Buying or Adopting an American Bulldog
By Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2018
Is a DOG really the right pet for you?
I've been helping people choose and find dogs for over 35 years now, and I have to say that for many people, dogs are not ideal pets.
Should you get a purebred, crossbred, or mixed breed dog?
Don't set your sights on any purebred dog until you read these three eye-opening articles:
Is an American Bulldog the right breed for you?
Are YOU right for an American Bulldog?
Can you provide what this breed needs?
- Someone home most of the day
- Fenced yard (6-8 feet high, not an electronic/underground fence)
- No dogs of the same sex in the household
- No cats in the household
- Extra safety precautions – ongoing supervision and surveillance of what's going on around your American Bulldog, especially the presence of strange dogs who might start something your American Bulldog might finish in a tragic manner
- Restricted exercise when young – until maturity (at least 18 months old), exercise restricted to multiple short (20 minute) walks, fetch games, and playing with other dogs – no forced running (beside a jogger or bicyclist), no long-distance treks, minimal jumping
- Ample exercise after maturity – enough ongoing exercise that your American Bulldog stays slim and is tired enough to sleep contentedly and not get into mischief
- "Mental exercise" – interesting activities that keep the mind stimulated, such as a challenging dog sport (agility, schutzhund, carting, or weight pulling); challenging dog toys; a homemade obstacle course; tricks and games such as Musical Toys and Hide 'n Seek; instructions in my training book, Teach Your Dog 100 English Words
- An indoor lifestyle, except for exercise and bathroom breaks
- A meat-heavy diet, either homemade or commercial – meat is expensive, so people with less money should opt for a smaller dog
- An owner with enough money to treat the health problems American Bulldogs are prone to (pet health insurance can really help here!)
- Commitment to provide thorough socialization – introducing your American Bulldog to lots of people and other animals, diligently correcting any signs of misbehavior or aggression
- Commitment to establish the proper Leader-Follower relationship with your American Bulldog, teaching him to listen to you and do what you say
Should you get a male or female American Bulldog?
Male Dogs vs. Female Dogs
Which one makes a better pet?
Should you get a young puppy, an older puppy, or an adult dog?
Puppies vs. Adult Dogs
What age should your new American Bulldog be?
Where can you buy or adopt an American Bulldog?
American Bulldogs are a pretty common breed in the United States. They're not difficult to find.
Adopting From Dog Rescue Organizations
You might find an American Bulldog available from a Dog Rescue group. American Bulldogs might be turned over to Rescue because they need too exercise, or because they're too rambunctious or destructive. There might be dominance issues, or aggression toward other animals.
Owners often give up their American Bulldog when it becomes apparent that the dog is too much for them to handle. You would need to provide these dogs with the exercise, training, and socialization that they are lacking. Other American Bulldogs are given up simply because of changed family circumstances, and these dogs may have no behavior problems at all.
Adopting From Public Animal Shelters and Humane Societies
American Bulldogs are occasionally found here, but American Bulldog Rescue groups keep their eyes peeled on shelters and humane societies across the country. When an American Bulldog turns up at a shelter, the rescue group typically moves in quickly to take the dog.
Buying From a Dog Breeder
You can buy an American Bulldog from a show breeder, who breeds American Bulldogs to match a detailed standard of appearance for the dog show ring.
Or you can buy an American Bulldog from a performance breeder, who emphasizes an energetic temperament and strong "prey (chasing) drives" for hunting wild boar, or for participating in protection dog sports (schutzhund) or weight pulling competitions.
Some breeders are a combination of show/performance, though how they prioritize those two goals can vary greatly. You can also buy an American Bulldog from people who "just breed pets" or "just had one litter." But should you? Be sure to read the article to learn more about these people.
Here's one difference between a responsible breeder and an irresponsible breeder – BOTH PARENTS of an American Bulldog puppy should have:
- a certificate from the Orthopedic Foundation of America (OFA) or PennHip certifying the dog to have normal hips
- a certificate from the Orthopedic Foundation of America (OFA) certifying the dog to have normal elbows
If a seller can't show you those certificates, the puppies are higher risk for health problems. You might choose to accept that risk. But then you need to be willing (and able) to pay a couple thousand bucks for future surgeries and lifelong meds if your American Bulldog ends up with hip and elbow dysplasia.
Pet Shop Puppies: Buying a Puppy From a Pet Store
American Bulldogs are not seen very often in pet shops, but it's possible. I have plenty to say about buying a puppy from a pet shop!
How To Choose a Good American Bulldog Puppy
How to test the temperament and personality of American Bulldog puppies and pick the best puppy in a litter.
To help you train and care for your dog
To learn more about training your dog to be calm and well-behaved, my dog training book is Teach Your Dog 100 English Words. It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your dog to listen to you and do whatever you ask.
My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a good-tempered, healthy dog.
My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, shows you how to help your dog live a longer life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.