Breed Spotlight: American Bulldog

4 min read
Sep 15, 2023

American Bulldog Quick Stats


10 – 15 years


60 – 120 lbs


20 – 26 inches




Loyal, playful, friendly, intelligent

Common Health Problems:

Feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, hip dysplasia, spinal muscular atrophy, polycystic kidney disease

American Bulldog: How Do I Look?

The American bulldog is a short-haired dog with a muscular build. These robust dogs are known for their square-shaped heads and ears that vary in how they sit.


Coat type and colors

American bulldogs have short, smooth coats. The base color of the American bulldog’s coat is white and features spots and markings in black, brown, tan, and brindle. Each dog has its own unique markings.

Shedding and grooming

The American bulldog is an average shedder and requires minimal grooming. Brushing your dog once per week with a firm bristle brush will help keep shedding under control.


The ears of American bulldogs are V-shaped and can be “drop,” which means they droop forward, “rose,” which means they’re set high on the dog’s skull and are halfway folded over, or “semi-prick,” which means the tip of the ear droops forward.

Drooling level

American bulldogs are known to drool a moderate amount.

American Bulldog Adult: Personality Traits

What My Adoption Bio Would Say:

I’m a friendly dog who will make you laugh with my silly antics when I’m excited, whether it’s a case of the zoomies or when I’m bounding into your lap! I love playing games like tug-of-war. I would love to spend my days running around a big yard and snuggling with my family, who I vow to protect.



Throughout history, the American bulldog was an all-purpose working dog. In today's society, the American bulldog personality can be highly social and loving. They’re also known for their high level of loyalty to their owner. The American bulldog temperament is often not friendly with strangers, but if appropriately socialized, they’ll happily greet anyone who enters your home.

If you have small children, an American bulldog may not be the best breed for you — since babies and toddlers are known for being unpredictable. If you have older children, however, American bulldogs can be good companions.

In addition, as long as your American bulldog is properly socialized and trained at a young age, this breed is known for getting along well with other pets. It may take only a few moments for your American bulldog to get used to unfamiliar dogs.


The American bulldog is very strong-willed and can be initially difficult to train. But once a command is mastered, the American bulldog is known for remembering the training well. Using positive reinforcement is recommended.

Good with kids?

This breed is very good with older children and quickly becomes part of the family. You may want to hold off on getting one or choose a different breed if you have younger kids.

Good with other pets?

American bulldogs who are trained and socialized from a young age usually get along well with most other pets.

Barking level

Barking generally isn’t a problem with this breed — although, some dogs may prove the exception to the rule. Teaching your dog when and when not to bark will assist those who bark excessively.

Exercise needs

Despite having lots of energy, many American bulldogs are hesitant to exercise and would much rather relax. Due to this breed being prone to obesity, you should encourage your dog to walk at least 30 – 60 minutes per day.

Protect your Pets

Even the healthiest of pups can come with unexpected vet costs. Pet insurance can help keep your dog and your bank account happy.

American Bulldogs: A History

The American bulldog’s history started with them being bred as utility dogs used to work the farm.

The American bulldog is a descendant of the English bulldog. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), these bulldogs came to the U.S. in the 17th century with immigrants who became small farmers and ranchers in America.1 They used these all-around working dogs for several tasks, including as guardian dogs on farms. The breed was also known for its ability to catch and bring down feral pigs, particularly in southern states.

American bulldogs were initially known by several different names before the name American bulldog stuck.

4 American Bulldog Health Issues

American bulldogs are prone to many health risks, including:

Obesity: American bulldogs are prone to obesity. They should not be permitted to 'free-feed' — their portions must be limited because many like to overeat anytime the opportunity arises.

Hip dysplasia: Hip dysplasia is a genetic condition that occurs when the hip joint is weakened due to abnormal growth. This condition is common in larger dog breeds.

Overheating: Bulldogs aren’t able to tolerate heat or humidity well. When your American bulldog is outside on a warm day, watch for signs of overheating. If you notice any signs of overheating, find a cooler area for your dog to lie down. Many American bulldog owners will purchase a small children's pool for their dogs to escape if they spend a lot of time outside on warm days.

Cherry eye: Cherry eye is a condition where the third eyelid protrudes.

How Pet Insurance Can Help American Bulldogs

A focus on hip dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a hereditary defect that often affects larger breeds, including American bulldogs. While it’s a genetic condition, factors like lifestyle and diet can exacerbate it.

Symptoms of hip dysplasia to look out for include decreased activity, difficulty climbing stairs or getting up from lying down, limping or stiffness, or obvious pain and discomfort.

After examining your pet, a vet may recommend hip dysplasia surgery or an alternative treatment to expand the lifespan of your American bulldog. Hip dysplasia surgery can cost upward of $7,000. Other costs, including vet visits and medicine, can add up quickly, as well. A dog insurance policy can help offset the cost of everything your dog needs to heal.

You can learn more about MetLife Pet Insurance and how it can help your American bulldog by reading our guide on how pet insurance works.

Protect Your American Bulldog with Pet Insurance

Find Out More

**As with any insurance policy, coverage may vary. Review our coverage and exclusions.”

1 “American Bulldog,”

Coverage issued by Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, and Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 11333 N Scottsdale Rd, Ste 160, Scottsdale, AZ 85454. Coverage subject to restrictions, exclusions and limitations and application is subject to underwriting. See policy or contact MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC (“MetLife Pet”) for details. MetLife Pet is the policy administrator. It may operate under an alternate or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota) and MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois).

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