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History of American Bulldog

History of American Bulldog

The American bulldog is a strong, athletic, and loving dog; and is the closest surviving relative of the old English bulldog.
Kanika Khara
The American bulldog is known for its bold and fearless reputation. It can assess a situation on its own and act without waiting for the master's command. A well-built, stocky animal, the bulldog is typically characterized by its powerful jaws and square or box-shaped muzzle. There are two different types of American bulldogs: the Johnson type and Scott type, named after their breeders John D. Johnson and Allen Scott respectively. The modern American bulldog is believed to be a combination of these two.


The American bulldog descended from ancient Mastiffs, brought to Europe by nomads in 1066, during the reign of Caesar. Due to its incredible courage and fighting ability, it was used to fight or bring down belligerent and threatening animals, like wild bears and big cats. A very tough strain of Mastiff called Alaunts came in after the arrival of the Normans in around 400 AD. The breeding of mastiffs to the Alaunts' produced the English bulldog. Its 'lock jaw grip' ability enabled it to chase, catch, and hang onto the nose, throat, or cheek of any large animal, and not let them go, no matter how hard the animal struggled.

During 17th and 18th centuries, English bulldog was commonly used as a guard dog on farms to hold livestock. It was also used in blood sports, like bull-baiting, for the purpose of gambling and entertainment. In 1835, bull-baiting was banned in the United States, and the bulldog was conceived as a loving and submissive pet. By the end of World War II, this breed was almost extinct until, John D. Johnson and his father decided to revive it. With Alan Scott and several other breeders, they began to breed American bulldogs, and maintained their health and working abilities. Later, Johnson and Scott separated, and bred two different varieties of the American bulldog. On January 1, 1999, the American bulldog was recognized by the United Kennel Club.

  • The Johnson type: This type is commonly known as the Classic or Bully type. These bulldogs are more aggressive and have pendulous lips, an undershot jaw, facial wrinkles, and a shorter muzzle. Johnson's famous American bulldog, the Incredible Mean Machine, had 30% characteristics of an English bulldog.
  • The Scott type: This type is also known as Standard or Performance type. Bulldogs belonging to this type are large, coarse, and leggy, and thus, are used to catch wild hogs and cattle. They have an athletic look and a relatively long muzzle.
  • The Painter/Margentina type: They were developed in late 70s by Joe Painter, Margentina, and Tappe, and are mainly used in dog fighting. They are small in size and weigh about 25 - 35 kg.
  • The Old Southern Whites type: These are the original country bulldogs. They served as a raw material for Johnson, Scott, etc, and helped them to develop advanced breeds of the bulldog ulldog.
  • The Hybrid type: These are mainly American bulldogs whose bloodline is a mixture of Johnson and Scott type. Some of the successful breeders of this type are Kyle Symmes, Matt Boyd, Gray Souza, etc.
American bulldogs are friendly, loving, and strongly bond with their master and family. If trained properly, they get along well with kids and other pets. They are highly energetic dogs; so the owner should have a large backyard and plenty of exercise regimes for the dog. American bulldogs can also live within a home or an apartment, if given proper attention, stimulation, and exercise. They are versatile, fast-learners, and independent, but can be willful and dominant at times. If they get awry during training, breeding, or socializing, they can be furious and harmful.

American bulldogs can be your best companion, all they need is care and attention. If properly groomed and trained, these dogs can be the best working dogs or lovable and protective family pets.
Girl with American Bulldog
American Bulldog running in lawn
Female American Bulldog