American Bulldog

The American Bulldog represents one of 62 breeds originating from the United States. Best known as a taller, faster, and leaner version of its relative the English Bulldog.

Deriving from the Southern United States, around the World War 2 era, the Bully isn’t just a cute face, with broad shoulders and bulky muscle definition, this breed is arguably one of the best protectors of personal property.

While they may not be registered with certain groups, they are definitely well represented by their own organizations.

What makes this such a popular dog within its canine community?

Here is what you need to know about the American Bulldog.

History

There are a few theories about the American Bulldog, and nearly all of them credit the English Bulldog as the breed’s predecessor.

During the 1800’s, English settlers brought their working dogs with them and emigrated to the Southern states of America, specifically Alabama and Georgia.

The Bulldogs in England were used for bull baiting, a blood sport that was banned in the mid-1800’s. They were also good hard working dogs, so when the farmers left England, they took their Bully’s with them.

World War 2 nearly brought the breed to near extinction, when a returning war veteran, John Johnson, decided to develop his own version of the American Bulldog. The version Johnson created was bigger boned with more body mass and had a larger head.

The other man responsible for the reinvention of the American Bulldog is Allen Scott. Scott’s version is typically referred to as the “standard.” Scott’s standard type was more for elegance and show purposes.

American Bulldogs were used to hunt feral pigs or vermin in the United States and around the world, where the term “catch dog” is used to describe the role of a Bully catching a wild and escaped pig. Another name often coined in relation to this breed was “Hog Dog” for obvious reasons. But they weren’t only used for pigs, many found the breed useful for hunting razorbacks, as cattle drovers, and K-9 sports such as Schutzhund, French Ring, Iron Dog Competition, weight pulling and obedience.

The American Bulldog didn’t receive its name until the 1980’s, where many dog enthusiasts were still calling the dog, “Alabama,” or “Southern Bulldog.” The first club for the breed was started in 1989 as the American Bulldog Association.

The International canine registry, the United Kennel Club officially recognized the Bulldog as a breed in 1999.

The Bully today still serves a role in taking down livestock, guarding property, working as service dogs, and fulfilling their master’s workloads. 

Size

The size of an American Bulldog isn’t as straight forward as other breeds, mainly because this breed isn’t registered with the American Kennel Club

Moreover, the United Kennel Club doesn’t designate a specific weight for the breed, but it does disclose the fact that the dog is a medium to large breed. The Club does require a proportionate dog to its own height, and they expect a well conditioned and more lead, athletic with more muscle and bone definition. Females should be slighter than the males.

A male can stand between 22-27 inches, while a female may range from 20 to 25 inches.

The other authority for size is the American Bulldog Association. The A.B.A. lists the breed as two types, Bully and Standard. A Bully male can weigh between 80 to 120 pounds, and as female can range from 60 to 90 pounds. A height of 23 to 25 inches is accepted by the A.B.A. for males, while females can be 22 to 24 inches.

For a Standard, the male should stand 24 to 27 inches, and a female at 23 to 26 inches. Males will weigh between 75 to 110 pounds, as females fluctuate around 60 to 90 pounds.

Personality/Temperament

The American Bulldog is a powerful, compact breed that likes a challenge. Sometimes, the breed is unaware of its own strength. They take serious their role as the family’s protector, and won’t hesitate to defend their master’s owner if someone was to intrude.

Their strength and agility makes them a great work dog. They are capable of many herding tasks and can stand toe to toe with bigger game such as cattle or hogs.

A Bully will walk around confident and shouldn’t ever exude any cowardice. They may encounter some prey tendencies if you don’t socialize the breed earlier on. A breed of this magnitude needs early socialization, a firm leader, and someone who is consistent. An American Bulldog should have experience in its corner.

This breed is very gentle and affectionate with family. They are fine with children, and you may need to supervise them around smaller pets such as birds or cats.

It may take the American Bulldog a couple of years to shake their timid behavior around strangers. They can be somewhat aloof at times. Typically, when the dog reaches about 18 months, they will shake off any shy traits and fully engrain themselves as friendly and approachable.

This is an active breed, that will require plenty of attention and outdoor activity. Two walks a day is vital for the Bully. Dog parks, other pets and family endeavors are needed for a breed like this so that they feel like an integral part. Backyard play, obedience and other mental stimulating games will also keep your Bully from growing bored.

They aren’t the best choice for a novice, nor the best breed for apartments or restricted spaces, and hates being alone for long periods of time.

Health

Many American Bulldog owners and lovers consider the breed to be relatively healthy. The average life expectancy rate for a Bully is around 10-15 years.

If you buy from a breeder, you will want to make sure they are reputable and can provide you with all of the health clearances you need. Routine visits to your veterinarian office will help ensure a healthy dog for the long haul.

The Bulldog, much like a Boston Terrier, Affenpinscher, Rottweiler, and Shih Tzu, is a deep chested dog. Dogs that are Brachycephallic or deep chested have a harder time breathing in sweltering weather conditions. Your best best is to keep them away from muggy conditions. Their upper airwaves become restricted and forces the American Bulldog to work harder at breathing causing stress and life threatening conditions.

Another issue to keep an eye for is Hip Dysplasia. This is when the hip join is experiencing malformation from the femur. This can cause a great deal of pain, discomfort and if not treated arthritis.

Cloudiness of the eye lens or Cataracts is sometimes found within this breed. This will cause partial to complete blurriness.

Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis is a neurodegenerative disease that is usually inherited that can affect the nervous system.

Demodetic Mange is a red, itchy skin infection spread by Mites. This can lead to immune system issues, lesions of the skin and genetic disorfers.

Other issues such as Entropion and Ectropion are problems with the eyelids to watch out for. Both can cause infections and great irritability.

Hyperthyroidism can also be of issue with this breed. This is when the thyroid gland produces too much hormones resulting in increased metabolism. Weight loss, panic and anxiety and diarrhea are results associated with Hyperthyroidism.

Care

This is a breed more suited for an active lifestyle or someone who is sporty. If you like hikes, parks, adventures, and long rides, then taking your pooch along with you is the perfect fit for the American Bulldog.

They can thrive with a task if you want or need a work dog. Their courage and bravery makes them wonderful asset protectors. 

A companion should be added if you are someone who leaves all day. Toys will be needed to keep their busy minds occupied.

Affection and firm are the best components in a leader for this breed. 

You don’t need to go crazy bathing the American Bulldog, just as needed. Trim or clip their nails as needed as well. Routine inspection of their neck, arms, ears, and other sensitive areas. Since this breed is prone to certain skin issues, you’ll want to monitor closely.

Feeding

Feeding your American Bulldog may be different than how others feed theirs. For instance, depending on how active the dog is, whether he or she is a working dog, or into canine sports, can determine how much food and calories your dog will need to intake.

A low activity dog won’t need more than 1400 calories per day, as a typical does will consume about 1900 calories daily and the athlete Bulldog will shoot for about 2700 calories a day.

Protein is essential as well, and many American Bulldog owners claim 24 to 30 percent protein intake is suffice. Meat, chicken, fish, lamb, and veggies are all good ideas. A diet rich with omega fatty acids, chondroitin and glucosame will help promote joint and muscle growth.

Your Bully could need about 1.5 cups to 2 cups of dry food each day. Puppies will require more, and from four to six months, your puppy could eat 3-4 cups per day. The best way in feeding your American Bulldog is twice per day. Once during the morning and again in the evening.

As always, you should provide your American Bulldog with fresh drinking water.

Coat

The United Kennel Club describes the American Bulldog coat as short and close. It can either be stiff or sleek to the touch. It shouldn’t be wavy and there should be no feathering. The coat should be no longer than one inch or it’s consider a flaw.

Coat colors for the American Bully can be any solid color or combination except for all Black, solid Blue, Merle, tricolors or a Black mask.

Colors like White, Fawn, Tan, Brown and Piebald are acceptable.

American Bulldogs are a low maintenance breed that won’t require strenuous effort to groom. Once a week should cut it for this breed.

Fun American Bulldog Facts

  • Alternative Metal band, Deftones featured a Bully in their Bloody Cape video.
  • Like the Pitbull, the American Bulldog isn’t recognized by the American Kennel Club.
  • Females can give birth up to 14 puppies per litter.
  • The cost of a puppy American Bully is between $1500-4000, according to Bullymake.
  • There were four types of the American Bulldog including Johnson and Scott, as well as Williamson and Bailey.
  • You can find the breed featured in plenty of movies such as both Homeward Bound features, The Number 23, Return To Me, Kevin of The North and Cheaper By The Dozen.

Closing Words

A courageous and brave dog, with the mentality of a workhorse, these historic traits of the American Bulldog mirrors the country this breed hails from.

Yet this breed is friendly, engaging, and very loyal to their family, which is why the Bully is one of the most popular breeds in the U.S