American Bulldog

Written by:

PetMD Editorial
Published: September 05, 2012

Vital Stats

Breed Group: Guardian Dogs Height: 20 to 28 inches Weight: 60 to 120 pounds Lifespan: 10 to 16 years

Physical Characteristics

The American Bulldog has a very sturdy and muscular build, weighing anywhere from 60 to 120 pounds at a height of 20 to 28 inches. This breed has a large head with strong jaws with ears that may be cropped, semi-prick, rose or drop. The coat is short and soft coming in any variation of colors, although solid black, blue, merle or tricolor is undesirable.

Personality and Temperament

Though larger than the English Bulldog, the temperament of the American Bulldog is very similar. A gentle, affectionate dog that loves children and can be considered a big lap dog, the American Bulldog is alert, confident and loyal to its people. Brave and strong-willed, the American Bulldog will do best when trained from a young age on and with an owner that isn't afraid to establish themselves as a strong pack leader. A breed with strong protective instincts, Bulldogs are known for their acts of heroism towards their owners and can sometimes be reserved with strangers. American Bulldogs require plenty of regular exercise to prevent boredom and encourage it to be a well-trained dog during the day. 


The short, fine coat of the American Bulldog requires minimal grooming and care, however, similarly to the English Bulldog, the American Bulldog has been known to drool and slobber. With a history as an all-purpose working dog and fearless guard dog, the American Bulldog is a good indoor/outdoor dog but does require sufficient outdoor exercise and activity, especially if it lives in an apartment setting. 


The American Bulldog generally lives about 10 to 16 years and is considered a healthy breed. Some genetic issues common to the breed include neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis (a nervous system disorders with swelling and/or changes in some retinal cells), disorders of the kidney and thyroid, ACL tears, hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia (another common form of dysplasia in larger breed dogs), cherry eye (or a mass that protrudes from the eyelid of a dog), entropion (a condition in which a portion of the eyelid is inverted or folded inward) and bone cancer.

History and Background

An older version of the Bulldog originated in England and was used as a work dog catching cattle and guarding property until it became the breed of choice in a brutal sport known as bull baiting. By the end of World War II, the breed was almost extinct, however, a few devote breeders decided to revive the American Bulldog. John D. Johnson, a returning war veteran, and Alan Scott began carefully breeding American Bulldogs after the war, keeping careful records of the breed’s health and working abilities.

Two different lines of Bulldogs appeared during this growth period; however, most of today’s American Bulldogs are a cross between the two. The American Bulldog was recognized by the United Kennel Club in 1999.

Featured Image: Golland