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American Bulldog dog breed profile

Did you know that American Bulldogs are actually in the Pitbull family?

Whether your dog is a purebred American Bulldog or an American Bulldog mix, learning about the breed can explain a lot about your pet’s personality, habits and overall health. Or maybe you're looking to adopt an American Bulldog and want to do a bit of research first — we can help with that.

American Bulldogs are bigger versions of English Bulldogs and are strong, loyal and require a lot of exercise. However, certain joint conditions could get in the way of their physical activities. Keep reading to learn about your pet's — or future pet's — possible health. 

What do American Bulldogs look like?

American Bulldogs are usually tall, well-muscled and have a short, smooth coat (that can be tan, brown, black, brindle or have red markings), Dr. Emily Singler, VMD, Fetch’s on-staff veterinarian, explains. This breed is related to English Bulldogs, but they’re a bigger version. 

Because of their similar characteristics, American Bulldogs are categorized under the Pitbull family, which includes American Bullys, American Pitbull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers and Staffordshire Bull Terriers. 

American Bulldogs’ temperament

When American Bulldogs are puppies, they’re typically energetic and playful. They need lots of exercise and will usually respond well to positive and consistent training, too, Dr. Singler shares. 

As American Bulldogs grow up, they’re athletic, strong, powerful, confident and loyal. They can be protective at times but are generally friendly pups. This breed is good with children and other dogs with proper socialization

“It’s important to establish a positive relationship with American Bulldogs from the beginning and to make sure this breed is a good fit for your lifestyle,” Dr. Singler adds. 

If you’re thinking of bringing an American Bulldog into your home, make sure they have enough space, you can spend enough time with them and provide a lot of physical activity. 

What health issues do American Bulldogs face? 

American Bulldogs tend to be healthy, but they can be prone to joint problems, such as elbow and hip dysplasia, Dr. Singler notes. 

These pups are also predisposed to genetic diseases and conditions, like deafness, degenerative myelopathy, skin disorders and canine degenerative retinopathy (an eye disease that causes blindness). 

RELATED: Tibetan Mastiff dog breed profile

How to welcome an American Bulldog into your home

Before bringing an American Bulldog home, you can start puppy-proofing your environment. Providing a safe space, like a crate, where your pup can relax and not get into much mischief will also help.

When brining your new dog home, ensure they’re away from other pets until slow introductions can be made and all animals are comfortable with each other. Always supervise when a child is with a pet until you feel confident with their interactions. 

“Use positive reinforcement to help your dog bond with you and learn how you want them to behave,” Dr. Singler recommends. 

It’s important to socialize your American Bulldog as a puppy in a safe, controlled way so they don’t become fearful as they age. Socialization means taking them on outside walks, meeting other dogs and people, going to the vet and acclimating to everyday activities. 

If you adopt an adult dog, socialize them gradually, and note how they respond so that everyone can feel safe and happy. 

It's important to take your new canine friend to the vet within the first 2 weeks of adopting them — and if you have any concerns, you should take them sooner. 

American Bulldog adoption

Are you interested in adopting an American Bulldog, an American Bulldog mix or any pet at all? We think every pet deserves a home and encourage you to check out our shelter partners

The Dig, Fetch Pet Insurance's expert-backed editorial, answers all of the questions you forget to ask your vet or are too embarrassed to ask at the dog park. We help make sure you and your best friend have more good days, but we’re there on bad days, too.

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