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The American bulldog is a working dog type that was developed in America as the result of cross-breeding different strains of imported dog types, such as the Staffordshire bull terrier, English bulldog and various others. They stand at up to 27” tall, weigh up to around 130lb, and are solid and confident in appearance.
Among dog owners who like well-built, stocky and muscular dogs that have a businesslike appearance, the breed is very popular, and can now be widely seen kept as pets within the UK. If this sounds like you, the American bulldog might be one of the breeds or types that you are considering owning, and if so, it is important to do plenty of research before committing to a purchase to be sure that you are not biting off more than you can chew!
Read on to learn more about some of the basic traits of the American bulldog, plus some thoughts on what they are like as pets.
The American bulldog as we know it today was developed as a variant of the American pit bull terrier, and first came to prominence around 1990 both in the USA and further afield. They are powerful dogs with a compact and yet highly muscular build, a broad chest, and heavy bones. They should be well balanced in appearance and have a broad but not exaggeratedly large head, in contrast to that of the English bulldog type.
They have very short coats that should be smooth and glossy when the dog is in good health, and should display a sprightly, lively gait that belies their heavy appearance!
The breed’s main organisation for the American bulldog states that the breed are excellent family pets, which soon develop a lot of love and loyalty for their owners. They are gentle and kind in temperament and renowned for being good with children of all ages, often bonding strongly with kids and acting the protector role around them outside of the home. Once you earn the trust of an American bulldog, they will go out of their way to please you, and generally make lovely companions within the home.
While they are good guard dogs and protectors and will soon get the hang of the parameters of their territory, they are not known for being overly defensive or aggressive with strangers, either canine or human.
They are alert, agile and like to keep fit, and will spend plenty of time out in the garden out of choice.
While the American bulldog is lauded as being kind, calm, friendly and safe around people of all types and all ages, they do have a natural wariness around other dogs that they do not know, which means that adequate socialisation when the dog is young is essential to keep them from becoming aggressive with other dogs.
They will happily live in a pack situation with other dogs that are part of the family, and become friendly with other dogs that they see out and about on a regular basis and come to recognise, but care should be taken when managing introductions to strange dogs outside of a controlled environment.
In order to integrate an American bulldog into a home where another dog already resides, it is best to start with a puppy, as older dogs may take some time to get to grips with the new status quo and an additional canine companion!
Despite the fact that they have a heavy, muscular build and might not look as if they are likely to be able to run too fast, the American bulldog is a lithe, fit and active breed that likes to spend plenty of time running around and playing! They need both plenty of time to go out and play, as well as supervised walks that provide enough stimulation to keep the dog happy and relaxed.
Without adequate mental and physical stimulation, the bored American bulldog may become destructive within the home, and may act out in a range of different ways to indicate their dissatisfaction!
While the American bulldog is kind, friendly and personable, they are also big strong dogs that can be prone to stubbornness, and as such they need an experienced owner who knows how to tackle potential issues of dominance, unruliness or stubbornness when training!
These dogs need clear boundaries and firm but kind positive reinforcement training, as well as a good understanding of their place in the pack structure of your home and family.
Starting training young, making rules and sticking to them and socialising the dog properly with other dogs and people is vital, and as such, the American bulldog may not be the perfect choice for the first time or novice dog owner.
However, if you are prepared to do your research and take expert advice if needed, the American bulldog can soon make for an excellent family pet.
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