When you hear the term, "bulldog," you might automatically think of the iconic English bulldog that is often featured in movies, television, and advertising. They are known worldwide for their frowning, almost grumpy expression and their broad, squat, and muscular physique.
There are several extremely rare and healthier bulldogs breeds that are more athletic and less intensely bred than their popular English bulldog relatives. These bulldog breeds, such as the Australian bulldog and the continental bulldog of Switzerland, have physical traits that fit in with the kind of climate, terrain, or working environment they inhabit. Most of these rarer breeds are not currently recognized by American dog registry organizations such as the American Kennel Club or United Kennel Club.
01 of 09
The English bulldog is the oldest and most recognizable of all the bulldog types. They are a popular choice as a family pet, known for being affectionate, amiable, and sedate. As a result of their popularity, they have a tendency of being overbred and can suffer from more health problems than other bulldog breeds. As a brachycephalic (flat-faced) breed, they are particularly prone to respiratory, eye issues, and a tendency to overheat (they do not fair well in hotter climates). Monitor their weight closely as they are also prone to obesity. Take extra care to find a responsible breeder that carries out rigorous health tests.
Height: 14 to 15 inches
Weight: 40 to 50 pounds
Physical Characteristics: Medium-size dog that has a thick-set body with straight, short, fine-textured, smooth coat colored red, white, fawn, or fallow (pale brown); short-muzzled head is massive and square; broad shoulders and chest with thick, sturdy limbs
02 of 09
The Frenchie, which was developed from the English bulldog, has soared in popularity in recent years. Playful and loving, they often have entertaining and outgoing personalities. They are not without their problems, though, and like its English bulldog relative, it is another brachycephalic (flat-faced) breed that can suffer from breathing difficulties and can easily overheat. As with the English bulldog, be fastidious with selecting a good breeder.
Height: 11 to 13 inches
Weight: 19 to 28 pounds
Physical Characteristics: Sturdy, compact dog breed with a large head, short snout, and bat-like ears
03 of 09
The American Bulldog evolved after its English counterpart was exported to the States. Recognized by the United Kennel Club in 1999, they are bigger, usually much healthier, and more agile. They have a very affectionate temperament, act like oversized lapdogs, and make good family pets. They are loyal and protective of their family. 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 level.
Height: 20 to 28 inches
Weight: 60 to 120 pounds
Physical Characteristics: Sturdy, stocky, and muscular build; large, box-like head with powerful jaws; ears that may be cropped, slightly pricked, or droopy
04 of 09
Olde English Bulldogge
While immediately descended from the English bulldog, this American breed was developed to produce a more healthy and athletic dog. It was officially recognized by the United Kennel Club in 2014. They are larger, less flat-faced and more agile and energetic than the English variety. While they can prove to be strong-willed and a formidable guard dog, they are usually gentle and affectionate towards their family.
Height: 16 to 19 inches
Weight: 50 to 80 pounds
Physical Characteristics: Muscular, medium-sized dog of great strength; large head with stocky, wide neck, square muzzle, undershot bite, and wide nostrilsContinue to 5 of 9 below.
05 of 09
The Australian bulldog is very similar in appearance and temperament to the traditional English bulldog. They were first developed during the 1990s to produce a healthier, more heat-tolerant, companion dog. It is intelligent, loyal, and good with children. This breed will enjoy playing with a ball and likes to romp in the water. A good watchdog but not a guard dog, its bullish look can serve as a deterrent.
Height: 17 to 20 inches
Weight: 50 to 78 pounds
Physical Characteristics: Medium-sized, muscular, thick-boned, broad chest area; short and smooth coat; the head is strong and square in appearance; folds of wrinkle across the nose with wide-set eyes; slightly undershot mouth
06 of 09
The Buldogue Campeiro is also known as the Brazilian bulldog. Descended from the now-extinct "Old English Bulldog" from Europe, it is a distinctly different breed than the recently American-engineered "Olde English Bulldogge." This dog has a long history of working in rural farm environments. These dogs are tenacious, loyal, protective, and full of stamina. They are not the affectionate, companion-type dog that many other bulldogs are.
Height: 19 to 23 inches
Weight: 77 to 99 pounds
Physical Characteristics: Medium-sized, muscular, square-bodied; short and smooth coat usually with fawn, brown, and brindle coloring with white markings; broad head with a short muzzle, small pendant ears high on the head as far apart as physically possible; short, crooked tail
07 of 09
Ca de Bou
The "Ca de Bou," which translates to "bulldog," is also known as the Mallorquin bulldog or Majorca mastiff, since it comes from the Spanish island of Majorca. As the names suggests, it inherited its looks from both breeds. It was recognized by the United Kennel Club in 2006. Bred for their working capabilities, they are not generally suited for novice dog owners. They can be independent and territorial.
Height: 20 to 23 inches
Weight: 66 to 84 pounds
Physical Characteristics: Medium-sized, muscular, rectangular build with a deep, wide chest; short and rough coat usually with brindle, fawn, and black coloring; broad head with slight underbite; skin is thick and somewhat loose with a minor fold at the throat
08 of 09
Originating in Switzerland, the continental bulldog or "conti" was developed to be a healthier, more athletic counterpart to the English bulldog. This breed was the result of outcrossing the Olde English Bulldogge, the American-designed breed. It has been recognized as a breed in Germany and Switzerland since 2005, although, it is not officially recognized in the U.S.
Height: 15 to 21 inches
Weight: 48 to 66 pounds
Physical Characteristics: Medium-sized, short- and smooth-coated, squarish build; slightly domed head with some wrinkling (not as massive sized as the English bulldog); slight underbite (not as pronounced as English bulldog); dark nose; well-arched necklineContinue to 9 of 9 below.
09 of 09
The Valley bulldog is a rare bulldog variety that was developed in the Annapolis Valley of Novia Scotia, Canada. This breed is a hybrid of English bulldogs with boxers; they share characteristics of both breeds. They tend to be friendly, athletic, and sometimes even a bit goofy (undoubtedly inherited from their boxer side). These hybrids were developed as working dogs for catching livestock and protecting rural property like ranches and farms. Boxer-bulldog mixes remain to be effective guard dogs today, inheriting the boxer’s alertness and suspicion of strangers.
Height: 14 to 18 inches
Weight: 40 to 80 pounds
Physical Characteristics: Unmistakable facial features of an English bulldog with a broad, rounded head and muzzle that is short to medium length; usually has a bulldog's underbite; height-wise, looks like either a taller version of an English bulldog or a shorter boxer; thick neck, broad chest, and muscular build with thick feet; soft, smooth, short coat is white with brindle, tan, fawn, red, or black
Breeds to Avoid
If you are a first-time dog owner, most bulldog breeds and dogs closely related to bulldogs like bullmastiffs and pit bulls are not recommended. These breeds usually require a rigorous amount of training, socialization, and patience from their adopted families.
Bulldog breeds or their close relations are also not well suited for runners or as companions in the water. Their flatter (brachycephalic) faces make them more sensitive to heat, exercise, and stress. Most bulldogs cannot swim due to two factors: facial anatomy and their big, muscular body and shorter legs.