American Bulldog vs English Bulldog: Is There Any Difference?

It is just reasonable to think that the American and the English Bulldog are related due to the similarity of their names. However, them being Bulldogs doesn’t mean that they don’t have a wide variety of differences. In fact, you might not immediately tell which one is American and which one is English if both of them are sitting side-by-side.

What sets each of them apart from one another are their histories, visual appearances, and general temperaments which we will discuss further in today’s article. 

Breed Origin

American Bulldog

The American Bulldog descended from the English Bulldog. The farmers used them as aids in handling and catching large animals such as cattle and hogs. 

In 1890, the Bulldog Club of America was founded and they used the British breed standard. Later on, the American-bred Bulldog was developed in 1894. The standard was later revised and accepted in 1896 which is still in use today.

The American Bulldog became popular with the public in the 1980s. Prior to his standard name as American Bulldog he was called in some parts of the South “White English” because of his white color and “Alabama” or “Southern Dog” because he came from the Alabama/Georgia area. The breed almost went into extinction after World War 2 but thanks to John D. Johnson and Alan Scott, the breed thrived back.

English Bulldog

Photo from: goodboydeuce (IG)

Bulldogs were originally bred in England around 1500 for “bull baiting”. Bull-baiting is a popular form of sport in England wherein the dog will bite on the nose of an enraged bull and pin it on the ground. 

The bull will then try to shake off the bite of the dog much to the enjoyment of the watching crowd as both animals struggle for dominance and survival. But, due to its barbarous nature bull baiting was banned in England in 1835.

Even though the practice of bull-baiting has been stopped, few breeders still want to preserve the breed due to its many good qualities like its strength, stamina, and persistence. 

Earlier breeds were aggressive and fierce but, later on, breeders chose to breed those who have gentle and sweet temperaments. In 1864, the first Bulldog Club was formed. Samuel Wickens, a member, wrote the world’s first Bulldog breed standard. Another Bulldog Club in 1875 developed a breed standard similar to that of Wickens which is still in use today.

Size, Appearance, & Coloring

American Bulldog

Photo from: hdb_blade (IG)

Considered to be a medium to large dog, the American Bulldog’s weight can reach 100 pounds with a minimum of 60 pounds. He stands 20 to 25 inches tall with a muscular and powerful body which is prominently shown through his superb figure thanks to his short coat.

Take note that there are various lineages for the American Bulldog, so expect some from the breed to differ in looks most especially in the legs and face parts. Nevertheless, all American Bulldogs are stocky in build and share the same frame.

To describe the looks, he has a large head with strong jaws, tails left undocked, folded short ears, and eyes that can be in blue or various shades of brown. Coats can be sported in several colors such as:

  • Black & white
  • Solid white
  • White & brown
  • White & tan
  • Lilac
  • Chocolate 

English Bulldog

You can right away tell how solid and compact the English Bulldog is. As he matures, lifting him becomes a challenge! His head is also large and it displays several folds and wrinkles, and extra skin on the skull. The appearance is similar to the Pug since his cheeks are expanded to the sides of his eyes and the muzzle is short yet wide.

The teeth must have an underbite, but despite the odd look, his jaws can’t be underestimated when it comes to its bite force. The overall physique of the English Bulldog is impressive and captivating with proportions that include a height of 14-15 inches and a weight of 40-50 pounds. 

There are lots of coat colors natural to the breed which include:

  • Fawn 
  • Red 
  • White
  • Fallow
  • Bringle & white
  • Red & white


American Bulldog

American Bulldogs may look tough due to their physical traits but you’ll be surprised to know that these dogs are gentle, affectionate, and loyal to their owners. Strength and intelligence are possessed by the American Bulldog as long as he has an owner who can help him improve daily. 

Socialization training needs to be taught to him at an early age due to his protective nature. An owner should be able to stop him from being aggressive, especially if the stranger or a new dog is not doing anything threatening. Overall, the more suitable the owner is in owning the American Bulldog, the more likely it is for the dog to grow up well-behaved. 

English Bulldog

The British heritage of the English Bulldog clearly shows in his personality. He’s more of a gentle, quiet, yet fun to be with type-of-companion! He’s very trainable but he’s ready to deal with his stubbornness. This can be remedied by giving him lots of patience and appropriate training sessions. 

Allow the Bulldog to have a regular experience in socializing with others. He’s great with other dogs, but he does better with cats and other new pets at home. If you have kids, the dog would find it challenging to cope with their energies. Nevertheless, he won’t complain if he gets to bond with his family. He loves children to the core and this is often manifested as to how protective he can be towards them.

Exercise Needs

American Bulldog

Most American Bulldogs are highly energetic, but this will depend on the type. The Bully type will typically need a lower exercise requirement due to the structure of his face and shorter legs. 

Bulldogs of this type do well in spacious homes with a yard and a doggy park nearby. You can be creative and combine physical and mental games for a more fun time! At least 45 minutes of drills will keep the Bulldog happy, fit, and satisfied. 

English Bulldog

Photo from: nico_curtinho (IG)

Don’t be surprised if your English Bulldog is a couch potato. The breed seems to have been bred with low energy levels. Still, it is imperative that you encourage him to exercise to eliminate the onset of destructive behaviors. At least 30 minutes of exercise drills will keep him happy and healthy.

The slow and sluggish behavior he does while moving will drastically shift to great bursts of speed when the situation calls for it. Don’t skip a day without taking him out for a walk!

Grooming Requirements

American Bulldog

It is easy to maintain the hygiene of an American Bulldog. The short coat makes him a light to moderate shedder which means, you can just brush him weekly. Baths can be done only when necessary.

Since this is a brachycephalic breed, drooling should be expected. Clean his mouth regularly and don’t forget to clean the folds of his skin for any signs of inflammation. Other routine checks like teeth and ear cleaning remain important. 

English Bulldog

Just like his American counterpart, it is also easy to take care of the English Bulldog’s hygiene. He would need a weekly brushing using a  firm and high-quality bristle brush. Be keen on cleaning the folds of his skin and ensure that they are dry after cleaning. 

When you clean his ears, never poke anything inside them to avoid complications. Other important physical-check ups and cleaning should be done regularly as well. 

Health Problems

American Bulldog

With a lifespan of 10-12 years, the American Bulldog is deemed to be generally healthy. Albeit this is the case, he can still suffer from the following health issues:

  • Cherry eye
  • Ichthyosis
  • Hypothyroidism
  • hip/elbow dysplasia

English Bulldog

The English Bulldog has an average of 8-10 years lifespan. Unless the hygiene of the English Bulldog remains to be topnotch, he will be suffering from a range of horrible health issues. Others are caused by his facial structure. Common medical conditions will include:

  • Breathing problems
  • Bone/joint disease
  •  Eye problems
  • Cancer 

Breed Popularity

Bulldogs are, no doubt, popular in the US. The American version just got recognized in 2019 and despite the indefinite rank in fame, thousands of families are gradually getting to know the breed. On the other hand, the English Bulldog is placed 5th out of 200 dog breeds. 

Which Bulldog Should I Get?

The differences evident in both breeds shouldn’t give you a hard time choosing which between them you should get because both dogs are great to have as a family addition. However, the American Bulldog does better with active families while the English one suits those who are more laid-back. Determine which appearance and temperament are you more into as well.

To decide easily, create a checklist with your family and see what the majority prefers!