American Bulldog

Table of Contents

american bulldog
Say hello to the American Bulldog, a breed that effortlessly combines strength and gentleness. These robust, heart-winning companions are famed for their playful demeanor, boundless energy, and unmatched loyalty.

Join us in this comprehensive guide as we explore everything you need to know about this breed, including their appearance, temperament, ideal environment, grooming, exercise requirements, training tips, dietary needs, health concerns, history, and more.

Best For

The American Bulldog is a perfect match for those in search of a loyal, energetic companion. This breed thrives in active households, where there’s plenty of play and exercise. With their friendly temperament and protective nature, American Bulldogs excel as both family pets and diligent watchdogs.


OFFICIAL NAMEAmerican Bulldog
OTHER NAMESSouthern White, White English, Old Southern White Bulldog
ORIGINUnited States
BREED GROUPFoundation Stock Service
HEIGHT20-28 inches
WEIGHT60-120 lbs
LIFESPAN10-15 years
american bulldog standing on the street
Photo: Yuliya Golland/Getty Images


The American Bulldog, adored for its athletic and robust stature, is a picture of strength and agility. Generally, males stand at around 20 to 28 inches tall at the shoulder, while females tend to be slightly smaller, standing at 20 to 26 inches. Weight varies widely based on build and gender; males typically weigh between 70 to 120 pounds, with females weighing in from 60 to 100 pounds.

In terms of physical features, one of the hallmarks of this breed is their broad, square-shaped head, which is set off by a strong jawline. Their eyes, ranging from shades of brown to blue or any variation in between, are set wide apart and carry a keen and alert expression.

Their muscular build is complemented by a thick, short coat that can come in an array of colors and patterns. Most commonly, you’ll find American Bulldogs in shades of white or white combined with patches of brindle, red, or various shades of brown. Their coat is relatively low maintenance, only requiring minimal grooming.

However, it’s not just their impressive physical attributes that make them so appealing. It’s also their vibrant energy and playful demeanor that add to their overall charm. The American Bulldog is a confident and social breed, with an appearance that reflects its robust spirit and zest for life.

american bulldog sitting near a river
Photo: Rendery/Getty Images Signature


American Bulldogs are known to possess a temperament that’s as robust and vivacious as their physical appearance suggests. They are recognized for their loyalty and determination, which makes them wonderful companions and protective family pets. These dogs are highly confident, and while they can be somewhat reserved around strangers, they warm up quickly once they feel secure and comfortable in their surroundings.

A noteworthy characteristic of the American Bulldog is their high energy level and need for stimulation. They are playful and active pets, always ready for a game or an adventure. They are best suited to families that can provide them with plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. Their playful nature also makes them fantastic companions for children, making American Bulldogs a perfect addition to active, energetic families.

Despite their energetic nature, American Bulldogs also have a softer, affectionate side. They adore spending quality time with their families and are known for their loving and gentle nature. More often than not, they enjoy being the center of attention and love to show off their playful antics to anyone willing to watch.

Overall, the American Bulldog is a breed of many facets. They are energetic and playful, yet also gentle and affectionate. Their loyalty and protective nature make them excellent family pets, and their love for active engagement makes them fun and exciting companions. To truly appreciate an American Bulldog is to understand and embrace their multifaceted personality.

american bulldog's face up close
Photo: Rendery/Getty Images Signature

Ideal Environment

The ideal environment for an American Bulldog is as dynamic and accommodating as their energetic and vivacious personalities. These dogs are renowned for their high activity levels and require settings that cater to their physical and mental needs. To fully grasp the ideal environment for American Bulldogs, it is necessary to consider four key aspects: the physical environment, climate adaptability, the ideal owner, and compatibility with other pets.

Physical Environment

When it comes to the physical environment, American Bulldogs thrive in spacious areas where they can run and play freely. A home with a large fenced yard is optimal, allowing them plenty of room to burn off energy. However, they can also adapt to apartment living as long as they are provided with ample opportunities for regular exercise.

Climate Adaptability

In terms of climate adaptability, American Bulldogs fare well in moderate climates. While they can withstand both hot and cold weather to a degree, extreme temperatures are not ideal. It’s important that they have shelter from harsh weather and are not left outside for extended periods in extreme conditions.

Ideal Owner

The ideal owner for an American Bulldog is someone who is active, patient, and committed to providing consistent training, mental stimulation, and lots of love. This breed thrives on positive reinforcement and requires a leader who can set clear boundaries while also fostering a warm and loving relationship.

Other Pets

Lastly, when it comes to other pets, American Bulldogs can coexist peacefully with other animals, given the proper introduction and socialization. While their strong prey drive may pose challenges with small animals, proper training and early socialization can help manage these instincts. In conclusion, creating an ideal environment for an American Bulldog involves considering a multitude of factors, but the reward is a loyal, energetic, and loving companion.

american bulldog in the field
Photo: THEPALMER/Getty Images Signature


Grooming is an essential aspect of caring for your American Bulldog, not only to keep them looking their best but also to maintain their overall health and well-being. Proper grooming includes regular brushing, bathing, dental care, nail clipping, and ear and eye care. With the right tools and techniques, grooming your American Bulldog can become a bonding activity and an opportunity to check for any signs of health issues.

Basic Grooming

American Bulldogs have a short and relatively low-maintenance coat, but that doesn’t mean brushing should be neglected. A weekly brushing routine is typically sufficient to keep your canine’s coat healthy and shiny. Using a firm bristle brush or a grooming mitt can help to remove loose hair and distribute natural oils throughout the coat. This routine grooming session also serves as an excellent opportunity to inspect your American Bulldog for any skin issues, ticks, or abnormalities that may require attention.


Depending on their activity level and the time of year, bathing your American Bulldog every 6 to 8 weeks can help to keep their skin clean and free from irritation. Use a dog-friendly shampoo to maintain the natural oils in their skin and coat. Always thoroughly rinse out any soap to prevent skin irritation.

Dental Care

Regular dental care is vital to prevent gum disease and bad breath. Brush your American Bulldog’s teeth at least 2-3 times a week using dog toothpaste and a soft toothbrush. Dental chews can also help to keep their teeth clean and their gums healthy.

Nail Care

Your American Bulldog’s nails should be trimmed every 3-4 weeks, depending on how quickly they grow. Overgrown nails can be uncomfortable and cause difficulty walking. Use a dog nail clipper or grinder to trim the nails, being careful not to cut into the quick.

Ear Care

Check your American Bulldog’s ears weekly for any signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, or an unusual odor. Clean the ears with a mild, dog-safe ear cleaner and a cotton ball. Avoid inserting anything into the ear canal.

Eye Care

Your American Bulldog’s eyes should be bright and clear. Regularly check for any signs of redness, cloudiness, or discharge. Use a soft, damp cloth to gently clean around your dog’s eyes, being careful not to touch the eye itself. If you notice any changes in your dog’s eyes, consult your veterinarian.

american bulldog lying on carpet
Photo: osterling/Getty Images


American Bulldogs are a muscular, sturdy breed known for their great strength and endurance. Exercise is a critical component of their overall health and well-being. It not only contributes to their physical health but also helps to keep them mentally stimulated and engaged.

Exercise Amount & Types

An American Bulldog requires at least an hour of exercise each day. This should include a combination of walks, playtime, and mentally stimulating activities. Agility training is an excellent choice for this breed, as it challenges them both physically and mentally. Moreover, toys that encourage problem-solving can also help to keep your American Bulldog occupied and entertained.

Dog Sports

This breed is known to excel in many dog sports such as weight pulling, obedience, and agility competitions. These activities are an excellent way to keep your American Bulldog fit and mentally stimulated. They also provide a fantastic opportunity for you and your dog to bond while enjoying a fun and healthy activity together.

Exercise Precautions

Despite their physical prowess, it’s crucial to remember that American Bulldogs are susceptible to certain health issues such as hip dysplasia. Therefore, avoid exercises that put undue stress on their joints, especially in puppies whose bones are still growing.

Always make sure your American Bulldog has plenty of water available during exercise, and avoid exercising in extreme temperatures to prevent overheating. Not forgetting, all exercise should be appropriate for your dog’s age and health status. Consult your vet to tailor the best exercise regimen for your dog.

american bulldog relaxing on the couch
Photo: ktmoffitt/Getty Images Signature


Training an American Bulldog can be a delightful experience as they are known for their intelligence and eagerness to learn. Despite their tough appearance, they have a soft spot for their human companions and strive to please them. However, their strong-willed nature can sometimes pose a challenge, and hence, they require a firm, consistent, and patient trainer.

What to Expect

Training an American Bulldog is not for the faint-hearted. They are a powerful and assertive breed with a mind of their own. However, they are also incredibly intelligent, which when combined with their natural determination, can lead to excellent results. It’s important to start training early and to remain consistent.

Basic Obedience

Basic obedience training is crucial for every American Bulldog. It helps to establish a strong bond between you and your dog whilst also ensuring that they understand basic commands such as sit, stay, and come. These commands are not only important for their overall behavior but are also vital for their safety.

Early Socialization

Early socialization is another critical aspect of training. Exposing your American Bulldog to different people, environments, and other animals at an early age can help them to grow into a well-rounded and confident adult dog. Socialization helps to prevent behavioral problems such as aggression or fearfulness.

Advanced Training

Once you and your American Bulldog have mastered the basics, you can move on to more advanced training. This could include agility training, advanced obedience, or even specialized activities such as search and rescue or therapy work. Remember, the key to successful training is consistency, patience, and lots of positive reinforcement.

two american bulldogs in the park
Photo: Koljambus/Getty Images

Diet & Nutrition

Like all dogs, American Bulldogs thrive best when they receive a well-balanced and nutritious diet. The breed’s energetic nature and robust build necessitate a diet rich in quality proteins, healthy fats, and a variety of fruits and vegetables. This not only ensures they maintain a healthy weight but also promotes overall well-being and longevity.

What to Feed

There is a range of options when it comes to feeding your American Bulldog. Dry kibble is a popular choice due to its convenience and the dental benefits it provides. Wet food, while a bit messier, can be a good source of hydration and is often more palatable to many dogs. Raw feeding, another option, can be beneficial if done correctly, providing a natural, whole-food diet. Regardless of the choice, it’s crucial to choose a high-quality food specifically formulated for large breeds.

How Much to Feed

The amount to feed your American Bulldog will vary based on their age, size, and activity level. Puppies generally require more frequent feedings of smaller amounts, while adult dogs might eat two larger meals per day. Always refer to the feeding guidelines on your dog’s food package and consult with your vet to determine the appropriate feeding schedule and portion sizes for your pet.

Treats & Water

Treats can be a useful training tool and enjoyable snack for your American Bulldog, but they should make up no more than 10% of your dog’s daily caloric intake to avoid weight gain. Lastly, water intake is vital. Always ensure your American Bulldog has access to fresh, clean water, especially after exercise or during hot weather.

american bulldog running on snow
Photo: Nemyrivskyi Viacheslav/Getty Images


American Bulldogs are generally a healthy breed, with a life expectancy ranging from 10 to 15 years. Nevertheless, like all breeds, they are susceptible to certain health conditions.

  1. Hip Dysplasia: Common in many large breeds, this is a condition where the hip joint doesn’t fit snugly into the hip socket, leading to potential pain and mobility issues.
  2. Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis (NCL): This is a rare, inherited neurological condition that American Bulldogs are predisposed to. Symptoms typically emerge around 18 months of age, including motor skill deterioration and vision loss.
  3. Ichthyosis: A skin condition resulting in scaly skin, it can be uncomfortable for the dog but is typically manageable with regular grooming and skin care.
  4. Brachycephalic Syndrome: Although not as prevalent as in other breeds, some American Bulldogs can experience difficulties with breathing due to the shape of their head and face.
  5. Kidney Disorders: Some lines of American Bulldogs have been known to develop kidney diseases, which can be detected through regular veterinary checkups.

Promoting your American Bulldog’s health should always be a priority. Regular exercise, a balanced diet, routine vet visits, and up-to-date vaccinations are crucial. Additionally, consider regular screenings for the health conditions listed above, particularly if your dog’s family history includes any of them. Providing a loving and attentive home environment can greatly contribute to your American Bulldog’s overall health and happiness.

american bulldog digging a hole in the autumn forest
Photo: White_bcgrd/Getty Images


The American Bulldog has a rich history that can be traced back to the early 17th century. English settlers brought with them various types of bulldog breeds to America, primarily for catching livestock and protecting their property. These early bulldogs were the ancestors of today’s American Bulldog and were crucial to the survival of many colonial farms.

Despite their helpful nature, the breed nearly faced extinction following World War II but was saved by the concerted efforts of two breed enthusiasts, John D. Johnson and Alan Scott. They worked tirelessly to revive the breed, each developing a slightly different version – the “Johnson” type, known for its sizable, muscular build, and the “Scott” type, more agile and athletic.

The American Bulldog was officially recognized by the United Kennel Club (UKC) in 1999, acknowledging the breed’s unique characteristics and versatility. However, the breed is still not recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) and is currently a member of the Foundation Stock Service, which means they cannot participate in AKC events yet. The AKC recognition remains a topic of discussion among breed enthusiasts.

Today, the American Bulldog enjoys popularity in the United States and worldwide. While still effectively performing their traditional roles on farms, they are more commonly seen as cherished family pets, renowned for their loyalty, protective nature, and unmistakable bulldog charm.

american bulldog playing fetch in the park
Photo: White_bcgrd/Getty Images


Acquiring an American Bulldog requires careful planning and preparation. Just like bringing any new pet home, it’s crucial to understand your new companion’s requirements to provide them with a comfortable and caring environment. Start by ensuring you have enough space in your home, as these dogs are quite large and need room to move around comfortably. Furthermore, invest in quality dog food, a comfortable bed, and toys to keep them entertained and engaged.

When it comes to purchasing an American Bulldog, choose a reputable breeder who prioritizes the health and well-being of their dogs over profits. Reputable breeders will likely provide health clearances for both the puppy and its parents, which proves they’ve been tested for common breed-specific conditions. Moreover, they should be able to provide detailed information about the puppy’s lineage, showcasing in-depth breed knowledge.

While purchasing from a breeder is an option, it’s also important to consider rescuing an American Bulldog. Many wonderful dogs are in the care of rescue organizations, waiting for their forever home. Rescuing not only gives a dog a second chance at a happy life but also helps alleviate the strain on animal shelters.

Ultimately, whether you choose to buy or rescue, remember that bringing an American Bulldog into your home is a long-term commitment. These dogs are known for their loyalty and will quickly become a cherished member of your family. Ensure that you have the time, resources, and willingness to provide a loving home for your new dog before making the final decision.

american bulldog walking near a river
Photo: lilu13/Getty Images


Do American Bulldogs have Pitbull in them?

No, American Bulldogs and Pitbulls are two distinct breeds. Although they may share some similar physical traits and have a common ancestry dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries, they have been bred separately for different purposes and have distinct characteristics.

Is the American Bulldog the same as the Bulldog?

No, the American Bulldog and the Bulldog (often referred to as the English Bulldog) are different breeds. While both breeds originated in England, they have distinct physical characteristics and temperaments. The American Bulldog is larger and more athletic, while the Bulldog is smaller with a thicker, stockier build.

Is the American Bulldog a good family dog?

Yes, American Bulldogs are known for their loyalty, affection, and protective nature, making them excellent family pets. They are good with children and can get along well with other pets with proper socialization. However, their large size and energy level require ample space and regular exercise.

Are American Bulldogs aggressive?

American Bulldogs are not naturally aggressive. However, like any breed, their temperament can largely be influenced by their upbringing, training, and socialization. Proper training and early socialization are key to raising a well-adjusted, friendly dog.

What are the typical health problems of an American Bulldog?

While generally healthy, American Bulldogs may be prone to certain breed-specific conditions, including hip dysplasia and certain skin conditions. Regular vet check-ups and a balanced diet can help maintain their overall health and well-being.

Table of Contents