The American Bulldog’s ancestors hail from the England and Spain areas, where it was used as working dogs up through the Industrial Revolution. They were very common on farms and other related environments, due to their easy training and muscular build. The Industrial Revolution was a time period of factory and technology growth that ended in the year 1835.
Then, in the mid to late 1800’s, the working class immigrants that came to the United States from these areas brought the Bulldogs with them. During this time, they were used as farm guardians, stock dogs, and catch dogs (dogs used for hunting, working livestock, and baiting). Although, it should be noted that, at this time, the Bulldog was not yet considered a breed, as there were several different variations.
Moving on to the time just before World War II, Bulldogs were used as hunting dogs designated to catch feral pigs, who had no other predators. Unfortunately, shortly after the war, the breed nearly went extinct. Luckily for them, though, the breed was revived. John D. Johnson and his father were the first to start off the revival, selecting the best specimen for the job. This type of Bulldog was known as the “Bully”. Later, Alan Scott began breeding these Bulldogs with other variations of the breed. Thus, the Standard American Bulldog was created.
The American Bulldog’s body is stocky, muscular, and strong, which reflects its working class roots. This breed, needless to say, is also a very strong type of dog. It also has a large, muscular head. Their eyes are usually brown, but can also be blue. These dogs have also been known to have heterochromic eyes. The term “heterochromic” refers to the fact that these dogs can have one eye a different color than the other, or a mixture of colors can occur in each eye.
The American Bulldog’s coat is generally short and smooth. They do shed frequently, but still need to be brushed and groomed regularly. This does not mean every single day, but at least a few times per week. As for color, throughout their history, these dogs have been predominantly white with patches on their heads and upper side of their body. These color patches can be a variety of different colors (although a single dog tends to be white with one or possibly two other colors), including red, black, brindle, brown, fawn, and blue.
American Bulldogs usually weigh anywhere be 60 to 120 pounds and measure 20 to 28 inches at the withers. Furthermore, build depends upon type. The two types of American Bulldog are Standard and Performance, although many are a hybrid combination of the two. Build also, clearly, depends upon gender. Females are typically smaller than their male counterparts.
It should be noted that the Bully type of American Bulldog is larger and heavier. It also has a shorter muzzle than the Standard American Bulldog. Aside from differences in build, the Bully is also more of a drooler than the Standard. Of course, both type of American Bulldogs tend to drool quite frequent, since they are so excitable and have lips and cheeks that are very floppy. These dogs are often seen sticking their heads out of car windows and letting the flaps wave in the wind.
On the other hand, the Standard or Performance types have longer muzzles and a more square shaped head.
Average litter size for the American Bulldog is about 7 to 14 puppies. Life span usually ranges from 10 to 15 years.
American Bulldogs are highly social creatures. Early socialization and exposure to people and other animals is extremely important for these dogs. Walking them to a local dog park or simply playing with them is a great way to get this exposure.
Because of their social characteristics, American Bulldogs tend to form very strong bonds with their owners. They are especially good with children, as long as they are taught early on to understand their limits. Again, these dogs are very muscular and often do not realize how forceful they can be in their play when they are not properly trained. One down side to their bonding, however, is that they require a great amount of attention. American Bulldogs are highly sensitive and emotional creatures who will not let up (pawing, barking, etc. at their owners) until they receive the attention they need.
These dogs are also very athletic, due to their build and ancestry. Therefore, they require a lot of exercise and are often very playful. It is not unusual for these dogs to run around, jump, bark, toss and chew objects, and more for hours on end. They are very active creatures. Because of this, it is also important for their owners to be patient and tolerant. This breed is not recommended for people who do not meet this criteria.
Lastly, American Bulldogs are very confident in themselves. By confident, it is meant that they settle in well to their families and are very trusting of them. American Bulldogs also think highly of themselves. They tend to act like the “big dog” in situations and, while they can be protective when need be, they are not extremely aggressive despite how they may act.
American Bulldogs can still sometimes be used as working dogs or guard dogs. Many farm or landowners still use these dogs to control livestock. Throughout the world, these dogs are still used to hunt and catch various types of pigs.
Aside from that, they are also commonly used as companion dogs. Again, American Bulldogs make great family pets. They are playful, good with children, protective, and highly social. These also make good guard dogs not only for farms, but for residential homes as well.
Lastly, many American Bulldogs are now trained as sporting dogs to compete in various competitions, since they are such good learners, confident in their own abilities, and very athletic. Examples of these competitions include dog obedience trials, Schutzhund (“personal protection”), French Ring (jumping, obedience, and bite work), Mondio Ring (obedience, jumping, protection), the Iron Dog competition, weight pulling (where they tend to do very well because of their muscular build), and conformation shows (OREBA, UKC, NKC, ABA, ABRA, and SACBR).
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