The American Bulldog is still just being discovered and introduced to the public. Most people are unaware of its existance and treat this breed like a new breed. The American bulldog is in fact an ancient breed, almost becoming extinct. It's the original breed to be called "Bulldog", and is the ancestor to many breeds today. When we look at old paintings/lithographs from 1850 on, we are looking at the American Bulldog. When the "Bulldog" is mentioned to be an ancestor to a specific breed, they are generally talking about the American Bulldog. Until the 1600's the name "Bulldog" was actually a term describing the job a dog did rather then it's breed. Early in history there were dogs described as "Pugnances", large brown and brindle dogs that had the ability to grasp large bovine animals by the snout and bring them to the ground. Many of these large Mastiff like dogs were imported to the British Isles from the East and used as bulldogs.
Depending on the type of work or sport the bulldog did his size varied anywhere from 60-100 pounds. This explains why throughout history diferent people have described the Bulldog so diferently. It did not matter what breed the dog was or what he looked like as long as he could get the job done. The livestock of that era looked much diferent then today. The cattle were slightly smaller and quicker with large horns for defense. Any dog going up against one of these animals had to be brave and strong, with great endurance in order to catch up to the bull and then bring him to the ground. These Bulldogs were usually white with some brindle or fawn coloring, athletic with muscle, and a short to medium muzzle very similar to the American Bulldog we now see.
Colonists brought over a majority of old English working bulldogs to the new world, through the seaports of Savanah and Charleston eventually settleling down in the southern colonies. The bulldog then helped build the old south, used as utility farm dogs, catching livestock. Also protecting the farm from wolves and many other intruders such as wild boar which destroyed crops. The bulldogs needed be fast in order to catch and hold cattle, wild boar, and be big and strong to defeat wolves, bears, coyotes, and mountain lions. This job was required to be done without fear and a second thought.
With time the bulldog started to decrease in numbers, and almost became extinct until the 1960's when a collaborative effort was made to secure the breed. The men which started to gather up the last few known bulldogs and repopulate the breed were John D. Johnson, Alan Scott, JM Ashley, Louis Hegwood, George Lee Williamson, WC Bailey, and Calvin Tuck.
In 1970, John D. Johnson and Alan Scott first registered the American Pit Bulldog with the NKC, later renaming it the American Bulldog to avaid confusion with its cousin the American Pit Bull Terrier. By the 1970's all bulldogs looked alike, and represented the look of our todays standard type American Bulldog. The dogs, Johnson's Dick the Bruiser and Scott's Mac the Masher were foundation dogs for the Johnson and Scott breeding line. These dogs were Old Southern Whites (aka White English, Old English Whites, Old Country Bulldogs, and Alabama Bulldogs) which came from Alabama. In the 1970's Johnson and Scott discontinued breeding with each others dogs and ended up creating two distinct breeding lines for the American Bulldog. One would be the Johnson type (aka bully type) and the other Scott type (aka standard type). During this time other American Bulldog breeders continued to breed the Old Southern Whites, oblivious to the popularity of Mr. Johnson and Mr.Scott and their American Bulldogs. Old Southern Whites happen to be similar to Mr.Scott's breeding lines because like Scott dogs, they have been bred to maintain the working ability whereas Mr. Johnson has been breeding larger bulldogs for personal protection work.
Here is a general discription of what the American Bulldog should be, because most American Bulldogs are hybrids this discription should fall in the middle of both standards.
General appearance-Being that of a great powerfull dog showing strength, endurance and alertness. Powerfully built, but active.
Size-Males should be from 23"-27" at the withers, Females from 21"-25" at the withers.
Weight-Males from 80lbs to over 120lbs, Females from 70lbs to 100lbs.
Head-Medium in length and broad across skull with pronounced muscular cheecks.
Eyes-Medium in size. Any Color. Black eye rims prefered on white dogs.
Muzzle-Medium legnth(2-4 in.), square and broad with a strong underjaw.
Nose color-Black or grizzle. A pink or red nose is a cosmetic fault.
Ears-Cropped or uncropped. Uncropped prefered.
Neck-Muscular, medium in legnth, tapering from shoulders to head.
Shoulders-Very muscular with wide sloping blades, shoulders set so elbows are not angled out.
Chest-should be deep and moderately wide without excessiveness to throw the shoulders out.
Hindquarters-Broad and muscled up, in proportion to the shoulders. Narrow hips to be a serious fault.
Legs-Strong and straight with heavy bone. In at the elbows or excessively bowlegged a fault.
Coat-Short, close, stiff to the touch, not long and fuzzy.
Color-All white , pied or up to 90% color (brindle or red) with a portion of white on the head. Patches of brindle, or patched of red. Red is defined as any shade of tan.