While not recognized by the American Kennel Club as a breed, the American bulldog has seen an increase in popularity in recent years. The origins of both the English bulldog and the American bulldog can be traced back to the British Isles, where they were used as bait dogs in bullfighting.
English bulldogs are instantly recognizable from their unique appearance. According to the AKC, the English bulldog has a shuffling gait, large head, wrinkled face, heavy, low-slung back and wide shoulders. Female English bulldogs are medium dogs averaging 40 pounds, while males reach 50 pounds. The English bulldog is the mascot of the University of Georgia, and is particularly popular in the Southeastern United States as a result.
According to the National Kennel Club, which recognizes the American bulldog as a breed, these dogs are taller and more athletic than their English counterparts. Female American bulldogs can grow up to 25 inches and weigh as much as 85 pounds, while males reach heights of 26 inches and weigh up to 105 pounds. American bulldogs have long legs and a more streamlined appearance, and were bred for farm work.
Both American and English bulldogs are known for being excellent family pets. Both tend to be aloof with strangers and fiercely loyal to their owners, and can be somewhat aggressive with unknown dogs. While not bred to be lap dogs, both love the company of their human companions. However, English bulldogs are known to be more calm companions, while American bulldogs are extremely active.
When trying to determine what type of bulldog is the best fit for your family, consider the ages of children and activity levels of the family. If your family is active and spends a lot of time outdoors, an American bulldog may be better suited for long walks and hiking. If you live in an apartment or prefer quiet time indoors, the English bulldog may be the better fit.
English bulldogs tend to have complications during labor, so a lack of availability makes them more costly. They also tend to be more prone to health issues involving the sinuses and skin, and will require regular grooming and veterinary care.
Because American bulldogs are easier to breed, they are more readily available. Be sure that you verify references and licensing requirements for your state, as backyard breeding of American bulldogs has increased in recent years. Many amateur breeders are producing less-than-ideal puppies, which can lead to health and behavioral issues in the adult dog.
- Duncan Smith/Photodisc/Getty Images