American Bulldog History

American bulldogs originated in England where they were used to catch bulls, pigs, and other livestock. Strength and courage led them into the brutal sport of bull baiting.

Between the 13th-18th centuries, bull baiting was the most popular sport in England for entertainment and gambling. In bull baiting, the bull was tied up to a stake. American bulldogs would bite the bull on the nose, and hold on until the bull submitted. American Bulldogs were trained to stay low to the ground so they could avoid being tossed, into the air, by the bulls horns.

English towns people believed that a bulls meat was more tender, and nutritious to eat, when the bull was baited before being butchered. In many towns, the butcher was liable to a penalty, or a fine if they sold a bulls meat that had not been baited.

Many American bulldogs were killed or injured by this cruel sport. Bull baiting was made illegal in 1835 by the Act of Parliament.

After bull baiting was made illegal, the American bulldogs started to disappear. Most of the English colonists could not afford to feed such a large dog. Americn Bulldogs were mixed with Pugs and other small breeds. The English Bulldog was created from these mixes.

The only sport to survive the ban, in 1835, was dog fighting. Coal miners in the Staffordshire region crossed American bulldogs with their prized terriers. They created a breed that excelled in the fighting arena. These early dogs were the backbone of breeds like the American Pit Bull terrier, Staffordshire terrier, and Bull terrier.

American Bulldogs were shipped to Germany where they helped create the boxer. American Bulldogs also joined the Colonists and small farmers on their voyage to America.

In America, farmers loved American Bulldogs for their intelligence, working abilities, and protective nature. They caught livestock on the unfenced, rugged terrain. They provided protection for the farmers property and family in this new hostile land.

The farmers also used the Americn bulldogs to hunt wild boar, bear, raccoon, squirrel, and many other animals. Farmers continued breeding these dogs purely on their abilities. This created the true working American bulldog.

By the end of World War 2, farmers had other means for catching livestock. The American bulldogs were nearly extinct.

A few breeders decided to preserve the American Bulldog!

The most popular breeders were Mr. John D. Johnson and Alan Scott. Together they started a breeding program. Eventually they went their separate ways and two types of American bulldogs evolved. The Johnson type and the Scott type.

The Johnson type American Bulldogs are larger and more muscular. They have a larger, broader head. They also have a short muzzle with a under bite. Johnson American Bulldogs are descendents of plantation guard dogs from the old South.

Average size of the Johnson American Bulldogs:

  • males 22-27 inches tall and 80-150 pounds.
  • females 20-25 inches tall and 70-130 pounds.

Alan Scotts American Bulldogs are descendants of the hog and cattle catch dogs. They are more athletic, faster, and not as muscular as the Johnson type.

Average size of the Scott type American Bulldogs:

  • males 23-27 inches tall and 75-110 pounds.
  • females 21-25 inches tall and 60-85 pounds.

Mr. Johnson was the first to have his dogs officially registered in the 70's as the American Pit bull dog. Because of the confusion with the Pit bull terrier he later changed their name to the American bulldog.

Because of these breeders love, devotion, and lots of hard work we can enjoy American bulldogs today!