Bulldogs are one of the most popular dog types in the UK, and they come in a wide variety of different types, shapes, and sizes, which means that there is a bulldog breed to appeal to almost everyone.
A bulldog is a dog breed or type that was originally bred and used for bull baiting – which thankfully, has been illegal in the UK since 1835 – or a breed that was developed from ancestors that were used for the same purpose.
When bull baiting became illegal, however, bulldogs didn’t fall out of fashion – and their popularity as pets and the ongoing process of breed development is something that continues to this day. Bulldogs and other bull breeds are versatile, loving, and usually make great family pets – and today, several of our most popular breeds have bulldog ancestry.
Whether you already own a bulldog or are considering buying one – or are wondering which bulldog breed is right for you – we will list the UK’s five most popular bulldog breeds within this article. Read on to learn more.
In fifth place is the Alapaha blue blood bulldog. This dog is also the 62nd most popular dog breed or type in the UK, out of a total of 241 different breeds. Within the UK, the Alapaha blue blood bulldog is referred to as a dog type rather than a dog breed, because they are not formally recognised for pedigree registration by The Kennel Club.
This dog is most widely associated with the American South, and dogs of this type have been extant in large numbers within the region for centuries. The breed’s early origins involve some of the oldest known bulldog breeds too, including the Old English bulldog and white English bulldog, as well as original American bulldog breeds like the Old Southern bulldog.
The Old Tyme bulldog is the second dog on the list that is a dog type rather than a dog breed – again, they are not yet recognised by The Kennel Club in the UK. They’re the fourth most popular bulldog type, however, and the 31st most popular dog breed or type in the UK overall.
Despite their ancient-sounding name, the Old Tyme bulldog is actually a very modern breed in the making, which is still in the development stages – hence their lack of pedigree recognition. They are closely related to the English bulldog, which is widely used within their breeding programs.
The Old Tyme bulldog is bred to be leaner, taller, and less heavyset than the English bulldog, with a lesser degree of exaggeration to the size of their neck and head, and the flatness of their muzzles.
The American bulldog falls in third place in the rankings, and is the 25th most popular dog type in the UK overall. Again, they’re not recognised as pedigree dogs in the UK, but this has done nothing to stop them becoming hugely popular, beating out a significant number of registered pedigrees to achieve their ranking.
American bulldogs are greatly in demand in their native country too, where they have a long documented history as both bull baiting dogs, and the pets of choice of butchers. They are also taller and leaner with fewer exaggerations than their English bulldog cousins.
You might fairly assume that the most popular bulldog breed in the UK would be our own homegrown favourite and national symbol – the English bulldog. However, the English bulldog takes second place – although they are also the 7th most popular dog breed in the UK overall, which indicates their high popularity.
The English bulldog is the first dog on our list that is formally recognised as a pedigree breed in its own right within the UK, making it eligible for Kennel Club registration and breed shows.
They are very heavyset, stocky, and muscular dogs with hugely wide heads and necks, and flattened faces. However, these traits have become highly exaggerated across much of the breed over the last few decades, which has resulted in a proliferation of hereditary health issues that can compromise the dog’s longevity and quality of life. These issues resulted in the founding of the Old Tyme bulldog type, in an attempt to reproduce a more traditional English bulldog appearance and reduce the prevalence of health defects.
Pipping the English bulldog to the post, the most popular bulldog breed in the UK is their continental cousin – the French bulldog. Not only is the French bulldog the UK’s most popular bulldog breed, but it is also the most popular dog breed overall, bar none! This is quite an achievement when you consider the fact that they have surpassed not only our own native English bulldog breed, but also all of the other dog breeds recognised here too.
French bulldogs are petite, flat-faced little bulldogs that were originally bred in France, from dogs that include the English bulldog in their ancestry. Their comical good looks, loving temperaments and small size makes them popular with people from all walks of life, and they also have a very high profile in the public consciousness, being owned by many celebrities and other well-known individuals.
However, like their English cousins, French bulldogs are not without their own health challenges, which have resulted from ultra-typing to increase the degree of flatness of the dog’s face, and the narrowness of their hips, among other factors.
The popularity of the French bulldog is expected to increase even more in the future too – and projections by The Kennel Club predict the French bulldog overtaking the Labrador retriever’s first place position by the end of 2018 in terms of the number of new puppies of each breed registered each year, a position that the Labrador has currently held for almost 30 years.