How Long Do English Bulldogs Live? Expert Explains Bulldog Lifespan

tan and white Bulldog lying in grass with ball how long do Bulldogs live

Small, sturdy, and muscular, but how long do English Bulldogs really live? So, here’s the deal. English Bulldogs are not your forever pups, but they’re definitely your ride-or-die companions for a good chunk of time. Of course, the lifespan of an English Bulldog depends on a few things: genetics, diet, and whether they frequent the vet.

It’s no secret English Bulldogs can face more health challenges than some other breeds. Issues like breathing difficulties, hip dysplasia, and skin conditions sometimes affect these dogs more frequently. Nevertheless, with proactive care and regular check-ups, you can help your canine pal stay comfortable and potentially extend their time with you.

Prof. Niels Pedersen’s, DVM, work on the genetic assessment of English Bulldogs highlights the impact of genetic diversity on the above health issues. This, in turn, can influence lifespan. Join us as we uncover health issues, genetic diversity, and more on this breed’s little time capsule.

So, What Is The Average Lifespan of English Bulldogs?

Typically, English Bulldogs are accepted to live between 8 and 10 years. This range can vary depending on numerous factors, including genetics, diet, exercise, and access to quality veterinary care. However, data actually shows a lower lifespan of 7.3 years, probably due to an excess of health issues in the breed. 

You have noticed their life span is somewhat shorter when compared to other dog breeds. This is due to their broad, short stature, facial wrinkles, and short snouts (this one bangs the door open for respiratory issues). In fact, I’d say they’re doing pretty well for themselves despite the triple frontier threat to their health.

Oddly enough, French Bulldogs are generally accepted to live longer with a 10 to 12-year lifespan. However, the study based on VetCompass data we mentioned above shows English Bulls (7.39 lifespan) live longer than Frenchies (4.53 life span) by 2.86 years. Just a parking lot item you can read more about in our How Long Do Frenchies Live article.

Good care can significantly impact your canine’s life. Regular check-ups with a vet, a balanced diet, and appropriate exercise are key. Monitoring and addressing health issues early on can help keep your pup healthy and possibly extend their time with you.

Factors Influencing English Bulldog Longevity

Brindle and white Bulldog on white background

When you’re looking into your dog’s life expectancy, consider these factors that can play a big role in their longevity.


Your pup’s longevity is strongly affected by genes. Bulldogs are unfortunately prone to certain genetic health issues that can shorten their lives, such as respiratory problems and hip dysplasia. They also lack genetic diversity as they are generally quite inbred. Some experts agree that Bulldogs are so closely bred, they are all technically cousins.

Diet and Nutrition

What you feed your Bulldog matters a lot. A diet rich in nutrients and appropriate for their age can help manage weight and prevent obesity, which is super important for their overall health. Additionally, Bulldogs have been shown to be prone to obesity, so keep an eye on overfeeding them. 

Exercise and Activity Levels

These dogs need regular exercise, but not too much, because they can overheat and have breathing issues. It’s a balancing act – enough activity to keep them fit but not too much to avoid stress on their joints and heart.

Veterinary Care and Prevention

Regular vet check-ins and keeping up with vaccinations and preventive treatments can catch and manage health issues early on. For example, managing a Bulldog’s skin folds is essential to prevent infections.

Living Conditions

Lastly, keeping your pup in a comfy environment helps a lot. They like cooler spaces and need to avoid extreme temperatures. Make sure they’ve got a cozy spot to snooze without stress.

Common Causes of Death And Health Issues in English Bulldogs

red and white Bulldog lying down white background

You might already know that these doggos have a distinctive look, but they come with some health baggage, too. It’s important for you to be aware of their health issues so you can spot any signs early on.

Big Issues

  • Breathing Problems: Bulldogs often have brachycephalic syndrome, which makes breathing hard for them. This is because they have flat faces.
  • Heart Conditions: These pups may develop heart problems. This can sometimes be the cause of death in Bulldogs.
  • Joint Diseases: Bulldogs are pretty susceptible to joint issues like hip dysplasia.

Other Health Niggles

  • Skin Infections: Those cute wrinkles can turn into hotspots for infections if not cleaned regularly.
  • Eye Conditions: Due to their face shape, Bulldogs can get eye issues like cherry eye or dry eye.
  • Overheating: Bulldogs can’t cool down as well as other dogs, so they can overheat pretty fast, especially in warm weather.

Just so you know, the information is not just made up; it’s based on research. 

The main health study we checked out was the Disorders of Bulldogs under primary veterinary care in the UK in 2013. It shows that respiratory, skin, eye, ear, and gastrointestinal infections were the most common breed problems. 

Your pooch can live a happy life with the right care, attention to their health, and regular vet trips! Remember, keep your buddy cool, breathing easy, and their wrinkles squeaky clean.

Now let’s look at these pesky health issues in more depth:

Respiratory Problems

Because Bulldogs have flat faces, or what experts call “brachycephalic,” their airways are often not as open as in other dogs. Scientific reports prove that brachycephalic dogs are significantly less healthy than medium-muzzled dogs.

 This condition can cause them to have a hard time catching their breath, especially when they’re running around or it’s hot outside. Here’s what you need to watch out for:

  • Snorting or Loud Breathing: You might hear your bulldog making these sounds a lot.
  • Difficulty Exercising: They may be unable to play as long or hard as other dogs.
  • Sleep Issues: Some bulldogs snore loudly or even stop breathing for short times when they’re sleeping.

These breathing problems can be part of something called Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS), and it’s pretty common in these dogs. Small nostrils, long soft palates, and narrow tracheas are part of the issue, and these can lead to severe respiratory distress.

Your vet is your best friend when it comes to managing these issues. Sometimes, they can suggest ways to help, including surgery to make breathing easier. Regular check-ups can keep your buddy as healthy as possible. 


These lovable pups can gain weight pretty easily, and extra pounds can be tough on their health. Obesity can shorten their lifespan, and that’s something you don’t want!

Why do Bulldogs get chubby? Well, they don’t need a ton of exercise and, honestly, they love to eat. A Bulldog’s best day includes a lot of lounging and snacks. But too many treats and not enough walks can lead to weight issues.

Here’s what to watch for to keep your Bulldog healthy:

  • Food: It’s tempting to give in to those puppy dog eyes, but stick to a feeding schedule and measure their food.
  • Exercise: Bulldogs aren’t marathon runners, but they do need daily short walks to stay fit.
  • Health Checks: Regular check-ups with the vet can catch weight gain early on.

If you notice your Bulldog is starting to get a little round, time for some changes! Helping them trim down to a good weight for their size and age can really help in the long run. Getting ahead of obesity can spare your Bulldog from problems with their joints, breathing, and overall health.

Heart Conditions

Congenital Heart Diseases: dogs may be born with heart problems called congenital heart diseases. It means the issues are there from birth. This can include things like a hole in the heart or a valve that doesn’t work right.

One example is Pulmonic stenosis, a condition where blood flow from the heart to the lungs is slowed down because of a narrow valve. Dissertation Studies show that this condition is more prevalent in English Bulls than in other breeds. 

What You Should Watch For: Keep an eye on your dog for signs that their heart isn’t quite right. This can be things like getting tired really fast, coughing a lot, or having trouble breathing.


Here’s the tricky part: Bulldogs might not get cancer as often as some other dogs. A study by Jane Dobson points out that Bulldogs seem to have a lower chance of getting cancer compared to other breeds. But remember, just because they have a lower chance doesn’t mean they can’t get it. In fact, cancer is one of the leading causes of death in Bulldogs.

Checking your Bulldog often for any weird lumps or bumps and visiting your vet if you spot something is a good move. You love your pooch, so keep an eye on their health. Taking them for their regular check-ups helps catch any health issues early.

Brain Disorders

It’s important to be aware of brain disorders that can affect your dog’s health and, ultimately, their lifespan. These disorders can range from manageable to serious, so knowing what to watch out for is key.

  • Ventricular Volume Issues: Some Bulldogs have neurological conditions related to the volume of their cerebral ventricles, which is a fancy way of talking about spaces in the brain that are filled with fluid. If these spaces are too big, it can be a sign of a neurological issue.
  • Neurological Diseases: Sadly, your Bulldog might also face neurological disorders. For instance, there’s a condition called intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) that’s pretty common in these pooches. It affects their spinal cord and can really mess with their mobility. You can learn more about the prevalence of neurological disorders within the breed.
  • Epilepsy is another worry. Seizures can be scary, but with your vet’s help, you can manage this condition together.
  • Brain Aging: Here’s something interesting – just like humans, the aging process can affect your Bulldog’s brain. As they get older, they may not be as sharp as they used to be.

What You Can Do:

  • Keep your Bulldog’s mind active with games and training.
  • A healthy diet and regular check-ups can go a long way.

Take Home Pointers:

  • Watch for signs like difficulty in walking or unusual behavior.
  • Early detection is super important. Talk to your vet if you notice anything odd.

Skin & Ear Conditions

Because of their adorable wrinkled skin, they can get skin fold dermatitis, making their wrinkles red and inflamed. That’s when the skin folds rub together, causing irritation, redness, or infection. You’ll want to keep those wrinkles clean and dry.

As for their ears, these pups often face ear infections. Those cute, folded ears can trap moisture and make the perfect home for bacteria and yeast. If your Bulldog starts to scratch their ears, shake their head a lot, or if the ears smell weird, it’s time for a vet visit. This study on BMC shows that ear infections are pretty common in brachycephalic breeds. 

Here’s a quick checklist of what to look for and do:

  • Skin Care: Regularly clean the skin folds with a damp cloth and dry them thoroughly. You can check out how to clean infected wrinkles if you’re dealing with that problem. 
  • Ear Checks: Peek into those ear folds frequently for any signs of redness or a bad smell.
  • Prompt Vet Care: If you notice any skin irritation or signs of an ear infection, see your vet pronto.

Remember, regular care can help prevent these issues from becoming serious problems. Keep those wrinkles and ears in check, and you’ll have a happier, healthier Bulldog friend by your side.

Eye and Eyelid Issues

These adorable pups can experience a range of eye problems, partly due to their distinctive face shape.

Common Conditions:

  • Cherry Eye: This is when the gland under the third eyelid pops up, looking like a cherry. It can happen to young dogs.
  • Entropion: If your Bulldog’s eyelids roll inwards, the lashes can irritate their eyes, not very comfortable for sure.
  • Dry Eye: Bulldogs can produce fewer tears than needed, which makes their eyes dry and can lead to infections.

Here’s a quick checklist for you to keep an eye on:

  • Is your Bulldog squinting or pawing at their eyes?
  • Do you see any redness or swelling?
  • Any discharge that’s not the usual sleep in their eyes?

If you just nodded yes to any of the above, chatting with your vet is a good idea. Treatments can range from simple meds to surgery for things like entropion. Bulldogs look tough, but their eyes are pretty sensitive!

Joint and Bone Health

These Bulls and their Joints. These dogs have a heavy, stocky build, which puts a lot of pressure on their joints. What does this mean for your pooch? Well, they might get conditions like hip dysplasia, where the hip joint doesn’t fit perfectly, making it harder for them to move around without discomfort.

Keep an Eye on Their Weight! Your dog’s weight is super important! If they get too heavy, it can cause more stress on their joints. This is why a healthy diet and regular, gentle exercises are key to keeping those bones and joints in tip-top shape.

These dogs can have other bone-related problems like a condition called osteoporosis, where bones get weak and more likely to break. So, it’s important to ensure they get enough stuff like calcium in their meals to keep those bones sturdy.

Enhancing the Life of Your English Bulldog

Taking care of your dog correctly can help them live a longer and healthier life. Check out these tips to see how you can keep your buddy in top shape.

Proper Diet

Your canine’s health starts with what they eat. It’s super important to give them a balanced diet that’s just right for their age, size, and activity level. Go for high-quality dog food that fits all their nutritional needs, and keep treats to a minimum to avoid weight gain.

Regular Exercise

Just because these pups are chill doesn’t mean they don’t need to move. Make sure you take yours for short walks every day but don’t overdo it, especially when it’s super hot or humid. They aren’t big fans of the heat because they can have trouble breathing.

Routine Check-Ups

They can get certain health issues, so regular visits to the vet are a must. This will help catch any problems early on and keep your Bulldog happy and healthy. Vets can also give you top tips tailored just for your dog.

Love and Affection

Never underestimate the power of a good cuddle or some playtime. These pups are social creatures, and spending quality time with them can actually boost their well-being. Plus, it’s a blast for you, too!

Knowing When to See a Vet

When you have this breed, it’s super important to keep an eye on their health. Here’s a quick list to help you figure out when to call your vet:

  • Breathing issues: These pups often snore and pant because of their short noses. If it worsens or they struggle to breathe, you need to see a vet.
  • Overheating: These pooches can overheat easily. If your buddy’s panting a lot, seems tired, or doesn’t want to play, they may be too hot.
  • Skin infections: Those cute wrinkles can hide dirt and germs. If you notice redness, sores, or a bad smell, it’s vet time!
  • Lameness: Limping or not wanting to walk could mean pain.

Here’s a simple table for regular check-ups because prevention is the way to go!

AgeVet Check-Ups
Under 1 yearEvery 3-4 months for vaccines and check-ups.
1-7 yearsOnce a year for a health check and to keep vaccines up to date.
Over 7 yearsTwice a year because senior Bulldogs need extra care.

If your pup isn’t acting like themselves or you just got that gut feeling something’s wrong, trust yourself and call your vet. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry!

End-Of-Life Care Considerations

We don’t like to talk about it, but when your beloved pup reaches the latter stages of its life, it’s important to focus on comfort and quality. Here are a few things you should think about:

  • Veterinary Visits: Regular bi-annual check-ups become crucial. Your vet can help manage any pain or discomfort with medication and advice.
  • Nutrition: Older dogs have different dietary needs. Ensure you’re providing a balanced diet that’s easy to digest. Soft food may be necessary if dental issues are present.
  • Exercise: Gentle exercise helps maintain muscle strength and mobility, but don’t overdo it. Short walks are better than long ones.
  • Comfortable Space: Create a cozy spot with plenty of cushioning for joints. Make sure it’s easily accessible and away from drafts.
  • Hygiene: Older Bulldogs might struggle with cleanliness. Regular grooming and perhaps more frequent potty breaks are in order.
  • Affection: Continue to show your dog love and affection. A gentle rub or simply spending time together can mean a lot.

Remember, this time is as much about comfort as it is about health. If you’re unsure about anything, your vet’s always there to guide you through.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

If you’re curious about your pup’s expectancy, you’ve got some important questions. Here are straightforward answers to help you understand what to expect.

What’s the average life expectancy of an English Bulldog?

The typical lifespan for an English Bulldog is about 8 to 10 years. However, with exceptional care, some may live a bit longer.

What are some common health problems in English Bulldogs that could affect their lifespan?

English Bulldogs are prone to issues like hip dysplasia, breathing difficulties due to their brachycephalic nature, and skin conditions. These health problems can influence their overall life expectancy.

Is it common for English Bulldogs to live past 10 years?

While some English Bulldogs may live beyond 10 years, reaching such an age is less common due to the breed’s health challenges. However, many records show them living past ten, even till 12 and beyond. 

At what age do most English Bulldogs start to show signs of aging?

Most begin to show aging signs around 6 to 8 years of age, including reduced energy levels and more frequent health issues.

Are there differences in life expectancy between male and female English Bulldogs?

There’s no significant difference in life expectancy between male and female English Bulldogs, so both typically live around the same length of time.

What are the signs that an English Bulldog is getting on in years?

As your English Bulldog ages, you may notice signs like graying around the muzzle, decreased activity, weight gain, or the onset of age-related health issues.

Final Thoughts

When you’re considering bringing an English Bulldog into your life, it’s essential to understand the commitment you’re making. These lovable companions have a lifespan of 8-10 years, although with exceptional care, some bulldogs live even longer. Regular veterinary care, proper nutrition, and adequate exercise can greatly influence your English Bulldog’s health.

Remember that English Bulldogs are prone to certain health issues due to their physical structure. Brachycephalic syndrome is common in these pups, affecting their breathing, so keeping your bulldog cool and preventing obesity is crucial. If you ever have concerns about your bulldog’s health or well-being, don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional.


Tamsin de la Harpe

Tamsin de la Harpe, with a lively spirit and 15 years of experience in dog training and behavior, brings a unique flair to the team. Based in South Africa, she is deeply engaged in rehabilitating dogs, focusing on their mental and nutritional health. Tamsin's approach to dog behavior is hands-on and heartfelt, shaped by her life with her own dogs and horses. Her journey in canine behavior is ongoing, as she continues advanced studies in this field.

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