Forget about crumpets and croissants, the similarities and differences between the English Bulldog vs French Bulldog are far more interesting. While the breeds have been around for a long time, they enjoy enduring popularity among American households. The American Kennel Club reported the French Bulldog as the most popular dog breed in America, with the English Bulldog ranking as the sixth most popular breed.
The origins of these dog breeds are firmly interconnected since one was used to create the other. The English Bulldog – also known as the British Bulldog – contributed to the development of many popular dog breeds in America, including the French Bulldog and Boston Terrier.
Historians and breed advocates speculate the breed’s origins go as far back as the 13th century and were influenced by the extinct Alaunt dog and ancient Mastiff war dogs, with the breed becoming popular for bull-baiting in the 1600-1700s. However, there are physical differences between contemporary English Bulldogs and their ancestors, the Old English Bulldog.
English Bulldogs nearly vanished following the 1835 ban on bull-baiting but breed enthusiasts managed to revive and rebrand the breed into the dog Americans love today. The American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1886, with The Bulldog Club of America forming in 1890.
As a more compact breed, French Bulldogs are descended from old-fashioned English Bulldogs. After initially enjoying popularity in the Nottingham area of English, the breed gained prominence in France during the 19th and 20th centuries before arriving in America. Upon making their debut in America, the French Bull Dog Club of America was formed in 1897 following a disagreement about the breed’s ear shape, with the American Kennel Club recognizing the breed in 1898.
With their flat faces, adorable wrinkles, and sturdy bodies, these breeds are instantly recognizable with their shared traits but also enjoy unique differences.
What is the Difference in Appearance Between an English Bulldog and French Bulldog?
While the French Bulldog may sometimes be mistaken with other compact breeds, such as the Boston Terrier or Pug, the English Bulldog is unmistakable due to their large body and droopy face with loose skin. The breed standard by the American Kennel Club notes the English Bulldog features a furrowed brow, undershot jaw with hanging chops, and pushed-in nose, which creates the breed’s signature “sourmug” face.
Standing at 14”-15” in height and weighing around 40-50 pounds, the English Bulldog is a strong, medium sized dog who is known for their relaxed, if slightly thuggish, look. In comparison, the French Bulldog is undoubtedly the miniature version with soft and loose skin, and numerous face wrinkles. At approximately 11”-13” tall, and weighing up to 28 pounds, it’s no surprise these compact, companion dogs have enjoyed increased popularity among city and urban residents over the years.
One of the notable facial differences between the breeds is their ears. French Bulldogs have the famous bat-ear, which was the source of contention that led to the formation of the French Bull Dog Club of America, while English Bulldogs have what are known as rose ears. The rose ears fold inward at the back lower edge while the upper front edge curves over, outward and backward, while the bat-ear is erect, broad at the base, and extends toward the round tip.
Both breeds possess a variety of coat colors and markings. The English Bulldog’s breed standard states the breed may be white, red, fallow, fawn, or any combination of these colours. The breed may also have patterns and markings, such as brindle, piebald, ticking, black masks, and black tipping – providing it’s a minimal amount of solid black in piebalds. The French Bulldog’s approved breed standard coat colors include brindle, fawn, cream, white, brindle and white, fawn and white, and more, plus markings.
Do English Bulldogs and French Bulldogs have Similar Temperaments?
Paws up if you want a dog who will seek your company and enjoy cuddles on the couch? English Bulldogs and French Bulldogs are known for craving human attention so be warned, regardless of which breed you choose you will have a dog who is always happy to spend time with you. While many people initially choose English Bulldogs and French Bulldogs due to their adorable appearance, research shows it’s the temperament of both breeds that encourages people to continue owning and recommending them to others.
English Bulldogs may possess a “sourmug” face but deep down they generally have hearts of gold. The American Kennel Club describes the breed as “kind but courageous, friendly but dignified” with a four out of five playfulness and trainability level. Careful training and early socialization may help limit any stubbornness and encourage your English Bulldog to bond with you. However, it’s also important to socialize your English Bulldog with other pets sooner than later so they accept their presence. It’s worth noting that English Bulldogs are ranked as more likely to bark than French Bulldogs and may suffer separation anxiety if they don’t receive enough attention.
French Bulldogs boast an alert, affectionate temperament and are people pleasers. According to the American Kennel Club, they have a higher playfulness level than English Bulldogs, five out of five, and are more likely to view everyone as their best friend. These compact dogs are also more adaptable to English Bulldogs, so taking them along on a road trip or changing their routine is less likely to cause concern. The American Kennel Club also notes that while French Bulldogs are highly trainable, they have earned their reputation for being stubborn at times but patience and treats usually helps win them over. Importantly, the French Bull Dog Club of America warns that French Bulldogs shouldn’t be let loose to run around in public, instead keep them on a leash or in a fenced backyard.
The Health of English Bulldogs vs French Bulldogs
Any breed of dog could experience health issues at some point in their life, but certain breeds are commonly associated with certain conditions. The selective breeding of English Bulldogs for their signature features is considered responsible for their frequent health conditions, such as breathing disorders, eye issues, and skin and ear diseases. Meanwhile, the French Bulldog also tends to encounter similar health conditions, such as skin fold Dermatitis, with some scientists suggesting the breeding of brachycephalic breeds is a ‘brachycephalic paradox’ as the breeds remain popular even though they have many associated health conditions.
As brachycephalic breeds, the English Bulldog and French Bulldog are prone to breathing complications like Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS). The Bulldog Club of America also recommends testing bulldogs for Tracheal Hypoplasia. The flat facial structure of both breeds means they are at risk of overheating, so it’s essential they are not over exercised as it could impact their breathing and ability to cool down.
Both breeds are also known for some skeletal issues, such as dysplasia, and congenital conditions like hemivertebrae. The Bulldog Club of America also advises potential owners to be mindful of patellar dislocation, cruciate ligament problems, panosteitis, and osteochondritis, while both breed organizations recommend a patella evaluation during health checks.
The English Bulldog has a life expectancy of 8-10 years, while the French Bulldog averages around 10-12 years. However, it is essential you seek veterinary advice sooner than later if you suspect your dog has any health conditions commonly associated with the breed or is generally showing signs of being unwell.
Do English Bulldogs and French Bulldogs Require a Lot of Grooming and Exercise?
With their short and smooth coats, the English Bulldog and French Bulldog are relatively easy to groom and may require occasional bathing. However, their wrinkles require regular cleaning to prevent build-up and it’s important to remember both breeds are susceptible to allergies and skin conditions. The frequency of grooming and bathing of your English or French Bulldog may also be influenced by environmental factors, skin type, and routine activities.
Due to the breathing complications associated with flat faced breeds, neither the English Bulldog or French Bulldog are suitable for undertaking strenuous or extensive exercise. A gentle walk is usually enough, as you don’t want to risk them overheating. Keep in mind that neither breed are swimmers due to their body composition. It’s best to invest in a doggy floatation vest if your English or French Bulldog is likely to be around water to help prevent drowning.
How Hard Is It to Buy or Adopt an English Bulldog or French Bulldog in America?
Buying or adopting a dog, regardless of their breed, is a long-term commitment. Before agreeing to purchase or adopt a dog, be sure to consider whether you have the resources – time, money, and space – to support them throughout their lives.
Since purchasing an English Bulldog is an 8-10 year commitment, The Bulldog Club of America recommends potential owners refer to the organization’s breeder directory to find a local breeder who follows the breeder code of ethics. The price of purebred English Bulldog puppies may vary depending on coat colors and pedigree, with some puppies costing between $1000-$4000 USD but generally averaging around $2500 USD. If you are considering adopting an English Bulldog, The Bulldog Club of America’s affiliated organization, Bulldog Club of America Rescue Network (BCARN), facilitates the adoption of English Bulldogs throughout America and Canada.
If you’re contemplating buying a French Bulldog, the French Bull Dog Club of America’s online breeder referral service lists breeders who fulfill the club’s code of ethics and/or meet the association’s requirements. The cost of buying a French Bulldog may vary between breeders and states, with some purebred puppies costing around $3500 USD but prices may be higher for popular coat colors. If you would like to adopt a French Bulldog, the club also provides information about French Bulldog rescue groups in America to assist you in finding a nearby rescue organization.
English Bulldogs vs French Bulldogs: The Verdict
One of the main considerations when deciding whether to buy an English Bulldog vs French Bulldog is the difference in size. English Bulldogs are taller and heavier than French Bulldogs, with Frenchies being a more compact breed. If you want a dog who can sit on your lap a bit easier, you may lean toward picking a French Bulldog but that’s not to say English Bulldogs won’t show their affection by snuggling up to you.
As with choosing any breed of dog, you need to make sure you have a suitable environment for them. The American Kennel Club and breed associations recommend potential owners of English Bulldogs and French Bulldogs carefully consider the health of the dog before buying or adopting, and to ask breeders questions regarding health checks and pedigree. At the end of the day, adding a French Bulldog or English Bulldog to your family is likely going to increase the number of cuddles and happiness in your household.