Difference Between American Bulldog and English Bulldog

Last Updated on November 26, 2021 by Ana P.

Despite the two breeds being very similar, there are clear and important differences between the American Bulldog and the English Bulldog. Many people don’t even know that these dogs belong to the same family tree when comparing one to another, but American and English Bulldogs are in fact related. These breeds are descendants of the Old English Bulldog, but what are the main differences between them?

What’s The Main Difference Between English And American Bulldogs?

Differences In Appearance

The most notable differences between these two breeds are physical, as they don’t look alike at all.

The English Bulldog is physically less developed when compared to its American cousin. They stand at 12 to 15 inches in height and they usually don’t weigh more than 50 pounds. They have a relatively short lifespan of 12 years and their noses are so short that most of them develop problems with breathing.

In comparison, the American Bulldog is much larger, more muscular, and much more physically capable. They average at 20 to 28 inches in height, while they can weigh over 100 pounds. They also live longer than their English cousins, up to 16 years. Their noses are much more beneficial for their health and they rarely have trouble breathing.

American Bulldogs were originally used as hunting dogs – they hunted wild hogs. They were bred to be large, strong, and enduring. English Bulldogs had a similar job, originally, as they were used as bull baiters! They were so strong and quick that they could attack fully grown bulls!

With time, however, bull baiting was banned and breeders focused on making them more of a pet and less of a working dog. That’s why they lost both height and muscle mass with time.

Both of these breeds have wrinkly faces, but the English Bulldog usually has more wrinkles than its American counterpart.

american and english bulldogs

Differences In Health

There are also important differences regarding their health. The English Bulldog suffers from horrifying health issues, mainly regarding their breathing. This is something that veterinarians often warn dog breeders of. However, breathing isn’t the only problem these dogs have. Their bodies are small and round, which makes it difficult for them to walk – because of this, they can easily succumb to cancer and/or obesity!

Health troubles don’t end there, we fear. English Bulldogs also develop very large heads even before their birth. That’s why many of them have to be delivered via a C-section, which is dangerous for the mother. Additionally, since their physical capabilities are so limited, they can overheat very easily.

In comparison, American Bulldogs are much healthier! They can develop issues with their hips, but aside from that, they’re usually just fine.

Differences In Behavior And Maintenance

There are many important differences when it comes to behavior.

The most obvious one is exercise – American Bulldogs love to exercise! They’re working-class dogs, while the English Bulldog requires very little exercise. It’s widely recommended that you work out with your American Bulldog often to prevent weight gain. English Bulldogs need to take a walk every now and again, but nothing more straining than that.

Your average American Bulldog might take out its frustration on your couch! These dogs get cranky very easily if you don’t exercise them. Your English Bulldog, however, is fine if you just take it out for a walk.

If you’re interested in training your dog, know that American Bulldogs are usually more trainable. They’re usually more intelligent than their English cousins and it’s easier to work with them.

A positive for both breeds is their socialization! Both of these breeds are very sociable and they enjoy spending time with their masters! American Bulldogs, however, need more socialization if you’re going to be spending time with other dogs and children. English Bulldogs are rarely aggressive and are usually much easier to handle.

Neither of these breeds shed too much, so you don’t have to worry about their coat. This doesn’t mean that they don’t shed at all, just that hair isn’t a problem with their short coats!

Historical Differences

The history behind both of these breeds is quite interesting.

The English Bulldog we know and love today isn’t the same breed it was originally. The Old English Bulldog, as we know the breed today, was a very powerful breed of dog. Their single purpose was bull baiting! These dogs were so strong and so ferocious that they could fight bulls and sometimes even win. Bull baiting, however, was banned and breeders started changing the characteristics of the species.

With time, the Old English Bulldog became the English Bulldog we know today, a shorter and weaker version of its powerful predecessor.

The American Bulldog is another direct descendant of the Old English Bulldog. The breed we know today isn’t all that different from the original American Bulldog. The intended purpose of this dog was to guard the farm, guard the animals and chase down the game. The idea was to have a dog ready and able to chase down a wild hog, pin it down and even kill it.

With time, people stopped relying on hunting wild hogs for food, so the original purpose of the dog started to vain. American Bulldogs haven’t lost any of their physical qualities, unlike English Bulldogs, and they still remain strong, fierce, and intelligent.

American Bulldog Vs English Bulldog

The verdict on this question is fairly simple – if you’re an active person, then you should definitely opt for the American Bulldog. These dogs love being active and walking them for hours on end won’t be a problem for them. Some owners also argue that they’re a smarter investment because of their lifespan – American Bulldogs live for much longer than English Bulldogs.

If you’re live more of a sedentary lifestyle, then maybe adopting or buying an English Bulldog would be more in your style. These dogs are real couch potatoes. However, taking their many health issues into account, know that owning one won’t be that easy and you should definitely speak to an expert before buying a dog.

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