French Bulldogs vs. English Bulldogs: A Bulldog Breakdown

by Sonya | Last Updated:   March 19, 2021
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If you are considering adopting a Bulldog and not sure if an English or French Bulldog is your cup of tea, then you have come to the right page! First of all, there are some extra things you need to know about each dog breed because not all Bulldog breeds are the same.

Both of these two breeds have many characteristics in common with their cute wrinkly faces and friendly nature. However, they also have quite a lot of differences.

It can be a difficult approach to decide which breed to adopt. When you are between a French Bulldog or an English Bulldog choosing wisely is the best route. It i’s essential to know what French Bulldogs and English bulldogs have in similarities and how they are different.

Both of these breeds originate from England and have become pleasant pets, they are surely not the same for their appearance, personality, and sometimes differ with their health.

The French Bulldog is more of a compact, miniature variant of the English Bulldog. The French Bulldog’s most distinct feature is their erect “bat-like” ears, while the English Bulldog’s most discernible feature is their folded cheek skin that droops downward on both of their sides of the face.

Continue reading to find out the more definite features that will surely aid you in making your ultimate decision!

french bulldogs vs english bulldogs puppies sticking their tongues out at each other on white background

The History of French Bulldogs vs. English Bulldogs

Before we get into the detailed French vs. English Bulldog information, it is best to understand their history and where they came about.

There were three notable countries to thank for the existence of Bulldogs, England, France, and America. England has provided the foundation for the Frenchie by breeding the English Bulldog, and then in France, they developed the smaller Frenchie version. Lastly, the American took the French Bulldog and made it have a more elongated bat-like ear.

To many as a surprise, the original Bulldog was nothing of a short and stout pup. In fact, it was a robust and athletic dog, high on the leg and used in the barbarous activity of enjoyment called “bull-baiting.” Bull-baiting was the “sport” of the 15th century where people would train these robust and athletic English Bulldogs to latch onto the nose of a bull, and this dog would not let go until they had pulled the cattle down or was killed by it.

For roughly 350 years, this barbarous sport continued, and these sweet dogs were bred to be aggressive. By 1835 the sport of bull-baiting had been banned, and once the Industrial Revolution closed many small businesses, people would emigrate to the North of France, taking their English Bulldogs with them too. This, in turn, would be the start of the French Bulldog era.

Once the French were “sur la lune,” over the moon for these pups, the English wanted nothing to do with them, and so the French started to breed them to their standards. Smaller dogs with a compact body, straight legs, and no sharp trait of the English Bulldog. Some Frenchies had erect “bat-like” ears, and others had the ever-loved “rose” ears.

Once Americans began to notice these appealing little dogs, they fell in love with them and started to bring them back to the states, but of course, only the ones with the elongated ears, not the rosy ones the French preferred.

Physical Traits of French Bulldogs and English Bulldogs

The most noticeable physical trait between a French Bulldog and an English Bulldog is their size. A French Bulldog, or to some a “Frenchie,” is a miniature version of the English Bulldog.

According to the American Kennel Club, Frenchies are similar in looks but weigh around 25 to 28 pounds, while English Bulldogs weigh anywhere from 40 to 50 pounds. That’s nearly half the size of a Frenchie!

Now, it is good to know that their size and weight could be determined by their gender, diet, and the exercise that your dog gets. As stated above, a Frenchie looks almost like a more miniature English Bulldog. However, these two breeds have had some notable differences.

Bulldog’s Face

Frenchies have pointy bat-ears, large round eyes, and noticeably softer wrinkles around the face. The English Bulldog has smaller eyes, heavy wrinkles, and hanging cheeks from the sides of their mouths, notably leaving you with the understanding that you are, in fact, looking at an English Bulldog.

Bulldog’s Fur

If you are looking for a hardly shedding dog, Frenchies and English Bulldogs, you would be happy to hear this is your go-to pup. As their short hair fur could drop from time to time, they don’t shed as a long hair dog would. These two breeds also have similar skin and fur colors that can include white, cream, fawn, red, or with any combination of these colors.

Bulldog’s Tails

In today’s age, French and English Bulldogs are known to have short, nub-like tails. However, back in the day, these Bulldogs were known to have longer tails, but the breeding had been changed over time.

Characteristic Traits of French Bulldogs and English Bulldogs

French and English Bulldogs are incredibly affectionate and loyal to their owners, and they are super intelligent. Both breeds can be extremely attached to their owners. If they are not following you everywhere you go in the house, they touch you in any way possible, even if it was just one paw pad against your foot. Because of this trait, both breeds are known the suffer from dog separation anxiety.

Personality Traits

Many people refer to French and English Bulldogs as the “Bully Breed,” but they are far from aggressive. Frenchies, in particular, are some highly sociable pups. They are always happy to see you or anyone. They are always ready to play or cuddle with you but can be stubborn and want to be left alone at times.

So basically, a pre-teen but in dog form! English Bulldogs are more calm and serious than their descendants, but they are still lovable, playful creatures, just with a desire to lay around with their owners instead of any activity.

Both Bulldog breeds are nicknamed as the “Velcro Dogs” because they are always near their owners and never leave their sides. French and English Bulldogs love to be the center of attention to someone. If exposed to a family at a young age, they will become very loyal and want to attach themselves to everyone.

However, if they have never been exposed to young ones or a family of humans, they may adopt a fierce loyalty to only one person and show it.

Eating Habits

French and English Bulldogs can be stingy and picky eaters. When you adopt a Bulldog into your family, it is wisest to understand these breeds’ eating behaviors. Never overfeed them, including over-snacking, since they are prone to being overweight, and always feed them a high-quality diet.

We have a few posts on dog food for bulldogs, check them out below:

Training Habits

Both breeds of Bulldogs are highly intelligent creatures. However, one breed overcompensates for the other. French Bulldogs will learn commands pretty quickly and easily, whereas the English Bulldogs are incredibly stubborn and lazy. French Bulldogs are freethinkers, so training for competition is not suitable for this breed.

With Frenchies, you will have to work consistently to train them for what you need or are looking for in a French Bulldog because they are far from being independent in learning skills. English Bulldogs will be a bit harder to train, but you will most definitely get the outcome you need if you start them at a young or even puppy age!

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Living Environment Habits

French and English Bulldogs are known to be some of the best companion dogs around the world. They do well in apartments because they are not incredibly large pups, and they are affectionate with other animals, children, as well as strangers.

If you are looking for a dog that can be left outside for its own will, French and English Bulldogs are not the breed for you.

The French Bulldog’s nature is instinctively mischievous and will need to be continuously monitored. As an owner of a Frenchie, you must be firm and patient with them. As with an English bulldog, they are instinctively sociable and sweet dogs. Unlike his lively decedent, English Bulldogs are dignified and easygoing.

Health Concerns to Consider When Adopting a French or English Bulldog

Allergies

When a French or English Bulldog has allergies, it is commonly based on poor breeding. Signs of allergies in Bulldogs could be anything from itchy and red skin, vomiting profoundly, diarrhea, an inflamed throat, infected ears, chewing on their paws, and constantly licking themselves.

Your Bulldog could develop an allergy based on so many factors. Allergens in food happen to be the most significant cause. If you take your Bulldog to the vet and they mention they have an allergy to a particular food, you can switch them on some biologically appropriate diets.

Brachycephalic Respiratory Syndrome

In laymen’s terms, this is the cause of having a flat face, resulting in difficulties breathing through the nose and responding through the mouth. Because more extended exercise could potentially put your Bulldog at risk, vets recommend having short, brief walks.

Pink Eye

It’s common for French and English Bulldogs to develop conjunctivitis from allergies or simply dryer eyes. Don’t be worried about this health concern too much because there are so many anti-inflammation medications that your vet can provide for you.

However, if you don’t take care of this problem, it could lead to even more dangerous bacterial infections. Your vet might request that you eliminate certain foods from their diet to figure out what exactly is the cause of their pink eye.

Cherry Eye

Cherry eye is the disorder where the dog’s eyelids are swollen and enlarged, displaying the red portions of it. Some people say this appearance makes their dog look tired and droopy. So many other dog breeds have this disorder, so it is not defined as harmful to your dog, but it could turn into a significant discomfort for them in the long run.

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English & French Bulldog Fun Facts

  • French and English Bulldogs are extremely popular in the sense that you will most likely have to adopt one from a breeder instead of adopting one from a rescue shelter.
  • The French and English Bulldog don’t typically do well in the heat. They could quickly get heat exhaustion and have a stroke.
  • You don’t have to give a rigorous exercise routine for them. A brief 20 or 30-minute walk once or twice a day would be plenty for them.
  • Bulldogs are fantastic with children! If you are thinking about getting a family pet, Bulldogs would be a wise choice because their temperament allows them to tolerate a lot from kids, and they don’t usually act aggressively.
  • They do have health problems if they aren’t taken care of appropriately. For English bulldogs, the #1 problem may be hip dysplasia, and the French Bulldog may suffer from Von Willebrand’s disease, which is a bleeding disorder. They also may need to have surgeries to improve any breathing issues they may experience and experience the prolapsed nictitating membrane, cherry eye.
  • Bulldogs are also prone to snoring, snorting, obesity and are pretty often quite gassy.

Conclusion

If you are deciding between adopting a French Bulldog and an English Bulldog, freshen up on what their differences are so that you are aware of what behaviors each dog has to make sure they align with what you are looking for in a dog. To summarize, French Bulldogs are full of energy, and English Bulldogs are low energy.

If you are looking for a lovable, cuddling dog to get along well with children and other animals, then the Bulldog breed is just what you need. You must also be aware of the many health concerns and rigorous upkeep of Bulldogs that are necessary.

Sonya is a software engineer by day and recently earned her MBA degree, but she also loves spending her free time writing about her favourite passion, dogs! Click here to read more.