The American Bulldog is a powerful, athletic and courageous dog that inspires great respect. This dog is one of the most similar to the original 19th century bulldog. The inexperienced eye can confuse the American bulldog with the boxer, the pìtbull or the dogo argentino because there are many similarities between these breeds. However, each of them has distinctive characteristics that allow it to differentiate itself.
The American Bulldog is a fearless and extremely strong dog. Surprisingly, for all its power, these dogs are kind, affectionate and loyal pets. With such a companion, the owners feel safe in any place, because in the distant past, American bulldogs took part in bullfights, emerging from such battles as winners.
In this ‘ Pets Feed ‘ breed sheet, we will detail everything you need to know about the American Bulldog.
Origin of the American Bulldog
The American Bulldog shares much of its history with other Bulldog dogs and similar breeds. So, to some extent, he shares the story with the English Bulldog and the Pit Bull, to give just two examples.
Its origins go back to fighting dogs and big game dogs which were already used in the first half of the first century, but it is in its recent history that the breed is defined and that the current American bulldog takes shape. In the 19th century, bulldog dogs were used in Britain as guardians, boleros (helping to drive and manage livestock) and to help butchers kill livestock. During this same century, the cruel “sport” of fighting between dogs and bulls, in which bulldog dogs were used, is booming.
In 1835, however, the British authorities prohibited bloody “sport” and the bulldog gradually disappeared. Over time, the crosses of these dogs with other less large and aggressive, would give birth to the current English bulldog. During this time, some English immigrants who had brought their bulldog to North America, kept the breed unchanged because it helped them a lot in controlling and hunting large dangerous animals, such as wild pigs. These animals, with almost no change, are the ones that gave birth to the current American Bulldog.
After World War II, the breed virtually disappeared in the United States. Fortunately for the American Bulldog, John D. Johnson and Alan Scott, along with other lesser-known breeders, worked hard to recover the most typical dogs they found, thus forming a group of founders to recover the breed.
It is thanks to these people that the American Bulldog survives today. Johnson developed an increasingly strong variety of the American Bulldog, known as the “bully” or “classic”. Instead, Scott developed a lighter, athletic variety known as the “standard.” These are the two main varieties used to recover the American Bulldog, but today it is very difficult to find them in their purest form. Most American bulldogs today are hybrids between the two varieties.
Today, this imposing and powerful dog breed is not very widespread but no longer risks extinction. Although not well known, the American Bulldog today stands out as a versatile working dog, fulfilling the functions of guard, protection, big game and, of course, a pet.
Physical Characteristics of the American Bulldog
Males measure between 57 and 67 centimeters at the cross, while females measure between 53 and 65 centimeters at the cross. The standard for this breed does not indicate a range of ideal weights, but does indicate that the weight should be proportional to the size. Of course, “standard” dogs are lighter and “bully” dogs are heavier.
The American Bulldog is a medium to large dog, very powerful, athletic and muscular. With a robust complexion, his body is slightly longer than tall. The long and wide head of this dog gives the impression of great power.
The cranial vault is parallel to the upper line of the muzzle and the abutment is pronounced and abrupt. The muzzle is broad and thick, with strong jaws and muscular cheeks. The lips are moderately thick but not suspended and, preferably, black. In “tyrant” type dogs, the length of the muzzle is between 25% and 35% of the total length of the head.
In those of the “standard” type, the length of the muzzle is between 30% and 40% of the total length of the head. The bite of these dogs is very powerful, which is one of the characteristics of all bulldog dogs. In the “standard” type American bulldog, the inverted scissor bite is preferred, but a slight prognathism is also accepted.
In the Bulldog type of “bully”, a 1/4 inch prognathism is preferred. In both cases, the pincer bite is accepted, but it is not desired. The broad and long nose has wide nostrils. Brown, brown and gray noses are accepted, but the preferred color for this part of the body is black. Depigmentation (pink nose) is unacceptable. The eyes of the American Bulldog are medium and well separated from each other.
Their shape can range from round to almond and any color is accepted, but dark brown or black is preferred. The preferred color for the edge of the eyelids is black. The ears of these dogs are small or medium and high insertion. They can be dropped, semi-straight or in pink. The UKC standard accepts cut ears, but indicates that full ears are preferred. The ABRA standard does not accept cut ears.
The neck is muscular and strong and narrows slightly from the shoulders to the head. At its point of greatest diameter, it is almost as wide as the bulldog’s head. He may have a light double chin. The anterior and posterior extremities are strong and muscular, and have thick and well-developed bones.
The feet are round, medium, well arched and tight. The American Bulldog’s chest is deep and moderately large. The upper line tilts slightly from the cross (point above the height of the shoulders) towards the muscular back. The loin is short, wide and slightly arched, and joins the rump with a very slight slope. The tail, of low insertion, is thick at the base and ends at the end. The UKC accepts cut tails, although it prefers whole tails. ABRA does not accept cut tails.
The hairs are short and tight, with a texture that can vary from soft to rough. They must be less than an inch long and any color combination is accepted except pure black, pure blue, blackbird and tricolor. The fully black mask is also not accepted. At least 10% of the body must be white, and most American Bulldogs have most of the body this color.
The trotting of these dogs is fluid, powerful and well coordinated and does not indicate any effort. During this, the upper line remains level, the legs do not move inward or outward, and the feet do not cross. However, as the American Bulldog increases speed, the feet tend to converge towards the center of balance of the body.
Character and temperament of the American Bulldog
The typical American Bulldog is a determined and courageous dog, but he must not be unnecessarily aggressive. Excellent guardian of his strong protective instinct, he can be aggressive with strangers and other dogs when he has not been properly socialized or when he does not have good self-control.
Therefore, it is very important to socialize him as a puppy and train him in obedience so that he develops the necessary self-control.
He is also an excellent hunter, especially when it comes to big game where he stands out from other dog breeds. However, its strong impulse to the prey can be a disadvantage for those who have the American Bulldog as a pet. This impulse can give the dog a tendency to “chase” small animals like other pets and dogs of small breeds.
One way to help control his strong impulses is to practice a dog sport such as agility or schutzhund with the dog. As this breed is very hot, sports for protective dogs, such as schutzhund can be very useful when guides and experienced extras are available.
The American bulldog is quite suitable for keeping in an apartment. On the outside in winter, such a dog will suffer from the cold. In the house, he must know his place and the rules of behavior, so the pet will not cause trouble for the household, and will not create discomfort for the dog itself.
When keeping an American bulldog in the house, it is necessary to provide him with daily walks with the required physical activity. When walking in public places, the dog should be muzzled and on a leash. When buying a muzzle, you should not save money, choose a bulldog model so that the product does not contribute to difficulty breathing.
Walking with a bulldog is better in the morning and in the evening, the heat is destructive for him. The owner should know the rules of first aid for a pet in case of overheating, during sunstroke. In the cold season, it is recommended to wear clothes on the American bulldog, for example, in the form of overalls.
While walking, try to keep the dog busy with some game or repetition of commands. Such a dog is very active, it will be pleasant for him to play ball with the owner or jump over the proposed obstacles. The main thing is not to let your pet entertain itself outside the home, otherwise it will get used to coming up with games. As a result, his inventions will be transferred to the house, which is fraught with damage to furniture and other property. In addition, joint games with the dog and regular training create a trusting relationship and bring the owner closer to the ward.
It’s nice when the dog looks well-groomed, beautiful and cheerful. You can achieve a similar result if you regularly carry out the following procedures:
- The short hair of the American Bulldog sheds year-round, especially plentiful molting occurs twice a year. In an apartment with inadequate care, there will be dead hairs everywhere. This can be avoided by combing the dog with a brush 3-4 times a week or using a special mitten.
- Bathing is carried out twice a year or as needed. The rest of the time, it is enough to wash your dog’s paws after walking and wipe the coat with a damp piece of cloth.
- American bulldogs are characterized by increased salivation. This feature gives owners problems in the form of wet spots throughout the house. To reduce this problem, you need to often remove excess saliva that has accumulated at the corners of the lips.
- For American Bulldogs, regular oral care is very important. The fact is that the structure of the muzzle, characteristic of the representatives of the breed, contributes to the early loss of the teeth of the lower jaw. To keep them as long as possible, you need to regularly brush your pet’s teeth and monitor their condition, visiting from time to time a veterinarian-dentist for prevention.
- Another feature of the American Bulldog is the folds on the short face. If you do not take care of the skin of these folds every day, bacteria may appear, which will lead to the formation of dermatoses, skin diseases, and inflammation.
- American bulldogs are characterized by increased lacrimation. Because of this, you need to frequently wipe the dog’s eyes and lacrimal pathways. For such a procedure, special means in the form of lotions are sold in veterinary pharmacies.
- We wipe the ears every 5-7 days, at the same time we conduct an examination for the presence of inflammation, damage and excessive discharge.
- We cut the nails as needed, although the American Bulldog usually erases them during daily walks.
You can feed the American Bulldog with both natural food and ready-made food. Buy only premium dog food. If you have chosen a natural way of feeding, the diet should contain offal, cereals, meat and dairy products, vegetables. It is necessary to provide the dog with a sufficient amount of vitamins and minerals. Water should be always available; it must be cool and clean. Adult dogs are fed twice a day at the same time.
American Bulldog Health
Unusual appearance and physical characteristics make these dogs vulnerable. It is believed that they are predisposed to many diseases, in comparison with other species of dogs, nature has rewarded poor health. To ensure that the American bulldog grows normally, develops, does not hurt, the owner must carefully, with love and care, care for his pet. It is important to know which diseases the highest predisposition is noted:
- Allergic reactions – most often there is a food allergy, it can manifest itself both in the form of a minor skin rash, and in the form of serious asthma attacks. There is also an allergy to perfumes, shampoo or soap.
- Discopathy is a pathology of intervertebral discs.
- Dysplasia – affects the joints, accompanied by severe pain, lameness and even immobilization.
- Deafness is congenital.
- Skin diseases.
- Eye diseases.
- Immunodeficiency is a serious pathology that leads to the development of other serious diseases due to a decrease in the protective functions of the body.
- Tumors of the perianal region are neoplasms that develop in close proximity to the anus.
- Defect of the cardiovascular system – congenital
- Respiratory problems – snoring, shortness of breath.
- Difficult puppybirth.
With proper care, an American bulldog can live 10-12 years.
Training and education
The upbringing of a dog begins as early as two months of age. During this period, the puppy begins to learn the simplest commands and learns the rules of behavior. From the first days of the American bulldog’s stay in the house, it is important to develop the correct line of behavior for the dog in relation to not only the owner, but also all other household members, pets and guests.
After successful adaptation to a new place, the puppy must undergo socialization, get to know the world outside the home. Only after that you can start serious trainings, because the American bulldog must undergo training courses.
What kind of training course the American Bulldog needs is decided depending on what the dog is preparing for. For example, a companion American bulldog will have a general training course. A guard dog will need a general and protective course. If you are preparing a dog for hunting, you will need to study the search and attack of course under the guidance of experienced specialists.
American Bulldog Fun Facts
- A unique case is known when two young American bulldogs violently rushed into the flames in the event of a fire in the house. They considered fire to be a living enemy and fought fearlessly with it, protecting their masters.
- The lovers of the breed respectfully call the American bulldog “a fighter to death”.
- It is almost impossible to scare or at least surprise an American bulldog, it is known as the owner of an unusually strong nervous system.
- Many celebrities (George Clooney, Angelina Jolie, David Beckham and others) chose the American Bulldog as a pet.
Pros and cons of the breed
Given the difficult character and tough temper of the American bulldog, it is worth considering carefully whether you can cope with such a dog and raise it correctly. To decide whether to buy an American Bulldog puppy or not, the lists of the main pros and cons of the breed representatives will help.
- Devotion, dedication.
- Security qualities.
- High intelligence.
- Requires daily long walks.
- Predisposition to many diseases.
- Stubbornness and desire to dominate.
- Aggressiveness to other dogs.
- Increased salivation.