When we see an American bulldog we have a strange feeling, because it seems to us that we are seeing a giant English bulldog and in a way, it is like that, since this breed was originally what the American is now and had little to do with the animals that they can hardly move that we have now.
The lineage of the “American cousin” comes from England, although it developed separately in the new continent in which it adapted to some functions that saved it from complete extinction, which was about to happen.
- Size: medium or large, depending on the line to which it belongs.
- Weight: from 55 to 70 kilos.
- Hair type: short, straight, and thick.
- Character: strong. Affectionate with their owners, but can be very territorial and dominant.
- Health: very good due to how it has been selected for decades.
- Life expectancy: 12 to 14 years.
Origin of the American Bulldog
Here we cannot go back many centuries, as is the case with European breeds, but we only have to go back to the beginning of the 19th century, when emigration from England to the United States was very large.
Their dogs went with the emigrants and among them was what was then the English bulldog, whose appearance resembled that of what is now the American bulldog, a powerful, strong, and functional dog.
While the English breed was crossed with pugs to become the companion dog it is today when bull-baiting was banned for sport, it remained intact across the ocean.
The emigrants took advantage of the strength of these animals and used them to guard their properties and also in hunting, without any care when raising and crossing them, since for them it was a mere working dog.
Its jaw also helped a lot in cattle shows, where it could hold cattle without suffocating due to its flat snout, and it should also be mentioned that it was used in dog fighting in the United States.
In addition to all these tasks, some to forget, one of the ones they did best was hunting wild pigs, which were introduced to North America, and which, having no predators, became a plague.
It is said that this was what saved it from extinction since at the end of the Second World War there were no longer any copies of the breed as such and it only resurfaced thanks to the efforts of John D. Johnson, an ex-combatant who at the time Returning home, he decided that he had to do something.
He searched for the best remaining specimens and began a breeding program, which has survived to this day with the participation of many people, although the breed has not yet been recognized by the International Canine Federation.
Characteristics of the American Bulldog
One of its main characteristics is its physique. We immediately realize that we are dealing with an athletic dog, with enormous strength and a very powerful jaw.
Right now there are two breeding lines. One is called “bully” which gives heavier dogs and the other is called “standard” and gives lighter dogs. For this reason, the breed standard does not mention a maximum weight, only that it is proportioned concerning the body.
The height is large, from 53 to 67 centimeters at the withers, which combined with a weight of around 40 kilos in males makes it commands respect from everyone who sees it.
By standard it must have prognathism, the lower jaw is advanced concerning the upper one, which makes it bite even more forcefully, something that comes from its time when it faced bulls and other animals.
The hair is very short and at least 10% of its body must be white, although almost all dogs have a coat of this color, accepting almost all except black, blue, blackbird, and tricolor.
Despite how strong they are, when they walk they have to give a sensation of fluidity, that they move freely without their weight affecting them.
There are several differences between the two lines, which in our opinion do little to help the breed, or at least help it to be recognized internationally. Even the different North American clubs differ in what they allow or not, one of them accepting that their tails be cut.
American Bulldog Character
He is very comfortable with those he considers his own, with his owner and his family. With them, he will be affectionate and very protective, but that changes with strangers whom he does not accept just like that and he will only relax if he sees that they are friends or acquaintances of their owners.
It is very territorial, which makes it an exceptional guard dog (its origins are in the care of farms), but that can cause us some problems, especially with other dogs that it does not accept willingly.
For this reason, and so that it is not dangerous when we are away from home, the best thing we can do is socialize it from a very young age, and surround it with other dogs and people as soon as it has its first vaccinations.
It would not be a bad idea to visit a trainer soon, especially if we notice that he begins to want to dominate us or shows aggression at a very early age.
American Bulldog Health
They have very strong health since we must not forget that since their appearance they were selected to be useful on farms and for hunting, so the specimens with defects and less agile were discarded.
Now, breeders take health into account, much more than in other breeds, although as a large dog there are diseases that it can suffer from, among which are hip and elbow dysplasia.
All-white animals suffer from more allergies than usual and also deafness, which is a disorder common to dogs of other breeds with this coat.
They tend to snore because of the shape of their heads, although this is not a problem and their eyes are another of their weak points, especially if we choose a puppy from one of the lines that focus a lot on “creating” very striking heads, because that makes their eyes water.
They live between 12 and 14 years, almost a record for dogs of this weight and size, so choosing a good breeder ensures that health problems will be rare.
As it happens with all dogs, you always have to provide them with quality feed, better if it is of a premium range, one of those that do not contain grains and that are made with meat or fish suitable for human consumption.
Of course, we must know that they are quite voracious dogs, so they tend to gain weight and their weight will have to be controlled throughout their lives, for which we can take measures such as using a light feed.
When choosing it, we will always do it in agreement with the veterinarian, who will be the one who will guide us to the amounts that we should eat to be healthy.
In any case, we can avoid obesity if we give him the recommended rations for his weight, with the exact amount, seeing how it affects his body because not all dogs have the same metabolism, so we can go up or down the amount depending if you lose weight or gain weight.
Conveniently, we give him some of those snacks that they sell to clean his teeth so that they will be healthier while he does what this breed likes the most, which is to eat.
What care do you need?
Its care is very simple, starting with its hair, very short and dense, and hardly needs to be brushed since it is enough that we do it once a week with a rubber mitten or comb.
Baths can also be spaced out for months if it does not stain in muddy areas or smell bad, and we will always use a dog shampoo with this type of coat, although it will not be necessary if we brush it every week.
Yes, you have to be a little more careful with your eyes and ears. The first ones tend to cry a lot, so we can clean them with gauze and saline, at least once every two days or when we see that the tears accumulate.
As for the ears, like all dogs that have a closed auditory pavilion, they have a certain tendency to otitis. We can clean them with the same serum and gauze that we use on the eyes or with an ear-cleaning product.
We will go to the vet if he has otitis, something that we will know if he walks with his head to one side and shakes it a lot, and also because of the bad smell that comes from the inside of the ear.
How much exercise does the American Bulldog need?
The American bulldog is a dog that must exercise, but always in moderation.
It can run with its owner and go next to the bicycle, although it is important that we avoid very hot days, as it can collapse due to the shape of its jaw, being an animal that breathes worse than other dogs.
The physical constitution is what limits it because it will not be the fastest dog or the first in agility competitions, although it can practice several sports disciplines.
In any case, he will be satisfied with the walks that we give him daily like any other dog because he is not going to go running ten km every day.
In short, it is an animal that is satisfied with moderate exercise and can do some more intensity if we help it a little, although for this it is best to visit the vet beforehand to check how its hips and elbows are.
Can I have an American Bulldog?
This is a breed that can live with us in the city if we have a spacious apartment since it is a large dog that should not be confined to 30 square meters.
It will be enough to go out to the park several times a day and we can release it to run whenever we have the opportunity, that is when it does not bother or scare anyone and it cannot fight with other dogs.
The biggest limitation of having an American bulldog is experienced since as with all breeds of this type, it is not the best for those who have not had dogs before, since their character is usually very strong.
We can indeed take them to a trainer to help us, but it is better if it is our first dog that we opt for another breed with less strength and less territoriality, which will not give us problems.
When it comes to having a very strong breed, it is not usually mentioned, but the truth is that we should have a certain physical strength to be able to take an American bulldog out into the street since if we lack it, it is likely that we will end up on the ground without a chance. to control it if it attacks, something that can happen.
If he is well-socialized, there is no problem with living with children, especially if he has been raised with them since he was a puppy. The normal thing is that he protects the children of his family to a point that it is advisable to tell strangers not to approach the little ones when the bulldog is with them.
Finally, even though it is a rather stubborn and stubborn dog, the truth is that training is not as complicated as it may seem at first glance. They usually learn tricks very quickly and it doesn’t take long for them to sit down, shake hands, etc., although another thing is that we get them to behave well with other dogs.