Other names: Ambulldog
The American Bulldog is a dog of molosse type, originating, as the name suggests, from the United States. This dog is not part of any breed group since the FCI has not yet formally integrated this breed into its nomenclature. There are two types, Standard (Scott) and Bully (Classic). Used exclusively as a farm or guard dog at the time, they are now present in many households, including those with children. Affectionate, loyal, faithful, playful and intelligent, this dog adapts very well to family life. Despite appearances, this dog has never been a fighting dog and its categorisation is far from truthful.
Key facts about the American Bulldog
Origins and history
Before the 19th century, there is no sign that this breed existed. The modern American Bulldog is thought to have originated from ancient breeds similar to those of other mastiff breeds. At the time, American Bulldogs were used exclusively for work as a butcher's, farmer's or guard dog. They were absolutely not domesticated but modern selective breeding made it possible to highlight the undeniable qualities of this dog which make it a very good pet too. It was the breeders John D. Johnson and Alan Scott who allowed the development of this breed from the 40's.
There are currently two types of American Bulldogs: standard (pitbull descendant) and bully (descendant of the English bulldog). However, nowadays, it is mainly American hybrid bulldogs that you will see (a cross between the Bully type and Standard type).
The official recognition of the breed in the United States was established in 1970. Unfortunately, the differences between the dogs within the breed complicates the recognition of the breed in other countries as well as at the international level.
Physical characteristics of the American Bulldog
Female : Between 22 and 25 in
Male : Between 24 and 27 in
Female : Between 68 and 90 lb
Male : Between 90 and 110 lb
The American Bulldog can have a white coat with or without brindle, chestnut, fawn, or red shades. Solid black, blue, merle or tricolour coats are not accepted.
Type of coat
The fur is short.
Fur can vary between soft and stiff but must never be long, curly or frizzy.
Preferably black or dark brown, the eyes can be of different colours but brown or blue eyes with a lack of pigment constitute a defect.
The American Bulldog is medium to large in size, of molosser type. They have a powerful, compact and athletic look. The skeleton and musculature is well developed. The male is stockier, with a heavier frame than the female, which is typically more slender. The head is large and broad, the flat forehead gives the impression of a square skull. The stop is deep and well defined (slightly less for the Standard type). The ears are average in size and preferably drop or rose. Pricked or hound ears are a major fault. The tail is carried at mid-height, thick at the base, it tapers to the point and must be carried upright over the line of the back.
Three types exist: Bully type (classic) which is bigger and used as a guard dog; the Standard type (scott) which is taller, slender and is more often used as a farm dog; and finally the hybrid type, the most common, which is a cross between the two previous types.
Good to know
Despite appearances, this Bulldog is not automatically implicated by the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 about the so-called dangerous dogs, but this still sparks debate. This dog shares the molosser physique and it is problematic that the breed is not recognised.
Indeed, the American Bulldog is not officially recognised by the FCI and therefore nor by the Central Canine Society, it can not be a recognised pedigree according to the KC but can however have a pedigree issued by US institutions.
Moreover, to be part of this category (dogs considered "dangerous"), the dog must closely resemble certain morphotypes like the American staffordshire terrier, Boerboel, Mastiff or Tosa. However, many specialists and experts of the breed defend them by highlighting the clear differences that exist between the American Bulldog and the “dangerous” category dogs.
The Minister of Agriculture response to this question (answer published in the Senate of April 9, 2015): all questions that owners of an American Bulldog want to ask about the potential categorisation of their dog are treated case by case, according to the morphology of the dog.
In fact, owners must use a vet or a judge of the certified dog trainer to decide (determine the characteristics of a species) this will allow the issue of a certificate that confirms (or not depending on the results) whether the dog belongs to the first category of the 1999 law on so-called "dangerous" dogs.
Bully American Bulldog (Classic)
Standard American Bulldog (Scott)
Hybrid American Bulldog (Bully x Standard)
The Ambulldog is considered tender, jovial and very expressive towards members of the family. Therefore they make very pleasant companion dogs, especially with children.
The clown-like side of this athletic dog, make this breed particularly enthusiastic when it comes to playing. Beware of their enormous amounts of energy which must be channeled from a young age.
This dog will be calm once it has used up its energy. That being said, they appreciate family life, especially spending time with their master, with whom they will become attached to very quickly. They will adapt a lot depending on their owner’s mood.
Built for work, whether as a watchdog for the Bully type or farm dog for the Standard type, their fine intelligence is put at the service of the missions entrusted to them.
The American Bulldog, Standard type (or Scott) is from a cross with a Pitbull, and has a much more accentuated hunter instinct than the Bully type (or classic) which is exclusively used for the guarding.
Fearful / wary of strangers
Very suspicious and vigilant around strangers, the American Bulldog should not be too shy or aggressive because this is considered a flaw. By nature, this dog is wary of strangers but never attacks without reason.
These dogs are very loyal and have an unfaltering admiration for their owners and all those around them.
Behaviour of the American Bulldog
Since this dog is very close to the members of its adoptive family, it does not cope well with loneliness. An American Bulldog will suffer if left isolated or excluded and gradual habituation to short absences is necessary.
In no case can an American Bulldog remain alone at home for an entire day, otherwise serious behavioural disorders could develop (excessive barking, destruction, separation anxiety, etc.). Ambulldogs require their families to be available and present to feel safe.
Easy to train / obedience
Although more docile than their molosser cousins, the American Bulldog remains a bit stubborn and can be difficult to educate, especially by amateur masters.
However, if a relationship of trust and mutual respect between the master and his dog is established and the educational methods respect the principles of positive and non-violent education, it can be very pleasant to interact with an American Bulldog.
One must not in any case seek any balance of power with him, at the risk of fanning his aggression and turn him into a dangerous dog. There are no bad dogs, only bad teachers, so it is important to know how to educate a dog with firmness and gentleness before adopting this breed.
Socialisation will have to be one of the key points of your dog’s education because this breed tends to want to dominate other dogs, sometimes seeking a fight.
The Ambulldog rarely barks, their presence alone serves as a deterrent.