The American Bulldog of the Johnson type (also Bully type or Classic type), is a large-size breed of dog that originated in the United States. The Johnson type is one of the generally accepted two types of American Bulldog, the other is the Scott type, both are named after the breeders who were influential in developing them, John D. Johnson and Allen Scott. These are more commonly known as Classic or Bully type and Standard or Performance type. Experts however consider five different types besides the two mentioned namely; the Painter type, the Old Southern White type and the Hybrid type. This article will describe the Johnson type. The Johnson type was bred for size and impressive appearance.
The American Bulldog History
The American Bulldog's history started in the British Isles. The history of Mastiff-type dogs in the British Isles dates back beyond the arrival of Caesar. With the arrival of the Normans in 1066 came Alaunts; an extinct Molosser breed from the continent. The breeding of the indigenous mastiffs to the newly arrived ones produced the Mastiff, Bulldog and Bandog of England.
Bulldogs were bred in England for the task of bull-baiting. The term "bulldog" was first used around 1568 and might have been applied to various ancestors of modern bulldog breeds.
In the 1600s, Bulldogs were used for bullbaiting (as well as bearbaiting), a gambling sport popular in the 17th century with wagers laid in which trained Bulldogs successfully leapt at a bull lashed to a post, latched onto its snout and attempted to suffocate it. The old-type Bulldogs had many distinct characteristics that were bred into them so they would be better suited to bullbaiting. Compared to the big Mastiffs and Bandogs the Bulldog's body was short, low to the ground and compact, allowing it to be able to scuttle or crawl low under the bull's horns. The lower jaw sticks out further than the top one allowing the Bulldog to grip on the nose of the animal and still be able to breathe due to the slight lay-back of the nose. The wrinkles on the Bulldog's face would allow the blood from the other animal to run down the Bulldog's face instead of going into its eyes.
Working class immigrants brought their working dogs with them to the American South where they used them on farms to hold livestock; as butchers' dogs; and as guardians, as well as for other tasks.
When animal baiting contests were outlawed in England in 1835, to preserve the breed the Bulldog was introduced to the show world, which in turn changed the old-type Bulldog in England to the current English Bulldog.
The original Bulldog, however, was preserved much better in the American South. Perhaps the most important role of the bulldog and the reason for its survival and in fact why it thrived through out the South was because of the presence of feral pigs, introduced to the New World and without predators. The bulldogs were the settlers' best means of sufficiently dealing with the vermin.
By World War II, the breed was becoming rare until John D. Johnson and his father scoured the backroads of the South looking for the best specimens to revive the breed. During this time a young Alan Scott grew an interest in Mr. Johnson's dogs and began to work with him on the revitalization process. Along with Alan Scott and several other breeders, Johnson began carefully to breed American Bulldogs, keeping careful records and always with an eye for maintaining the breed's health and working abilities. At some point, Alan Scott began infusing non-Johnson catch bulldogs from working southern farms with John D. Johnson's line creating the now Standard American Bulldog. At another point, Mr. Johnson began crossing his line with an atavistic Bulldog from the North that had maintained its genetic athletic vigor. This created a falling out between Johnson and Scott causing them to go their separate ways and breed the two significantly different versions of the American Bulldog, known as the Scott / Standard / Performance type and the Johnson / Classic / Bully type. While there still were a lot of American Bulldogs that never saw the light of either of those two programs and remained as simply the White English or more officially the Old Southern White type. A fourth type started when Joe Painter and Margentina and Tappe started breeding another performance strain of American Bulldogs that was more suited for dog fighting. This strain is known as the Painter type or sometimes Margentina type.
Finally the Scott type and the Johnson type was mixed to produce the Hybrid type, with the goal to keep the best of both worlds. The Hybrid type was bred to have the athletic ability and temperament of the Standard / Scott type with more of the Johnson / Bully type's size. Most dogs of today could be put in this category as more and more breeders use mixed blood.
The American Bulldog was recognized by the United Kennel Club on January 1, 1999.
American Bulldogs are now safe from extinction and are enjoying a healthy increase in popularity, either as a working dog or as a family pet. All over the world, they are used variously as "hog dogs" (catching escaped pigs or hunting razorbacks), as cattle drovers and as working K-9s. American Bulldogs also successfully compete in several dog sports such as Schutzhund, French Ring street protection sport, Iron Dog competition and weight pulling. Though usually these are not of the Johnson type.
American Bulldog Appearance
Body: American Bulldog has a compact body conformation with a relatively short and broad, powerful back. The loins have a slight bulge. The tail is set low is carried hanging, towards the hocks. It is broad at the root and gradually narrows to the tip. The tail may be worn higher, but not curly on the back. The chest is deep and is of medium width. The ribs are well vaulted and the belly line is slightly tucked. The elbows fit well. The legs stand slightly outwards besides the body and equipped with heavy bones. The rear legs are normally angled. The medium feet have well arched and connecting toes. The very muscular neck has an average length. It narrows gradually to the head and is slightly bent.
Head: the head of the Johnson type is relatively large and broad but more so than the Scott type's, the skull is overly round, has a flat top and a clear groove in the forehead. The stop is deep more so than the Johnson type's and the cheeks are well developed. The snout is broad and square, with well-muscled jaws and shorter than with the Scott type. The lips are full. The ears are medium sized and are allowed to be carried hanging or worn folded backwards (rose ears). The medium-sized eyes are round to almond-shaped and are set widely apart. The eyelids close correct. American Bulldogs have a overshot bite.
Height at Withers: the height at the withers for males is 58.5 centimeters (23 inches) to about 68.5 centimeters (27 inches). Bitches are around 56 centimeters (22 inches) high to about 66 centimeters (26 inches). Contrary to popular belief, the Johnson type is not necessarily bigger than the Scott type, its in particular the size and conformation that make the difference.
Weight: the weight of males is around 41 and 52 kg (90 to 115 pounds) and for bitches, this is around 36 to 47.5 kg (80 to 105 pounds) depending on their size. They have a much heavier build than the Scott type.
Coat: the coat is short-haired and soft textured. In any event the hair may not be longer than 2.5 centimeters (should be shorter than an inch).
Colors: the most common color is white with brindle, black or red spots. The brindle and red can range from very light to dark. Even plain white copies exist. Dark Colored dogs are less desirable. Preference is given to black to dark brown eyes, black around the eyes and a black nose.
American Bulldog Temperament
Character: the American Bulldog is a quite balanced, self-confident dog with a natural instinct to guard and defend his family, home and property. It does so in a calm and thought through manner, but very convincing. The dogs are very intelligent and are very loyal and committed to their own boss and family members. They are alert, very courageous and hard on themselves. A kennel is not the ideal place to keep a dog of this breed. They should live in the house, in the midst of their families. In house are rather quiet. They only bark when there is something going on.
Social Build: these dogs will go through fire for people of their own family, including children. On-site, they are very vigilant towards strangers and when not met with approriate respect from the stranger's side this can easily turn into aggresive behaviour, but when their boss says it is good, they accept it if you practise this from an early age. Most of them are combative towards peers who do not belong to their own pack, especially if they challenge the dog. They do, however, often do well with other dogs of the house who have a humble attitude towards them. Animals that belong to the family when the dog is brought up, are easily accepted by the AmBull.
American Bulldog Socially
Care: these dogs need very little coat care. You can brush the coat once a week with a stiff bristled brush. In the shedding period a rubber massage glove is an ideal tool for removing the dead hairs from the coat. Skin and hip problems are known to exist with some dogs of this breed.
Education: this breed is not suitable for inexperienced people or even for people who are unbalanced or capricious. An aspiring American Bulldog owner must stand firm both mentally and physically. A calm owner who has a natural preponderance on dogs, forms a good combination with this dog. The dogs are very intelligent and can learn a lot in a relatively short time frame. A hard upbringing is not even to be considered, but a clear and consistent loving treatment is necessary. Teach them at a young age that they are not allowed to pull the leash, because once mature, they are much too strong for them to easily be corrected. American Bulldogs should be very well socialized, so they have all the best chances to grow up as balanced stable dogs that respond well to all the various stimuli.
Activity: these dogs are very skillful and they can walk for a few hours, but when the owner hasn't got time for this for one day as a rule they submit to this. If you have a well fenced area the dog can partly take care of his own movement needs. To most of them ball games are fun. They are quiet while inside the house.
Usability: in some parts of the United States, this breed is still sporadicly used as an aid in the capture of recalcitrant cattle. The vast majority of these dogs are kept as a pet dog with guarding skills.
American Bulldog Quotes / Trivia