American Bulldog

White dog
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The stocky but muscular American Bulldog is an affectionate and protective pet. Their love of kids make them excellent family dogs and despite their large size, they often think they belong in your lap. With an American Bulldog as a pet, you can expect ultimate loyalty, strength and friendliness. They are happy, faithful companions who are tough and always ready for work or playtime.

American Bulldogs have powerful jaws and box-like heads, adding to their stocky appearance.

Despite their boxy looks, these dogs are quite agile and light on their feet. They love brisk walks with their owners. Regular exercise is important for these strong dogs to beat boredom, which can manifest into bad behavior in dogs.

This breed does best with experienced owners who have time to train and exercise them often. Socialization training is key for protective American Bulldogs and works best when started with puppies. Adding positive training will encourage them to show off their friendliness to everyone they meet.

Breed Overview

  • GroupGuardian Dog Group (UKC)
  • Size:
    • Weight: 40 to 50 pounds
    • Height: 14 to 15 inches
  • Coat & Color: American Bulldogs vary in color, but are typically white with patches of brindle, red, or black. Additional color patterns may include shades of brown or gray. They have a smooth, short coat.
  • Life Expectancy: 8 to 10 years


Characteristics of the American Bulldog

Affection Level

High

Protectiveness

High

Friendliness

High

Kid-Friendly

High

Pet-Friendly

Medium

Exercise Needs

High

Playfulness

High

Energy Level

Medium

Trainability

Medium

Intelligence

Medium

Tendency to Bark

Medium

Amount of Shedding

Low

History of the American Bulldog

Bulldogs were originally used for bull baiting in the 17th century, a gruesome sport involving dogs fighting bulls. The game has since been eliminated and bulldogs dazzled their way into the lives of families across England and even became a national symbol.

The English Bulldog was brought to North America to become working dogs to help on farms due to their strength and determination.

Farmers bred them with other working dogs to get the best all-around farm work dog. Their intelligence, loyalty, and agility made them helpful for both herding and hunting.

As the breed developed, they became more attractive, friendly companion animals that were a must for families across North America.

They also moved on to become mascots of numerous schools and organizations, like Georgetown University and Yale. Their intimidating looks and strength make them the perfect face for competitive sports teams.

Though the American Kennel Club has not yet recognized American Bulldogs as a distinct breed, the United Kennel Club, also founded in the United States, recognized them in 1999.

American Bulldog Care

Minimal grooming and care is required for the American Bulldog’s short, fine coat, but they do shed. American Bulldog owners should expect shedding year round. American Bulldogs typically enjoy grooming, and weekly brushing will significantly help to manage shedding. Bathe your bulldog every few months or as needed.

Some bulldogs are prone to becoming overweight, so sticking to a veterinarian-approved kibble is key. Make sure to regularly exercise your American bulldog with daily brisk walks, playtime in the yard and appropriate socialization to prevent boredom and destructive behavior.

Without proper exercise and stimulation, American Bulldogs may turn to undesirable behavior, like chewing furniture, for entertainment. These are not the right pets for couch potatoes.

Speaking of socialization, training is a must. Bulldogs are naturally protective, sometimes too protective, but love to learn. They need a helping hand when it comes to proper socialization and acceptable behavior. 

Though their coat is relatively low-maintenance, they are known to have issues with excess drool. Rest assured, their slobber is natural, just be sure to keep any wrinkles free from excess moisture to avoid bacteria buildup and infection.

Like other dogs, American Bulldogs require regular baths, nail trimming, and ear cleaning. Their nails should be trimmed every few weeks to avoid joint issues and pain, and ears should be cleaned once a month or as needed to prevent infection.

Common Health Problems

All dog breeds have the potential to develop health problems, and American Bulldogs are no exception. If you are getting your pet from a breeder, always ask for a health guarantee and any relevant medical history.

American Bulldogs are prone to hip or elbow dysplasia, which can be prevented by maintaining a healthy weight and adding vitamins to support healthy joints, like omega-3 fatty acids, to their diet.

This breed also often experiences allergies caused by an overactive immune system. If they don’t grow out of them altogether, their symptoms are manageable. It may be helpful to get an allergy test done and feed pets an appropriate diet. Red and itchy skin or licking paws is a common sign of food allergies in dogs. If you see these symptoms, talk to your veterinarian about allergen possibilities.

A genetic nervous system disorder called neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis is a common problem for American Bulldogs. A genetic test can determine if the disorder will be an issue with your dog. Always ask for this test before you buy an American Bulldog from a breeder.

Diet and Nutrition

Because American Bulldogs are so active and muscular, they need food with lots of protein. The right dog food should contain meat protein as the first ingredient, omega-3 fatty acids to maintain a soft coat, and a small amount of carbs to prevent weight gain.

If you are unsure of your pet’s allergies, it may be wise to try a few different protein options before settling. Switching foods can have adverse effects on dogs’ digestion, so transition gradually over several days to keep your pup healthy.

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