Why Does my English Bulldog Grunt?

For the average dog owner, barking is a fact of life. Dogs bark for many different reasons, including communicating with other dogs, warning other animals to stay away, when they get excited, out of curiosity or boredom or to let you know when they are afraid. Some dogs bark more than others, and some bark so much it’s extremely distracting and frustrating.

English bulldogs grunt when they are trying to either show displeasure, excitement, or get your attention. English bulldogs also grunt when they are stiff from lying down and need to stretch.

Yes, some English bulldogs bark but it’s somewhat rare. Instead, most English Bullies grunt, sort of like a pig but with less ‘oink’. They also tend to wheeze and snort, kind of like your Grandpa when he wakes up suddenly from a nap.

In this article, Why Does My English Bulldog Grunt, we’ll take a closer look at this interesting and unusual behavior and the reasons behind it, as well as some interesting facts and info that will make great reading the next time your Bullie buddy’s loud grunting is keeping you awake at night. Enjoy.

Photo by The Bulldog Blog

Why Do English Bulldogs Grunt?

We’ve touched on this before in many of our other articles (which, by the way, make great reading when you have the time). English bulldogs, and the bulldog breed in general, are brachycephalic.

That’s an awfully long word to describe their cute, scrunched-up faces, noses that are flattened more than most other breeds, and a chest that’s a good bit larger than their hindquarters. Bulldogs tend to have respiratory problems due to being brachycephalic and, for this main reason, they tend to grunt more than bark because barking requires more air.

That’s not to say that your English bullie will be grunting all the time because it can’t breathe well, just that when they communicate (and they love to communicate) grunts will usually be coming out of their funny faces rather than barks. Most English bulldog owners actually find their grunting quite adorable and one of the reasons that they are attracted to the breed.

Apart from being brachycephalic, English Bulldogs will grunt for a few other reasons too, including.

English bullies are very social

Dogs are social animals, but English bulldogs seem to be even more so than most other breeds. They love to express their emotions, and many have different grunts for every emotion they want to convey, from happy to concerned to upset.

English bulldogs love to talk

One of the funny quirks of English bulldogs is that they tend to mimic the actions of their owner because they want to ‘fit in’. That includes ‘talking’ to you when they want your attention or want your approval. If you’re a big talker they will match you, and when you talk to them they will talk back using a wide variety of different grunts. If you own an English bullie you no doubt already know how talkative they can be.

English bulldogs are intelligent and can communicate well

More than most dogs your Bullie bud will let you know what they want. It’s up to you to figure it out, although most people can after living with their English bulldog for a certain amount of time. They’ll grunt one way to say they’re hungry, another to tell you it’s time for a walk, and yet another when they want to play. Truth be told, it can be quite amusing and charming.

What Does it Mean When Bulldogs Grunt?

As we’ve seen, English bulldogs grunt for a wide variety of reasons, but a better question is; what do their grunts mean? The answer to this question is that, when an English bullie grunts, it can mean a lot of things.

For example, their grunting could mean that they’re super excited. Maybe you’ve just come home from work or the store and they’re happy to see you. If they are, the grunts may fly non stop for a few minutes until they’ve finally settled down.

Their grunting could also be a sign of displeasure. Maybe you’ve been ignoring them all day while you finish a project or take care of other chores. English bulldogs need a lot of attention and if they don’t get it they will let you know in no uncertain terms. If this is the case, their grunting might mean “Hey, what gives? What am I, chopped liver?”.

If you’ve just sat down on the couch to watch a movie or your fave TV show and your Bullie buddy is up on your lap, their grunting might be the sign that they’re happy and content, loving their life and glad that they adopted you. A happy English bulldog has no problem letting you know they’re happy and love their life with a few well-placed grunts.

So, in answer to the question of what it means when an English bulldog grunts, the answer is that it can mean a whole lot of things and, in most cases, it’s up to you as their owner to figure it out. (Most of the time it won’t be that difficult.)

Then again, if your fur baby is having a bit of trouble breathing, as is the case with many English bullies, they might simply be grunting because they can’t get as much air as they need into their funny flat face. The next section covers this more in-depth.

Photo by The Bulldog Blog

Should I Be Concerned if my Bulldog Grunts?

Not all the time but, yes, sometimes it should concern you if your English bullie is grunting, and the type of grunting noise they’re making. You should also be a little concerned if they wheeze, snort and snore more than normal, as all of these noises could be signs that your buddy is having a problem breathing, as well as being overweight.

The truth is, English bulldogs aren’t the most active of breeds because of their aforementioned brachycephalic nature, and so they can become obese quite easily if you’re not careful. As their owner, it’s really up to you to prevent them from getting a big, fat belly, either by making sure they get enough exercise or keeping their food intake to a reasonable level. (Like all dogs, they will overeat if given the chance).

If you think your English bulldog is grunting more than usual, or if they are wheezing, snorting or making other noises that sound like they are having trouble breathing, you should take them to your local vet to get checked out. There are a few things that they can do to help them breathe easier if it’s necessary. They also might be grunting because they are in pain, nearing labor or under duress, so keep an ear on these grunts and take them to the vet if they persist.

Do Other Breeds of Dog Grunt?

Yes, but most of them are brachycephalic breeds similar to the English bulldog. There are quite a few dog breeds that have a shortened nose and flattened face like the English bullie and, because of that, they will tend to grunt more than bark. They include;

  • Chow Chow
  • Pekingese
  • Bull Mastiff
  • French Bulldog
  • American Bulldog
  • English Toy Spaniel
  • Lhasa Apso

There are reasons why other breeds of dog will grunt also. Some dogs will grunt when they are in pain or distress, female dogs will grunt when they are approaching labor and about to whelp. Some dogs will grunt when they are angry, and many different breeds of puppies will grunt when they are content.

What Are Other Sounds Bulldogs Make and What Do They Mean?

We’ve touched on this already and, yes, bulldogs do make other noises. For example, did you know that bulldogs can purr? It’s true! They usually show this very cat-like behavior when they are extremely content and happy, usually on your lap or stretched out in their beds after a long and satisfying day.

Snorting is another sound you might hear occasionally from your bulldog buddy, which can mean that they just sneezed or that they’re angry or unhappy about something. Then there’s snoring which, due to their flat face and nose, is something that you’ll probably have to get used to because most of them do it and do it loudly.

Lastly, and this is a bit delicate, English bulldogs have a tendency to fart, and fart often. The reason for this stems from the fact that, along with their other health problems, English bullies have relatively sensitive stomachs and digestive systems. They also have a tendency to eat their food very fast which can increase the amount of air that gets into their intestines. Because of these two factors, bulldogs don’t digest their food as well as other dog breeds and, well, it causes them to let the flatulence fly.

There are a few products that you can give to your fur baby that will help alleviate some of the gases that come out of their…rear ends. Here are 3 that work quite well.

  1. NaturVet – No Toot
  3. Vet’s Best Gas Busters

Closing Thoughts

The reason why your English bulldog, and other types of bulldogs, grunt are various and sometimes hilarious. They can be a sign of discomfort but in most cases, it’s just their way of communicating since they have trouble barking.






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