There has been a new wave of popularity in Bulldogs and bully breeds over the last few decades. Perhaps it has to do with the unique expressive, endearing faces of Bulldogs, or maybe it’s their compact build, or even the unique way they are able to squeeze their way onto our laps and into our hearts.
There’s something about big, muscular dogs who fancy themselves lap dogs, especially when these said dogs have gotten somewhat of a bad rap throughout history. Come on, everyone loves an underdog, right?
The American Bulldog is one such underdog whose biggest issue for him over the years has to do with his appearance. This bully breed looks very similar to another dog breed that has been subsequently banned in many regions and is considered “aggressive” or “unpredictable”.
That’s right, we are talking about the Pitbull.
But Pitbulls and American Bulldogs are two different breeds. Not that it matters, really. Most dog enthusiasts and experts know by now that breed discrimination is unfair, unbased, and without scientific backing.
The truth is, Bulldogs are very old breeds who have been around since the early 1700’s, and while they were used, just like Pitbulls, for bull fighting and dog fighting, American Bulldogs are now considered by those who know them to be beloved, trainable, and gentle family companions.
With that being said, like all dogs, the American Bulldog does come with his pros and cons, and while the breed can make a great dog for the right family or owner, he isn’t the right dog for every household.
Are you wondering if the American Bulldog would make the right addition to your home or family? Well, wonder no more. Join us as we learn all about the American Bulldog and discover what kind of pet he would make for you.
What Is An American Bulldog?
The American Bulldog is a purebred dog who is different from Pitbulls and other Bulldog types, although he does look similar.
The American Bulldog is a purebred dog who is different from Pitbulls and other Bulldog types, although he does look similar to Pitbulls, especially if his ears are clipped, like the American Bulldog in the photo above.
American Bulldogs are known for their compact, muscular bodies, their loyal disposition, and their great big hearts.
This is a breed who has been in development since the 1700’s, although the American Bulldog hasn’t yet been officially recognized by the American Kennel Club.
However, on November 11th 2019, the American Kennel Club did accept the American Bulldog breed into the Foundation Stock Services group, which puts the breed well on it’s way to becoming an official member of the AKC.
What Does The American Bulldog Look Like?
You can tell an American Bulldog from other breeds by looking at his face.
American Bulldog Weight: 60-125 Pounds
American Bulldog Height: 20-26 Inches
American Bulldog Coat Colors: White, or white with markings of red, fawn, brown, or brindle.
American Bulldog Coat Type: Short, harsh, shedding
American Bulldog Ears: Naturally floppy but may be clipped
American Bulldog Tail: Long
Let’s Learn More About The American Bulldog’s Appearance:
At first glance, it’s easy to see why some may mistaken the American Bulldog for a Pitbull or another Bully type breed, but once you know what to look for it is easy to recognize an American Bulldog when you see one.
American Bulldogs are large, muscular breeds with curious, brown eyes, naturally floppy ears, and the trademark Bully face. Their droopy jowls, wrinkled foreheads, and shorter noses give them away as American Bulldogs.
Where Does The American Bulldog Come From?
The American Bulldog’s history shows he was bred as a working and guard dog.
The American Bulldog is believed to be closely related to the now extinct Old English Bulldog, who was originally used for Bullfighting around the 1700’s. Immigrants brought the early Bulldogs to America, where they were subsequently bred for working purposes.
Along with bull fighting and dog fighting, the Bulldog was used as an all around working dog and earned his keep working on farms and herding cattle, catching vermin, and guarding livestock and homesteads.
The American Bulldog was perhaps most useful to farmers by keeping the wild pig population under control, which was a formidable practice for these dogs and required them to be strong, fearless, and have endearance.
Over time, and as animal rights laws were put into place, bullfighting and dog fighting became outlawed and the American Bulldog was perfected by detail-focused breeders who not only kept the breed from extinction, but also ensured the breed’s characteristics became more compatible for companionship and trainable over time.
Today, the modern day American Bulldog exhibits more of a family-oriented temperament and enjoys the family life. He makes an energetic, trainable, and eager to please dog who, when properly socialized, gets along well with children and other pets.
The American Bulldog is still used by some American and European farmers today as a cattle dog and homestead guardian, and he also excels in dog sports including agility, obedience, carting, and more.
Although the American Bulldog has hundreds of years’ worth of history under his furry belt, he has yet to be recognized officially by the American Kennel Club, as we mentioned above.
However, the American Bulldog is recognized by a number of other breed clubs around the world and, as we also covered briefly, the American Bulldog recently landed himself on the American Kennel Club’s Foundation Stock Services group, or FSS.
The FFS aims to help breeders maintain and keep track of breeding records and ensures responsible breeding practices continue for specific breeds, thus leaving the door open for the American Bulldog to eventually find a spot on the American Kennel Club’s official breed registry.
What Is The American Bulldog’s Temperament Like?
American Bulldogs are affectionate dogs who become bonded with their people.
The American Bulldog of today is a high-energy dog who enjoys playtime as much as he does work.
This is a breed who is known for his confidence, love of life and family, and is friendly with other dogs.
He is a gentle breed in spite of his large, muscular frame, and many American Bulldog fans agree that this is a very large dog who has absolutely no idea of his size. He will enjoy snuggling and will feel the need to be right up underneath his people. He will want to be where you are and when you sit down, get ready for a big cuddle from this giant lap dog!
The breed is also said to be loyal, friendly, and outgoing, although he can be standoffish with strangers upon first meeting them.
Due to his size and breed history, it’s super important that the American Bulldog is trained and socialized at an early age and taught plenty of cues, markers, and release words, as well as a strong recall.
Still, this is an eager to please and easy to train dog and he’ll be more than happy to learn so long as you use positive reinforcement methods, treats, and lots of praise.
Are American Bulldogs Good With Children And Other Pets?
The American Bulldog can make a great family pet when properly trained and socialized
American Bulldogs may have been bred for some intense working and catching, but most people who know this breed will tell you that these guys are just big, furry babies.
American Bulldog enthusiasts swear that these gentle giants love nothing more than snuggling up and playing games.
They can get along very well with children and other household pets, although experts suggest that these dogs be raised with children and socialized, handled, and managed during puppyhood by youngsters to ensure they grow up patient and well-rounded.
And while American Bulldogs do enjoy playing with other doggy companions, it should be noted that they may not always get along with strange dogs or dogs they don’t know. For this reason, it’s imperative to properly introduce American Bulldogs to new pets and other dogs and supervise them around dogs they haven’t met before.
American Bulldogs are not ideal dogs for dog parks or situations where they can easily become overwhelmed by a lot of dogs running and jumping.
Still, they will enjoy hanging out with a few doggy playmates they know well and have been properly introduced to. They also do great with other household pets they are raised with.
Like all dogs, American Bulldogs should be supervised around young children, and kiddos should be educated and taught how to respectfully and appropriately interact around dogs of all kinds.
What Are The Training And Exercise Needs Of An American Bulldog?
The high-energy American Bulldog requires lots of daily exercise.
Because they were bred as guard dogs and vermin catchers, the American Bulldog is built with endurance and enjoys running free.
He is a high-energy dog who needs lots of time and commitment from his owners as far as exercise goes.
If under exercised or not kept mentally stimulated throughout the day or if left home alone for too long, the American Bulldog can become bored and destructive. He may also be prone to anxious behaviors, stress, and anxiety which can lead to other behavioral issues.
The proper exercise for a dog like the American Bulldog will look like two good, long walks every day and at least an hour or so of off-leash playtime in the backyard. With that being said, you’ve probably guessed by now that the American Bulldog might not make the best apartment dog.
He does well in homes with plenty of outdoor space where he can run and play. Of course, we should note that the American Bulldog is pure muscle, especially in his hind legs, and he is a jumper. This is a breed who can jump over three feet so his backyard or any enclosed play space should be securely fenced.
There is another reason it’s important to ensure your American Bulldog has a good recall. Due to his history as a pig catcher, the American Bulldog can have a high prey drive.
Most owners agree that it’s safest to keep their American Bulldog on a leash and harness during walks and to ensure he is properly socialized and trained so that he can differentiate other running pets from running prey.
Speaking of training, the great thing about the American Bulldog breed is that they are eager to please, loyal, and quick to learn. They enjoy having a job to do, as most working breeds do, and will be eager to learn new tricks and cues.
However, remember that the American Bulldog can be a sensitive dog and can easily get hurt feelings. He will do best with positive reinforcement methods during training like using high quality training treats and lots of praise.
Be patient with your American Bulldog and begin training and socializing him as early as possible to ensure he grows up happy, healthy, and well rounded.
What Are The Grooming Requirements For An American Bulldog?
With their short, harsh coats, American Bulldogs are a breeze to groom.
The American Bulldog has a short, harsh coat that does shed, but not too heavily. Because of this, he will only need brushing once a week or so and an occasional bath every so often.
Be careful not to overbathe your American Bulldog. Like many dogs, the American Bulldog produces his own oils that help to keep his skin and coat healthy. Bathing an American Bulldog too often or too little can lead to his coat being stripped of these oils and result of skin infections, allergies, hot spots, and hair loss.
Along with bathing your American Bulldog on a proper schedule, experts also recommend bathing him using a high quality dog shampoo and conditioner that is safe for his sensitive skin and fur.
We should also note that, due to his very short coat, the American Bulldog can be susceptible to extreme weather conditions like cold or heat. He should wear a sweater when he is going to be out in the cold for longer periods of time and he should always be given access to shade, water, and shelter, in extreme heat.
The American Bulldog can also be prone to ear infections, so his ears should be checked and cleaned regularly to help keep them free of any waxy buildup, excess moisture from bathing or swimming, or other debris.
And because he is so active, he will need his nails trimmed or ground down regularly to keep them from breaking which could lead to pain and infection.
All dogs require a form of dental care, and we suggest investing in a quality doggy toothbrush and toothpaste to help keep your American Bulldog’s teeth and gums as healthy as possible.
Remember, maintaining proper grooming practices will not only be a great way to bond with your American Bulldog, but it also will help to keep them healthy and happy for years to come.
And since we are on the topic of health, let’s discuss the American Bulldog’s life expectancy and any inherent health issues a potential owner should know about.
Let’s Talk About The American Bulldog’s Life Expectancy And Genetic Health Issues
Like all dogs, the American Bulldog can be prone to some genetic health complications.
All dogs can be susceptible to some genetic health conditions and the American Bulldog is no exception. However, the good news is that the American Bulldog is an overall healthy dog with a long lifespan of 10-16 years.
The most common health issues for An American Bulldog Are:
- Neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis
- Kidney disorders
- Thyroid disorders
- ACL tears
- Hip dysplasia
- Elbow dysplasia
- Cherry eye
- Bone cancer
You can help ensure your American Bulldog gets the best start in life by getting him from a reputable breeder or shelter and by making sure he is adequately exercised, groomed, and kept on a healthy diet for his age, weight, and activity level.
What Is The Ideal Home Type For An American Bulldog?
American Bulldogs will do best in homes with owners who have lots of time for them and houses that have lots of open space for them to run.
As we now know, the American Bulldog is an energetic, family oriented breed who needs lots of space to run and play and an owner who is able to commit lots of time to training and exercising him.
The American Bulldog will do best in home-type environments with families who are ready and able to socialize and train him and with owners who live active lifestyles and are able to get out and about with their American Bulldog at least twice a day.
Remember, the American Bulldog isn’t an ideal apartment dog and needs a securely fenced in backyard space where he can run and play with other doggy playmates or his family members.
With that being said, it’s important to remember that a bored or under exercised American Bulldog can become destructive so make sure you dog proof your home if you plan on getting an American Bulldog.
If you want an American Bulldog but are worried you won’t have enough time in your busy schedule to exercise him adequately, you may opt to look into hiring a professional pet care service to stop by and get your American Bulldog moving during the day.
Since the American Bulldog may not be the best candidate for dog parks or other chaotic environments with strange dogs he does not know very well, he may not be the best dog to send off to a doggy daycare.
Last but not least, the American Bulldog may be bred for work, but he is a companion dog who becomes very devoted and bonded with his human family. This is not a dog who is meant to live his life outside in a dog house and will do best and be happiest living inside with his human pack.
Is An American Bulldog Right For Me?
Are you thinking about getting an American Bulldog?
Are you thinking about getting an American Bulldog? You’re not alone. The American Bulldog breed is quickly growing in popularity, especially as we begin to learn more about them.
These loving, intelligent, and friendly dog breeds make wonderful dogs for the right home and family, but is this the right breed for you?
If you are an active person with a decent sized backyard and enough time to walk and exercise your American Bulldog at least twice a day, then this may be the breed for you!
This may also be the breed for you if you enjoy dogs who require some time and commitment but who will also give you a great payoff with their incredible demeanor and ability to learn.
The American Bulldog can be a wonderful companion and guard dog as well, and he does well with children and other household pets so long as he is properly socialized and trained at an early age.
On the flip side, if you are looking for a low maintenance dog who is easy going, doesn’t require lots of training or exercise, and prefers to be independent, than the American Bulldog is not for you.
Expert Tips On Finding A Healthy American Bulldog Puppy Or Rescue Dog
Getting your American Bulldog from a responsible, reliable source is the first step in ensuring he is happy and healthy.
Ensuring your American Bulldog is happy, healthy, and well rounded is going to depend equally on his source as well as his environment.
That is why it’s so important to ensure you get your American Bulldog from a responsible, reputable source.
If you are looking to buy your American Bulldog puppy from a breeder, make sure you ask plenty of questions, do lots of research, and make sure that the breeder has an adequate understanding of the American Bulldog breed as a whole.
Remember, most reputable breeders will have also had their puppies health screened and will be able to offer a health certificate with your American Bulldog puppy proving that he is healthy and free of any serious health issues before going home with you.
Another great thing about going through a breeder is you can ask about the temperamental and physical traits of the puppy’s parent dogs. Sometimes, you can even meet the mother dog to get a better idea of what your American Bulldog puppy will be like as it gets older.
If you choose to adopt your American Bulldog, that is wonderful. There are too many American Bulldogs and other bully breeds in shelters all across the world. This is a breed who is in dire need of adoption as they are, unfortunately, often the first dogs to be put down based on their appearance.
There are many breed-specific shelters for bully breeds and there is likely one close to you, so do your research and ask questions.
Adopting an American Bulldog will be a fraction of the price of buying one from a breeder and many shelters will even offer free vet exams before sending the dog home with you.
So, do you have your heart set on an American Bulldog? Why or why not? Tell us your thoughts on the American Bulldog in the comments section below.
Jen Jones is a professional dog trainer and behavior specialist with more than 25 years of experience. As the founder of ‘Your Dog Advisor’ and the ‘Canine Connection’ rehabilitation center, she applies a holistic, empathetic approach, aiming to address root causes rather than merely treating symptoms.
Well known for her intuitive and compassionate approach, Jen adopts scientifically-proven, reward-based methods, encouraging positive reinforcement over punishment. Jen specializes in obedience training, behavior modification, and puppy socialization. Her innovative methods, particularly in addressing anxiety and aggression issues, have been widely recognized. Jen has worked with many of the world’s leading dog behaviorists and in her free time volunteers with local animal shelters and rescue groups.