Maximizing Your English Bulldog Lifespan: 7 Essential Tips


Every pet owner eventually finds themselves wondering about their dog’s lifespan. This curiosity is particularly strong among those who have English bulldogs, as they are eager to discover ways to extend the life of their bull-baiting English bulldogs.

English bulldogs and other pets can live a longer healthier life, provided you follow some simple tips. As an English Bulldog parent, you might also want to educate yourself about the most common cause of death in the English bulldog breed. An understanding of this will help you remain vigilant to common symptoms, so you can get your pet the timely care it deserves.

In this guide, we will tell you all about the English bulldogs lifespan and ways to extend it.

How Much is the Average English Bulldog Lifespan?

The average lifespan of an English bulldog is 8-10 years. However, some English bulldogs are known to live for 11-12 years. Mature females live slightly longer than male bulldog.

The British bulldog has an unfortunately short life despite being one of the small-sized dog breeds. Most English bulldogs start showing signs of aging by the time they are 6 years old. 

Small dogs live longer compared to some of the medium sized dogs and larger dog breeds. But, in case of English bulldogs, that isn’t a rule.

Let us find out the common causes of death in English bulldogs.

Also, check out: French Bulldog Lifespan

What Is the Most Common Cause of Death in English Bulldogs?

According to the experts at the Royal Veterinary College, UK, the English bulldog breed’s popularity is on the rise, but due to obesity and respiratory issues which mar the bulldog’s health, their lifespan is considerably shorter compared to other breeds.

Originally bred for bull fighting, the English bulldog is a popular companion these days. They are known for their stubborn nature and affectionate personalities.

Since we all want our dogs to live a long and healthy life, here is a list of health issues seen in English bulldogs that English bulldog owners need to make themselves aware of:

Respiratory Diseases/Brachycephalic Syndrome

English bulldogs have flat or pushed-in noses or squashed faces as they were originally bred for bull baiting. As a result, these dogs are at risk of brachycephalic airway syndrome. This disease causes severe breathing problems in bull dogs and other dog breeds with similar facial structures.

Some dogs even need surgery to fix the condition and help them breathe. Symptoms of brachycephalic syndrome in dogs are shortness of breath or breathing problems, panting, intolerance to exercise, etc. 

These factors impact the English bulldogs ability to exercise, leading to obesity. Obese English bulldogs are at an even greater risk of developing breathing problems and related health issues, so it becomes a vicious cycle.

Good English bulldog breeders will only breed English bulldogs without this genetic issue so that the English bulldog litters are healthier.

Gastric Torsion

This condition can also reduce the English bulldog lifespan. It causes the stomach and intestines to twist painfully, causing intense discomfort, vomiting, and abdominal pain. The affected English bulldogs stomachs fill up with air and twist painfully on the ligaments, cutting off the blood supply.

The only way to make English bulldogs live with gastric torsion is with emergency surgery. 


English Bulldogs are also prone to cancers such as mast cell tumors and lymphomas. These considerably shorten the dogs life span.

Thankfully, according to vets, one can detect canine cancer early through periodic tests and exams. Many cancers are curable with surgery and other treatments. Obesity can also increase the risk of certain cancers in English bulldogs, so always make sure your pet gets exercise and a proper diet.

Bleeding Disorders

The English bulldog is also prone to bleeding disorders. Good vets will conduct tests on the bulldogs scheduled for surgery to ensure quick blood clotting. This can help prevent bleeding in English bulldog post-surgery and save your bulldog’s life.


Obesity is one of the major health concerns for these purebred dogs. It can result in arthritis, and certain cancers and also increase the risk of breathing problems in the bulldog. It is one of the major factors that could shorten the English bulldog’s life expectancy.

Other Health Problems in English Bulldogs

These sweet companion dogs are also at risk of the following health problems:

Dental Disease

Dental disease is one of the most common health problems, affecting almost 80% of English bulldogs by the age of 2 years. It starts with poor oral hygiene, which leads to plaque and tartar buildup. The bacteria could also cause periodontal disease and gum disease. These can result in blood infections, which affect the heart and other organs in the bulldog.

Eye Problems

Our sweet companion dogs are also prone to many eye problems like cherry eye, entropion, and other eye-related health concerns. These can impact your dog’s quality of life. Call your vet right away if you notice any eye issues in your English bulldog. Many Bulldog health problems can be nipped in the bud if detected early and bulldog eye issues are one of them.

Hip and Elbow Dysplasia

Compared to other dogs, the English bulldog breed is more susceptible to hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia. It causes the joints of the hip or elbow to misalign, resulting in limping, arthritis, and a poor quality of life in the bulldog. 

Good bulldog breeders will conduct genetic tests on their breeding stock and use selective breeding to prevent bulldog litter from developing genetic issues like hip and elbow dysplasia.

Skin Infections

Another major health issue in English bulldogs is skin infections. Bulldog has heavily wrinkled, loose skin that is susceptible to bacteria, fungi, and parasites which cause skin fold dermatitis.

This can result in severe itching, blisters, oozing skin, and other health issues in the bulldog skin folds. Please groom your English bulldog from time to time and take your bulldog to the vet immediately if you notice any skin infections.

Also Read: English Bulldog Skin Bumps

How Can I Help My English Bulldog Live Longer? 7 Tips!

Now that you know how long English bulldogs live, there are several things you can do to help your English bulldog’s live a long and healthy lifestyle.

  1. Feed your bulldog a high-quality dog food

A healthy and nutritious diet can give your English bulldog the balanced and optimum nourishment it needs. A healthy diet can help build your dog’s immunity to health issues and also provide it with the vital nutrients it needs to stay healthy.

Your vet or reputable breeder can recommend the best dog food and healthy diet for your pet. This can considerably increase the English bulldog’s lifespan.

  1. Weight management in Bulldogs

As mentioned earlier, obesity is a leading cause of death in English bulldogs. Make sure your pet stays at an optimum weight to avoid putting pressure on the joints.

Practice portion control and provide your English bulldog with a couple of short walks a day to prevent weight gain. Do not overexert your brachycephalic English bulldog!

  1. Provide regular dental care to bulldogs

Dental neglect is one of the leading causes of health problems in English bulldogs. Prevent plaque and tartar by brushing your dog’s teeth every day to increase your pet’s life expectancy. If needed, schedule your English bulldog for professional dental scaling every six months.

This will prevent dental issues and gum problems that often result in heart disease. Dental care can enhance your English bulldog’s lifespan.

  1. Watch out for symptoms of brachycephalic airway syndrome in bulldogs

Your dog may have had bull baiting ancestors who often passed away from the dreaded brachycephalic airway syndrome. 

But modern bulldogs can be saved from symptoms like stenotic nares and elongated soft palates through timely surgical interventions.

 If your bulldog is snoring more than usual, coughing, gagging, or showing signs of exercise intolerance, then please consult a veterinary expert to rule out breathing difficulties. Other dogs like Boston terriers, Pekingese, etc. are also prone to this issue.

  1. Keep your bulldogs cool

Avoid exercising your bulldog in hot weather. Instead, take it out for walks during the cooler parts of the day. As part of your dog’s lifestyle, make sure to install air conditioning if you live in a hot climate.

  1. Groom your bulldogs regularly

Wipe the bulldog’s face folds after meals using a soft cloth. This is necessary to prevent skin infections, which can adversely impact your English Bulldog’s quality of life. Use a soft-bristled brush to brush your bulldog. 

  1. Take your dog to the vet for routine checks

Take your bulldog health seriously. Have you scheduled routine exams at least twice a year? If you notice any of the following symptoms in bulldogs, call your vet immediately:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lumps or bumps
  • Excess sleeping
  • Lethargy
  • Confusion
  • Itchy smelly skin
  • Hair loss
  • Skin lesions
  • Potbellied appearance
  • Changes in appetite
  • Cloudiness in eyes
  • Colored discharge from the eyes
  • Excess weight loss or weight gain

Prompt medical help for these metabolic disorders can increase life expectancy.

FAQs – English Bulldog Lifespan

Which dog breeds make an English bulldog?

Asiatic mastiffs, pugs, and some native dogs from the British Isles may have been the bullbaiting English bulldogs ancestors.

Can an English bulldog live 12 years?

As mentioned above, the average life expectancy of British bulldogs is no more than 8-10 years. However, some breeders are known to claim that their English bulldogs have lived for 15 years. 

Can English Bulldogs live 15 years?

No, most bulldogs live for 8-10 years. 15 years’ life is not heard of in bulldogs.

What is the oldest bulldog on record?

A bulldog named Spike may be the longest living among all bulldogs with a lifespan of 23 years.

We can never tell for sure if this is the case. No official record exists for these dogs to have lived for over 11-12 years. Even the American Kennel Club and Bulldog Club give the bulldog breed’s life expectancy as 8-10 years.

Is 12 old for an English bulldog?

Yes, 12 is old for an English bulldog since the average lifespan of these brachycephalic dogs (dogs with a pushed in nose) is around 8-10 years. In fact, a bulldog aged 7 and above is considered senior. Most bulldogs start showing signs of old age at around 6 years old.

Is a 7 Year Old bulldog old?

Yes, a seven-year-old bulldog is definitely in its old age. The dog’s genetics are such that their lifespan is no more than 8-10 years.

Can bulldogs live to be 12?

Some bulldogs are known to live to 12. But most bulldogs live for 8-10 years.

What is the oldest British bulldog?

Reports are not confirmed, but an English bulldog named Oliver (from Ohio) may have lived for over 20 years!

What is the most common cause of death in bulldogs?

Breathing difficulties are usually the most common cause of death in bulldogs.

Conclusion – How Long Do English Bulldogs Live?

The average lifespan of an English Bulldog is 8-10 years. However, some bulldogs are known to live for 11-12 years. You can increase your bulldog’s lifespan through proper diet, regular exercise, grooming, and regular veterinary exams.

We hope this guide helps extend your bulldogs life.


  1. My 9 year old bully died from anaphylactic shock 30 minutes after an antibiotic and an antiespasmodic injection. May I ask how common is this? I suspect more of an overdose rather than the injections itself. Hope you can give me some clarity. Thank you very much.

  2. Bailey is an Old English Bulldog and currently 18 yrs old living in Midland, TX. We rescued her when she was 3 after surviving 3 gunshot wounds in her back. Still going good but has some bladder i@ues and hip joint issues. We love her dearly.

  3. Rosie is my bulldog and she is 10 and 1/2. She has some hearing loss and joint pain – sleeps on our waterbed with us now. Sleeps most of the day and has 10 minute spry spurts after she poops. HAHA – She is on a fish protein diet (sardines) and it’s completely cleared up her skin issues…. feet, ears, and no more bulldog pattern baldness. My question is this: We are moving across country this summer and most airlines won’t take a bulldog in the summer heat. I’m thinking if she’s still with us, I should drive with her. She doesn’t do so well in the car… pants most of the time. I’m thinking of taking out the front passenger side seat and making a bed for her on the floor. It’s a mini cooper, so lower to the ground and she has a harness that helps me help her get into the car. I’m planning on driving no more than six hours a day to reduce stress on her. Any other suggestions for making this trip easier for us?

    1. So glad Rosie is doing well on her new diet! For the trip, your plan sounds thoughtful. Keeping drives short and creating a comfy bed is great. Consider frequent breaks for fresh air and hydration. Maybe consult your vet for more travel tips. Safe travels! – Bulldogology Team

    2. I drove cross country last summer with an elderly bulldog. Your pup will be fine so long as you have good A/C. She slept on a dog bed in the passenger seat pretty much the entire 2,500 miles.

      Please do be careful when you take your pup out. The pavement is broiling hot. Even dirt can get to scorching temps if it’s hot enough, as it was all through Oklahoma where it was 110 degrees! Always look for grass.

  4. My English Bulldog Kela who will be 16 years old in April 10th 2024.
    She is amazing and I am very lucky to have her.

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