Mexican Indian legend says Chihuahuas were once “important religious objects.” According to one source, Chihuahuas’ souls were thought to travel for eternity, bearing their masters’ sins along with them. The breed was officially discovered in Mexico in 1850. Since then, their role in society has shifted from objects of religious reverence to tiny, lovable household companions.

Shapes and Sizes

With both males and females measuring just 5 inches long and weighing 2-4 lbs on average, Chihuahuas are officially the smallest dogs in the world. Their endearingly large ears and “apple-dome-shaped” heads are two of the breed’s most distinctive features. The breed can have either a smooth or long coat, both of which require minimal grooming. Coat colors range from sand white to blue, with multiple combinations.

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Pumpkin and Charlie, two members of the Animal Medical Center family, pose for a Halloween glamour shot.

Personality Traits

The American Kennel Club describes Chihuahuas as “intelligent, graceful, charming and sassy.” In 2015, Chihuahuas were ranked the 29th most popular dog breed. Although Chihuahuas can be perceived as hyper and do require some daily exercise, their size ultimately makes them best suited as indoor pets.

Health Issues

Chihuahuas typically have minimal health problems. That being said, there is always a possibility that some health issues will arise over a dog’s lifetime. For Chihuahuas, some of the most prevalent issues are dental disease, hypoglycemia (most common in younger dogs) and patellar luxation, which essentially causes the kneecaps to slip out of place. Chihuahuas normally live 14-18 years, which is one of the longest life expectancies for canines.

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Two more adorable Animal Medical Center chihuahua pups.

Fun Facts

  • In terms of a brain to body size ratio, the Chihuahua is thought to have one of the largest brains of all dog breeds.
  • Both of the dogs who starred in Beverly Hills Chihuahua — Angel, who played Chloe, and Rusco, who played Papi — were originally rescue dogs.
  • Chihuahuas are named after the Mexican state of Chihuahua, where they are thought to have originated.