13 Bulldog Breeds with the Most Adorable Faces

From American and French to Victorian and Miniature

different bulldog breeds.
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Some dog breeds need no introductions. We present: the Bulldog. Easily recognizable, with a storied history, there are actually more Bulldog breeds than many people realize. Hybrids abound and we have to think this is because Bulldogs are such lovable, goofy and tenacious companions. Embarking on a life with a Bulldog breed also means socialization early and firm training. They can be stubborn and strong-willed, not to mention reactive to other dogs. Not all Bulldogs display this type of behavior, but it’s up to you to guide them in the right direction—and with a face like that, who can resist?

What Is a Bulldog, Exactly?

It’s probably easy to picture a Bulldog’s wrinkled face and stocky body without consulting Google. Those recognizable traits are shared by all types of Bulldog breeds. The American Kennel Club says Bulldogs are descendants of dogs bred in England during Medieval times (around the 1200s) for bull-baiting, an ugly sport during which dogs and bulls essentially fought each other. This breeding (orchestrated by humans) produced aggressive and strong dogs with scary jaws.

When bull-baiting was outlawed in the 1800s (thank goodness), people shifted their breeding goals to create companion animals, focusing on Bulldogs with charming, loving and goofy personalities. By the end of the 19th century, The Bulldog Club of America was in full swing, borrowing the standards of Bulldogs bred in England to recreate the breed in the U.S. This means that today, we have many types of Bulldog breeds that make great family pets. Yes, they are often stubborn and still retain their muscular, stocky builds, but they’ve developed into devoted lovers, not fighters.

Types of Bulldogs

There are a variety of Bulldog breeds out there. Some, like the Catahoula Bulldog, are clear mixes of two or more specific breeds. Most of these combination dogs are not registered with the American Kennel Club (meaning they cannot compete in competitions like Westminster). Others, like French Bulldogs, are consistently bred by reputable breeders and have organizations like the French Bulldog Club of America behind them, ensuring purebred pups stay true to breed standards and are bred with health as a top priority.

Service Dog Training School International says most, if not all, Bulldog breeds have several traits in common: large jowls with strong jaws and their signature underbites, extra skin around the face, shortened muzzles, prominent muscles and curly-cued tails (though some are born with longer, straighter tails). While each type of Bulldog may vary in terms of height, weight and lifespan, many are devoted, loving dogs with territorial and stubborn tendencies.

Of course, all dogs are individuals and the way a puppy is raised will have a huge impact on their temperament as adults.

What to Consider When Choosing a Bulldog Dog Breed

As with any breed, Bulldogs come with unique ailments and quirks. But there’s some controversy around Bulldogs in particular, and whether breeding them is a humane practice at all. They do tend to have more health issues on average than other types of dogs. In fact, a study published in 2022 by the Royal Veterinary College at the University of London found that over the course of one year, English Bulldogs were twice as likely to suffer from a health complication than other breeds. The study says their “extreme body shape” makes them more prone to common disorders.

Most notably, Bulldogs are brachycephalic breeds, which means they have shortened noses. Breeds like Boxers and Pugs are also considered brachycephalic. The Humane Society says this condition could lead to severe breathing problems, which in turn can increase the dog’s chance of heat stroke, since canines use panting and breathing to cool down. Some Bulldog breeds suffer from brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS), which may require surgery. Difficulty breathing also makes exercise more dangerous, which could lead to obesity (a condition that presents its own list of health-related complications).

The Royal Veterinary College study says English Bulldogs have a high risk of developing skin fold dermatitis and skin infections due to their adorable layers. This means being diligent about a Bulldog’s hygiene and ensuring baths are gentle, yet thorough. One dedicated Bulldog owner told NPR that cleaning between skin folds is part of her daily routine with her dogs.

Bulldogs are also known to develop a condition called “cherry eye,” when their third eyelid becomes large and red. Again, this could require surgery to correct. The Bulldog Club of America suggests finding a vet who either specializes in caring for Bulldogs or one who has experience specific to the breed if possible.

Finally, it’s worth noting that in recent years, the French Bulldog’s popularity has risen to such heights that many are being stolen and sold for astonishing prices (we’re talking thousands and thousands of dollars). Lady Gaga’s dog walker was shot (and survived) when someone kidnapped the star’s two Frenchies (who were later returned safely). You may even face backlash if your French Bulldog has blue-hued fur, instead of fawn or brindle. These are extreme cases, but Frenchie parents should be aware of these new risks.

One perk is that aside from a good bath routine, grooming is fairly simple. Bulldogs don’t shed a ton and don’t need frequent trips to the groomers. As mentioned above, they can be stubborn, so using firm, positive reinforcement training early on in puppyhood is a must.

For dog lovers who simply want to give a Bulldog breed the best life possible, it takes some extra TLC for sure. But as any Bulldog owner will tell you, the effort is totally worth it.

an alapaha blue blood bulldog.
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1. Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldog

  • Height: 18-24 inches
  • Weight: 55-90 pounds
  • Personality: alert, outgoing
  • Activity Level: moderate to high
  • Shedding Factor: moderate
  • Life Expectancy: 12-13 years

The Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldog (what a name!) was originally bred to reign in cattle on ranches in the southern U.S. Created by combining the Old English Bulldog with herding breeds (including the Catahoula Leopard Dog), these dogs became big helpers on farms. This means they are territorial and need lots of space. The Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldog Association says the biggest difference between these dogs and American Bulldogs is that the former is smarter than the latter. These dogs are not recognized by the AKC.

an american bulldog playing in the grass.
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2. American Bulldog

  • Height: 20-25 inches
  • Weight: 60-100 pounds
  • Personality: friendly, confident
  • Activity Level: high
  • Shedding Factor: low to moderate
  • Life Expectancy: 10-12 years

American Bulldogs are taller than English Bulldogs and have slightly more extended snouts. They are a working dog breed known for catching feral pigs on 19th century American farms. They love playtime and interaction with their families, so keeping them cooped up isn’t an option. American Bulldogs also love routine, according to the AKC, so establish daily regimens early and stick to them for a happy pup.

an american bully sitting in the grass.
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3. American Bully

  • Height: 13-17 inches (Pocket), 16-20 inches (Standard), 19-23 inches (XL)
  • Weight: 70-120 pounds
  • Personality: confident, affectionate
  • Activity Level: moderate to high
  • Shedding Factor: moderate
  • Life Expectancy: 8-12 years

American Bully dogs (not to be confused with American Bulldogs) come in three sizes: pocket, standard and XL. Funnily enough, this breed is recognized by the UK’s United Kennel Club, but not by the AKC. Owning an American Bully means having a confident, loving family member who aims to please. They are similar to American Staffordshire Terriers in their demeanor (friendly, loyal), but can become very territorial if threatened (which makes them good guard dogs and means socialization early is a must).

an australian bulldog.
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4. Australian Bulldog

  • Height: 17-20 inches
  • Weight: 50-78 pounds
  • Personality: outgoing, loyal
  • Activity Level: moderate
  • Shedding Factor: moderate
  • Life Expectancy: 10-12 years

Anyone living in Australia knows the weather is much steamier than in England, where Bulldogs originated. The Aussie Bulldog Club says this knowledge, mixed with a love of Bulldogs, led to the Australian Bulldog. These pups have been bred to better withstand the heat down under, while still maintaining that classic Bulldog charm.

a bullmastiff
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5. Bullmastiff

  • Height: 24-27 inches
  • Weight: 100-130 pounds
  • Personality: affectionate, Obedient
  • Activity Level: moderate to high
  • Shedding Factor: low to moderate
  • Life Expectancy: 7-9 years

The Bullmastiff is a result of breeding Bulldogs with Mastiffs in England centuries ago. They were initially used as guard dogs (another working breed). Today, they are smart, affectionate companions. Some are known to be more active than others, but no matter their activity level, make sure they get in a daily walk as part of their routine. Bullmastiffs—like most Bulldog breeds—can come in brindle coloring.

a catahoula bulldog.
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6. Catahoula Bulldog

  • Height: 24-26 inches
  • Weight: 75-100 pounds
  • Personality: alert, intelligent
  • Activity Level: high
  • Shedding Factor: moderate to high
  • Life Expectancy: 10-14 years

Similar to the Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldog, Catahoula Bulldogs were developed by combining American Bulldogs and Catahoula Leopard Dogs, a breed that was itself developed in Louisiana in the 1700s. Since both Catahoulas and Bulldogs have stubborn tendencies, Catahoula Bulldogs should be socialized and trained in commands very early on. Once they get the gist of things, they are very loyal, loving pets and could even do well around kiddos.

a continental bulldog running through a field.
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7. Continental Bulldog

  • Height: 15-21 inches
  • Weight: 48-67 pounds
  • Personality: confident, attentive
  • Activity Level: moderate
  • Shedding Factor: moderate
  • Life Expectancy: 12-14 years

Also called Contis, Continental Bulldogs are a combination of English Bulldogs and Old English Bulldogs. The Bulldog Addict says Contis are smaller than the breeds that created them, yet are still athletic and strong. They originated in Switzerland in the early 2000s and are said to have an attentive nature that makes training a breeze. Plus, we simply love their floppy ears! 

an english bulldog sitting on a couch.
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8. English Bulldog

  • Height: 14-15 inches
  • Weight: 40-50 pounds
  • Personality: brave, devoted
  • Activity Level: moderate
  • Shedding Factor: moderate
  • Life Expectancy: 8-10 years

The English Bulldog is probably exactly what you imagine when you picture a Bulldog. These dogs are devoted family pets who love to be near their favorite people. This means they can be territorial, against other dogs and strangers, but are otherwise relatively calm dogs. Playful without high demands in the exercise department, it’s important to ensure these dogs don’t gain too much weight, as obesity can be an issue. Also: there will be drool.

a french bulldog on a couch.
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9. French Bulldog

  • Height: 11-13 inches
  • Weight: 22-28 pounds
  • Personality: affectionate, even-tempered
  • Activity Level: low
  • Shedding Factor: moderate 
  • Life Expectancy: 10-12 years

Ever since Winston, a cream-colored Frenchie, won Best in Show at Westminster in 2022, the popularity of this charming breed has skyrocketed. French Bulldogs are now the most popular breed in the U.S., even more so than Labrador Retrievers who held that title for over 30 years. Frenchies are adaptive pets who can thrive in tiny apartments and big mansions. They love their people, happily follow you wherever you go and are even-tempered, which means they do well with all ages. The only drawback? They are expensive.

a majorca bulldog in the snow.
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10. Majorca Bulldog (Ca de Bou)

  • Height: 20-22 inches
  • Weight: 66-83 pounds
  • Personality: headstrong, affectionate
  • Activity Level: high
  • Shedding Factor: low to moderate
  • Life Expectancy: 10-12 years

This unique breed hails from Spain. Known as either the Majorca Bulldog or the Ca de Bou, these are large, smart and affectionate dogs (they take after their close ancestors, Mastiffs). They make great guard dogs, even though they don’t bark much. Reactivity is known to come out when two male Majorcas get together, so be aware of surroundings if you know there are other Bulldog breeds in your neighborhood.

a miniature bulldog playing with a toy.
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11. Miniature Bulldog

  • Height: 12-16 inches
  • Weight: 20-45 pounds
  • Personality: happy, friendly
  • Activity Level: low to moderate
  • Shedding Factor: moderate
  • Life Expectancy: 9-13 years

No, this isn't the same thing as a French Bulldog! Miniature Bulldogs are Pugs and Bulldogs combined, which leads to a very cute, very wrinkly little pup. Animal Corner says this breed emerged around the 1980s. While not yet recognized by any official kennel club, these dogs may one day break into the dog show scene. They tend to be happy, social dogs who are made for living life alongside their people.

an olde english bulldogge sitting in the grass.
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12. Olde English Bulldogge

  • Height: 17-20 inches at the shoulder
  • Weight: 50-80 pounds
  • Personality: happy, stubborn
  • Activity Level: moderate
  • Shedding Factor: low
  • Life Expectancy: 10-14 years

According to Parkwood Animal Hospital, Olde English Bulldogges are rare, lively pets who drool a ton (they also love attention, so leaving them cooped up at home for long stretches isn’t advised). Funnily enough, this breed is not very old. They pounced onto the scene in the 1970s when a breeder combined English Bulldogs, Bullmastiffs, American Pitbull Terriers and American Bulldogs. The result? A happy, albeit stubborn dog who is able to learn commands and pal around with family members.

a victorian bulldog.
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13. Victorian Bulldog

  • Height: 16-19 inches
  • Weight: 50-70 pounds
  • Personality: gentle loyal
  • Activity Level: low to moderate
  • Shedding Factor: moderate
  • Life Expectancy: 10-12 years

Another breed that sounds ancient but was actually introduced in the late 20th century is the Victorian Bulldog. These canines are meant to more closely resemble the bull-baiting dogs of yesteryear. A striking combination of Bull Terriers, Bullmastiffs, and Staffordshire Bull Terriers, The Continental Kennel Club says the Victorian is “confident, loyal, alert, and watchful.”

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Sarah Ashley is a Chicago-based freelance journalist. She has covered pets for PureWow for six years and tackles everything from dog training tips to the best litter boxes. Her...