The Working American Bulldog

Dog Resources - Book of the Month -Aug 2005



Click here or the book cover to order.

Order The Working American Bulldog by Dave Putnam

The Working American Bulldog is the largest book ever written about ABs, 110,000 words, 8 1/2 by 11-inch pages with over 300 color photos plus dozens of historical prints. It has a hard cover, sewn binding and will last for decades.

The Working American Bulldog took five years to write. It represents thousands of miles of travel. The author went to 30 different states and visited top breeders to  document their ABs first hand. It also 
represents a massive academic research effort that not only traces the history of the Bulldog in America but chronicles the ancestral English Bulldog from 800 BC to the 19th century. Facets of Bulldog history are presented that appear nowhere else. The reader will learn why and how the working English Bulldog became superior to the Bulldogs of continental Europe. We examine how the American Bulldog evolved from the ultimate canine warrior: the Elizabethan English Bulldog.

The breeder section features in depth analysis of the various foundation breeding programs that virtually every program today is based on, such as Kyle Symmes (Suregrip kennels), Alan Scott (Owl Hollow Kennels) and Larry Koura (Road Hawg Kennels). After reading the breeder section any AB pedigree will be meaningful to the novice Bulldogger, not just an incomprehensible jumble of names.

The AB is not a show breed, rather the quintessential working canine. When we say 'working' we mean every aspect of that word. This book delves into every nuance of the ancient baiting sports that produced the working Bulldog as well as the three primary working sports that are used today to develop drive 
and ability: Weight Pull, Hog Catching and Protection/ Obedience sports such as Schutzhund, Ring Sport and the BST. A Bulldog's response to protection training can be very different from a German Shepherd's. Read this book and you will be forewarned. Forewarned is forearmed. 

While The Working American Bulldog's emphasis is not on showing or show breeding, a few well-crafted pages are provided on showing the AB in the ABA and ABNA rings. It answers these questions: Should I show my Bulldog in the Bully or Standard class? What is the best way to condition for the show ring? 
However, it does not answer this question - How can I play breed politics to win a dog show? That is not what the book or American Bulldoggers are about.

Great emphasis is placed on how to select a working caliber puppy. Questions like these are answered in exhausting detail: What are the advantages of the Johnson line vs. the performance lines? What about the so-called Hybrid AB that is half Johnson and half performance? What are the criteria for selecting an individual breeder? What are the pros and cons of line breeding vs. out crossing? What genetic defects is the AB prone to? What are the technical challenges facing AB breeders today? How effective are the various temperament tests on AB puppies?

Extensive training guidelines and information on how to raise an American Bulldog are given in an easy to read narrative, not in a dry - how to - manual style. In fact, the whole book reads more like a novel than the typical, boring, breed book style. A surprising amount of Bulldog history can be documented in America from the 18th century to the present. This information is presented in a cohesive, chronological fashion, separating fact from fantasy and giving alternate viewpoints when more then one theory fits the historical record. For instance, there are several origin theories concerning the American Bulldog. Each one is presented separately with supporting evidence. Then the author shows how these different theories are not mutually exclusive and the reader is finally given an accurate picture as to where the American Bulldog really came from and why it is the dog that we know today. 

Finally, it is not the author's goal to popularize the American Bulldog. Most breed books are really propaganda pieces that paint glowing, unrealistic, portraits of the breed in question. After reading this book you will know the positive and negative aspects of the American Bulldog and will be ready to 
select, raise and train a Bulldog with your eyes wide open to his virtues and vices.

Click here or the book cover to order.
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