A Guide to Different Types of Bulldogs

When you think of a Bulldog, you probably think of a short, round dog with a flat face and lots of wrinkles. You’re likely picturing an English Bulldog, but there are actually many different types of Bulldogs. Let’s look at all the different types of Bulldogs so you can find the best one for your family.

Breed History

The ancestor to the Bulldog, called the Alaunt, can be traced back to the 5th century in the United Kingdom. The dog was bred to help butchers control livestock like boars, horses, and cattle.

The modern Bulldog was bred for bull-baiting, a blood sport that started around the 15th century. A bull would be tied up, and a dog would be sent in to latch onto the bull’s nose and attempt to bring the animal down. People would bet on whether the dog would get the animal all the way down to the ground or if the bull would kill the dog first.

When Britan outlawed bull-baiting in 1835, the future of the Bulldog seemed uncertain. Luckily, Bulldogs had been exported around the world to use for herding hogs and cattle. Bulldogs evolved separately in locations around the world, leading to the wide variety of Bulldog types that we see today.

American Vs. English Vs. French Bulldogs

The most popular types of Bulldogs are the American, English, and French Bulldogs, so we’ll compare and contrast those three types before discussing others.

American Bulldog

The American Bulldog is the largest of the three most popular types, with males weighing up to 100 pounds. American Bulldogs are typically white, though they may have colored markings. They’re a reasonably healthy breed and may live an average of 10-16 years.

While Bulldogs may have made their way to America as early as the 17th century, we know they came to the United States with immigrants in the 1800s for farm work as livestock guardians, catch dogs, and stock dogs. The breed did exceptionally well in southern states, where it could hunt feral pigs.

With the advent of modern farm equipment, American Bulldogs nearly went extinct. Starting in the 1930s, John D. Johnson started breeding the remaining farm dogs to save the breed. Later, Allen Scott started breeding American Bulldogs, as well, though he had a different idea of how they should look. As a result, there are two different types of American Bulldogs: the Johnson type is larger, with a shorter muzzle, while the Scott type is smaller and athletic looking.

With proper training and socialization, American Bulldogs are friendly and can get along with kids and other pets.

Since they were bred to work all day, the American Bulldog needs plenty of exercise and doesn’t do well cooped up in an apartment. Some American Bulldogs are capable of jumping 6 feet straight up in the air, so you should have tall, secure fences or plenty of land to roam.

English Bulldog

The English Bulldog (referred to as Bulldog by the AKC) is the 5th most popular dog breed in the United States. They average 40-50 pounds and live an average of 8-10 years. Sadly, English Bulldogs are prone to a variety of health issues.

When you picture a Bulldog, you probably think of the English type: smushed, wrinkly face; short, stocky body; small dropped ears; and a tight, curly tail. They come in a variety of colors, including white, fawn, and red brindle.

When bull-baiting was outlawed in 1835, English Bulldogs were bred down from hulking fighting dogs to smaller companion animals.

Yale’s English Bulldog mascot, Handsome Dan, may be the first animal mascot in all of sports. Many other teams and companies have English Bulldog mascots, including the University of Georgia, Mack Trucks, and the United States Marine Corps.

French Bulldog

The smallest of the popular Bulldog types, the French Bulldog (affectionately referred to as the “Frenchie”) weighs less than 28 pounds and lives around 10-12 years. Even more popular than the English Bulldog, the Frenchie is the 4th most common dog in the United States.

Aside from their small size, the easiest way to distinguish a Frenchie from other Bulldog types is by their large round “bat ears.” They come in many colors, including fawn, brindle, and cream.

The French Bulldog owes much of its history to toy-sized Bulldogs brought to France by English lace-makers in the mid-1800s. The little dogs were bred with other small dogs in the countryside before finding popularity in Paris as the ideal apartment companion. When this breed made its way across the Atlantic, Americans decided that the large ears should be the hallmark look of the breed, and now Frenchies everywhere have bat ears.

Other Types of Bulldogs

While the most common Bulldogs in the United States are the American, English, and French Bulldogs, there are many other bulldog varieties found all around the world. Here are a few other types of Bulldogs.

Australian Bulldog

image from @astro.thebulldog

Do you love the look of the English Bulldog, but hate the health problems? A couple of Australian kennels have gone about creating a healthier version that’s more suited to Australia’s heat and humidity by adding in genes from other dog breeds like the Boxer and Bullmastiff.

The Australian Bulldog weighs 50-78 pounds and lives 10-12 years. It looks like a tall English Bulldog with a less-flat face and fewer wrinkles. You can find the Aussie Bulldog in a variety of colors, including fawn, brindle, and red.

The Australian Bulldog is somewhat more active than the English Bulldog, though it doesn’t need quite as much exercise as an American Bulldog. They’re slightly more heat resistant than their English cousins, but Australian Bulldogs can still overheat faster than some dog breeds, so try not to exercise during the hottest part of the day.

Australian Bulldogs are a relatively new breed. They were first introduced to the public in 1998, and the Aussie Bulldog Club of Australia (ABCA) was started in 2007.

Olde English Bulldogge

image by @incredibullz_shadow

The Olde English Bulldogge is another attempt to revitalize the English Bulldog and get rid of some of the health problems that plague the breed. One of the largest Bulldog types, Olde English Bulldogges, can weigh anywhere from 60-130 pounds! They live an average of 10-12 years.

In 1971, Pennsylvanian David Leavitt decided to create a dog that more closely resembled the fighting dogs of years past (in looks, not temperament) with fewer health issues than the modern English Bulldog. He crossed the English Bulldog with American Bulldog, Bullmastiff, and American Pit Bull Terrier lines to create a large, functional, and friendly Bulldog.

With proper socialization as a puppy, Olde English Bulldogges can be friendly with just about anybody, but they’ll still protect their family from perceived threats. These dogs need a moderate amount of exercise (think long walks twice a day).


As the name implies, Bullmastiffs are the result of crossing Bulldogs and Mastiffs. Thanks to their large size (100-130 pounds), many might consider these dogs Mastiffs more than Bulldogs. However, we think their short muzzle earns them a spot on our Bulldog list.

Considered a giant dog breed, Bullmastiffs have a relatively short life expectancy of only 7-9 years. They’re prone to hip dysplasia, a joint condition, and bloat, a life-threatening condition where the stomach fills with gas and rotates on its axis.

Bullmastiffs were created in the mid to late 19th century to find, chase, and pin down poachers on large estates until the estate’s gamekeeper could arrest the poacher. The dogs had to be agile and strong enough to run down the poachers without being aggressive enough to maul them.

Bulldog Health Problems

While each Bulldog type may be prone to slightly different health problems, most Bulldog types are prone to a handful of common issues, including:

  • Hip dysplasia is a condition where the thighbone doesn’t sit properly in the hip joint. It’s progressive and can lead to debilitating pain if left untreated.
  • Skin issues are common to Bulldogs. These skin issues may be caused by allergies, bacteria, or yeast.
  • Breathing problems are sadly common in Bulldogs thanks to their shortened snout. You may need to be careful not to let your Bulldog run around too much because they may struggle to breathe well.
  • Heat intolerance can also be caused by having such a short face. Exercise your Bulldog during the mornings and evenings to help prevent them from overheating.
  • Snoring, drooling, and farting aren’t exactly health problems, but they are common to Bulldogs thanks to their flat faces.

Bulldog Temperament

Each Bulldog variety may have a slightly different temperament, but overall, they’re a friendly breed. It’s important to socialize your Bulldog when they are young puppies, so they get used to various people, places, and animals to help prevent fear aggression as an adult.

Exercise Needs of Bulldogs

All Bulldogs need at least light to moderate exercise, usually in the form of a walk rather than a jog. Some of the larger Bulldog types have higher exercise needs and won’t be happy couch potatoes without a couple of long walks each day.

Bulldog Intelligence

Most Bulldog types are of average intelligence. They aren’t as smart as a Border Collie or Poodle, but with a little patience, they’ll learn anything you teach them.

Which Type of Bulldog Is Right for My Family?

Every type of Bulldog has pros and cons, so it’s essential to research each type thoroughly to decide which type is best for your family. We’ve given you half a dozen great options to pick from, so hopefully, you can find the best Bulldog for you.

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