A “Bully dog” is not a single dog breed but a whole category. You have likely heard this term in connection to a few popular dog breeds, like the English Bulldog or American Bully Terrier. However, there is a wide variety of other dog breeds that fit into this category as well, like the Boxer, for instance.
All of these breeds are referred to as “Bully dogs” because they are descendants from the Molosser dogs, who were large, muscular dogs that originated in Greece. These dogs had short puzzles and pendant ears, which many of these bully breeds still have today.
These large dogs were bred to perform all sorts of tasks, just as protecting livestock and guarding property. Later on, many of these dogs were also bred for sports like bull-baiting. Eventually, these sports were banned. At this point, many of these dogs were bred for companion purposes as well.
However, their involvement in these sports led to many considering them to be aggressive dogs. Despite these rumors, bully dog breeds are not any more aggressive than other breeds. When socialized and trained correctly, they can be great companions.
Below, we’ve listed some of the most popular bully dog breeds. There are likely more. However, the ancestry of certain dog breeds is not always exact. We’ve listed all the dog breeds that are undoubtedly descended from the Molosser dog.
1. American Bulldog
The American Bulldog is a descendant from the English Bulldog. When the breed was brought over to America, it was put on its evolutionary path. These dogs were bred for all sorts of different jobs, including farm guardians and catch dogs. They were best known for their ability to bring down wild pigs.
There were many different names for this breed in the beginning. Because of this, you might commonly hear them referred to as the White English Southern Bulldog or just “bulldog.”
2. American Staffordshire Terrier
These terriers are muscular and strong. They stand about 17 to 19 inches at the shoulder. Their head is built much like other bully dogs. They are quite graceful despite their stocky stance.
The American Staffordshire Terrier is known as a “personality” dog, making them perfect for those who want a dog with a big personality. They are highly trainable and love challenges. These dogs have a bit of a negative reputation. However, they are not more aggressive than any other dog breed.
3. Boston Terrier
These smaller dogs may look different from other bully breeds, but they are a bully through-and-through. They are best known for their tuxedo coloration and are commonly black and white. They have square heads and a short muzzle, like most other breeds on this list.
Unlike most bully breeds, these dogs are suitable for city life. They are smaller and very portable, while still being quite sturdy.
The Boxer is one of the most popular dogs on this list. Males can stand at up to 25 inches, though females are a bit smaller. They are very muscular and sturdy. Because they were built to be athletes, they require a bit of exercise each day.
They are very patient but can be protective in certain conditions. They are great dogs for families with children. However, they do best when socialized early and regularly due to their innate protective instincts.
- Already have a Boxer? You may want to check out our top picks of best dog foods for Boxers here!
The Bullmastiff isn’t quite as big as a full Mastiff. However, they can still weigh over 100 pounds, which is nothing to scoff at. They have a large, broad head and dark eyes. They are best known for their outstanding protection instincts while remaining reliable companion dogs.
They are reliable dogs that need early socialization and training (before they get too big).
6. Bull Terrier
These big-boned terriers are known for their egg-shaped head and long muzzle. They are usually white but can come in other colors as well.
These dogs were built to work, so they require quite a bit of exercise. Early training is essential, and they benefit significantly from socialization. They love spending quality time with families. They are well-known personality breeds.
7. Cane Corso
The Cane Corso is a massive dog. They can weigh more than 100 pounds and have a huge head. As you might imagine, they were bred as guard dogs and still have these guarding instincts today. They are loyal, intelligent, and easy to train.
As long as you socialize them early and often, they make great companion dogs. Responsible breeding is also vital.
8. Caucasian Shepherd Dog
While these dogs do look different from other bully breeds, they still have the same protective instincts that most dogs on this list have. These dogs are not particularly common, but they do make good companion dogs when appropriately trained.
These dogs come in two major types. The mountain type has a long-coat and a plump body mass. However, the steppe type is smaller and has a short coat. Both of these are the same breed despite their differences.
9. Dogo Argentino
These dogs are large, robust, and sturdy. They are built much like other bully breeds, with a strong head and balanced body. Dogo Argentino were bred to hunt big game in packs, so they have a muscular build and high endurance. They do need a bit of exercise because of this.
As a companion, these dogs are alert and intelligent. They do not have the guarding instincts that other bully breeds do, but they have a high prey drive.
10. English Bulldog
The English Bulldog is the original bulldog. They have lots of loose skin on their head, a furrowed brow, and a distinctive rolling gait. They have short, glossy coats that come in a wide variety of different colorations and patterns.
These dogs are very easygoing, but they do require brisk walks and regular exercise. A careful diet is needed as well, as they are prone to some health problems. Their short snout makes them prone to overheating, so they don’t do great in hot climates.
11. English Mastiff
The English Mastiff is enormous, just like other mastiffs. A male can stand at upwards of 30 inches tall, while females are a bit smaller. They can outweigh many full-grown men, which makes them a powerful force. Their head is broad and massive, which makes them even more imposing.
Despite their giant size, these dogs are very docile. They are patient and lovable, making them great dogs for families with children. They are very protective, but not necessarily aggressive towards strangers.
12. French Bulldog
French bulldogs are a bit smaller than English bulldogs. They have erect “bat ears” and a large head. They have a smooth and brilliant coat that can come in many different colors.
These dogs are indeed unique. They don’t bark much, but they are very alert. They may make excellent watchdogs because of this. They only bark when they need to. They do not require much outdoor exercise and do fine in a large variety of families.
13. Great Dane
You cannot misidentify a Great Dane. These towering dogs can stand as high as 32 inches at the shoulder. They are athletic but also quite elegant. They come in quite a few coat colors, including black and white “harlequin.”
These dogs are adorable. However, they are also alert home guardians. Because of their patience, they are also very good with children.
14. Neapolitan Mastiff
The Neapolitan Mastiff has been described as “astounding” – and we agree. These canines are incredibly huge, with profuse hanging wrinkles. They are noble and dignified.
These dogs were bred for their guarding ability, as you can likely guess from their large size. They are sweet and calm most of the time, but can spring into action when needed.
15. Olde English Bulldogge
This is a rarer breed. They are similar to regular English Bulldogs. However, they more closely resemble the ancient bulldogs of the 1800s. They are excellent companions that have the drive to be a working dog if necessary. They are much healthier than other bulldogs because they are bred for function.
These dogs are very confident and friendly. If you like bulldogs but one a canine that is a bit healthier, these are the dogs to get.
Pugs are very popular in the United States. However, they are incredibly unhealthy. They are prone to various health conditions, and some even need to have surgeries to breathe appropriately.
However, their small size does make them decent city dogs. They also don’t need much exercise (and should not be exercised much because of their breathing problems). They do best in moderate climates because of their difficulty regulating their body temperature.
Rottweilers are imposing dogs. They can stand anywhere between 24 to 27 inches at the shoulder, with females running slightly smaller. They are known for their block coat and rust-colored markings.
A properly socialized and trained Rottweiler is confident and courageous – not aggressive. These dogs were bred for their guarding abilities, but they can make good companion dogs appropriately trained. They love to play and enjoy the company of their family.
18. Staffordshire Bull Terrier
These dogs do not stand particularly tall, but they can weigh a lot. The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is short and stocky. They somewhat resemble the original bulldogs, but they are a bit smaller. Their aggressive tendencies have also been bred out, so the breed is very sweet-natured today.
They are loyal companions and very patient with children.
Featured Image Credit: kim_hester, Pixabay
- 1. American Bulldog
- 2. American Staffordshire Terrier
- 3. Boston Terrier
- 4. Boxer
- 5. Bullmastiff
- 6. Bull Terrier
- 7. Cane Corso
- 8. Caucasian Shepherd Dog
- 9. Dogo Argentino
- 10. English Bulldog
- 11. English Mastiff
- 12. French Bulldog
- 13. Great Dane
- 14. Neapolitan Mastiff
- 15. Olde English Bulldogge
- 16. Pug
- 17. Rottweiler
- 18. Staffordshire Bull Terrier