American Bulldog

April 12, 2012

A hardy athletic dog, a tireless all purpose working dog, a courageous hunter and a loving and loyal family companion… these are the heartwarming compliments that are often given to a wonderful breed of dog – the American Bulldog. The American Bulldog is a breed that has descended from the English Bulldog. The dog is medium sized but it has a powerfully built athletic and muscular body that exudes immense strength and endurance. The American Bulldog is a working breed that is expected to have the power and the agility to perform the assigned tasks. These dogs were originally used to drive cattle and to guard the property of the owner from the two legged and the four legged predators. Ancestors of this breed were trained and used in the brutal sport of bull baiting. A dog has to be ferocious to defeat an animal several times bigger than its size. The American Bulldog has inherited the ferociousness, the courage and the agility of its ancestors. American Bulldogs may never had the chance to pit its power against bulls but the dog is one mean guard dog that will not think twice to lay its life on the line to save the life of its master. This is an alert and fearless dog but the breeders have been successful in working out aggression from the breed. When necessary it would manifest an aggressive behavior but generally, an American Bulldog is a breed with a stable temperament. The dog has a well developed protective instinct but it has an inherent knack of assessing a situation. This dog may be fearless and would exhibit its inherent aggressive nature when necessary but it is a loving companion that will always be protective of its family.

Information

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Appearance

The American Bulldog is a medium sized dog with an athletic build that exudes immense physical strength and immeasurable endurance. The height and the weight of this breed may vary because an American Bulldog was specifically developed to be a working dog and not a breed for the show ring. As such, the working ability is given preference over physical attributes. The American Bulldog though is a well balanced breed. This is a broad and heavy dog but the heaviness should not be exaggerated so as to hamper its agility and ability to work. This breed has large powerful box-shaped head. The strong muzzle is box-shaped as well. An American bulldog has a sharply defined stop. This breed has a variety of ear types. The ears can be in button or rose form, can be pendant or pricked. Other dogs are seen with cropped ears although uncropped ears are more preferred by breeders. The tail that reached the hocks must not be docked. The tail that forms a semi circle is gracefully carried over the back when the dog is on the move.

An American Bulldog has round or almond shaped wide set eyes. The eyes that show an intelligent expression can be of any color although brown and black are the most preferred colors. A black nose, black pigmented lips and eye rims are desired. The American Bulldog has a short smooth coat. The coat is less than an inch in length. The coat can be soft or stiff. The dog’s coat can be a solid white. The coat can also be varying degrees of white with shades of brindle, tan, yellow and red patches.

Personality

The American Bulldog is a fearless guard and a tireless worker. The working ability is a highly valued attribute of the breed. An American Bulldog however, makes a wonderful addition to the family. This breed will bond strongly with its people and when it does you can never find a more loyal and utterly devoted home companion. The dog will protect its master, will safeguard the property. The dog is also noted to show a docile and gentle temperament when dealing with the children. Because of its well developed protective instinct, socialization and obedience training will be immensely necessary. An American Bulldog is territorial; it will be dominant and aggressive with other dogs and other animals. Because this is an intelligent breed, obedience training should be a breeze. Ever heard of the “stubborn as a bulldog” phrase? This breed is really stubborn! The owner must be a strong minded and authoritative owner that will show the dog its rank in the pack. Otherwise, the dog will be a very hard to handle pet.

Care

An American bulldog is a working breed. As such, the dog would have high exercise requirements. The dog can live in apartment as they are not active indoors but they would need opportunities to let off steam. The dog must be taken for a walk daily. The low maintenance is one of the plus factors for owning this breed. The short coat would not need extensive grooming. Brushing the coat with a firm bristled brush would be sufficient to maintain the good condition of the skin and the coat. Frequent bathing must be avoided so as not to remove the natural oils of the skin.

History

The American Bulldog is a mastiff type dog. Mastiffs have arrived in the British Isles way before the arrival of Caesar. The Alaunts, a breed that resembles the Caucasian Ovcharka arrived with the Normans in 1066. Several breeds of dogs are speculated to have directly descended from the Alaunts. Indigenous mastiffs were breed with the Alaunts producing several new breeds one of which is the Bulldog of England. The Bulldogs of England were primarily developed to be working dogs. During the 17th and the 18th centuries, these dogs were utilized as all around farm dogs that hold livestock, serves as guardians of property as well as butcher’s dog. English Bulldogs are excellent hunters of raccoons, squirrels, wild boars and bears. These dogs were also utilized in gambling with the cruel sport of bull baiting. After bull baiting was outlawed, the dogs had a more mundane existence by being common house pets.

From England, these dogs have migrated to America. There were three theories on how the American Bulldog was developed in the new world. The first theory believes that the English Bulldogs brought by the colonist have remained the same. The appearance of the American Bulldog is the same as the appearance of the English Bulldogs and apart from the changed name nothing was actually altered. This theory was supported by British paintings that showed bulldogs with similar appearance to the American Bulldogs. The second theory believes that the American bulldog resulted from crossing several breeds. The third theory believes that the American Bulldog resulted from crossing the dogs brought by the colonists with American indigenous dogs.

After bull baiting was outlawed in 1835, breeding of the English Bulldog has leaned towards creating companion dogs. The English Bulldog was downsized and the personality was softened. The less athletic but balance tempered dogs are what the English people have today. The immigrants in the new world have carefully maintained the appearance and the personality of the American version. These dogs remained large and ferocious. The war years though have greatly affected the breed. After the World War 11, the breed is almost extinct. Thanks to Mr. John D. Johnson and Allan Scott, the American Bulldog was reconstructed. Remaining specimens were found and used as the foundation stock for the restoration of the breed. Before the restoration of the American Bulldog, the breed answers to several names. Southern White, Country Bulldog, Hill Bulldog, White Bulldog, White English Bulldog, English White and the common Bulldog were replaced with American Bulldog by Allen Scott and John Johnson. Johnson and Scott worked together but at some point a falling out was created between the breeders. This resulted to two distinct versions of the American Bulldog. The Johnson type is a shorter muzzled but heavier and larger American Bulldogs. This type is otherwise known as the Bully/Classic Class. The Scott’s type is similar to a leggy Pittbull and classified under the Standard/Performance Class.

The American Bulldog was restored… the breed is safe from extinction and enjoying great popularity. The breed is an excellent working dog and a fantastic pet.

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