American Bulldog Registry and Archives

American Bulldog Breed Standards


American Bulldog Breed Standards from all the registries

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Dog Breeds  American Bulldog
American Bulldogs



Breed Standards by Registry/Organization:

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American Bulldog Registry and Archives

The American Bulldog is an athletic, temperamentally sound and medium to large sized dog that possesses great strength, agility and confidence. The expression should reflect intelligence and alertness. The sturdy and powerful yet compact frame is characteristically stockier and heavier boned in the males and more refined in the females. Some aloofness with strangers and assertiveness towards other dogs is accepted. However, an American Bulldog should not be excessively timid, shy or aggressive towards man and preferably not overly aggressive with other dogs. Due to its distinctive physical and mental characteristics along with its natural desire to be the total companion and working dog, an American Bulldog should never be confused with uniquely different breeds such as the American Staffordshire Terrier or the American Pit Bull Terrier. Note *** American Bulldog National Alliance judges are specifically charged with the responsibility of evaluating the temperamental stability as well as structural conformation on all dogs. Dogs demonstrating less than acceptable stable temperamental characteristics should be dismissed from competition. In officially recognizing the two distinctive types of American Bulldogs, Standard and Classic, the ABNA requires that they be judged separately. While the ABNA has decided to identify the two types of American Bulldogs as Classic vice Johnson and Standard vice Scott, in no way is this to suggest or infer any lack of respect or absence of appreciation for these two men that have contributed so significantly to the breed and its preservation. The pure motive for this change is simple. We want to move away from individual personalities and on to promoting the fact that there have been numerous great breeders of American Bulldogs.

Size-General: Males should range from 22 to 28 inches at the withers and weigh between 70 and 120 pounds. Females should range from 20 to 26 inches at the withers and weigh between 60 and 100 pounds. Weight should be proportional to height and body type. A dog should be well conditioned and not overweight or underweight.
Standard: A leaner and more athletic dog in appearance.
Classic: A larger and more powerful dog in appearance.

Color: Solid or varying degrees of white, all shades of brindle, brown, red, or tan are acceptable. Solid black, black and tan, and/or any degree of merle is unacceptable. A full black mask is not preferred. **Merle is a dilution of overall body color (black or red) with splotches of darker color giving the effect of "merling" or "marbling" not to be confused with Brindle that gives the effect of "striping".

Coat: Short, less than one inch in length varying from soft to stiff. Long, feathering, or fuzzy coats are unacceptable.

Head: The head should be relatively large and broad in proportion to the size and overall structure of the dog. It should be flat on top giving a squared appearance. There is a defined furrow between the eyes with a distinct, deep stop. The head is well-muscled throughout with prominent cheeks. An excessively narrow head is unacceptable in both types.

Standard: Generally box shaped to wedge in appearance with a slightly shallower stop and less wrinkles.

Classic: Generally box shaped to round in appearance with a more definitive stop and heavier wrinkles.

Eyes: The eyes should be round or almond shape, medium sized, and wide set. Black or dark brown is the preferred color. Other colors are accepted. Black eye rim pigment preferred. Crossed and/or nonsymmetrical eyes are unacceptable.

Muzzle: The muzzle should be relatively broad and square. The large jaws are well-muscled, displaying great strength. Lips are full but not pendulous. Black pigment lining lips preferred. An excessively narrow muzzle is unacceptable in both types.

Standard: muzzle should be 30% to 40% of the overall length of head.

Classic: muzzle should be 25% to 35% of the overall length of head.

Teeth: The teeth should number 42 to 44 and large in size is preferred. Working dogs should not be penalized for broken teeth. Should medical removal of teeth be needed, documentation and verification by a veterinarian is requested.

Bite:

Standard: Reverse scissors is preferred. Moderate underbite, scissors or even bite is acceptable.

Classic: Undershot 1/4 to ½ inch preferred. Even bite is not preferred. Scissors bite is unacceptable.

Both types: Teeth should not be visible when the mouth is closed.

Nose: Black is the preferred color. A red, brown, or grizzle nose is acceptable. A pink or dudley nose is unacceptable.

Ears: The ears should be medium in size and may be either forward flap or rose, with no preference. Cropped ears are acceptable.

Neck: The neck should be very muscular and medium in length. The neck should taper from shoulder to head and be slightly arched.

Shoulders: The shoulders should be well-muscled with good definition and wide sloping blades giving the appearance of great strength.

Chest: The chest should be deep and moderately wide giving the appearance of power and athletic ability. The front, overall, should be straight and well balanced. The chest should not be narrow or excessively wide nor should the elbows be angled out or pulled in.

Body: The body should be compact and moderately short while powerful and athletic in appearance. Well balanced. There should be a good spring of ribs with the loin moderately tucked. The body should not be excessively long.

Back: The back should be broad and moderately short in length showing great strength. Slight roach over loins. The back should not be narrow or swayed.

Standard: Straighter more level topline is preferred.

Classic: Appearance of being slightly higher in the rear is preferred.

Legs: The legs should be strong and straight with moderate to heavy bone. Well-muscled front and back. The rear legs should be moderately angulated and parallel. There should not be an excess of or lack of angulation in the rear legs. Excessively bow-legged or cow hocked is unacceptable.

Hindquarters: The hindquarters should be thick with well-defined muscles. Not as wide as shoulders, but well-balanced. The hips should not be narrow or lacking in muscle definition.

Tail: The tail is set low, thick at base and tapering to a point. The tail should reach the hocks in a relaxed position. Docked tails are accepted. The tail should not end in a complete circle.

Feet: The feet should be of moderate size with toes well arched and close together. The feet should not be splayed.

Gait: The American Bulldog should move with speed, agility, and power with a definite spring to the step. All legs move parallel to direction of travel, with front legs clearly reaching and the rear legs propelling the dog forward. The legs should not travel excessively wide. Front legs and/or rear legs crossing is unacceptable.

Standard: A tighter, more athletic gait.

Classic: A rolling gait is acceptable.

*Note: Males without two testicles, dogs that are deaf, and dogs that have been spayed or neutered are not allowed to compete in the conformation ring. Females in estrus are not to be shown in the conformation classes and are not allowed in the proximity thereof.





American Bulldog Association Breed Standard:

American Bulldog Association American Bulldog Breed Standard revised 1997

1997 Revisions: Our former term of "Scott" for the standard type AB has led to much confusion. Many of the dogs referred to as Scott type have very little or no Scott background whatsoever. My personal dogs are mostly Scott (Painter)/Johnson hybrids, and it was presumptuous and confusing on my part to designate all non-Johnson dogs as being the Scott-type, when many were Bailey/Williamson/ Tate/Tuck combinations. Henceforth the non-Johnson type will be referred to as the "standard" type. Although the vast majority of purebred ABs are 75 to 100% white, there are a few that have less than 25% white. Our standard is now amended to say "All white, pied, or up to 90% color [brindle or red patches, (red is defined as any shade of tan, brown or red)], with a portion of the white on the head." This seems to be a more accurate reflection taking into account the rarer color form. Our standard was designed as a description of the breed rather than a "perfection to aspire to" as others claim theirs to be.

Background:

The American Bulldog originated as a catchdog (mostly cattle) and property protection dog, in America’s Southeast. He was not bred to put on threat displays or to look a certain way. But, he did need the right equipment to take care of his real bulldog duties which were confrontational personal and property protection and as a catch dog. He needed to be strong enough to put unruly bulls on the ground and athletic enough to catch hogs that were allowed to free range in a semi-wild state.

General Appearance:

The American Bulldog should generate the impression of great strength, agility, endurance and exhibit a well-knit, sturdy, compact frame with the absence of excessive bulk. Males are characteristically larger, heavier boned and more masculine than the bitches. The AB is a white or white and patched (brindle or red) dog. When patched he can range from the traditional pied markings of a patch over one or both eyes or ears, or a patch on the base of the tail, to a large saddle patch and various other patches. For judging purposes, distinctions between an ideal "Standard-type" and an ideal "Johnson-type" are defined in brackets and in bold.

Size:

General: Males - 23 to 27 inches at the withers and weigh from 75 to 120 lbs. Females - 21 to 25 inches at the withers, 60 to 90 lbs. The weight should be proportional to size.

[Standard-type: an ideal male should be 23 to 27 inches at the withers and/ weigh from 75 to 110 lbs., females, 21 to 25 inches, 60 to 85 lbs. The weight should be proportional to size.]

[Johnson-type: an ideal male should be 22 to 26 inches at the withers and weigh from 80 to 120 lbs. Females 20 to 24 inches, 60 to 90 lbs.]

Head:

Medium in length and broad across skull with pronounced muscular cheeks.

Eyes:

Medium in size. Any color. The haw should not be visible. Black eye rims preferred on white dogs. Pink eye rims to be considered a cosmetic fault.

Muzzle:

Medium length (2 to 4 in.), square and broad with a strong underjaw. Lips should be full but not pendulous. 42 to 44 teeth. [Standard-type: tight undershot (reverse scissors) preferred. Scissors and even bites are considered a cosmetic fault. Structural faults are a muzzle under 2 inches or longer than 4 inches, pendulous lips, less than 42 teeth, more than 1/4 inch undershot, small teeth or uneven incisors.] [Johnson-type: definite undershot, 1/8 to 1/4 inch preferred. Scissors or even bite is a disqualification. Structural faults are a muzzle under 2 inches or over 4 inches.]

Nose color:

black or grizzle. On black nosed dogs the lips should be black with some pink allowed. A pink nose to be considered a cosmetic fault.

Ears:

Cropped or uncropped. Uncropped preferred.

Neck:

Muscular, medium in length, slightly arched, tapering from shoulders to head, with a slight dewlap allowed.

Shoulders:

Very muscular with wide sloping blades, shoulders set so elbows are not angled out.

Chest, Back and Loin:

The chest should be deep and moderately wide without being excessively wide as to throw the shoulders out. The back should be of medium length, strong and broad. Loins should be slightly tucked which corresponds to a slight roach in the back which slopes to the stern. Faults: sway back, narrow or shallow chest, lack of tuck up.

Hindquarters:

Very broad and well muscled and in proportion to the shoulders. Narrow hips are a very serious fault.

Legs:

Strong and straight with heavy bone. Front legs should not set too close together or too far apart. Faults: in at the elbows or excessively bowlegged. Rear legs should have a visible angulation of the stifle joint.

Movement:

The gait is balanced and smooth, powerful and unhindered suggesting agility with easy, ground covering strides, showing strong driving action in the hind quarters with corresponding reach in front. As speed increases the feet move toward the center line of the body to maintain balance. Ideally the dog should single-track. The top line remains firm and level, parallel to the line of motion. Head and tail carriage should reflect that of a proud, confident and alert animal.

Movement faults:

Any suggestion of clumsiness, tossing and/or rolling of the body, crossing or interference of front or rear legs, short or stilted steps, twisting joints, pacing, paddling, or weaving. Similar movement faults are to be penalized according to the degree to which they interfere with the ability of the dog to work.

Feet:

Of moderate size, toes of medium length, well arched and close together, not splayed. Pasterns should be strong, straight and upright.

Tail:

Set low, thick at the root, tapering to a point. Tail should not curl over back. Docked or undocked.

Coat:

Short, close, stiff to the touch, not long and fuzzy.

Color:

All white, pied, or up to 90% color [brindle or red patches, (red is defined as any shade of tan, brown or red)], with a portion of the white on the head.

Disposition:

Alert, outgoing and friendly with a self-assured attitude. Some aloofness with strangers and assertiveness toward other dogs is not considered a fault.

Disqualification’s:

Both types: dogs that are deaf or males without two testicles clearly descended. [Johnson-type: an even or scissors bite.]

Fault Degrees:

A cosmetic fault is one of a minor nature. A fault not specified as cosmetic has to do with structure as it relates to a working dog. In a show or other evaluation, the dog is to be penalized in direct proportion to the degree of the fault. Any fault which is extreme should be considered a serious fault and should be penalized appropriately. We have not included a line drawing of a Standard-type or Johnson-type standard dog because they could not take into account the variations acceptable within the realm of the working American Bulldog. The emphasis placed on specific types in other breed standards has led to the general disintegration of the breed concerned by eliminating individuals who might have contributed significantly to respective gene pool. Attributes other than cosmetic listed in the standard all relate to working qualities which include but are not limited to agility, endurance, leverage, biting power and heat tolerance.

Point Breakdown for Judging

Overall: proportion 10 points

temperament 10 points
total of 20 points

Head: size and shape 10 point
muzzle 5 points
teeth 5 points
total of 20 points

Body: neck 5 points
shoulders 5 points
chest 10 points
back 10 points
hindquarters 10 points
legs 10 points
feet 5 points
tail and coat 5 points
total of 60 points

Grand Total of 100 points

Note: the distinctions made between the Standard-type and the Johnson-type depict an ideal representative of their respective types for show purposes only.

A Summary of the Standard-type and Johnson-type distinctions:

In actuality, many American Bulldogs are hybrids between the Standard and Johnson type. The distinctions between the two types were made to allow separate shows for Standard-types and Johnson-types.

Generally the Johnson-type distinction allows for a slightly larger dog and requires a slightly (1/8 to 1/4 inch undershot lower jaw, but this distinction mandates separate shows for the two types.








American Bulldog Registry of Australia:

COMING SOON




American Research Foundation:

COMING SOON




Continental Kennel Club:

AMERICAN BULLDOG

OTHER NAMES: Old Country Bulldog, Old English White

ORIGIN: United States

HEIGHT: 18-26 in.

GROUP: Mastiff

WEIGHT: 60-120 lbs.

COAT: Smooth & Short

COLOR: Red Brindle, all other Brindles, Solid White, Red, Fawn, and Piebald.

STANDARD: Head: Large and box-shaped with a square skull. Eyes: Wide-set. Ears: Small, high-set rose or flap ears. Muzzle: Short, broad and deep. Nose: Black and selfcolored according to coat. Bite: Slightly undershot. Neck: Short, thick and muscular. Topline: Level. Chest: Broad and deep, with ribs well sprung. Body: Extremely well-muscled with thick, muscular, broad shoulders. Legs: Forelegs are strong and straight, with the hind legs being heavy boned, covered in hard, powerful muscles, but not as broad as the shoulders. Feet: Compact. Tail: Usually docked, but, if not, is low lying and long. Movement: Strong and driving, yet very agile. Temperament: Protective and aloof with strangers.


John D Johnson Registry and Archives:

John D. Johnson Bulldog Standard

By John D. Johnson

General Appearance: Being that of a great, powerful dog showing strength, endurance, and alertness. Powerfully built, but active.

Size & Weight: Males should be 23 to 28 inches at withers and weigh 90 to 150 pounds. Females are to be 20 to 26 inches an withers and weigh 70 to 130 pounds. (slightly larger or smaller is not a fault.)

Head: Expression--intelligent with keen alertness. The head should be square or have a round basketball look, and well muscled. The "stop" should be deep and abrupt.

Muzzle: Should be broad, not long and narrow. Length of "muzzle" not less than 1 inch to not more than 3 inches (preferred length 2 to 2 1/2 inches).

Bite: At least 1/4 to 1 inch (undershod) depending on size of dog and shape of head.

Eyes: Almond shaped to round, medium sized. Normal color: brown. Acceptable colors: gray, green, or light blue.

Ears: Small to medium, carried close to the head, or rose ears.

Neck: Slightly arched; of moderate length. Very muscular-almost equal to the head in size.

Body: Fairly compact with wide deep chest. The loin is wide, muscular and slightly arched.

Tail: Strong at the root and tapering to the hocks (normal relaxed position), however, many will carry their tails over their backs, especially when excited or walking.

Coat: Short and soft.

Color: Solid white, all shades of brindle (white, red, yellow, blue, brown, black, or gray); red and white; fawn and white; brown and white, mahogany and white; cream and white.

Forequarters: The combined front assembly from its uppermost components, the shoulder blades, down to the feet should be muscular and slightly sloping. The "forelegs" are to be straight. Bone structure should be medium to heavy, to be able to carry a large dog.

Hindquarters: Broad with muscles tapering well down the leg to show speed and strength, but not quite as large as shoulder.

Disqualifications: Full black mask; cow-hocked; splayfooted; even and scissors bite; glass eye(s); docked tail can be registered, but will be prohibited from the "show ring".


National American Bulldog Association:

HEAD: Medium length, box-like when viewed from the front. Rectangular when viewed from the side. Skull flat and widest at the ears. Prominent cheeks with little to no wrinkles. Head should be prominent, but not overly so. Should look powerful and quick.

MUZZLE: Square, wide and deep. Large jaws, should display great strength. Bite should be scissor to 1/4” undershot. Muzzle should be 35% to 42% of the total length of the head. Should have a noticeable stop at the forehead. Muzzle should be wider at the base and taper slightly to the nose.

EYES: Round to almond shaped, any color except blue.

NOSE: Wide open nostrils, black.

NECK: Muscular, slightly arched. Tapering from shoulder to head.

SHOULDERS: Very muscular, side sloping shoulder blades.

BACK: Medium in length, sloping from rump to withers. Slightly arched at loins, which should be slightly tucked.

HIPS: Very muscular, pronounced muscularity.

STIFLES: Should be well angled.

CHEST: Deep brisket, wide but not too wide.

COAT COLOR: Any color except flat black or any blue.

WEIGHT: Not important as long as structure is sound. Any weight between 85 lbs. to 105 lbs. for males, 65 lbs. to 90 lbs. for females.

HEIGHT: 19” to 27”.

Working dogs will not be penalized for broken teeth, cropped ears or docked tails.


National Kennel Club:

COMING SOON




United Kennel Club:

The American Bulldog is a powerful, athletic short-coated dog, strongly muscled, and well boned. The body is just slightly longer than tall. The head is large and broad with a wide muzzle. Ears are small to medium in size, high set, and may be drop, semi-prick, rose, or cropped. The tail may be docked or natural. The American Bulldog comes in solid colors, white with colored patches, and brindle. Gender differences are well expressed in this breed, with males typically larger and more muscular than females. Honorable scars resulting from field work are not to be penalized. The American Bulldog should be evaluated as a working dog, and exaggerations or faults should be penalized in proportion to how much they interfere with the dog's ability to work. CHARACTERISTICS

The essential characteristics of the American Bulldog are those which enable it to work as a hog and cattle catching dog, and a protector of personal property. These tasks require a powerful, agile, confident dog with a large head and powerful jaws. The American Bulldog is a gentle, loving family companion who is fearless enough to face an angry bull or a human intruder. Note: It is common for young American Bulldogs to be somewhat standoffish with strangers and judges should not penalize this. By the time the dog is around 18 months of age, however, the breed's normal confidence asserts itself. Disqualifications: Viciousness or extreme shyness; cowardice.

HEAD

The head is large and broad giving the impression of great power. When viewed from the side, the skull and muzzle are parallel to one another and joined by a well-defined stop. The stop is very deep and abrupt, almost at a right angle with the muzzle. Despite the depth of the stop, the forehead is wider than it is high. SKULL -- The skull is large, flat, deep, and broad between the ears. Viewed from the top, the skull is square. There is a deep median furrow that diminishes in depth from the stop to the occiput. Cheek muscles are prominent.

MUZZLE -- The muzzle is broad and thick with a very slight taper from the stop to the nose. The length of the muzzle is equal to 35 to 45 percent of the length of the head. Lips are moderately thick but not pendulous. The chin is well defined and must neither overlap the upper lip nor be covered by it.

TEETH -- The American Bulldog has a complete set of large, evenly spaced, white teeth. The preferred bite is undershot with the inside of the lower incisors extending in front of the upper incisors up to ¼ inch. A scissors bite is acceptable. A level bite and extreme undershot bite are considered faults to the degree that the bite interferes with the dog's ability to work. Teeth are not visible when the mouth is closed. Worn teeth or broken teeth are acceptable.

Disqualification: Overshot.

NOSE -- The nose is large with wide, open nostrils. The nose may be any color but darker pigment is preferred.

EYES -- Eyes are medium in size, round, and set well apart. All colors are acceptable but brown is preferred. Haw is not visible. Dark eye rims are preferred.

Faults: Very visible haws.

EARS -- Ears may be cropped but natural ears are preferred. Natural ears are small to medium in size, high set, and may be drop, semi-prick, or rose.

Drop ears: The ears are set high, level with the upper line of the skull, accentuating the skull's width. At the base, the ear is just slightly raised in front and then hangs along the cheek. The tip is slightly rounded. When pulled toward the eye, the ear should not extend past the outside corner of the eye.

Semi-prick ears: Same as drop ears except that only the tips of the ears drop forward.

Rose ears: Rose ears are small and set high on the skull.

Fault: Hound ears.

NECK -- The neck is where the American Bulldog exerts power to bring down livestock. The neck must be long enough to exert leverage, but short enough to exert power. The neck is muscular and, at its widest point, is nearly as broad as the head, with a slight arch at the crest, and tapering slightly from shoulders to the head. A slight dewlap is acceptable.

Faults: Neck too short and thick; thin or weak neck.

FOREQUARTERS -- The shoulders are strong and well muscled. The shoulder blade is well laid back and forms, with the upper arm, an apparent 90-degree angle. The tips of the shoulder blades are set about 2 to 3 finger-widths apart. The forelegs are heavily boned and very muscular. The elbows are set on a plane parallel to the body, neither close to the body nor turned out. Viewed from the front, the forelegs are perpendicular to the ground or may, especially in a dog with a very broad chest, incline slightly inward. The pasterns are short, powerful, and slightly sloping when viewed in profile. Viewed from the front, the pasterns are straight.

BODY -- The chest is deep and moderately wide with ample room for heart and lungs. The ribs are well sprung from the spine and then flatten to form a deep body extending at least to the elbows, or lower in adult dogs. The topline inclines very slightly downward from well-developed withers to a broad, muscular back. The loin is short, broad, and slightly arched, blending into a moderately sloping croup. The flank is moderately tucked up and firm.

Serious faults: Swayback; sloping topline.

HINDQUARTERS -- The hindquarters are well muscled and broad. The width and angulation of the hindquarters is in balance with the width and angulation of the forequarters. The thighs are well developed with thick, easily discerned muscles. The lower thighs are muscular and short. Viewed from the side, the rear pasterns are well let down and perpen-dicular to the ground. Viewed from the rear, the rear pasterns are straight and parallel to one another.

Faults: Cowhocks; open hocks.

Serious faults: Narrow or weak hindquarters.

FEET -- The feet are round, medium in size, well arched, and tight.

Fault: Splayed feet. The seriousness of this fault is based on the amount of splay in the feet.

TAIL -- The American Bulldog may have a natural or a docked tail, but the natural tail is preferred. The natural tail is very thick at the base, and tapers to a point. The tail is set low. A "pump handle" tail is preferred but any tail carriage from upright, when the dog is excited, to relaxed between the hocks is acceptable.

Serious fault: Tail curled over the back; corkscrew tail; upright tail when the dog is relaxed.

COAT -- The coat is short, close, and stiff to the touch.

Disqualifications: Long or wavy coat.

COLOR -- Any color, color pattern, or combination of colors is acceptable, except for solid black, solid blue, and tricolor (white with patches of black and tan). Some dark brindle coats may appear black unless examined in very bright light. A buckskin color pattern, where the base of the hair is fawn and the tips are black, may also appear solid black. A judge should not disqualify an American Bulldog for black color unless the dog has been examined in sunlight or other equally bright light.

Disqualifications: Solid black or blue with no white markings; tricolor (white with patches of black and tan).

HEIGHT AND WEIGHT -- The American Bulldog must be sufficiently powerful and agile to chase, catch, and bring down free-ranging livestock. Dogs capable of doing this come in a rather wide range of height and weight. Males are typically larger with heavier bone and more muscle than females. Both sexes, however, should have a well-balanced overall appearance. Desirable height in a mature male ranges from 22 to 27 inches; in a mature female, from 20 to 25 inches. Desirable weight in a mature male ranges from 75 to 125 pounds; in a mature female, from 60 to 100 pounds.

GAIT -- When trotting, the gait is effortless, smooth, powerful and well coordinated, showing good reach in front and drive behind. When moving, the backline remains level with only a slight flexing to indicate suppleness. Viewed from any position, legs turn neither in nor out, nor do feet cross or interfere with each other. As speed increases, feet tend to converge toward center line of balance. Poor movement should be penalized to the degree to which it reduces the American Bulldog's ability to perform the tasks it was bred to do.

DISQUALIFICATIONS

Unilateral or bilateral cryptorchid. Viciousness or extreme shyness.
Unilateral or bilateral deafness. Cowardice. Overshot. Long or wavy coat.
Albinism. Solid black or blue with no white markings.
Tricolor (white with patches of black and tan).



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