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Affectionate, loyal, gentle and stubborn are words that sum up the English bulldog. He may look fierce and frightening to some, but bulldog owners know he's a big softy who prefers chilling out to going out, which is why exercise and diet are so important for maintaining his ideal weight.
It is one thing to know what your bulldog should weigh and quite another to keep him at his ideal weight. Although the bulldog puppy is high-spirited, and loves to romp and cuddle with you at home, once he reaches adulthood he still wants his cuddles, but exercise, especially the outdoor variety, is something he'd prefer to live without. If a bulldog was a person his idea of a perfect day would be lying in a hammock while his staff bring him food and drinks. However, if you're going to stop him from piling on the pounds, you will need to be firm and establish a regular outdoors exercise routine early on in his life. Ideally, a female bulldog should weigh between 48 and 50 lbs, and a male around 52 to 55 lbs.
Keeping an eye on your puppy's weight over the first year should help to prevent excessive weight gain. At Bulldog Information, the weight chart shows that the average puppy weighs about 5 lbs at 1 month old. He goes through a growth spurt between 3 and 5 months, when his weight increases from around 15 to 30 lbs. The increase is steadier until he reaches 12 months, when he reaches the average weight of the breed at around 50 lbs.You can weigh your newborn puppy on a kitchen scale, but when he gets too big for that, you can weigh yourself holding the puppy on standard bathroom scales, then weigh yourself and subtract your weight from your combined weights.
During his first year your bulldog puppy is growing at a rapid rate and needs to develop a lot of bone mass in a short space of time. Consequently, his nutritional needs are much higher than those of an adult bulldog. Bulldogs are considered to be adults onlywhen they reach 18 months and need to be treated as a puppy nutritionally until that age. Up to 4 months, puppies usually are fed four times a day, reducing this to three meals until he reaches 6 months, after which you can reduce it to two. The Bulldog Ranch suggests keeping your bulldog puppy on puppy food until he is 2 years old if he is happy with it.
The bulldog physique is broad-chested, muscular and squat, as they typically grow to only about 16 inches in height. Regular exercise will help to maintain his muscular appearance and keep him trim, although he will prefer to stay at home. However, if you get him into a walking routine early on it will be less of an issue. Bulldogs don't require a lot of walking to keep fit and about 1 to 2 hours should be sufficient. It's best to split the time up over two or three walks, as bulldogs overheat easily with excessive exercise. If you live in a hot climate, don't take your bulldog out in the middle of the day as he'll really suffer in the heat.
Based in London, Eleanor McKenzie has been writing lifestyle-related books and articles since 1998. Her articles have appeared in the "Palm Beach Times" and she is the author of numerous books published by Hamlyn U.K., including "Healing Reiki" and "Pilates System." She holds a Master of Arts in informational studies from London University.