What is an American Bulldog?

O. Wallace
O. Wallace

The American Bulldog has the hardy, hard-working nature of the early American colonists who brought their predecessors from England. Classed as a working dog, the American Bulldog is loved for its friendly, loyal temperament and its drive to work, hunt and guard. Although the American Bulldog has many differences from its forefathers, it is most closely related to the Old English Bulldog.

Bulldogs were brought to America by early colonists from England and were used on farms and settlements to hunt squirrels, bears, feral pigs and hogs; drive cattle and guard herds from predators. As the country became more industrialized, the need for American Bulldogs waned, and was on the brink of extinction. In the mid 20th century, John D. Johnson and Allen Scott embarked on a revival program in the hopes of bringing the breed back to popularity.

At some point during the effort, Allen and Johnson parted ways over the dispute if a northern bulldog should be introduced into the southern American Bulldog line. As a result, there are two main types of American Bulldog: Allen’s line, the Standard/Performance or Classic; and Johnson’s, the Bully. Johnson’s American Bulldog is similar in appearance to the American Pit Bull Terrier, and is often mistaken for this breed. One distinguishing characteristic between the Pit Bull Terrier and the American Bulldog is that the bulldog has a head that is more squared and wider. Its overall build is larger than the Standard (Scott) bulldog, and is heavily muscled, and has a larger head and jaw. The Standard bulldog is faster, lighter, making it a bit more athletic.

The American Bulldog is heralded as an intensely heroic breed, fiercely loyal and driven to please. It is good not only for working and protecting herds, but also as a guard dog. As a catch dog, the American Bulldog is proficient, as it is very prey driven. They love children, and make excellent family pets as long as their stubborn streak is subdued with discipline and early training. Because it is a working dog, the American Bulldog should have lots of exercise. Fortunately, it is not as prone to problems with temperature regulation and breathing as other types of bulldog.

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Discussion Comments


I have what I think and many people say is an American bulldog. We got him from a farm as a puppy.


the scott bulldog has a longer muzzle which could allow it to be confused with a pit bull. the johnson has a shorter muzzle and deeper underbite that can lead to severe breathing problems compared to the scott/performance strain.


The Scott American Bulldog looks more like the a pit bull! The Johnson American Bulldog is more Bully and larger than the Scott.

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