Dogs and dog ownership is highly romanticized in culture, so it’s easy to fall in love with the idea of owning a dog. However, the reality of having a pet is much, much different. Dogs will be your friends for life, but they require nearly as much time and effort as a human child. That’s why you should research the different breeds available and choose one that best fits your personality and lifestyle.

According to the statistics, there are over 400 dog breeds. Bulldogs rank 24th on the list of most popular breeds and with good cause. Bulldogs are gentle and easygoing, which makes them great companions for people of all ages. On the negative side, this breed requires more care and attention than most. They have a habit of chewing on things, and they tend to prefer curling up in their dog beds than taking a walk to the dog park.

For your sake and that of your future companion’s, you must be honest with yourself about your capabilities and tolerances. Here are a few questions to ask yourself to help you determine if Bulldogs are right for you.

Why Do You Want to Adopt a Dog?

Figuring out the reason you want to adopt a dog will provide some insight into what type of dog breed is best for you. Do you want a companion, a guard dog, or want to get into the show dog biz? Your desires will directly influence what type of breed you should invest in.

If you are looking for companionship, then Bulldogs certainly fit the bill. They enjoy being around their human friends and would like nothing more than to cuddle next to you. These dogs are a good choice for people who have open time in their day and want to spend it with their Bulldogs.

While Bulldogs are very protective of their loved ones and can be intimidating, they should not be your first, second, or even third pick for guard dog duty. The personality varies too widely in the breed. Some Bulldogs have the mindset required to fill that role and some do not. You won’t know until they mature. If you are looking for a guard dog, then it best to consider other breeds known for their guarding capabilities.

As mentioned before, dog ownership is a lot like raising a furry child. You’ll probably even find yourself snapping pictures and sharing them with friends and family members on social networks. If you are not prepared or interested in devoting your time and energy into maintaining another living being, then you may want to get a plant instead.

What Dog Traits Do You Value?

When it comes to personality, dogs run the gamut. From the perpetually playful and optimistic to the gloomy cynic, you’ll find a doggy version of every human personality type. The question then becomes, what type of characteristics do you value in a dog?

Do you want a dog that’s active, independent, obedient, or sociable? Bulldogs do not like excessive exercise, so they wouldn’t be good companions for running or long walks. However, they would be more than happy to accompany you around the block. While Bulldogs are sociable, they are not the most obedient dogs in the bunch. They are fairly independent thinkers, and will evaluate your commands to determine if they are something they need to attend to at that moment or if they even make sense. These dogs would drive people with dominant of controlling personalities insane. If this is you, then you would be better served looking into a different breed of dog.

Do You Want an Indoor or Outdoor Dog?

Bulldogs are inside dogs. They cannot be left outside because the environment (humidity, heat, sun) can have a deleterious effect on their health. Additionally, Bulldogs are a popular breed, and leaving them outside may tempt thieves to make off with them. However, they should not be left alone for long periods of time. Despite their propensity for relaxing, they do need to be exercised and stimulated at regular intervals. If they are left to their own devices for too long, they will get bored and start engaging in destructive behaviors like chewing. If you work ten to twelve hour shifts, a Bulldog may not be the right breed for you.

How Much Time Can You Spend With Your Bulldog?

Bulldogs are fairly autonomous, but they thrive with regular exercise and mental stimulation. Other breeds are perfectly fine with a few head pats every once in a while. Those dogs are not Bulldogs. You cannot leave a Bulldog alone for long periods of time. Again, they have to be around their human buddies or they will resort to destructive behaviors. Even if you are not actively engaging them, having you around comforts them. If your lifestyle does not support this type of commitment, consider dog breeds that are more independent.

What is Your Level of Tolerance?

One of the Bulldog’s distinguishing characteristics is the fact that they are quiet. They do not bark unnecessarily. Other than woofing when someone is at the door, something is out of place in the home, of they are in dire distress, Bulldogs tend to keep quiet. This makes them a good breed for people who like peace or who live in a shared residence like an apartment building.

However, the way their face is formed causes them to snore when they sleep. It can get quite loud. If you are sensitive to this sort of thing, then you’ll need to take steps to mitigate this issue. The Bulldog’s flat face makes it so they must press their face into the water or food to consume it. This can lead to small messes that must be cleaned up. People who are neat freaks may find have a Bulldog more stressful because of this.

Lastly, Bulldogs do shed. Although grooming the dogs on a regular basis can cut down on the amount of hair they leave behind on clothes and furniture, it won’t get rid of it completely. If you suffer from allergies or don’t want to deal with pet hair, you may want to consider getting a hairless dog.