National Kennel Club
American Bulldog Breed Standard
Final Revision: August 2005
The basic breed standard for the American Bulldog
changed very little, there was several disqualifications in the standards that
we felt should not have been disqualifications. After reviewing the
standards, changes were made to the disqualifications making most of them either
a cosmetic fault or serious fault. Now the only disqualifications in the
American breed standards for conformation are: extreme viciousness or
shyness, in the dogs bite (both types) parrot mouth or closed mouth with visible
teeth, color - blue, any dog that has been spayed or neutered, male dogs that do
not have 2 visible testicles, and blindness or deafness. The changes that
were made was in the allow weights for both types of dogs, the size of the bite
of the dog. Clarification was made for the allowable color of dogs, fault
for the muzzle being full continues black mask, any eye color other than brown
is a cosmetic fault, males that do not have 2 visible testicles, and females in
heat are not to be shown or allowed in the proximity. We hope by
eliminating most of the disqualifications and by clarifying some of the
questions that have come from the standards, more dogs will be able to
participate successfully in the Conformation Shows with out the question that
their dog wasn't judged properly. There was a lot of time and
consideration put into these changes to better the current standard we have for
Historically the American Bulldog was bred to be a “farm utility dog” that was
used for farm work. They were also very much a part of the family, and were
instrumental in personal and property protection as well.
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
American Bulldogs should be
alert, outgoing and confident. Aloofness with strangers is acceptable.
Some assertiveness toward
other dogs is not considered a fault, however; dogs may be dismissed at the
judge’s discretion for disrupting their class.
Faults: Overly aggressive or excessively shy. All dogs must be physically
examined by the judge, any dog refusing to allow physical inspection by either
shying away or becoming vicious may be disqualified depending on the severity.
Extreme viciousness or shyness:
Shyness - A dog shall be judged
fundamentally shy if, refusing to stand for examination, it shrinks away from
the judge; if it fears an approach from the rear; if it shies at sudden and
unusual noises to a marked degree. Note: Puppies should not be faulted severely
here. With maturity and socialization confidence should increase.
Viciousness - A dog that attacks, or
attempts to attack either the judge or its handler unprovoked, is definitely
vicious. An aggressive or belligerent attitude towards other dogs shall not be
Standard Type: Ideal standard males should measure between 23 to 27 inches
at the withers and weigh from 75 to 115 pounds. Females; 21 to 25 inches, 60 to
Bully Type: Ideal bully males should measure between 23 to 27 inches at the
withers and weigh 80 to 125 pounds. Females; 22-26 inches 60 to 105 pounds.
Note: The overall proportion of the dog is of utmost importance when
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.
Standard Type: A box or wedge shape is preferred.
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.
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.
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, and Full continuous black mask.
Note: The muzzle should be in proportion to head size & type.
Preferred nose color is
Cosmetic Faults: Any nose color other than black. Red, brown, pink, dudley,
or grizzle colors will occur but are considered cosmetic faults.
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
Standard Type: A tight undershot (reverse scissors) preferred. Undershot up
to ½ inch acceptable, plus or minus 1/8 inch is acceptable with no visible
Bully Type: ¼ - ½ inch “Undershot” depending on size of dog and shape of
skull. Plus or minus 1/8 inch is acceptable with no visible teeth.
Faults: Small teeth or uneven incisors.
Disqualification (both types): Parrot mouth or closed mouth with visible
Bully Type Serious Fault: Even, level, scissor bite, overshot, or wry mouth.
Standard Type Serious Fault: Undershot over ¾ inch, overshot, or wry
Note: American Bulldogs are a working breed and
should not be penalized for broken or missing teeth.
Almond-shaped to round,
Color: Brown eye color is preferred.
haw should not be visible. Black pigment is preferred; all other colors of
pigmentation are considered cosmetic faults.
Cosmetic Faults: Any eye color other than brown, both eyes that do not
matched in color, pink eye rims, or 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.
Faults: Cropped ears. Hound Ears.
Slightly arched, very
muscular, and of moderate length, tapering from shoulders to head.
Bully Type: Neck is almost equal to the head in size.
Faults: 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.
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, weak pasterns, cow hocks, open
hocks, or 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, weak pasterns, cow
hocks, open hocks, bowed legs in the rear.
The feet are round, medium in
size; toes are well arched, and tight.
Faults: Splayed feet or crooked toes.
Strong at the root tapering
to the hocks, in a relaxed position, the tail can be carried back when excited.
A "pump handle" tail is preferred but any tail carried 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.
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.
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.
Note: The Bully type gait will have a slight degree of less reach,
flexibility, and spring than that of a Standard Type.
Short and smooth.
Serious Fault: Long and fuzzy coats.
Solid white, or any color pattern including black, red, brown, fawn and
all shades of brindle.
Faults: Any degree of merle.
Disqualification: Blue Color.
dog that has been spayed or neutered.
dogs that do not have 2 visible testicles.
Blindness or deafness.
Cosmetic Faults: 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.
These faults pertain to the dogs actual structure and fundamental movement.
These faults are weighted as to how they hinder the dogs' ability to work.
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”.
Females in heat are not to be shown in the conformation classes and are not
allowed in the proximity thereof.