Can Bulldogs Run Long Distances?


Bulldogs require regular exercise for their physical and emotional health. A bulldog that is active will have a happier disposition and a little more spunk. As a new bulldog owner, or perhaps you are hoping to add bulldog to your family, you might be hoping to have your fur friend be an exercise companion as well.
Can bulldogs run long distances? On average, a bulldog can jog an average of 1 mile. This is not to say that all bulldogs can run for a mile or that no bulldog can run beyond a mile, it all depends on the bulldog. Stop exercising at the first signs of exhaustion such as excessive panting. 
A healthy, active bulldog will fair much better on an active jog than a bulldog that irregularly participates in any level of exercise. Bulldogs can move their butterball bodies fairly quickly when the need calls for it. But most cannot hold a true sprint for very long.
Another plus of running with your pet bulldog is that both you and your bully will get some exercise. Not to mention a little one-on-one time outside of the house.

Bulldogs Physical Limitations

It is general knowledge that bulldogs have many physical health issues: hip dysplasia, respiratory, commonly overweight, etc. These characteristics are common in most of the popular bulldog breeds whether French, English, or American. These health impairments can be an obstacle in most aspects of their lives. This does not mean that they cannot run at all, it only means that certain measures come to play when a bulldog is involved in running.

Should Bulldogs Run at all?

The importance of exercise for the general well being of bulldogs cannot be emphasized enough. But any exercise should be kept within certain boundaries. Don’t push your bulldogs limits.
Some people argue that exercising a bulldog should not necessarily involve running with it or making it run. Because there are a thousand and one ways to effectively exercise a bulldog.
While this may have some truth to it, we cannot deny the fact that bulldogs are a naturally excited species. If there is one thing they love to do, it is exerting their energy through active playtime and exercise. If that includes a little running here and there, even better!
Your bulldog will let you know what type of exercise it likes and dislikes. Although their health may be an impediment at times, they are usually open to some exercise, walking, and even running. Bulldogs won’t use their health limitations as an excuse to enjoying their time outdoors with their owner.
With that in mind, should you go running with your bulldog? Absolutely, health permitting. A brisk 15 minute run for about 1 mile would suffice for most bulldogs.

How Many Miles should my Bulldog Run?

Being brachycephalic (flat-faced), bulldogs find it difficult to maintain body temperature, it is, therefore, difficult to tell when they are getting tired unless you pay close attention.
The distance a bulldog can run depends on the time of the day, the weather and the temperature. In other words, the cooler the temperature, the longer a bulldog may run.
It also depends on the speed with which the bulldog runs as well as the age of the bulldog. A race around the block may be okay for a bulldog puppy running at a high speed but the same distance might be too much for a more senior bulldog.
On the whole, a bulldog can safely run ¼ to 1 miles. Some bulldog breeds are able to exceed this distance. Especially if some of the more undesirable traits have been bred out, like respiratory issues.

When should I take My Bulldog Running?

The cooler times of the year are best. That is, early in the morning, late in the evening or during winter, would be the best time for this. This is because a cooler atmospheric temperature would help bulldogs last longer and avoid overheating.
While mornings and evenings are best, it is important to note that any temperature above 70 degrees Fahrenheit is bad for your bulldog. Read Can English Bulldogs Stay Outside in the Heat?

How Many Hours a Day can My Bulldog Run?

When it comes to bulldogs and running, hours should not be contemplated, thirty minutes of active running is generally too much for a bulldog (of any age).
For a bulldog puppy, 20 minutes of active running and a 10-minute walk should be the maximum time limit, while 10 minutes of active running and a 20-minute walk would be adequate for an older bulldog.
You can even break this up to do 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the evening. That way you are putting your bulldog at less risk.
Be mindful of the temperature (not too hot for your bulldogs body), proper hydration, and the physical abilities of your bulldog. If you question its capabilities or feel that your bulldog is straining too much while running, ease off a bit. It is also recommended to seek a veterinarian about what would be most recommended for your dog.

At what Age Should Bulldogs Start Running?

Generally, dogs can start running between 6 months and 9 months. At this point, their joints and bones can manage the stress. However, for Bulldogs, who are brachycephalic, it is a different ball game.
An average bulldog is not ready to run until about 9 to eleven months. At this age, they can at least, manage the very short distances.

How do I Introduce my Bulldog to Running?

Bulldogs quickly love going on walks on doing short runs, especially in their youth. But these excited pets need training to limit themselves to certain distances and surroundings. This is partly to over over exertion and getting overheated.
In introducing your bulldog to the running routine, start with very short distances and familiar environments. Down the block for example, would be a good place to start. With time, you may increase the distance of how far you run as your bulldog builds strength and stamina.
It is important to start small because bulldogs have fragile health. They aim to please their owner, especially as they grow fond of getting outdoors. That being said, if your bulldog pushes itself too much it could be detrimental to them because of their common health conditions.

Where should my bulldog run?

Running is generally an outdoor event, but with bulldogs you need to be slightly creative do to the potential of overheating. Preferably bulldogs should run in a shaded environment. An average bulldog could die from overheating if running too long under direct sunlight and temperatures over 70 degrees.

What other things are important for running my Bulldog?

While running your bulldog, it is necessary to have cool water on hand. You can buy speciality water pouches or bowls for your dog when you are out running. Always make sure that your bulldog is properly hydrated before running. If your bulldog is well hydrated, it will have better endurance while running and its internal body parts will run smoother.
It is recommended to bring a nice, damp towel. This would be primarily if you are away from your home and need something to cool down your bulldog after a nice run, especially if its hot.
If your bulldog gets too tired, they will show it. These stubborn pets will just plop down where they are at sometimes. To avoid embarrassing yourself trying to motivate your bulldog to move, you can get dog carrier. This is great for situations where your bulldog has tired or its not feeling the whole long distance running on that specific day. In these instances, let you bulldog walk a bit and than give it a breather in the carrier. Your bulldog will probably end up feeling like royalty with you pulling it around while it rests.

Bulldog Running Wrap Up

It is important to note that overheating is not the only problem that results from over-exertion for a bulldog. Other possible negative effects are joint problems, respiratory issues, and even broken bones. These problems are even more disturbing because Bulldogs have a high tolerance level and may not show the extent of the injury or pain they are feeling.
Bulldogs can learn to love running and some breeds will be more capable of running than others. With practice and taking proper precaution, you and your bulldog can have a safe, enjoyable run.

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