American Bulldog Dog History, Health And Care

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Introduction Of American Bulldog Dog

The American Bulldog, also known as the Old Country Bulldog, the Old Country White, the Old Time Bulldog, the Old English White, the English White, the White English, the Alabama and the Southern Bulldog, is known for its superb strength and fine character. It does not closely resemble the more familiar English Bulldog and is not yet recognized by the American Kennel Club. This breed is similar to the old, seventeenth-century bull-baiting dogs used to fight bulls for entertainment and supposedly to tenderize the meat for human consumption in Great Britain. The predecessors of this breed came to America in early colonial times, before the English Bulldog went through its transformations to become what that breed is today. This is a friendly, versatile dog that can do almost anything well. It is cherished as a hunting dog of large and small game, a guard dog, a guide dog and a beloved family companion. American Bulldogs form strong bonds with their people but if not properly socialized can be aggressive towards strangers and other animals.

The American Bulldog is on average between 20 and 28 inches at the withers, with the females being on the smaller side of the range. They weigh between 60 and 125 pounds, again with females being lighter. Their short, shiny coat is low-maintenance. As these are working dogs, there is a wide variation in height and weight more so than in other breeds.

American Bulldog Breed Quick Facts

Adaptability3/5
Affection Level4/5
Apartment Friendly2/5
Barking Tendencies3/5
Cat Friendly1/5
Child Friendly2/5
Dog Friendly1/5
Exercise Need4/5
Grooming Needs2/5
Health Issues3/5
Intelligence4/5
Playfulness4/5

American Bulldog – Appearance & Grooming

Appearance

American Bulldogs are stocky and well built and have powerful jaws. They are higher on the leg and more agile than their English cousins, but are still square and fairly compact. Historically, this breed has been predominantly white in color, but has grown to include many color pattern including black, red, brown, fawn and brindle. Blue or merle is always undesirable, and is a disqualification by breed standard. Eye rims and nose should be black, but some pink is allowed. Their front legs are heavy, strong and straight, while the hind legs are broad, thick and should have well-defined muscles. They have wide chests, thick necks and square heads. The standard preferred bite of the teeth is reverse scissor, but even, under and scissor bite will not disqualify a dog in the show ring. The ears also come in a variety of shapes including cropped, rose, half-pricked and forward flap. The American Bulldog’s tail is set low on the body.

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Size and Weight

Male American Bulldogs stand between 22 and 28 inches tall and weigh between 75 and 125 pounds. Females stand between 20 and 25 inches and weigh anywhere from 60 to 100 pounds. In general, males are stockier and heavier boned than their female counterparts.

Coat and Color

American Bulldogs’ coats are smooth and short and come in all shades of brindle, various shades of white, red, brown, tan, and fawn. White is the most common of all colors.

Grooming Needs

This breed is relatively low maintenance on the grooming front. Regular brushing can keep their moderate, year-round shedding from becoming unruly and baths only need be given when the dog has gotten himself into a bit of muck, or he begins to smell. The wrinkles of the face should be wiped and dried regularly in order to prevent bacteria from developing and care should be taken to dry the wrinkles after bathing, as well. They are prone to bad breath, so weekly or even daily tooth brushing is a must to keep bacteria from building up and causing tooth loss later in life. Regular cleaning of the ears with a veterinarian-approved cleanser can keep infections from forming. Active Bulldogs will wear their toenails down naturally, but if you can hear nails clicking on the floor, a trim is in order. Puppies feet should be handled from an early age to prepare the Bulldog for nail trimmings later in life.

American Bulldog – History and Health

History

The American Bulldog is probably descended from an ancient Mastiff line, and it is the closest relative to the Old English Bulldog that exists in America today. The American Bulldog came to the United States in the 1800s, with immigrants who brought their working Bulldogs with them. The original breed largely survived, particularly in the Southern States, due to its ability to bring down and catch feral pigs. It also was used for bull-and bear-baiting, with the added exotic sport of American buffalo-baiting adding to its fame. Before World War II, the American Bulldog was popular in the deep South as a working dog of farmers and ranchers. The breed almost died out during the war years, with the only surviving dogs kept on farms primarily in the south-east, where they were used as cattle and livestock dogs and farm protectors. A man named John D. Johnson of Summerville, Georgia, almost single-handedly saved the breed from extinction by rounding up the best specimens he could find and preserving the breed.

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This breed is massively powerful and is reported to be one of the most ferocious dogs ever created, when in the wrong hands. It was developed in the southeastern part of the United States, especially in Alabama and Georgia. Its direct ancestors are thought to be descendants of the early English Bulldogs that came to North America in the 17th and 18th centuries. The American Bulldog remains much more similar in appearance to its ancestors than does the modern English Bulldog, which has shorter legs and a stockier body. The American Bulldog has long legs and an athletic body. The American Bulldog Association was formed in 1989 to oversee the breeding of this powerful dog and ensure its proper use. Dogs in this breed can be registered with the Animal Research Foundation (ARF) or with the Game American Bulldog Club (GABC), both of which keep detailed records on pure breeding and pedigrees. The American Bulldog was recognized by the United Kennel Club (UKC) as a guardian dog in 1999.

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Health

American Bulldogs have an average life span of 8 to 14 years. Breed health concerns may include bone cancer, congenital deafness, elbow and hip dysplasia, entropion and thyroid problems.

American Bulldog – Temperament & Personality

Personality

With roots in the violent sport of bullbaiting, the American Bulldog was later developed as a farm dog and hunter’s assistant, herding and protecting livestock and hunting everything from squirrels to bear. Today, the breed is a sturdy companion for families or farmers, keeping a watchful eye over his people and property. Active and playful, the American Bulldog loves people and craves constant attention, (though he may not be fond of other dogs and should be kept away from cats). He can work or play all day long, and will happily curl up at your feet for a nice belly rub at the end of the day.

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Activity Requirements

The American Bulldog needs a home where outdoor activities are the norm. They need at least an hour or two of vigorous exercise per day to meet their daily activity requirement. Without it, owners can kiss their furniture good bye, because this breed will become destructive. They enjoy being outside and should be provided a variety of activities including walking, jogging, chasing balls, agility, farm work, pulling weights (they’ll happily pull kids on a sled for hours) and advanced obedience.

Apartments and condos are not the best living situation for an American Bulldog, unless a true commitment is made to their need for exercise. Houses with fenced in yards or farms with wide open spaces are the best environment for an American Bulldog.

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Trainability

American Bulldogs are strong willed and can be a challenge to train until leadership is established. Not the best choice for a first-time dog owner, this breed will make his trainer prove who is in charge. Training requires absolute consistency – give an American Bulldog an inch and you’ll find he’s taken about six miles. A calm-assertive approach is best, with lots of positive reinforcement and treats for extra incentive.

Once the initial hurdles are crossed, however, American Bulldogs can excel in advanced obedience and agility training.

Behavioral Traits

American Bulldogs are notoriously dog-aggressive. They should be socialized as puppies to treat other dogs with respect, though as they grow up same-sex dogs will mostly likely still create problems. This breed will also chase cats with ferocity, so unless raised alongside a cat, felines should not be introduced to an American Bulldog’s home.

Despite their animal aggression, American Bulldogs love people. If they bark when a stranger approaches, they are just doing their job as sound watchdogs, but as long as they have been properly socialized, are almost always friendly to new people. Some people may be afraid, however, because this breed is so imposing looking and their back is a force to be reckoned with. It is important to know your American Bulldog’s genetic heritage, however, as some lines can be overly protective and aggressive.

Given the history of this breed, the public stigma against any breed with fighting roots, and the fact that they look a lot like Pit Bulls; American Bulldogs should never be left off leash in an open area.

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