American Bulldog Breed Description


Excerpt out of Dog Fancy Magazine Oct. 02

By Steve Carney
Three-year-old Brick is the quintessential American Bulldog, and not just because the United Kennel Club has said so two years in a row.

Although loyal, protective, and hardworking, he knows how and when to relax and have a good time - like the best of his breed. When he won Best of the Guardian Dogs Group at the UKC's Premier competition in June, he basked in adulation backstage.

"Ladies had lipstick all over him - he lives for that. Guys would be coming up and going, 'Hey, Brick,' but he'd just look back toward the ladies," says his owner, Robert Latsha of Grantsville, Pa. "He surely likes the ladies. And he likes children."

Originally, Southerners bred these muscular, athletic, confident dogs to protect farms and to catch loose livestock. This made them devoted to their families and eager for a task. Although wary of strangers and other dogs, the breed is described by fans as affectionate, gentle, and patient with children - like the one that endured a toddler's emptying a pincushion into his snout. (An adult removed the pins after discovering the dog stoically waiting for someone to come along and intervene.)

"They're a lot more durable with kids [than many breeds]," Latsha says. "They're bigger and stronger than your Cocker Spaniel."

Latsha also likes the breed's versatility. "They can be your house dog and lie on the couch, and at the same time I can take one and go hunting, and after that I can take one and go to the show ring," he says. "They do a little bit of everything."

One weekend Brick - short for King Haven's Brickhouse - will drag 2,800 pounds in a weight-pulling contest, and the next he will chase hogs in another competition. Other American Bulldogs excel in obedience and agility trials, or happily hit the jogging trails with their owners.

"You can take that energy and place it into whatever you want to do," Latsha says - just as long as you do find some outlet.

Samantha Jones learned early what happens when you don't.

The Martinsburg, W. Va., resident left her first American Bulldog, Mena, then 1 year old, home alone and uncrated one day soon after getting her. She returned to find a torn-up living room and an anxious dog that had dissipated her nervous energy.

"She's definitely a working dog," says Jones, the East Coast coordinator for the National American Bulldog Rescue Alliance. "She needs something to do all the time." Otherwise she'll chew up the carpet and tear down the blinds.

"They're too much dog for a lot of people. They need a lot of obedience training," Jones says. She adds that the number of American Bulldogs going into rescue has doubled in the past year, "I think because a lot of people are breeding them trying to make money."

She says part of the problem stems from their classification as a rare breed; plus, exposure in movies and on TV has caused an increased demand. "They [buyers] want Chance from Homeward Bound," Jones says, referring to the Disney movies that feature Michael J. Fox as the voice of an American Bulldog, one of a trio of pets searching for its family. Members of the breed also starred in The Little Rascals series of TV programs and films and Return to Me (2000) with Minnie Driver and David Duchovny.

Jones describes the best owner for an American Bulldog as "someone used to large dogs, someone not afraid to be firm. You definitely have to be the boss. They're stubborn. You need a lot of consistency."

American Bulldogs must have obedience training, as well as early and consistent socialization. One trainer recommends that you introduce your American Bulldog to 100 new people in the first 100 days after you've brought it home from the breeder's.

"If you don't put this dog through obedience training, within a year you're going to be putting it in the pound or giving it back to the breeder," says Tonia Lorensen, president of the United States Traditional American Bulldog Club, the UKC sanctioned breed club. "It's going to be your alpha."

Once your American Bulldog learns its place in your pack, you'll have an affectionate, playful, and protective family dog.

A neighbor once sneaked into Lorensen's house to play a joke on her husband, Jon, who didn't hear the neighbor come in. He went to investigate when he noticed all the family's dogs had disappeared. Jon Lorensen found their neighbor on the kitchen floor. The other dogs, who knew him, licked his face while 6-month-old Pagan - the family's first Bulldog - pinned the intruder to the ground.

"Pagan jumped across the floor and had him in a shoulder bite," Tonia Lorensen says. He didn't break the skin, but he wasn't letting the man up, either, until Jon Lorensen said, "OK."

That tenacity, confidence, and sheer strength make the American Bulldog attractive for home protection to many people. Those natural tendencies come from generations of catching and taking down livestock.

The breed originated in the 18th century. Immigrants to the American South used the American Bulldog - a descendant of the powerful bull-baiting dogs of England - to work and guard their small farms.

According to the American Bulldog Association, American ranchers in the South wanted dogs strong enough to put unruly bulls on the ground and athletic enough to catch hogs that ran wild. Not much later, they diverged from the shorter, rounder, and less athletic English Bulldog.

But the American Bulldog nearly died out by the end of World War II, until returning veteran John D. Johnson and fellow breeder Alan Scott sought to revive it. Now the two main subgroups of the breed bear their names.

The "Scott" or "Standard" type tends to be smaller, more rounded, and more athletic, while the "Johnson" or "Classic" type is larger, heavier, doesn't breathe as well as the Scott, and tends toward the turned-up nose and underbite of the English Bulldog, Latsha says. In recent years the two types

merged somewhat into a hybrid, but still without the abundant wrinkles, jowls, or corkscrew tail of the English Bulldog. The UKC recognized the breed in January 1999.

American Bulldogs can act aggressively toward other dogs, but if thoroughly socialized, they will get along with other animals, even cats. "It's just a matter of training. It just takes time and patience," Lorensen says.

For example, a 15-year-old Chihuahua, Reeney - not the American Bulldogs - plays top dog at the Lorensens' house. And Latsha says the two female Bulldogs in his house get along fine with Buddy, his daughter's Fox Terrier. "He's 6 pounds; they're 60 pounds. But he is the boss," he says, adding that he still practices caution. "You're not going to want to get into a certain situation. I'm not telling you to go to the dog park with your male American Bulldog and let him run."

Jones says prospective owners should think twice before adding an American Bulldog to a home that already has more than one dog; for safety's sake, adopt a Bulldog of the opposite sex from what you already own.

"Some dogs are just not meant for some people," she says. "People who don't like a mess, people who don't like to be jumped on or sat on" should steer clear. "They think they're lap dogs.

"They are beautiful dogs," Jones continues. "When people meet a nice American Bulldog, people are drawn to them. It's their presence. They have a lot of character and personality."

Steve Carney is a regular DOG FANCY contributor and lives in Falls Church, Va

Labrador Retriever

If you are an active person or enjoy the outdoors, consider getting the Labrador retriever. These breeds are bred to hunt and do things outdoors. You will that they are easy to get along with and will learn quickly.

Labrador retriever is one of the most popular breed of dogs that people get. Their gently smile and friendliness is what gets people attention. These labs come in three colors – yellow, black, and chocolate.

When they are young, Labrador puppies are easily trained. The best time to train them is when they are about 14 weeks old. It is recommended to obedience train your lab because when they are young, they can be very hyper. By teaching them obedience, it shows that you are the pack leader and they need to follow your rules. If you never obedience trained a dog before, it’s a good idea to learn more about it first before attempting to train them.

These breeds are great for hunting and outdoors activities. If you are using them to hunt with you, they will need to be trained first. Since they are bred to retrieve items, training them shouldn’t take long at all. Make sure to just the exact replica of what you’re hunting for so they know what to retrieve when your out hunting.

As for outdoor activities, they are great swimmer and will swim all day long if you let them. Beside swimming, they are great for other outdoors activities such as hiking, camping, biking, and even fishing.

Labrador retriever are great with people. They get along with kids and adults alike. In fact, more than 60% of homes in the U.S. has a lab in there home.

One thing about these breed is their common health problems. There are many common health problems that your Golden Retriever will experience from time to time. Most of these ailments are nothing serious, providing you know how they should be treated and prevented. Some of the problems will be heat stroke, rabies, and heart worm.

The most common one that your dog will experience the most is heat stroke. During the summer months or hot days, your Golden Retriever can get a heatstroke. You can prevent this from happening by giving your dog plenty of water, and never leaving him in direct sunlight. If you are playing together on a hot day, you should give him plenty of time to rest so he doesn’t overdo it. The symptoms indicating a heatstroke include a lot of panting or drooling, dark gums, a glazed expression, rapid pulse, and even vomiting. If your dog starts to show any of these symptoms, you should immediately take him to the vet.

If you’re looking for a breed that gets along with people and enjoy the outdoors, a Labrador Retriever is right for you. Just make sure someone in the family has time to take them exercising everyday. In addition, give them all the love you can and they will give it back to you ten times more.

The History of the American Bulldog

American Bulldogs are descended from ancient Mastiffs that originated in Asia and were brought to Europe by nomads. Mastiffs were bred to bring down, fight or hold large aggressive prey such as wild boar, bears or big cats. Animals that are as likely to fight as run away. Ancient Mastiff had incredible fighting ability and courage.

Phoenician traders brought a brown strain of Mastiff to England around 800 B.C. Celts bred these brindle or brownish red behemoths to catch cattle and wild boar. Today's English Mastiff and Bullmastiff have a similar color and to some degree are descended from this strain.

Around 400 A.D. a second very tough strain of Mastiff reached English shores. This dog was called the Alaunt. English butchers and farmers turned the Alaunt into the world's first true Bulldog. In medieval times, the working English Bulldog was the first dog to develop the so called 'lock jaw grip' which really has more to do with a dog's gameness than any structural difference in its jaw. A true Bulldog has the ability to chase, catch and hang onto the nose, cheek or throat of a large herbivore and not let go no matter how hard the beast struggles or how much punishment the dog is forced to absorb. Throughout medieval, Elizabethan and the early industrial periods, Bulldogs routinely caught horse, cattle and boars. Sometimes in routine farm or butchery work and sometimes in staged competitions. When catching domestic animals, the Bulldog was usually able to make the hoofed creature submit to the excruciating pain of the bite before being harmed himself. When it is ready to cry "uncle" a bull will lower its head to the ground and allow the Bulldog to drag him backwards to the butcher. The bovine can then be slaughtered or put into a holding pen.
An old time working Bulldog also had the ability to throw a bull to the ground by rapidly corkscrewing his body right when the big beast was off balance in the middle of a stride. It was possible for an experienced 80 pound Bulldog to topple an 1800 pound bull.

Though his main opponent was usually a bull, the English Bulldog was also used against bears, lions and other ferocious carnivores. These staged fights were called baits. The Bulldogs employed on bears and large meat eaters were heavier than the ones used solely on livestock. For the larger opponents speed was not as important and the fight would take place in an enclosed area so endurance was less of a factor. Whether large or small the working English Bulldog that survived this grueling gauntlet of animal combat became the greatest canine warrior ever. In 1835, all animal baiting contests were made illegal in England.

The only baiting that survived the ban was dog baiting or dog fighting. Coal miners in the Staffordshire region crossed English Bulldogs with scrappy terriers and continued the gladitorial tradition in clandestine matches that are still going on today. From these Bulldog terrier crosses we get the American Pit Bull Terrier, the Staffordshire Bull terriers and the Bull Terrier.

Because of the anti-baiting laws, purebred Bulldogs were very rare in England by the middle of the 19th century. They were being exported to America where they joined and improved the working Bulldogs already in the former colonies. They were also shipped to Germany where they helped create the Boxer. They were crossed with Mastiffs to create superior guard dogs. Interestingly, the early Bullmastiffs were often white or piebald, only latter with the addition of dark brindle mastiff blood did darker colors evolve. And finally the last of the working Bulldogs were crossed with pugs to create a blocky mild mannered little show dog.

Today, the dog the world calls the English Bulldog is really a Pug Bulldog cross, a fine animal in its own right but not a true working Bulldog. In fact, the working English Bulldog became extinct in his native land at the turn of the 19th century. Fortunately he survived in America, especially in the mountainous regions of the rural south. There he was saved from extinction because he still had work to do. Hogs and cattle were allowed to free range in this rugged terrain where fences were impossible and could only be caught with hardy English Bulldogs.

Throughout the south and the southwest, Bulldogs were also used as guard dogs. In the 19th century and earlier there are numerous historical records of large plantation Bulldogs or estate Bulldogs that were kept in yards sometimes on chains and used on human bad guys. Plantation bullies were occasionally allowed to roam in prison yards, patrolling open spaces between cells and main wall. Regional varieties developed and many names were applied to the southern Bulldogs. Some of the more common names were Old English White, White English, Swamp Bulldog, Backwoods Bulldog, English Pit, Old Country White and many others.

Toward the end of the 1960s, the last remnants of working English Bulldogs were disappearing from the rural south. Large agribusiness firms were consolidating land and eliminating small scale ranching. Also, small all terrain vehicles were allowing farmers to herd, catch and move cattle without dog assistance. It looked like the working English Bulldog was truly going to become extinct once and for all.

Fortunately at this time a few dedicated Bulldog enthusiasts made a concerted effort to locate some of the last of the hill Bulldogs and begin efforts to breed them, preserve them and foster a public awareness so their breeding programs could continue into perpetuity. Because of their work, the Bulldog, the breed that had toughed it out for so long against so many adversaries, could survive.

The principal architects of today's American Bulldog are Allen Scott and John D. Johnson. From the breeding programs of these two men, two distinct strains have emerged, commonly called the Johnson type and the Scott type. The former is a larger, wider dog with more bone, pendulous lips, an undershot jaw, facial wrinkles and a shorter muzzle. The Johnson type resembles an athletic, tightly built, white Bullmastiff. The Scott type looks like a large, coarse, leggy, white Pit Bull.

To say that today's American Bulldog is a direct descendant of the original working English Bulldog is not to say that a small percentage of other breeds have not been recently added, mostly in the 1970s when the AB was being rebuilt. The Mastiff/Bull breeds used in such outcrosses were descended in part from the working English Bulldog, Alaunt and other ancient molossers. Due to the low number of Old English Whites left, some breed out-crossing was inevitable to insure enough genetic diversity.

Johnson Type

The two types differ temperamentally as well as physically. The Johnson dogs are descendants of the plantation Bulldogs that were kept as yard dogs in the old south. They are typically more territorial, more man aggressive, in short more of a guardian. The athletic Scott strain descended from hog and cattle catch dogs. They were and still are used to catch wild hogs and cattle that have strayed into brush so thick that a man on horse back would find it impenetrable. This type of work requires extreme physical prowess. For this reason the smaller strain is called Performance.

Scott Type

In the late 1970s, Joe Painter, Margentina, Tappe and others developed a second performance strain of American Bulldogs that was unfortunately used in the dog fighting arena. The Painter/Margentina strain was heavily inbred and had some problems. Through judicious outcrosses, the Painter strain has made valuable contributions to the breed as a whole.

The Chinese Crested

The Chinese Crested is a very interesting dog breed that has fascinated people for a long time. There are two types of such breeds: one that is hairless except the tail, feet and head (called Hairless) and one that is coated (called Powder Puff). It is considered to be a toy dog. This is mainly because of its size (30 cm high and weighing a maximum of 5 kg.). Another important aspect that is of high interest among owners is life expectancy. The Chinese Crested usually lives around 10 to 12 years, in which they delight the owners. It is very hard not to get attached to this particular dog breed.

Although you might think that the Chinese Crested is of Chinese origin, the truth is this particular breed first appeared in Africa. The Aztecs even ate them. When the Chinese came to the continent they adopted the dog and named him Chinese Crested. Nowadays it is one of only four hairless breeds grew in the United States of America. Also, another interesting fact is that, although almost hairless, the hair that exists comes in a huge variety of colours and combinations possible.

The Chinese Crested is very rare. It is a shame because this breed is actually sweet and very caring. You may also see that they are very fond of children and prove to be very intelligent. The Chinese Crested is a dog breed that becomes very attached to the owner and switching to another one may prove to be a bad solution as it might not adapt. This is why, when you buy such a dog, you usually buy a puppy. Expose it ever since it is little to agitation and noise and you will grow an extremely caring dog.

As you can imagine, you have to be careful when caring for them. This is mainly because of the hairless areas on the body, which are very susceptible to scars and can basically get irritated or skin problems might appear. Also, never give them too much to eat as this particular breed can easily become overweight. Besides that there is nothing more to say. The Chinese Crested is a perfect indoor dog, but never expose him to cold environments, especially if hairless. Be careful to dress him and keep it warm at al times. Avoid materials that might scar or irritate its skin. Besides that care for him and he will care for you.


There are two distinct varieties of the Chinese Crested Dog, the "hairless"
and the "powder puff". The hairless variety is just that hairless, except for
its feet, head and tail. The "powder puff" has a long, soft coat. The skin and
coat can be any color, either solid, mixed or spotted all over. Both varieties
can be born in the same litter. The head is wedgeshaped, the eyes almond-
shaped and they have large erect ears. It is a graceful elegant breed.
There are a lot of stories about their origin, some say from China because of
seafarers/traders visited many places with the dogs on their travels and so
they appeared in many ports of call , some say from a warm climate as Africa.
A similar dog was also found in Mexico, Central and South America in the 16th
century. This dog is known as the Xoloitzquintli or Mexican Hairless.

Best Dog Breeds For Families

When choosing a dog, you will want to choose one that gets along with your family. There are many dog breeds out there that are suited for family life. However, there are also breeds that do not fit well with a family. By understanding more about each dog breed, it will help you choose the right dog for your family.

When choosing a dog, small children is something you want to consider. Most dogs are playful and if they are not obedience trained, they can hurt the child easily. Even the smaller breeds are capable of hurting a child. You will want to do your research first on the breed to make sure they are fit to be around small children. If you do find a breed that is not fit to be around small children, but you want to have the dog anyways, you may want to be around them at all time. Even if they received the proper training, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

You must also teach your kids to be respectful to the dog as well. For example, when the dog is eating or sleeping, teach the kids not to bother them. If they get startled, they could attack the child. They don’t intentionally mean to do it, but it’s part of their instinct to do so. Since there are many things the kids can do to them, it’s a good idea to supervise them and let them know if they did something wrong. If the child know their boundaries, it can be easier for the dog to get along with the family.
The size of the dog is important also. Large dog breeds will require more care and attention.

They will need to be fed more often and taken for a walk to keep them in good health. On the other hand, smaller breeds will require less care. They won’t need to eat much to satisfy their hunger. They won’t need that much exercise either. By playing with them should provide the exercise that they need.

Another thing to consider is their maintenance level. Some dogs will require grooming everyday. If you have a family that don’t have time or just don’t want to groom the dog, it’s best not to get these breeds. Some of the breeds that require grooming everyday are the Shih Tzu, Maltese, Pomeranian, and Golden Retriever. If their hair do not get groomed, it will mat together and if it gets bad enough, it could cause pain to their skin. The only solution to this problem is cutting off the hair that is matted.

There are many dog breeds out there to choose and you should never based your decision when they’re a puppy. As a puppies, all of them will be cute and small. As they mature, it will be another story and this is when you should based your decision on what breed to get. Talk to the whole family and discuss about everyone responsibility to taking care of the dog.