The American Bulldog breed standard describes two types of American Bulldogs. The two types are:

1. Johnson, Bully, or otherwise known as "Classic" type.

2. Scott, Performance, or otherwise known as "Standard" type.

These American Bulldogs are named after the breeders who were influential in developing them. Their names were: Mr. John D Johnson (Bully) and Mr. Allan Scott (Standard).

Many of today's American Bulldogs are actually a combination of both the "Classic" and the "Standard" types. This has resulted in a 3rd type which is referred to as a "Hybrid" or a "Johnson-Type" and they fall under either the "Classic" or "Standard" American Bulldog breed standards.



Protection, companionship, hunting, working livestock, catching cattle and hogs etc.


American Bulldogs are alert, outgoing, and confident. Aloofness with strangers is possible.

General Appearance:

American Bulldogs tend to be a well balanced medium to large sized dog. They give an impression of a grand and powerful dog showing strength and alertness. They are powerfully built and have an amazing endurance.

Male Size:

Males should usually measure between 23 - 26 inches at the withers.

Classic: Usually weighing between 70 and 120lbs.

Standard: Usually weighing between 85 and 110lbs.

Female Size: Females should usually measure between 20 to 23 inches at the withers.

Classic: The females usually weigh between 70 and 120lbs.

Standard: Usually weighing between 85 and 110lbs.

Head: The face of the American Bulldog indicates intelligence, with dicerning alertness. The head is usually broad, flat across the top giving a squared appearance, with an abrupt "stop". It is also medium length, well muscled throughout, and pronounced muscular cheeks.

Classic: A square shape or a round melon look with a deep, abrupt stop.

Standard: Generally a box or wedge shape.

Nose: Black is the preferred color. However a red, brown, or grey nose can occur.

Bite: Teeth are generally medium to large and not visible when their mouth is closed.

Classic: The Classics generally have a 3/8 to 3/4 inch undershot, depending on the size of the dog and shape of the skull.

Standard: Generally a tight undershot is preferred with Standards. The undershot can be up to 1/4 of an inch depending on the size of the dog and shape of the skull.

Eyes: The American Bulldogs eyes usually vary from almond shape to round and are medium sized. Brown eye color is the most common, however, blue, grey and even green eyes can occur occasionally.

Ears: Their ears are generally medium in size, set high, and are carried close to their head. However, sometimes the ears may be foward flap or rose.

Neck: The neck of the American Bulldog tends to be very muscular, slightly arched, and of moderate length. It tapers from shoulders to head and is almost equal to the size of the head.

Body: Most commonly, the American Bulldog has a wide, deep chest, fairly compact, straight, and well balanced. Their chest are not normally narrow or excessively wide, nor are their elbows angled out or pulled in. Their backs are usually broad and moderately short, showing their great strength. Their loin is wide, muscular and slightly arched.

FOREQUARTERS: The combined front assembly from the American Bulldogs uppermost component...the shoulder blades...down to the feet, are generally muscular and slightly sloping. The forelegs are to straight and not set too close together or too far apart.

HINDQUARTERS: Broad with muscles tapering well down the leg to manifest speed and strength, but not quite as large as the shoulders. The rear legs are most of the time moderately angulated and parallel.

TAIL: The American Bulldog's tail is usually set low and is generally thick at the base. It is strong at the root and tapering to the hocks (in rest position). The tail is carried over the back when excited or walking.

FEET: The American Bulldog's toes are tight and well arched.

COAT: Their coat is short and smooth.

COLOR: All white, pied, or up to 85% colour (brindle, red, or buckskin patches), American Bulldog coloring can vary. If there is color on the head it generally appears to be color on a white head.

BONE STRUCTURE: Medium to heavy, to be able to carry a large dog.

GAIT: The American Bulldog gait is generally balanced and smooth, showing great speed, agility, and power. All legs move parallel to the direction of travel, with front legs clearly reaching and the rear legs propelling the dog forward. The legs should not travel excessively wide.

Classic: Generally they have rolling gait.

Standard: The standard American Bulldogs tend to have a tighter, more athletic gait.

NOTE: the Classic type will have a slight degree of less reach, flexibility, and spring than Standard type.

SHOW RING FAULTS: Male dogs that do not have 2 visible testicles, any spayed or neutered dogs, blindness or deafness, viscous or shy dogs, black or blue color, black mask, cow hocked, splayfooted, even and scissor bite, docked tail, glass eye(s), crossed eyes, long and/or feathered coats.

This breed standard has been extracted from:

  • ARF American Bulldog Breed Standard (Classic and Standard) 1996
  • NKC American Bulldog Breed Standard, revised in 2005
  • ABRA American Bulldog Breed Standard, last updated 2008
  • ABA American Bulldog Breed Standard, last updated 2003