English vs. American Bulldog

Reviewed By Tom •  Updated: 01/08/21 •  11 min read
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Are you considering getting an English or American Bulldog for you and your family? If so, then it’s essential to learn about these dogs and how they differ. Learning more about these dog breeds will help you choose the one that’s best for you!

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We’ve put together information that shows the differences between the English and American Bulldogs. Let’s get started!

The Common Ancestor of the English & American Bulldogs

Many people are surprised to learn that the English Bulldog and the American Bulldog have a common ancestor! Their common ancestor is the Old English Bulldog, which is a breed that no longer exists. The breed is extinct.

Old English Bulldogs were first bred sometime between the 1600s and the 1700s. The dogs were compact and muscular, which large lower jaws. The dogs were brave and hardy. They had to be, as Old English Bulldogs were used for a sport called bull baiting. However, this horrible, cruel sport was ended in 1835 with the passing of the Cruelty to Animals Act.

Old English Bulldogs were a combination of a Mastiff (bred by the Greeks) and an Old English Terrier. The terrier was introduced to make the bulldogs faster and more athletic. Over time, breeders worked to breed out the aggressiveness of these dogs. In the process, they crossed the Old English Bulldog with other breeds that had better temperaments and other desired features.

Eventually, the dogs were used as working dogs and even made their way across the pond to American farms. They were used to herd cattle, protect ranches, and hunt down wild pigs.

The Old English Bulldogs that remained in England were usually kept as pets. Because of this, they no longer needed large, strong bodies or aggressive temperaments.

The Old English Bulldog is the common ancestor to both the English Bulldog and the American Bulldog.

Visual Differences: English vs. American Bulldogs

How do the English and American Bulldogs vary in appearance? For one thing, American Bulldogs are larger than English Bulldogs. One of the reasons is that the dogs were used as working dogs on farms and ranches. They had to be large to deal with wild pigs and other animals.

American Bulldogs have boxy heads and snub noses, which look slightly pushed in. Their noses don’t make breathing difficult. English Bulldogs, however, have short noses that can make it challenging to breathe. English Bulldogs are not well adapted to strenuous exercise for this reason.

Both dog breeds have bowlegs and broad chests. They also have wrinkled faces. What’s more, the dogs’ coats come in a wide range of colors and markings.

The American Bully is also muscular and heavy-boned. They come in four sizes, including standard, pocket, extra-large, and classic. The pocket is the smallest, while the extra-large is the biggest. The classic has the same height as the standard; however, they have narrower bodies and are not as muscular. American Bully dogs can weigh up to 120 lbs and stand up to 28 inches tall.

English Bulldogs are smaller and quieter than their American Bully cousins. They are considered indoor dogs, whereas the American Bully is more of an outdoor dog. These dogs have short legs and a heavy build, with wrinkled skin. English bulldogs can weigh up to 50 lbs and stand up to 15 inches tall. That’s quite a size difference from their American cousins!


When it comes to temperament, both dogs have large personalities! The English Bulldog is known for being kind, gentle, and loving. They can also be very courageous and loyal dogs. However, English Bullys also have a comic side! They love nothing better than to have fun and make you laugh!

While that’s true, English Bulldogs can also be stubborn and independent. This means they require plenty of training and socialization from a young age. These are not the best dogs for first-time pet parents. English Bullys require a pet parent who understands the breed and what’s required to train them.

American Bullys are also known for being kind and gentle dogs. They’re loyal, active, social, and brave, too. American Bulldogs tend to form a strong relationship with their pet parents. The dogs need and want to be involved in everything that goes on in the family! These dogs are quite confident and want to please. However, they also require training and socialization from a young age.

While the American Bulldog is moderately active, the English Bulldog is more of a couch potato. However, both dogs require plenty of daily exercise. Even the English Bulldog can act up if he’s got too much energy pent up inside!

Do American Bullys and English Bullys Get Along with Kids?

American Bulldogs are usually good with kids; however, they may become overly protective of the kids. These dogs are not really good for families that have young children.

When it comes to other dogs, if the American Bully has been properly socialized and trained from a young age, they can get along with other dogs. However, they may go after smaller pets and cats. If the dogs have grown up with a cat, then they will be OK around felines.

English Bulldogs are extremely good with kids, even younger children. However, like their American Bully cousins, these dogs can also become overly protective of kids.

These dogs also get along with other dogs if they’ve been socialized and trained from a young age. However, care should be taken with cats and other small pets. If the dogs have been raised with a cat from a young age, they will more than likely be just fine with felines.


Health is an area where the English Bulldog and the American Bulldog start to show greater differences. American Bulldogs have been bred to be active working dogs, while English Bulldogs have been bred to be cute companions.

English Bulldogs have a long list of health issues that they can develop. For one thing, their noses make it very difficult to breathe. This makes the dogs more prone to respiratory diseases. And with such large heads, the dogs are not able to give birth naturally. Instead, the puppies must be delivered by C-section every time. This is hard on the mothers. In addition, English Bullys don’t take heat very well. They also have a shorter lifespan, which is up to eight years.

English Bulldogs can suffer from these health issues:

In addition, these dogs tend to snore and wheeze quite a bit. Some English Bulldogs also drool a lot.

On the other hand, American Bulldogs tend to be healthier dogs and they live almost twice as long as their English cousins. However, they can develop hip dysplasia and other joint problems. American Bullys can develop the following health issues:


You’ll also find a difference between American Bullys and English Bullys when it comes to exercise. For instance, English Bulldogs can adapt to living in an apartment and really don’t need a yard to run in. These are low-energy and low-endurance dogs, which only require a little exercise each day.

However, these dogs don’t do well in warm climates due to their pushed-in noses. They tend to overheat and have breathing problems when the weather becomes too warm and humid. English Bullys also don’t do well in cold weather. They do best in a temperate climate.

On the other hand, American Bulldogs are quite active, though they can adjust to living in an urban environment. However, they will need plenty of exercise every day. If these dogs don’t get the right amount of exercise, they become bored and may develop destructive habits. This may include chewing on anything and everything. Keep in mind these dogs have strong jaws, which means they can chew up anything from furniture, woodwork, and so much more.

American Bullys also enjoy dog sports such as agility and nose work (scent tracking). They also make great companions for pet parents who job, hike, bicycle, and more.


When it comes to grooming an American Bulldog, they are pretty easy to care for. These dogs have short coats that may feel bristly or soft. They are moderate shedders, so brushing them at least once a week is a must. Not only does this loosen and remove dead hair, but brushing also helps distribute skin oil to keep skin healthy.

English Bulldogs are pretty similar to their American cousins when it comes to their fur. These dogs are also moderate shedders who benefit from at least a weekly brushing. However, the wrinkles around their face need to be wiped and dried regularly to prevent skin infections.


American Bulldogs love to eat! For this reason, they have a tendency to eat anything and everything, which can lead to weight gain. It’s important to carefully monitor how much the dogs eat to keep them at a healthy weight.

American Bulldog puppies need to eat twice as much as an adult dog until they’re about four months old. Puppies need to eat about four times a day, with about three cups of food at each feeding. When the puppy becomes old, they can go down to eating three times a day, with two cups of food at each meal. Once they become an adult, they can eat two meals a day.

On the other hand, English Bulldogs don’t require as much food. Adult dogs can eat two meals a day, with about half a cup to two cups of food a day. Puppies should be fed at least three times a day.

No matter which Bully breed you choose, it’s best to keep your fur baby on a regular feeding schedule. This keeps the dogs from getting hungry and searching for food during the day.

And what about the type of food? American and English Bulldogs do well on kibble, wet food, or even semi-wet food (a combination of kibble and wet food).

How Much Does an American Bulldog or an English Bulldog Cost?

The adoption fees for either dog breed will vary, depending on several factors. However, we can say that dogs adopted from a reputable breeder will be higher than a dog from a rescue. In addition, adoption fees are usually higher in urban areas than in rural areas.

The cost of adopting an American Bulldog from a breeder is usually between $1500 to $4000 or more. On the other hand, adoption fees for a dog from the rescue may cost between $100 to $300.

The cost of adopting an English Bulldog can vary between $1500 to $4000. The cost of adopting a fur baby from the shelter may cost between $100 to $300.

Summing It Up

As you can see, while American Bulldogs and English Bulldogs share a common ancestor, these dogs are very different in some ways. American Bulldogs are still considered working dogs, and they’re bigger, while English Bulldogs are bred to be lap dogs and are smaller.

Both breeds can be friendly, loyal, and courageous, and both can be good with kids and other pets. However, the American Bully and English Bully need to be trained and socialized from a young age to become well-rounded, happy dogs.

Another major difference is the health of each breed. American Bulldogs tend to be very hardy and strong, while English Bulldogs have the potential to develop many serious health conditions. So, this should be taken into consideration when choosing the right dog breed for you and your family.

If you do decide to adopt an English Bulldog, you may want to consider purchasing pet insurance. Be sure to look for pet insurance that covers emergency care, regular vet visits, and more. A pet insurance policy may come in handy if your fur baby develops any serious health issues.

Both the American and English Bulldogs can make great pets for the right pet parent!

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Tom has always loved to write since he was little - he wanted to be either a writer or a veterinary doctor, but he ended up being a professional writer while most of his works are based on animals. He was born in San Francisco but later moved to Texas to continue his job as a writer. He graduated from the University of San Francisco where he studied biotechnology. He is happily married and a soon to be father!

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