AmericanBulldog.png
Breed Group Group 4: Bull Breeds
Sub-group 4-A: Bulldogs
Origin Country United States
Weight Males: 75-125 pounds. Females: 60-100 pounds.
Height Males: 22-27 inches. Females: 20-25 inches.
Other Name(s) Old Country Bulldog
Breed Type Pure
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American Bulldog

Breed Group Group 4: Bull Breeds
Sub-group 4-A: Bulldogs
Origin Country United States
Weight Males: 75-125 pounds. Females: 60-100 pounds.
Height Males: 22-27 inches. Females: 20-25 inches.
Other Name(s) Old Country Bulldog
Breed Type Pure
click here for FULL BREED STANDARD

Origins

Like his distant relatives the English Bulldog and the bull-and-terrier breeds, the American Bulldog’s ancestors are believed to have originally come from the old types of bulldogs that were bred for bullbaiting. However, not all of these dogs were used for the horrific spectator sport of the thirteenth century. Many were kept as farm dogs and used to move cattle, hunt large game such as boars, and protect the property. English settlers, fleeing the arising conflict of the English Civil War, fled to the United States and brought with them their hard-working dogs. Once in the United States, the settlers made their way to the American Southeast where they set up farms for crops and livestock. Their dogs were employed to work the farmlands just as they had done for centuries in Europe. There the dogs were most likely mixed with local dogs and dogs imported by other settlers that had come to the area.

These hardy working bulldogs existed in the American Southeast for centuries. They were known as Old English Whites, White English Bulldogs, Old Southern Whites, Country White Bulldogs, and Hill Bulldogs. Because none of these dogs were considered a distinct “breed” for centuries, there was a great deal of variety found in the dogs, including that of their physical appearance, size, and colors. Two characteristics that they all had in common were their hard work ethic and the ability to assist their families. Whether their families needed cattle moved, property protected, or a wild boar caught, these bulldogs were up to the challenge. Only the best working dogs, having earned their keep, were kept for breeding purposes.

The old bulldogs remained a popular staple of farms and plantations throughout the American South for many years. However, by the time of World War II the breed had nearly died out. John D. Johnson is credited with reviving the breed by relentlessly searching through the South to find the last remnants of the best of the best. He, along with his father, revived the breed and established the Johnson bull dog type. Alan Scott also worked with Johnson dogs, meticulously infusing other dogs that he had obtained and perfecting the Scott (or standard) type.

Today, the American Bulldog still exhibits a healthy and diverse phenotype, with varieties ranging from the bully Johnson to the athletic standard Scott variety and anything in between. All are correct and true to the original bulldog type of old.

Breed Characteristics

Head: Skull may range from a slightly mesocephalic skull type, being somewhat bluntly wedge-shaped as in the Scott type, or it may be somewhat brachycephalic and distinctly square shaped, as in the Johnson type, or the skull may fall anywhere in between. An excessively long or narrow head, a head resembling that of an American Pit Bull Terrier, or an overly brachycephalic skull that resembles that of an English Bulldog is incorrect for any variety of American Bulldog. The head is large, yet proportionate to the substance of the dog. It is broad and powerful. The topskull is flat, long, deep, and broad, being at least as wide (measured from one side of the topskull to the other in front of the ears) as it is long (from occiput to stop). The forehead should be wider than it is tall. It is of good bone and well-muscled, with strongly pronounced temporal and cheek muscles giving it a distinctive padded shape, accentuating a median furrow that runs deep from the stop and diminishes up toward the occiput. The skull is relatively clean-cut, lacking excess skin or wrinkling, however, some slight wrinkling of the forehead is permissible when the dog is brought to alert.
Eyes: Medium in size, oval, lemon, almond, or somewhat round in shape, and set well apart. All colors are acceptable, with darker shades being preferred. The eyes are never bulging or drooping. The eyelids should fit sufficiently tight without any sign of entropion or ectropion; haw should never be visible. The eyelids should be well-pigmented in areas that are colored. There should be sufficient bone in the surrounding orbital sockets to protect the eyes.
Ears: The ears are small to medium in size, set at the highest and outermost part of the skull, and are set relatively far back on the long topskull. They may be drop, button, semi-prick, or rose. In drop ears, the fold must be set on level with the head. Rose ears must be small in size and not appear to “fly-away” when alerted. Semi-prick ears must exhibit a noticeable fold at the half way or ¾ way point. Fully erect ears are incorrect for this breed. Cropped ears are incorrect as they detract from the expression that is unique to the American Bulldog and result in an appearance that is more bull-and-terrier-like.
Muzzle: The muzzle broad, deep, and strongly developed. The plane, or bridge of the muzzle, is straight. The ideal muzzle length is 25%-45% the overall length of the entire head. The chin is strong and well-defined, but never upturned to the point of protruding beyond the upper lip, nor is it covered by the upper lip. Upper and lower jaws are wide, and may be equal in length, as in the performance type, or with the lower jaw being just slightly longer, as in the bully-type, and have good bone substance. The jaws are strong and well-developed, never appearing weak, excessively brachycephalic, flat-faced, or long and narrow. The muzzle must never appear long and narrow or completely flat for this breed.
Nose: The nose is well-pigmented and black, or self-colored according to the coat. The nostrils are well-opened
Neck: Strongly muscled, powerfully built, well arched, and of moderate length to allow for free movement and action of the head and forequarters. The neck and forequarters is the powerhouse of the American Bulldog and where much of his catching and holding ability comes from. Therefore, a powerful neck capable of free action is essential to the breed. It should widen at the base near the chest and shoulders, and taper just slightly to the base of the skull. A very slight dewlap is permissible. Short necks and weak necks are incorrect.
Chest: Deep, broad, but never wider than deep. The brisket extends to the point of the elbows.
Body: Compact, solid, and of good substance. The body is never racy or refined, long, or low-slung. The shoulders should not appear overly wide and human-like, as this detracts from stamina, power, speed, agility, and endurance. The width of the body at the shoulders is approximately equal to the width of the body at the hindquarters.
Feet: Oval to round and compact, with well-arched toes, and tough pads
Tail: The tail is set somewhat low on the croup, thick at the base, and tapers toward the tip. It may be straight, gently curved, “pump handled,” or form a slight “sabre.” When held down, the tip of the last vertebrae should extend to approximately the hock joints. The tail is very expressive and can tell when the dog is alert or excited (held up), or calm (held in a relaxed downward position, never tucked.) The tail should never be curled over the back, corkscrewed, or kinked. Natural tails are essential for balance and equilibrium when working, so natural tails are preferred. Docked tails are considered incorrect for this breed.
Movement: Powerful yet agile, effortless, efficient, smooth, and with great coordination. The characteristics of healthy structure are evident: when moving away, the forelegs and rear pasterns should remain parallel to one another. When viewing movement from the front, the forelegs should remain parallel, with elbows and paws moving neither moving in nor out. From the rear, the back pads should be visible when the rear legs are extended. As speed increases, the fore and hindlimbs will converge to the center line of gravity. From the side, the topline should remain firm and level. Good reach of movement in the front allows the forepaw to extend out in a line with the nose. The width between the forefeet when extended should be approximately equal to the width between the hindfeet when extended, indicating balance, good reach, and good drive. Dogs that exhibit any sign of breathing or locomotive difficulty shall be disqualified from the show ring.
Temperament: The American Bulldog has been renowned for centuries as being a manager and guardian of his master’s estate, property, and life. His multifaceted versatility, can-do attitude, and devotion to his family make him a true all-around working dog as well as keeper of any family. With management potential comes a personality that likes to self-appoint, so care should be taken that the American Bulldog fully understands his role in the family, or else, he’ll take over control of all jobs. He loves to work and is quite capable of doing so with great enthusiasm, intelligence, and power. Early socialization and training are important to ensure that his large size and energy don’t result in a Baby Huey effect, accidently injuring smaller dogs (and people) in his enthusiasm to get the job done. He is intelligent and watchful. Adult specimens may develop an attitude of impartiality or aloofness towards strangers, which is not to be penalized. Some may even develop intolerance for other dogs of the same sex. However, dogs that are disruptive should be excused from the show ring. Any unprovoked aggressive or fearful behavior toward people is incorrect for this breed.
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Breed Standard

BREED GROUP 4: Bull Breeds

Proportions: The American Bulldog is a square to off-square breed, with the height at the withers being approximately equal to or slightly less than the length from the prosternum to the point of the rump. Females may be slightly longer. The body is well put together with sturdy substance and strong bone. Dogs may range from bully-type to the standard type. Males should appear masculine, being more substantial in size and mass, while females should appear more feminine and slightly less substantial. Neither should lack overall type.

Head

General Appearance: Skull may range from a slightly mesocephalic skull type, being somewhat bluntly wedge-shaped as in the Scott type, or it may be somewhat brachycephalic and distinctly square shaped, as in the Johnson type, or the skull may fall anywhere in between. An excessively long or narrow head, a head resembling that of an American Pit Bull Terrier, or an overly brachycephalic skull that resembles that of an English Bulldog is incorrect for any variety of American Bulldog. The head is large, yet proportionate to the substance of the dog. It is broad and powerful. The topskull is flat, long, deep, and broad, being at least as wide (measured from one side of the topskull to the other in front of the ears) as it is long (from occiput to stop). The forehead should be wider than it is tall. It is of good bone and well-muscled, with strongly pronounced temporal and cheek muscles giving it a distinctive padded shape, accentuating a median furrow that runs deep from the stop and diminishes up toward the occiput. The skull is relatively clean-cut, lacking excess skin or wrinkling, however, some slight wrinkling of the forehead is permissible when the dog is brought to alert.
Expression: Powerful, watchful, alert, self-composed, confident, and intelligent
Stop: The stop is definite, preferably forming a 90-degree angle between the topskull and muzzle
Skull: The ideal muzzle-to-skull ratio is between 1:4 and 2:3, with the topskull being longer than the muzzle.
The ideal muzzle-to-skull axis may be parallel or convergent.
Muzzle: The muzzle broad, deep, and strongly developed. The plane, or bridge of the muzzle, is straight. The ideal muzzle length is 25%-45% the overall length of the entire head. The chin is strong and well-defined, but never upturned to the point of protruding beyond the upper lip, nor is it covered by the upper lip. Upper and lower jaws are wide, and may be equal in length, as in the performance type, or with the lower jaw being just slightly longer, as in the bully-type, and have good bone substance. The jaws are strong and well-developed, never appearing weak, excessively brachycephalic, flat-faced, or long and narrow. The muzzle must never appear long and narrow or completely flat for this breed.
Lips or Flews: Lips are thick and fit loosely, but not pendulously, over the upper and lower jaws. The lips meet in the front, covering the incisors and all teeth completely. Lips should just cover the lower jaw, but never hang well below in a pendulous fashion.
Nose: The nose is well-pigmented and black, or self-colored according to the coat. The nostrils are well-opened
Cheeks: The cheeks are powerfully padded and should never appear flat or chiseled. They should also never appear overly prominent due to an improperly proportioned head.
Dentition and Bite: Bite may be scissor, level, reverse-scissor, or slightly undershot with 1/4 of an inch, or less, of space between upper and lower incisors. Missing or broken teeth as a result of routine work is not to be penalized. The teeth and tongue should never be visible when the mouth is closed.
Eyes: Medium in size, oval, lemon, almond, or somewhat round in shape, and set well apart. All colors are acceptable, with darker shades being preferred. The eyes are never bulging or drooping. The eyelids should fit sufficiently tight without any sign of entropion or ectropion; haw should never be visible. The eyelids should be well-pigmented in areas that are colored. There should be sufficient bone in the surrounding orbital sockets to protect the eyes.
Ears: The ears are small to medium in size, set at the highest and outermost part of the skull, and are set relatively far back on the long topskull. They may be drop, button, semi-prick, or rose. In drop ears, the fold must be set on level with the head. Rose ears must be small in size and not appear to “fly-away” when alerted. Semi-prick ears must exhibit a noticeable fold at the half way or ¾ way point. Fully erect ears are incorrect for this breed. Cropped ears are incorrect as they detract from the expression that is unique to the American Bulldog and result in an appearance that is more bull-and-terrier-like.

Body and Tail

General Description: Compact, solid, and of good substance. The body is never racy or refined, long, or low-slung. The shoulders should not appear overly wide and human-like, as this detracts from stamina, power, speed, agility, and endurance. The width of the body at the shoulders is approximately equal to the width of the body at the hindquarters.
Neck: Strongly muscled, powerfully built, well arched, and of moderate length to allow for free movement and action of the head and forequarters. The neck and forequarters is the powerhouse of the American Bulldog and where much of his catching and holding ability comes from. Therefore, a powerful neck capable of free action is essential to the breed. It should widen at the base near the chest and shoulders, and taper just slightly to the base of the skull. A very slight dewlap is permissible. Short necks and weak necks are incorrect.
Chest: Deep, broad, but never wider than deep. The brisket extends to the point of the elbows.
Topline: Level from slightly prominent withers to croup. The back is broad, strongly muscled, straight, yet supple. The loin is taut, flat and level, or slightly arched, yet supportive. The topline is never swayed or roached.

The topline may be level from slightly prominent withers to the croup with a broad, straight and firm back, or it may incline just slightly (almost imperceptibly) downward from the withers to the tail. The loin is short, wide, supple, and may be either level with the back or just slightly arched. The back should never be sway backed, long, roach backed, or wheel-backed.

Croup: Gently sloped.
Underline: Slight tuck up may be present, or the underline may run parallel to the topline. The underline is taut and firm, without any indication of sagging or excess weight
Ribs: Long, well-sprung, well-laid back, oval-shaped, never barrel-chested or slab-sided.
Tail: The tail is set somewhat low on the croup, thick at the base, and tapers toward the tip. It may be straight, gently curved, “pump handled,” or form a slight “sabre.” When held down, the tip of the last vertebrae should extend to approximately the hock joints. The tail is very expressive and can tell when the dog is alert or excited (held up), or calm (held in a relaxed downward position, never tucked.) The tail should never be curled over the back, corkscrewed, or kinked. Natural tails are essential for balance and equilibrium when working, so natural tails are preferred. Docked tails are considered incorrect for this breed.

Forequarters and Hindquarters

Forequarters: Forequarters are always in balance with the hindquarters. Forequarters are well angulated with well-laid-back shoulder blades. Shoulder blades are approximately equal in length to the upper arm and forearm.
Elbows: Elbows are close to the body. The point of the elbows is approximately half the dog’s height at the withers.
Forelegs: Frontal View: Straight, of good muscle and strong bone, and parallel to one another. A slight inclination inwards is not a fault, as long as they are straight.
Side View: The forelimbs appear straight with strong pasterns.

Pasterns: Never weak or broken
Hindquarters: Upper thigh and lower thigh are equal in length, sturdy, of strong bone, and well-muscled.
Rear View: When viewed from the rear, the rear pasterns are parallel to one another.
Side View: Good angulation will allow the rear toes to align with the point of the rump, or within one to two paw-lengths behind the point of the rump, with the rear pasterns remaining perpendicular to the ground and parallel to one another.
Stifle Joint: Well-angulated with a good bend to well let-down rear pasterns.

Angulations: Angulation of hindquarters is always in balance with angulation of forequarters
Feet: Oval to round and compact, with well-arched toes, and tough pads

Coat

Skin: Well-fitted, yet supple. The skin should never obstruct the outline of the dog.
Coat Type: : Short, close, single coat that is stiff to the touch. Length varies, ranging from one inch or less in length. The coat should never exhibit fringing, wave, or furnishings.

Coat Color or Pattern: CKC recognizes two color varieties of the American Bulldog breed: the standard color and nonstandard color variety.
Standard coat color variety: All coat color patterns with the exception of solid black, solid blue, merle, tri-color, and fawn (tan with black mask) are permissible. All dogs must have at least 10% white markings.
Non-standard coat color variety: Any coat colors prohibited in the standard colors or colors not listed are recognized in the non-standard color variety. This includes solid black, solid blue, merle, tri-colors, and fawns. Large patches or amounts of white indicating homogenous merle genotype/phenotype are undesirable.

Movement

Powerful yet agile, effortless, efficient, smooth, and with great coordination. The characteristics of healthy structure are evident: when moving away, the forelegs and rear pasterns should remain parallel to one another. When viewing movement from the front, the forelegs should remain parallel, with elbows and paws moving neither moving in nor out. From the rear, the back pads should be visible when the rear legs are extended. As speed increases, the fore and hindlimbs will converge to the center line of gravity. From the side, the topline should remain firm and level. Good reach of movement in the front allows the forepaw to extend out in a line with the nose. The width between the forefeet when extended should be approximately equal to the width between the hindfeet when extended, indicating balance, good reach, and good drive. Dogs that exhibit any sign of breathing or locomotive difficulty shall be disqualified from the show ring.

Temperament

The American Bulldog has been renowned for centuries as being a manager and guardian of his master’s estate, property, and life. His multifaceted versatility, can-do attitude, and devotion to his family make him a true all-around working dog as well as keeper of any family. With management potential comes a personality that likes to self-appoint, so care should be taken that the American Bulldog fully understands his role in the family, or else, he’ll take over control of all jobs. He loves to work and is quite capable of doing so with great enthusiasm, intelligence, and power. Early socialization and training are important to ensure that his large size and energy don’t result in a Baby Huey effect, accidently injuring smaller dogs (and people) in his enthusiasm to get the job done. He is intelligent and watchful. Adult specimens may develop an attitude of impartiality or aloofness towards strangers, which is not to be penalized. Some may even develop intolerance for other dogs of the same sex. However, dogs that are disruptive should be excused from the show ring. Any unprovoked aggressive or fearful behavior toward people is incorrect for this breed.

Faults

All dogs should be in proper healthy condition, free from disease or defect. Any departure from this description is considered a fault. Unless altered, all male dogs should have two fully descended testicles.