How Well Do You Know Your "Bull" Dog Breeds?

From the American Pit Bull Terrier to the French Bulldog, there are many breeds with "bull" in their names — so it is understandable why people often get them confused.

We are going to help you keep them straight — and learn more about their distinctive attributes — with this informative slideshow.

6 "Bull" Dog Breeds and the Ties That Bind Them

Bulldog

Barbara O'Brien, Animal Photography

Bulldog

Few breeds are as recognizable as the Bulldog, with his wrinkled mug, distinctive underbite and bowlegged gait. The Bulldog of today is a gentle family companion known for his stalwart devotion, but his ancestors were originally bred to fight bulls for sport — a past that has made the breed a mascot for a number of colleges and the United States Marine Corps.

American Pit Bull Terrier

Eva Maria Kramer, Animal Photography

American Staffordshire Terrier/American Pit Bull Terrier

American Staffordshire Terriers and American Pit Bull Terriers are the two breeds that are commonly called “pit bulls,” and although they were once considered to be one and the same, they now have different bloodlines. Early in the nation's history, wealthy individuals and politicans exploited the American Pit Bull Terrier's loyalty, tenacity and bold nature by subjecting him to dog-fighting rings, giving the breed a bad reputation in the process. However, when given the right amount of socialization and training by loving owners, the Pit Bull can be a docile and affectionate family pet.

Bull Terrier

Alice van Kempen, Animal Photography

Bull Terrier

The fun-loving Bull Terrier practically commands attention, thanks to his football-shaped head, muscular body and unmatched swagger. But his brawny exterior belies a mischievous personality, which is why he's sometimes referred to as “the kid in a dog suit." This guy is the result of eighteenth-century crosses between Bulldogs and terriers, with the intent of producing a pup who possessed the strength and tenacity of a Bulldog and the intensity, alertness, agility and “game” nature of a terrier.

Bullmastiff

Sally Anne Thompson, Animal Photography

Bullmastiff

Although he's loving and sweet-natured, the Bullmastiff is ultimately a massive guard dog with a mind of his own, so he needs an assertive and experienced owner. Bullmastiffs were originally developed in England around 1860 to help estate gamekeepers protect prized animals from poachers. As the name implies, Mastiffs and Bulldogs were crossed in order to create a canine who was quicker and more aggressive than a Mastiff, yet bigger and not as ferocious as the Bulldog of that time. The resulting Bullmastiff could track poachers quietly, run short distances rapidly, and then pin and hold the poacher until help arrived.

French Bulldog

Mary Bloom

French Bulldog

The compact French Bulldog, who's become quite the popular cult pup among city-dwellers, is known for his clever ways, charming sense of humor and resolute stubborn streak. Frenchies actually originated in Nottingham, England, where small Bulldogs were popular pets with local laceworkers. When some of them moved to France, where their skills were in demand, they took their beloved pups with them — and the dogs eventually took on the name of their new country.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Mary Bloom

Staffordshire Bull Terrier

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a loving dog who's bursting with energy and enthusiasm. Just like the Bull Terrier, Staffords evolved from early bull and terrier crosses that occured in the eighteenth century, and became popular among working men, particularly coal miners in Staffordshire, England. Like the larger-sized American Staffordshire Terrier, most laws aimed at "pit bulls" apply to Staffords in the United States — but they are exempted from national breed bans in their native Britain, Australia and New Zealand.

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