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Guide to American Bulldogs

Time to read: 8 mins

Key Stats

Life expectancy: 1220 years

Height: 15 – 25 cm

Weight: 1.5 – 3 kg

About American Bulldogs

American Bulldogs are a strong and stocky breed that are very athletic and strong. This came in very handy as they were first used as utility dogs working on a farm. As the name suggests, American bulldogs come from the United States, particularly the Southern States. They are one of the many types of Bulldogs around.


What to consider when owning an American Bulldog

American bulldogs might look strong and intimidating but they make for the best family pets. Although they are not small, that does not stop them from trying to be your lap dog. They will provide you with loyalty and company but will expect the same in return. If left alone for too long, your dog might suffer from separation anxiety. American Bulldogs do well with seasoned pet owners who have the time and energy to invest in training their Bulldog. American Bulldogs can be very protective over their family members. Socialisation classes are important for puppies that are overly protective of their families. It is best to begin these classes from a young age to cement positive behaviour and encourage their loving and friendly personalities to shine through.


Shelters are full of pets waiting to be adopted, where possible, adopt rather than shop as American Bulldogs can be found in shelters all across the UK. If buying is the intention then American Bulldog puppies can cost anywhere from £1,000 and upwards depending on the lineage of the puppy.

On top of the purchase price you’ll also need to consider initial costs of things such as vaccinations and neutering, as well as ongoing costs of food and preventative healthcare. Some of these extra charges include:


American Bulldogs have a short haired coat that requires little grooming as they do not tend to shed too much outside of their annual shed. Although, like other breeds they will still require weekly brushing to avoid any excess shedding.


American bulldogs are fit and agile, they love nothing more than a walk with their humans. On top of their daily walks, your American Bulldog will need to be kept busy by playing outside or mental stimulation. They need regular exercise to stay fit and healthy while avoiding the bad behaviour that can come with your dog having too much pent-up energy or boredom.

American Bulldog health concerns

In common with other breeds, American Bulldogs can be born with genetic defects. Some to look out for include:



Dogs have one extra eyelid than people do. This third eyelid sits in the inner corner of the eye and only flips across when the eye is sore or in pain. However, behind this lid is a gland that produces tear fluid, which keeps the cornea moist and conditioned. Cherry eye is a descriptive term for the eye’s appearance when this tear gland flips out of position. It becomes red and swollen, resembling a cherry sitting on the inner corner of the eye – hence the name. The gland should be replaced and sutured in place. This corrects the cherry eye and preserves the gland so that it continues to moisturise the eye.

2. Joints

Many different breeds can suffer from hip or elbow dysplasia, but it is relatively common in American Bulldogs. This occurs when the joints do not fit together perfectly. Signs include walking stiffly, hip pain and difficulty getting up from a sitting position. In the elbows, one or both elbows develop abnormally and may look bowed. Both conditions cause pain, swelling and eventually arthritis. Maintaining a heathy weight alongside a good quality diet and food supplements for joint health can help. Dysplasia can be screened for by reputable breeders who will have the parents’ joint alignment assessed and scored by vets before deciding to breed them.

3. Neurological

Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis (NCL) is a condition that results in a build up of naturally occurring toxins within nerve cells. The symptoms include strange behaviour, poor co-ordination, hallucinations, seizures and early death. There is no treatment for NCL. It is strongly advised that parents are screened for this condition prior to breeding. Only those dogs screened as being clear of NCL should be used to produce the next generation.

4. Skin

American Bulldogs can be prone to dry, flaky or itchy skin conditions caused by mites, food or environmental allergies. Your vet can advise on the right anti-parasite treatments and shampoos to use, and they can help find out the cause and prescribe medication if you think your America Bulldog has allergic skin disease (atopy). These conditions can be painful and aggravating, especially if they go on for a long time causing an infected ‘hot spot’. If they don’t clear up in a few days then you should speak to a vet. Severe or acute allergic reactions can show up as raised bumps, spots, rashes or hives on the skin you should contact your vet if you see this on your dog and if you see blood or pus coming from the skin then always contact a vet asap.

Ichthyosis is a hereditary condition which results in scaly, thickened, and greasy skin. It can affect any part of the body, including the foot pads. This can cause extreme discomfort for the dog and requires constant treatment with medicated shampoos and treatments. Ichthyosis can be screened for, so again, seek out a puppy bred from parents that have been tested and found to be clear of this condition.

5. Endocrine system

Hypothyroidism affects relatively young dogs and refers to a lack of the thyroid hormone, thyroxine. Thyroxin governs how quickly the body burns calories. When there’s insufficient thyroxine then the dog’s metabolism runs slowly, resulting in weight gain and a lack of energy. Other signs of hypothyroidism include a dull, sparse coat. The diagnosis is done by blood tests and most dogs respond very well to daily medication.

If you have any concerns about your dog’s health do not hesitate to get in touch with our Careline. They will be able to answer any questions that you may have.

Pet insurance for American Bulldogs

Like most pure-bred dogs, American Bulldogs have their accompanying health issues. You never know what might happen as they get older. Find out how we can cover your pet from accidents as well as illnesses they may suffer from.

It’s normally best to insure your dogs from a young age, before any conditions become an issue. Insuring your American Bulldog from when they are a puppy tends to be cheaper. Although you can get insurance for older dogs too.

See how we can help you by getting a quote today.

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