With his gruff demeanor, barrel chest, and a gait that means business, the Bulldog is a breed that epitomizes toughness. But behind this medium-sized dog's rough-and-tumble exterior is a relaxed pooch that likes to play. So what toys on the market are best to bring out his mirthful side?
OUR PICKS FOR THE TOP TOYS FOR BULLDOGS
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Bulldogs at a Glance
There's a reason bulldogs so effortlessly epitomize toughness – they are, and history backs this up. Also known as the English Bulldog, the dogs derived their name because they were bred to fight bulls for sport. While they no longer take on large animals, they still possess the kind of confident swagger that would make their ancient relatives proud.
They also carry physical traits that allow them to act in a way that stretches beyond their medium-size stature. The breed’s soft, loose skin is designed to provide him with an extra layer of protection in a donnybrook, while their broad, stocky body and muscular hindquarters allow him to contain a significant amount of power.
While pop culture and the breed's inherent confidence has long given bulldogs a reputation for mightiness, the truth is that they’ve developed into sweet, easygoing pooch whose penchant for sociability allows him to get along with pretty much everyone.
Truth be told, some of the physical attributes that cultivate the breed’s reputation are some of the very same things that make the pooch so wildly popular. Owners tend to fall in love with the breed’s pushed-in face, stubby butt and tail, and confident stride. Plus, their tendency to grunt and make “bulldog noises” can be rather endearing.
Bulldogs at Play
It may be somewhat surprising to find out that bulldogs are a pretty chill breed that thrives on inactivity. But despite their bold history and their sometimes brazen confidence, bulldogs are docile, quiet indoor dogs that don't exert a whole lot of energy. This trait makes him a winning choice for those who don’t adhere to an active lifestyle.
Because of his relaxed – some might say lazy – nature, exercise and playtime can be a bit of a tricky proposition. It is important that you sneak in some exercise with a bulldog; if you don’t, you’ll have a fat pooch on your hand. Even so, your little guy will be ready for naptime after a 15-minute walk.
When bulldogs do play, they tend to enjoy romping around. However, their docile behavior means that they rarely initiate playtime on their own. It is usually up to you or a family member to motivate him to get up and go.
It’s also a good idea to keep a bulldog’s play indoors. The breed doesn’t do all that well in extreme heat, in part because of the pushed-in nature of his mug. Trying to get him to play in an environment that’s too warm for his liking is essentially a no-win situation for everyone involved.
Because you’ll be the one that will initiate playtime more often than not, you better be sure you have a measure of tolerance at the ready. A bulldog is not as dumb as public perception may dictate, but they are very strong-willed dogs that use their brains to get their way as much as they can. So don’t be surprised if they react to your desire to play with begging for a tummy rub instead.
What are the Best Toys for Bulldogs?
Oddly enough, a skateboard can make a pretty swell toy for a bulldog. Although this toy seems to counter the nature of the breed – we assume you don't allow skateboarding in your home – it makes sense for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, it provides the bulldog much needed exercise in a way that may not bore him, like a walk might. Indeed, your pooch may take a shine to “taking a ride” on the board and feeling the breeze envelop his body. All the while, he may not think of it as exercise – he may think of it as fun.
Also, once a bulldog figures out a task, he can master it pretty quickly. It may take a while for you to train him on how to ride on a skateboard due to his stubborn, manipulative nature. However, once he figures out how to play on it, he’ll be eager to climb aboard.
For indoor play, bulldogs love their chew toys. This is especially the case if they have to be left alone for a few hours, and they need to redirect their boredom. A good chew toy will be sturdy enough to handle a bulldog’s repeated bite.
You can also get away with stationary chew toys with bulldogs, as they will be happiest simply wrapping their paws around an object and gnawing away. It’s also wise to get chew toys that double as puzzle toys. Remember, bulldogs are much smarter than often given credit for, and they will appreciate flexing their brain muscle.
What Toys Should be Avoided?
Don’t ever bother with a retrieval toy with a bulldog. Fetch is simply not in this low-energy pooch’s vocabulary. If you try to get him to track down a ball that you’ve thrown, chances are he’ll just look at you funny, and possibly roll over and demand you pat his tummy.
Water-based toys are also a bad idea. Due to the physical nature of the breed, they are incapable of swimming and will not jump into a pool of any size under any circumstances. Besides, water-based toys are inherently fit for outdoor play, which is something that bulldogs tend to pass on in the first place.
Also, you should avoid any chew toy that is not made to withstand any measure of repeated impact. Since bulldogs are into chew toys, they will repeatedly “attack” their plaything. If the object in question isn’t built to stand up to constant use, you’ll end up repeatedly sweeping up chunks of toy and spending cash on replacements.
If you're simply looking for a chew long lasting chew toy that will keep your bulldog happy, your best bet may be to pick up a KONG Dental Dog Toy. Its features seem ready-made for a pooch with a penchant for lounging about. Better yet, it can help your little buddy's dental health.
A bulldog’s lower jaw juts out further than his upper jaw. This quirky feature means that some of his teeth are going to be exposed, which means they may be subject to more nastiness. A good chew toy like the KONG Dental Dog Toy works because its unique grooved shape works to clean his teeth and gingerly massage his gums, which could lead to a cleaner mouth.
This particular toy also gives you the option of stuffing a treat inside of its center. This feature will enable your bulldog to use his puzzle-solving skills as he eyes the prize inside. This bit of mental stimulation also works because he won't have to move around to figure out the riddle since the puzzle will be laid out before him.
Let’s say you want to teach your bulldog to be the coolest canine on the block. You also want him to be willing to embrace the idea of exercise more readily, so he doesn’t balk at the notion of having to go out for a stroll. To that end, a skateboard and a willingness to train would work wonders.
You don't need anything fancy or tricked out to accomplish this goal. For instance, we like the SCSK8 Skateboard because it's so basic. The base model comes in straight wood coloring with white wheels, with no fancy graphics or patterns. This makes it perfect for your bulldog because he's not going to care one iota about what the board looks like.
While skateboarding will fill his need for exercise, it will also nourish his social side. After all, when your bulldog learns how to skateboard, he will draw a crowd, which something that your four-legged friend will eat up. This call to attention may even make him more enthused about hopping on the board and going for a spin.
Regardless of how you play with your bulldog, it's important that you engage him in some active and meaningful playtime. It's utterly crucial for his health since he is a couch potato that will most likely pass on initiating play on his end. Doing so will help keep him fit and trim and will more than likely add years to his life.
And really, even though he may be a reluctant participant when it comes to playtime, once he gets going, he does tend to enjoy himself. As an owner, you need to simply remember this the next time he tries to manipulate you into letting him walk the path of least resistance. Doing so is not only good for him, but it’s also good for your relationship as a whole.