If you’re a true bulldog fanatic in need of a loving companion, you have probably considered two of the most popular dog breeds: the English and the French Bulldog. Choosing one can be difficult, as these closely related pooches both have an affectionate personality and an absolutely adorable wrinkly face! There are still some notable differences that you should consider, which we’ll explore in great detail in this French Bulldog vs. English Bulldog comparison guide. Which one is better? We might be a bit biased so we’ll leave that to you to decide!
Origins and History
The visible similarities of the two bulldog breeds are no coincident: French Bulldogs and English Bulldogs share a common and slightly dark history. Bulldogs were first bred in England in the 13th century for the blood sport called bullbaiting where a pack of dogs would fight a staked bull in front of an audience. To perform well, these dogs needed to be brave and ferocious as well as strong and sturdy with huge jaws. Bull baits were permanently outlawed in 1835 in England, which left bulldogs without a purpose and on the brink of going extinct.
There were some dedicated breeders though who weren’t discouraged by the aggressive look and temperament of these dogs. On the opposite, they reimagined them as loving and loyal companions to humans! To achieve that, they started to breed the most docile bulldogs with more delicate features. Through this selective breeding they managed to create the sweet and gentle English Bulldog that we know today, who were eventually recognized by the AKC in 1886.
Smaller-sized English Bulldogs were also popular in the 19th-century England, especially among lacemakers in Nottinghamshire. They fell in love with their small size and calm, friendly nature, so when they moved to France after the Industrial Revolution they took their bulldogs with them. This is where the history of the two breeds diverges: people started to cross bulldogs with terriers and Pugs most likely, and through several generations they developed the famous bat-eared French Bulldog.
Frenchies soon got popular in the circles of French artists, actors, writers in Paris as well as rich Americans visiting the city. In fact, they loved Frenchies so much that they took them to the US, where they finally got recognized by the AKC in 1898. If you’d like to learn more, read our article about the fascinating history of French Bulldogs.
Size and Appearance
One of the most striking differences between Frenchies and English Bulldogs is definitely their size. On average, English Bulldogs grow up to 14-15 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh 40-50 lbs depending on their gender. Despite having a similarly strong and muscular body of a Bulldog, Frenchies are much smaller in size: adult males usually weigh 20 to 28 pounds while females are 16 to 24 pounds. So, if you love larger dogs an English Bulldog could be a great choice, but if you’d prefer a small lap dog taking up less space, a Frenchie is your go-to breed.
Despite the huge size difference, there are still plenty of similarities between the two bulldog breeds. They both have a stocky body with short legs as well as a square head with a flat and heavily wrinkled face. Their coat is short and smooth requiring little grooming, and they both have a short screw tail. The standard colors also overlap in English and French Bulldogs, namely fawn, brindle, white and various combinations of these. If you’re looking for rarer colors and patterns like blue, lilac and merle, you can encounter them in both breeds although they are far more present in the Frenchie population. Frenchies come in an especially wide variety of colors, check out our guide about the 30 Rare and Standard French Bulldog Colors.
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There are of course several distinctive features of both Frenchies and Bulldogs that set the two breeds apart. Frenchies are widely known for their erect bat ears, while English Bulldogs have floppy rose shaped ears. Bulldogs, on the other hand, have a different trademark: the two loose folds of skin at their throat called a dewlap. They also tend to have a discernible underbite which is less of a typical Frenchie trait. Whichever look you might prefer, we think you can’t really go wrong with either the cute bat ears or the extra wrinkly face.
Personality and Temperament
You have learned above that Frenchies and English Bulldogs were both bred to be loving and loyal companions to humans. However, given their dark history, there’s a common misconception about bulldog breeds that they tend to be aggressive. That simply couldn’t be further from the truth! Both Frenchies and Bulldogs love people more than anyone and are one of the most lovey-dovey family dogs out there! Thanks to their affectionate, gentle and easygoing nature they are the perfect playmates for kids. They are incredibly patient with them and tolerate their loudness and sometimes rough play really well! Of course, early socialization and exposure to different people, sights, sounds and experiences at a young age is vital, just like in all dog breed.
Both English and French Bulldogs are very devoted to their owners. They really enjoy cuddling in your lap, which is a bit harder for Bulldogs but rest assured their big size won’t stop them! This affection also makes them prone to developing separation anxiety, so training them to be alone from an early age is highly recommended. When it comes to training, both English and French Bulldogs tend to be a bit stubborn but they want to please their owners, so given the right motivation (treats!) they are very trainable. Being courageous and alert, they both make excellent watch dogs who will only bark if they have a good reason for doing so. They both prefer to be indoors and are suited for any type of home.
To line out some typical differences as well, English Bulldogs tend to be calmer and more laid back than Frenchies: they are usually lazier and require slightly less exercise than their smaller-sized cousins. A short daily walk and a bit of playtime will keep your Bulldog happy, while Frenchies also need games (indoor or outdoor) which are mentally more challenging in order to burn all their excess energy. Frenchies are funny little clowns who always make you laugh by doing something silly like the zoomies! So, if you’re looking for a dog with a spunky personality, a Frenchie is one of your best choices, but if you’d prefer a more relaxed and equally sweet companion, an English Bulldog might suit you better.
Lifespan and Health Issues
According to the AKC, the average French Bulldog lifespan is 10-12 years while an English Bulldog lives up to 8-10 years. That is of course hugely affected by various factors like their genetics, how they are cared for in their first few weeks and the quality of their adult life. Giving only high-quality food, ensuring regular training and exercise to avoid obesity, not exposing them to too much heat and humidity as well as having a good and reliable vet are absolutely essential to provide a long and happy life for your English or French Bulldog. You have to be aware that neither of them can swim so you should never leave them unattended by a pool or lake!
It’s no secret that bulldog breeds are prone to several health issues like eye problems (mostly cherry eye) and breathing problems because of their flat faces. That doesn’t mean however that they will develop these for certain. If you choose your Frenchie from a reputable breeder who’ll do anything to breed healthy puppies only, you can hugely reduce the risk of your dog having any serious health issues. You should always be prepared though to cover any medical treatment if necessary, and having pet insurance is an absolute must with these breeds.
When trying to make your decision about which breed to choose, an aspect that you’ll probably consider is the French Bulldog vs. English Bulldog price. In that regard you’ll encounter some similarities again, as they both belong to the most expensive dog breeds. On average, English Bulldogs cost around 2000 to 4000 USD while Frenchie prices tend to be somewhat higher starting from 4000 USD and the average being 5300 USD. The exact amount is largely affected by the color of the puppy: rarer colors and patterns are much harder to produce and cost more in both breeds, ranging from 6,000 to even 30,000 USD in Frenchies. Read more about French Bulldog prices here.
The exact price of either a Frenchie or a Bulldog puppy also depends on other factors like the gender and age, whether you purchase breeding rights as well, but most importantly the breeder you get your puppy from. Breeding both French and English Bulldogs requires a lot of time, effort, care and money as well as special methods like artificial insemination and C-section, so breeders with quality and healthy puppies will always ask a larger sum. Popularity also plays a huge part. Frenchies are currently the 2nd most popular dog breeds according to AKC, which is most likely the main reason why they are valued higher than English Bulldogs, who are also widely loved being ranked 6th.
French Bulldog vs. English Bulldog: summary
Considering everything we have discussed in our French Bulldog vs. English Bulldog comparison, you’ll probably agree with us that both are amazing breeds! They are affectionate and gentle family dogs who enjoy cuddling and spending time with their owners. They still have some significant differences, so when trying to make a decision it all boils down to your personal preferences.
Frenchies are smaller so you can carry them around more easily and take up less space than English Bulldogs. On the other hand, Bulldogs are more relaxed and require slightly less attention than Frenchies who are generally more energetic. French Bulldog do have a longer lifespan living up to 10-12 years as opposed to 8-10, but they are also in a higher price range. Whichever you choose, make sure to consider your life situation before adopting such a precious family member.
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French Bulldogs are generally in a higher price range than English Bulldogs.
When trying to make a decision between the two breeds, you should consider your lifestyle and preferences: whether you’d prefer a bigger and more relaxed, or a smaller and more energetic companion.
There’s no definite answer to that, both English and French Bulldogs are very special in their own ways! Each to their own.
If you’d like to learn more about Frenchies, join our Facebook group called TomKings Frenchie Family to read our Frenchie parents’ experiences!
The article is based on the expert knowledge of the TomKings Puppies team who have been breeding French Bulldogs for 10 years on their farm. All the pictures in the post belong to them and their customers, and show puppies from their breed. Check their available French Bulldog puppies, or if you have any questions or comments let us know below the article.