Bulldog vs. Labrador Retriever: Just How Different Are They?

Deciding whether to get a bulldog or a Labrador Retriever is one debate you will certainly have if you scout the right dog for your home.

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How do Bulldogs compare to Labradors?

Bulldogs and Labrador Retrievers differ in many ways, including their physical appearance, origin, health, grooming, and care, among other parameters. Physically, bulldogs are muscular and require little exercise. On the other hand, Labrador Retrievers are great companions and support pets.

To better understand the differences between these two dogs, we undertook research that involved visiting vets, breeders, and owners with the two dog breeds. We aimed to understand the differences and similarities that make the two breeds unique. 

This understanding makes it possible for us to offer informed suggestions and recommendations but in the end, whatever dog breed one chooses depends on their preferences.

How Do Labs and Bulldogs Compare in Terms of Physical Size?

You may also want to know the exact size of your dog, especially if you have to consider their accommodation requirements. Fortunately, labs and bulldogs are great-sized dogs for most homes and families. It’s good to learn all about the two breeds before bringing any of the dogs home.

The Labrador Retriever is categorized as a large dog weighing 27-34kg/ 60-75 pounds for males and a female weighing about 25-32 kg/ 55-70 pounds.

These dogs have a height of 22-24 inches/56-61cm for the males while the female is 21-23 inches/53-58 cm tall. On average, males weigh 67.5 pounds/ 30.5 kg and are 23 inches/58.5 cm tall, while females weigh 62.5 pounds/28.5 kg with an average height of 22 inches/55.5 cm.

Bulldogs, on the other hand, weigh about 53-55 pounds/24-25 kg for the males, while females weigh 49-51 pounds/22-23 kg. As for height, all bulldogs, regardless of gender, are said to be 12-16 inches/31-40 cm.

On average, bulldog males weigh 54 pounds/24.5 kg), and females weigh about 50 pounds /22.5 kg; both have an average height of 14 inches/35.5 cm.

How can you describe the Labrador Retriever’s physical appearance and the Bulldog?

One of the most conspicuous ways to describe a dog breed is by its appearance. This involves comparing their fur color, coat, types, and shedding levels, which may impact their grooming. Keep reading to uncover how the labs and bulldogs compare in these three areas.

Hair or Coat Type Comparison

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Labradors have a coat type that is considered waterproof hence they can swim. However, the coat is also short, dense, and hard. On the contrary, bulldog coats are described to be fine.

Color Comparison

Both dogs have different color shades and variations. For example, Labrador Retrievers come in yellow, black, and chocolate coat colors. On the other hand, bulldog coats are mostly fawn, white, brindle, fawn, red, and gray.

Shedding Level Comparison

You want to know how much a dog sheds its hair when getting one, as this will help you gauge the maintenance level you have to deal with. Both labs and bulldogs shed moderately.

Grooming Needs Comparison

You will discover that the lab is easy and almost effortless to groom. The Bulldog, however, requires average grooming efforts.

In addition, both dog breeds will require a more than-average bathing routine since they need a bath every 3 to 4 weeks when the coat gets longer, oilier, and softer.

How do Labrador Retrievers and Bulldogs Compare in Terms of Characteristics?

It is only reasonable to look at the two dog breeds’ characteristics. Certain traits will stand out for both dogs, while others will be shared.

We shall consider the different attributes in the categories outlined below.


This is crucial, especially if you are worried about your environment. But first, you must find a dog that can adjust to its surroundings to cope in that area.

Fortunately, the Labrador Retriever possesses great adaptability traits, which means that it can quickly adapt to living in most environments. On the other hand, the bulldog has excellent adaptability, especially for apartment living.

While they can conveniently be left alone at home for hours without much worry, bulldogs thrive better in a moderate climate where the temperatures are not too cold or too hot.

Learning Capacity

Labradors display a general excellent learning capability. Some owners can attest that they understand a few human phrases and respond accordingly. They are also ranked the 7th most intelligent dog breed in the world.

Bulldogs, on the other hand, are also considered to be pretty smart. However, they are the most stubborn and independent thinkers. They only agree to do something when they feel they have something to gain from it, which means they are easy to push around.

Level of Friendliness

Both dog breeds are considered perfect and friendly, which is why they are ideal for families. Despite having a mean and scary look, bulldogs are extremely loyal and great around their owners and family, including children. Likewise, Labradors are great companion dogs, proving they are indeed caring and very friendly.

How do the Two Breeds Compare in Terms of Health and Wellness

Every dog breed is susceptible to specific conditions and ailments because of their genetic composition. For example, labs are more prone to hip, elbow, and knee malfunctions with higher cancer risks. 

Bulldogs, on the other hand, are more prone to brachycephalic syndrome, thanks to their short faces.

They also tend to suffer from respiratory and bone, and joint issues, which are very common. Bulldogs also suffer a lot from hair fall issues, especially those that suffer from previous skin conditions.

Common health conditions most labs suffer from include Acute:

  • Tricuspid Valve Dysplasia
  • Moist Dermatitis
  • Cataracts
  • Bloat
  • Ear Infections
  • Cold Tail
  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Epilepsy
  • Osteochondrosis Dissecans
  • Myopathy
  • Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA)

Bulldogs are likely to suffer from the following health conditions.

  • Brachycephalic Syndrome
  • Demodectic Mange
  • Cherry Eye
  • Dry Eye
  • Head Shakes
  • Entropion
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Reverse Sneezing
  • Patellar Luxation

How do the Two Breeds Compare Historically?

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The Labrador Retriever originated from Newfoundland and is said to be a direct/ immediate descendant of the Island of Dorset. 

The first owners of this breed are said to be Eskimos, who were the initial settlers of Newfoundland. Thanks to their unique fishing skills, these people used the Labrador as a fishing dog and can also be great when hunting waterfowl and game birds.

The Bulldog, which was previously large and fierce, was first developed in 1500 in England. These dogs were involved in a game called bull baiting, which involved fighting between bulls and dogs.

When bull baiting was banned, breeders re-engineered the dog breed and created the current bulldog as we know it, and the breed has developed to be one of the top ten dog breeds in America.

What are the Feeding Requirements and Habits of Bulldogs Vs. Labrador Retrievers?

One of the most pronounced differences between the two dog breeds is their feeding. 2 months old lab puppies should receive 200 to 250gms of food. 

Their three-month-old puppies need 250 to 300gms of food, while the six-month-old puppies need 350 to 450gms.

On the other hand, bulldog puppies have no specific food requirements. However, owners need to understand that these puppies need more nutrients and, as such, must be fed frequently in a day, making sure that the portions or amounts are smaller. Avoid feeding the puppies for more than 20 minutes, and ensure that they are not fed with raw meats or any food that is likely to go wrong.

Feed Labrador puppies various dog food, including Barf diets, kibble, home-cooked puppy food, and wet puppy food. 

Bulldog puppies should be fed on cooked food, preferably the one you consume. Bulldog puppies should also be fed with cooked bones three times a week, and ensure that you add no sugar to their food.

As for adult Labradors, consider a variety of foods, including dry kibbles and raw meat or bones. A raw diet will also work perfectly for adult labs. Bulldog adults can also feed on kibble as long as you cap the feeding routine to twice a day, preferably morning and evening.

When considering the proper diet for labs, focus on controlling the amounts because this dog breed tends to become overweight easily. Unfortunately, too much weight has negative consequences as they weaken the dog’s bones and could trigger other unwanted illnesses. For bulldogs, prioritize nutrition and time when it comes to feeding.

This may mean regularly consulting with your veterinary officer to know what works for your dog. Also, do not overfeed the bulldog, as this could trigger undesirable outcomes.

How Friendly are the Two Breeds?

When gauging which dog breed to pick, there are several factors you must consider. First, it is essential to factor in the family’s dynamics and choose a dog that fits right in. For example, if you host frequently, you want a dog that can accommodate people of different ages, other pets, and even strangers/ guests.

Stranger Friendliness

Fortunately, this is not something you have to worry about with the two breeds. Both labs and bulldogs are extremely friendly to strangers. Therefore, frequent hosts will not have to worry about their dogs attacking the guests because they are strangers to them.

Pet Friendliness

The level of friendliness to other pets also matters, especially if you have a different pet species in your home.

Bulldogs are the most pet-friendly dog breed, especially cats and birds. Labs can also do well around other pets, so you have nothing to worry about especially if they are appropriately socialized.

Child Friendliness

Both the bulldog and Labrador Retrievers are incredibly kid-friendly. So you don’t have to worry about the dogs mauling your child. Essential cautionary measures are, however, advised whenever small children are around any dog breed.

First-Owner Appropriateness

Generally, both dog breeds can survive with any dog owner. However, the lab is better suited for first-timers because they are easier to handle. Bulldogs can be too stubborn and discouraging for someone just beginning their dog ownership journey.

Senior Citizen Friendliness

The labs and bulldogs are excellent picks if you want to get your aged parent or relative a good dog breed. Due to their affectionate and loyal nature, they make terrific companions for aged individuals.

Office Friendliness

Since the office space is meant to be quiet and distraction-free, it should be free for poets. But unfortunately, neither of the two dog breeds is suited for the office.

How Long are Bulldogs and Labrador Retrievers Likely to Live?

Dog owners need to consider the lifespan and potential longevity of the dog they bring home. Most dogs become part of the family, and you want them to stay with you as long as possible. Fortunately, the labs and bulldogs have a p[retty long lifespan.

The life expectancy of a healthy Labrador is 10 to 12 years, with most averaging 11 years. Conversely, bulldogs have a lifespan of 8 to 10 years, with an average of 9 years. First, note that your dog will live long with proper care.

Make sure to feed your dogs adequately and appropriately. In addition, Also invest in good health and regular vet visits, not forgetting proper grooming.

Key Takeaways

  • Bulldogs and Labradors have varied traits and needs, which sets them apart
  • Both dog breeds share certain traits in common too
  • Both Labradors and bulldogs are excellent dog breeds to have
  • Labs and bulldogs are generally friendly dogs
  • Proper care is needed for both dog breeds to thrive.

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