British Bulldog

Updated April 10, 2012, 12:59 pm betterhomesgardens

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British as Big Ben, the Union Jack, fish and chips and with as much character as the great Winston Churchill himself- meet the British Bulldog.

While the gardeners in the team are at The Chelsea flower show Dr Harry gets to profile a true blue Brit, the British Bulldog. Despite his dad breeding fox terriers Dr Harry's first pet was a bulldog which he shared with his brother. A bulldog and foxie have nothing in, and the bulldog remains Dr Harry's favourite breed.

The bulldog is a real head turner. It has a powerful, muscular body, a large head (classified as 'brachycephalic') and a face that's kind of scary, funny, ugly and plain cute all at the same time. They might look like they've been dropped face down and hence quite fierce but the bulldog is a real softy underneath and makes an ideal family companion.

A bulldog coat is either red, white, fawn, brindle or piebald (a combination of red and white or brindle and white). The Muzzle is sometimes dark. With its stocky legs set squarely at each corner of its compact, muscular body, the gait is unusual compared to other dogs. Males can weigh 25kg and females slightly less.

Bulldogs are noisy, they seem to snore constantly. Some might have a little slobber too. Grooming is important a couple of times a week. They'll need brushing with a mitt and the folds of skin cleaning with antiseptic. Check the folds around the eye and above the nose as if left wet bacteria can grow and cause infection. Vaseline is needed on the nose.

It's important not to over feed your bulldog. Being a stocky breed, once this dog puts on weight it's very difficult to shift. They need regular exercise, at least a couple of times a week, but no swimming; they can't swim! The bulldog's big enemy is the heat so take a spray bottle with you and regularly give them a good cooling squirt of water on the head and body

British Bulldogs can be a little stubborn, but they are also loyal and dependable, so training needs to be gentle and perisistent. The Bulldog, like any other dog, benefits from obedience training and socialisation from an early age. Bulldogs are wonderful with kids but even so children should be supervised with dogs at all times. Never let children pick up a bulldog pup as they are top heavy and they wriggle. A bulldog will live for around 11 years.

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