However, many of the most popular pedigree bulldog breeds in the UK are also associated with a large number of widespread and potentially serious health problems that can develop as a result of the breeds’ conformation, which can result in a shorter than normal lifespan and poorer quality of life too.
Whilst by no means every pedigree dog from a bulldog breed will have health problems due to their shape and build, enough do that many bulldog breeds have a very high profile in terms of their health, and this has led to many bulldog enthusiasts being keen to move away from the traditional pedigree breeds within which health issues are acute and widespread.
This has in turn led to the development of a number of new bulldog variants over the course of the last couple of decades, which are intended to either replicate a historical and more moderate (and so, healthy) appearance for dogs of the bulldog type, or to produce a new bulldog-type variant bred for health rather than a specific look.
One of these is the American bulldog – and in fact, so popular is the American bulldog in the UK that they’re in 23rd place (as at July 2019) out of a total of over 240 different recognised dog breeds and types that can be found on our shores.
This is a dog type that many people who love bulldogs but that are concerned about the health of many of the most popular pedigree bull breeds consider choosing when looking for their next pet – and often, this will be the right decision for a certain individual prospective owner.
However, plenty of research is required in order to make an informed decision about the purchase of any dog breed or type, and buying a dog is not a decision to rush into or make lightly. With this in mind, this article will tell you ten things you need to know about the American bulldog, before you go out and buy one. Read on to learn more.
First of all, the American bulldog is not recognised as a pedigree dog breed in the UK, which means that they can’t be registered with the Kennel Club nor entered in Kennel Club breed shows. This also means that there is no formal breed standard in place for American bulldogs and so, no formal consensus on what they should look like or what type of temperament they should have, and no record or umbrella registry kept of the breed’s health.
Bulldogs of all types tend to be highly affectionate and gentle with the people they love and trust, in contrast to their somewhat daunting appearances. The American bulldog is no exception, and dogs of this type are also hugely loyal, and form strong, unshakable bonds with the people they love and trust.
American bulldogs are tall, strong and very muscular, with wide necks and heads and strong hindquarters. They are larger in terms of height and weight than English bulldogs and less stocky due to their build and musculature, having around the same level of strength but in a more moderate, evenly balanced package.
This does mean that they are apt to be strong enough to win a physical battle for dominance if poorly trained or managed, and so the appropriate handling and direction is required from a young age.
American bulldogs are as mentioned, leaner and more moderate in build than most other bulldog types, which makes them reasonably athletic compared to most other bulldogs. This may mean that canine sports like agility would be possible, although this needs to be considered on a case by case basis.
American bulldogs should have a moderate conformation in order to avoid health problems, which means that their muzzles shouldn’t be overly short, nor their bodies too muscular in comparison to their heights.
Dogs with hugely flat faces and that are very short and squat are much more likely to suffer from conformation-related health issues than those with a more balanced build, and so care must be taken to choose a moderate, healthy puppy from any litter.
The average lifespan of any type of dog depends on a lot of variables, and so any averages on a breed or type basis tend to be broad by nature. However, the American bulldog is fairly long-lived based on the averages for bulldog types as a whole, with an average lifespan of between around 10-15 years.
American bulldogs are bred to look moderate and be robust and healthy, but the health of any individual dog can never be guaranteed.
Always talk to the breeder of any dog you are considering buying in-depth to find out about the health of their breed lines and any health challenges they face, and assess the conformation of the parent dogs and puppies alike before you make a final choice.
Bulldogs of all types tend to have a strong stubborn streak, and if poorly handled, may be dominant. American bulldogs require clear, consistent and fair direction and leadership, and appropriate training and management.
American bulldogs tend to be gentle and affectionate with children, and often bond strongly with the younger members of the family. However, every dog is different and appropriate supervision is essential, and children must also be taught to respect the dog in their turn.
Whilst their exercise requirements are around the middle of the pack when compared to dogs of all different breeds and types, compared to other bulldogs, they need more walks and activity than most. A couple of hours a day would be ideal, and American bulldogs need some variety with on lead and off lead walks, and plenty of chances to socialise.