Meet the American Bulldog, a Trending Dog Breed in the U.S.
The American bulldog is one of the fastest-growing breeds in the U.S. Known for their protective instincts, power and toughness, these dogs have become a cultural icon in America and own the well-deserved title of "the white knight of the dog world," due to their intense loyalty to family. Despite their gruff exterior, American bulldogs are sweet-natured, loving dogs that make excellent pets for anyone willing to give them a lot of love and attention.
Here's what you need to know about the breed if you're interested in bringing one of these versatile dogs home with you.
The American Bulldog Originated in the U.S.
The American Bulldog is one out of 50 breeds that originated in the U.S. A descendant of the old English bulldog brought over to the states by working-class immigrants in the deep south, the breed was nearly extinct after WWII.
Fortunately, the breed was resurrected and fine-tuned to be a working dog, a loving pet and a confident competitor in the performance ring.
They Were Farm Dogs
In the early 20th century, the American bulldog was primarily used as a farm dog to pull wagons, hunt bears and wild pigs and guard large herds of livestock.
Nowadays, they are considered great pets that also function as excellent deterrents to trespassers and would-be criminals.
American Bulldogs Like to Herd
Since this canine was initially bred to drive cattle, it still has a strong herding instinct and requires proper behavioral training at an early age.
They Were Used for Dog Fighting
In the 17th century, bulldogs were bred to be vicious dogs used in "bull-baiting," a sport in which bulldogs fight one another in a ring.
Thankfully, this barbaric practice was outlawed in 1835.
They Have an Undeserved Bad Reputation
Despite their undeserved reputation for being overly aggressive, the American bulldog is quite gentle and friendly if socialized at a young age.
The breed is well-behaved, loyal and loving with children, making them a perfect family pet.
They Have an Average Life Span
The American bulldog has a life expectancy of 10 to 12 years (some living as long as 15 years).
Males weigh the most at 75 to 100 pounds, versus females that average 60 to 80 pounds. The males are roughly 22- to 25-inches high and females are usually between 20 and 23 inches.
They Come in a Variety of Colors
The physical description of the dog is a box-like muzzle, furrowed brow, thick neck, broad chest and muscular legs.
The breed also comes in a variety of colors: white, brindle, fawn, black, brown and red, but all American bulldogs are born with a white base.
American Bulldogs Are Quite Smart
This breed's temperament varies, but most of these canines have been described as energetic, intelligent, confident, loyal, friendly, assertive, stubborn, gentle, determined and, best of all, affectionate.
It’s a Hybrid Breed
Interestingly, the breed is considered a hybrid, created from two original bulldog lines. The first is the "Classic" Johnson type (created by John D. Johnson) with the physical traits of a large head, bulky body and a heavy-boned appearance.
The "Standard" Scott type (created by Alan Scott) is a moderate version of the first but is more athletic and better equipped to perform in competitions.
You May Have Heard It Called Something Else
Other names for the American bulldog are: old English white, white English, Alabama bulldog, southern bulldog, old southern white and American pit bulldog.
They Can Have Up to 11 Puppies at a Time
Gestational time for a pregnant female is 63 days but can vary between 58 and 68 days. Large-sized dog breeds typically birth small litters, but the American bulldog can give birth to 11 puppies at a time.
However, the females should only have one litter every two years since the pups are delivered via C-section. The legal limit is six litters total per lifetime. A responsible breeder will stop breeding their dog no later than 7 years of age.
And Their Puppies Are the Cutest
Bulldog puppies are absolutely adorable with their tubby little bodies and wrinkled skin.
They love to cuddle people and are quite the bundle of joy.
It’s Not Recognized by the AKC
Although the American bulldog breed is not recognized by The American Kennel Club, it is recognized by numerous other dog breed organizations such as The United Kennel Club and The American Canine Registry.
Check It for Hip Dysplasia
The American bulldog is more prone to hip dysplasia than many other dog breeds.
Since this distressing disorder can cripple the animal over time, it's essential to ensure your dog is certified free of hip dysplasia before getting it.
They Use Caution With Strangers
Bulldogs tend to be suspicious of strangers until they know them. If they are socialized frequently and at an early age, they become more friendly.
However, this breed is known for being less accepting of other dogs of the same sex.
They Do Well With Active Owners
The best owner for an American bulldog is confident, assured, athletic and willing to exercise the dog regularly. If this canine doesn't get enough attention and outdoor playtime, they can quickly become bored and turn destructive.
Apartment living is not the best environment for them either, as they need space to run.
American Bulldogs Can Shed a Lot
Although they are considered shorthaired dogs, American bulldogs are heavy shedders and not recommended for people with allergies to pet hair.
Some are also notorious for drooling, due to their massive jaws, especially after eating or drinking water.
They Do Well With Consistent Training
Despite the shedding and drooling, the breed is relatively low-maintenance and easy to raise with consistent training. Bulldogs prefer being outdoors but also need indoor time with their owners.
They are happiest when raised by humans who are as loving and affectionate as they are.
There’s a Reason the Dog Breed’s Gaining Popularity in the U.S.
According to the American Temperament Test Society, the American bulldog temperament ranks higher than breeds such as golden retrievers, Pomeranians, Beagles and Cocker spaniels.
It's no wonder why people are eager to get one.
They Would Not Win in a Dog Race
As active and energetic as they are, the American bulldog is not a fast runner due to its heavy, stocky frame.
As a result, their running speed is rarely higher than 15 mph compared to Greyhounds, which can run at speeds up to 45 mph.
They’re Big Movie Stars
Since the early 1990s, the American bulldog has gained popularity in the media and on the big screen.
They have appeared in numerous commercials and famous movies such as "Homeward Bound," "The Little Rascals (remake)," "Cheaper by the Dozen," "Bark," "Marley and Me," "Bubble Boy, "Bingo" and "Beverly Hills Chihuahua," just to name a few.
You Can Typically Find One at a Dog Shelter
Unfortunately, the American bulldog is one of the most common breeds found in shelters. This is usually due to the owner's inability to handle such an energetic, strong-willed dog.
Owners should always research the breed's needs before getting one and be sure to invest time in proper training.
They Can Cost a Pretty Penny at the Breeder
The average cost of a purebred American bulldog from a breeder is about $800 — although papered dogs with titles can sell for as much as $8,000!
They Can Be Prone to Other Health Issues
Always check an animal's health background before owning it.
Bulldogs are especially prone not only to hip dysplasia but also to elbow dysplasia, skin allergies, demodectic mange, Entropion, thyroid issues, deafness and Brachycephalic syndrome.
They’re Different Than Pit Bull Terriers
People often confuse American bulldogs with pit bull terriers. The term "pit bull" refers to any type of dog descended from terriers and bulldogs. American pit bulls can have any coat color, but American bulldogs always have a white base to their coat.
The bulldogs in America are believed to be descended from mastiffs versus the American pit bull, which is descended from terriers.
And Also Different From Old English Bulldogs
There are several differences between the American bulldog and the old English bulldog. The American breed is a larger dog with longer legs. The English version is a stockier one with shorter legs and a wider stance.
The American bulldog is significantly more athletic, too, since it was originally bred as a working dog. They are faster, more energetic, agile canines. The old English bulldog is more like a plump, mellow lap dog. The English breed also prefers being indoors versus the American bulldog, who thrives on playing outside.
They’re Much Tougher Than Their French Counterpart
Although French bulldogs and Amerian bulldogs come from the same lineage, they have very different appearances. Frenchies are smaller — averaging 10 to 12 inches and weighing up to 30 pounds. They have large, bat-like ears that are much larger than their heads, whereas the American bulldog has a bigger face and ears that are more proportionate to their heads.
Frenchies are also social extroverts bred to be Aristocratic lap dogs, unlike the American bulldog, which is tough and resilient. Frenchies do not require much space and can happily live in small apartments, American bulldogs need a larger home with plenty of room.
American Bulldogs Like to Talk
The American bulldog can be quite "talkative."
They speak to their owner through various snorts, grumbles and barks.
They’re Known for Being Heroic
This dog breed is well known for being heroic. American bulldogs have fought off bears, wild boars, bulls, other dogs and even fires.
They're born with a strong instinct to protect and will not hesitate to leap into a dangerous situation to save their owner but will also stop on command if told to do so.
Consider an American Bulldog From a Shelter
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, approximately 6.3 million companion pets enter U.S. shelters per year., and the American bulldog is one of the most common breeds surrendered.
In addition, roughly 2 million canines are adopted yearly from these shelters, with many of the remaining retrieved by their owners or euthanized if not claimed. Please consider adopting your next pet from a shelter — you could be saving a life!