Appearance, Character, Temperament
The American Bulldog is a powerful, athletic, medium-large sized dog with great muscular strength and endless endurance. There is a wide size and weight latitude in the breed, which vary according to the type (Johnson, Scott, Painter/Margentina, Old Southern Whites type or hybrid) but overall the american bulldog is always "well balanced". Exaggeration of any part of the dog would reduce his effectiveness at work.
It was first registered in 1970 as American Pit Bulldog with the NKC, but was later renamed to the American Bulldog to avoid confusion with the American Pit Bull Terrier.
The principal architects of today's American Bulldog are Allen Scott and John D. Johnson. Before they renamed the breed to 'American Bulldog' the dogs were known by a variety of different regional names: Southern White, Hill Bulldog, Country Bulldog, White Bulldog, White English Bulldog, English White, and commonly just "Bulldog".
As well as having varying names according to region, they also had local bloodline variations in appearance and size and also differences according to the tasks intended of them by their breeders and this is part of the reason why the American Bulldog breed conformation standards laid down by the registries allow for such a wide variation in type.
Initially Scott and Johnson had similar dogs and they freely bred and traded dogs with each other. Johnson's Dick the Bruiser and Scott's Mac the Masher were their foundation dogs. These two dogs were Old Southern Whites. Alan Scott and John D Johnson scoured the mountains and valleys of those Southern states looking for bulldogs and buying up those that they liked and they began a breeding program together.
The main registries have subdivided the breed standard into these two distinct phenotypes, but these distinct types having diverged and having been diluted it is now more appropriate to talk about five types of american bulldogs.
The American Bulldog's character is alert and inquisitive, bold and fearless without being hostile or overly aggressive. His very stable temperament makes him an outstanding companion dog and home guard dog, protective of his family. He works well with other breeds and gets along with other pets if raised with them. He is not the type of dog to wait for a command, but can assess the situation by himself and react appropriately and concentrate on the task at hand without being distracted. Yet when called off by their owner, they immediately obey.
Later on they had a falling out and JDJ began to develop and refine his trademark heavier-built style of American Bulldog. From the breeding programs of these two men, two distinct strains have emerged, commonly called the Johnson type or the Bully/Classic class and the Scott type or Standard/Performance class.
Johnson's Dick the Bruiser
photo: Rowland Evans
Mr. Scott with Apache
photo courtesy: Doggehouse Bulldogs
"Samson" American Bulldog puppy at Doggehouse
photo: Rowland Evans
Dragonian White Diamond of Barkers
Photo: Dragonian American bulldogs UK
Stories, Facts and Legends
by L. Miller
Unfortunately out of print
by John Blackwell
Good for a newcomer to the breed
The Working American Bulldogby Dave Putnam
excellent source of information for the AB owner wishing to learn more about the breed
American Bulldog Supplies
The Bulldog Information
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The Encyclopedia of North American Sporting Dogs: Written by Sportsmen for Sportsmen
by Steve Smith
Working Dogs : True Stories of Dogs and Their Handlers
by Kristin Mehus-Roe
Explores the many ways in which dogs historically and currently serve humankind in the workplace, while encouraging sensitivity to the needs of working dog breeds kept as pets.
Decoys and Aggression
A Police K9 Training Manual
by Stephen A. MacKenzie
Good for both novice and seasoned trainers
Top Working Dogs: A Training Manual--Tracking, Obedience, Protection
by Dietman Schellenberg
For beginners and experts alike in the fields of tracking, obedience and man-work.
American Bulldog Doggehouse
owned by Rowland Evans