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American Bulldog - History and Health

Source: PetWave, Updated on July 16, 2015
American Bulldog


The American Bulldog is probably descended from an ancient Mastiff line, and it is the closest relative to the Old English Bulldog that exists in America today. The American Bulldog came to the United States in the 1800s, with immigrants who brought their working Bulldogs with them. The original breed largely survived, particularly in the Southern States, due to its ability to bring down and catch feral pigs. It also was used for bull-and bear-baiting, with the added exotic sport of American buffalo-baiting adding to its fame. Before World War II, the American Bulldog was popular in the deep South as a working dog of farmers and ranchers. The breed almost died out during the war years, with the only surviving dogs kept on farms primarily in the south-east, where they were used as cattle and livestock dogs and farm protectors. A man named John D. Johnson of Summerville, Georgia, almost single-handedly saved the breed from extinction by rounding up the best specimens he could find and preserving the breed.

This breed is massively powerful and is reported to be one of the most ferocious dogs ever created, when in the wrong hands. It was developed in the southeastern part of the United States, especially in Alabama and Georgia. Its direct ancestors are thought to be descendants of the early English Bulldogs that came to North America in the 17th and 18th centuries. The American Bulldog remains much more similar in appearance to its ancestors than does the modern English Bulldog, which has shorter legs and a stockier body. The American Bulldog has long legs and an athletic body. The American Bulldog Association was formed in 1989 to oversee the breeding of this powerful dog and ensure its proper use. Dogs in this breed can be registered with the Animal Research Foundation (ARF) or with the Game American Bulldog Club (GABC), both of which keep detailed records on pure breeding and pedigrees. The American Bulldog was recognized by the United Kennel Club (UKC) as a guardian dog in 1999.


American Bulldogs have an average life span of 8 to 14 years. Breed health concerns may include bone cancer, congenital deafness, elbow and hip dysplasia, entropion and thyroid problems.

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