Common Bull Dog Health Issues

No dog breed is exempt from dog health issues, but the bull dog breed seems to be prone to much more than that of most other breeds. While avid bull dog lovers are willing to pay the costly bull dog price tag and unusually high vet bills, those who have never owned a bull dog may not understand the fascination. With its undercut jaw, sagging jowls, broad chest, and slung-back stomach, the bull dog is a rather unmistakable breed. However, anyone who is considering owning a bull dog should be aware of some basic health conditions that commonly afflict the bull dog.


There is no doubt that the bull dog breed gets much of its appeal from its short, stocky, chubby appearance, but weight control is a vital element to ensuring a healthy lifestyle for the bull dog. The average male bull dog has an average full-grown weight of 50 to 60 pounds, while the female bull dog averages out between 40 to 50 pounds. This breed is considered to be a medium sized breed based on its weight and structure, but the even the average of 50 pounds can be a lot of weight for such a short dog to carry around.

The main reason that bull dogs tend to struggle with their weight is that they naturally have a tendency to overeat. The bull dog should never be allowed to free-feed, but rather the bull dog owner should maintain a more controlled diet. A bull dog maintains an obsession with food and will simply eat until there is no food left, which can be particularly detrimental to the gastrointestinal system as well as the overall weight of the dog. For this reason, it is important that bull dog owners be very diligent of their dog’s diet.   

Heat Intolerance

The bull dog is not the dog to own if you are looking for a companion to join you in your leisurely jogs through the park. While the bull dog should certainly be given adequate amounts of exercise, its exercise routine must be handled very carefully.

Genetically, bull dogs have extreme sensitivities to heat, namely because of their physical structure. The breed is known as a brachycephalic breed, which literally means “short head”. Because the structure of their head presents with an extremely narrow airway passage, the bull dog is not equipped to breath normally when temperatures are not ideal, posing a grave threat to its ability to breath. The optimal year-round temperature for the bull dog is 70 degrees, which is why the bull dog tends to spend more hours indoors than outdoors.


Hypothyroidism is an endocrine disorder that occurs when the thyroid gland does not produce the necessary amount of thyroid hormone. Among other things, hypothyroidism commonly attributes to rapid amounts of weight gain, putting the bull dog in an even higher risk bracket for obesity. While this is a condition in the bull dog that can be managed successfully with medication, it is important for prospective bull dog owners to know that hypothyroidism is especially common among this breed.