When you hear the term, 'Bulldog', most people automatically think of the iconic English Bulldog. They are known worldwide for their frowning, almost grumpy, expression, and their broad, squat and muscular physique. They often feature in movies, television and advertising.
Some people are surprised to learn that there are many other different Bulldog types, although some of these are extremely rare. Many of them are actually healthier and less intensely breed than their popular English Bulldog relatives.
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The English Bulldog is the oldest and most recognizable of all the Bulldog types.
They are known for being affectionate, amiable, and sedate, and are a popular choice as a family pet.
Their overbreeding (as a result of their popularity) and their physique means that they can suffer from more health problems than your average breed. They are particularly prone to respiratory and eye issues. Care should be taken to ensure they do not overheat, and you should monitor their weight closely as they are also prone to obesity. Some fun facts about the English bulldog:
- Ranked 5th most popular breed by the AKC in 2018
- Family-friendly and amiable
- Low energy/ even lazy
- Prone to health problems
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The Frenchie, who was developed from the English Bulldog, has soared in popularity in recent years. They often have entertaining, affectionate and outgoing personalities. They are not without their problems though, and they are another brachycephalic (flat-faced) breed that can suffer from breathing difficulties and can easily overheat. Some fun facts about Frenchies:
- A surge in popularity means they were ranked 4th most popular breed by the AKC in 2018
- Playful and loving
- Also prone to overheating and respiratory issues
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The American Bulldog evolved after their English counterpart was exported to the States. They are regarded as being much healthier and more agile, but they still have a very affectionate temperament, again making good family pets.
Their size and strength do mean that early and ongoing training and socialization are important. They also suit an active home because of their energy levels. Some fun facts about the American Bulldog:
- Originating from the English Bulldog, this breed is bigger and more athletic
- Recognized by the United Kennel Club in 1999
- Often oversized lapdogs
- Loyal and protective of their family
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Olde English Bulldogge
While closely related to the English Bulldog, this new breed has been developed to produce a more healthy and athletic dog. They are larger, less flat-faced and much more agile and energetic. While they can prove to be formidable guard dogs, they are usually gentle and affectionate towards their family. A few fun facts about the Olde English Bulldogge:
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- A larger and more healthy descendant of the original English Bulldog
- Recognized by the United Kennel Club in 2014
- A brave, strong-willed and companionable dog
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Other Country-Specific Bulldogs
Several other Bulldog breeds have been developed in their countries of origin. However, none are currently recognized by the AKC or UKC. These are generally dogs that have originated from English Bulldog lines but have been refined to produce healthier, more athletic breed types. They also often have traits that fit in with the kind of climate, terrain or working environment they inhabit.
- The Australian Bulldog: these dogs are very similar in appearance and temperament to the traditional English Bulldog. They were first developed in the 1990s to produce a healthier, more heat-tolerant, companion dog.
- The Buldogue Campeiro: Also known as the Brazilian Bulldog, this is a dog with a long history of working in rural farm environments. These dogs are tenacious, loyal, protective and full of stamina. They are not the companion type dog that many other bulldogs are.
- The Ca de Bou: Also known as the Mallorquin Bulldog, because of their island of origin. They are another dog that has been bred for their working capabilities and are not generally suited to novice dog owners. They can be independent and territorial. They combine the looks of the Bulldog with that of the bigger Mastiff types.
- The Continental Bulldog: Originating in Switzerland, this Bulldog type was again developed to be a healthier, more athletic counterpart to the English Bulldog. They have been recognized as a breed in their own right by the Swiss Kennel Club since 2004.
- The Valley Bulldog: this rare variety was developed in Novia Scotia, Canada. They are the result of crossing English Bulldogs with Boxers, and so they share characteristics of both breeds. They tend to be friendly, athletic and sometimes even a bit goofy - undoubtedly a Boxer trait!
There are only four Bulldog breeds that are officially recognized by the United Kennel Club. However, there are a number of other varieties that have been developed in an attempt to produce more athletic dogs with fewer health concerns.
If you do want to welcome a Bulldog into your family, whichever variety you opt for, you are likely to get a loving, loyal and affectionate dog. Be prepared for the possibility that they will have a strong guarding instinct.
For the traditional English and French Bulldog, extra care should be taken to find a responsible breeder that carries out rigorous health tests. They may not be the best dog to opt for if you live in a particularly hot climate.
If you want a dog that can accompany you on regular long hikes, then the American Bulldog, or another more athletic variety, would be a more sensible choice.
If you are drawn to this type of dog, don't forget that there are plenty of Bulldogs that are in rescue and looking for a loving forever home.