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American Bulldog

The American Bulldog, often known as the AmBull, is a large, verging on huge in some instances, muscular and robust dog. This is a type rather than a breed, and so appearances can vary. All however, should be well-built, long-legged mastiff types with broad heads and chests, well-muscled but never fat.  

All colours are possible, often white with coloured patches, all shades of tan and chocolate, black and tan, brindle and solid white. Occasionally, broken or rough coated dogs appear though these almost certainly have some influence from wire coated terrier types somewhere in their ancestry. 

Whatever their exact genetic make-up, a good American Bulldog should be friendly to a fault, enthusiastic and eager to please, easy to train and happy to settle and relax when necessary. Unfortunately, it is these traits plus their size and imposing look, that leads them often to appeal to the wrong people, under whose care they can be a danger to themselves and others. 

10 – 12 years
27 – 45 kg
50 – 70 cm
The American bulldog colours are black, white, and combinations of white with black, brindle, brown, or tan.
Large to XL
Kennel Club Group
Not registered
The need-to-know
  • Dogs suitable for experienced owners
  • Extra training required
  • Need to be aware of potential health issues
  • Enjoys active walks
  • Enjoys one to two hours of walking a day
  • Large dog
  • Some drool
  • Requires grooming once a week
  • Chatty and vocal dog
  • Barks and alerts to visitors/anything unusual
  • Could have issues with unknown dogs but gets along with known dogs
  • Gets along with other pets with training
  • May need additional supervision to live with children
  • Needs a large garden
  • Can live in semi-rural areas
  • Can be left occasionally with training
This breed has a higher risk of health issues

These dogs are brachycephalic (referring to breeds with a short nose and the appearance of a squashed face) – some types of American Bulldog more than others. Problems associated with this condition include: 

- Brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome: a condition in brachycephalic breeds in which breathing is obstructed that can lead to a reduced ability to exercise or even severe respiratory distress. 
- Skin inflammation/infection: brachycephalic breeds have a short nose and a normal amount of facial tissue. This means there is often excess skin around their face which leads to skin folds. The skin inside these folds can become sore and can be prone to developing infections.  
- Eye ulcers: these ulcers are painful erosions on the surface of the eye. They are more common in brachycephalic breeds due to their conformation because their eyes tend to be more bulbous. 

The breed can also be prone to:  
- Hip dysplasia 
- Elbow dysplasia 

As such puppies should be purchased from responsible breeders who test their breeding stock and prioritise both health and temperament. 

American Bulldog Appearance 

While weights and heights vary, the AmBull should stand around 50 – 70cm and weigh between 27-54kg. They should be lean and muscular rather than soft and overweight (as is sadly so often the case), and be broad headed and broad shouldered giving an overall impression of a ‘massive’ dog rather than tall dog. They should however have a good length of both neck and leg and not look ‘squat’. Coats are smooth and hard, easy to keep clean and tidy but liable to shed lots of short hair that will stick to clothing, furniture and carpets. 

American Bulldog Personality 

Well trained and socialised, the American Bulldog should be friendly, will enjoy training and games, and should be easy going with the whole family. Their large size and bouncy nature, particularly as puppies does mean they are inclined to be clumsy, and if left untrained their size can really become a problem, as they can do harm even without meaning to. Quick to learn but surprisingly sensitive despite their huge physique, American Bulldogs can be easy to train, however quick learners will also learn the wrong things as fast as they learn the right things – and once a lesson is learned, it is not easily forgotten! 

AmBulls should be excellent with people, however with other dogs they are far less easy going and so socialisation is vital and even then, caution should be exercised. 

Vet Rating

History and Origins

Ideal Owner

Exercise Needs

Space Requirements

Nutrition and Feeding

Grooming American Bulldogs

Training American Bulldogs

Are American Bulldogs Good Family Dogs?

American Bulldog Fun Facts 

  • Probably the most famous fictional American Bulldogs are Spike and Tyke from the popular Tom and Jerry franchise. The characters first appeared on TV in 1942 where Spike, also known as Killer, Butch, or Bulldog in several episodes, is a friendly and loving father to his son Tyke. 
  • American Bulldogs have also had an extensive presence in cinemas, with the dog breed appearing in movies like Cheaper by the Dozen (2003 and 2005), Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey (1993), and Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco (1996). 
  • American Bulldogs are bigger and faster than their British counterparts. Due to their powerful hind legs, they are able to jump as high as 2 metres. 
  • Jessica Biel is among the many famous Bulldog owners and she has a canine best friend called East. 


Is the American bulldog a pit bull? 

No, the American bulldog breed is descended from mastiffs while pit bulls come from terriers. Pit bulls are also recognised as their own breed. The American bulldog was welcomed by the American Kennel Club into its Foundation Stock Service in 2019. 

Are American bulldogs aggressive? 

Without proper training and socialisation, American bulldogs can be aggressive at times, especially when they feel threatened or when they’re trying to protect their owners. 

What breeds of dogs make up an American bulldog? 

As a descendant of the English bulldog, the American bulldog breed comes from a mix of Asiatic mastiffs and pugs

Do American bulldogs like to cuddle? 

American bulldogs are known to be very affectionate and want to be close to their owners, so they love snuggling as much as they love food and exercising.  

Has the American bulldog breed been banned in the UK?

Following the Government announcement on the 15th of September, the American bulldog breed is not banned. However, a related breed called the American XL Bully is currently in the process of being banned in the UK. This is likely to happen before the end of 2023. If you own an American XL Bully dog, keep an eye on future Government news and keep checking for the official announcement of the transition period. This is when owners need to come forward. Failure to do so will be considered a criminal offence. Find out more on the Government’s site and in our guide to illegal dog breeds in the UK.

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