Miniature English Bulldogs: What Makes Them Unique?

Updated October 17, 2022
Miniature English Bulldog

If you're an English Bulldog lover, but need a dog in a smaller size, you might be interested in a miniature English Bulldog. The miniature English Bulldog is very popular in the United States, especially among celebrities. They are an excellent choice for people who live in apartments or other small spaces because they are compact, but not particularly fragile. While there's no doubt these dogs are adorable, they come with a lot of health problems and questionable breeding.

Origin of the Miniature English Bulldog

The miniature English Bulldog was created by breeding the English Bulldog with the Pug. They were developed during the 1980s by breeders who were looking to create a dog similar to the English Bulldog, but in a smaller, healthier package. Other breeders did not use Pugs, but instead bred smaller English Bulldogs to each other in order to create a smaller purebred version.

They are not recognized as a distinct breed by the largest breed registry in the United States, the American Kennel Club (AKC). They are, however, recognized by smaller registries such as the American Canine Association and the Dog Registry of America.

Difference Between the Crosses

Miniature English Bulldogs are also known as teacup Bulldogs and are a smaller version of the English Bulldog from which they are descended. A mini Bulldog and a toy Bulldog are often confused with the miniature English Bulldog. For comparison's sake:

  • The English Bulldog has an average weight of 40 to 55 pounds.
  • The miniature English Bulldog has an average weight of 20 to 40 pounds and can contain some Pug or Boston Terrier in its lineage, depending on the breeder.
  • The English Bulldog can reach up to 16 inches tall at the shoulder.
  • The mini Bulldog is a crossbreed of an English Bulldog mixed with a Pug, and they weigh on average 30 to 40 pounds.
  • The toy Bulldog was bred in England and no longer exists. These dogs were mixes of French and English Bulldogs and weighed about 20 pounds.

Miniature English Bulldog Physical Characteristics

The miniature English Bulldog looks almost exactly like their English Bulldog ancestors, other than their smaller size. They are between 13 to 14 inches tall at the shoulder, with males being larger than females. They have a brachycephalic face -- meaning they have a broad, short skull -- and a low-slung, muscular body.

The Miniature English Bulldog's Coat

The miniature English Bulldog has the short and glossy coat of the English Bulldog. It comes in brindle, brown, fawn, red, white, or patched. They require weekly brushing to keep their skin healthy and to remove hair from shedding. They also need the folds of their skin cleaned regularly to keep skin conditions from developing. Along with their coat and skin needs, be prepared to deal with a lot of drool.

Personality of the Miniature English Bulldog

Like the English Bulldog, the miniature English Bulldog is known for being a friendly and outgoing dog. They are affectionate dogs who do well with children and love to cuddle. Since they're so people-focused, they do not enjoy being left alone for long periods of time. They can also show some protective tendencies around their home and family, and are loyal to their families. They can also be difficult with some other dogs due to their bulldog heritage.

Training a Miniature English Bulldog

Although they're known for being "stubborn," this is just a sign that they're intelligent and respond best to positive reinforcement training. They also have a reputation for being difficult to house-train, which is common with smaller dogs. Don't allow your dog to roam freely in the house until they have been fully housetrained.

Start training your miniature English Bulldog as soon as possible so they don't develop bad habits while they are still young puppies. The best way to start housetraining is by introducing them to a crate or small area of the house where they will be confined until they learn how to properly use the bathroom outside instead of in the house.

Mini Bulldog Exercise Needs

The exercise needs of the miniature English Bulldog should be handled with care. Because of their physical condition and their sensitivity to extreme temperatures, they should not be over-exercised. They are brachycephalic -- meaning their snouts are shortened, just like in normal-sized bulldogs -- and as a result, their airways are less robust, which may cause them to overheat easily.

While some of these dogs are playful and will enjoy a good walk, others are pure couch potatoes who don't want to be bothered. Since they're prone to obesity, it's essential to make sure they get some daily exercise. Just be careful about outside temperatures and how long you allow your mini to work out.

Miniature English Bulldog Health Concerns

The miniature English Bulldog has a lifespan of about 8 to 12 years. One of the biggest problems with this breed is that they are prone to a long list of health problems. In addition to having difficulty giving birth and requiring cesarean sections, they can suffer from the following:

  • Aortic stenosis is a heart disease involving narrowing of the aortic valve.
  • Brachycephalic syndrome causes respiratory problems with symptoms as mild as snoring and as serious as passing out after physical exertion.
  • Canine follicular dysplasia is a problem with a dog's hair follicles that leads to hair loss and flaky skin.
  • Cleft palate is caused by the sides of the roof of a dog's mouth not closing and can cause respiratory problems and difficulty eating.
  • Cryptorchidism occurs when one or both of a dog's testicles have not descended and may require surgery.
  • Deafness may occur with these dogs at birth in either one or both ears.
  • Dwarfism, or achondroplasia, occurs when a dog's skeletal system does not develop at a normal rate and leads to smaller dogs with limbs that may be out of proportion to the rest of the body.
  • Ectopic ureter causes urinary bladder problems and can lead to urinary incontinence. It may require surgery to treat.
  • Eye problems, including cherry eye, dry eye, trichiasis and entropion, which can all lead to difficulties with vision and even blindness, as well as eye irritation.
  • Head shakes, which can be caused by irritations and inflammation in the ears.
  • Heat stroke can lead to dehydration and even death if not treated quickly enough.
  • Hemivertebrae is a deformity of the dog's spine that causes "screw tail."
  • Hip dysplasia is a painful condition involving a dog's bones and joints in the hips.
  • Hypoplastic trachea is a genetic condition where a dog's trachea is too narrow and can cause breathing problems and coughing.
  • Hypothyroidism is a disorder of the endocrine system that can lead to weight gain, skin and coat problems, and lethargy.
  • Patellar and elbow luxation is an orthopedic condition where the dog's knee and elbow caps are out of place and require surgical correction.
  • Pododermatitis occurs when a dog's feet and paws become irritated due to allergies, infections, tumors, or other diseases.
  • Pulmonary edema involves fluid in the dog's lungs and can be associated with heart failure.
  • Pulmonic stenosis is a congenital problem with a dog's heart. The dog's pulmonary valve is too narrow and it can lead to heart failure.
  • Sacrocaudal dysgenesis is a congenital defect of the dog's spine that causes a dog to be born without a tail.
  • Skin conditions including demodectic mange, furunculosis, and muzzle folliculitis, which can lead to severe skin irritation and discomfort for the dog.
  • Tetralogy of Fallot involves defects in the heart that are present at birth and can cause seizures, collapsing, inability to exercise, and problems growing properly.
  • Tumors, including mast cell tumors, brain tumors, and lymphosarcoma, which can be benign or cancerous.
  • Urate urolithiasis is when stones are formed with uric acid and can cause pain and blockages in the dog's liver and kidneys.
  • Urethrorectal fistula is a condition present at birth where the dog's urethra is too narrow.
  • Ventricular septal defect is a "hole" in a dog's heart that is a congenital condition.

Where Can You Get a Miniature English Bulldog?

A miniature English Bulldog puppy from a breeder can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $4,500. Because they're not recognized by the AKC, you can find them by researching breeders on the internet. Due to the health problems and unethical breeding practices that abound with this breed, research your breeder very carefully before getting one of their dogs. If you decide to rescue a dog, you can try the Bulldog Club of America, which may have listings of these smaller versions of their breed, as well as the Petfinder and Adopt-a-Pet websites.

Is the Miniature English Bulldog the Right Dog For You?

Miniature English Bulldogs are definitely cute and friendly, but they come with a lot of health problems. If you have a limited budget for pet care, this is not the dog for you. It may also be harder to find a well-bred dog. Be aware there are many concerns in the dog fancy about breeding these dogs with such poor physical health prospects. Still, if you're willing to deal with all of these medical issues and have the funds, they can be engaging, affectionate family companions.

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Miniature English Bulldogs: What Makes Them Unique?