SELECTING YOUR BULLDOG PUPPY

So you don't repeat the mistakes made by many first-time bulldog owners, here are some helpful hints for selecting that first puppy.

A DOG IS FOR LIFE - Consider this commitment carefully.

CONTACT THE BULLDOG CLUB NEAREST YOU - Mother Lode Bulldog Club (MLBC) maintains a Breeder Referral Service that can assist you in contacting breeders who subscribe to our Club's Code of Ethics.

DON'T BUY THE FIRST PUPPY YOU SEE - The bulldog's appearance, personality, and temperament vary. See as many litters and adult dogs as possible to be sure that you know what you want. Color should be your last consideration. Responsible breeders don't have puppies available all the time, so finding the right puppy may take some time. Be willing to wait--the right puppy will be worth it.

BUY FROM A BREEDER - Bulldogs are a man-made breed that is subject to a variety of inherent health problems. Responsible breeders will be open and honest about health problems or congenital abnormalities in their lines. Ask questions and listen carefully to the answers.

STUDY THE BULLDOG STANDARD - Compare not only the puppy you are considering but its parents as well. If you have questions, MLBC members will be able to assist you.

LOOK FOR GOOD TEMPERAMENT - Neither adult bulldogs nor puppies should be shy or aggressive. Whenever possible, check the temperament of both parents as well. Ask the breeder about any known temperament problems, whether people or dog related.

OBTAIN A CONTRACT THAT EXPLAINS ALL TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF THE SALE.

CONSIDER SPAYING OR NEUTERING - Your puppy should be spayed or neutered at the earliest recommended age if you are looking solely for a companion animal. NOTE: Neutered pets may be shown in obedience trials but NOT in conformation. Spaying or neutering will contribute to the animal's health and make it a better pet. Remember-you are adding a new member to your family-not investing in future earnings.

THE PRICE YOU PAY FOR YOUR PUPPY IS BUT YOUR FIRST EXPENSE--AND PROBABLY THE LEAST OF THE EXPENSES YOU WILL INCUR!

After talking to a breeder, seeing the puppies, and asking questions, if you have any hesitation, don't like the answers or don't agree with the terms of the sale - WALK AWAY!

When you purchase your puppy, you should get a copy of the sales contract and receipt for payment, a copy of the puppy's 3 or 4 generation pedigree, a copy of his medical records, and his AKC registration application. The puppy should be at least eight weeks old and weaned, wormed (if necessary), and have at least its first set of immunization shots.

You will find that bulldog puppies are expensive. It is costly to breed and raise a litter. Stud fees, prenatal testing and care of brood bitch, birthing (normally by Caesarean Section), puppy food and shots are all costly. Infant mortality is generally higher than in other breeds. Litters are often small. DO NOT BUY A BULLDOG PUPPY WITH THE THOUGHT THAT YOU WILL RETRIEVE YOUR INVESTMENT BY BREEDING A FEW TIMES. Most bulldog breeders are dedicated and only breed in an effort to improve the breed.

A breeder will sometimes have a puppy that is considered to be less desirable than others in the litter. He may then sell that so-called "pet quality" puppy for less and with a "limited registration" or without papers at all. AKC will not recognize future puppies born of any animal that has been registered under the "limited registration" feature.

Choose a puppy that is friendly, outgoing and unaggressive. If the puppy will lie on its back while you rub its tummy, he will probably have a good disposition. Verify that his eyes and nose are free of discharge. Make an appointment with your veterinarian (or a recommended bulldog vet) as soon as possible to confirm the health of the puppy. Be sure the contract has a clause for the return of the puppy within a reasonable specified time (usually 3 days) if the vet finds a major health problem.

Select your breeder carefully, getting referrals from other bulldoggers. Many puppies are bred by someone who may never breed another litter and usually lack the experience or expertise to recognize potential problems. Unfortunately, some do not stand behind their puppies. When you inquire, the breeder will interview you. They want to know that you can house and raise their puppy appropriately and that their puppy will have one home for its whole life. An ethical breeder will not separate a puppy from the litter until it is a minimum of 8 weeks of age. Many breeders hold them longer. A small puppy cannot be guaranteed to be show quality. The breeder will insist that you prepare an appropriate place at home for the puppy before taking it. They will personally instruct you thoroughly on puppy feeding and care and will provide the puppy's record of vaccinations and worming. You will be encouraged to spay or neuter your pet unless you are seriously planning to show and/or breed your dog. You will be asked to keep in close contact with the breeder before you make plans to breed so that the most advantageous and compatible breeding may be done. Knowledge of pedigrees and lineage are essential if you want to breed bulldogs.
 
 
Authored by Jean Simmons, MLBC member.