Bulldogs are some of the most popular dogs on the planet. They’re great dogs who make fantastic family pets, making it tough to choose just one dog breed with which to fall in love. Fortunately, taking some time to learn about the various breeds will help you to find the perfect bulldog for your home.
A Guide to Bulldog Breeds
Close your eyes and think about bulldogs for a second. If you’re like most people, the first image that popped into your mind was probably of this breed. Short, heavy (around fifty pounds, on average), and wrinkly, these dogs are the go-to example of bulldogs in popular media.
The great news is that English Bulldogs have a lot more bark than bite. Most are actually quite sedate, which makes them ideal family pets. In fact, these dogs really seem to love people and make fantastic companion animals for anyone.
The biggest downside to these dogs is that they tend to get territorial around other animals. That means that you’re going to have to spend some time socializing them if you have other pets and that they might always be on edge when strange dogs are around. With that said, this issue also helps to make English Bulldogs fantastic guard dogs.
Unfortunately, English Bulldogs also suffer from some unfortunate genetic issues. Despite their size, they typically only live between eight and ten years and tend to suffer from many different congenital health issues – this can not only lead to heartbreak but also increased dog insurance premiums. As a bulldog owner, you can confirm any predispositions specific to your pup with a dog DNA test.
Olde English Bulldogge
No, this isn’t just a weird spelling for an English Bulldog – this is actually an entirely different breed. Oddly enough, it’s neither ‘olde’ nor particularly English; the breed has an ancestry that pulls from English Mastiffs and Bulldogs and well American Bulldogs and Pit Bull Terriers. The end result is a huge bulldog that can weigh as much as 130 pounds.
Despite their size, Old English Bulldogs are actually fairly friendly. They’ve got attitudes, though, but those attitudes pale in comparison to the loyalty they show their owners. Unlike their similarly-named cousins, these dogs are also fairly athletic and require a fair bit of exercise to keep them happy – an invisible dog fence can certainly come in handy here.
The big benefit of their varied genetics is that they tend to have relatively few health problems. They can live for up to fourteen years, with their biggest health risk remaining hip dysplasia. Keep in mind you may be well-advised to provide your Olde English Bulldogge with joint supplements, and you may even want to turn to CBD oil to relieve them of their joint pain at some point down the road. In either case, you’ll want to consult with your veterinarian.
The tiny Frenchie is probably one of the most recognizable bulldog breeds, with pushed-in snouts and wrinkly faces. They weigh less than thirty pounds as adults, but they make up for their small size with an incredible amount of enthusiasm.
Surprisingly, Frenchies don’t require all that much exercise. They do, however, love to play and to get attention from their owners. They aren’t always fond of other pets, but they’d much rather spend their time playing than fighting.
Frenchies can live for up to fourteen years, but health issues abound. Breathing problems are incredibly common among these dogs, as are allergies.
American Bulldogs are a rarity in the world of bulldogs. Unlike most of their other compact cousins, it’s very easy to describe these dogs as lanky. Though they absolutely share some of the same facial features as other bulldogs, these are tall dogs that can weigh up to 120 pounds and who tend to be much longer than other Bulldogs.
One thing that these dogs do share with their cousins is their temperament. American Bulldogs are loving dogs who think they’re smaller than they are, big babies who love to play with other animals and even with kids. They’ve also very agile dogs who need to exercise and who can tend to get a little destructive if they do not have plenty of time to play.
The great news is that American Bulldogs tend to live for up to fourteen years. The bad news is that they do, unfortunately, have several health issues that tend to be common during those years. The most pressing tends to be hip dysplasia, but fortunately, they do tend to avoid the respiratory issues common in other Bulldogs.
Also known as the Alano Espanol, the Spanish Bulldog is easy to identify at glance. With piercing eyes, these bigger Bulldogs (up to 88 pounds) tend to be fantastic pets who tend towards wanting to fill the alpha role in most households.
As with other Bulldogs, the Spanish Bulldog is absolutely a loyal and friendly pet. These dogs require firm training, but they can end up as perfect family dogs. They do, however, require a significant amount of exercise to stay happy and most of them would prefer to spend the bulk of their time outside.
Not only can these dogs live for up to fourteen years, but bu they also tend to be incredibly healthy. While they might suffer from some of the same ailments that can impact any dog, there are no special health problems for which you should be on the lookout.
One unfortunate truth of the English Bulldog is that decades of poor breeding have led to some horrifying health issues in the breed. The Victorian Bulldog is an attempt to breed out those issues, resulting in a dog that is roughly the same size and that looks almost identical to the original breed.
The Victorian Bulldog draws its genes from a number of breeds. Not only is it part English Bulldog, but it also shares ancestry with Bull Terriers, Staffordshire Terriers, and Bull Mastiffs. The resulting breed has a similar demeanor to the English Bulldog and is just as fantastic a pet.
The great news is that this dog only rarely has health issues. While it might see some skin problems over the course of its 14 years, these dogs tend to be much healthier than their forebears.
This colorful dog is another hybrid, this time of the Catahoula Leopard and the American Bulldog. Beautiful dogs, they’re one of the most striking Bulldog breeds.
So, what did this breed get from its Bulldog half? A fantastic personality, great guard instincts, and an inquisitive mind. In fact, these are Bulldogs that are just as apt to be found working as they are to be found in family homes.
Unfortunately, these dogs can see some serious health problems. Though they can live for up to fifteen years, they can often go blind or deaf.
Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldog
Not every Bulldog is meant to laze around the house. If you’re looking for a dog that’s better suited to work, you might want to look at the Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldog. Big and beefy (they can weigh as much as one hundred pounds), these dogs aren’t for the faint of heart but can become incredibly dutiful pets.
Unfortunately, this breed suffers from many of the same problems as other Bulldogs. This means skin problems, eye problems, deafness, and hip dysplasia. They do, however, live as long as thirteen years on average.
Ca de Bou
This unique dog has a name that roughly translates to ‘Bulldog’ in Spanish and has a very powerful build. Weighing up to eighty-four pounds and packed with muscle, these dogs are actually far sweeter than you might imagine at first glance.
The Ca de Bou is nothing if not a family dog, with a reputation for being very patient with children. They’re big, though, so they need quite a bit of training to keep safe. They also tend to be very defensive of their ‘pack’, which makes them excellent guard dogs.
The only major health problem that this breed encounter is hip dysplasia. With the right care, you can expect a Ca de Bou to live for around twelve years.
A true twenty-first-century bulldog, the Red-Tiger was officially recognized as its own breed about twenty years ago. These big Bulldogs (around 110 pounds) have inward-facing ears and an intimidating build, but they share the typical Bulldog personality.
These dogs are suspicious by nature and tend to go after small animals, but they also tend to love their families. Famously loyal, they’re surprisingly gentle with children. The most important thing to remember about these dogs is that they’re big and need a little extra training if they’re going to be around smaller children.
This is a long-lived breed, with many dogs making it past the sixteen-year mark. The only major health issue they have is a tendency towards down pasterns, which impacts their legs.
This is a very interested sort of hybrid Bulldog. Unlike many of the other hybrids, this type is bred only from other types of bulldogs. Fortunately, the end result is a dog that tends to have fewer health problems and that tends to be surprisingly mobile for its size.
Breeding for Bulldogs has also made this dog a great family dog. They tend to be very reticent around strangers but can be trained to tolerate outsiders fairly well. They’re also very active dogs, which means that they both need a fair bit of exercise and a strong hand when training.
Unfortunately, this breed only lives for around eleven years. They don’t have any major health issues, though skin issues can crop up from time to time.
This dog is really a relic of a time long past. A descendant of the extinct Old English Bulldog that’s now mixed with the Mastiff, these dogs are huge (easily 130 pounds) and incredibly easy to fall in love with.
The size of these dogs is absolutely their biggest challenge. The personality of the Bullmastiff is as sweet as you might hope, with little innate aggression but few of these dogs seem to know their true size. As such, every Bullmastiff needs some fairly intense training just to go through the world without breaking things.
The downside to the Bullmastiff is definitely its lifespan. Rarely making it longer than nine years, they also tend to have all of the same health issues that tend to strike larger dogs.
The final Bulldog breed is the Australian Bulldog. This breed looks a lot like its English and Victorian cousins, with a short squat build that has a surprising amount of muscle.
The Australian Bulldog is a breed that seems to feel at home everywhere. They tend to be very personable and can get along well with other animals, but they thrive in family settings. They don’t even need a lot of room to be happy, making them one of the best apartment dogs out there.
Much like the Victorian, the Australian Bulldog is bred to be healthy. They don’t do well in heat and they can have some heart issues, but most of these dogs happily live to be around twelve years old.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How many Bulldog breeds are there?
There are around thirteen distinct breeds of Bulldogs, depending on which kennel clubs you look at. There are certainly more hybrids out there, but the most recent breed was split off into its own distinct category about twenty years ago.
2. Which type of bulldog is best?
Every Bulldog has its own selling points. Some are bigger than others, while some Bulldogs seem to be much more family-oriented. There are definitely Bulldogs that are people pleasers, as well as those who are fantastic working dogs. No matter what you’re looking for in a pet, you’re almost certain to find it in one of these breeds. Always look at what you need from a dog before you decide on a Bulldog breed.
3. Which bulldog breed is the healthiest?
The healthiest Bulldogs are usually those that have hybrid bloodlines. The Victorian Bulldog and the Australian Bulldog, for example, tend to look a lot like English Bulldogs but they don’t have nearly as many health problems. Surprisingly, the Mammut – a Bulldog that is a hybrid of multiple Bulldog breeds – tends to be much healthier than many of the breeds from which it is descended.
4. What is the biggest breed of Bulldog?
Weighing in at around 130 pounds, the Bullmastiff and the Old English Bulldogge are probably the biggest overall Bulldog breeds out there today. With that said, there are several other breeds that tip the scale at over one hundred pounds, including the Alapaha Blue Blood and the Red-Tiger. Bulldogs are a rare category of a dog in that they tend to come in sizes that are all over the usual weight scale.