Distinguishing the Many Types of Bulldogs

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One of the things that we specialize in here at the National Kennel Club is, unsurprisingly, identifying different dog breeds. Dogs come in many shapes and sizes, and there are a seemingly endless variety of breeds in the world, many of which are hard to tell apart from one another. For example, many people struggle to tell the difference between the various types of bulldogs, such as the English, American, and French bulldogs. In this article, we will provide a brief overview on the key differences between these breeds, so you can more easily identify them.

Distinguishing the Many Types of Bulldogs

English Bulldogs

  • Medium-sized, weighing between 40 and 50 pounds
  • Smooth coats
  • Wide shoulders and sturdy, short limbs
  • Short-faced (brachycephalic) heads, with overshot lower jaws
  • Flews (upper lips) that hang down over the mouth and teeth
  • Backs arch near the tail (called a wheel back or roach back)

American Bulldogs
There are two main lines of American bulldogs, the Scott type and the Johnson type. Scott-type bulldogs:

  • Are sleeker and more athletic than English bulldogs
  • Have lighter bones
  • Have longer muzzles with less pronounced underbite

While Johnson-type bulldogs (or bully dogs):

  • Are bulkier, with more muscle mass
  • Have heavier bones
  • Have shorter muzzles with even more pronounced undershot bites

French Bulldogs

  • Are smaller than English or American bulldogs, and should weigh no more than 28 pounds
  • Have large, square heads with round, dark eyes
  • Have “bat ears” – large, upright ears set high on the head with a broad base and rounded top
  • Have roach backs
  • Have heavily wrinkled faces, as well as loose skin by the throat