23 Best Types Of Bully Dog Breeds

Bully breeds

What Are Bully Dog Breeds?

The term Bully dog breeds refers to several different breeds that descended from muscular and large animals called Molosser dogs in ancient Greece. They had short muzzles, square heads, and pendant ears and were used to create protector dogs to watch over property and livestock, do farm work, etc.

Sadly, many bully breeds were used in bloodsports like bear-baiting and bull-baiting (hence, bully dogs). Thankfully, these horrific sports were outlawed, and bully dog breeds are now bred to be companion animals. The bully dog breeds do not deserve a bad reputation because they are very sweet unless trained to be aggressive.

Bully dog breeds are generally not aggressive in a home where they are socialized and properly trained. Most bully breeds are happy family companions who are excellent watchdogs and loving, especially toward human children.

At our local shelter, the Pit bull breeds are goofy, adorable, and loving. American bully dog breeds are a very cute and loving bunch, as are different types of pit bulls.

What Is the Origin of the Name “Bully Dog”?

Bully dogs were used for the cruel and disgusting spectator “sport” of bull baiting in which a bull was placed in a pit, and bully breeds attacked it. Pit bulls and other breeds that were involved in that perversity are called bully dogs.

Bully Breeds 

From the loyal Pit Bull to the stout Bulldog, let’s discover these breeds’ true, affectionate nature. This insightful guide aims to challenge stereotypes and celebrate bully breeds’ unique personalities and loving traits.

1. American Bulldog

bully breeds
HEIGHT20-25 inches tall
WEIGHT60-100 pounds
FUR & COLORShort hair in white, white and black, white and brindle, white and brown, white and tan
LIFE SPAN 10-12 years
SHEDDING FACTORLow, regular brushing

The American bully is loyal, confident, strong, athletic, friendly, and very trainable. American bullies were initially bred for farm work.

American bulldogs have been here since the 17th century. American Bulldogs were bred from English Bulldogs. These working dogs’ jobs were guard, stock dog, and catch dog.

They caught feral cattle and feral pigs (in the south). It’s interesting to explore different traits of the 15 Types of Bulldogs.

2. American Pit Bull Terrier

bully breed list
GROUPNot recognized by AKC
HEIGHT17-21 inches tall
WEIGHT30-60 pounds
FUR & COLORShort in black, white, brindle, fawn, tan, blue, brown, red, gray
LIFE SPAN 12-14 years

The American pit bull terrier is affectionate, lively, eager to please, friendly, playful, needs exercise and attention, and has a high prey drive.

American pit bull terriers were brought to the US by immigrants from England, Ireland, and Scotland during the 19th century. American pit bull terriers were farm dogs.

Pit bulls have a bad reputation but are very sweet. You can also explore some Pit bull attack statistics to learn more.

3. Staffordshire Bull Terrier

bully breed dogs
HEIGHT17-19 inches tall
WEIGHT40-70 pounds
FUR & COLORShort in black, white, brown, blue, fawn sable, blue fawn, red brindle, blue fawn brindle, liver, black brindle, fawn brindle, blue brindle, liver brindle, fawn, red, seal brown, red sable, brown brindle
LIFE SPAN 12-16 years
SHEDDING FACTORLow, brush weekly

Staffordshire Bull terriers are good-natured, smart, loving, friendly, playful, courageous, alert, and have a protective nature. They were bred in the UK for barbaric sports of fighting with other bully breeds, bull baiting, and attacking bears.

These terriers descended from Bulldogs and maybe the White English Terrier and the Black and Tan Terrier. Staffies were in America in the mid-1800s. They are a comical dog breed.

Famous Staffordshire bull terriers included the Petey from “Our Gang” and the Buster Brown’s Staffie logo.

4. Bull Mastiff

bully breeds list
HEIGHT24-27 inches tall
WEIGHT100-130 pounds
FUR & COLORShort in fawn, fawn brindle, red, red brindle, red fawn, red fawn brindle
LIFE SPAN 7-9 years

The Bull mastiff is loyal, loving, brave, protective, docile, muscular, trainable, energetic, and needs mental stimulation. In late 19th century England, they were called Gamekeeper’s Night dogs and deterred poachers.

They are Bulldog and Mastiff crosses. Bull mastiffs are nice family companions and also an excellent guard dog breed. The Bull Mastiff dog breed needs to be trained and socialized young.

5. Catahoula Bulldog

bully dog breed
GROUPNot recognized by AKC
HEIGHT24-26 inches tall
WEIGHT75-100 pounds
FUR & COLORShort in black, brown, white, black and brown, black and white, brown and white, black with tan blotches and patches, and white with gray.
LIFE SPAN 10-14 years

The Catahoula bulldog is not recognized by the AKC because it’s a mix between the Catahoula leopard dog breed and a Bulldog.

This dog breed is loyal, alert, agile, very trainable, protective, good with children, needs mental and physical exercise, and they can catch bears. They’ve existed for over 100 years, have a high prey drive, and need early training.

6. Bull Terrier

bully type breeds
HEIGHT21-22 inches
WEIGHT50-70 pounds
FUR & COLORShort in black brindle; black brindle and white; black, tan, and white; brindle; brindle and white; red and white; white; white and black brindle; white and brindle; white and red; white, black, and tan; fawn and white; fawn smut; fawn smut and white; red smut; red smut and white; white and fawn; white and fawn smut; white and red smut
LIFE SPAN 12-13 years
SHEDDING FACTORLow, brush weekly

The Bull terrier is playful, loving, charming, muscular, friendly, playful, mischievous, and energetic, and needs mental stimulation, attention, and exercise.

Bred by crossing bulldogs and terriers, they used their strong jaws as bull baiters in the 13th century and then were forced into dog fighting. In the mid-1800s, this bully dog breed graduated to fancy companion animals.

They can be stubborn, making training hard for dog owners. They are famous for their egg-shaped heads. Bullseye, the Target mascot, is a Bull terrier.

7. Dogo Argentino

all bully breeds
HEIGHT24-26.5 inches tall
WEIGHT80-100 pounds
FUR & COLORShort and white
LIFE SPAN 9-15 years
SHEDDING FACTORModerate, brush weekly

The Dogo Argentino is affectionate, loyal, courageous, athletic, friendly, playful, protective, powerful, very trainable, energetic, and needs mental stimulation. This bully dog breed hunted large animals like wild boars and pumas in packs.

They were created in Cordoba, Argentina, in 1928 when a doctor crossed old fighting Argentinian dogs with pure breeds. They were used for dog fighting and hunting.

8. English Bulldog

types of bullies dogs
HEIGHT14-15 inches
WEIGHT40-50 pounds
FUR & COLORShort infawn, fawn and white, fawn brindle and white, red, red and white, red brindle, red brindle and white, white, fawn and brindle, fallow
LIFE SPAN 8-10 years

The English bulldog is friendly, courageous, calm, loving, playful, and very trainable. The English bulldog needs exercise, but monitor their breathing because their snout is pushed in.

English bulldogs fancy themselves as lapdogs. English bulldogs are the national symbol of England. This bully dog breed was forced into blood sports and later became beloved pets without violence.

English bulldogs are a cross of terriers and 19th-century bulldogs that were originally bred to protect livestock. Bull Terrier and other bull-type terrier breeds are still popular today.

9. English Mastiff

bull breeds dogs
HEIGHT27.5 and up
WEIGHT120-230 pounds
FUR & COLORDouble short coat in apricot, brindle, and fawn
LIFE SPAN 6-10 years
SHEDDING FACTORModerate, brush every few days

The English mastiff is dignified, courageous, muscular, loving, good-natured, good with kids, and protective. Watch out for the drool. They make great family pets.

Also known as the Old English Mastiff, the breed goes back to ancient Egypt, Tibet, Greece, Rome, and China. Julius Caesar discovered them when he invaded England and took some home. The English brought them to battlefields during wars.

10. Boxer

different types of bully dogs
HEIGHT21.5-25 inches tall
WEIGHT50-80 pounds
FUR & COLORShort in brindle, fawn, white
LIFE SPAN 10-12 years

The Boxer is active, friendly, playful, loyal, courageous, athletic, loving, good with children, intelligent, fun, very trainable, energetic, and needs mental stimulation.

Boxers have been popular since the 1950s. Boxers should be trained and socialized at a young age. They were war dogs in the Assyrian empire in 2,500 BC. Boxers’ current appearance is from the turn of 20th century Germany.

Boxers were bred when medieval Bullenbeissers (bull biters) lost their job of hunting bears when nobles lost their fortunes.

Bullenbeissers were bred down to the Boxer and became cattle dogs, war/police dogsservice dogs, etc. Like other bully dog breeds, Boxers enjoy a more pampered life as family members now and are good guard dogs.

11. Cane Corso Italiano

what are bully breeds
HEIGHT23.5-27.5 inches tall
WEIGHT55-71 pounds
FUR & COLORShort double coat inblack, gray, fawn, black brindle, gray brindle, red, chestnut brindle
LIFE SPAN 9-12 years
SHEDDING FACTORLow, brush weekly

The hunky Cane Corso is intelligent, protective, loving, very trainable, muscular, loyal, intimidating, eager to please, willful, and energetic. They need early socialization and training.

Their ancestors, Molossers, originated in Greece and were brought back to Italy during the Roman Empire. They were sent into battle with flaming oil strapped to their backs. Their lives are more pleasant now.

This is one of the bully dog breeds that was used for hunting and farm work.

12. French Bulldog

what does a bully look like
HEIGHT11-13 inches tall
WEIGHTunder 28 pounds
FUR & COLORShort in brindle, brindle and white, cream, fawn, fawn and white, fawn brindle, white, white and brindle, fawn brindle and white, white and fawn
LIFE SPAN 10-12 years
SHEDDING FACTORLow, brush weekly

Adorable French bulldogs are playful, friendly, smart, loving, good with kids and other dogs, and very trainable. The French bulldog is quite popular because they are loyal companions. The French bulldog was a favorite bully breed in mid-1800s England.

When the lacing industry was changing due to the Industrial Revolution, some Brits moved from Nottingham to France and brought their French bulldogs.

The French fell in love with them and dubbed them Bouledogue Francais. The French bulldog– with their cute bat ears, tuxedo, and stocky build- is one of the dog breeds that is popular around the world.

Frenchies thrive with both the city dwellers and in rural areas.

13. Great Dane

what breed is a bully
HEIGHT28-32 inches tall
WEIGHT110-175 pounds
FUR & COLORShort in black, black and white, blue, brindle, fawn, harlequin, mantle, merle, white, blue and white, blue brindle, chocolate, chocolate and white, chocolate brindle, silver, mantle, merle, merlequin
LIFE SPAN 7-10 years
SHEDDING FACTORModerate, brush weekly

The Great Dane is friendly, loving, playful, protective, patient, energetic, and needs mental stimulation. They are loyal companion dogs, but they aren’t Danish.

In Germany, they are called the German Dog (Deutsche Dog). They fought wild boars and are family dogs and protectors now.

Fun fact: I once accepted a job with a magazine that was run from the owner’s house because she had a Great Dane.

14. Olde English Bulldogge

what dogs are bully breeds
GROUPNot recognized by AKC
HEIGHT16-20 inches tall
WEIGHT50-85 pounds
FUR & COLORShort to medium in red brindle, fawn brindle, brown brindle, and gray brindle; either solid or pied; solid colors include white, fawn, red or black, with or without white
LIFE SPAN 11-14 years
SHEDDING FACTORModerate, brush weekly

In 1971, a breeder in Pennsylvania recreated the 1800s Old English bulldog by mixing 50% English bulldog, 17% American bulldog, 17% Pitbull, and 17% Bullmastiff.

This new breed is gentler and healthier than the English Bulldog. He eliminated breathing and hip problems. They are friendly, alert, happy, athletic, courageous, trustworthy, protective, and loyal dogs that live longer, enjoy praise, and are trustworthy and protective.

15. Boston Terrier

small bully dog
HEIGHT10-12 inches
WEIGHT12-25 pounds
FUR & COLORShort in black and white, black brindle white, brindle and white, seal and white, seal brindle and white
LIFE SPAN 11-13 years

Boston terriers are friendly, playful, energetic, intelligent, loving, amusing, and good with children and dogs. In bloodsport-loving 19th-century England, people crossed terriers and bull-type breeds to produce dogs for rat-killing contests — charming.

Boston Terriers’ history began in late 1860s Liverpool when a Bulldog was mated with the now-extinct white English Terrier and produced a precursor to the Boston terrier. That dog was sold to a Boston resident who refined the Boston Terrier breed.

16. Neapolitan Mastiff 

what does a bully look like
HEIGHT24-31 inches high
WEIGHT110-150 pounds
FUR & COLORShort in blue, black, mahogany, tawny
LIFE SPAN 7-9 years

Neapolitan mastiffs are ancient, dignified, protective, calm, sweet, and loyal dogs. The Neapolitan is a powerful dog that drools.

Their ancestors, the Mastino from 700 BC, were war dogs, guardians, and gladiators. The wrinkled Neapolitan Mastiff is very unusual looking.

The Neapolitan Mastiff is adorable and a little formidable. Mastiff dog breeds are a handsome bunch and nice family dogs.

17. Pug

bully dog puppies
HEIGHT10-13 inches tall
WEIGHT14-18 pounds
FUR & COLORShort in black and fawn
LIFE SPAN 13-15 years
SHEDDING FACTORModerate, brush weekly

Precious Pugs are charming, playful, friendly, mischievous, affectionate, good with kids and other dogs, and easy to train.

They were excellent companion dogs to Chinese emperors and became the mascot of Holland’s royal House of Orange. Their history began 2,000 years ago in ancient China, where only people who were gifted a Pug could own one. In the 1500s, Dutch traders brought Pugs home.

18. Rottweiler

different type of bullies dog
HEIGHT22-27 inches tall
WEIGHT80-135 pounds
FUR & COLORShort inblack and rust, black and mahogany, black and tan
LIFE SPAN 9-10 years
SHEDDING FACTORLow, brush weekly

Rottweilers are calm, affectionate, loyal, trainable, protective, playful, strong, and need mental stimulus. Rottweilers descended from Roman mastiffs. Rotties and other dog breeds need early proper training and socializing.

The Rottweiler dog is a robust working breed with great strength descended from ancient Roman mastiffs bred from Asian mastiff types. Roman drover dogs became cattle shepherds in the town of Rottweil.

They have also been police dogs, great guard dogs, service dogs, and search and rescue dogs, and they can do tasks that require strength.

19. American Staffordshire Terrier

large bully breeds
HEIGHT14-16 inches
WEIGHT24-38 pounds
FUR & COLORShort in black, black and white, blue, blue and white, brindle, brindle and white, fawn, fawn and white, red, red and white, white, white and brindle, white and fawn, white and red, black and tan, liver
LIFE SPAN 12-14 years
SHEDDING FACTORLow, brush weekly

American Staffordshire terriers are playful, friendly, clever, brave, sweet, affectionate, good with kids, easy to train, energetic, need mental stimulation, and have a protective nature. The American Staffordshire terrier was bred to attack dogs and other animals in pits.

Staffordshire terriers are another of the dog breeds that need proper training and socialization when they are young. The American Staffordshire has a bad reputation. They are loving pets that just want to snuggle with their humans.

20. Bordeaux Bulldog

what is a bully breed
HEIGHT23-27 inches tall
WEIGHT99 and up
FUR & COLORShort infawn, mahogany, Isabella, red
LIFE SPAN 5-8 years

The Dogue de Bordeaux is loyal, protective, affectionate, sweet, fast, courageous, very trainable, and needs mental stimulation. This powerful mastiff-type drools.

The ancient Dogue de Bordeaux can be a stubborn breed, so they need early socialization and proper training. Historians think that the Dogue was brought to France (called Gaul then) by the Romans when they conquered the region.

This is another of the dog breeds that were used in the military and as gladiators for dog fighting and fighting other animals in the Colosseum. Later, they were excellent guard dogs and hunters, pulled carts and drove livestock.

21. Renascence Bulldogge

GROUPNot recognized by AKC
HEIGHT23 inches tall
WEIGHT59-91 pounds
FUR & COLORShort in fawn, black, white
LIFE SPAN 10-15 years

The Renascence Bulldogge is affectionate, energetic, cheerful, courageous, alert, curious, docile, friendly, gentle, independent, outgoing, playful, social, stubborn, sweet, and territorial.

They are loyal companions and were bred by mixing an Olde English Bulldogge, American Bulldog, Bullmastiff, and Bandog (English Mastiff and Pit bull).

Like the Olde Bulldogge, this rare bully breed was bred back to its 1800s form. They can breathe better than modern Bulldogs and are more responsive to training.

22. Bhote Kukur

bullies dog breed
GROUPNot recognized by AKC
HEIGHT22-28 inches tall
WEIGHT70-140 pounds
FUR & COLORLong in red, black, brown, black and tan, brown and tan
LIFE SPAN 11-14 years

The Bhote Kukur is very similar to the Tibetan Mastiff but has shorter hair, is friendlier, and is more gentle. They are strong, brave, alert, protective, active, good with children, and aloof with strangers.

They need to be trained and socialized when young. Bhote Kukur are from the Himalayan mountains and need lots of exercise. They have roamed free for years and are shepherd dogs.

23. Victorian Bulldog

whats a bully dog
GROUPNot recognized by AKC
HEIGHT16-19 inches tall
WEIGHT55-75 pounds
FUR & COLORShort in bridle, red, fawn, white, pied
LIFE SPAN 10-12 years
SHEDDING FACTORLow, brush weekly

Victorian Bulldogs are muscular, sweet, gentle, stubborn, loving, good with kids, and need exercise.

In the 1980s, several breeders recreated the English bulldog to its Victorian version to remedy the health and energy issues of the bully breed by using several different breeds: Bull Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, English Bulldogs, and Bull Mastiffs.

Myths Related to Bully Breeds

People think that bully breeds are aggressive, but they are sweet and have an affectionate nature unless trained otherwise. Unfortunately, illegal dog fighting rings still exist.


Which Dogs Are Referred to As Bully Breeds?

  • American Bulldog
  • American Pit Bull Terrier
  • American Staffordshire Terrier
  • Bull Mastiff
  • Catahoula Bulldog
  • Bull Terrier
  • Dogo Argentino
  • English Bulldog
  • English Mastiff
  • Boxer
  • Cane Corso Italiano
  • French Bulldog
  • Great Dane
  • Olde English Bulldogge
  • Boston Terrier
  • Neapolitan Mastiff 
  • Pug
  • Rottweiler
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier
  • Bordeaux Bulldog
  • Renascence Bulldogge
  • Bhote Kukur

What Are the Most Famous Bully Breeds?

  • English Bulldog
  • French Bulldog
  • American Bulldog
  • American Pit Bull Terrier
  • Pug
  • Boston Terrier

Are Bully Breeds Naturally Aggressive?

No, bully breeds have to be trained to be aggressive. Being trained and socialized young help them to be especially polite.


Bully breeds descended from massive dogs called Molossers. Many Bully breed dogs were bred for bloodsports, as guard dogs, to hunt, and/or to protect livestock. Bully dogs have different temperaments, appearances, and breed histories.

They are strong, smart, good at dog sports, and make affectionate family dogs. Many bully-breed dogs now enjoy the lives of adored family pets.

Elise Margulis
Elise Margulis is a talented animal writer and a devoted pet parent residing near Manhattan in a cozy suburb. With a Chow mix and a rescued Siamese as her loyal companions, she's been animal-obsessed since childhood. Penning informative articles on pet nutrition, health, and animal welfare, she's also an avid advocate for adoption and animal rights. When she's not writing, she serves as the editor of two local online news sites. Working from home with her fur babies, she advocates adoption and animal welfare through volunteering and social media. A true animal lover and vegetarian for over 31 years, she's on a mission to raise awareness and make the world a better place for all creatures.

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