One of the most distinguishing features of the Bulldogs, either English or French is their unique very small, often very kinky or corkscrew tail. This is a breed trait and while common is typically considered a fault or must be clearly defined as a screwed tail with definite kinks. A corkscrew tail may also be called an ingrown or internalized tail and is not as commonly noted in any other breed other than the Bulldog. Occasionally a Shar Pei or Bichon Frise may have what is known as a corkscrew tail or pig tail, but this is typically considered a disqualifying fault in these breeds.
The Bulldog often have a growth problem in the tail that actually leads to the tail growing inwards instead of outwards. This tends to leave a rather large, or small, depending on the age and size of the dog, cleft or indentation just where the tail would normally be. This area is particularly prone to gathering moisture and debris, leading to bacterial problems and infections. Typically the first and most noticeable sign of a serious bacterial infection in the area will be a very foul smell coming from the tail and rump. Many owners mistakenly think that this may be a problem with the anal glands and don't think to actually check the cleft of the ingrown tail. Usually with problems or impactions of the anal glands owners will notice the dog "scooting" or dragging his or her bottom along the ground on across your carpet in an attempt to empty the glands. With bacterial infections in the ingrown or corkscrew tail all that will be present is a bad odor.
Keeping the dimple or cleft clear of any debris and dry as possible is critical. When bathing the dog be sure to carefully and gently dry as far into the indentation as possible. If you are uncertain how far to push into the indentation, talk to your vet and ask him or her to demonstrate how to clean and dry the area. A Bulldog breeder, groomer or handler should also be able to give you a demonstration to help you keep your dog clean and dry and prevent possible infections.
If the area has become infected the dog will need antibiotics, usually in the form of ointments and oral medications, depending on how far the infection has progressed. In serious infections the ingrown or corkscrew tail may have to be surgically amputated, which also poses greater risks than non-surgical procedures. Early treatment and constant monitoring is critical as these infections can develop and become problematic and very serious in a short period of time. Often dogs that are already ill, in poor condition or have chronic health conditions will be at greater risk for serious skin infections.