Can English Bulldogs Run or Jog, and Should They?


One of the most endearing traits that dogs offer humans is their seemingly inexhaustible amount of energy. Many a dog owner has played with their pup until they themself were exhausted and, much to their chagrin, their pup was still raring for more. As puppies, this can be the same for English Bulldogs but, as a brachycephalic breed, they do have their limits. This especially goes for activities like running and jogging.

In this article, Can English Bulldogs Run or Jog, and Should They, we’ll take a look at these limits, why English bulldogs have them and, more importantly, why you as their duty-bound owner need to be aware of how much running and jogging your English Bullie buddy can handle without putting their health at risk. Enjoy!

Are English Bulldogs Capable of Running or Jogging?

Similar to all breeds of dogs, English bulldogs need regular exercise to stay fit and healthy. When it comes to running and jogging, however, they do have their limits due to several factors. Yes, they can run, or jog, by your side, but for very short distances and under the right circumstances. For example, on a very hot, sunny and humid day, running and/or jogging is not recommended because, as brachycephalic dogs, English bulldogs often have difficulty breathing and can overheat very quickly.

English bullies also have very short legs, which means that you’ll have to jog or run a bit slower than normal, especially if you’re a tall person with long strides. They are also prone to joint problems, especially their knees and hips, and running or jogging puts a lot more pressure on these joints and can hurt them even under normal conditions.

So yes, English bulldogs can run and jog but it’s not recommended, especially for puppies (more on that in a minute) or if they are getting on in age as their joints, heart and lungs will be even weaker. You can certainly let them run around in your yard or in the house but, as a running or jogging partner, they’re simply not suited to the task.

How Long Can English Bulldogs Run?

Most English bulldog experts agree that they should only be allowed to run around for 30 to 40 minutes, and less on a hot, humid day. More than this and you risk that they will dangerously overheat, have difficulty catching their breath and cause damage to their joints, including their hips and knees.

There are exceptions to the rule, of course. If your English bullie buddy is a fully-grown adult with minimum health problems and the temperature outside is moderate they may be able to run around a bit longer without any risks. This would be something that you, as their dutiful and loving owner, would need to evaluate and decide on your own.

Our advice; it’s better to err on the side of caution. Remember, dogs don’t have the capacity to know if they are hurting themselves and so you need to keep an eye on them and protect them from self-harm.

How Far Can English Bulldogs Run?

This is a question that must be answered on an individual basis. As we’ve talked about, English bulldogs need (and love) exercise but running and jogging isn’t the best type for this breed due to their inherent health problems and brachycephalic nature. If you want to run or jog with your English bulldog you can, but frankly, you won’t be able to get very far before they start to have difficulty breathing and begin to overheat.

That being said, 30 to 40 minutes is the advised amount of time to exercise your furry buddy so, for example, if you want to take them on a short jog or run at a moderate to slow speed simply make sure that you go as far as will get you back to your home in 30 to 40 minutes.

Weather is also a factor when running or jogging with your English bullie. If it’s very hot you should run or jog in the early morning or late afternoon when the temperature is cooler. On very cold days you might want to put a sweater on your buddy to keep them warmer as they don’t like the cold very much at all and can catch a chill.

It is Bad on Bulldogs’ Joints to Run?

Yes, it definitely can be, unfortunately. Remember, this is a breed that’s oftentimes born with joint problems, including hip and elbow dysplasia. These are malformations of the hip and elbow joint that can make it difficult for English bulldogs to walk and move around, let alone run or jog. If your English bullie already has these problems running and jogging will undoubtedly worsen them.

Furthermore, as they get older more severe joint problems can arise as well, such as degenerative spine disease. Running and jogging can exacerbate these problems significantly, causing much pain and discomfort for your beloved pooch and the possibility of expensive veterinary visits too.

If You’re Going to Run or Jog with your Bulldog What do you Need to Consider?

There are quite a few factors that you should consider before you decide to run or jog with your English bulldog so that you don’t cause them harm, pain or even untimely death. They include;

  • The Weather. Too hot and they will overheat quickly, too cold and they will get a chill just as fast
  • Their Age. An English Bulldog puppy shouldn’t be allowed to run or jog almost at all (more on that in a moment) An older dog will likely have pronounced joint and breathing problems.
  • The Distance. Under perfect conditions, you still don’t want to run or jog with your English bulldog for more than 30 or 40 minutes, which would probably be less than 2 miles
  • Speed. Running or jogging at a moderate to slow pace is recommended, especially when you consider how quickly English bulldogs can overheat and also that they have very short legs
  • Their Overall Health. The healthier your pupper is the longer they can run or jog without any health risks

Is it Worse for English Bulldog Puppies or Adults to Run?

Like everything else we talked about this depends on several factors. What you need to consider is that English bulldogs go through several growth phases during their first year of life. If they are allowed to run or jog indiscriminately, it can cause permanent damage to many of their joints and lead to lifelong problems and pain. That includes their knees, hips, shoulders and other joints. Their heart and lungs are also developing and running or jogging can have a detrimental effect on these vital organs too.

Older, adult English bullies, if they are in good shape, won’t be nearly as susceptible to these life-changing problems as pups are, although their joints can be negatively affected if they run or jog too far or too often (or both).

Which is worse? Well, considering that running and jogging can cause lifelong problems that your English bulldog pup might not have had if they never ran or jogged, we’d have to choose that its worse for them. That being said, we recommend not jogging or running with your English bulldog or, at most, only engaging in this activity once in a while and only if your buddy is an adult in good health.

What Are Some Better Alternatives for English Bulldogs Than Running?

There are many different activities that your English bulldog boo can do with you safely and still have a fun time. They’ll get the exercise they need and you’ll get the satisfaction of playing with your canine companion.

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Ollie the English bulldog
  • Short walks during the cooler times of day
  • Playing ‘tug-of-war’
  • Playing fetch in a small yard over short distances
  • Playing with other dogs in the yard or at the local dog park (30 to 40 minutes max.)

Here are a few toys that you can use to play with your bulldog bud and help them get their daily dose of exercise. These are great for tugs-of-war and fetching!

  1. Durable Dog Bite Pillow
  2. K9 Dog Bite Tug Toy
  3. Dog Tug Toy Dog Bite Pillow
  4. KONG – Flyer
  5. Chuckit! Ultra Tug

Is Running Bad For French or American Bulldogs?

The rules, restrictions and recommendations we’ve made for English bulldogs are more or less the same for French and American bulldogs. American bulldogs less so, however, as American bullies are larger with longer legs and somewhat fewer overall health problems than both their English and French counterparts.

Conclusion

While English bulldogs are capable of running and jogging it’s an activity that isn’t highly recommended and must be done under the best of conditions. The last thing any person who adores their English bulldogs wants (and, we hope, that’s everyone) is for their puppy to have more pain and suffering due to an activity that truly wasn’t all that necessary.

Sources

http://www.bulldogpros.com/blog/2013/05/29/exercise-for-your-bulldog-or-mastiff-how-much-enough-too-much/

https://www.wikihow.com/Exercise-an-English-Bulldog

https://www.petmd.com/dog/centers/nutrition/evr_dg_how-to-exercise-with-dog

https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/best-running-dogs/

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