Bulldogs in England were originally working dogs that drove and caught cattle and guarded their masters’ property. The breed’s strength, courage, and familiarity with livestock led to its popularity in the brutal sport of bull baiting. When this sport was outlawed in England, the original type of Bulldog disappeared from Britain and was replaced with the shorter, stockier, less athletic dog we now know as the English Bulldog.

The original Bulldog, however, was preserved by working class immigrants who brought their working dogs with them to the American South. Small farmers and ranchers used this all-around working dog for many tasks. By the end of World War II, however, the breed was almost extinct. Mr. John D. Johnson, a returning war veteran, decided to resurrect this breed. 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.

Because of the many different types of work this breed can do, several distinct lines evolved, each emphasizing the traits needed to do a specific job. The best known lines are usually referred to as the Johnson and Scott types.

The Scott dogs, commonly referred to as ‘standard’, are more of a performance style, athletic dog, sleeker in appearance than the bully dogs, with less bone, longer muzzles, more moderate stop and a less extreme undershot bite. Today, however, many American Bulldogs have crosses to two or more of the original lines and are considered to be hybrid in type, with characteristics of more than one of the original lines of bulldogs.

The Johnson dogs, commonly referred to as ‘bully’, are bulkier in body, heavier in bone, with larger heads that have more stop, a shorter muzzle and a more pronounced undershot bite. They generally have more muscle mass as well.

The modern American Bulldog continues to serve as an all-purpose working dog; a fearless and steady guard dog; and a loyal family companion.

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