16 American Bulldog Colors & Markings (With Pictures)

Two American Bulldogs with different colors and markings lounging outdoors

Contrary to popular belief, there are actually only a handful of American Bulldog colors. Although some colors are common among this breed, there are unique markings and patterns that set each dog apart.

The American Bulldog may not be as colorful as other dog breeds, but their loyalty, self-confidence, and outgoing personality are what make them stand out.

If you’re curious to know about the different colors and markings American Bulldogs can have and whether they affect health or behavior, read this article until the end.

How Many American Bulldog Colors Are There?

Two American Bulldogs sitting on the grass

American Bulldogs are a type of bulldog that comes in a few solid colors as well as different color combinations. There are eleven known American Bulldog colors, but only five of which are recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC).

Below is a list of all the known American Bulldog colors, with the first five being the AKC-recognized colors:

  • White
  • White and Black
  • White and Brindle
  • White and Brown
  • White and Tan 
  • White and Red
  • Black
  • Chocolate
  • Blue or Silver
  • Lilac
  • Merle

The rarity of an American Bulldog’s coat may also determine the price it is sold for. Some of the colors mentioned above are extremely common, while others are quite rare to come across and hence, more expensive.

11 American Bulldog Colors

When purchasing or adopting an American Bulldog, pet fanciers have personal preferences when it comes to coat color. Some people prefer solid coat colors, while others prefer dogs with unique markings.

If you’re unsure of which color you prefer when purchasing or adopting an American Bulldog, below is a list of all the possible coat colors, along with some photos for better comparison:

1. White

White American Bulldog

Whether you are a new dog owner or a show ring enthusiast, an American Bulldog with a solid white coat might probably be your first choice among all the colors.

White is recognized by the American Kennel Club as the only standard color of the American Bulldog. A white American Bulldog has a solid white coat with no markings or traces of any other color.

Also known as the “Snow White” Bulldogs, the white American Bulldogs are also called platinum by other people. Interestingly, this coat color is one of the most common colors for American Bulldogs.

2. White and Black

White and black American Bulldog
Image credit: neytiriamericanbulldogs / Instagram

A white and black American Bulldog has a white base coat with black markings on certain areas of the face and body. Some dogs may have large black patches, while others only have small black spots.

The patches and spots are unique to each American Bulldog. There is no way to predict before birth how many markings a puppy may have and where the markings could appear in a white and black Bulldog.

3. White and Brindle

White and brindle American Bulldog

A white and brindle American Bulldog usually has a white base coat with small brindle markings on several areas. In other instances, like in the photo above, the brindle markings are wrapped around a large portion of the body.

A brindle pattern features a mix of colors that resemble the stripes of a tiger. These colors usually consist of brown and black. This coat color is one of the less common colors seen in American Bulldogs.

4. White and Brown

White and brown American Bulldog

A white and brown American Bulldog has a white base coat with brown markings on its head and body. This is one of the most common coat colors seen in American Bulldogs.

The patches or spots of the white and brown American Bulldog have a shade of medium brown. It is not to be confused with the lighter shade of tan or the darker shade of chocolate. 

5. White and Tan 

White and tan American Bulldog
Image credit: 3americanamigos / Instagram

A white and tan American Bulldog has a white base coat with light tan markings on its head and body. The tan markings usually have a hint of yellow which makes it easier to distinguish from brown or red patterns.

Although this color combination may seem similar to white and brown, it is categorized as a separate coat color since the shades of tan on this coat variant are lighter compared to brown. 

6. White and Red

White and red American Bulldog

A white and red American Bulldog has a white base coat with red markings on its head and body. The splashes of red typically have a hint of orange which makes it easier to distinguish from tan and brown markings.

Although its markings may look similar to tan and brown ones, this coat variant is in a separate category. The white and red American Bulldog usually sports red markings around the eyes and all over the body.

7. Black

Black American Bulldog

Unlike other breeds with black as their dominant dog color, a solid black American Bulldog is an unlikely sight.

A black American Bulldog usually has a prominent black base coat. It is quite rare to come across a solid one with no markings. They typically have minimal traces of other colors, such as white, on their face and body.

This coat color is also one of the less common colors seen in American Bulldogs. Color combinations such as white and brown or white and tan are usually easier to find.

8. Chocolate

Chocolate American Bulldog puppy
Image credit: stranges_american_bulldogs / Instagram

As described by its name, chocolate American Bulldogs have dark chocolate-colored coats. Their eyes are typically mahogany, and they usually have the same shade of paw pads and eyeliner as well.

Similar to a black American Bulldog, an American Bulldog with a solid chocolate-colored coat is difficult to come across. Their rarity makes them challenging to find.

9. Blue or Silver

Blue or silver American Bulldog

Many people are unaware that American Bulldogs can come in this color. Although this coat is described as blue, it is not exactly the same shade of blue that we associate with the sky or sea. 

This shade of blue appears more like a combination of blue and gray or silver. This color is diluted from the black shade hence the slight similarity in appearance. The color is a more diluted version of black and gray.

10. Lilac

Lilac American Bulldog
Image credit: gabrielle3lizabeth__ / Instagram

Lilac is one of the rarest coat colors in American Bulldogs. This color often appears very washed out or diluted. Although many people think this may not be a true shade, it is recognized as a non-standard hue.

The paw pads, nose, and surrounding eye areas of Lilac American Bulldogs are usually the same shade as the rest of their coats. The lilac color in their fur is actually diluted twice by two different genes hence the light shade. 

11. Merle

Merle American Bulldog
Image credit: bolo_merle_king / Instagram

Despite the fact that numerous breeds possess a merle gene, merle is still one of the least common coat colors in American Bulldogs as well as other dog breeds.

Merle is the dilution of a dog’s overall coat color with splotches of darker shades like black, brown, or red. This gives the effect of merle or marble patterns, which are not to be confused with brindle which gives the effect of striping. 

This coat color is sometimes considered faulty or not up to standards by some American Bulldog breeders. However, many people still find this coat color unique and beautiful despite the opposing opinions of others.

5 American Bulldog Markings

Aside from solid colors, American Bulldogs also have several unique coat markings and patterns. These are what physically set dogs apart from one another since it is highly unlikely for two dogs to have the same markings.

American Bulldogs have five standard coat markings that are recognized by the AKC. 

1. Black Markings

American Bulldog with black markings

Black markings are one of the most common markings seen on American Bulldogs. They can appear as large patches on the face and ears or small spots scattered across the body. They often come with a white base coat. 

Some American Bulldogs can have very dark black markings, while others may have slightly diluted tones. Although the shade may be lighter, they still fall under the category of black markings.

2. Brindle Markings

American Bulldog with brindle markings

Brindle markings give the effect of stripes on a dog’s coat. These usually consist of dark shades such as brown and black. Some dogs have minimal brindle markings, while others have them wrapped around their bodies.

These markings are one of the less common patterns seen on American Bulldogs. Each pattern is unique and can have varying tones.

3. Brown Markings

American Bulldog with brown markings

Brown is one of the most common markings seen on American Bulldogs. These markings have a medium shade of brown, not to be confused with the lighter shade of tan and the darker shade of chocolate.

4. Tan Markings

American Bulldog with tan markings

Tan markings are the lightest shade of markings an American Bulldog can have. The tint of yellow is what differentiates them from red and brown markings. This pattern is usually seen on dogs with white base coats.

5. Red Markings

American Bulldog with red markings
Image credit: americanbulldogjeezy / Instagram

Red markings are not too common nor too rare in American Bulldogs. These patterns can range from a deep red or medium orange. The hints of orange are what sets it apart from brown or tan markings. 

Red markings are very common around the ears and eyes. They are typically found around the face and across the entire body.

Do American Bulldog Colors Affect Behavior and Health?

American Bulldogs have a life expectancy of around ten to eleven years. Their lifespan greatly depends on how well they are nurtured and taken care of. Their coat colors do not directly affect their health in any way.

There are several factors that may directly affect a dog’s behavior and health. These include their lineage, the kind of food they consume, and the amount of exercise they have on a daily basis.

One exception to note is the merle American Bulldog. Any type of merle dog, in general, is unfortunately prone to a variety of health problems. This is especially true for the so-called double merles

Meanwhile, a merle American Bulldog bred from only one merle parent will usually reach adulthood with good health. They will also sport piercing blue eyes that may or may not manifest vision problems early on.

When it comes to temperament, there is still no scientific research to prove that coat colors can directly affect a dog’s disposition and behavior in general.

As an experienced breeder of multiple breeds for more than 10 years, I can certainly attest to this. I have never seen any color for any particular breed having a distinct behavior, and this goes for the American Bulldog as well.

I would have to mention that it is the American Bulldog’s natural behavior as a breed, and how each dog is trained and brought up that has a big effect on their disposition.

Do American Bulldog Puppies Change Colors as They Grow?

American Bulldog sitting on the grass

Some American Bulldogs have the same coat color from birth until late adulthood. Other dogs have coats that lighten or fade as they grow older. With a few exceptions, this is normal and nothing to worry about.

The degree to which their coats fade may also depend on external factors. The coat of a dog who is often exposed to sunlight and high temperatures may fade earlier and faster compared to other dogs in different conditions.

What Color Will My American Bulldog Puppy Be?

Although you may have an idea of what color some puppies can be based on their parents, it is still difficult to predict them accurately.

American Bulldogs also often have markings that are unique to each pup. This is another trait that cannot be foreseen since no two dogs have the exact same markings and patterns regardless of their relationship.

If you are curious about American Bulldog color genetics, you can try formulating a Punnett square to come up with the potential color results of each gene combination.

Another method that can predict the color of your American Bulldog puppy is a DNA test. This is one of the most accurate ways of predicting coat colors.

You can watch this video to learn more about the process and accuracy of DNA testing in dogs:

Dog DNA testing kits: How accurate are they? (Marketplace)

Frequently Asked Questions

Different American Bulldog colors

What Is the Rarest American Bulldog Color?

Lilac is currently recognized as the rarest coat color in American Bulldogs. They usually start off as black puppies, then are first diluted by the chocolate gene, then diluted again by the blue gene.

Other rare or less common American Bulldog colors are blue, merle, black, and chocolate. It is especially difficult to find an American Bulldog in those solid colors with no markings or traces of other shades on their bodies.

What Is the Most Common American Bulldog Color?

White is recognized as the most common coat color in American Bulldogs. Other common coat colors also have white as the base coat with markings of brown, tan, or black. 

Final Thoughts 

American Bulldogs come in several coat colors and patterns, each one beautiful and unique in its own way. Selecting a color may sometimes be difficult, but it is usually up to personal preference and appeal. 

Although coat colors don’t usually affect a dog’s health, it is important to note that this is not always the case with merle American Bulldogs. Hence, it is advised to take extra precautions when breeding or bringing home this pooch.

American Bulldogs make great loyal companions. Aside from their coats, their fun personalities make them even more attractive. Regardless of what you select, all American Bulldog colors are equally lovable and special.

If you’ve chosen your favorite American Bulldog color, let us know more about it in the comments below.

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