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American Bulldog Temperament

In this section we will cover the overall temperament of the American Bulldog. Keep in mind while reading this section that as with any breed the individual temperament of each dog is different and it can be influenced by many outside factors including but not limited to; socialization, breeding, and outside stimuli.

 The best statement that I have found so far is:

American Bulldogs are not Golden Retrievers.

The American Bulldog is a versatile breed that is capable of learning a great number of things. They do have an independent and stubborn streak and are not pushovers when it comes to raising and training them. Many of them are willful, obstinate, and dominant (they want to be the boss) and they will make sure you work to keep your top spot. Then need consistency in training and you need to mean what you say other wise they will test you.

American Bulldogs are not passive about anything. They are hard wired to enjoy a good challenge and are pushy about getting what they want; Whether they are working a spring pole (a hanging toy for tugging and swinging) or positioning for a better spot on the couch.

American Bulldogs in general are very loyal, outgoing, self assured, lovable, and an alert breed. With them being a large breed dog they are immensely strong and they grow and strong and lasting attachment with their owner and the family. This breed consider it their right and privilege to be involved in the lives of their family.

A well-bred American Bulldog should be a healthy and long-lived dog, equally capable of serving as a working, utility, guardian dog or simply being a family companion. Properly raised and trained, a bulldog can be a loyal and trustworthy friend. Because of their powerful and assertive natures, this breed can be unwittingly dangerous in the hands of an inexperienced owner. You can train these smart dogs, to do just about anything. But they tend to have minds of their own and do best with a patient owner, food rewards and frequent changes of pace.

An unsocialized and untrained dogs of any breed can be a potential menace and the American Bulldog is no exception to this rule, so if you don't have the experience, time or patience that this breed requires then this breed is not for you.

Some American Bulldogs are bred for home / property guardianship, family companions but others are bred for police type work and can have high amounts of drive. Finding an educated breeder, one you can trust is crucial.

American Bulldogs with proper training can be your best family pet ever! American Bulldogs have a temperament very much like a child, they are intelligent and quick to learn, but sometimes having a stubborn streak that can sometimes drive you nuts. They are very human interactive dogs, clown like at times. They are smart enough to learn a wide variety of commands from simple basic obedience to very complex commands in different languages and different.

Some lines of American Bulldogs seem to have more temperament issues then other since they were breed differently and for different things. The lines breed primarily for guardian or property protection dogs they tend to be a little more aloof with strangers and seem to have some fear issues. But not all of the dogs off those lines are like but make sure you can meet the parents of the dogs especially the mother.
Temperament is 70% inherited from the mother and her side of the family so if you have go to see a litter and the mother is penned up you are not able to touch her then you may want to pass on the pup. Even with lots of socialization a weak nerved pup may never fully be functional in the community, out in public, and in strange situations. Owning a American Bulldog can be extremely rewarding. There is little question that when a dog possesses a rock solid temperament a good owner will be rewarded with years of a devoted, faithful and fun relationship.

As a general rule American Bulldogs love children when raised in a loving family environment. The American Bulldog is a great family dog, when you allow them to be.  If young children are in the house owners will have to carefully watch their American Bulldogs around small children as American Bulldogs tend to be a bit boisterous when young and don't fully understand they are big dogs. Not all American Bulldogs are sustainable to have around young kids as they tend to run and squeal in high pitched tones and could prompt the natural pray drive in the dog. Ending with the dog knocking the small child down, or playing to rough. American Bulldogs also need to learn from a young age that kids no matter what age are above them in the family. To do this get the kids into feeding and get them to help train the dogs. Monitor carefully especially when kids pull and poke at the dog especially a young puppy as they may not fully understand that young kids are not playmates and are easily hurt. But be careful not to punish the puppy for what you have not yet taught it. 

The American Bulldog was bred as a working breed and has developed a great need for human interaction and some daily exercise. Exercise should consist of about 2 hours a day. Simply playing ball in the back yard in not sufficient exercise for this breed. They need a good walk or two a day. They are still a working breed and tend to get destructive if they do not get the exercise they require. American Bulldogs need fair amount of exercise. Bulldog puppies and older bulldogs can get bored very easy which leads to excessive barking or chewing. It is recommended to supply them with the toys that they can chew on and a good amount of exercise and quality time with their owner. Also remember, not all bulldogs are alike.
The saying goes a tired AB is a good AB.
Exercise is a good chance for some training and socialization. If you have a neighbor or someone in your neighbor hood who walks a dog then it would be a great opportunity to stop them and see if you can walk together. Dog parks are not always a good place for this breed as normally an American Bulldog will not back down from another dog who starts a fight. So be watchful and take you dog for a good long walk before entering the dog park. The dog park is not the place to exercise your dog.
They need room to expend their energy and so do best in a home with a backyard.

 They are not always well behaved towards cats and smaller pets, but correct socialization at an early age can greatly increase the chances of them accepting these animals. American Bulldogs are good with other pets when they are raised with them. They can be stubborn with training - though once they are trained they tend to obey their masters faithfully. American bulldog puppies can be relatively difficult to housebreak, but it is important to be persistent.

Dog aggression is becoming common in this breed, but as with any breed it may not be present in individual dogs or families of dog?   Aggression towards humans is not in this dog's nature?  although a dominant dog may try to boss a more lenient owner. If the American Bulldog is "raised" in a home with other animals he may learn to tolerate the other animals, but you have to keep in mind the reason these dogs were bred.

Learning about the different varieties of the breed and why they are bred like they are will educate you enough to know which type is best suited for your families needs. 

Usually a bulldog breeder who spends a good amount of time with their bulldog puppies can predict what generic traits the bulldog may have. However, a lot depends on the environment - so nobody can fully predict the temperament of the bulldog puppy. It is important to breed only bulldogs with good temperaments. Please do some research before you decide to buy an American Bulldog puppy. They are adorable, but need proper handling.

A dog who has weak nerve will always be weak nerved. You can work  mask the problem with obedience and high levels of socialization but that will not always work. A weak nerved dog will show signs of fear to situations in which the dog is put under any type of stress from low levels to medium level such as going to the vet being around young kids or going out in public. These dogs are normally fear bites and will typically show no signs prior to a bite other then a tucked tail. These dogs are normally good with their immediate family but dong accept people they don't know. These types of dogs should never be around children; and should be watched very very closely in public. Typically if you can go and pick up your puppy and he/she wont come to you and stands off in the background with a tucked tail the pup is weak nerved and you should not choose that puppy.

Some lines of American Bulldogs are becoming more known for being dog aggressive. In the standard lines dog aggression was not something that was well tolerated since they were used for hog hunting and were run with bay dogs and no hunter would tolerate the catch dog going after the bay dogs.  You will normally find the most dog aggression in the bully lines as they were bred for guardian dogs and were originally bred to keep out stray dogs and predators that would or could threaten their family. But like human aggression (see below) it is something that some breeders have stopped worrying about since they are kenneled or chained and the same excuse is give its a Bulldog thing. Not giving a thought to what happens to the dogs that are in multi-dog house holds where the owners don't kennel or chain their dogs.

? Aggression toward people is becoming more and more of a problem in the breed. There are a good number of breeder who are getting into the breed or old time breeders who have stopped caring about temperament and are looking to produce the next American Bulldog "Freak." that sells for the major bucks. With out thinking about how these dogs are going to be part of society. You see it all to often dogs who you can touch are being bred simply for a look or color with no consideration to how that dogs temperament is; and it is played off as that is what a Bulldog is.
Simple fact is the Bulldog was never meant to be  human aggressive.