It is my understanding and belief that the American bulldog as we know him today was imported into the United States between 1735 and 1840 from Britain. Without a doubt the majority of these Bulldogs came into the shipping port of Savannah Georgia, some quite possibly from Charleston South Carolina. The British offered free passage to family and "men of substance", over to the Savannah colony. Fifty acres grants were given to farmers as long as they were successful and those who played trier on way over were allowed 500 acre grants. There was no range, mostly forest, and the livestock roamed freely on the newly acquired farmland. At that time the Bulldogs were found to be extremely useful and oftentimes necessary to catch livestock, protect and as an ever-faithful guardian. As the Southland was developed for farming, the move for more farms spread out towards the north. The Bulldogs moved with the colonization and development of the South.

Cattle at that time were totally different in that they had sharp horns and hoofs to protect them, which were much smaller and quicker. If the cow or bull was healthy the wolves would leave them alone. These Bulldogs had to have the physical strength, quickness, agility, and endurance, that surpassed even the wolf. The Bulldog was expected to catch or attack these rough and rank cattle or hogs unconditionally, at their owner's order. If the beloved Bulldog was unable to secure a hold he was often gored or trampled to death.

If you look back at this time period with Mr. Voss you will see that the bulldogs of this era 1735 to 1835, was bread on the same lines with no alterations in type for almost 100 years. And I quote him, between the years of 1686 and 1735, a dog of definite type and of an average weight of 50 to 60 lbs, was produced. The dog of 1735, was smaller in skull than the Bulldog of today 1933, longer in face, higher in the shoulder, not so wide in front, lighter in bone and body, and less exaggerated in every way. The Bulldog that was gradually evolved in the years 1686/1735, though finally more than 40% lighter than his ancestors and was not only the bravest dog but actually the bravest creature on earth, not even excepting the old English Game Cock. This was an indisputable fact, which was proven time and time again.

The dog which was produced in the years 1686/1735, was the dog for the bull, and it was during those years and not before then, that the Bulldog was taught and trained to pen the bull by the nose and never to attack him in any other place. As early as 1710 this method of the attack became an inherited tendency and even today, though bull-baiting was abolished 98 years ago, or around 1835...

But by 1840 there were probably fewer Bulldogs in England than at any period during the breed existence. The bulk of Bulldogs at that time were 45 to 50-pound dogs upon the lines which they had been bred for that type and purpose had emerged about 1735, that is to say, they were extremely active, powerful, game and tenacious dogs, much leggier and much less coddley and not nearly so heavy built as our present-day dogs, but nevertheless very muscular and compact, as shown in Scott's engraving of Crib and Rosa, dated 1817.

Of course, as the development of the land was made and fencing of livestock took hold the bulldog still remained predominately in this area of the south which was Georgia, Alabama and the pan handle of Florida. The owners kept them because of their loyalty and physical ability as an asset to their family as a servant and guardian. These men of substance who brought them over from Britain and the son who they left behind, to fight the wars and carve out a future for us were not interested in recreating a new bulldog they new first hand the old one could not be out-performed.

The dog which was produced in the years 1686/1735, in Britain and remained in type without change for 100 years, imported into the English/British colonies from 1735 to 1845 remained unchanged for the most part. I am sure however that in the years from 1850 to 1950 the old British Bulldogs probably became bigger again due to the prosperity of the nation and did change somewhat, but without much cross-breeding. By this, I mean that the British had already made the cross-breedings to bulldogs. In America, I know of no new breeds from the Bulldog, as of before 1970 except the American Pit Bulldog or American Pit Bull Terrier, possibly. I hope you will understand that I am aware that a lot can change in 100 years, and I am sure that some changes did occur, and some of these original Bulldogs could have been cross-bred. I don't think it was intentional for the most part.

In the early 1970's Alan Scott and J.D. Johnson first registered their bulldogs as American "Pit" Bulldogs because that was the only registry around. These bulldogs were the same bulldogs they had seen all through the 50's and 60's throughout Alabama, Georgia, and Florida, and these Bulldogs were simply called "White English" bulldogs. They had extremely little resemblances to the smaller PIT bulldogs. Then according to Alan Scott around 1975 or late 70's because of all the bad Pit Bulldog news, They being Alan Scott, J.D. Johnson, and Joe Painter decided it would we good to rename their dogs American Bulldogs. Mr. Stodghill called Alan asking him what he thought about the name "American Bulldog" Alan told him he thought it was a good idea. I believe this was published in the Stodghill's AR Cowdog Magazine, as Alan told me. Well, the rest is history as they did separate their NKC American Bulldog registry from the NKC American "Pit" Bulldog, registry.

In the early 1980's or about J.D. Johnson sent one of his NKC American Bulldog bitches to be out-crossed to a champion English Bulldog. This is a FACT Johnson's Bullmead's Queen was half English Bulldog, her sire was Westchamp's High Hopes. J.D. and Alan had a falling out and went their own separate ways, with their own separate breeding programs. It was also during this decade that the OL D BULLDOGIE was created and other cross-breedings began to be mixed with the old British Bulldog as was originally sent to America.

Unfortunately today there are only two very basic types or lines of American Bulldogs commonly referred to as the Johnson type or the Scott type. Both are predominately white although color can be found. And If there is one thing that man has yet been unable to breed out of them it is their loyalty and devotion.

Johnson types are larger with average weights of 100 to 150 pounds. They also have less muscle and more loose skin as a general rule. The average life span is around 8 years. They are not what I would call a true working breed as they have a short endurance level as any big dog. I think it would be fair to say they make a good Estate dog or pet. John D. Johnson has not worked his dogs for many years as he is now in his 80's. The generation after generation of non-working bulldogs has shown up in his line of modern dogs.

Scott Types Sometimes referred to as the performance American Bulldog, in order to help separate American Bulldogs. This type or line is smaller with average weights of 60 to 100 pounds. They are certainly more athletic, agile and muscular. Have better health and twice the longevity as a general rule. Some of these dogs can go up to 115 lbs and be 28 inches tall. There are some females still producing litters at 12 years of age. Still, these dogs are used on the ranches as catch dogs for cows and hogs. They are also used as a working dog.

Author's Bio: 

John is a life-long animal lover, find him at; It is the pet world!