Eight Things to consider Before you Adopt

   A Bulldog may not be the right choice for every family. Living with a Bulldog can be very rewarding, but you must be committed to meeting the Bulldog's particular needs. 


   Bulldogs are perpetual children: they never grow up. A Bulldog does best in a loving environment, free from fear and neglect. They are happiest when with people and require lots of attention from people. When left alone, Bulldogs can be very destructive. They may chew throughout their lifetimes. They may need to be crated when they are not being supervised. A Bulldog should never be left unattended in your backyard. Not only is it dangerous to your Bulldog's wellbeing, but Bulldogs are often targeted for theft.​


Possible Health Problems


  Bulldogs have numerous known genetic defects and are subject to various illnesses that affect many breeds. Common Bulldog health problems you may encounter include: elongated soft palate, small trachea, allergies, dermatitis, demodectic mange, eye lid anomalies, hip dysplasia and heart problems. Some of them have a tendency toward self-mutilation (especially if they have itchy skin), so owners should watch carefully for signs of skin irritation and scratching. If you are adopting an older dog, many of these conditions will already have been identified.

    Twenty-four hour care by a qualified veterinarian must be available. Since not all veterinarians are knowledgeable about the health problems Bulldogs may have, you should consult experienced Bulldog owners or the rescue to find a capable veterinarian. Any veterinarian who will be doing surgery on your Bulldog should have previous experience with putting Bulldogs under anesthesia.


​Danger of Overheating

   Bulldogs are extremely intolerant of heat. They must be kept in an air-conditioned area with limited trips outside when the outside temperature is over 80 degrees or the humidity is high. Close supervision is required during outside activity, especially in spring and summer to prevent over-exertion leading to over-heating. They also are not usually capable of prolonged physical activity whether the temperature is very warm or cold: a Bulldog is not for someone who enjoys taking a dog for long walks through the countryside.


After Adoption

   Although all Bulldogs that we place are subjected to a thorough veterinary examination and are evaluated for soundness of temperament, we do not guarantee that they will not have any problems in their new homes. In fact, a period of adjustment is expected during which the Bulldog and the new owner will be getting acquainted with each other, and the Bulldog will be "settling in" to a new routine.

    If we have any doubts about a Bulldog's ability to deal with certain situations, we put restrictions on the type of home in which it will be placed (for example, by requiring no young children and/or no other pets.) We also provide guidelines for the new owners to ensure that they are aware of any special treatment the Bulldog may require. With the application of a little common sense in following the guidelines, new owners will find the transition into owning a rescue Bulldog to be relatively simple.


The Importance of Temperament

    When selecting a pet, the most important breed characteristic to consider by far is its temperament or disposition. Failure to thoroughly investigate temperament is the biggest mistake anyone can make in selecting a pet, especially a Bulldog.

   Far too many people select a dog based solely on its physical appearance, and those who do so usually live to regret it. People who shop for a pet the same way they shop for a new car, a piece of furniture or designer jeans should never own one.

   If it is a status symbol you want, please do not even consider buying a Bulldog! You and the dog are sure to be disappointed in each other. For one thing, the modern Bulldog cannot tolerate isolation. Some breeds are able to thrive on only occasional human contact, but Bulldogs simply cannot stand to be ignored. They crave attention, and they will do almost anything to get it.

  To the dismay of their owners, many Bulldogs prefer to pursue the role of a lapdog. They fail to comprehend that some humans find their typical weight of 50 to 60 pounds less than comfortable on their laps.

   It is nearly impossible to lavish too much love and attention on a Bulldog - and only he decides when he has had enough of it. When he has had enough loving, he will finally wander off somewhere to find peace and quiet. If you’re not a hands-on type of dog lover who enjoys close and frequent contact and a few wet kisses, a less affectionate pet may better satisfy your needs. The Bulldog’s constant craving for attention and the need to entertain humans and be entertained by them is not for everyone.

    There is a limit, however, to how much strenuous physical activity a typical Bulldog can safely tolerate. Their short muzzles and narrow windpipes, relative to the size of their bodies, limits their oxygen intake and causes them to become easily winded. This can result in acute respiratory distress and sometimes death. Like it or not, most Bulldogs do not have great physical endurance. They are more like short-distance sprinters than long-distance runners. Bulldogs don’t realize this; your own common sense must prevail.

   Neither do Bulldogs respond obediently to heavy-handed physical discipline. Despite 1000 years of selective breeding, most Bulldogs, both male and female, instinctively detest and resist violence or the threat of it. This is especially evident with regard to children. A screaming child immediately causes grave concern and routinely triggers a decidedly protective response. They seem to sense trouble, and they are likely to intervene in their own special way to end the disturbance.

   Nonetheless, Bulldogs are not easily provoked by other dogs unless they are seriously threatened or attacked. A Bulldog that has been carefully bred for temperament and lovingly cared for and properly socialized from birth likes to meet other dogs and strangers. Visitors to the household are always welcomed, often enthusiastically. It never occurs to a Bulldog that other dogs and other people might be less than friendly. An intruder might even be a welcome guest, but it is difficult to say what might happen when you are away.

     Modern Bulldogs are not by nature good guard dogs or attack dogs. However they are fairly reliable watchdogs. They will normally alert you to any unusual activity in the home or yard.

   A common misconception is that Bulldogs are "one-man" dogs. It may sometimes seem apparent that one family member is preferred over another, but Bulldogs regard each family member as their own personal property. Bulldogs can be possessive to a fault. You don’t own them, they own you, and don’t ever forget it! If you can’t appreciate their possessive nature, you certainly will not appreciate their inherent stubbornness and determination. Training takes lots of patience, but they can be successfully trained for obedience and agility competition.

   Unless they choose to behave otherwise, there is not a more obstinate creature alive. And while a Bulldog might appear to be lazy or stupid, that’s only a facade.


Originally published in the AKC Gazette December 1999






   IEBR exists to care for displaced or abandoned English Bulldogs. With that in mind, please take a moment and read how the adoption process works. We do not promise specific bullies to families. Please understand the bully you are interested in may not be the right match for your home. Please consider this information before applying to adopt.


Special Note on Travel:

   Given our foster families are located throughout the states of IL, WI, MO & IA, we cannot guarantee distance. You should expect to travel at minimum 250 miles for your match. Please do not apply if you are not willing to travel at least 250 miles.



IEBR verifies references and past Veterinarian care. If that clears, a volunteer will set up a phone interview. If we feel you are the right family for an adoptive Bully after the phone interview, we then conduct a home visit. When conducting the home visit with the prospective family we require all family members and those that visit frequently should be present. This is done to ensure that families are knowledgeable in the care and living with English Bulldogs. It is the ultimate goal to determine the temperament of the dog that would fit into their home. Like people, dogs have different personalities and we need to know the capabilities of the prospective families. It is specifically for this reason that we will not promise any particular dog to a family.


When an English Bulldog comes into rescue it is placed in a foster home where we can get any medical services performed that are required. At minimum the dog is: 



  Treatment is given for any health issues that the dog may have. Immunizations are brought to date. Heartworm is checked and either treated if positive or begin preventative for negative test. All dogs are Micro chipped.

   While IEBR Bullies are in Foster Care, we learn the temperament of the dog; ie: what their likes and dislikes are, what they will tolerate and won't and the type of environment that they need to live in to be safe, happy, and healthy. Some dogs need to go into homes that have no children and have a quiet dependable routine and environment. Some dogs thrive on being with their owners constantly. These are the things we have to learn about them before we choose the home we think will be of benefit to the dog.

  Once we have determined the dogs needs we look at the list of approved families and see if an approved family meets the dog’s requirements. If this exists we will call the family and set up a time/place where the family can meet the dog.

   If there is no approved family that meets the requirements of the specific dog, the dog will be kept in foster care until an approved family does come along that has what the dog needs.


  IEBR does charge an adoption fee to cover the necessary care of our dogs prior to adoption. The adoption fee keeps our organization up-and-running and allows us to provide the best medical and behavioral care to our rescue bullies. The fees listed below are only a guide, and the adoption fees can change due to the length of the time a bully is with us as well as the medical care necessary;



Adoption fee for dogs under age One: $700 - $975

Adoption fee for dogs One year to Five years: $500 - $800

Adoption fee for dogs Five years to Eight years: $300 - $600

Adoption fee for senior dogs ages Nine and over : $300 or lower


We are very careful where we place these dogs. They have already lost everything in their world at least once and we want to know that where we place them will be the home where they can live out their lives happily and safely for all involved. You may express interest in a dog, but unless the above situations fall into place we would not put the family and the dog together.

    If you have any questions on this process feel free to write IEBR and we will do the best we can to answer them for you. Please note that we are an entirely volunteer based organization and most of us hold down full time jobs in addition to our rescue work so it may take us a couple of days to get back with you. Thank you, The IEBR Board of Directors



Our Adoption Radius: All of Illinois,  Missouri, Iowa, Northern Kentucky & WI (within 1 hour surrounding Milwaukee),.


Please note: UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES we will accept applications with unanswered questions. If you leave questions unanswered we will discard your application immediately.




Please do not apply to adopt unless you are ready to adopt today. Approved families may be offered a love match upon approval.



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