How to Breed for a Healthy English Bulldog


Healthy English Bulldog


The keys to a successful breeding program are both extremely simple and complex all at the same time.  From a very simple point of view, the goal is to create genetically healthy bulldogs by breeding generations of healthy bulldog ancestors.  This continual process seeks to gradually improve each generation’s characteristics and eventually arrive at a very well-bred bloodline.  While this goal seems simple enough, like many things, the process gets more complex upon taking a closer look. 


Keys to Success

One of the biggest keys to creating a healthy bloodline is understanding the main health issues in the breed and ensuring that the bulldogs that are considered for breeding do not struggle with these issues.  Below is our Gold Star Health Standard that all of our stud bulldogs and female bulldogs must pass before being considered to enter into our breeding program.


Bruiser Bulldogs - Gold Star Health Standard


“I have been highly impressed by Mitch and Erica Wysong’s selective breeding program and the health of their Bruiserbulldogs. Through conscientious health testing and a focus on the hereditary traits in their bloodlines, Mitch & Erica are bettering the breed by eliminating specific health issues that affect the bulldog.”

– Rick Carmien D.V.M.


Gold Star Health Standards

Our Gold Star Health Standard requires us to test each of our parent bulldogs to ensure they are healthy and free of the problems within each of these characteristics.  While it seems obvious that the idea of breeding healthy parents would be one of the most important factors in creating healthy bulldog puppies, it is amazing how few bulldog breeders actually hold true to this belief system and health test their adult bulldogs.  This detailed health criteria is what makes the bruiser bulldog unique from other bulldogs and really sets us apart.

Healthy English Bulldogs


“Bruiser Bulldogs takes care in selecting and breeding only the healthiest bulldogs. Health checks are performed on each breeding animal’s trachea, soft palate, heart, knees, and eyes.  This helps them to ensure high quality and healthy puppies.”

-Hillary Reinhold D.V.M


“Below is a detailed break down of our Gold Star Health Standard that each of our bulldogs must pass before being eligible to breed to.”






Many bulldogs famously suffer from breathing issues that hinder their ability to function on an every  day basis.  One of the primary reasons for heat stroke in the hot summer months is due to the inability of the bulldog to breath properly. A closer examination of the bulldogs suffering from breathing issues reveals that the over done, heavy roped bulldogs are much more susceptible to this issue.  The extra wrinkly bulldog, typically will have a shorter snout that turns upward towards the forehead.  This creates numerous issues. The first being the elongated soft palate.  The shorter snout pushes the soft palate down towards the trachea, which takes air to the lungs, and will block the flow of air.  Essentially, the palate is crammed into a smaller amount of space and is thus forced to block the trachea.  An elongated soft palate is a terrible condition for a bulldog to suffer from and often causes gagging, throwing up recently eaten food, constant gurgled breathing, and a heightened risk of heat stroke.  An overdone wrinkly bulldog will also struggle with sinus pressure from their heavy nose rope.  This pressure is yet again another feature that prevents the flow of air from the nose to the lungs.


The Bruiser Bulldog Solution

Our solution to these issues is to create a bulldog that has a light wrinkle set and an extended nose.  This is one of the defining characteristics of our bulldogs and it molds how we look at bulldogs.  When we see an overdone bulldog our response is one of sorrow, knowing that it is a walking health problem waiting to happen.  The overdone bulldog should simply not be bred due to these issues.  The problem is that an extra wrinkly bulldog can often fetch upwards of $4000 because the adopter thinks the puppy looks “unique” and “extra cute”. With this kind of financial reward, the overdone bulldog will continue to threaten the very existence of the breed.


Light Wrinkle Set

The light wrinkle set and extended nose on our bulldogs are certainly a great foundation to correcting the elongated soft palate issues but it is not the only thing we do to ensure our bulldogs are free of this issue.  We are firm believers in testing every parent for genetic issues and the soft palate is no different.


Small Tracheas

The second factor that affects the breathability of the bulldog is the size of the trachea. A condition called tracheal hypoplasia often affects the bulldog breed. Tracheal hypoplasia is a term that refers the abnormally small size of the trachea in comparison to the bulldog’s body. This condition limits the amount of air that is able to reach the lungs of the bulldog. Some bulldogs that suffer from this issue breathe through the equivalent of a large straw for their air supply. Obviously this is an issue that needs to be avoided at all costs. Surprisingly, most bulldog breeders do nothing to correct this issue at all. Instead, they use the poor breathing reputation of the bulldog as a crutch to continue producing bulldogs with small tracheas.  We use the canine health organization, OFFA’s, criteria to determine the correct diameter of a normal bulldog trachea. We radiograph all of our parent’s tracheas to ensure they have normal sized trachea and increase the likelihood that they will not pass this trait on to their offspring.


Pinched Nostrils

The third and significantly less important factor of the bulldog’s breathability is their nostril size.   The rule of thumb is “the larger the nostril size the better”.  A large nostril size will allow maximum air flow to the lungs and give the bulldog the ability to function at its best.  While a pinched set of nostrils are easy to fix through surgical slits in the nose, we prefer our bulldogs to never be operated on.  A large set of nostrils is third in our criteria list for a good breathing bulldog, but is still a characteristic we want our Bruiser Bulldogs to carry.  On a lighter note, you will know you have become a true bulldog expert when you view a picture of a bulldog and first comment on the size of its nostrils!








Patellar Luxation

One of the most common joint issue that affects the bulldog breed is luxation of the patella or kneecap.  This  issue can dramatically reduce the mobility of the bulldog and severe luxation requires surgery to correct.  Patellar luxation can be caused by both hereditary and environmental factors.  From a hereditary standpoint, the luxating patella is a trait that can be passed from the parents and can clearly be reduced by breeding healthy lines that do not suffer from the disease.  We test every adult bulldog we own for patellar luxation on an annual basis to ensure all of our puppies have a much greater chance of having strong patellas of their own.  Muddying the waters is the fact that patellar luxation is also caused by environmental issues as well.  Both the weight of the dog and specific activities can lead to patellar luxation.   We advise all of our adopters to maintain a proper body weight for their bulldog.  Overweight bulldogs simply put much more weight on their joints and are prone to damage their patellas. Specific activities like excessive jumping and rough housing can also lead to patellar luxation.






Entropion and Cherry Eye

What feature on a bulldog gets us very excited? Healthy eyes!  The bulldog breed struggles with two primary eye issues that we focus on eliminating: entropion and cherry eye.  Cherry eye is best identified as a protruding gland mass extended from the eye.  The pink, circular mass looks somewhat like a small cherry, hence the name.  Cherry eye is thought to be caused by both environmental and hereditary factors.  Hereditary factors are not the only cause of cherry eye however.  Cherry eye can be caused by eye irritation and the constant rubbing of the eye.  Allergy season always causes a spike in cherry eye issues in vet offices across the nation.

Entropion is another common eye issue that effects the bulldog breed.  Entropion is the curling in of the eyelid and often causes the eyelash to scratch the cornea of the bulldog’s eye.  The overdone, heavy wrinkled bulldog is most prone to entropion issues.  Causing this condition is the heavy wrinkle set of the bulldog itself.  The heavy wrinkles of the bulldog will push up the face and actually cause the eyelid to curl inward.  The pressure of the heavy wrinkles not only causes breathing problems, it creates eye issues as well.  This is just another reason the ultra-wrinkly bulldog breeder is irresponsible and is creating long term damage to the breed.  Great eyes are another important factor that we look at in our adults.  We want all of our adult bulldogs and puppies to have healthy eyes that do not suffer from entropion or cherry eye.





Heart Disease

Heart murmurs and enlarged hearts are two issues the we test for and focus on eliminating from our bloodlines.  A heart murmur is extra vibration in the heart that indicates a disturbance in the blood flow.  Heart murmurs are graded on a 1-6 scale and often grow worse as the bulldog ages.  Enlarged hearts show up in bulldogs occasionally as well. While not as common, the enlarged heart often affects older bulldogs when they do occur.  It is always interesting to examine a bulldog breeder’s bloodline and notice a line of ancestors that consistently die around the age of 4 or 5 for no apparent reason.   There is good reason to believe this is a heart condition that is affecting the line.  We require all of our bulldogs to have healthy hearts and show no signs of either a heart murmur or enlarged heart to be considered for breeding.  All of our bulldogs’ hearts are tested on an annual basis as these conditions can occur as a bulldog ages.

Greetings from the Wysongs! Northern Indiana based, Bruiser Bulldogs offers purebred English Bulldog Puppies for sale to loving adopters seeking to find a higher quality English Bulldog.  As English Bulldog breeders, Mitch and Erica Wysong have dedicated themselves to a lifelong journey of changing the culture and societal pressures of poor breeding practices within the English Bulldog Community.

Mitch and Erica believe in producing a healthy English Bulldog puppy first and foremost.  Through years of research and development, Bruiser Bulldogs is leading a new movement away from the overdone, wrinkled bulldog that has been long plagued by health problems. By embracing a healthier, more athletic look, they are able to ensure that each and every English Bulldog Puppy for sale by Bruiser Bulldogs is supported by a platform of health tested, clean genetics.

Upon adoption, each family that takes on the responsibility of a Bruiser Bulldog enters into an active and vibrant communal family of bulldog owners.  Mitch and Erica believe it is their responsibility to provide emotional and mental support for the lifetime of each and every English Bulldog puppy they produce.  To ensure the success of every adoption, Bruiser Bulldogs will always be committed to helping  Bruiser Bulldog adopters care for their English Bulldogs to the best of their ability.

Click Here to See Our Available Puppies For Sale

Bruiser Bulldog’s Reviews

  • I've grown up with english bulldogs my whole life. I am familiar with common and uncommon health problems they may face so when my boyfriend and I decided we were ready to adopt our own english puppy finding a reputable breeder that prioritizes health was most important to us. Erica and Mitch of Bruiser Bulldogs are just that. They are experienced, ethical and quality breeders. I was referred to them by my friend that I trust after I saw their gorgeous healthy puppy. Our Puppy Primrose is the light of our lives! Bruisers was there to assist us every step of the way. We would highly recommend Bruisers Bulldogs to anyone looking for their own happy, healthy pup!

    Leah H. Avatar
    Leah H.
  • We, like many of the other people who found Bruisers, did a lot of research to find a responsible breeder, especially since English Bulldogs can have health issues and because there is a trend now for "trendy" bulldogs (blue, etc.) which have even more health issues. We were lucky to have come across Bruiser Bulldogs and even more so the fact that they were near our family and hometown made it even better. We have had Clementine (Callie) for four months now, and she is a wonderful dog. Her personality is amazing, and I think part of it is breeding and the other part is Erika and her family lovingly raising the puppies in their home with plenty of attention and snuggles. I also was impressed that, rather than send the puppies out right at 8 weeks, Erika kept ours for a few extra weeks because she was tiny and not read to leave her mom yet. It's that care that differentiates Bruisers from other breeders.

    Emily R. Avatar
    Emily R.
  • We found Bruiser Bulldogs after researching healthy breeding line for bulldog puppies. Erica was easy to work with thru the entire process from application to adopting and now beyond as we host our new family member, Chief. Her on-call support and willingness to provide open, honest advice to all of our questions and concerns continues to be appreciated. We would highly recommend Bruiser Bulldogs to anyone looking for an English Bulldog to join their family.

    Elizabeth W. Avatar
    Elizabeth W.
  • Lady L. Avatar
    Lady L.
  • Bruiser Bulldogs are 5-star breeders! They are experienced, responsive and knowledgeable about all things bulldog related. They went above and beyond for us and are truly dedicated to all of their pups! We love our little girl so much and would recommend Bruiser to anyone looking for a healthy beautiful bully.

    Jonathan E. Avatar
    Jonathan E.
  • Bruiser Bulldogs is a 5-star breeder in every way. Erica and Mitch are trustworthy, excellent communicators, fair, passionate, and produce the best bulldogs.We were at the top of the waiting list for months and Erica reached out every litter to see if we were finally ready for a bulldog. When we were, she was very easy to work with. Her knowledge on bulldogs is outstanding. We had many questions on the process and she always knew what was best for the puppy.We've had Penny (formerly Blair) for two months and she is very healthy, energetic, playful, and sweet. She is great with other people and dogs. We are so happy with our pup.When we are ready for bulldog #2, we will only consider Bruiser Bulldogs.

    Mitch C. Avatar
    Mitch C.
  • We waited a while to write this review so that we had a better sense for the overall health of our Bruiser Bulldog “Bowser”. Bowser was born April 2020 and is an integral part of our family. When we were first exploring English Bulldog breeders our biggest concern was the overall health of the dogs. We decided to work with Erica at Bruiser Bulldogs because we liked their focus on improving the breeds breathing abilities and the fact that the puppies are raised within her family environment before coming home with their new owners.As for Bowsers health, he’s a health energetic English Bulldog that has no problem keeping up with the kids, going on 2 mi walks and camping with us on a regular basis. Bowser also breaths clearly and our vet was impressed with his overall health from the moment we brought him home. All that said we know English Bulldogs have a predisposition to many health issues and that his current health can not predict the future. With that In mind its important to start with a breeder that open to answer any of your questions as Erica has ours, and that strongly believes in improving the breeds overall health profile.

    Adam B. Avatar
    Adam B.
  • After the loss of our first English Bulldog due to health issues it was very important for us to find a breeder who did not breed only for aesthetic but more importantly for health. My sister ended up finding Bruiser Bulldogs and we knew right away that they were the breeder for us.In September we ended up driving 9 hours to pick up two Bruiser bulldog puppies- one for my husband and I and one for my mom. Jackson and Penelope have been nothing but a joy. They are very social and very friendly to everyone they meet including kids and other dogs/animals. They are both very athletic and healthy. They are also HUGE snugglers and always want to be with you. It is an absolute pleasure having these two bullies in our lives! My sister and her fiancé also fell in love with them and now are on the waitlist themselves for a Bruiser bulldog!Erica is very knowledgeable about the breed. She is very hands on throughout the process and is just overall a kind and honest person to work with.With all that being said I cannot recommend Bruiser Bulldogs enough!

    Collyn C. Avatar
    Collyn C.
  • We fell in love with our puppy the moment we saw him. One of the reasons we chose Bruiser Bulldogs was due to the claims about breeding for health. During our first visit at our vet's office, he told us that our pup was one of the healthiest English bulldogs he had ever seen. He is healthy, happy and social. Would recommend to anyone.

    Christina S. Avatar
    Christina S.
  • What an awesome experience! We seen our dog on their website and sent them an Email. Mitch called us and personally walked us through the process and made sure we had the right dog for our family. We couldn't be happier when we picked up our dog Ramsey, Erica made sure we had everything we needed and then some. They are truly amazing people who breed truly amazing dogs!

    Jim T. Avatar
    Jim T.

“If you are interested in learning more about our breeding philosophies here at Bruiser Bulldogs, the following articles that we have written might be helpful”


1.  How does a top Bulldog Breeder think and act?

2. What are the specific Bulldog coat colors that we offer at Bruiser? 

3. Want to check out our page specifically devoted to Chicago adopters?

4. Learn about our foundational females. 

5. Check out our stud page to learn about our top male bulldogs.

6. Learn about the week by week growth a bulldog puppy.

7. What to look for in a bulldog breeder.

8. Should you adopt from a local breeder?


“Lastly, If you are interested in a specific color of Bulldog we have specific articles devoted to each color we breed for along with opinion of each coat color.  If you are interested in a specific color, we suggest it is worth you time to read up on our first hand opinions.”


Coat Color Articles

1. White Bulldog Coat

2. Red Bulldog Coat

3. Lilac Bulldog Coat

4. Blue Bulldog Coat 

5. Black Bulldog Coat

6. Chocolate Bulldog Coat

7. Brindle Bulldog Coat

8. Fawn Bulldog Coat