American Bulldog

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  • American Bulldogs in the UK
  • American Bulldog Puppy
  • American Bulldog in the UK
  • American Bulldog
Exercise Level:
Barking Level:
Good with Children:
Good with other pets:
Height: 56 - 69cm M | 51 - 64cm F
Weight: 34 - 57kg M | 27 - 45kg F
Life Expectancy: 10 - 15 Years

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The American bulldog is said to have come from the English bulldog and brought by immigrants to the USA in the 1800s. Appearance-wise, there are two types: (1) the Johnson, classic or bully type and (2) the Scott, standard or performance type. It is active, assertive, and friendly towards people, but has a tendency to be dog-aggressive without early socialisation. Its grooming needs are rather low because of its short coat. Unlike its predecessor, it is an active breed with high exercise needs.

Interested in getting an American bulldog? Here is a brief background of this tall, chunky, and muscular, yet friendly dog.

book icon History

The origin of the American bulldog is quite tricky due to the lack of documentation. It is believed to have descended from the English bulldog and brought by immigrants to the US in the 1800s. The breed was originally used as a working dog that guarded farms, hunted bears, and gathered cattle. It was also used in bull-baiting before the sport was eventually banned. It was not considered a breed before, but a generic type of bulldog.

The number of bulldogs significantly declined during World War II in Southern America. It was saved from extinction by a man named John Johnson who gathered the best specimens. This endeavour was supported by another man named Alan Scott, who helped him create the first American bulldogs. Johnson infused the line with a primitive bulldog from the north, whilst Scott went to cross with catch bulldogs from Southern farms. The two had a fallout and went separate ways after they crossed their bulldogs with other lines.

The American bulldog is still not recognised by the Kennel Club as a breed. However, it is recognised by the United Kennel Club and the American Kennel Club.

comb icon Appearance and Grooming

The two types of American bulldogs are the Johnson, classic or bully type, and the Scott, standard or performance type. Bred as a farm utility dog, this large breed is generally a tall and stocky dog with a large head, thick neck, and a muscular body. Since the emphasis is on ability rather than appearance, its height and weight considerably vary. It can weigh 60–120 pounds and stand at 52–70 centimetres at the withers.

This canine is fairly low-maintenance and only needs baths when it begins to have that particular doggy smell. However, its wrinkled face needs to be wiped and dried regularly to avoid bacteria build-up. Its short coat will benefit from regular brushing. Weekly tooth brushing is also required since it is prone to bad breath. Start brushing its teeth whilst young so it can tolerate this activity. Giving it chew bones and toys will also keep its teeth free from tartar build-up.

Dogs generally don’t like their paws to be touched, so it is best to acquaint your American bulldog to nail trimming early. Always make this process a positive experience by being extra careful and giving rewards and praises after. Also make sure that its ears are clean and its skin free from spots, redness, and parasites.

bulb icon Temperament and Intelligence

The American bulldog is active, confident, and friendly toward people. However, it can be extremely dog-aggressive if not socialised early in its life. It has a high tolerance for kids, but it is not favourable for families with very young children. It can get hyperactive and may not be aware of its size and weight.

The breed is known to be strong-willed, which is why training is difficult. It is not recommended to first-time owners because it will challenge authority. Positive reinforcement, treats, and consistency are key.

food icon Nutrition and Feeding

A typical serving for this dog is two to four cups of excellent-quality dry dog food per day. The amount and frequency you feed your dog depend on its age, size, build, activity level, and metabolism.

Typical daily calorie needs of an adult American bulldog that weighs 85 pounds:

  • Senior and less active: up to 1,400 calories daily
  • Typical adult: up to 1,900 calories daily
  • Physically active/working dogs: up to 2,700 calories daily

As an active, muscular dog, it needs plenty of protein as this helps fuel and maintain its stocky body. Since this breed loves to eat and easily puts on pounds, control its carb intake. Also choose complex carbohydrates and avoid simple ones like soy, corn, and sugar. As a canine prone to dysplasia, introduce dog food containing glucosamine and chondroitin and key nutrients that will promote general bone and joint health.

stethoscope icon Health and Exercise

The average lifespan of an American bulldog is ten to fifteen years. It is a generally healthy breed, but it is predisposed to certain conditions. These include hip and elbow dysplasia, ichthyosis, neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis, bone cancer, entropion, and ectropion.

As a very active working dog, this breed requires vigorous exercise regimens. It needs at least two walks per day or long hours of exercise in a fenced backyard. Another way to drain the energy of this dog is to teach tricks and games. Stubborn as it is, once it gets the hang of training routines, it will enjoy activities with its master.

pound icon Cost of Ownership

A well-bred American bulldog puppy costs between £400 and £1000, depending on its pedigree. High-quality food, including treats, is around £40 a month (£480 a year). The initial cost of basic dog supplies and equipment (bed, crate, collar and lead, dish bowls, and toys, amongst others) is estimated at £150–£200.

Aside from providing the best food, make sure that your bulldog has regular veterinary visits, yearly vaccinations, and preventive treatments, which could cost up to £1,000 annually. Getting pet insurance (£50 to £120 a month) can cover sudden expensive veterinary costs when your dog gets sick.

American Bulldog Breed Highlights

  • The American bulldog was bred as a farm utility dog.
  • It is a large breed with a big appetite and high exercise needs.
  • It is easy to groom as it only requires occasional brushing and wiping, and it can be bathed as needed.
  • It can be challenging to train because of its stubborn nature, but it can be controlled through early training and positive reinforcement.
  • This breed is friendly towards people, but it may be dog-aggressive.

Are you sure the American Bulldog is the best breed for you? Take the Pet Breed Selector Quiz to find your perfect breed match.

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The information, including measurements, prices and other estimates, on this page is provided for general reference purposes only.

Latest Articles for American Bulldog

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