American Bulldog is a breed developed from the Old English Bulldog. In early England, blood sports were very popular with both the working class and royalty. The old English bulldogs were developed for blood sports, fighting bulls, and bears, and later, other dogs. After blood sports were made illegal, the dogs were used for a variety of purposes. In the U.S., they accompanied settlers across the unknown frontiers as guardians, hunters, and at times, even herding dogs.
The American Bulldog breed should convey a sense of power. Standing between 20 and 26 inches tall and weighing 60 to 120 pounds, with the females smaller than the males, this is an all-purpose working dog. The head should show its bulldog heritage, broad with a slightly shortened muzzle. The coat is short, harsh, and white with brindle, brown, red, or tan patches.
Grooming the American Bulldog breed is easy; use a curry comb or soft-bristled brush twice a week to brush out the dead hairs. The American Bulldog is quite active. Long, brisk walks are good, as are a few catches and fetch games, but he also needs a job to do where he can burn some calories – either pulling a wagon or running on the agility course.
The American Bulldog needs early and ongoing socialization. Because they are still used as guardians of people, livestock, and property, these dogs are aggressive toward strangers, and socialization can temper this reaction. Training should begin early, too, and continue into adulthood – not just for this physically powerful breed to learn self-control but also to give the American Bulldogs a job to do. This breed also thrives in dog sports, including carting and weight pulling.
The American Bulldog requires an active owner who is a leader and is dog savvy. He is affectionate, loyal, and good with older children. (He can be too rough for young kids.) He will be a willing playmate for lots of childhood adventures. The breed can be dog-aggressive. Health concerns include hip dysplasia and allergies.
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The muscular American Bulldog possesses great strength, tenacity, determination, and confidence.
He is best owned by active people who are interested in developing his athletic abilities in weight pulling, obedience, agility, hunting, farm work, or Schutzhund. Though usually calm and self-possessed, he must have vigorous exercise to stay fit and happy.
His attitude toward strangers varies from friendly to standoffish, and even the friendly ones make vigilant guardians. Early socialization is an absolute requirement to promote a stable, discriminating temperament.
The American Bulldog lives for his family and may become destructive if left alone too much.
Dog aggression can be a problem; he should be thoroughly socialized with other dogs from an early age. Cats, too.
Though strong-willed, he learns quickly and will respect an owner who is equally confident and consistent.
Because of public/media prejudice toward any breed resembling a “pit bull,” American Bulldogs should be kept on-leash outside their yard and trained through at least basic obedience.