If you have an active lifestyle and want your pup to join you, you’ll need to take this into consideration when choosing a dog to bring into your life. If you enjoy hiking long trails, you’ll probably want a trusted furry companion to accompany you on the trek. If you’re considering an English Bulldog, you might want to slow your roll.
Can English bulldogs go hiking? English Bulldogs have a short snout and cannot handle rigorous exercise. If you take them on a hike, you must move at a slower pace. You must also stop for rest and water regularly. Do not take your English Bulldog out in extreme heat, either.
Just because English Bulldogs have physical limitations, it doesn’t mean you can’t pursue your active lifestyle with them. In fact, hiking is a great way to bond with your dog. For 19 other ways to bond with your bulldog, check out this list.
You just have to know their limits and learn how to keep an English Bulldog safe and healthy. It is important to learn about common health issues, unique traits, and special needs. Do don’t give up on those hikes just yet!
Before Hitting the Trails, Do Your Research
Before you bring any dog home, it is important to learn about the breed. English Bulldogs have become popular for their designer look, yet people learn quickly. They require a lot of maintenance. To avoid these kinds of surprises, a little investigation on the breed goes a long way.
You don’t have to rely on books and website:
- Talk to a vet or breeder about taking care of an English Bulldog.
- Talk to someone that owns an English Bulldog.
- If you have a friend with an English Bulldog, shadow them on their daily routine to see what it’s all about.
When you set out to do your research, make a list of all the things you need to know. This may be breed-specific health issues, diet, and daily needs. If you lead an active lifestyle, find out how much exercise the English Bulldog needs and how to exercise them safely.
Physical Traits of the English Bulldog
The English Bulldog is not a tall dog but may weigh more than you expect as an adult. They can reach anywhere from 40- 50 pounds. If your dog acquires and injury or illness on a long hiking trip, you may need to carry them for a lengthy distance before you can get help.
Short Legs and Thick, Stocky Body
The short legs on an English Bulldog do not allow for fast-paced hiking. The weight also makes it harder for an English Bulldog to exercise rigorously. If you would like to take your English Bulldog on a hike, choose a short trail and plan for a slow, relaxing walk.
Once an English Bulldog outgrows the puppy stage, their energy levels lower. Energetic puppies can play too rough for little kids. This does not mean you cannot have a puppy around children. You need to supervise all interactions between your dog and your children. Puppies can knock kids over while running, jump on them, and get mouthy. When you work hard on training, your puppy can grow into an excellent companion for your child as they grow up.
For hiking, you need to consider the energy level of your dog. A high energy dog may keep up with you better if you prefer to go on long hikes or if you like to move fast. If you want a dog to follow along on many active adventures, you may prefer a working breed instead of an English Bulldog.
The English Bulldog’s Coat
English Bulldogs do not have long fur, making them easy to clean. The extra skin, however, increases the risk of infections. If you enjoy outdoor activities with your English Bulldog, you need to care for the coat and skin properly. Be sure to your pet clean and dry after outdoor activities, as moisture can become trapped between the folds of skin, leading to yeast infections.
Ticks can also find places to hide. Do a thorough inspection, especially if you’ve been outdoors in or near wooded areas.
Environmental Allergies of the English Bulldog
Bully breeds often have allergies, as well. These may result in poor coat quality and itchy skin. Talk to your vet about the best way to keep your English Bulldog comfortable. Some dogs have trouble with outdoor activities due to environmental allergies. Check with your vet to find out about the best food for breeds with skin allergies.
Your dog’s coat plays a big role in how they handle the outdoors. Examples include:
- English Bulldogs have a short coat, making it easy to check for ticks and fleas.
- They overheat easily because of their short snout.
- The sun may also reach their skin easier on a dog with a short coat.
- White bulldogs, especially, need sunscreen to help protect them from sunburn and cancer.
Dogs with a long coat may enjoy winter hiking, even with snow. A longer coat can repel moisture and protect a dog from scrapes, as well. A dog with a thick coat, however, may get too hot hiking in some climates.
Safety of Hiking with an English Bulldog
For all of the reasons mentioned, you must limit hiking time with an English Bulldog. They cannot handle rigorous or extended exercise. If you go on a short hike with your English bulldog, you must plan regular breaks and look out for heat exhaustion.
An English Bulldog can die if it gets severely overheated. Once the dog is in distress, you may not get it cooled down fast enough. Always carry extra water or ice in a bottle in case of an emergency. The best way to keep your English Bulldog healthy is to prevent overheating in the first place.
It is extremely important to consider the age of any dog when strenuous exercise becomes the norm. Puppies grow very quickly. It is important to protect their bones and joints as they grow. Different breeds become fully grown at different ages.
Large breeds can keep growing up to 18 months. It is not safe to start strenuous exercise routines with a dog that is still growing. It can cause lifelong health issues and pain. If you want a dog to go running with, for example, consider adopting an adult dog. If your hiking style is rigorous, the same rule applies.
Training and Trail Etiquette
You may not mind that your precious bulldog jumps up to roughhouse with you and give you a kiss from time to time. The general public, however, may not appreciate this expression of excitement. Train your dog well if you plan to hike. Many trails remain heavily populated with other hiking enthusiasts.
Follow leash laws in your area but teach your dog to have good recall. If your dog gets off-leash, you need to get control quickly. Teach the dog good habits, so if you do encounter other people and dogs, you can avoid problems.
Leash laws protect other hikers, animals, and your own dog. Even if your dog is well-trained, another dog may not have the same skills. If your off-leash dog runs up to a nervous dog, you may have a fight on your hands. The person with the off-leash dog must claim liability for any injuries that occur during the interaction.
Socialize your dog well as a puppy by going out to a variety of places. You should also have people come over to your house to get the dog accustomed to greeting friends properly. Dogs can become fearful if you miss the socialization window.
Supplies Needed for Hiking with a Bulldog
The hiking experience with any dog can be much easier with the correct equipment.
- A good harness can keep your dog more comfortable than a common collar. You can find padded harnesses for dogs that must wear them for several hours.
- A collapsible water bowl fits easily into your backpack.
- Water Take enough water both to drink and pour on a warm pup.
- Blanket You can also take a lightweight blanket for enjoying breaks in the shade with your furry friend.
English Bulldogs need a breathable harness and should not wear a pack. While some working dogs can easily wear their own backpack, English Bulldogs don’t need the extra weight or stress. They need to stay as cool as possible
Don’t Give Up the Hike – Just Take It Slow
Hiking with your dog can help build a stronger bond. If you already enjoy hiking and do not have a dog, think carefully about the size, age, and breed.
If you already have an English Bulldog, talk to your vet about your specific bulldog to find out if it’s advisable and any special safety precautions you should take. You must learn your dog’s limits and how to keep him cool and recognize the signs of an overheated animal.
It can also help to learn first-aid for dogs. Once you learn about safety precautions and supplies, you can enjoy this and other outdoor activities with your pet.
If you want to learn more about English Bulldogs or other types of Bulldogs, then consider checking out this Bulldog Handbook on Amazon.