Difference Between English and American Bulldog – Key Points To Know!

There are several unique Bulldog breeds, but many people tend to be confused about the difference between an English and American Bulldog. While the two shares the same stocky and muscular breed, there are major differences that aspiring pet owners should know. They also vary in temperament, personality, and overall appearance.

In this post, I will discuss a few points that will help you differentiate an English Bulldog from an American Bulldog. Read on if you’re planning to get one of these breeds:

Difference Between English and American Bulldog

Size and Appearance

Difference Between English and American Bulldog

What is the difference between English and American bulldogs? American and English Bulldogs are both hefty canines. However, the American Bulldog is taller and more athletic. Also, American Bulldogs are of two types, the classic and the standard. They both stand up to 26 inches and weigh up to 130 pounds as adults.

American Bulldogs are also distinct for their long legs, robust build, and smooth and short coat. This makes them more athletic than their English counterparts, which isn’t surprising as American Bulldogs used to be farm dogs.

On the other hand, English Bulldogs can weigh up to 60 pounds at the adult stage. English Bulldogs are considered a non-sporting breed with their short legs, robust build, and wrinkly skin.

Nevertheless, both canine breeds come in numerous colors, including hues of red, black, brown, and fawn. They also come in various shades of brindle.

The rarest Bulldog colors so far are blue, black, lilac, merle, and chocolate. And since it’s rare, expect the price tag of the puppies to be expensive. Just be careful when scouting for breeders since many puppy mills dupe pet owners into buying rare-colored Bulldogs mired with health problems.

Temperament and Personality

The Bulldog has a rugged, intimidating look with a large head and hefty physique. But neither the American nor the English Bulldog have an aggressive temperament. Both breeds have a gentle and friendly disposition and are quite sociable. They love spending time with people as long as they are trained and raised in a caring environment.

Moreover, the English Bulldog has an extremely goofy side. They are trainable and get along well with kids as well as strangers. While English Bulldogs tend to be couch potatoes, they are total sweethearts who love sticking on their owners’ side.

Meanwhile, American Bulldogs will also develop a strong bond with their owners. However, they have an air of aloofness around strangers. They require intense training to dampen their prey drive and potential aggression.

Overall, well-raised American Bulldogs work well with children, but they need a lot of socialization and training than English bulldogs if you want to integrate them into your family.

It’s also important to know that both American and English Bulldogs don’t get along with other canines easily. You need to focus on introducing them to the new dog if you’re keen to raise a Bulldog in a multi-canine household.

I can’t stress this enough: training and socialization are a must. You can’t skip this part if you want to raise a dog. Whether you have an American or English Bulldog, these two tasks are part of being a responsible pet owner.

Prey drive

With the discussed temperament above, it’s not that hard to realize that American Bulldogs are on the bolder side. This dog is more intimidating and will likely chase after an animal or a stranger. Paired with an athletic body, they will surely get someone winded after an action-packed chase.

On the other hand, English Bulldogs are mellower. While some of them love to chase, it’s more of a playful gesture and not as tensioned as American Bulldogs tend to be.

Nevertheless, American Bulldogs aren’t fond barkers like English Bulldogs. They are brave enough to go after the enemy. In short, they walk the talk – err, bark.

But since American Bulldogs are quite the brave ones, they are also notorious wanderers if not trained well. It’s important to dedicate time to training this dog if you want it to grow as a well-rounded canine. This also applies to English Bulldogs.

Important note: I also suggest putting up a fence if you have an open yard. American Bulldogs can be fast runners when they got hooked on a target.

Energy level

Difference Between English and American Bulldog

In terms of energy level, American Bulldogs are the sprightly ones between the two breeds. They can be trained for farm work that requires running and a decent level of agility. This dog is built for chasing and working, so they are the total opposite of English Bulldogs when it comes to activity level.

Overall, American Bulldogs are mid to high-energy dogs. This means you need to give them ample exercise and mental stimulation to stay happy.

To be fair, English Bulldogs were also bred for herding cattle back in the days. It’s tainted with a dark past due to bullbaiting but modern Bulldogs have already been bred out of such aggressive tendency.

Moreover, American Bulldogs aren’t apartment dogs like English Bulldogs. They are made for the outdoors, so you can’t expect them to lounge on the couch for the entire day.

Also, American Bulldogs are more prone to separation anxiety than English Bulldogs, so you have to be careful with their destructive tendencies when left alone.

If you’re a novice owner, you’re better off getting an English Bulldog. This breed is friendlier and easier to handle than the American type. An American Bulldog will just push a newbie owner around since they require the leadership of an alpha.

As an energetic breed, American Bulldogs isn’t suitable for homes with very young kids. Their rambunctious ways can easily knock down a toddler.


While American Bulldogs are quite a handful, they are easier to train than the English counterpart. This canine is intelligent, and though, they can have stubborn streaks, they pick up commands faster than the other dog.

Whether you’re planning to get an American or English Bulldog, patience is necessary for training. These dogs are far from brilliant Golden Retrievers. Nevertheless, you can always ask the help of a pet trainer.

With patience, positive reinforcement, and proper approach, any Bulldog will yield to your command. Just remember that it may take months for your Bulldog to master the training sessions.


Both American and English Bulldogs have noticeably short fur. However, English Bulldogs tend to shed more than the American version. Nevertheless, such shedding isn’t as intense as other breeds, say a Golden Retriever or a German Shepherd.

If there’s one thing that these two breeds have in common, it would be their intense drooling. These Bulldogs slobber, and when I say slobber, expect to find a wet spot on your couch or bed. Those with loose lips tend to drool more, which is something every aspiring owner should know.

Despite that, both American and English Bulldogs are easy to groom. You just have to put extra effort into the American type due to their larger size.


Both American and English Bulldogs are sensitive breeds. This means they are less tolerant of various stimuli. They tend to whine and become bossy when you try to push them to follow a command when they don’t want to.

Aside from that, these dogs are very sensitive to extreme temperatures. As brachycephalic breeds, both of these dogs are prone to heat exhaustion if exposed to intense heat.

They aren’t sled dogs either, so it’s best to keep them indoors for most of the winter season. You should also put dog jackets on them whenever the dogs need to go out for potty breaks or walks on a cold day.

Which one should you get?

Both American Bulldogs and English Bulldogs are amazing pets. However, they suit a specific type of owner. Here’s a quick guide to give you an idea:

Get an American Bulldog if…

  • You want an active and athletic dog.
  • You are an experienced owner who can handle a bold personality
  • Your family doesn’t have infants or very young kids.
  • You want a watchdog for your home.
  • You have a large yard where the dog can play and run around.
  • There’s enough space inside your home for a large dog.
  • You can put up with intense prey drive.
  • There’s someone home to accompany the dog all the time.

Get an English Bulldog if…

  • You want a laidback and affectionate pet.
  • You’re looking for an apartment dog
  • You have younger kids
  • You’re always having visitors and strangers around.
  • You are a first-time dog owner.
  • You don’t want a dog that wanders around the neighborhood
  • There’s someone to accompany the dog home all the time.

Take note that these are just general suggestions. Your choice will always boil down to the canine you believe will fit your lifestyle, home setup, and personality. Just remember that a dog is a long-term responsibility and not something you can dump when you don’t want them anymore.

If you’re having second thoughts about getting a Bulldog, it’s best to put off the idea until you’re sure. We don’t want another helpless Bulldog ending up in local shelters.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are American Bulldogs healthier than English bulldogs?

A: While it’s true that American Bulldogs are healthier than English Bulldogs, they still have a fair share of health problems. These two are still brachycephalic breeds, so you have to be careful when it comes to respiratory distress. If you’re planning to get an American or English Bulldog pup, you should only deal with a responsible breeder.

Q: Are American Bulldogs good with kids?

A: American Bulldogs require intense socialization if you want them to become good with kids. As with any canine, training is also an integral part of raising a family dog. Supervision is necessary and you should also teach your kids the proper way of interacting with the canine. That way, you can prevent accidents from happening.

Q: Why are American bulldogs banned in some places?

A: American Bulldogs are one of the breeds commonly banned in various American states and cities. This is because the American Bulldog descended from the Mastiff bloodline together with the Pit Bull group, which was stereotyped as aggressive and vicious. Some localities even issue BSL or Breed-Specific Legislation to ban the ownership of specific dog breeds.

Q: What states ban the ownership of American Bulldogs?

A: Some states that ban the ownership of American Bulldogs include Colorado, Arkansas, Texas, Oregon, Ohio, Washington, Missouri, and more. These states have total or partial ban on American Bulldogs. And if ever the state has a provision that allows ownership, the pet owner would have to comply with extensive paperwork and various conditions.

Q: Do Bulldogs get along with other dogs?

A: Bulldogs can get along with other dogs as long as you introduce them to the other canine properly. As with any dog, you have to take the process slowly to prevent dog fights and other incidents. It’s best to raise the two dogs at a young age, so they will be desensitized to each other even before they mature.

Q: Do American Bulldogs get aggressive with age?

A: There’s no solid proof that American Bulldogs automatically become aggressive as they age. Training, socialization, and living environment have a lot to do with a canine’s temperament. If you raise an American Bulldog in a safe, nurturing home, it will become a disciplined dog even on the senior age.

Final Thoughts

The difference between English and American Bulldog is crucial to know if you’re torn between the two breeds. While these two canines look similar, they have massive differences in terms of temperament, personality, and behavior. You have to understand that American Bulldogs are bolder and more difficult to handle than the more popular English Bulldog.

No matter what your choice is, make sure that you get your puppy from a responsible breeder. You should also consider adopting from shelters as many Bulldogs end up being surrendered by their previous owners.

Do you own an American Bulldog? Perhaps an English Bulldog? Share your experience in the comment section!


  • Brad

    Hi I'm Brad, the founder of bulldogpapa.com. Having been a vet of 6 years I work alongside our team to provide valuable insight into your dog's health. I have a frenchie myself named Senzu who is my pride and joy!

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