Bulldogs are one of the most popular dog breeds in the world. They are known for their distinctive wrinkled faces and friendly, loyal personalities. These dogs come in a variety of different breeds, each with their unique characteristics and history. This article will look at the origin of the bulldog while exploring 10 of the most popular bulldog breeds. These bulldog breeds include the English Bulldog, French Bulldog, American Bulldog, and more.
We’ll also share the special care needs of bulldogs to help you decide if they’re the right breed for you. One thing’s for sure, from their adorable wrinkles to their playful personalities, bulldogs are sure to steal your heart.
Origin of the Bulldog
Bulldogs are an old breed that may have come from a 5th century English breed called the alaunt. Butchers used them to help control large livestock, such as horses, cattle, and boars during the capture and slaughtering process. Later, by the 15th century, they were used for a barbaric sport called bull-baiting, in which the dog would bite and hold a bull’s nose to twist the animal down to the ground.
After 350 years, this brutal and inhumane practice was finally banned in 1835. By that point, bulldogs were so aggressive that an 80-pound dog could bring down a bull of a ton or more. With no legitimate use for this level of aggression, bulldogs were bred much less and faced extinction. However, some bulldog enthusiasts decided to breed them for more docile characteristics, leading to modern bulldog breeds that today make gentle family dogs.
10 Bulldog Breeds
Of all the variety of bulldogs (and bulldog mixes) out there, we’ve chosen these 10 to give you an idea of the diverse qualities of this popular dog breed. Have a look and decide which is your favorite? (And it’s totally ok to have more than one favorite).
Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldog
The Lane family developed this bulldog breed in the United States based on Old English Bulldogs that had been brought to the country in the 18th century. Because they were bred specifically as guard dogs, they are a large and muscular breed. Males can be 25 inches at the shoulder and weigh 90 pounds. On the other hand, females may be as short as 20 inches and weigh only 50 pounds. Their coats are short and usually white with patches of black, blue, buff, or brown. Their tails are un-docked. There are an estimated 150 dogs of this rare type of bulldog. Unfortunately, major kennel clubs do not recognize them as an official breed.
This popular breed came from Old English Bulldogs brought to America as early as the 17th century. They were useful farm, and ranch dogs used to help manage large livestock and guard property for their owners. American bulldogs almost went extinct by the 1940s. Luckily they were brought back from the brink and repurposed as family dogs.
The American Kennel Club has recognized the American bulldog. This breed is stocky, with muscular shoulders and chest. They have short, low-maintenance coats, but they do shed moderately. They are usually white with red, black, or brindle patches, but more recently, other color patterns with more black, red, brown, fawn and brindle have become popular. True to their guard dog roots, they may be hesitant around strangers or have separation anxiety if their owners are gone too long. With training and socialization, they do very well with children and make outstanding companion animals and family pets.
The campeiro bulldog is a breed from Brazil. This breed was originally a catch dog, used to hold cattle in slaughterhouses. This practice was banned in the 1970s, and the breed almost went extinct. After a breeding program was started in the mid-1970s, their numbers began to recover. Campeiro bulldogs can be between 19 and 22 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh between 79 and 93 pounds. They have short, smooth coats that can be any color except merle (a marbling of darker colors against a lighter background). Campeiro bulldogs are aggressive toward other dogs.
Continental Bulldogs are sometimes called “Contis” for short. They’re actually a new breed that has been developed in Switzerland; so recent, in fact, that they were only officially recognized by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale in 2022. They are a hybrid of the English bulldog and olde English Bulldogge that was developed to overcome common health problems in bulldogs. They are medium-sized, weigh 44-66 pounds, have smaller heads than typical bulldogs, and less obvious wrinkles. They breathe soundlessly, even when running at full speed. Their short coats come in multiple colors and some have black masks. If you’re thinking of owning a bulldog but concerned about the well-known health issues of this breed, the Conti might be the way to go for you.
The English bulldog is also known as the British bulldog or simply the bulldog. It is a medium-sized dog that stands 12-24 inches at the shoulder and weighs 40-55 pounds. They are usually solid white, red, fawn, yellow, or piebald (having irregular patches of two colors). In addition to their solid, squat, muscular build, some of their most distinctive features are a pronounced underbite and thick folds of skin on their muzzles, handing down as jowls. Their tails are naturally short and are not docked. Breeders have worked hard to reduce aggression from this breed, resulting in a dog that generally gets along fantastically with children, dogs, and other pets.
Unfortunately, English bulldogs can have some pretty serious health problems; for example: hip dysplasia, respiratory issues, allergies, dermatitis, and joint problems. You might be surprised to know that most bulldogs must be born by Caesarean section because the puppies’ heads are too large to pass through the mother’s hips. This is obviously a great risk to the life and health of the mother and the puppies. Because of these issues, breeding bulldogs has actually been banned in the Netherlands and Norway as a violation of animal welfare.
The French bulldog is a companion or toy breed that stands 9.4-14 inches tall and weighs 17.6-31 pounds. It is among the most popular pets in the United States, the United Kingdom, and France. French bulldogs are muscly little dogs with bat-like ears and fine-haired, soft, loose, wrinkly coats of brindle, fawn, cream, or white with brindle patches (e.e. “pied”). They make excellent companion pets, getting along well with humans and other dogs, but because they are bred for contact with people, they show signs of separation anxiety if left alone for more than a few hours.
Like other bulldogs, they are prone to quite a few health issues and have difficulty both becoming inseminated and giving birth. Their respiratory issues sometimes require special surgery, and their life expectancy is slightly lower than other dog breeds.
Olde English Bulldogge
Based on the name of this bulldog breed, you could be forgiven for assuming they are a very old breed originating in England. In fact, they are one of the newest kinds of bulldogs, developed in the United States. Bulldog lovers have been concerned a long time about the health problems of the breed, so they worked hard to develop one with healthier characteristics. What they ended up with looks quite a bit like the 19th century British bulldogs, and is similar in size as well: standing anywhere from 16-20 inches tall and weighing 50-80 pounds. The breed was officially recognized by the United Kennel Club in 2014 and has been used to improve the genetics of other kinds of bulldogs, including the Continental Bulldog.
Perro de Presa Mallorquin
The Perro de Presa Mallorquin goes by several names, including the Mallorca Mastiff, the Majorcan Bulldog, or the Ca de Bou (their Catalan language name). The breed originated in Majorca, one of the Balearic Islands of Spain, in medieval times and was used for controlling cattle. They stand 20-23 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh 66-84 pounds. Their coats are rough, short, and usually colored brindle, fawn, or black. These dogs are known to be chill, rarely barking, and for being affectionate and devoted family pets. They have some aggressive tendencies toward other dogs, especially those of the same sex, so this area should be given special attention in training.
This bulldog breed was developed in Brazil and is recognized by the Confederação Brasileira de Cinofilia. The term “serrano” in Brazilian Portuguese is an adjective referring to someone or something from the hills or mountains. Thus, in English, this breed also goes by the name Brazillian Mountain Bulldog or Mountaineer Bulldog.
Their height ranges from 19-22 inches, and they weigh 55-88 pounds. Their short coats come in various colors, and their lifespan is 10-12 years. The serrano makes a good pet and guard dog in that it is submissive to its owner and non-aggressive toward other people or dogs but will defend itself when provoked and attack when commanded.
Also known as the Alano Español, this is a medium to large dog that has been used for bullfighting, hunting boar or deer, cattle herding, and as a guard dog in addition to being a companion animal. Tragically, this breed was transported to the New World by Spanish explorers and colonizers to subjugate Native American people.
Spanish bulldogs stand about 23 inches at the shoulder and can weigh up to 66 pounds. They have short fur of brindle, fawn, black, sable, and patches of white. These dogs’ heads have a square shape, thick skin, wrinkles, and neck folds.
Special Care Needs of Bulldogs
Bulldogs have important care needs to keep in mind to keep them healthy and happy. Here are a few general care tips for bulldogs:
- Exercise: Bulldogs are not known for being high-energy dogs, but they still need regular exercise to maintain a healthy weight and prevent obesity. Daily walks and playtime are recommended.
- Diet: Bulldogs are prone to obesity, so feeding them a healthy diet appropriate for their size and activity level is important. Avoid overfeeding and high-calorie treats.
- Grooming: Bulldogs have short, fine coats that are relatively low-maintenance but do shed. Brushing them regularly can help to reduce shedding and keep their coat shiny.
- Health concerns: Bulldogs are prone to several health issues, including breathing difficulties, skin problems, and eye issues. Regular vet check-ups and screenings are important to catch and manage any health issues that may arise.
- Heat sensitivity: Bulldogs have difficulty regulating their body temperature, so they should be kept in a cool environment and not be overexerted during hot weather.
- Airway: Bulldogs are known for having respiratory issues, and they should be avoided from strenuous activities and exercise that may affect their breathing.
- Training: Bulldogs can be stubborn and strong-willed, so early training and socialization are important. Consistency and positive reinforcement are key.
It’s important to remember that each bulldog is unique, so their specific care needs may vary. Consult with your veterinarian for personalized care guidance.
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- Wikipedia, Available here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bulldog_type