The Tenacious Bulldog and American Bulldog Breeds

bulldog formerly known as English bulldog

What is the most popular breed of dogs among college mascots? None other than the bulldog breed, thanks to its scrappy history and tenacious reputation (which is why some people earn the nickname “bulldog”).

The history behind bulldogs dates back to the 1200s when bullfighters bred bulldogs were bred for bullfighting, more specifically bull-baiting, in the United Kingdom. Yep, they were responsible for biting a bull’s nose without getting thrown into the air and killed. Yikes! Since then, they’ve come a long way; now, bulldogs are the fifth most popular breed. 

This guide to bulldogs will answer questions you may have about this breed’s barking habits and training and grooming needs.  

What’s the difference between American bulldogs and (English) bulldogs?

The American Kennel Club recognizes three breeds of bulldogs: American bulldog, French bulldog and bulldog. This page covers the American bulldog and the bulldog formerly known as English bulldog; we have another page dedicated to the adorable tiny French bulldog.

Oftentimes, when someone says “bulldog,” they are referring specifically to the short and stocky English bulldogs, from which all bulldogs descend. These are the bulldogs that typically become college mascots.

Bulldogs come from a 5th-century breed called Alaunt in the UK; however, when the UK banned bull-baiting in 1835 (thank goodness), breeders brought English bulldogs to the U.S. Breeders bred bulldogs with other breeds for herding cattle and hunting, creating the American bulldog which stands somewhat taller and leaner than the traditional bulldog. So, while all bulldogs can be traced back to an English bulldog, not all bulldogs are today’s English bulldogs.

How do you tell the difference between American bulldogs and bulldogs? 

The American bulldog has a large square head and jaws. This breed has a box-shaped muzzle, furrowed brow, muscular cheeks, and athletic body.

american bulldog puppy

An English bulldog is shorter than the American bulldog; it’s a medium-size breed known for its wrinkled face and drooping jowls. They have a broad chest and wide shoulders.

english bulldog puppy

We talk about French bulldogs, the third bulldog breed, on a separate page on our website (but here is a picture of a French bulldog puppy, because we just can’t help ourselves).

french bulldog puppy

Do Bulldog Breeds Bark a Lot?

Neither the bulldog nor the American bulldog are huge barkers. However, the American bulldog requires a considerable amount of exercise each day to prevent boredom and destructive behaviors like chewing and barking. This breed is protective and territorial, which could lead to a crazy amount of barking if the dog is suspicious of strangers. On the other hand, English bulldogs require moderate exercise and have a gentle disposition. Although they don’t bark much at all, English bulldog owners must get used to snoring and wheezing sounds coming from their bulldogs, caused by the shape of their skulls, as well as allergies and other health and physical factors.

If you have a bulldog, whether an American or English breed, that barks constantly, try to figure out why your dog barks. The trigger could be the mailman or a startling sound; if so, your dog will most likely stop barking once the trigger is gone. American bulldogs tend to display negative behavior like a bark fest or nuisance barking when not exercised enough or he’s left home alone for too long.  

How to stop a bulldog from barking

Before you begin training your bulldog (or any dog, for that matter), everyone in your home must be on the same page about correcting your pet’s behavior. Without a joint effort, you may find all of your training efforts fail.

Exercise is a must for the American bulldog. Brisk walks, jogs, and games of fetch each day will relax your pet and reduce the chance he’ll start nuisance barking. While you will never stop a dog completely from barking as it’s a form of communication, with time, patience, and consistency, you can decrease the number and length of barking sessions. 

American bulldogs need mental stimulation. Offer your pet a challenging chew or puzzle toy if you plan to leave him home alone for any length. You might also look into nose work games, which are great ways to exercise their brains and bodies.

Cloak sights and sounds that could trigger your dog while you’re away. Close the curtains or blinds. Mask sounds from outside by turning on your TV or radio to a station you would typically listen to while you’re at home.

Implement the training techniques laid out in our barking guide. We recommend combining firm commands with the BarxBuddy ultrasonic training tool.

Are bulldogs easy to train?

Bulldogs have a reputation of being stubborn. Because of their high energy level, American bulldogs do better to receive early socialization and puppy training classes. You would do well to establish rules and routines early — and stick to them — as your bulldog ages. American bulldogs aren’t pushovers and can be a challenge to train. They need an owner with a firm but loving approach when determining boundaries.   

English bulldogs, your typical sweetheart, have a stubborn streak that can pose problems in training. It’s important to use a firm tone with positive reinforcement training. Yep, praise and treats go a long way with these dogs. 

Facts About the Bulldog Breed and American Bulldog Breed

Bulldogs, descendants of the English bulldogs, are confident, energetic, athletic, and hard-working dogs that enjoy partaking in a number of activities with their humans. Favorites include tug-of-war, jogs, hikes, and training exercises. American bulldogs tend to be loyal and very protective of their families and are best suited for an experienced, active pet parent. Bulldogs tend to be friendly, courageous and extremely laid back. Bulldogs do well in just about any atmosphere. 

Size: American bulldogs grow up to 20 to 25 inches in height and weigh 60 to 100 pounds. Bulldogs are a little shorter at 14 to 15 inches tall and 40 to 50 pounds.

Life expectancy: American bulldogs live about 10 to 12 years; bulldogs’ life expectancy is 8 to 10 years

Coat: American bulldogs and bulldogs have a short, smooth coat that comes in various shades, including white, brindle, black, brown, and grey. 

AKC group: American bulldogs belong to the AKC foundation stock service group, and the bulldog is part of the non-sporting group.

Do Bulldogs Need Grooming?

Bulldogs, whether English or American, don’t have crazy grooming needs. They are seasonal shedders and as such, routine brushing will help prevent them from shedding loose hairs onto your floors, furniture, and clothes. Plus, brushing distributes the skin’s oils keeping their coat clean and shiny. Bulldogs might need an occasional bath when they get into something messy. Trim their nails every few weeks to prevent them from growing too long and causing the dog pain when they walk or run. Clean a bulldog’s ears once a month and brush their teeth regularly.

What If My Breed Is a Bulldog Mix?

A favorite breed among dog lovers, the bulldog, is a popular choice to mix with other breeds to bring even more cuteness to the offspring. Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee to what characteristics a mix will possess, so research the parents’ genetic strengths and weaknesses. 

Here are some popular bulldog breed mixes: 

  • American bulldog shepherd — American bulldog + German shepherd
  • American bullhuahua — American bulldog + Chihuahua
  • American bull-jack — American bulldog + Jack Russell terrier
  • Bullkita — American bulldog + Akita
  • EngAm — English bulldog + American bulldog
  • English boodle — English bulldog + poodle
  • Free-lance bulldog — English bulldog + French bulldog
  • Golden bulldog — English bulldog + golden retriever
  • Old Anglican bulldogge — English bulldog + pit bull terrier
  • Valley bulldog — English bulldog + boxer