Behind the brawny body and impressively wide pair of chompers on an English bulldog is a courageous, friendly, and docile personality, one guaranteed to win the hearts of those sharing life with these dogs!
Whether you have kids already, planning on having one (or a few), or are just plain curious, there’s a valid question to ask: are English bulldogs good with kids? And what about babies?
English bulldogs are a wonderful breed to have around both children and babies. Their loyalty, love for family, gentleness, and patience are just a few traits that make bulldogs excellent companions. However, be aware of their possessive nature and strong body as there are always risks of letting a dog around young children and babies.
Let’s take a closer look into the reasons why English bulldogs are both good with kids and bad with kids, and then we will check out if they are truly a breed fit to be around babies. Of course, I won’t leave you without some tips on how to set up your bulldog for success and make the introduction of the two smoother and more effective!
Why English Bulldogs Are Good With Kids
There are several things to consider when asking if any dog would be good with kids, with breed standards and prior experiences playing a role. And while some breeds may not be recommended for life with children, others have raved about their ability to cohabitate with the little ones.
English bulldogs fall in the latter group, proving excellent with kids time and time again!
So, how do these rockstar pups manage this?
Reason 1: They Are Protective And Loyal
Whether you’re looking for a loving dog or a watchdog to add to your family, English bulldogs fit the bill for both! And this loyal and protective nature is just another explanation as to why this breed is good around children.
Bulldogs are very people-oriented and have been bred into excellent companionship dogs following their rather aggressive past of baiting bulls. Though don’t think they’ve rid themselves of their ancestral tenacity and bravery, because they haven’t!
Keeping these courageous traits and combining them with loyalty has allowed English bulldogs to develop into surprisingly effective watchdogs. These dogs are instinctively inclined to guard those they form a strong bond with, and kids are not left out of the mix.
Once an English bulldog knows a child is part of the family, they will go to great lengths to watch over and protect your mini-human! You can trust this pup’s watchful eye and know that they will intervene if they sense any danger or discomfort your kid might find himself in.
These pups know when it’s time to put kindness on hold and bring out their ruthless side as some say they have a “sixth sense” for sniffing out bad intentions.
So, you can rest easy at night knowing you have a dependable dog that will alert you of any potential threats (or your child’s hazardous behavior) no matter the time or place!
Reason 2: They Are Gentle And Friendly
English bulldogs were ranked #6 on the list of most popular dog breeds of 2022 according to the AKC, and it’s no question as to why!
A few of the most significant reasons that people love English bulldogs is this breed’s natural tendency to be gentle, friendly, and overall a very loving member of the family. And given the dog is properly socialized, they’ll act this way not only towards their owners but towards kids and strangers too!
Though on the surface a bulldog looks intimidating and mean, they actually have a calm and easygoing temperament. You won’t be left wondering if your bulldog loves you and your kids, as they outwardly display their affection through licks, tail wagging, cuddling, or following you around- just to name a few!
Granted sometimes a bulldog may get overly excited and play rougher than we want, but for the most part, these pups will learn the boundaries of a child (thanks to their impressive intelligence, too) and remain gentle to keep them safe.
Don’t let the bulldog’s muscular stature fool you, as this dog is really just a wrinkly cuddle bug in search of its next cuddle or treat!
Reason 3: They Are Playful
Though this reason may surprise you given the abundance of naps these pups are known to take, it’s true! English bulldogs are always eager for playtime, whether it be a game of fetch, tug of war, zoomies, or yes, even playing with children!
Take Rocky here for example; he is so bent on playing with the neighborhood kids that he’s crying to join in on their jungle gym mayhem!
Now there’s another side to this coin, and it’s that while bulldogs love to play, they do tire out relatively quickly. Bulldogs are satisfied with moderate amounts of daily exercise, and content with a brisk walk or a few rounds of fetch.
This is typically a good thing since your bulldog will be able to keep up with a kid’s hyper antics until their lazy side resurfaces, not overwhelming a child with intense zoomies or constant wrestling matches!
And even if your bulldog is snoozing away and your child wakes him to play, your pup is likely to join in on the fun anyways. Bulldogs will rarely turn down a chance to play and receive attention from your kiddo!
Watching your two youngsters be entertained by one another is a beautiful thing to witness, and it’s a wonderful opportunity for your pup to bond with your kid too!
Reason 4: They Are Resilient And Patient
Not every breed can be as resilient and patient as an English bulldog with kids!
Thanks to their laidback nature, bulldogs are known to be very even-tempered around children of all ages. They won’t always have the energy to participate in playtime, but they do have plenty of patience to put up with a curious, hyper kid!
It’s almost like bulldogs understand the pure intentions of a child and are therefore more understanding of the young one’s wild, invasive ways. Children often don’t comprehend the boundaries of a dog yet, so this can lead them into some unfavorable antics.
But luckily for everyone at home, these pups won’t lash out often or easily as their patience and calmness help them endure the chaos!
And with the resilience and courage these dogs carry, they are able to recognize a new situation (such as having children around), embrace it, and adapt to the circumstances to keep everyone happy.
With this said it will seriously take a lot of constant nagging for a socialized bulldog to nip a child out of frustration or anger from playtime, so take a deep breath knowing that muggy face isn’t one for violence!
Why English Bulldogs Are Not Good With Kids
As with any positive will also come drawbacks. You can’t expect any single breed to always be good with kids no matter what, so it wouldn’t be reasonable also to expect English bulldogs to do well with kids all the time.
It is important to take into consideration the reasons that may make this breed not suitable for a home filled with children. But even if you’re 100% sure your bulldog is great with kids, they should never leave a child alone with an English bulldog, or any dog for that matter, because accidents can happen.
1. English Bulldogs Can Be Possessive
We’ve discussed the protective nature of an English bulldog and how this can be beneficial within the family unit. But how can this also relate to a bulldog’s downfall, and what does it have to do with being possessive?
Well, bulldogs tend to use this guardian mindset to become possessive over what they want. Being possessive comes from a selfish place of protecting what they don’t want to share instead of protecting what they want to keep safe. And if there’s one thing these dogs are most possessive about, it’s their food!
Bulldogs can be taught to share both their toys and their space, but being a food-motivated breed, breakfast and dinner are two times when they will not want to share with anyone or anything. Honestly, plenty of us get the same way with our food including myself, so can you really blame them?
Ensure you keep safe boundaries between your kids and your pooch during feeding time, as English bulldogs can become defensive to ward off any extra hands or mouths coming to dip in their dish. You don’t want to put your kid’s safety at risk, so it’s best to keep them far away from your pup when it comes to this.
It’s important to note that English bulldogs aren’t aggressive by nature and for no reason. They are generally good-natured, but their protective instincts may manifest in certain situations such as with food or around other off-setting dogs. Proper training and socialization are crucial to ensure that this possessive attitude is channeled in beneficial ways.
2. They Are Large And Strong
Originally bred for bull baiting and fighting, it’s understandable why English bulldogs are so powerful and brave. And while bulldogs have long since been bred away from those purposes and the aggression weaned out of the bloodlines, their physical make-up and overall personality haven’t changed all too much.
It’s important to consider this strength when introducing a bulldog to a child or vice versa. And not only their strength either but their size too. An English bulldog is large and bulky for its average height of only 14 inches. Weighing anywhere between 40-50 pounds, they are packed with pure muscle (and quite a bit of wrinkle)!
After discussing the power these pups contain, you might be a bit wary of having their set of chompers around a small child. This is a valid concern with any dog breed as you run the risk of your child being bitten, though it’s no debate that certain breeds will inflict more damage than others.
I am here to tell you that English bulldogs, despite their wide jaws, actually have a bite force that is pretty average in the dog world, calculated at 210 PSI (pound-force per square inch).
To make things even less intimidating, English bulldogs ranked 39 out of 68 dog breeds when comparing the greatest bite force! Keep in mind, however, that a dog bite is still a dog bite no matter the breed, so you should always keep an eye out for this serious behavior.
While bulldogs mean well and good with their actions, they often don’t recognize the sheer amount of brawn they have packed into their built bodies. These pups can easily injure something as delicate as a child by just trying to have fun or lay down to get some cuddles, so it’s vital that the two are never left without close adult supervision!
Tips To Train Your English Bulldog To Be Around Kids
Now, maybe your bulldog has never been put in a situation where they’d have to be around children, or maybe you adopted your pup from a shelter and suspect he’s dealt with abuse in the past which causes him to be fear-aggressive or sometimes just a bit unpredictable.
Helping your bulldog be the best pooch he can be around kids is possible no matter the underlying circumstances. Just be prepared to have patience and consistency when teaching your pup, especially if this is all brand new to him!
If you’re adopting an English bulldog puppy, this will give you the best chance at socialization and training!
You want to start obedience training early and practice often, especially since bulldogs are notorious for being stubborn. The older these pups get, the more stuck in their own way they get, which makes it harder for us to break those bad habits.
Bulldogs are more impressionable when they are puppies, and this training time will also help them bond with you and build that trust further.
This will be beneficial in the future when you bring children around, as your bulldog will trust you in the unfamiliar, new situation. If you need to intervene, your pup will be more likely to listen to your commands and stop what they’re doing versus if you’ve never gone through training and they don’t know when they’ve gone too far.
Now, don’t get discouraged if you adopted your bulldog as an adult! This doesn’t mean they aren’t fit to be around children, it just means that they will need more attention and effort on your part to prepare them and help them channel their feelings and actions in a safe manner (that is if they aren’t already socialized or trained in some capacity).
Check out this article for an excellent read on tips to discipline your bulldog and get him to learn commands easier! And here’s a hint for you: bulldogs respond extremely well to training when treats are involved!
Another important factor to help your bulldog behave appropriately, whether it’s a puppy or an adult, around kids is socialization. This breed is naturally inclined to be social and friendly, so having these interactions properly with others is an excellent way to keep these kiddos happy and well-adjusted!
Socialization typically entails exposure to all kinds of different stimuli, including other friendly dogs, unfamiliar people, pet stores, and even dog training classes. This list isn’t exhaustive either, as there are many other ways you can promote this confidence and openness within your bulldog.
And if you adopted your dog from a shelter, determine how socialized it already is and then work on ensuring they are friendly around strangers, humans, and dogs alike. You don’t want a frightful pup to be introduced to a small child, would you?
We want to ensure our bulldog is prepared for the inevitable chaos a kid brings, and socialization will aid immensely in the meeting of the two!
Remember, it is best to set your bulldog up for success ideally before you bring a child into the mix. Though I understand this isn’t always feasible, so just do your best to help your pooch grow and become an even-tempered family member! It is suggested to keep the child separate from your pup and slowly introduce the two during closely supervised moments.
Are English Bulldogs Good With Babies Too?
The short answer is yes!
Renowned for being gentle, loving, and patient dogs, English bulldogs would do excellent with babies just as they would with children.
Whether you already have a baby or are about to welcome one into your family, it’s crucial to understand your bulldog’s individual personality and determine if he is truly ready to be around an infant. Proper training and socialization will make it much easier to introduce your bulldog to your baby and give your pooch the tools to behave appropriately when the time comes to meet your new baby!
You should still never leave a baby alone with an English bulldog (or any dog for that matter) no matter how gentle or trustworthy your pup has been in the past. Babies are notorious for flailing their hands, making noises, and even taste-testing whatever they can get their hands on.
This curiosity may excite your bulldog and make him want to play, which isn’t a bad thing except for the fact that bulldogs don’t always realize just how hefty and strong they are!
All it takes is one playful nip on the hand to send the whole household down a screaming and crying spiral. You can never be too safe when it comes to a delicate infant, so always monitor the two whenever they’re interacting!
Though if you’re still not convinced, check out this video to see the cuteness for yourself and ease any more worries you may have:
Every dog will ultimately have their own unique personality based on a mixture of life experiences and generic breed standards. It also makes a vital difference if the dog is properly socialized with other humans and animals.
With this said, you can still reasonably expect an English bulldog to be a rockstar around children thanks to a long history of dignity, gentleness, loyalty, and compassion!
While there are more reasons that an English bulldog is good with kids, it’s not to say you should ignore the reasons why they wouldn’t be good with kids. Everything consists of good and bad, and when it comes to children, both sides must be considered and kept in mind ultimately for everyone’s safety.
At the end of the day, we want what is best for our kids and fur babies alike. And if you’re looking for a dog breed that will form a lasting friendship with your kid filled with unconditional love, look no further than the English bulldog himself!