American Bulldog

Home > Dog Breeds > American Bulldog
60-120 lbs
United States
Am Bulldog, Old Country Bulldog
Muscular, athletic, and undeniably powerful, the American Bulldog may be an intimidating looking breed, but they have a heart of gold and a huge penchant for playtime. They come in two types, the Johnson (aka the Bully or Classic type) and the Scott (aka the Standard or Performance type), the prior having a larger, heavier build and a shorter muzzle more similar to the English Bulldog, the latter being more athletic with a longer muzzle and more squarish head, but many now are a combination of the two. Although confused with the often-vilified American Pit Bull Terrier, the American Bulldog is a different breed entirely and like the breed that shares some of its namesake, have a variety of characteristics that make them not only great working dogs, but excellent family dogs. Despite their tough-looking exterior, they are actually highly-emotional dogs that are sensitive to their surroundings, which is one reason they make exceptionally good family dogs, especially those with children, whom they love to romp and play with yet can sense the mood of the room if they make a mistake. They are a gentle, affectionate breed with a high level of overall confidence, a combination that often translates into loyalty, obedience and a strong protective nature. Because of these characteristics, they can be shy towards strangers and even other dogs, so training early on will help to ensure they make good company in all social circles. They are also a high energy breed and generally do best with an open yard to run and frequent exercise, but are able to adapt to apartment living as long as their owners have an active lifestyle they're able to join in on.
Bull Baiting, Working, Farming, Hunting, Companion
Date of Origin
17th Century
English Bulldog, Old English Bulldog, Bull Terrier

American Bulldog Health

Average Size
Male American Bulldog size stats
Height: 20-28 inches Weight: 60-120 lbs
Female American Bulldog size stats
Height: 20-28 inches Weight: 60-120 lbs
Major Concerns
  • Hip And Elbow Dysplasia
Minor Concerns
  • Cherry Eye
  • Thyroid
  • Kidney Problems
  • Ichthyosis
  • Bone Cancer
Occasional Diagnoses
  • Entropion
  • Cataracts
  • Ectropion
Occasional Tests
  • Eye Examination
  • Physical Examination
  • Allergy Tests
  • Hip and Elbow X-rays
  • DNA

American Bulldog Breed History

American Bulldogs have been around since the 17th century. They are largely believed to be the descendants of the Old English Bulldog and came to the American South with working class immigrant settlers from West Midlands in England before the Industrial Revolution. Farmers and ranchers prized the dogs for their ability to hunt feral pigs, which were a nearly predator-less nuisance at the time, "catch" or help control their cattle, and provide overall protection for their property and family. Prior to 1835, when blood sports were outlawed in England and eventually the US, they were also used in the brutal sports of bull and bear baiting, where the animals were pitted against each other. Since the breed was used purely as a utility dog, there was no attempt to control bloodlines or document ancestry, and those who owned and bred them did so based upon the best working characteristics they could find. By the end of World War II, the American Bulldog, simply called "bulldogs" at the time after their primary work purpose, was nearly extinct until a war veteran named John D. Johnson returned home and attempted to revitalize the breed. After combing the rural farms and back roads of the South in search of the best candidates, he caught the attention of a young man named Alan Scott, who took interest in the dogs and began breeding his own catch-dog finds with Johnson's line, eventually developing what is known as the Standard American Bulldog. Johnson himself eventually interbred his line with the English Bulldog, creating the Classic or Bully type. Today, many American Bulldogs are a cross between the two and are still used as utility dogs for hunting and "catching" as well as sport and protection. They have also quickly risen in the ranks of family dogs because of their surprisingly gentle nature, intelligence and loyalty.

American Bulldog Breed Appearance

The American Bulldog is a medium to large dog, standing between 20 and 28 inches tall and maxing out around 120 pounds but usually averaging somewhere closer to 90. They are a highly muscular and powerful breed and show it prominently in their figure thanks to their short coats. Because of their varying lineage, they can range in overall appearance, mostly showing in their legs and face, but almost all share a stock set of characteristics. Regardless of type, they all sport a compact frame for their size, much of their weight being represented by a plethora of muscle that lines all four legs, back, chest and even their necks. They have large heads with strong jaws, short, folded ears, preferably undocked, and thick, tapering tails. American Bulldogs with strong Johnson traits sport a shortened muzzle with a bit heavier build similar to the English Bulldog, and are usually a bit shorter. The Standard, on the other hand, generally sports a more trim, athletic build, a longer muzzle and more boxy head, and are generally the taller specimens of the breed overall. Their coats are short and relatively thin and have long been known to be white with patches of everything from black to red to brown, but over time have come to incorporate a variety of colors and patterns.
Eye Color Possibilities
blue American Bulldog eyes
hazel American Bulldog eyes
brown American Bulldog eyes
amber American Bulldog eyes
Nose Color Possibilities
black American Bulldog nose
brown American Bulldog nose
Coat Color Possibilities
brown American Bulldog coat
black American Bulldog coat
brindle American Bulldog coat
fawn American Bulldog coat
red American Bulldog coat
white American Bulldog coat
Coat Length
Short Medium Long
Coat Density
Sparse Normal Dense
Coat Texture
American Bulldog straight coat texture
Straight Wiry Wavy Curly Corded

American Bulldog Breed Maintenance

Given their short coats, American Bulldogs are relatively easy to maintain. They are light to moderate shedders and need only weekly brushing to keep their coat healthy with baths at the owner's discretion. Because of their lip/face shape and ancestry, they do have a tendency to drool, which should be monitored and wiped periodically to keep them (and you) clean. Tooth brushing should be taken care of on a weekly basis, as this breed eats a lot of food due to its size and like any dog, nail length should be watched and trimmed as needed.
Brushes for American Bulldog
Pin Brush
Nail Clipper
Brushing Frequency
American Bulldog requires weekly brushing
Daily Weekly Monthly

American Bulldog Temperament

Despite their tough exterior, American Bulldogs are actually gentle, friendly, affectionate dogs that are surprisingly sensitive and even considered emotional. While many breeds may get stamped with the brains or brawn stigma, American Bulldogs are lucky enough to be both and employ their skill sets accordingly. They are highly intelligent, so as long as they have an owner willing to stand as a strong pack leader, train pretty easily and afterwards will stop at nothing to prove their obedience and loyalty. Because of their protective instincts, they may be cautious or even aggressive towards strangers and other dogs if they do not have a strong leader to direct them accordingly early on. They are brave and strong-willing dogs that are generally non-hostile by nature, but a good owner will ensure proper socialization and training to make sure their behavior is as close as possible to ideal. Because of their emotional nature, they generally react much better to positive reinforcement and are known to sulk and pout if scolded too harshly, so patience with them is a virtue. With the right amount of attention, they are largely well-behaved dogs but without frequent exercise, playtime, and mental stimulation, can become destructive and develop troublesome behavior. They are generally better suited for homes with larger yards or space to run, as their activity requirements are quite high, but they are adaptable to smaller spaces if they end up with an active owner who gives them considerable exercise daily. They also enjoy larger families that simulate a pack environment but will do just fine with a single owner if they are given regular attention.

American Bulldog Activity Requirements

American Bulldogs are generally a high energy breed but a range does exist between the Standard and Bully types, the latter usually needing a bit less exercise than the prior due to their shorter legs and more brachycephalic-shaped face. An ideal home will have a large space for them to run, a large dog park nearby or an owner who is happy to give them a thorough jog daily. They are usually happier when they are able to socialize, leaving many to be unsatisfied if just left in a yard unsupervised. Visits to the dog park and interaction with friends and family are much more ideal, as their emotional nature constantly demands at least a little bit of attention. Since they are also quite intelligent, games and activities that challenge them mentally are strongly encouraged to help maintain good behavior and prevent them from becoming frustrated, restless and potentially destructive. Because they are larger and pack a lot of muscle, they will need at least a couple miles of walking/jogging a day if possible, coupled with around 45 to 60 minutes of additional playtime and as much attention as can be managed at home.
Activity Level
Low Medium High
Rec. Walk Mileage Per Week
14 miles
Minutes of Activity Per Day
60 minutes

American Bulldog Food Consumption

Cups Per Day
4 cups
Daily Cost
$3 - $5
Monthly Cost
$30 - $50

American Bulldog Height & Weight

6 Months
Male American Bulldog size stats at six months
Height: 17 inches Weight: 64 lbs
Female American Bulldog size stats at six months
Height: 17 inches Weight: 64 lbs
12 Months
Male American Bulldog size stats at 12 months
Height: 20 inches Weight: 77 lbs
Female American Bulldog size stats at 12 months
Height: 20 inches Weight: 77 lbs
18 Months
Male American Bulldog size stats at 18 months
Height: 24 inches Weight: 90 lbs
Female American Bulldog size stats at 18 months
Height: 24 inches Weight: 90 lbs

American Bulldog Owner Experiences

17 Months
4 People
House & Yard
There a good breed to have protective and Loving, make sure to socialize early or there could be some aggression issues.
1 week ago
5 Years
2 People
Car rides
I have owned many breeds in my 53 years, but have never had a dog more in tune with me. She doesn’t like me out of her sight, but has no separation anxiety. She LOVES people, but if you ring my doorbell, she will sound like she’s ready to eat you. Even with early socialization, she is not fond of dogs that aren’t part of her pack. As a puppy, she required a firm but gentle hand to keep reminding her that I’m the pack leader. As an adult, she will still sometimes test her boundaries, but I remain calm and constant, so her tests are short lived. She is a total clown, and makes me laugh EVERY single day. I’ve found that American Bulldogs will bond heavily to mainly one person. They will love whoever is in the family, but definitely have “their” person.
3 weeks, 2 days ago
9 Years
1 People
This is the most amazing, loving, affectionate, intelligent, sensitive, loving, gentle animal that I could every imagine. He is my boy.
2 months, 3 weeks ago
7 Years
2 People
House & Yard
Rescue dog,took about 3 months prior to settling but now great, quite wary of strangers
2 months, 4 weeks ago
Delilah and Maggy
8 Years
2 People
House & Yard
Playing frisbee, catch and tug o war
We have had American Bulldogs for about 12 years now. Have always owned one.
4 months ago
Book me a walkiee?
Sketch of smiling australian shepherd