The American Bulldog is a breed of working dog developed for catching livestock and for protecting property. Though larger in size, they are the closest surviving relative of the Old English Bulldog because they were not altered to as great an extent while in Colonial America as their European cousins. There are generally considered to be two types of American Bulldog, the Johnson type and the Scott type( APBT cross ), named after the breeders who were influential in developing them, John D. Johnson and Allen Scott. These are more commonly known as Classic or Bully type and Standard or Performance type.
|American Bulldog Quick Facts
||75-125 for males, 60-80 for females lb
||stiff to touch
||Medium - high
||Gentle, loving, fearless, loyal, protective
|Guard dog ability:
The American Bulldog is a stocky, strong-looking dog. Its coat is short and either white or white with patches. The Johnson type is a larger dog with a shorter muzzle than the Scott type. However, many modern American Bulldogs are a combination of the two types. In general, American Bulldogs weigh between 27 to 57 kg (60 to 125 lb) and are 52 to 70 cm (20 to 28 in) at the withers.
Confusion with other breeds
There are two distinct strains of American Bulldogs, Classic (Johnson, Bully) and Standard (Scott, Performance) which is often mistaken for its second cousin, the American Pit Bull Terrier because of its appearance, and for its much smaller European relatives because of its name. The American Bulldog is different from any of these. The American Bulldog is massive in comparison to the French Bulldog or English Bulldog as it still resembles the Old English Bulldog and was never down bred to be a lap dog.
The Standard American Bulldog does resemble the pit bull-type breeds on many points, such as being muscular dogs that can be all white or white with patches. However, the pit bull's head is in the shape of a wedge coming to a more rounded point at the muzzle, whereas an American Bulldog's is box-shaped. The American Bulldog's ears are also typically uncropped, and its head is heavier and a little bulkier. Another major difference is size, with the American Bulldog generally being much larger than a purebred American Pitbull Terrier (which according to the UKC standard should only weigh 30 - 60 pounds).
An American Bulldog is typically a happy, friendly, and assertive dog that is at ease with its family and fine with strangers as they get to know the stranger in question. They are quite fond of children but sometimes do not know their own strength, thus, as with all dogs, they should be supervised with small children. They bond strongly with their master and family but, because of strong guarding instincts and a somewhat dominant attitude, they need a firm but fair hand; they should be socialized and obedience trained early to expose them to other dogs and people and to ensure that they can be controlled around company as they get older and larger.
Remember, they are working dogs with high energy drives. They need room to expend their energy, and so American Bulldogs do best in a home with a backyard and preferably a "job" to do. A tired well worked bulldog is a happy bulldog. They are not always well behaved towards cats and smaller pets, but correct socialization at an early age can greatly increase the chances of them accepting these animals. This behavior is a reflection of a breed trait called prey drive. High prey drive is a desirable trait in an American Bulldog. A well bred American Bulldog is a catch dog of large herbivores. They can be stubborn with training though once they are trained they tend to obey their masters faithfully. American bulldog puppies can be relatively difficult to housebreak, but it is important to be persistent.
The history of Mastiff-type dogs in the British Isles dates back beyond the arrival of Caesar, who reported of the ferocious dogs. With the arrival of the Normans in 1066 came Alaunts from the continent. The breeding of the indigenous mastiffs to the newly arrived ones produced the Mastiff and Bulldog of England. An interesting aside, is that all descriptions of the Alaunts (there were three types) mention an all white, or almost entirely white coat - a feature the American Bulldog shares with several other Mastiff-type breeds, including the all-white Dogo Argentino.
In England during the 17th and 18th centuries, bulldogs were used on farms to catch bitches and hold livestock; as butchers' dogs; and as guardians, as well as for other tasks. This eventually led to bloodsports such as bull-baiting, popular for both entertainment and the potential for gambling. These practices extended not only from the British Isles but also to the colonies she acquired during this time, including what is now the United States and in particular the South; many settlers brought their dogs with them to help around the farm, hunt in the woods, and use in gambling.
In 1835, the sport of bull-baiting was outlawed in the United Kingdom and, over time, the English Bulldog there became a common pet, being bred into today's more compact and complacent version. The product was as much the efforts of selectively bred bulldogs as it was the introduction of the Pug. Conversely, the American strain maintained its utlitarian purpose, and thus underwent less modifications; even as its popularity declined in favor of other breeds. Even the slight modifications the bulldog underwent in England from the late Renaissance into the Industrial Revolution (pre 1835), were absent in the American strain. (Most settlers of the American South came from the West Midlands and as a result of the Civil War between Royalists and Parliamentarians, well before the Industrial Revolution).
Perhaps the most important role of the bulldog and the reason for its survival and in fact why it thrived through out the North was because of the presence of feral pigs, introduced to the New World and without predators. The bulldogs were the settlers' only means of sufficiently dealing with the vermin. By World War II, the breed was near extinction until John D. Johnson and his father scoured the backroads of the South looking for the best specimens to revive the breed. During this time a young Alan Scott grew an interest in Mr. Johnson's dogs and began to work with him on the revitalization process. At some point, Alan Scott began infusing non-Johnson catch bulldogs from working southern farms with John D. Johnson's line creating the now Standard American Bulldog. At another point, Mr. Johnson began crossing his line with an atavistic English Bulldog from the North that had maintained its genetic athletic vigor. This created a falling out between Johnson and Scott causing them to go their separate ways and breed the two significantly different versions of the American Bulldog.
American Bulldogs are now safe from extinction and are enjoying a healthy increase in popularity, either as a working dog or as a loving family pet. All over the world, they are used variously as "hog dogs" (catching escaped pigs or hunting razorbacks), as cattle drovers and as working K-9s. American Bulldogs also successfully compete in several dog sports such as schutzhund, french ring sport, street protection sport, Iron Dog(r) competition and weight pulling.
- The 1990s Walt Disney Productions series of films called Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey and its sequel Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco featured an American Bulldog named Chance (voiced by Michael J. Fox).
- Petey (sire by Earl Tudor's "Black Jack"), from The Little Rascals film, was an American Pitbull Terrier not an American Bulldog.
- In 2004, 20th Century Fox released a film called Cheaper by the Dozen and its sequel, in which the family pet is an American Bulldog named Gunnar.
- Breed Registries
- Clubs, Associations, and Societies
- Directories and Informational Pages
- User Generated Photos of American Bulldogs
- Putnam, Dave. The Working American Bulldog. California: Bulldog Press. ISBN 0-9672710-0-2.
- McDonald. The Book of the Bulldog. Neptune, NJ: TFH Publications. ISBN 0-86622-027-5.
- Jenkins, Robert. The Story of the Real Bulldog. Neptune, NJ: TFH Publications. ISBN 0-7938-0491-4.
- Miller, Lemuel. American Bulldog: Stories, facts & legends. Wildwood, Florida: Robert Beard. ISBN 1-86118-076-4.
- Bulldog breeds
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- English Bulldog
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