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|American Bulldog general features, temperament, health|
Breed: The history of American Bulldog starts in the New World, where the settlers brought the Bulldogs, wanting to have a reliable four-legged defender, able to share with his owner all the hardships and privations of the Wild West. The colonists did not arrange any Dog Shows, they did not keep any studbooks. They were raising the dogs of their choice and they believed that to have a working Bulldog on farm and ranch is something very natural. Several generations of rural American South bred this dogs solely for the utilitarian purposes.
This tradition is reflected in one of the nick names of this dog - the old village Bulldog. First to pay attention to these powerful and compact dogs were the organizers of a dogfights and collectors of military dogs, who increased the search for new gladiators in 1910-1920. Between the American Bulldog fanciers and professional breeders there is no one agreement on the origin of an old rural Bulldog. This happened due to the abundance of local types that have arisen because of the isolation of breeding centers and the lack of a coordinated breeding.
Several exterior differences, specific to the descendants from the oldest kennels, prompted the authors of books and popular articles to propose a theory about the breeding of American Bulldog by crossing the old working dogs with modern English Bulldogs and Bullmastiffs. This point of view is vigorously refuted by the traditional breeders.
The most active supporter of an ancient origin of the old white English bulldog is the John D. Johnson, of Sommerville - the oldest and most famous in the U.S. and other countries breeder, the author of the official standard of the American Bulldog, the man, who's honesty and decency are mentioned by many fans of fighting dogs. His family archive keeps the records to prove that Johnson's family was engaged in the breeding of American Bulldogs for more than four generations, which is almost two hundred years.
If the adding of a Bullmastiff and possibly Pit Bull blood could have occurred recently in some kennels in order to avoid degeneracy, still such matings in no way were not breed-forming. Most likely, they were just a "forced episodes". The assumption of crossings with the English Bulldog are unbelievable and illogical. Imagine a farmer, a practical man engaged in breeding dogs solely for the working purposes, who buys an expensive English Bulldog - a charming creature, but useless for crossing with the working Bulldogs. Moreover, harmful, since the only consequence of such activities is to reduce the service qualities of the dogs and the deterioration of their viability. It is unlikely that such an absurd practice has taken place.
All these arguments predispose us to the conclusion, that the American Bulldog is a descendant of the Old English dogs, brought to America by settlers during the reign of Elizabeth. These dogs are mentioned in the stories of Jack London and Sutton-Thompson. Good representative of the breed even today can tame the bull, and single-handedly crush the wolf.
American Bulldog is a "handyman", able to guard the house, to look after the livestock, to hunt the dangerous animals and destroy the feral dogs that have become a disaster for the shepherds of the southern states. In addition, some certain Bulldogs fared well in the pit rings, but such usage is discouraged by breeders and did not become widespread. The owners of American Bulldogs say that this dogs can easily overcome the barrier of 2,5 m and are able to "turn around on a square inch."
In addition to the magnificent apparatus of motion, these versatile athletes have iron jaws and good health: on the farm, they often live up to 16 years and even being in old age, are able to knock down a bull and do not lose their activity and performance.
American trainers, who had experience with Bulldogs, trained to attack people, say that the fight with this dog creates the illusion of attacking creatures with jaws of an alligator and the body of a python.
Farmers often use their Bulldogs for hunting opossum, wild pig, bear and mountain lion. Anger and courage are needed also for the fight with a pack of wild dogs. This is a dangerous job, as the Bulldog has to fight alone, often without any help of a man, with many enemies at once and must win or die. Mr. John D. Johnson had a male, who on 14th year of his life was still able to fight successfully the four-legged gangsters.
Another Johnson's dog - the famous fighter with a cropped tail and ears, for a long time considered as the standard of the breed - in his nine-years life saved his owner's wife from an armed gangster and could cope alone with the six dogs at the same time. Picture of this dog can be found in many cynological books. His line today is considered the most promising by the breeder. High combat qualities gave rise to the rumors of a wild temper and high danger of this breed, but those who are familiar with it, are always mentioning very attractive temperament of this dogs.
American Bulldog for centuries has been a friend and helper, responsive to the will of the owner, so it is genetically "programmed" with devotion and obedience. His reliability and bravery is legendary, many of those legends are not without real justification. Mr. John D. Johnson gives an example of a story about a fire that swept the outbuildings on his ranch. While him and his wife were saving the property, two puppies, 9 and 11 months old, were attacking the fire, as if it was a living creature, who attacked the precious master.
Johnson, with great difficulty dragged away the furious dogs, who were trying to grab the flames with their teeth. When he called the vet, it turned out that the burns were too severe and left no chance to restore the skin, and thus the survival of young heroes was a big question. But the American Bulldog has once again proved that for him nothing is impossible: two dogs safely recovered and brought into the world the healthy offspring. This story has bypassed many foreign editions. Aside from the unique loyalty and propensity to self-sacrifice for the sake of the owner, the American Bulldogs get along very well with children, they are polite and intelligent, superbly manageable and are prone to discipline.
If necessary, they are acting without a command, just according to the situation, possessing an innate desire to please his master, they stop any unwanted actions at the slightest disapproval from his side. It is no wonder, that there is a proverb among the Bulldog fanciers: "The Bulldog is a real commitment, real reliability, true love."
General Features: The American Bulldog is attractive in appearance, everything in him is in harmony, expressive and appropriate. This is a classic fighting dogs of the old type, having equally the power and nobility. Speaking of the size, we note that standard is more like the description and do not specify an upper limit of growth, so it can be like a boxer or as a very big bullmastiff. There are some males of 70 cm, weighing 60 kg. As already mentioned, the breed has a few variations on the type, according to the views of the breeder and belonging to the particular line, but the whole breed has settled well-unified nature.
Temperament: As it was already mentioned, the American Bulldog is such a versatile breed, that it could be written a lot of books about his abilities. The enormous physical strength of these dogs, their power and endurance, well-developed sense of smell and hearing, dexterity and high intelligence make them a reliable security guards, bodyguards, serious and loyal companions.
With American Bulldog the obedience training should start at an early age - as soon as the puppy appeared in the family. By the age of four month the puppy should already learn some basic commands. General course of obedience for the American Bulldogs is better to pass with the experienced trainer and in the company of young dogs of different breeds. Such training will teach the Bulldog to communicate with other dogs and to behave in a team. Of course, this is no guarantee that an adult American Bulldog will not be rigid with the other dogs (in fact it is laid down in his genes), but the training will at least soften a little his complicated nature and teach him to control his emotions. From the positive features of American Bulldog is the fact that they consider beneath their dignity to show the superiority to the weaker opponents (puppies, small dogs and stray dogs).
American Bulldog is fairly easy to train. Once having learned the command, the Bulldog will remember it all his life. The main difficulty may lie in the fact that the Bulldogs are quite stubborn and willful. Therefore, from the owner a considerable power will be needed from the first days. But if you can insist on the fulfillment of the requirements at least once, then later you will have to spend much less effort. Just do not overreact with the repeating of the same command many times: for the Bulldog it is difficult to understand why he need to sit or lie down several times in a row.
In general, you can not make the American Bulldog to act like an obedient robot, but he will easily become your devoted friend and active partner.
American Bulldogs in the matter of guarding does not recognize any compromises. For them, the game ends, where the work begins. The responsiveness, speed, power, pressure and anger of American Bulldog in the protective services are more than impressive.
Health problems: American Bulldogs are prone to the hip dysplasia.