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The Toy Bulldog and The Miniature Bulldog: From Extinct Breed To Modern Marvel

Photo of Tamsin De La Harpe

Written by Tamsin De La Harpe

The Toy Bulldog

The English Bulldog has long been one the most popular and irresistible dog breeds worldwide, leading many to wonder if a Toy Bulldog or a Miniature Bulldog is an option. The answer to whether you can find Toy Bulldog puppies near you is yes, sort of.

With the growing call to reshape the Bulldog breed, new types of Bulldogs are emerging, like the Continental or Australian Bulldog. Of course, there is also an increasing demand for designer breeds and pocket or teacup dogs. So it’s natural that so many people would love charming Toy Bulldogs they can carry around. In fact, this has already resulted in similar breeds like the Micro Bully or the Exotic Bully.

But if you’re on the hunt for Miniature Bulldog Puppies, we have you covered. To get into this topic (Toy Bulldogs have a long and complicated history), we referred to The Complete Guide to English Bulldogs and other expert sources.

Some modern Bulldog breeders breed smaller purebred Bulldogs that weigh about 30 to 45 lbs (13 to 20 kg), whereas the standard Bulldog is 50 to 55 lbs (23 to 25 kg). But these are not miniature Bulldogs, only smaller versions of purebred AKC-recognized Bulldogs.

History Of The Toy Bulldog & The Mini Bulldog

History Of The Toy Bulldog & The Mini Bulldog

Centuries before Paris Hilton launched teacup dogs onto the world stage as the ultimate status dog, people were already trying to create tiny Bulldogs to serve as lap dogs. A teacup is usually around 4 lbs, so it is currently impossible to have a Teacup English Bulldog.

On the other hand, a toy dog usually weighs less than 15 pounds, and a miniature dog typically weighs less than 22 pounds. This means English dog breeders in the 18th and 19th centuries could set their sites on creating an adorable Toy Bulldog.

The original aim at this time was to create a dog that weighed around 20 lbs. They used 3 methods to achieve this, and all three failed:

  1. They bred the smallest Bulldogs together, but this created birth complications.
  2. They bred dwarf Bulldogs from normal parents together. But these dogs were not very healthy or fertile, and since dwarfism is a recessive gene, they often had normal-sized puppies when they did breed.
  3. They crossed their English Bulldogs with French Bulldogs calling it the French Toy Bulldog. But the Kennel Club did not want to recognize this mixed breed, and it eventually died out.

The Modern Toy Bulldog

Now let’s jump to today, where we can’t get enough of miniature versions of popular dog breeds. Today, Toy Bulldog or Toy English Bulldog is a term that also describes the Miniature English Bulldog, which is usually a Bulldog Pug mix called a Bull Pug.

But this is not the only kind of dog one can consider a Toy or Miniature Bulldog. Another typical cross is an English Bulldog and a French Bulldog:

Another emerging breed that counts as a Miniature Bulldog is the Shorty Bull. These are Bulldogs mixed with Pugs, Boston Terriers, and French Bulldogs.

You can also get the Mini Olde English Bulldog, which would usually be about 75% French Bulldog and about 25% Olde English Bulldog, like in this video:

As you can see, several mixed Bulldog breeds can create a Miniature or Toy Bulldog. But can you get a toy Bulldog from purebred English Bulldog parents? The answer is that the breeders who want to make Miniature or Toy Bulldogs without outcrossing to smaller breeds like Pugs or Frenchies will face the same problems that led to the extinction of the original Toy Bulldog.

Breeders may try to create a Toy Bulldog by line-breeding the smallest English Bulldogs together or breeding dwarf Bulldogs. The problem is that standard English Bulldogs already suffer myriad health issues, and breeding dwarves, or inbreeding to make them smaller, raises many ethical problems

What Do Toy Bulldogs Look Like?

The Toy Bulldog or Miniature Bulldog appearance varies depending on what dogs it is crossed with to create a smaller version. So the following are general guidelines of what to expect.

Both toy and miniature bulldogs have smooth and short coats, requiring minimal grooming and shedding year round. These are not allergy-friendly dogs.

What Do Toy Bulldogs Look Like?

These breeds are known for their expressive faces, with specific features contributing to their charming and adorable look. Typical miniature bulldog-type dogs have large bulging eyes that are usually round and set low in their face, giving them a sweet and soulful expression. Their broad and wrinkled faces give them a distinct bulldog appearance.

Toy and miniature bulldogs come in various colors and patterns, adding to their individuality. Still, the color variety depends on the crossbreed. Bull Pugs are usually:

  • white, 
  • red and white,
  • fawn, 
  • black, 
  • red, 
  • white and tan, or
  • brindle

When mixed with French Bulldogs, you can usually get many more colors, such as a red or blue merle, tri or phantom merle, tricolor, chocolate, blue, cream, lilac, or blue fawn.

How big are Toy Bulldogs vs. Miniature Bulldogs?

How big are Toy Bulldogs vs. Miniature Bulldogs?

Toy bulldogs are small, typically standing between 10 to 14 inches (25 to 35 cm) tall at the shoulder and weighing around 15 to 25 pounds (7 to 11 kg). These are usually puppies with a lot of Pug (Bull Pugs) influence to create the smallest possible Bulldog type dog.

Miniature Bulldogs are slightly larger than toy bulldogs but still compact. They typically measure around 14 to 16 inches (35 to 41 cm) in height and weigh between 25 to 40 pounds (11 to 18 kg). They may be dwarves, small English Bulldogs, or crossbreeds like the Shorty Bull or Mini Olde English Bulldog. 

Toy Bulldog Temperament, Trainability, and Intelligence

Toy Bulldog Temperament, Trainability, and Intelligence

Regarding temperament, both toy and miniature bulldogs inherit the endearing qualities for which bulldogs are renowned. They are generally affectionate and loyal and enjoy spending time with their human companions. 

However, toy bulldogs are often described as spirited and determined, showcasing a tenacious attitude despite their small size. This usually comes from having more Pug or French Bulldog blood. Miniature bulldogs may exhibit a slightly calmer and more laid-back demeanor compared to their toy counterparts while still possessing these admirable traits.

These dogs are not easy to train and are not known for being the most intelligent, so they require patient and consistent dog owners who invest in positive reinforcement. They are devoted companions who love nothing more than snoozing (and snoring) the day away.

General care of the toy Bulldog

Exercise needs

The toy Bulldog has minimal exercise requirements. About two 10-minute daily walks are OK, as these dogs are prone to heat exhaustion. You can add additional playtime during the day to keep them active.

Do not walk this dog on a collar, as pressure on their throats can literally cause their eyeballs to pop out; called canine proptosis, which mainly affects short-nosed breeds like the Pug, French Bulldog, or English Bulldog. Always use a secure no-pull harness.

Grooming needs

Toy Bulldogs do not need a lot of grooming. Brushing them with a pet grooming glove once a week is OK to keep their coat glossy and remove dead hair. Wash them every six weeks and regularly clean their wrinkles and ears to avoid infections. 

They are prone to dental disease, so keep a dog mouth rinse nearby. Clip their nails once a month to make sure to clean their eyes.

Housing needs

The Miniature Bulldog is not an outside dog and does well in apartments and small spaces. A small yard is ideal. They need to sleep inside and may have trouble getting on furniture, so make sure they have a quality dog bed.

The Health of The Toy Or Miniature Bulldog

The Health of The Toy Or Miniature Bulldog

While crossing Bulldogs with other breeds should create a healthier dog in theory, to create a Toy Bulldog, breeders usually need to mix an English Bulldog with breeds like Pugs, Boston Terriers, and French Bulldogs that all have similar health issues to the Bulldog. This means Toy Bulldogs are very vulnerable dogs.

Areas of concern to these dogs include:

Respiratory issues

The first major problem you are likely to encounter in a Toy Bulldog or Miniature Bulldog is Brachycephalic AIrway Syndrome; this is where deformities in short-nosed dogs interfere with their ability to breathe and can also keep them from sleeping properly due to sleep apnea, which can affect their quality of life. They are also extremely prone to heatstroke and overexertion because their short noses don’t allow them to cool down properly.

Eye Problems

The first most common issue is eye problems. Because of the bulging eyes, you may struggle with issues like:

Skin Issues

Miniature Bulldogs have notoriously sensitive skin and need a very gentle canine shampoo. They are prone to allergies that cause itchy skin and hair loss or digestive problems that cause runny, yellow poop. Blue and fawn Toy Bulldogs may also be prone to color-dilution alopecia. Keep doggy wet wipes on hand to clean their drool, wrinkles, and ears to avoid skin fold infections (pyoderma) or infections.

Musculoskeletal issues

There are many things that can go wrong with Toy Bulldog’s joints and ligaments that lead to arthritis, so they will need dog mobility supplements throughout their life. Some issues to look out for include Legg-Calvé-Perthe Disease, where the femur joint loses blood supply. They may also struggle with displaced kneecaps and dysplasia. These dogs are also prone to back problems like herniated discs.

Other health issues in the Toy Bulldog:

Some other health risks include:

  • Obesity
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Diabetes

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Toy Bulldog good with kids and other animals?

Toy Bulldogs are usually good with kids but always supervise children and dogs together to avoid accidents. They can be aggressive with other dogs, especially dogs of the same gender, so invest in plenty of early socialization.

How long does the Toy Bulldog live?

The Toy Bulldog may live between 8 and 12 years, depending on the health of their parent breeds and on their general care.

Is the Toy Bulldog hypoallergenic?

Neither the Toy Bulldog nor Miniature Bulldog is hypoallergenic, and these dogs do shed quite a bit for their size.

How much is a toy bulldog?

How much a Toy Bulldog costs vary drastically. An accidental Pug Bulldog mix may cost you as little as $300 or less. However, when breeders start to breed miniature Bulldog type dogs like the Shorty Bull or the Mini Olde English Bulldog, prices start to rise to between $1000 and $4000. Purebred small English Bulldogs may cost $2500 or more.

How long do Toy Bulldogs live?

Toy Bulldogs typically live for between 8 and 12 years, depending on their breeding. As they can inherit health problems both from the Bulldog or other breeds like Pugs or French Bulldogs, it’s essential to look for a reputable breeder who invests in health testing.

Final thoughts

Toy bulldogs and miniature bulldogs offer the perfect combination of charm, loyalty, and manageable size. While their differences lie mainly in size and temperament, both breeds share the lovable characteristics that make bulldogs so adored. Whether you opt for the spirited nature of the toy bulldog or the slightly more relaxed demeanor of the miniature Bulldog, these delightful canines are sure to bring joy and companionship to any home willing to embrace their unique personalities.

Meet Your Experts

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Tamsin De La Harpe


Tamsin de la Harpe has nearly two decades of experience with dogs in rescue, training, and behavior modification with fearful and aggressive dogs. She has worked closely with veterinarians and various kennels, building up extensive medical knowledge and an understanding of canine health and physiology. She also spent two years in the animal sciences as a canine nutrition researcher, focusing on longevity and holistic healthcare for our four-legged companions. Tamsin currently keeps a busy homestead with an assortment of rescue dogs and three Bullmastiffs.

Tamsin de la Harpe has nearly two decades of experience with dogs in rescue, training, and behavior modification with fearful and aggressive dogs. She has worked closely with veterinarians and various kennels, building up extensive medical knowledge and an understanding of canine health and physiology. She also spent two years in the animal sciences as a canine nutrition researcher, focusing on longevity and holistic healthcare for our four-legged companions. Tamsin currently keeps a busy homestead with an assortment of rescue dogs and three Bullmastiffs.