Bulldog

AKC Group: Non-sporting

English Bulldogs were bred from the Asiatic Mastiff for its aggressiveness. They were used to bait bulls or bears for the ancient barbaric sport of Bull Baiting. In 1835, the sport was banned in England, so Bulldog owners turned to dogfighting. Thankfully for the breed, Bulldogs didn’t perform as well as other breeds and they were mostly left out of this sport. UK dog lovers took the breed and bred out most of the aggression while retaining the original size and shape. The Bulldog is now a wonderful companion dog.

Size: 12 to 16 inches tall, 50 to 55 pounds.

Color: Red, fawn , brindle, white, piebald, yellow or any combination of colors.

Life span: 8 to 10 years.

Health problems: Heart problems, thyroid issues, entropion, cataractsm elongated palate, eye disorders, inverted tail, recessed tail, stenotic nares, skin problems. As a short-haired breed, take caution during extreme temperatures. With his short muzzle, guard against exertion and watch for breathing problems.

Bulldogs have short, stout bodies and a glum expression. The skin on their faces falls in folds. His legs are set far apart. His coat is short and sleek. Bulldogs have small ears that fold down against the head. A Bulldog is a sturdy dog indeed.

Personality-wise, Bulldogs are one of the most gentle breeds that exist. They make excellent, wonderful companions for the whole family — even if that family includes a cat. If you’re looking for an entertaining dog, a Bulldog is a great bet. Friendly and loving, they want to be with you. A Bulldog friend is a friend for life. (You can set your watch by them.) They are so dependable!

Bulldogs can develop jealousy issues and don’t like to share food. They can be lazy, so exercise is important, but do not overdo it. Instead of extreme Frisbee, think a moderate stroll. During extremely hot or cold temperatures, keep your Bulldog inside. Sensitive and intelligent, a Bulldog is the perfect dog for you if you live a relaxed lifestyle.

Brush your Bulldog occasionally. If he’s really shedding, brush him more often. The most attention he’ll require is cleaning his facial folds in order to prevent infection. You’ll probably also need to clean the skin around his tail. Training will be challenging. Bulldogs tend to have their own agendas. He needs to know that you’re the boss through gentle and positive methods. These dogs are extremely sensitive to punishment and — once out of puppyhood — do not willfully disobey. Some Bulldogs are extremely stubborn and very difficult to train. Never be afraid to seek outside help. Obedience training that starts in puppyhood is an excellent investment. Always keep in mind, a Bulldog takes a minute or two before he responds. Repetitive training for short periods of time work best for this breed. They respond well to praise and food (limit food rewards though because Bulldogs gain weight easily) and they truly want to please you.

If you’re not giving him enough attention, he may chew things. Proper and early socialization will ensure his friendly personality will shine. As a Bulldog ages, he naturally slows down. The Bulldog remains a national symbol of Great Britain.

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Boston Terrier

AKC Group: Non-sporting

In 1870 a man named Robert C. Hooper purchased a dog that was a cross between an English Bulldog and an English Terrier. This dog known as a Hooper’s Judge was bred with a smaller female. The resulting offspring was bred with French Bulldogs. These dogs were the basis of the Boston Terrier breed.

The Boston Terrier was the first American breed to be recognized by the American Kennel Club. Boston Terriers are not true terriers at all.

Size: 15 to 17 inches, 10 to 25 pounds

Color: Black and white, brown & white, brindle & white, rarely seen in red & white.

Life span: 13 to 15 years

Health problems: Luxating patella, epilepsy, heart problems, deafness, allergies, thyroid problems, seizures, skin or eye infections, sensitivity to certain chemicals or medications. His short coat makes him susceptible to sunstroke. His short muzzle leaves him vulnerable to respiratory problems if he’s over-exercised.

Boston Terriers are small, athletically built dogs that have short muzzles, erect ears and dark eyes. Their wallowing eyes give them a “worried” expression. Deep down, though, they’re happy and loyal dogs. Boston Terriers have sleek, short coats.

Gentle, affectionate and sociable, if human, a Boston Terrier would be the perfect gentleman. These traits have allowed the Boston Terrier to become one of the most popular dog breeds in the U.S. He is eager, ready to please and an extremely loyal pet. He craves your attention and the more you give, the more you’ll get back from him. This dog is definitely a lover, not a fighter.

Your Boston Terrier will get along with all your children and all other household companion pets. A completely trusting breed, Boston Terriers even like strangers. This may not always be a good thing; he may go off with a stranger! At times, a Boston Terrier can be stubborn, spirited (the bad kind) and independent (code for extra-stubborn). Males can be territorial if they aren’t socialized properly in puppyhood.

Training should be a breeze. They love to learn and catch on quickly. Just be careful that you don’t speak harshly, Boston Terriers are sensitive to tones. Treating and praise should be all you need, they love both! Be sure that you give him enough attention at all times because this is a breed that craves human contact. If they aren’t getting enough, they suffer. Most importantly, have fun when training. Keep your sessions short or he’ll get bored. An occasional brushing with a bristle brush will remove dead hair. Washing with a damp cloth will keep his coat glossy. Check the eyes and skin regularly for signs of infections and trim the nails as needed. Bathing should be done only when necessary.

Boerboel

AKC Group: Working

While the Dutch were traveling through Africa, the Boerboel was developed. Boerboel are considered a Mastiff type of dog, though they are smaller. These “Mastiffs” were bred with local African dogs. When the English arrived in the early 1800s, they brought their English Mastiff type dog and Bulldogs. These dogs were then bred into the fold. The English Bulldog and Bull Mastiff were the key influences to the Boerboel breed. All Boerboels have to be vet checked and pass health tests to be registered with the South African Boerboel Breeders Association. (The Association was formed to prevent continued crossbreeding.)

Size: 23 to 28 inches tall, 154 to 200 pounds.

Color: Reddish brown, cream, brindle, tawny. Boerboels can have black masks (or not) and possibly white on the chest.

Life span: 12 to 15 years.

Health problems: The selective breeding and little veterinary care led Boerboels to be naturally healthy dogs. Their large size leaves them vulnerable to hip or elbow dysplasia. Vaginal hyperplasia occurs with females bred with abnormal tissue in the vaginal area.

The Boerboel is an extremely large, muscular, imposing looking dog. The head is large and square with a thick muzzle. Triangular ears fold down and lay close to the head. The skin around their eyes is always dark. Noses are black and a dark mask can cover the muzzle and top lip. Boerboels have an arched neck and shoulders. Chests are deep and broad. The back is straight and long. Tails are often docked, but, if not, a Boerboel has a long tail. Energetic, Boerboels walk with purpose and a spring in their step.

Intelligent, loyal and protective, a Boerboel makes an excellent companion. They bark loudly to announce an arrival and are quick to learn who is a friend and who is a foe. Boerboels prefer to use their size and strength first to protect their territory and only resort to violence when necessary. For a harmonious life, your yard needs to have a fence. They love to be with their family and will play with children for hours. They tolerate rough housing and the overzealousness of young children; a Boerboel is a friend to children of any age. The Boerboel quickly learns when to be gentle with children and other small companion animals. Boerboels are sensitive and will reflect your mood, so be careful. Proper socialization will aid a Boerboel in determining friends from threats. If you won’t be walking your Boerboel, it’s a must that your Boerboel is familiar with the pitch hitter. Boerboels do better with an experienced dog owner. He is not the dog for you if he’s your first ever dog.

Grooming is easy thanks to their short (but thick) coat. Brush once or twice a week and trim the nails if you don’t give your Boerboel exercise on hard surfaces. Training will be useless until he understands that you’re the boss. This shouldn’t be taught via harsh, punitive or violent methods. A Boerboel that doesn’t learn he isn’t in charge will become a domineering nightmare! Firmness and consistency is your way to success. When left in too small an area for too long, a Boerboel becomes destructive. A combination of exercises and playtime interspersed with training will help him concentrate and stay motivated.