A big-sized working breed, the American bulldog, is a direct descendant of the Old English bulldog. Strong and well-balanced, they epitomize endurance and agility, and at the same time, have an affectionate, loyal demeanor, excelling as wonderful family dogs.
What does an American bulldog look like
Besides its stocky build, the other prominent physical features include its large head, short snout, muscular shoulder and chest, short muzzle, round, brown eyes, folded ears, and a low set tail thick at its base tapering to the end.
American Bulldog Pictures
|Southern white English bulldog, Hill bulldog, Old southern white bulldog, Country bulldog, English white bulldog
|White; white and black; white and brindle; white and brown; white and tan
|Male: 22-25 inches
Female: 20-23 inches
|Male: 75 -100 pounds
Female: 60-80 pounds
|Friendly, gentle, loyal, assertive, energetic, dominant
|Good with Children
|Moderate; bark when the need arises
|Cannot withstand heat because of its smashed face
|Low; does well in spacious areas where they can channelize their energy well
|Do they shed
|Are they Hypoallergenic
|$1200 – $4000
|Competitive Registration Qualification/ Information
|AKC, UKC, AABC, CKC,
|United States of America
History and Origin
The presently extinct Old English bulldog of England plays a significant role in the lineage of the American bulldog, with the former being brought to North America by the working-class immigrants. The American bulldog’s existence in the United States occurred during the 17-18th centuries functioning as a farm dog, also employed to catch feral pigs and cattle. In fact, in the southern states of America feral pigs were considered invasive, lacking any natural predators. The American bulldog’s muscular body and powerful jaws helped hunt down the pigs with increased efficiency, making them popular in those regions.
This breed saw an extremely rough patch during the Second World War. Their numbers depleted drastically then, putting them at the risk of extinction. Alan Scott and John D. Johnson played a significant role in bringing this breed back to its form and reviving its numbers. Based on the lineage developed by Johnson and Scott, American bulldogs have been classified into several categories, the most prominent ones being Johnson American bulldog and Scott American bulldog.
At present, their population has risen, and they have gained a lot of popularity in their place of origin and even outside it. It has been recognized by most of the prominent breed registries, like the United Kennel Club (1999) and the American Kennel Club’s FSS (2019). Besides their working lineage, the American bulldog also serves as a loyal family dog. They even compete in dog sports like dog obedience, weight pulling, schutzund, and dog shows of the AKC, NKC, UKC, and ORKC.
Types of American Bulldog
- Johnson American Bulldog –This is even called the Classic American bulldog, comprising strains developed during World War II. They have the stout, stocky, muscular built, alongside a short muzzle, and a loyal, protective demeanor, traits observed in the present-day bulldogs. Keeping their working lineage aside, they excel well as household companions.
- Scott American Bulldog –These seem slightly different from Johnson’s bulldogs due to their athletic build, even referred to as the Standard American bulldog or the Performance American bulldog. They have long legs that give them a lean, tall stature against the short, stocky appearance of the typical American bulldogs. They fit the bill of perfect working dogs.
- Painter (Margentina) American Bulldog –They are the smallest of all American bulldog strains. Developed by Joe Painter during the 1970s, they were solely bred for fighting purposes. They were more aggressive and robust than most other bulldog variants. As per saying perceived as an urban myth, the Margentinas were crossed with the Pit bulls for increasing their aggression and strength.
- Old Southern White American Bulldog/ White English Bulldog – As per belief, they are the oldest strains of the American bulldog. They even lay the foundation stock for the present-day breed. They are larger than the regular bulldog types.
- Hybrid American Bulldog – This isn’t a distinct variety by itself but a combination of an outcome of crossing all the four types mentioned above. The result being healthier dogs attaining desirable traits of all of the above breeds.
Some of the adjectives used for describing their temperament include friendly, lively, energetic, active, loyal, and devoted. They bond perfectly well with their family, particularly their masters, enjoying their time and attention to the fullest. When they are in the best of their mood, the American bulldog will grow into a sheer entertainer, amusing all with their clownish antics. Leaving them to themselves for prolonged periods is a strict no-no. Loneliness could trigger destructive behavior like destroying shoes, furniture and even barking increasingly without a cause.
Their friendliness remains restricted only to the family members, as these dogs display complete aloofness towards people they don’t know, expressing their discontent by letting out a bark. This trait of theirs raises them to the stature of efficient watchdogs. They do well with children of the family but not with unfamiliar ones. However, supervision is still needed when little ones interact with them; else, the latter could knock them down in pursuit of play.
These athletic breeds need a high amount of exercise to stay physically fit. For the American bulldog puppies, owners must make them do non-impact exercises like a brisk 20-30 minute walk a day and a light jog. In the case of adults, that should increase to heavy workouts from an hourly walk each day to hikes, long jogs, or even strenuous games like tug of war. Leaving them alone in the backyard to play on their own isn’t a good idea indeed. Involving these dogs as a part of a rugby game you are practicing or playing frisbee with them would perhaps be more enjoyable. Their high exercise need is one reason that makes them extremely difficult to cope in an apartment set up with limited space.
This brachycephalic breed with a flat face and short snout cannot tolerate excessive heat. So, on a hot day, make sure you don’t take them out, and even if you do, make provisions for them to stay in a shaded place to avoid direct heat exposure.
Because of their short coat, grooming the American bulldog isn’t too difficult a task. Brush these dogs once or twice a week, and bathe the American bulldog when the need arises to maintain the shine and luster of their coat. Follow the other hygiene needs like trimming their nails once a month or whenever they get long and checking their eyes and ears for infection on a routine basis. You should even take care of their oral hygiene and brush their teeth every day to prevent tartar buildup. These dogs drool a lot. So, wipe the folds in between the skin of their mouth after every meal to avoid any bacterial buildup.
They have an average lifespan of 10 – 16 years, considered pretty healthy. Some of the common problems they face include bone-related disorders like hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and bone cancer. They are prone to several eye problems like cherry eye, ectropion, and entropion. Because of their brachycephalic face, they could face some breathing-related issues too.
Though intelligent and loyal, they could get headstrong and stubborn at times. Hence, this is not a breed for the novice but needs an experienced master who can handle them with firmness and tactfulness.
Socialization: Your American bulldog would display friendliness with you and your family but not towards anyone they don’t know. They could behave harshly with any guest at your door, or even people from the postal or courier service if you don’t teach them right from the start to distinguish the good from the day. This would not happen in a day but develop upon exposure to different people and even experiences. In this way, they would eventually learn to differentiate a friend from a foe and an unpleasant experience from a pleasant one.
To introduce your dog to any new guest, you could try some of the following steps: confine them in a separate room until all the guests have settled. Then, wait till your dog makes the first move after accepting that the stranger isn’t a threat. Ask the guest to drop a treat on the floor for your dog. If your dog shows acceptance, reward it, else remain indifferent. Have patience, for your dog could take time to acknowledge the other person’s presence.
Obedience: Training them on commands like ‘stay ‘and ‘stop’ from the start could help these dogs get disciplined and prevent them from displaying unpleasant behavior.
The American bulldog pups must be given food suited for large-bred puppies until they attain 14 months of age. Adult dogs need high-quality dog food with supplements for coat care, alongside muscle and bone development. If going for store-bought food, you could opt for brands like Blue Buffalo and Taste of the Wild. You could even prepare a homemade diet for them after consulting the veterinarian. Ensure to keep treats to the minimum lest that could lead to obesity, which may result in several complications like breathing distress and even bone-related issues.
Both breeds look the same but have physical and temperamental differences. The American bulldog is bigger, with a white body with black, red, brindle, tan, and brown patches. In contrast, the American pitbull terrier appears smaller and has a single coloration sans the markings. Personality-wise, the pitbulls, due to their dogfighting lineage, display increased aggression towards other dogs and even cats than the American bulldog.
Another breed closely similar to the American bulldog is its British cousin, the English bulldog. Some of the common differences observed in the two are that the American bulldog is larger with longer legs and an athletic build. The English bulldog appears smaller, with shorter legs. They even have an increasingly wrinkled appearance, not observed in the American bulldog. The latter excels more as a working dog, while the English bulldog raises to the stature of a perfect lapdog.
Though brown eyes are the standard feature, they may have blue eyes, which is relatively uncommon.
The American French bulldog is a cross between the American and French bulldog breeds. Being an outcome of two of the best bulldog breeds, they come for a high price, the puppies costing $800-$3000.
- They have featured in several popular films and series like as Tyke and Dyke from Tom and Jerry; and as Mel from the 2000 film Return to Me.