After introducing some of the most beloved small dog breeds, this week we wanted to cover another popular group of dogs: bully breeds! Most people are still unsure about what exactly bully dogs are or they have some unfair misconceptions about these amazing breeds. In this article, we’ll explain the origins of bully breeds, address some of the myths surrounding them and present a comprehensive list of 35 amazing bully dog breeds!
What are Bully Dog breeds?
When you hear the term “bully breed”, the first dogs that probably come to your mind are the English Bulldog, American Pit Bull Terrier or our favorite the French Bulldog. You might be surprised that the list is actually quite long and include some breeds that you never would’ve thought of as a bully before. You’ll meet them all later in the article!
Where does the name “bully dog” originate from?
Though some of them have completely different looks, temperaments and breed histories, there’s something bully breeds have in common: most of them were bred for bull-baiting, a popular yet horrifying tradition between the 12th and 19th centuries. During a bull bait, a bull (or a bear) was chained to a stake by the neck or legs, and the dogs would attempt to immobilize a bull by latching its strong jaws onto the bull’s snout. This is where the term “bulldog” comes from.
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Bull baits were permanently outlawed in the 19th century in most European countries and people started to breed these dogs to be family companions. Unfortunately, some people continued to use them for dog fighting rings which have been illegal in the US since the second half of the 20th century. Nowadays, some dogs are called a bully breed merely because of their similar looks or being the cross of such a breed.
3 Myths about Bully Breeds
Bully dogs are aggressive
Given their dark history, no wonder bully dogs have gained the reputation of being aggressive. The truth is actually quite far from that: they are loving and loyal companions. Proper training and early socialization are of course important when it comes to shaping their behavior, but that’s true for all dog breeds.
Bully dogs are likely to bite and have locking jaws
Many people are afraid of bully dogs and think they are more likely to bite, but that’s simply not true. There’s also a misconception that bully dogs’ jaws lock when they bite, but in reality they are no different than any other dog’s jaws.
Bully dogs are not good family dogs
Bully dogs are amazing family pets if they are trained and socialized from an early age. They are affectionate, loyal and very protective of their families especially kids!
The Complete Bully Dog Breed List
1. American Bulldog
American Bulldogs are huge muscular dogs with a broad chest, large head and a shorter muzzle. They are predominantly white with patches of black, red or brindle. American bullies are very loyal to their owners but wary of strangers, with proper training they become amazing guard dogs.
2. American Pit Bull Terrier
Pit Bulls or Pitties are an iconic American dog breed with a medium size, solid build and almond-shaped eyes. Typically they have a solid or tuxedo color pattern. With early training and socialization Pitties become loyal and affectionate family dogs.
3. American Staffordshire Terrier
Amstaffs look very similar to Pitties. On the outside they are strong and muscular, on the inside they’re confident, smart and good-natured. They enjoy both mental and physical challenges and require proper training from their owners.
4. Boston Terrier
The Boston Terrier is another popular American breed. They are characterized by their small and compact body, chunky head, erect ‘bat ears’, short nose and black and white tuxedo markings. They are great indoor companions to people: highly adaptable and always ready for some fun! Check out our blog about Boston Terrier vs. French Bulldog.
Boxers are medium to large-sized dogs, their most distinctive characteristics being their short, wrinkled muzzle and strong lower jaws. Typically they are fawn, brindled, or white. Boxers are an energetic and playful bully breed who are known to be amazing with kids.
6. Bull Mastiff
Bull Mastiffs are large dogs with a fawn or red coat and short black muzzle. They were bred to be guardian dogs, so they need a firm owner who is very consistent in their training. They prefer to be outdoors rather than indoors.
7. Bull Terrier
Bull Terriers are mostly recognized by their egg-shaped heads and small, dark, deep-set eyes. Their bodies are strong, muscular, usually of a white, red or brindle color. These dogs tend to be stubborn but very entertaining.
8. Cane Corso Italiano
Cane Corsos are large dogs with a big head and majestic look. Their coat may be black, grey or fawn. This bully breed is intelligent and highly trainable. They have exceptional protecting skills and are very loyal to their owners.
9. Caucasian Shepherd Dog
This dog breed originates from the Caucasus Mountains of Russia where they were bred to guard livestock. They are large in size and have a long coat. These dogs are described to be fearless and confident, but very kind to family members.
10. Dogo Argentino
Like the name suggests, the Dogo was first bred in Argentina for the purpose of hunting large animals. They have a large, muscular and white coat with occasional black spots on their skin. Being powerful and athletic, the Dogo needs plenty of exercise.
11. English Bulldog
The English Bulldog has one of the most iconic looks from all the bully breeds. They have a heavy-wrinkled face, a short muzzle with thick folds and an upturned jaw with pointed teeth. Their massive body is mostly white and red. They are amazing companion dogs with a calm and loving nature.
12. English Mastiff
The Mastiff can be recognized by their enormous size, large head and black mask. Despite their formidable look, these dogs are very gentle and loving who will protect their family at all costs.
13. French Bulldog
Our all-time favorite, the French Bulldog has a short, stocky build and large bat ears. Their shiny fur comes in a wide variety of colors. Frenchies are easy-going, friendly, comical and very social requiring lots of attention and affection from their parents.
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14. Great Dane
Great Danes are large muscular dogs whose coat may be black, blue, fawn or a black-and-white pattern known as “harlequin”. Despite their huge size they feel like small lapdogs who like to cuddle with their owners. They love to be indoors but need lots of space.
15. Neapolitan Mastiff
This bully breed is known for their large body and head with an abundance of hanging wrinkles and folds. The Neapolitan Mastiffs have a truly dignified look and extremely protective nature.
16. Olde English Bulldogge
Don’t confuse this bully breed with the English Bulldog: they’re taller and less stocky with smaller heads and fewer wrinkles. These dogs are also excellent family pets.
Pugs are known for their small bodies, quirky little heads with deep wrinkles, short dark muzzles and big black eyes. They are incredibly playful and loving, they bring smiles to faces with their silly nature.
Rotties are large dogs with a compact built and a very distinctive color marking: they are always black with red tan points on the cheeks, muzzle, throat, chest and legs. With proper training and socialization they become loyal family companions thanks to their playful and affectionate nature.
19. Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Staffies are stocky and muscular but somewhat shorter than their Amstaff cousins. These dogs have an amazing temperament and are considered one of the most suitable bully breeds for children.
20. Aussie Bulldog
The Australian Bulldog is essentially the same as the English Bulldog: medium-sized and muscular with a wrinkled short muzzle, but bred for Australian conditions. They are also affectionate and loyal companion dogs.
21. Bhote Kukur
Also known as the Himalayan Sheepdog, this bully breed originates from the Himalayas as a livestock guardian dog. They are large, strong and courageous, having a long black coat with red tan markings. They are not suited for warm temperatures and need lots of exercise.
22. Brazilian Mastiff
This bully breed from Brazil is used for guarding and big-game hunting but are also kept as family pets. They are large-sized with a massive head, heavy rectangular body, and brindle or fawn coat. They require proper training from an early age.
23. Bantam Bulldog
These dogs are very much like English Bulldogs except for their size: they are basically their miniature versions with the same lovable nature.
24. Catahoula Bulldog
This bully breed is a cross between the Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog and the American Bulldog. They are large, athletic and come in a variety of different colors. These dogs are described as super loyal and exceptionally energetic.
25. Majorca Mastiff
Also known as Ca de Bou, this bully breed comes from Majorca where they were used for guarding the harbors. They are medium-sized and extremely muscular. They’re quite independent but loyal dogs.
26. Pyrenean Mastiff
This is another Spanish breed and another large livestock guardian dog. They have a white longer coat with dark patches. This breed is friendly towards humans of all ages, also calm, noble and very intelligent.
27. English Boston-Bulldog
This bully breed is a cross between the Boston Terrier and the English Bulldog. They look like a larger Boston Terrier except for their small floppy ears, and unite the best character traits of the two breeds.
28. Bordeaux Bulldog
Also called as the Dogue de Bordeaux or the French Mastiff, these dogs have the largest head in proportion to the rest of their body. Their coat is usually of a fawn or red color with a red mask. They’re another excellent guard dog breed.
29. Olde Boston Bulldogge
The Old Boston Bulldog was a cross between the English Bulldog and the now extinct White Terrier. This is the breed from which the Boston Terrier was developed. They’re small to medium-sized dogs also known for their loving and cuddly nature.
30. Spanish Mastiff
This breed was originally bred in Spain to guard livestock. They are great in size, very powerful and muscular; they have a massive head and medium-length coat. People describe them as affectionate, noble and very protective.
31. Serrano Bulldog
The Serrano Bulldog is another Brazilian bully dog breed, serrano describing someone from regions with hills. They are also amazing guard dogs with a balanced temperament.
32. Continental Bulldog
Also called as Conti, this is a newer dog breed created in Switzerland by crossing the English Bulldog and Olde English Bulldogge. They are medium-sized athletic dogs with smaller heads than English Bulldogs and a friendly nature.
33. Renascence Bulldogge
The Renascence Bulldogge is another new bully breed, being the cross of several different breeds like the English Bulldog, Olde English Bulldogge, American Bulldog and Bullmastiff.
34. Victorian Bulldog
Also known as the Olde Victorian Bulldog, this breed is the cross of the English Bulldog, Bull Mastiffs, Bull Terriers, and Staffordshire Bull Terrier. They are described as fantastic family dogs.
35. Valley Bulldog
The Valley Bulldog is a mixed bully breed between the Boxer and English Bulldog. Medium in size, active, and loyal, they inherited some of the best traits from both breeds.
Bully breeds were historically used for bull-baiting and the name “bulldog” stuck on them. Nowadays, some dogs are called a bully breed merely because of their similar looks or being the cross of such a breed.
Some of the most popular bully breeds are the English Bulldog, French Bulldog, American Bulldog, American Pit Bull Terrier, Pug and Boston Terrier.
Bully breeds are not aggressive by nature, quite the contrary: they are loving and loyal companions to their owners.