The standard describes two types of American Bulldogs and these types are;

1. Johnson, Bully, or "Classic" type

2. Scott, Performance, or "Standard" type

They are named after the breeders who were influential in developing them and they were Mr. John D Johnson (Bully) and Mr. Allan Scott (Standard).

Many of today's American Bulldogs are a combination of the Classic and Standard types. This has resulted in a third type referred to as  "Hybrid" and they will fall under either Classic or Standard American Bulldog Breed Standards.


Protection, companionship, hunting, working livestock, catching cattle and hogs etc


The American Bulldog should be alert, outgoing, and confident. Aloofness with strangers is acceptable.

Faults: excessively shy or overly aggressive


The American Bulldog is well a balanced, medium to large sized dog.  They give an impression of a grand and powerful dog showing strength and alertness. Powerfully built, having an amazing endurance.


Males should measure between 23 to 26 inches at the withers. 1 inch variation in height allowed.

CLASSIC: weighing between 90 to 130lbs (41 to 59kg). Plus or minus 5 to 10lbs                         (2.2 to 4.5kg) is acceptable.

STANDARD: weighing between 85 to 110lbs (39 to 50kg). Plus or minus 5 to 10lbs                        (2.2 to 4.5kg) is acceptable.


Females should measure between 20 to 23 inches at the withers. 1 inch variation  in height allowed.

CLASSIC: weighing between 70 to 120lbs (32 to 54kg). Plus or minus 5 to 10lbs                        (2.2 to 4.5kg) is acceptable.

STANDARD: weighing between 70 to 95lbs (32 to 43kg). Plus or minus 5 to 10lbs                        (2.2 to 4.5kg) is acceptable.


The face of the dog should indicate intelligence, with discerning alertness. The head should be broad, flat across the top giving a squared appearance, with an abrupt "stop". It should also be medium length, well muscled throughout, and pronounced muscular cheeks.

CLASSIC: a square shape or have a round "melon" look, with a deep, abrupt "stop".

STANDARD: generally a box or wedge shape.


The muzzle should be broad. The lips should be full and black pigment lining the lips is preferred. The chin is well defined and must not overlap the upper lip nor cover it.

Faults: pendulous lips, long and narrow muzzle, full black mask

CLASSIC: 2 to 3 inches long and should be 25% to 35% of overall head length.

STANDARD: 2 to 4 inches long and should be 35% to 40% of overall head length.


Black is the preferred colour. However a red, brown, or grey nose will occur.

Faults: pink or dudley nose.


Teeth should be medium to large and not visible when mouth is closed. Working dogs should not be penalised for broken teeth.

Faults: overshot, wry mouth, visible teeth when mouth closed.

CLASSIC: 3/8 to 3/4 inch "undershot", depending on the size of the dog and shape of the skull. Plus or minus 1/8 inch is acceptable.

Faults: Even and scissor bite.

STANDARD: a tight undershot (reverse scissor) is preferred. Undershot up to 1/4 inch, depending on the size of the dog and the shape of the skull. Plus or minus 1/8 inch is acceptable.

Faults: Small teeth or uneven incisors.











Almond shape to round and medium in size. Brown eye colour, however blue, grey and green eyes will occur. Black pigment is preferred.

Faults: Cross eyed or not symmetrical, both eyes not the same colour, ectropian, entropian, distchiasis, and cherry eye.











Medium in size, set high, and carried close to head. Ears may be forward flap or rose, with no preference.

Faults: Cropped or hound-type ears.











Very muscular, slightly arched, of moderate length, taper from shoulders to head, and almost equal to the head in size.

Faults: Too short, thick, thin, or weak neck.











Wide, deep chest, fairly compact, straight and well balanced. The chest should not be narrow or excessively wide nor should the elbows be angled out or pulled in. The back should be broad and moderately short, showing great strength. The loin is wide, very muscular, and slightly arched.

Faults: Back excessively long, too narrow, or swayed.











The combined front assembly from its uppermost component, the shoulder blades, down to the feet, should be muscular and slightly sloping. The forelegs are to be straight and not set too close together or too far apart.

Faults: Loaded shoulders, elbows turned outward, front legs bowed, wrists knuckled over, toeing in or out.











Broad with muscles tapering well down the leg to manifest speed and strength, nut not quite as large as the shoulders. The rear legs should be angled and parallel.

Faults: Narrow or weak hindquarters, bowed legs, cow hocks, open hocks, and weak pasterns.











The tail is set low and thick at the base. Strong at the root and tapering to the hocks (in rest position). The tail is carried over the back when excited or walking.

Faults: Corkscrew, crooked (kinked), curled over the back.











Toes are tight and well arched.

Faults: Splayed foot.











Short and smooth.

Faults: Long or fuzzy coats.











All white, pied or up to 85% colour (brindle, red, or buckskin patches). If there is colour on the head it should appear to be colour on a white head.

Faults: Black mask, solid black, black and tan, or any degree of merle.











Medium to heavy, to be able to carry a large dog.











The gait should be "balanced and smooth", showing great speed, agility, and power. All legs move parallel to the direction of travel, with front legs clearly reaching, and the rear legs propelling the dog forward. The legs should not travel excessively wide.

Faults: Front or rear legs crossing over, legs over reaching, front or rear legs moving too close or touching, side winding, pacing, or paddling.

CLASSIC: A rolling gait is acceptable.

STANDARD: A tighter, more athletic gait.

NOTE: The classic type will have a slight degree of less reach, flexibility, and spring than standard type.













This Breed Standard was extracted from;

1. ARF American Bulldog Breed Standard (Classic and Standard) 1996

2. NKC American Bulldog Breed Standard, revised in 2005

3. ABRA American Bulldog Breed Standard, last updated 2008

4. ABA American Bulldog Breed Standard, last updated 2003 




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