Family friendly, loving and affectionate, the American Bulldog is fiercely loyal, which may go against its tough exterior.
Learn more about this energetic but mellow dog, from grooming and typical health concerns that the breed faces as well as the training, exercise and nutritional requirements that you are able to provide to keep it healthy and comfortable.
About the Breed
The American Bulldog is an energetic working dog with a large, muscular and stocky frame, belonging to the Mastiff family. It is much more agile and bigger than an English Bulldog and is a descendant of the Scott and American Johnson Bulldog.
Affectionate and loyal, it is very well-suited for families and as long as its energy is spent through enough physical activity, it will remain mellow at home.
It can jump up to six feet into the air and requires a decent amount of physical activity within a day. With proper training and exercise, the American Bulldog is a perfect family dog. An average male will weigh around 30–59kg and stand at around 50–71cm tall.
On the other hand, a female would be around 50–61cm of height and weigh 27–41kg. The American Bulldog is characterized by its distinct half-erect ears that are shaped like pendants as well as its strong jaw.
Because of its thick undercoat, the American Bulldog rarely sheds in huge amounts. Its coat is usually brindle and white, although other coat colors also exist.
The cost to insure one will be more than average, as the American Bulldog is quite prone to more than the average risk of experiencing health issues that come with the breed.
Usual Health Concerns
While they are active and sturdy, they are just as prone to some very common health concerns that other dog breeds have.
Exercise and proper nutrition can contribute to the prevention of these health risks, but an American Bulldog can still potentially experience these risks nonetheless. As a result, to put your mind at ease, getting pet insurance for your American Bulldog will greatly benefit you.
In fact, if you enroll your dog while it is still young, the chances that you will be able to prevent these diseases is high. However, even if you aren’t able to prevent them, your dog will still be better off with insurance.
This is because the insurance company will help you pay your bills financially through reimbursements. In the long run, you and your American Bulldog will be happier.
A common health concern for large breeds, the American Bulldog is not exempted from the chance of developing hip dysplasia. This health problem targets the skeletal system of dogs, particularly their hip area.
It comes as a result of abnormally-developed bones, which makes them susceptible to degradation as time goes by. As a result, this will eventually make it very difficult for your dog to move without experiencing some kind of pain or discomfort.
Surgery is an option for younger dogs, while a more intensive hip replacement is needed for much older ones. Pain and anti-inflammatory medications can also help relieve your dog’s pain from hip dysplasia.
It is very important to keep their weight in the right amount to put less stress on their bones. An American Bulldog with hip dysplasia must not be further bred to avoid passing it down to the next generations.
Elbow dysplasia is much like hip dysplasia, but it affects your dog’s elbow joints instead. Similarly, it can cause pain, lameness and reduced physical activity in your dog, which is problematic due to the activity needs of an American Bulldog.
Surgery and medication are probable treatments to provide your dog with relief.
There are dog breeds that are more vulnerable to developing bone cancer and the American Bulldog is one of them. It comes in four possible forms: osteosarcoma (the most common), hemangiosarcoma, fibrosarcoma, or chondrosarcoma.
The American Bulldog’s vulnerability may be attributed to their large build and similar to dysplasia, bone cancer is more likely in large breeds. The initial manifestations are also similar: lameness and signs of pain.
It is best to have your dog checked by a vet to determine what is causing its bone pain in order to be sure how to address it. That said, chemotherapy and amputation are the best courses of action for dogs with bone cancer.
There are several eye conditions that an American Bulldog may inherit, including entropion, characterized by an inverted eyelid, or one that’s folded inward.
Eyelashes will then end up scratching your dog’s eye, which can cause ulceration and the buildup of scar tissue, resulting to a decrease of or loss of vision. Antibiotics will help treat the ulcerated cornea, while surgery will be required to permanently fix your dog’s eyelid to prevent recurrence.
On the other hand, ectropion is the opposite condition, characterized by when their eyelid is turned out. Cherry eye is another common eye condition that American Bulldogs are susceptible to, which results in a prolapse of their third eyelid.
However, it is otherwise non-painful. Lastly, retinal dysplasia, which causes retinal detachment and folded retinal tissue, is another potential eye condition that your American Bulldog may face.
Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis
This disease is pretty rare, though a dog with it may not live more than two years. It can result to neurological impairment at severe levels and can cause a shortened life expectancy for any affected dog.
A DNA test will determine if your dog is infected with it or is just a carrier, which can result in prevention for later generations by not breeding it anymore.
Hyperthyroidism is a health concern common in medium and large breeds, which makes the American Bulldog a likely candidate to have it.
Metabolism is lowered for dogs with a thyroid deficiency, causing hair loss and weight gain. It can be diagnosed with the help of a blood test. A synthetic hormone replacement is the only treatment, but the condition is permanent.
If your American Bulldog has a weak immune system, then it may get demodectic mange from otherwise less harmless demodex mites. A vet can help you determine courses of treatment, but it can go away on its own if you boost your dog’s immunity and health.
If your dog’s foot pads are swollen with thick skin, then he or she may be suffering from this inherited skin disease. It is itchy and painful for your dog and while there is no cure, medicated ointments and baths can help relieve its discomfort.
American Bulldogs require little maintenance when it comes to grooming. Because they shed very moderately, regular brushing can help prevent any fur and debris build up on their coat. Baths can be given only when necessary, such as when they get into something dirty or smelly.
Their facial wrinkles can encourage bacteria growth, so make sure to regularly wipe and dry these tiny crevices as well as after a bath. Their ears can be cleaned with a vet-approved cleanser, in order to reduce bacteria buildup and infections from developing.
Brushing their teeth is more frequently needed, which can be done weekly or even better, daily. Bad breath is common in American Bulldogs, so prevent bacteria buildup and future tooth loss with good dental hygiene.
Lastly, an active dog will have less needs for a nail clipping. However, if your indoor dog’s nails start growing long, then a nail trim is required. Condition your dog from a young age to nail clipping to prevent any more hassles later as it grows older.
The American Bulldog is an energetic species, which means they need a lot of physical training activity during the day. Around an hour or two of exercises a day are an optimum amount of workout.
With this breed, anything is an option when it comes to physical activities: walking, jogging, playing catch, farm work, obedience training, or any other action-packed activity. The overall daily workouts should be divided into two sets – in the morning and in the afternoon.
The morning activities can be lighter and shorter, provided that the afternoon set is more intense. The dynamic spirit of the American Bulldog makes it perfect for energetic owners and families who like doing outside activities.
This is why you have to think about your daily routine and the amount of time and energy you would be able to dedicate to your pet before getting one of this kind, especially if you live in an apartment.
It is very important that you are ready to spend the time exercising with them. This is because if they don’t get enough outdoor activity, they will develop serious issues. Not only their physical, but their mental shape can also be affected by the lack of workouts.
They will easily become overweight, which can shorten their life span and they can develop behavioral problems too, which will lead to their taking out the frustration on your furniture and other properties.
However, there is another thing to remember:
There is a period when they shouldn’t be pushed too much into exercising and that is while they are still puppies. This is due to their still developing joints, which, if put under a lot of pressure, can cause severe discomfort and pain later in life.
For the same reason, they shouldn’t be allowed to jump on or off the furniture or climb up and down the stairs at this age. Keep this in mind if you are getting a young American Bulldog pup.
The first thing that comes to mind when it comes to nutrition are calories and American Bulldogs can require anything between 1,400 and 2,700, depending on their weight and daily activities.
The lower limit is for those of moderate weight who don’t do too much of daily exercise, while the upper is for dogs that are quite bigger and significantly more active. Another thing that may affect the Bulldog’s calorie requirements has to do with whether they are spayed or neutered.
In any case, make sure you give them enough, but don’t go overboard with the calories you feed them either, since they tend to put on excessive weight quite easily.
Necessary Food Ingredients
Now, the food you give them should be rich in proteins. This is no new info – every dog needs a lot of proteins and American Bulldogs especially, since they are a remarkably muscular breed.
However, you need to be careful not to give them too much of it either, because they can easily get kidney stones. Also, the pups’ skeletal system can be overstressed if the muscles become too developed due to excessive nutrition.
This breed has short hair, so you don’t have to look for too much of omega fatty acids in potential foods. They will get the necessary nutrients for their coat and skin from regular protein-rich foods. You do have to avoid carbs though, since they won’t be of much use to them.
These dogs are great food enthusiasts and they will eat as much as you give them, so be careful and don’t let them fool you into giving them food whenever they ask for it. They might be happy at that moment, but their health will suffer the consequences of this type of indulgence.
Their voracious nature is obvious in their manner of eating – they will swallow anything in a matter of seconds. This is why it would be better to give them smaller bites, making them slow down. This way of feeding will also prevent the flatulence and indigestion they are prone to.
Foods to Avoid
The foods American Bulldogs should not be given are usually on the list of prohibited items because they can cause allergies. Here are the most important foods to refrain from:
It’s common knowledge that dogs should, by all means, avoid chocolate. However, this breed is especially sensitive to the ingredients, since they can cause seizures, rapid heart rate, diarrhea and vomiting in them.
A chemical composition of this spice contains elements that are extremely toxic to dogs, leading to seizures or tremors.
Apples, Cherries, Peaches and Plums
There is a chemical in the stems and seeds of these fruits that can cause difficulties in breathing in your pet.
Onions and Garlic
Their stomach cannot digest these vegetables and their chemical composition can cause anemia in this breed, so make sure your American Bulldog stays away from them.
It can cause the dog to become bloated and breathe heavily, since the dough will expand in their stomach much easier.
Another piece of advice:
Keep in mind that the rise in body temperature in this breed can quickly lead to heart stroke, so make sure you avoid any foods that can potentially bring about temperature increase.
American Bulldogs have a strong personality, to say the least. Training them into obedient, well-behaved dogs can take a lot of continuous work. However, if done right, the results can be truly rewarding.
The first thing you need to know about the American Bulldogs’ personality and trainability is that they will challenge the owner to really show and prove they are in charge.
This is why the people who have never owned and trained a dog should consider taking some other breed, since it is quite probable that they won’t be able to handle the strong personality of American Bulldogs.
The training of this dog should start as soon as the puppy comes to the new home and continue throughout its life. As already mentioned, they need to be constantly shown who is in charge, so routine training sessions are a must.
If you are consistent in their obedience “lectures,” you should have no problems with them. However, if you are not dedicated enough, you will probably find yourself unable to control them at all.
Unlike some other kinds, they will not react well to training through punishment, especially not harsh punishment. A much better approach is to focus on positive reinforcement of good behavior through rewards and treats.
After all, they aren’t ill-mannered and they want to please the owner, so if you are consistent and clear in its training, your dog will be well-behaved, it will know the boundaries and, being quite intelligent, it will easily learn and respond to basic commands.
- They are from the Mastiff dog family, descendants of ancient Mastiffs.
- Ancient Mastiffs were truly strong and courageous dogs that could overpower significantly bigger animals.
- Ancient Mastiffs were brought to England around 800 BC and were later interbred to make different strains, Bulldogs included.
- After World War II, the Bulldog population in America was in decline, until John D. Johnson started the program of intensive breeding.
- American Bulldogs have two types: Bully and Standard
- They are not acknowledged by AKC, since they are seen as a manufactured strain. However, they are recognized by the United Kennel Club and the American Canine Registry.
- The first name for this breed was American Pit Bulldog, but it was changed so as not to be confused with the American Pit Bull Terrier.
- Although somewhat stubborn and willful, they are generally loyal and friendly.
- Since many owners don’t take their training seriously from an early age, they are the most common breed found in dog shelters.
- American Bulldogs are more muscular, agile and faster than English Bulldogs.
- Since they don’t have dense undercoats, they don’t shed too much.
- The females are able to deliver as much as eleven puppies.
- There was a dog in the movie ‘Return to Me’ called Mel and the role was played by an American Bulldog named Peetey.
- Another American Bulldog had a film role – a dog named Rattler played in ‘Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey’ and Michael J. Fox gave him voice.
- A video in which an American Bulldog named “Bizzle” appears to have human arms went viral in 2011 and in 2014, reached over 5 million views.
American Bulldog Treatment Insurance
If you own an American Bulldog, you probably have been to the vet more than once for checkups and the like. Your beloved dog might even have some health concerns that you’re worried about.
As you are well are, treatment can cost quite a lot these days. For some conditions, such as Ichthyosis and Kidney Disorders, the prices vary. However, for others, like Elbow Dysplasia, you will have to pay around $3,000 to $6,000.
But with the help of a pet insurance policy, you will be able to treat your dog’s illness without worrying about your finances – for just a monthly fee. That said, this monthly fee varies, depending on where you live in America.
To give you an idea, residents in Portland, OR might just have to pay $51 monthly, while it might be higher for residents in Albany, NY.
American Bulldogs, being bred for farm help, are quite big, muscular, strong and energetic dogs. However, don’t let their appearance fool you – they are loyal, friendly and kind pets and they will do anything to protect and please the owner and family members.
They are not that high maintenance when it comes to bathing and grooming. The only thing to which you absolutely have to dedicate a lot of attention when it comes to them is their obedience training and continuous physical activity.
If you do this part properly, your American Bulldog will develop into a well-mannered and trustworthy member of the family. That said, you still have to face the risk of your pet getting ill.
However, if you get a pet insurance policy for your American Bulldog, you will be able to be reimbursed by the company you enrol in.
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