American Bulldog vs French Bulldog: Which Breed Is Right for You?

You’ve been bitten by the bulldog bug and now you’re trying to decide between an American Bulldog and a French Bulldog. Which furry friend is the right fit for your lifestyle and home? While both share “bulldog” in their names, these breeds have key differences when it comes to their history, size, temperament and activity needs. Before you pick your pup, it’s important to understand what sets these two bulldogs apart.

This article will break down the pros and cons of American Bulldogs and French Bulldogs to help you determine which breed best matches your preferences and family. With their adorably wrinkled faces and fun-loving personalities, you really can’t go wrong with either bulldog. But the right choice depends on what you’re looking for in your canine companion.

Origins and History: American Bulldog vs French Bulldog

The American Bulldog

American Bulldogs descended from English Bulldogs brought to the American South by immigrants in the 17th century. They were originally bred as working farm dogs, used for hunting, guarding, and controlling livestock. After WWII, the breed declined but was revived in the 1970s. Today’s American Bulldogs still retain a strong, muscular build but have a friendlier temperament as companion animals.

The French Bulldog

French Bulldogs originated in England and were bred to be companion dogs. In the 1860s, they became popular among lacemakers in Nottingham, England before being brought to France. The French fell in love with these “bouledogues français” and the breed gained fame. Unlike the American Bulldog, Frenchies were bred solely as companions. They have a smaller stature, bat-like ears, and a playful, mischievous personality.

While American Bulldogs and French Bulldogs share some ancestry, they have distinct origins and were bred for different purposes. American Bulldogs were working farm dogs valued for their strength and stamina. In contrast, the clownish French Bulldog was a companion animal from the start, bred to be an amusing and devoted pet. Both breeds remain popular today among those seeking a charming, charismatic companion with a rich history.

American Bulldog vs French Bulldog
American Bulldog vs French Bulldog

Appearance: Key Physical Differences Between the Breeds

Size and Build

American Bulldogs are much larger in size compared to the petite French Bulldogs. Americans stand 22 to 27 inches at the shoulder and weigh 60 to 100 pounds, while Frenchies are typically under 15 inches tall and weigh less than 28 pounds. American Bulldogs have a muscular, athletic build, while French Bulldogs have a compact, cobby body.

Head and Face

Both breeds have a distinctive pushed-in face, but the American Bulldog’s face is longer and boxier. Their ears are also different, with Americans having cropped or uncropped ears that stand erect, and Frenchies having wide-set “bat ears” that are naturally small and folded. American Bulldogs usually have a long muzzle, whereas French Bulldogs have a very short muzzle.

Coat and Color

American Bulldogs have a short, dense coat that comes in solid colors like white, brown and red. French Bulldogs have a smooth, fine coat that is often a combination of colors like brindle, fawn and white. Although uncommon, some Frenchies can also have the rare colorations of blue, black and cream.

So if you’re looking for a larger guard dog, the American Bulldog may be your breed. But if you want an amusing little companion, the French Bulldog can’t be beat. While different in many ways, these bully breeds do share a few traits in common like their affection for their owners, courageousness, and sometimes stubborn nature. But their wide differences in size, appearance and energy level mean one of these breeds is sure to match what you’re looking for in a canine pal.

Temperament and Personality: What to Expect From Each Breed

American Bulldog vs French Bulldog
American Bulldog vs French Bulldog

American Bulldogs: Friendly and Energetic

American Bulldogs have a friendly, energetic temperament. They are playful and loving towards their families but can be wary of strangers. Early socialization and training are important to help minimize aggression and encourage good behavior.

American Bulldogs require daily exercise and attention or they can become rambunctious and bored. They love outdoor activities with their owners like hiking, jogging, and swimming. If left alone for long periods without stimulation, they may engage in destructive behavior. American Bulldogs can live in apartments but do best with access to a yard.

French Bulldogs: Charming and Playful

French Bulldogs have a charming, playful personality. They are loving and enjoy being lap dogs and snuggling with their owners. However, they can be stubborn at times and require patient, positive training. French Bulldogs are playful but less energetic than American Bulldogs. They only require moderate exercise and are well-suited for apartment living.

French Bulldogs tend to be quiet dogs and are not excessive barkers. They can be wary of strangers and other dogs at first but are friendly towards people and animals they know. Early socialization will help minimize shyness and encourage outgoing behavior. French Bulldogs can be mischievous and like to play tricks, so keeping them engaged with interactive dog toys is important.

Exercise and Training Needs: Similarities and Differences

American Bulldog vs French Bulldog
American Bulldog vs French Bulldog

Activity Level

Both American Bulldogs and French Bulldogs are energetic breeds that need regular activity and exercise. American Bulldogs require vigorous daily exercise to burn off energy, while French Bulldogs have a slightly lower activity level but still need multiple short walks or play sessions each day. If not properly exercised, both breeds can become bored, restless, and even destructive.

Training Requirements

In terms of training, American Bulldogs and French Bulldogs also have some important differences. American Bulldogs are intelligent and eager to please, so they respond well to basic obedience training and socialization from an early age. French Bulldogs can be more stubborn and challenging to train, so patience and positive reinforcement are key. House training a French Bulldog, in particular, requires diligent consistency and can take several months of crate training and frequent trips outside.

Ideal Living Spaces

Due to their size and energy levels, American Bulldogs generally do best living in a home with access to a large, fenced yard. They can adapt to apartments or small homes, but require daily trips to a dog park or long walks. French Bulldogs are more suitable for apartment living or smaller spaces, but still appreciate having access to a yard. Their smaller stature and lower activity needs make them more adaptable to city or suburban life.

American Bulldog vs French Bulldog
American Bulldog vs French Bulldog

Health Considerations: Potential Issues to Be Aware of in Both Breeds

These energetic, playful breeds can live 10-15 years, but they may face some health issues along the way that responsible owners should be aware of.

Joint Problems

Both American Bulldogs and French Bulldogs are prone to joint disorders like hip and elbow dysplasia that can lead to arthritis. Make sure any puppy you consider comes from parents with healthy joints and a clean bill of health. Keeping your dog at a healthy weight and avoiding strenuous activity until joints are fully formed at about 18 months can help reduce risks.

Respiratory Difficulties

The pushed-in faces of French Bulldogs put them at higher risk of breathing problems. Watch for signs like snoring, snorting, and difficulty breathing, especially in hot weather or when excited. Some may require corrective surgery. American Bulldogs can also experience respiratory issues, especially if overweight, so keep a close eye on their breathing.

Eye Disorders

Cherry eye, a protrusion of the tear gland in the eye, is common in both breeds. It’s usually surgically corrected. French Bulldogs are also prone to corneal ulcers and glaucoma. Take your dog for regular eye exams, especially as they get older.

Skin Allergies

Allergic dermatitis and other skin problems tend to plague French and American Bulldogs. Look for excessive scratching, skin infections, and hair loss, which can indicate an allergy to food, environment, or parasites. Work with your vet to determine the cause of any skin issues and the appropriate treatment.

Keeping your dog at a healthy weight, feeding a high-quality diet, limiting strenuous activity while joints are developing, and getting regular veterinary care can help keep health issues at bay and allow your bulldog to live a long, happy life as your faithful companion. Be prepared to deal with any medical issues that may arise, and you’ll have many memorable years together.


  • So which breed is right for you?
  • Only you can decide.
  • Look at your lifestyle, activity level, space constraints, grooming needs, and temperament preferences.
  • Really reflect on what you want in a canine companion.
  • If you’re active and outdoorsy, the American Bulldog may be your perfect pooch.
  • If you live in an apartment and want a laidback lap dog, the French Bulldog could be the ideal fit.
  • Do your homework on each breed’s traits and needs.
  • Then listen to your heart.
  • You’ll know which fuzzy friend belongs with you.
  • Trust yourself to make the choice that’s best for everyone – you, your family, and your future furry BFF.

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