The American Bulldog Dog’s History
Bulldogs in their purest form existed in the States as far back as the 17th Century and were used for bull baiting and as fighting dogs. They were a firm favourite with butchers at the time. Today’s modern American Bulldog’s ancestry can be traced back to these original Bulldogs found at the time in many pockets of southeastern states of America. They were bred not only as fighting dogs, but also to guard and protect their owner’s property and to round up hogs and cattle. At the time, they were not considered a “breed”, but rather a generic type of bulldog.
No breeding records were kept with farmers and other people breeding dogs with an end goal being to create a “type” of dog that would suit their specific needs. As such, numerous bulldog types were found in different regions of southern America. It’s thought that bulldogs were popular because they could control the numbers of feral pigs that had been introduced to the New World at that time. It was particularly important to keep feral pig numbers under control because there were no natural predators. As such, bulldogs became highly prized being a settler’s only way of keeping vermin and feral pigs under control.
Bulldogs at the time were not considered a breed as such and they were not given their name until the 1980’s. As such, back in the day they were known by quite a few different names which included the “English White” and the “White English”. In some parts of the States, they were known as the “Alabama” and the “Southern Bulldog”. With this said, the most common name for these dogs was simply “Bulldog” because of the task they were originally bred to do involving bulls and cattle which needed rounding up and guarding.
However, by the time World War II started, the number of bulldogs in southern American fell dangerously low and they were only saved from extinction when a man called John D Johnson together with his father took it upon themselves to find as many bulldogs as they could in order to save them from vanishing forever. Their endeavours caught the attention of Alan Scott, who started working with them with an end goal being to increase the number of bulldogs. He introduced working bulldogs he found on farms which led to the first of the American Bulldogs being bred. Johnson then crossed his line of dogs with English Bulldogs truer to type found in the north which were dogs that boasted having retained their natural athletic ruggedness.
Today, the American Bulldog is one of the more popular breeds in the States and their numbers have risen as a result. They have also become a popular choice in other parts of the world, including here in the UK thanks to their striking, athletic looks and kind natures. They have proved themselves in many canine sports which includes obedience competitions, weight pulling as well as many other popular activities.
Although, American Bulldogs are gaining popularity in the UK, they are not recognised as a breed by The Kennel Club (June 2016), but they are recognised by the American Kennel Club and the UKC. Interestingly, the modern American Bulldog’s roots can be traced right back to 4 strains which were bred in Alabama, Georgia namely the Williamson, Scott, Bailey and Johnson.
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