How Much Exercise Does an English Bulldog Need?

English bulldogs are known to be very friendly and playful, especially when they’re young. However, it becomes more difficult for them to engage in physical activities as they grow older.

This is why you must provide your pet with the right amount of physical activity so that they can stay healthy and happy throughout their life.

Exercise will help your English Bulldog develop its muscles properly while strengthening its bones at the same time, which is particularly important in this breed as they can be prone to both hip and elbow dysplasia.

It will also make sure that your pet does not become obese over time, leading to serious health problems such as heart disease and joint issues later on in life.

In this post, we’ve broken down the most important information about exercising your pet into four sections – How much exercise does an English Bulldog need? What kind of exercises are suitable for your dog? When should you start exercising your pet and what precautions should be taken?

This way, you’ll learn everything there is to know about exercising your Bulldog. So what are you waiting for? Let’s get started!

Why is Exercise Vital for your  English Bulldogs?

Every English Bulldog owner should be aware of the numerous health problems that their dog is more susceptible to than other breeds.

English Bulldogs have been selectively bred for their short snouts and little legs, meaning English Bulldogs tend to be more prone to health issues such as brachycephalic airway syndrome and joint problems.

This doesn’t mean that your English Bulldog needs to be wrapped in cotton wool. He will still need a regular exercise routine and free play to live a healthy life, but responsible owners should be committed to regular vet visits and cautious to not over-exercise their Bulldog.

A nutritious diet and daily walks coupled with a sensible amount of exercise will keep your English Bulldog’s health in check and ensure that he lives a happy and healthy life.

How Much Exercise Does an English Bulldog Need?

Due to the increased risk of hip and elbow dysplasia, adult Bulldogs should only be walked for around a half-hour a day; longer walks can cause labored breathing and pain in their joints.

A short walk around your neighbourhood will allow your English Bulldog to experience the mental enrichment of exploring and sniffing whilst keeping him at a healthy weight.

Aside from their daily walks, Bulldogs love to play with chew toys and tug ropes, but be careful around their strong jaws! Around half an hour of indoor play, or free play in the dog park, is ideal for this dog breed and will provide them with mental stimulation alongside their exercise.

Best Types of Exercise for English Bulldogs

You can help keep your pet fit by taking him on walks around the neighbourhood or playing games at home. There are many ways to have fun with your dog while still ensuring that his daily exercise needs are met.

Don’t forget about mental stimulation too – try teaching him some tricks like sitting, taking a bow, lying down, etc. These activities will provide your dog with mental exercise and strengthen the bond between owner and pet!

Below are some activities for every Bulldog owner to try!

Play Tug of War

English Bulldogs love to play games that involve tugging and biting to keep their muscles strong. They aren’t aggressive to humans, so you don’t need to worry about your dog lashing out for no reason; engaging in this kind of play simply taps into a natural behaviour in most Bulldogs.

Tug of War games are a great, low impact exercise that provides mental stimulation and physical activity to keep your English Bulldog at a healthy weight. This type of Bulldog exercise, coupled with short walks, will keep an adult Bulldog happy and healthy.

Puzzle Toys

It’s essential to ensure that your English Bulldog receives mental stimulation alongside physical exercise. Puzzle toys are a fantastic way to achieve by allowing your dog to work to find his reward in the form of food or a treat.

In the summer months, when strenuous exercise and outside play could run the risk of heat stroke, puzzle toys are a safe way to ensure your English Bulldog is getting the physical and mental stimulation he needs!

This video shows how to make your own puzzle toys for dogs

Build an Obstacle Course

Just like other dogs, English Bulldogs love to bond with their owners through command based games. Setting up a simple obstacle course in your home or garden can be a relatively easy way to provide a controlled amount of exercise and actively engage with your dog.

Be cautious that your Bulldog isn’t quite as nimble as most dogs, so try to create simple obstacles that don’t require too much agility to navigate. Wide tunnels and slaloms are ideal for English Bulldogs, but avoid large jumps or high hoops as many Bulldogs will suffer joint issues when engaging in strenuous activities such as these.

Be sure to reward your English Bulldog when he completes these obstacles to form a strong bond between you and your dog!

Core Strengthening Exercises

Unlike other dogs, your English Bulldog will struggle to safely benefit from fast-paced exercises or exercise that involves running and jumping. A safe alternative to work on these muscles can be found in specialised dog core strengthening exercises.

You should always consult your vet before engaging in this kind of exercise with your English Bulldog and contact your vet immediately if your dog shows any sign of pain during a strengthening workout.

Use a treat to guide your English Bulldog and have him sit with his rear legs beneath him and his back straight. Lure your dog from a standing position to this seated position and slowly guide him down, have him hold these positions for 2-5 seconds between transitions to strengthen his core muscles.

Obedience Training

A great way to give your English Bulldog some dedicated exercise and help foster a bond between dog and owner is to engage in some simple obedience training. This can range from learning commands to fun games; you can even play fetch as part of these exercises.

It’s best to start obedience training with Bulldog puppies, as teaching them the order of your pack at this stage will limit any unruly behaviour. However, an adult English Bulldog can still benefit from this form of exercise.

Start with basic commands (like sit and lie down) and limit these sessions to 10-15 minutes, especially with English Bulldog puppies, as your dog’s attention span might not last longer than this. Use positive reinforcement in the form of food and treats to keep your English Bulldog on track!

Can an English Bulldog Have Too Much Exercise?

As mentioned earlier, every owner of an English Bulldog should be aware of the health issues that the breed is susceptible to. Your Bulldog is incredibly likely to suffer from hip dysplasia, degenerative spine disease, brachycephalic syndrome and other joint and respiratory problems due to the nature of his breed.

It’s imperative that you enjoy low impact exercise with your Bulldog and avoid strenuous activities such as running or long walks as they can cause your Bulldog, especially puppies, severe and long term harm.

Unlike other dogs, Bulldogs are at particular risk from breathing issues caused by extreme weather. You should always use a harness instead of a collar and avoid walking your Bulldog in seriously cold weather and intense heat, as these conditions can make it difficult for him to breathe properly.

If you have to take your Bulldog on a trip in hot weather, make sure he has regular breaks in the shade and access to fresh water, you should always consult your vet if you have any worries.

How Much Exercise Does a Senior English Bulldog Need?

As your English Bulldog ages, his ability to enjoy his usual exercise and walking routines may change. An English Bulldog is considered a senior dog at around the age of 7. At this age, you should consider shortening his walks and limiting his physical exercise, depending on the health issues he may be facing.

It’s always worthwhile speaking to your vet as your Bulldog ages to keep an eye on his joint, spine and respiratory health and to make sure his diet and exercise routine is enriching his life as it should.

You should still keep up with regular walks and mental stimulation; puzzle toys and rope toys will provide low impact exercise that will keep him happy and healthy.

How Much Exercise Does an English Bulldog Puppy Need? – What Dog Owners Need to Know

Establishing an exercise routine for an English Bulldog puppy is important for forming a strong bond between owner and pup. When your Bulldog puppy is 3-6 months old, this routine will mainly consist of light free play, with age-appropriate toys, as any formal exercise can be harmful to their joints as they begin to grow.

Once your English Bulldog puppy has had his puppy shots, socialising with other puppies is a great way to provide exercise and mental stimulation whilst he learns how to be a dog! Limited walks and an introduction to any other pets you may have will help your puppy to begin exploring the world and finding his feet as he grows.

Older puppies

At 6-12 months, your puppy can gradually begin to play low impact games and enjoy slightly longer walks, but always be cautious of his breathing and joints. If there is any sign of breathing issues or pain, you should immediately contact your vet.

At 12 months and up, your puppy will become a full-grown adult Bulldog, and he can begin to take part in his adult exercise routine that should keep him strong and healthy throughout his life!

Final Thoughts

Bulldogs are not the most active dogs in the world and are considered by some to be a lazy breed. This means they can struggle with obesity if their owners don’t take care of them properly and make sure they get enough exercise every day.

You should never overdo it when exercising your English Bulldog because this could lead to breathing problems for them since they have such short noses and compromised air passages.

Any type of activity that increases oxygen demand should be done carefully since these dogs will struggle to breathe adequately under increased demand, especially in hot weather.

However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t exercise your English Bulldog. A couple of short walks daily, a low impact exercise routine and plenty of mental enrichment are essential to keep these friendly dogs healthy.

Make sure you consult with your vet before starting any new exercise regimen for your pup!

If you have another breed, learn how much to walk a dog with our detailed guides on other dog breeds.

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John Devlin

Blogger and owner of George and Henry. Two gorgeous goldens that couldn’t be more different. One is a dream loving and caring, and his sibling is as naughty as can be. When I am not blogging about dogs, I love watching sport and travelling with the family.
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