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Old English Bulldog vs English Bulldog: Differences & Similarities

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Last Updated: March 8, 2024 | 10 min read | Leave a Comment

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The Old English Bulldog (Olde English Bulldogge) and the English Bulldog are often confused for the same breed. Because they have similar names, it is easy to assume they are closely related and very similar. In truth, these two breeds are quite different and even come from entirely separate places. The Old English Bulldog is actually an extinct breed, replaced by the more modern Olde English Bulldogge (OEB).

While both have some similarities, I’ll share everything you need to know about what makes these breeds different. While the untrained eye may think they are simply different sizes of the same breed, that is simply not the case.

English Bulldogs are smaller, while the Olde English Bulldogge is more muscular. Both have agreeable personalities and can make lovable family pets in the right home. However, there is more to know about bringing either of these breeds into your home. I’ll explore the differences and similarities between the Old English Bulldog vs the English Bulldog.

Breed Comparison

Olde English Bulldogge

  • Height 16 - 20 inches
  • Weight 70 - 85 pounds
  • Coat Color Brindle, Red, White, or Black
  • Temperament Friendly, outgoing, agreeable
  • Energy Moderate
  • Health Average
  • Lifespan 11-13 years
  • Puppy Prices $1,000+

English Bulldog

  • Height 14-15 inches
  • Weight 40-60 pounds
  • Coat Color White, Red, Gray, or Brindle
  • Temperament Stubborn, friendly, outgoing
  • Energy Low
  • Health Below Average
  • Lifespan 8-10 years
  • Puppy Prices $1,000+

7 Key Differences

  1. OEBs are a much newer breed.
  2. English Bulldogs are smaller.
  3. Olde English Bulldogges are larger, taller, and more muscular.
  4. English Bulldogs are better with children and other pets.
  5. OEBs live longer.
  6. English Bulldogs are harder to train with a stubborn streak.
  7. OEBs are healthier.

Breed History

To understand each of these breeds, let’s first explore their origins. While these two have some common genetics, they are not the same breed and have markedly different histories. One began as a fighting dog, while the other was purposefully bred to be a gentler version.

English Bulldogs

English Bulldog standing outside looking into the camera.
The English Bulldog is a popular pet in America.

English Bulldogs are an old breed, originating in the 13th century in England. They are also referred to as British Bulldogs or simply Bulldogs. The breed began as a mix of a Pug-type dog and an ancient Mastiff dog. These pups were bred as fighters and trained for the sport of “bull baiting.” These early Bulldogs were stocky and strong, with big heads, making them an excellent match to take on a bull. This led to the Bulldog breed’s reputation for being aggressive dogs. Eventually, this sport was also outlawed, and the breed population dwindled.

Once they were no longer used for bull baiting, the breed spread to the United States and Germany, which boosted the breed’s numbers. In the United States, they earned a place as working dogs herding livestock. Eventually, the breed became popular as companion animals due to their agreeable personalities and adorable looks. They were selectively bred to have very stocky bodies, large heads, and short noses.

While this breeding led to their adorable appearance, it also created health issues, including respiratory concerns and spine and joint problems common in brachycephalic breeds. The larger heads led to many dogs being unable to give birth naturally due to the mother dog’s narrow pelvis. This is called fetal-maternal pelvic disproportion. Even today, the majority of English Bulldog births are through cesarean section due to the prevalence of birth complications.

English Bulldogs are widely recognizable for their muscular bodies, flat faces, and melancholy looks. Despite their grumpy appearance, these pups are quite sociable. They love people and often make excellent companions.

Old English Bulldog

Olde English Bulldogge face up close outside.
Olde English Bulldogges are a newer version of the Old English Bulldog.

The term Old English Bulldog specifically refers to a now-extinct breed of dog. These pups are the ancestors of today’s Bulldogs and were bred specifically to be fast, aggressive, and vicious as they were used in bullfighting, bull baiting, and dog fighting. It is thought that the Old English Bulldog was a mixture of ancient war breeds, including Mastiff-type dogs and the now-extinct Aluant dog.

This specific breed no longer exists, though it was crossbred with other breeds, including the Old English Terrier. It eventually led to the creation of more modern Bulldog breeds, including the American Pitbull Terrier and Staffordshire Bull Terriers.

In the 1970s, a Breeder in Pennsylvania worked to create a Bulldog breed that took all the positive attributes of an English Bulldog and tried to eliminate some of the health issues the breed had developed. This breeder, by the name of Levitt, mixed them with American Bulldogs, Bullmastiffs, and several other breeds. Over the course of this breeding, a completely new breed, the Olde English Bulldogge, was created.

These pups are larger than British Bulldogs, though their heads are smaller proportionally. Their faces are longer, reducing the risk of respiratory problems and brachycephalic breed issues. Additionally, they are bred to be less aggressive than fighting dogs. The OEB is much rarer to see due to very selective breeding.

Appearance

Olde English Bulldogge walking outside in water.
Olde English Bulldogges are significantly larger than English Bulldogs.

These two pups have some physical similarities, yet still have distinctly different appearances. The most notable difference is in their size. OEDs are heavier, larger in body, more muscular, and taller thanks to the Bullmastiff genetics in their bloodline. Their faces and snouts are less compact, allowing them to breathe more easily. While both dogs are quite wrinkly, the Olde English has fewer wrinkles.

British Bulldogs have very flat, smooshed faces, and many have a very prominent underbite, causing the lower jaw and teeth to stick out further than their top teeth. The underbite gives them a notably grumpy facial expression. Both pups have broad shoulders with stocky, square-shaped builds.

English Bulldogs weigh between 40 and 60 pounds when fully grown, whereas the OEB can reach 85 or more pounds. OEBs stand between 16 and 20 inches tall at the shoulder. English Bulldogs stand between 14 and 15 inches tall at the shoulder. OEBs are less stocky, their heads are more proportionate to their bodies, and their faces have fewer wrinkles.

Temperament

Personality-wise, both breeds can make good pets in the right homes but may not be a perfect fit for everyone. Olde English Bulldogges tend to be friendlier and more outgoing. They are people pleasers and get along well with human family members and other dogs. OEBs have a high prey drive, so they may tend to chase after smaller animals like cats. This breed was developed to mellow out aggressive tendencies, making them gentler and more agreeable.

English Bulldogs have a bolder personality and are a little more boisterous, which can sometimes make them seem more aggressive. They are also highly independent dogs and develop a stubborn streak. That stubbornness means the breed can be harder to train and often develops separation anxiety. Consider crate training with this pup.

Both can do very well with children and even other dogs, but they must be trained appropriately from puppyhood. That said, these Bullies can be quite affectionate with their family members.

Coat & Colors

Olde English Bulldogge sitting outside in leaves.
The OEB’s coat is coarser than an English Bulldog’s, and both come in various colors.

Both Bulldog breeds have fine, short coats. The OEB generally has a coarser coat, while the English Bulldog’s coat is smooth and fine. They can both have a variety of coat colors. OEBs often come in brindle, red, white, and even black. English Bulldogs, on the other hand, are rarely all black, and their fur colors can include white, red, gray, and brindle.

These bulldog breeds require regular grooming but do not shed nearly as much as other, longer-coated dogs. Both breeds can have black noses, eyeliner, lips, and paw pads. Many often have lighter pink, fawn, and white shades. Ears are usually shorter, pointy, and folded.

Exercise

Both dogs require regular exercise, but neither are overly physical breeds. With their larger size, the OEB requires more exercise. Both pups fare well with a couple of short, brisk daily walks. Neither breed is built for long distances or incredibly high speeds. They enjoy playing games such as fetch and frisbee, but neither has a lot of stamina.

The English Bulldog needs less physical exercise. You must take care they’re not overworked due to the higher risk of respiratory problems. Additionally, their short, compact frames carry a lot of weight. You do not want to put undue pressure on their bones and joints. About 15 minutes of exercise twice daily is a good amount for them.

Both of these breeds will do well with daily walking, interactive games, puzzle toys, and daily play sessions. Neither type of dog does well when left alone outside for extended periods. Nor is either breed well suited for warm weather. You must take care so that they don’t overheat.

Training

English Bulldogs are pretty tenacious, stubborn, and somewhat smart. They are not as quick to pick up on training as some other breeds. These pups can be resistant to training because they want to be the leader of the pack. Starting obedience training and socialization with your puppy right away is important to help with proper training down the line.

OEBs tend to be slightly more intelligent, making them less difficult to train. However, they still have a stubborn streak and may want to challenge you regarding training and behavior expectations.

Early training with both pups is important, especially if you are an inexperienced owner or unable to reinforce strong boundaries. Reward-based and positive behavior reinforcement training works best for both breeds. The Olde English Bulldogge, in particular, is very eager to please.

Health

Vet examining English Bulldog, close-up.
English Bulldogs are prone to different health problems due to their physical build and brachycephalic faces.

Health-wise, the OEB is a healthier breed because of the intentional breeding that corrects some of the medical issues the English Bulldog has.

OEBs are healthier overall and have a longer life expectancy, between 11 and 13 years on average. The OEB is also at risk for some health conditions, including bloat and hip dysplasia.

English Bulldogs are prone to breathing problems due to their flat faces and narrow upper airways. Hot weather and exercise often make their breathing issues significantly worse. They have an average lifespan of eight to ten years and are prone to the following health concerns:

  1. Arthritis
  2. Eye conditions, including cherry eye, dry eye, cataracts, and inverted eyelids
  3. Skin allergies
  4. Joint injuries
  5. Skin infection
  6. Gastric torsion
  7. Bladder stones
  8. Obesity
  9. Cancer
  10. Heart disease
  11. Bloat
  12. Hip dysplasia
  13. Dental disease

With the high risk of health problems the English Bulldog has, it may be beneficial to look into pet insurance. Pet insurance can help cover the cost of care in an emergency and be a resource to help keep your pet healthy so you can focus on their health and not your financial responsibility. We’ve also gone more in-depth and covered the best pet insurance for Bulldogs to help pet parents ensure they’re getting the right plan for their breed.

Nutrition

Both of these pups need high-quality, healthy dog food. You must be careful not to overfeed them, as they are very food-driven and prone to developing obesity. Avoid free feeding either pup, as they are both prone to overindulge. You may need to feed them two to three small meals throughout the day to keep their bellies satisfied.

Both breeds can develop gastric torsion, or bloat, which happens when they eat or drink too quickly. Smaller meals at regular intervals and puzzle and slow feeders will help them slow down and lessen the risk of gastric torsion.

Because they are prone to obesity and love food, both pups do best on a high-quality diet. Bulldogs are also prone to food allergies and sensitivities. In some cases, these dogs can be allergic to animal proteins, including chicken, pork, and beef. Bulldogs are often sensitive to corn, soy, wheat, dairy, eggs, fish, wheat, artificial seasonings, dyes, or additives. Food allergies can also lead to skin sensitivities and itchiness, so it is important your pup gets an all-natural, high-quality diet.

A limited-ingredient diet or food formulated specifically for dogs with sensitive stomachs may be a good fit. OEBs may do better on large-breed dog food, depending on their size. Due to the higher quality ingredients, you may also want to consider adding fresh dog foods as part of their diet.

Grooming

English bulldog dog sit with a brush in his mouth isolated on white background.
Both of these pups are relatively low maintenance when it comes to grooming.

Due to the OEB’s coarser coat, they may require a little more brushing to keep their coat free of debris. Gentle brushing a few times a week with a soft bristle or pin brush will help keep their coats shiny, soft, and in good shape. Both breeds shed regularly, but much less than many other breeds. That said, you will notice heavier shedding periods when the seasons change.

Due to the extra wrinkles, it is important to clean their faces regularly. You must clean out the wrinkles with a damp, soft cloth at least twice weekly. This cleaning often needs to be done daily, depending on how wrinkly your pup is. Keeping their skin folds clean is essential because you want to prevent bacteria from building up, which leads to skin infections.

Expect a lot of drooling from both these breeds, which will require regular cleanup and wiping of their faces. You must also brush these pup’s teeth regularly to keep them clean and lessen the risk of dental disease.

Puppy Prices

Olde English Bulldogge puppy outside.
Expect to pay a pretty penny for both breeds.

Both these Bully breeds have high price tags. You should expect to pay anywhere from $1,500 to $5,000 or more for a healthy pup with high-quality bloodlines. Olde English Bulldogges are much harder to find, which may drive up the price tag. The higher price tag is partly due to the difficulty it takes to breed these dogs.

Because many English Bulldog puppies must be born through cesarean section, the extra level of care needed makes them very expensive. The average price for a high-quality English Bulldog puppy is about $1,500. You may find puppies from a home breeder for about $500. However, they likely will not have the same health screenings performed by a professional dog breeder.

Bulldog mixes often end up in shelters and will have a lower price tag than those adopted from breeders. Due to the prevalence of Bulldog mixes in shelters, they are a breed group in high need of loving homes. If you are looking for a dog that does not need as much training as a puppy, a rescue dog may be a wonderful option. You may often foster the dog and spend time with them before finalizing the adoption.

Have you had either of these Bully breeds as a pet? We’d love to hear all about it in the comments.

Other Bulldog Breeds To Consider

If you love Bulldogs but cannot take in one of these larger pups, there are a few others to consider, including mixed breeds. French Bulldogs are much smaller but share the same adorable droopy faces and sweet personalities. Frenchies have big bat-like ears, giving them a very recognizable profile. Or, if you want a bigger pup, the American Bulldog and American Bully are other sturdy pups that can reach 100 or more pounds. All of these pups can make loving pets as long as they have plenty of attention, proper training, a full belly, and lots of love. Bulldogs require a lot of care but are 100% worth the extra effort.

Why Trust Canine Journal?

Danielle is a pet owner with over 30 years of experience. She is a dedicated professional researcher who aims to provide the best research and information to help pet owners. Danielle spends countless hours researching the latest pet care, health, food, and training developments. She has a passion for rescue pets and has adopted most of her pets from shelters or taken them in as strays. Danielle works with a professional and experienced team to give our readers the best, most accurate, and most up-to-date information.

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The information provided through this website should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease; it is not intended to offer any legal opinion or advice or a substitute for professional safety advice or professional care. Please consult your health care provider, attorney, or product manual for professional advice. Products and services reviewed are provided by third parties; we are not responsible in any way for them, nor do we guarantee their functionality, utility, safety, or reliability. Our content is for educational purposes only.

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