American Bulldog Association
American Bulldog Breed Standard
revised 1997

1997 Revisions: Our former term of "Scott" for the standard type AB has led to much confusion. Many of the dogs referred to as Scott type have very little or no Scott background whatsoever. My personal dogs are mostly Scott (Painter)/Johnson hybrids, and it was presumptuous and confusing on my part to designate all non-Johnson dogs as being the Scott-type, when many were Bailey/Williamson/ Tate/Tuck combinations. Henceforth the non-Johnson type will be referred to as the "standard" type. Although the vast majority of purebred ABs are 75 to 100% white, there are a few that have less than 25% white. Our standard is now amended to say "All white, pied, or up to 90% color [brindle or red patches, (red is defined as any shade of tan, brown or red)], with a portion of the white on the head." This seems to be a more accurate reflection taking into account the rarer color form. Our standard was designed as a description of the breed rather than a "perfection to aspire to" as others claim theirs to be.

Background: The American Bulldog originated as a catchdog (mostly cattle) and property protection dog, in America’s Southeast. He was not bred to put on threat displays or to look a certain way. But, he did need the right equipment to take care of his real bulldog duties which were confrontational personal and property protection and as a catch dog. He needed to be strong enough to put unruly bulls on the ground and athletic enough to catch hogs that were allowed to free range in a semi-wild state.

General Appearance: The American Bulldog should generate the impression of great strength, agility, endurance and exhibit a well-knit, sturdy, compact frame with the absence of excessive bulk. Males are characteristically larger, heavier boned and more masculine than the bitches. The AB is a white or white and patched (brindle or red) dog. When patched he can range from the traditional pied markings of a patch over one or both eyes or ears, or a patch on the base of the tail, to a large saddle patch and various other patches.
For judging purposes, distinctions between an ideal "Standard-type" and an ideal "Johnson-type" are defined in brackets and in bold.

Size: General: Males - 23 to 27 inches at the withers and weigh from 75 to 120 lbs. Females - 21 to 25 inches at the withers, 60 to 90 lbs. The weight should be proportional to size.
[Standard-type: an ideal male should be 23 to 27 inches at the withers and/ weigh from 75 to 110 lbs., females, 21 to 25 inches, 60 to 85 lbs. The weight should be proportional to size.]
[Johnson-type: an ideal male should be 22 to 26 inches at the withers and weigh from 80 to 120 lbs. Females 20 to 24 inches, 60 to 90 lbs.]

Head: Medium in length and broad across skull with pronounced muscular cheeks.

Eyes: Medium in size. Any color. The haw should not be visible. Black eye rims preferred on white dogs. Pink eye rims to be considered a cosmetic fault.

Muzzle: Medium length (2 to 4 in.), square and broad with a strong underjaw. Lips should be full but not pendulous. 42 to 44 teeth.
[Standard-type: tight undershot (reverse scissors) preferred. Scissors and even bites are considered a cosmetic fault. Structural faults are a muzzle under 2 inches or longer than 4 inches, pendulous lips, less than 42 teeth, more than 1/4 inch undershot, small teeth or uneven incisors.]
[Johnson-type: definite undershot, 1/8 to 1/4 inch preferred. Scissors or even bite is a disqualification. Structural faults are a muzzle under 2 inches or over 4 inches.]

Nose color: black or grizzle. On black nosed dogs the lips should be black with some pink allowed. A pink nose to be considered a cosmetic fault.

Ears: Cropped or uncropped. Uncropped preferred.

Neck: Muscular, medium in length, slightly arched, tapering from shoulders to head, with a slight dewlap allowed.

Shoulders: Very muscular with wide sloping blades, shoulders set so elbows are not angled out.

Chest, Back and Loin: The chest should be deep and moderately wide without being excessively wide as to throw the shoulders out. The back should be of medium length, strong and broad. Loins should be slightly tucked which corresponds to a slight roach in the back which slopes to the stern. Faults: sway back, narrow or shallow chest, lack of tuck up.

Hindquarters: Very broad and well muscled and in proportion to the shoulders. Narrow hips are a very serious fault.

Legs: Strong and straight with heavy bone. Front legs should not set too close together or too far apart. Faults: in at the elbows or excessively bowlegged. Rear legs should have a visible angulation of the stifle joint.

Movement: The gait is balanced and smooth, powerful and unhindered suggesting agility with easy, ground covering strides, showing strong driving action in the hind quarters with corresponding reach in front. As speed increases the feet move toward the center line of the body to maintain balance. Ideally the dog should single-track. The top line remains firm and level, parallel to the line of motion. Head and tail carriage should reflect that of a proud, confident and alert animal.

Movement faults: Any suggestion of clumsiness, tossing and/or rolling of the body, crossing or interference of front or rear legs, short or stilted steps, twisting joints, pacing, paddling, or weaving. Similar movement faults are to be penalized according to the degree to which they interfere with the ability of the dog to work.

Feet: Of moderate size, toes of medium length, well arched and close together, not splayed. Pasterns should be strong, straight and upright.

Tail: Set low, thick at the root, tapering to a point. Tail should not curl over back. Docked or undocked.

Coat: Short, close, stiff to the touch, not long and fuzzy.

Color: All white, pied, or up to 90% color [brindle or red patches, (red is defined as any shade of tan, brown or red)], with a portion of the white on the head.

Disposition: Alert, outgoing and friendly with a self-assured attitude. Some aloofness with strangers and assertiveness toward other dogs is not considered a fault.

Disqualification’s: Both types: dogs that are deaf or males without two testicles clearly descended.
[Johnson-type: an even or scissors bite.]

Fault Degrees: A cosmetic fault is one of a minor nature. A fault not specified as cosmetic has to do with structure as it relates to a working dog. In a show or other evaluation, the dog is to be penalized in direct proportion to the degree of the fault. Any fault which is extreme should be considered a serious fault and should be penalized appropriately.
We have not included a line drawing of a Standard-type or Johnson-type standard dog because they could not take into account the variations acceptable within the realm of the working American Bulldog. The emphasis placed on specific types in other breed standards has led to the general disintegration of the breed concerned by eliminating individuals who might have contributed significantly to respective gene pool.
Attributes other than cosmetic listed in the standard all relate to working qualities which include but are not limited to agility, endurance, leverage, biting power and heat tolerance.

Point Breakdown for Judging
Overall: proportion 10 points
temperament 10 points
total of 20 points

Head: size and shape 10 point
muzzle 5 points
teeth 5 points
total of 20 points

Body: neck 5 points
shoulders 5 points
chest 10 points
back 10 points
hindquarters 10 points
legs 10 points
feet 5 points
tail and coat 5 points
total of 60 points

Grand Total of 100 points

Note: the distinctions made between the Standard-type and the Johnson-type depict an ideal representative of their respective types for show purposes only.

A Summary of the Standard-type and Johnson-type distinctions:
In actuality, many American Bulldogs are hybrids between the Standard and Johnson type. The distinctions between the two types were made to allow separate shows for Standard-types and Johnson-types. Generally the Johnson-type distinction allows for a slightly larger dog and requires a slightly (1/8 to 1/4 inch undershot lower jaw, but this distinction mandates separate shows for the two types.

Link: ABA