American Bulldog Description
The American bulldog is a stocky, well built, strong-looking dog with very powerful jaws, a very large head, and a very muscular build. Its coat is short and generally smooth. The breed is a light to moderate shedder. Colors, while historically predominantly white with patches of red or brindle, have grown in recent years to include many color patterns: including red, brown, fawn and all shades of brindle. The color conformation is quite varied, but blue, tri-color, black and tan or any degree of merle is a breed undesirable and considered a fault or disqualification by most breed standards.
Black pigmentation on the nose and eye rims is preferred, with only some pink allowed. Eye color is usually brown but split eyes (one blue and one brown) also occurs. American Bulldogs can be droolers; this varies and is more prevalent in the Bully type. This type is generally a larger, heavier dog with a shorter muzzle. Standard or Performance types are generally more athletic with longer muzzles and a more square head. It is important to note that many modern American Bulldogs are a combination of the two types usually termed "hybrid."
Typically, the American Bulldog is known as a loving family pet that is good with other pets and children as well. This breed of dog is fearlessly determined and will attack predators or any threat toward its owners. It is confident, powerful, and agile with powerful jaws and a large head that has made it quite naturally used in hunting everything from small squirrels to larger game like bears. The American Bulldog has also been trained to guard stock and drive cattle.
The American Bulldogs are known for their great versatility as working dogs as well. They are able to learn many different things, but they are also very independent. They are obstinate, dominant and willful. They want to be the boss in any situation. They will see if you can make them do something they do not want to do. As an owner, you must be consistent, firm and always mean what you say.
In addition, American Bulldogs need to be exposed regularly to friendly strangers because they have a natural protective instinct toward anyone they do not know. They need to know how to recognize the difference between good people and bad people. If they do not have careful socialization they can end up biting others and being suspicious of everyone.
It is important to note that there are many American Bulldogs who will not get along and tolerate another dog of the same sex. They have strong instincts and will chase fleeing animals and capture cats. When breeding, training, handling, socializing and or management of the American Bulldogs goes awry these dogs are known for being able to seriously maim or even kill other animals.
The American Bulldog has a short, harsh coat that sheds regularly. Because of this, it is beneficial to brush the coat regularly (about once a week). A bristle brush or rubber mitt works really well for grooming dogs with a short coat. These dogs do not need regular bathing, but only when really dirty.
The history of the American Bulldog begins in the time period of Caesar around 1066. In the 17th and 18th centuries English Bulldogs were mostly used on farms to hold livestock and catch others. They were also used as guardians and butcher dogs. Eventually the temperament of the breed led people to use them in blood sports like bull-baiting for gambling and entertainment purposes.
The sport of bull-baiting was outlawed in 1835 within the United Kingdom and in time the English Bulldog became common, complacent pet. However, within the United States, the American version of the breed was steadily declining in comparison to other breeds. The survival of the American Bulldog has most to do with feral pigs. Because the American Bulldog seemed to be the best way to chase off and protect owners from these predators, they soon became popular pets again. However, because the American Bulldog was close to extinction by World War II and John D. Johnson and Alan Scott began inter breeding dogs; thus, creating the Johnson and Scott versions of the bulldog.
You must be prepared when training your American Bulldog. If not, the breed easily becomes bored and will end up using its pent up energy to destroy things in your home. These dogs need one hour of consistent, daily attention and exercise. Likewise, their training requirements are moderately high. If you do not have this time and energy to exercise and train this active dog, you should probably want to try another type of breed.
It is important that obedience training and socialization begins early for the American Bulldog. They do best with training that is firm, fair, consistent and patient, not heavy handed or harsh. These dogs have many skills that can be enhanced, such as: hunting, guarding, weight pulling, and tracking.
American Bulldogs are very intelligent and confident, which can lead them to get into trouble or to be overly protective. These problems can be fixed with proper early training, attention and care.
An American Bulldog puppy (or adult) does best with a consistent, daily routine. This will help house training immensely. Once a pup understands that he is going to be taken outside on a regular basis, it will reduce the chance of an accident in the home because the puppy will learn to control himself. A daily routine also helps a dog to feel more comfortable with their surroundings and other people. How long it takes for a dog to become accustomed to a routine varies with each dog, but sometimes it can take up to six months for the dog to become comfortable and secure in his routine.
American Bulldogs are generally healthy animals. You do have to be aware, as with many larger breeds, of hip or elbow dysplasia. Some other concerns that are occassionally seen are entropion eyeleds or other eye problems, heart murmurs, and deafness in either one or both ears.