Are Bulldogs Lazy?

are english bulldogs lazy

English Bulldogs are known for their wrinkles and cuddly disposition. Many people also think that they are lazy dogs, too. These nap loving pups may have lower energy levels compared to other dogs, but they may not be as lazy as they seem. 

Are Bulldogs really a lazy dog breed? 

One common misconception of Bulldogs is that they are lazy. In reality, they are fun loving dogs that just so happen to also love their sleep. A Bulldog’s energy level can be depleted quickly when playing, but that doesn’t mean they are lazy dogs. 

English Bulldogs are often described as lazy for a few different reasons. The good news is that there are things that Bulldog owners can do to help keep their furry friends active.  

What Are Bulldog Energy Levels Like?

English Bulldogs are often thought to be lazy because they are so easy going. Don’t let their mellow mannerisms fool you, they can be quite energetic when they want to be. On the AKC energy scale of couch potato to high energy, English Bulldogs typically fall in the middle of the scale. 

You see, these dogs love to play and are quite social, but can tire quickly. It only takes about 15 minutes of activity before they want to rest up before their next play session.  Thankfully, their energy levels complement their temperament. 

What Kind of Temperament Do English Bulldogs Have?

Easygoing, laidback, and calm are just some of the words used to describe an English Bulldog’s temperament. These descriptors would lead you to believe that they are lazy dogs. However, other descriptions of their personality include: fun loving, energetic, playful, and social.

English Bulldogs are also known to be stubborn. This is in part because Bulldogs are incredibly intelligent dogs. They are very smart and know how to get what they want. Thankfully they are easy to train because they are highly motivated by food. Some Bulldogs have even been trained how to skateboard and surf. How can that be lazy? Check out Tillman, the world’s fastest skateboarding Bulldog; he can surf too! 

Well, part of the myth that English Bulldogs are lazy may be due in part to the fact that Bulldogs have low levels of endurance. The way these dogs were bred has created a number of health problems that lead to fatigue at a quicker rate when compared to other dogs of a similar size.   

Health Problems That Can Be Mistaken for Laziness

Don’t confuse an English Bulldog’s fatigue as laziness. There are many common health problems that can lead an English Bulldog to get tired quickly. Some of these conditions are normal and don’t pose any threat, while others are a major cause for concern and should be prevented. 

Body Style

The American Kennel Club’s official breed standards describe the body style of an English Bulldog as a dog “of medium size…with heavy, thick-set, low-swung body, massive short-faced head, wide shoulders and sturdy limbs.”

A large head, broad chest, and short legs all contribute to the English Bulldog’s tendency to tire easily. There’s nothing wrong with a Bulldog for being built this way, it just means that they may need more frequent breaks between activities. Frequent breaks between activities doesn’t mean the pooch is lazy. 

Another characteristic of the English Bulldog breed is its short nose. Believe it or not, this feature can have an effect on its activity level, too. 

Brachycephalic Breeds and Heat Sensitivity

Dogs with large heads and short snouts are called brachycephalic breeds. In addition to English Bulldogs, a few other dog breeds that are brachycephalic breeds include: Pugs, Boxers, Boston Terriers, Shih Tisus, and Mastiffs.

Dogs that belong to a brachycephalic breed are at a higher risk of having respiratory problems. In some cases there are dogs who benefit from surgery to correct brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS). 

Even if an English Bulldog hasn’t been diagnosed with BOAS or ever required surgery, they should still be monitored during times of higher activity to ensure their safety. If they start panting heavily they need to be calmed down and take some time to rest. Heavy panting isn’t just a sign getting worked up from being active, it can also be a sign of respiratory distress. 

If you live in a warmer climate or the weather is abnormally warmer than usual, your Bulldog may appear to be lazier than normal; however, you should keep an eye out to make sure they are not overheating. 

Overheating can be life threatening to an English Bulldog and brachycephalic breeds are more prone to overheat on walks. The reason they are so sensitive to heat is because they are unable to cool themselves off as easily and effectively as non-brachycephalic dogs.

If you believe that your English Bulldog is overheating you should help them cool down and get some rest before resuming any activities. This does not mean the dog is being lazy, it means they need to cool down and calm down. 

Joint Problems

Unfortunately, English Bulldogs are predisposed to a variety of joint problems. They may experience one or a combination of the following joint problems: hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, or arthritis. If a dog is experiencing any one or more of these joint problems they may be lounging around not because they are lazy, but because they are trying to avoid painful movements. 

Hip and Elbow Dysplasia 

Hip or elbow dysplasia is the deterioration of the joint over time that causes the loss of joint function. If a dog has been diagnosed with dysplasia in their hip or elbow, then moving around at higher levels of enthusiasm could cause them to be in pain. Decreased activity caused by joint dysplasia isn’t laziness, it’s typically a response to avoid pain. According to the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, over 70% of all Bulldogs will experience hip dysplasia and 30% will experience elbow dysplasia. 

Thankfully there are a few options that owners have to help a dog resume their normal activities and avoid any lazy tendencies. Veterinarians often recommend one or more of the following treatments to help dogs with hip or elbow dysplasia: 

  • Weightloss – to decrease the amount of stress on the joint
  • Supplements or anti-inflammatory medication – to support joint health
  • Hard surface restriction – to decrease discomfort
  • Physical therapy – to support healthy activity


Another joint problem that could make any dog seem lazy is arthritis. While not exclusive to Bulldogs, arthritis occurs when the cartilage in a joint becomes damaged from age or injury and bones rub each other in the joint. 

Veterinarians will typically suggest one or more of the following treatments to help dogs with arthritis: 

  • Supplements or anti-inflammatory medication – to support joint health
  • Pain medication – for the management of pain
  • Physical therapy – to support healthy activity 


English Bulldogs love to eat and, if left to their own devices, may not get enough exercise. When put together these two characteristics could lead an English Bulldog to develop obesity. The more overweight a Bulldog is, the more they will want to lounge around and avoid activities that cause them to be physically active. 

To help an overweight or obese Bulldog, veterinarians generally suggest a combination diet and increased activity to promote weight loss. 

What Should You Do If Your Bulldog Has Sudden Onset Laziness

A bout of sudden onset laziness could indicate that your dog is experiencing a health problem. Reasons why a dog might have sudden onset laziness include infection, illness, or internal blockage, just to name a few. 

If you believe that your dog is exhibiting laziness that is not in relation to being recently active and is also out of character, seeking help from a veterinarian is suggested. A veterinarian will be able to examine the dog and suggest potential tests to run to ensure the dog is not in any danger. 

On the other hand, if your English Bulldog is lethargic after being active, it’s completely possible that they just need to get some rest. You might be surprised at how many hours of sleep an English Bulldog has to have. 

Getting Proper Sleep Doesn’t Make a Bulldog Lazy

Getting the correct amount of sleep with help to ensure that Bulldogs are able to maintain a good activity level. The amount of rest that each English Bulldog needs can vary from dog to dog. The amount will depend partly on the dog’s activity level, age, and overall health. Generally speaking, the average English Bulldog needs anywhere from 12 to 14 hours of sleep per day. 

That much sleep can make anyone think a dog is lazy and other breeds, like Great Danes, can have the same problem.

Like most dogs, English Bulldogs will typically break their hours of sleep up into several short naps and one long stretch of sleep overnight. Just because Bulldogs enjoy their mid-morning and afternoon naps, it doesn’t mean they’re being lazy. In reality, they’re just gearing up for the next playtime. 

When English Bulldogs are more active, they will need more rest, too. This helps them to be sure that they will not overheat and do not overexert themselves. Just like active dogs, English Bulldogs get the zoomies and run off excess energy, too. 

How Much Exercise Should English Bulldogs Get?

One quick internet search may leave you confused on just how much exercise an English Bulldog truly needs each day. The AKC recommends that English Bulldogs should get a moderate amount of exercise. This means that they should exercise for at least 30 minutes per day.

Getting in a full 30 minutes may be too much at one time for an English Bulldog. Many dog trainers suggest that English Bulldogs start out with short training and exercise intervals. This allows the dog to rest between sessions and stay safe at the same time. 

English Bulldogs should not exercise when it is hot outside. The increase in activity level combined with the heat can cause serious health problems. If you suspect that your dog has been active for too long it is important to calm them down. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to help your English Bulldog exercise inside when it’s too hot to be outside. 

How to Prevent Bulldog Laziness 

There is no reason to believe that your English Bulldog has to be a couch potato for its entire life. Simply teach your Bulldog not to be lazy. You can do this by creating a routing, training them, feeding them a proper diet, and ensuring they stay hydrated. 

Create a Routine

While English Bulldogs do not require a highly structured routine, they will benefit from some sort of reliable schedule. One way to help prevent laziness is to create a routine that your Bulldog expects. Some things that you may want to do the same every day are:

  • Feeding your dog at the same time
  • Playing the same indoor game
  • Having one place to sleep at nighttime 
  • Keeping toys in the same place
  • Following a potty routine 

When your dog knows what they should expect at a given time they are more likely to be active around that time. Likewise, they will also know when it’s time for them to rest and recharge. 


English Bulldogs can be trained to do some pretty cool things. You may think that because English Bulldogs are short and fat that they are lazy, but would a lazy dog compete in an agility competition like Rudy the English Bulldog? 

Don’t think that you have to stop your Bulldog’s training once they are potty trained and know how to sit or walk on a leash. Get creative with what you want to teach your Bulldog. You will help encourage them to be active by continuing to train them. Just make sure that if you are using treats to promote their training that you are not over feeding them.

Proper Nutrition/Diet

It can be easy to overfeed a Bulldog, after all, how do they get all fat and cuddly if they don’t eat a lot? English Bulldogs will overeat when given the chance, so owners need to be sure to feed their Bulldog a proper diet. The right nutrition and correct amount of food will help to ensure that the dog does not suffer complications due to being overweight or obese. 

Proper Hydration

In addition to a proper diet, English Bulldogs need to stay hydrated, too. This is one of the ways that a Bulldog is able to regulate its body temperature and remain active even after they’ve had some exercise. 

Help Your Bulldog Stay Active

Not only can you do things that help prevent your English Bulldog from becoming lazy, there are things that you can do to help your Bulldog stay active. 

Break Up Active Times Throughout the Day

One of the best ways to promote activeness in your English Bulldog is to have multiple times where your dog is active throughout the day. These don’t have to be long periods of activity, in fact, it’s recommended that you keep your dog’s activity times to about 15 minutes. By having several short active times your Bulldog will learn how to have fun and play.

Introduce a Playmate

Like humans, dogs are social creatures. English Bulldogs are friendly dogs that enjoy social interaction. They are known for how great they are with children and most Bulldogs enjoy the companionship of another dog. 

Having multiple dogs can be beneficial because they can entertain each other when you are busy. However, don’t worry if you don’t have a live-in playmate for your pup. Dog parks and doggie daycares are great ways to promote social activity with your dog.  

Play Games

Keeping your English Bulldog active doesn’t mean that you have to go on a lot of walks. Activity can be as easy as playing a game with them. Teach them how to play games like tug or hide and seek. Not only are these games fun and healthy for the dog, but it will also promote bonding and can help teach other skills. For example, when playing tug with your dog you can also teach them how to drop the toy when given a command. 

Offer Activity Toys

There will be times when you want your English Bulldog to be active, but you are pressed for time. One way to promote activity in your dog is to offer them an activity toy. Activity toys for dogs can not only promote a dog to be active, but they can prevent boredom, too. 

All Things Considered, Bulldogs Are Not as Lazy as They Seem

English Bulldogs have a reputation of being lazy dogs, but it’s simply not the case. Their easy going personalities combined with how quickly they tire during activity only perpetuates this common misconception. Bulldogs are intelligent, love to play, and are food motivated. They can be quite active dogs so long as they are healthy and stay out of the heat. Help keep your bulldog active by training them, playing games, and keeping a routine. 

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