American Bulldog Information
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Johnson American BulldogWhat is an American Bulldog...?
Typology, Temperament, History, Registries & Downsides

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Original American BulldogAn American Bulldog is not a type of Pitbull. The Pitbull Terrier has some bulldog blood in it, but the American Bulldog has no Pitbull in it. Left is the 1800s American Bulldog as it was bred for a time in the American rural south. This is the dog which pre-dates what we call the English Bulldog (before it was shrunken into a lap dog). This dog is also the model for John D. Johnson who sought to save the breed from extinction throughout the 1960s through 1990s.


The American Bulldog is a breed of traditional American working dog. It is a stocky, well built, very strong dog, with a large head and a muscular build. Its coat is short and smooth coming in many colors, white and pie'd being the more common, but brown, brindle and black with or without white markings also being accepted by most kennel clubs' breed standards. The adult American Bulldog can range in size from as small as approximately 70 pounds and 18 inches tall at the shoulders to over 125 pounds and over 27 inches tall at the shoulders.


This gives rise to accusations against the dog by some show dog fanciers (particularly in the AKC) that the American Bulldog has "no set type or standard." Such arguments show a complete misunderstanding of working dogs in general - their histories, uses and various phenotypes, as well as total ignorance of the American Bulldog breed.


In fact the American Bulldog has historically been so highly proficient at so many different tasks (and still remains so) that different purebred strains have developed to serve in various specialty roles - many people still using the dogs for actual working duties to this day.


Johnson American Bulldog  Scott Type American Bulldog  Standard Type American Bulldog  Hybrid Type American Bulldog


Among other things American Bulldogs are sporting dogs. They compete and do exceedingly well in Iron Dog competitions, weight pull, their most traditional uses as hog dogs and professional herding and livestock protection dogs and as personal protection family dogs.


American Bulldog doing weight pull  Hog dog - American Bulldog hunting  Herding  Protection Trained American Bulldog


The American Bulldog, pound-for-pound is one of the strongest, if not the strongest dog in the world. It is not uncommon that a 100 pound American Bulldog skilled in the popular sport of weight pull will pull 2,000 to even 3,000 or more pounds; i.e., the weight of an automobile. They are also known for their speed, their jaw strength and for being the most tenacious dogs on earth. These are characteristics required in combat against wild hogs (and men) and the management of cattle. American Bulldogs can also often perform standing jumps of well over six feet.


Learn about CBRK REAL WORLD DOG TRAINING right here!!!


American Bulldog Camo with kidsAmerican Bulldog Temperament

Healthy, well loved American Bulldogs are confident, social and active dogs, very much at ease with their families. Forming unusually close bonds with their owners they are incredibly loyal and display a special, gentle affinity for the children in their families. It has often been said that while many dogs tolerate children and will protect children in their families the American Bulldog actually prefers the company of children. This is very much the case for our boy Camo snuggling with my daughter to the right.


American Bulldogs are also territorial and naturally confrontational against threats (whether animal or man). They are known for great acts of courage and feats of strength and will. These are dogs, many of which to this day will not hesitate to grab an unruly 2,000 pound bull by the nose if the bull is giving the American Bulldog's owner some difficulty. It is also typical that American Bulldogs are highly protective of their human families without any protection training whatsoever. As such it is important they be well socialized, trained and that they know who's boss - recognizing the humans in their households as proper "pack leaders" who make and enforce the rules.

American Bulldog historyAmerican Bulldog History...

The early American Bulldog (back before it was called an "American Bulldog," but then simply called a "bulldog") was preserved mostly by working class immigrants who brought their working dogs with them to the New World primarily from England. Small farmers and ranchers used the bulldog for many tasks - especially as farm guardians protecting homesteads both from dangerous men and wild animals. The original bulldog was also employed as stock or catch dogs, sight hounds and herding dogs. These bulldogs were not an actual "breed" of dog as defined by today's kennel club standards but were a generic bulldog type. There were few recorded pedigrees or records and breeding decisions generally favored the best working farm dogs despite breed or background. Several separate strains of the "bulldog" type dogs were kept by ranchers as working dogs. American Bulldogs have been used to drive, herd and protect cattle and flocks, as Personal Protection dogs and homestead guardians and as hunting dogs on large game. They continue to be used in all three working venues to this day.

American Bulldog Registries

The American Bulldog is not a breed registered by the American Kennel Club (AKC). The majority of more knowledgeable American Bulldog breeders point to harm AKC Breed Standards have done to many other AKC registered breeds and hope the AKC never registers the American Bulldog.


The primary registries for the American Bulldog are the National Kennel Club (NKC); The United Kennel Club (UKC); the American Bulldog Association (ABA); and the first registry to ever register the American Bulldog, the Animal Research Foundation (ARF). In all cases the American Bulldog is recognized as a working dog. Most registries also recognize two different types, the slimmer, more streamlined Scott type and the larger, heavier Johnson type. The American Bulldog has also recently been registered with the ABKC, but only what they call the "Bully" type, having a breed standard which disfavors some of the dog's original working characteristics.

To learn about what you can expect from your own CBRK American Bulldog read about our American Bulldog Coffelt's Camouflaged Warrior here.

No Purebred Breed of Dog is Perfect
The Downsides of the American Bulldog
American Bulldog Olfactory:

The olfactory sense (the ability to smell/scent) is not strong in most American Bulldogs. Their compressed, shorter nosed head type robs them of sharper olfactory and in many it also causes breathing issues. At the time of this writing only FOUR American bulldogs are IPO 3 titled, their below average olfactory being the main reason.

I started working with Camo on scent work at 3 months old. He impressed me from day one and still does. I hide anything from bones, to food, to favorite toys under leaves and Camo finds them quickly. While it is unlikely Camo could ever pass IPO 3, his head type with the just slightly longer nose not only allows him to breath freely (no breathing issues at all), but also very much improves his olfactory.

CBRK loves the American Bulldog's other fantastic working qualities, but the olfactory issue is part of the reason why we breed Bandogges. This allows us to develop the much desired American Bulldog tendencies into dogs with dramatically better olfactory.

American Bulldog Dog-on-Dog Aggression:

Most working dogs tend to be dominant with other dogs. Some American Bulldogs are a great deal less dog-dominant than others, but it is an issue within the breed to be aware of. American Bulldogs require thorough socialization with other animals, especially other dogs and even more especially other dogs within the household. And of course, strict training is a also a requirement of the American Bulldog, as with any working breed.

With good dog-socialization and a bit of no-nonsense training the dog-dominance of the very worst of American Bulldogs is reigned in fairly easily. However, not doing that may (depending upon the dog) result in an American Bulldog being sharply dog-dominant. CBRK begins socializing our puppies early and we are pleased to give all buyers directions on exactly what to do and not do to ensure your purebred American Bulldog accepts other dogs.

American Bulldog Illnesses:

The American Bulldog when bred correctly tends to be a pretty healthy dog compared to many other large breeds. However, as with most large breeds of dogs and many smaller also, hip and elbow dysplasia is a known issue within the breed. The American Bulldog as most other breeds of dog is also known for various cancers and upper airway issues related to noses being too short.

Cancers and dysplasia litter the dog gnome with nearly all breeds affected. An American Bulldog is no more likely to be affected than most any other breed of dog. However, the upper airway issues particular to American Bulldogs, English Bulldogs, Olde English Bulldogges and other similar very short nosed breeds are avoidable and you want to know what to look for.

Avoid American Bulldogs with noses that clearly favor the typical English Bulldogs. Even a Johnson or Bully type American Bulldog's nose should be a minimum of 2 ½ inches long (3 ½ to 4 is even better), and you should prefer a smoother transition between nose and skull than the sharp "stop" often seen. It is a popular fad for breeders of the American Bulldog to purposefully breed American Bulldogs with shorter noses and more "bully" faces featuring a sharp nasal stop between snout and skull. Avoid that.

If you look at our American Bulldogs you will notice this is a fad that CBRK does not follow. All CBRK American Bulldogs are "free breathers," all have slightly longer noses and smoother transitions between the snout and skull, specifically to provide you a better American Bulldog.

Learn about CBRK REAL WORLD DOG TRAINING right here!!!


National Kennel Club American Bulldog Breed StandardUnited Kennel Club American Bulldog History and Breed StandardInternational Designer Canine RegistryABKC American Bully Kennel Club American Bulldog Breed Conformation Standard
American Bulldog breeders and trainers