National Kennel Club
American Bulldog Breed Standard
Varieties: Standard and Bully
Revised: January 1, 2002

Historically the American Bulldog was bred to be a “farm utility dog”. They were used to farm work in the South/Southeastern sections of the USA to work wild boar and cattle. They were also very much a part of the family, and were instrumental in personal and property protection as well.

General Appearance
The American Bulldog is a well balanced, short-coated, muscular and athletic animal. American Bulldogs display great strength, endurance, and agility. Males are characteristically larger, heavier boned and more masculine than the females.

American Bulldogs should be alert, outgoing and confident. Aloofness with strangers is acceptable.
Some assertiveness toward other dogs is not considered a fault.

Faults: Overly aggressive or excessively shy.

Ø Standard Type: Ideal standard males should measure between 23 to 27 inches at the withers and weigh from 75 to 95 pounds. Females; 21 to 25 inches, 60 to 85 pounds.

Ø Bully Type: Ideal bully males should measure between 23 to 27 inches at the withers and weigh 90 to 115 pounds. Females; 22-26 inches 80 to 105 pounds.

Note: The overall proportion of the dog is of utmost importance when evaluating weight.

The head should be broad, flat on top squared appearance with a well defined stop. It should also be medium in length with pronounced muscular cheeks.
Ø Standard Type: A box or wedge shape is preferred.
Ø Bully Type: A larger rounder shape is ideal.

The muzzle should be broad with wide-open nostrils. The muzzle should be wider at the base and taper to the nose. The lips should be full with black pigmentation; some pink allowed. The chin is well defined and must not overlap the upper lip nor covered it.
Ø Standard Type: Muzzle should be medium in length 2 to 4 inches. It should also be 35% to 45% of the overall length of the head.
Ø Bully Type: Muzzle should be broad 2 to 3 inches in length and should be 25% to 35% of the overall length of head.

Faults: Pendulous Lips. Narrow muzzle. Full black mask. v Note: The muzzle should be in proportion to head size & type.

Preferred nose color is Black. Red, brown or grizzle colors will occur.

Cosmetic Faults: Pink or Dudley nose. Any nose color other than black.
Dentition (Bite)
Teeth should be medium to large and should not be visible when mouth is closed. Lips are moderately thick; black pigment lining the lips is preferred; with some pink allowed.
Ø Standard Type: A tight undershot (reverse scissors) preferred. Undershot up to '/4 inch acceptable.
Ø Bully Type: ¼ - ½ inch “Undershot” depending on size of dog and shape of skull. Plus or minus 1/8 inch is acceptable.

Faults: Small teeth or uneven incisors.
Disqualification: Overshot, Parrot mouth or wry mouth. Ø Bully Type: Disqualification: Even, level or scissor bite.
Note: American Bulldogs are a working breed and should not be penalized for broken or missing teeth.

Almond-shaped to round, medium-sized. Color: Brown is the ideal color; however, Blue, Gray, and Green eyes will occur. The haw should not be visible. Black eye rims preferred.

Cosmetic Faults: Both eyes not matched in color. Pink eye rims. Excessive Haw visible
Serious faults: Crossed or non-symmetrical eyes.
The ears should be set high on the head, medium in size may be drop, semi-prick, or rose.

Fault: Cropped ears.

Slightly arched, very muscular, and of moderate length, tapering from shoulders to head.
Ø Bully Type: Neck is almost equal to the head in size.

Fault: neck too short and 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.

Faults: The back should not be narrow, excessively long or swayed. v Note: The degree of fault will depend on how it affects the dogs “working” ability and movement.

The chest should be deep and moderately wide giving the appearance of power and athletic ability. The front, overall, should be straight and well balanced. The chest should not be narrow or excessively wide.

Faults: Upright or loaded shoulders; elbows turned outward or tied-in; down at the pasterns; front legs bowed; wrists knuckled over; toeing in or out.
Broad, well muscled with muscles tapering well to the leg to manifest speed and strength, but not quite as large as at the shoulders. There should not be an excess or lack of angulation in the rear legs.

Serious Faults: Narrow or weak hindquarters; straight or over angulated stifle joint; weak pasterns; cow hocks or open hocks; sickle hocks; bowed legs.

The legs should be strong and straight with moderate to heavy bone. Front legs should not set too close together or too far apart. Pasterns should be strong, straight and upright. The rear legs should be moderately angulated and parallel.

Serious Faults: Excessively Bow-Legged in the front. Straight or over angulated stifle joint; weak pasterns; cow hocks or open hocks; sickle hocks; bowed legs.
The feet are round, medium in size; toes are well arched, and tight.

Faults: Splayed feet or crooked toes. v The seriousness of this fault is based on the amount of fault in the feet.

Strong at the root tapering to the hocks, in a relaxed position. The tail is carried over the back when excited or walking. A "pump handle" tail is preferred but any tail carriage from upright, when the dog is excited, to relaxed between the hocks is acceptable. The tail should not end in a complete circle.

Faults: Tail curled over the back; corkscrew tail, kinked or crooked tail. v Note: Natural tails preferred, docked tails acceptable but will be considered a cosmetic fault.

The gait should be “balanced and smooth”, showing great speed, agility and power. The dog should not travel excessively wide, and as speed increases the feet move toward the centerline of the body to maintain balance. The top line remains firm and level, parallel to the line of motion.
Ø The Bully type gait will have a slight degree of less reach, flexibility, and spring than that of a Standard Type.

Faults: Legs not moving on the same plane; legs over reaching; legs crossing over in front or rear; front or rear legs moving too close or touching; pacing; paddling; side winding. Coat
Short and smooth, coarse to the touch.

Disqualification: Long and fuzzy coats.

Solid white, any color or color pattern, including black, red, brown, fawn and all shades of brindle.

Faults: Solid Black, any degree of merle.
Disqualification: Flat Black or Blue Color.
v Disqualifications
Ø Dogs that have been spayed or neutered.
Ø Males that are unilaterally or bilaterally cryptorchid.
Ø Unilateral or bilateral blindness or deafness.
Ø Blue or flat black color; long and fuzzy coats.
Ø Overshot Bite.
Ø Extreme viciousness or shyness.
Ø Bully Type: Even or scissor bite.

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.

Note: Features that are disqualified or faulted in the show ring, are in no way is meant to disqualify the dog from “working events”, or to take away any credit the dog might have as a “working dog”. The conformation ring is just that, it is not meant to be a judgment for a dogs working abilities; however there is no excuse for dogs with poor temperaments and these dogs should be kept away from N.K.C show and working events.

Ø Females in estrus are not to be shown in the conformation classes and are not allowed in the proximity thereof.

Point Breakdown for Judging

Proportion 10 Points
Temperament 10 Points
Subtotal 20 Points

Size and Shape 10 Points
Muzzle 5 Points
Bite/Teeth 5 Points
Subtotal 20 Points

Shoulders 10 Points
Chest 10 Points
Hindquarters 10 Points
Legs 5 Points
Neck 5 Points
Back 5 Points
Feet 5 Points
Tail and Coat 5 Points
Subtotal 60 Points
Total 100 Point

Click here to read the Original American Bulldog Standard.

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