Breed Standard

Current & Revised American Bulldog Registry & Archives Breed Standard below chart.

The utmost care has been taken to display the Breed Standards for the NKC, UKC and ABA, accurately, links to their respective websites have been provided. If a mistake is found please inform us immediately and we will fix it.

Please email support, praise, comments, questions and concerns regarding the Revised ABRA standard to Lesli Rose – americanbulldog@gmail.com

ABRA Revised, will take effect 2/1/19 – Description:  This breed standard is meant to provide breeders that register their dogs ABRA, competitors competing at ABRA shows and judges at ABRA sanctioned conformation shows with a written guide that describes the ideal American Bulldog and is representative of the breed as a whole, the guide should be used by the breeder and competitors when selecting show stock and by the judges when selecting dogs in an ABRA conformation show. Breeders should also refer to this breed standard when making brood stock selections, adhering to this description will speed up the process if the goal is to produce American Bulldogs that fit this breed standard. Some of these faults and disqualifications have always existed in the breed but that does not make them acceptable or correct and they are not representative of the breed and should not be included when describing an ideal American Bulldog, for example full brindle and kinked or cropped tails. And personal preferences like cropped ears or cropped tails have no place in a breed standard, and the judge does not know if the tail and ears were removed to hide a fault so they must be DQ’d, not all puppies are show dogs or brood stock.
The American Bulldog is an athletic, temperamentally sound medium to large sized dog that possesses great strength, agility and confidence. The expression should reflect intelligence and alertness. The sturdy and powerful yet compact frame is characteristically stockier and heavier boned in the males and more refined in the females. Some aloofness with strangers and assertiveness towards other dogs is accepted.  However, an American Bulldog should not be excessively timid, shy or aggressive towards man and preferably not overly aggressive with other dogs. American Bulldogs should never be confused with uniquely different breeds such as the American Staffordshire Terrier, the American Pit Bull Terrier, the Boxer, or the Olde English Bulldogge.  American Bulldogs are extremely attached and affectionate with their human families.
National Kennel Club American Bulldog Standard – Description: 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.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.
United Kennel Club American Bulldog Standard – Description:
The goals and purposes of this breed standard include: to furnish guidelines for breeders who wish to maintain the quality of their breed and to improve it; to advance this breed to a state of similarity throughout the world; and to act as a guide for judges.
Breeders and judges have the responsibility to avoid any conditions or exaggerations that are detrimental to the health, welfare, essence and soundness of this breed, and must take the responsibility to see that these are not perpetuated.
Any departure from the following should be considered a fault, and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and on the dog’s ability to perform its traditional work.
The modern American Bulldog continues to serve as an all-purpose working dog; a fearless and steady guard dog; and a loyal family companion.
The American Bulldog was recognized by the United Kennel Club on January 1, 1999.

The American Bulldog is a powerful, athletic short-coated dog, strongly muscled, and well boned. The body is just slightly longer than tall. The head is large and broad, with a wide muzzle. Ears are small to medium in size, high set, and may be drop, semi-prick, rose, or cropped. The tail may be docked or natural. The American Bulldog comes in solid colors, white with colored patches, and brindle. Gender differences are well expressed in this breed, with males typically larger and more muscular than females. Honorable scars resulting from field work are not to be penalized. The American Bulldog should be evaluated as a working dog, and exaggerations or faults should be penalized in proportion to how much they interfere with the dog’s ability to work.
Characteristics –
The essential characteristics of the American Bulldog are those which enable it to work as a hog and cattle catching dog, and a protector of personal property. These tasks require a powerful, agile, confident dog with a large head and powerful jaws. The American Bulldog is a gentle, loving family companion who is fearless enough to face an angry bull or a human intruder.
American Bulldog Association Breed Standard – Description: The American Bulldog should generate the impression of great strength, agility, endurance and exhibit a well-knit, sturdy, compact frame with the absence of excessive bulk. Males are characteristically larger, heavier boned and more masculine than the bitches. The American Bulldog is a white or white and patched (brindle, red/fawn, black) dog. When patched he can range from the traditional pied markings of a patch over one or both eyes or ears, or a patch on the base of the tail, to a large saddle patch and various other patches.Disposition: Alert, outgoing and friendly with a self-assured attitude. Some aloofness with strangers and assertiveness toward other dogs is not considered a fault.
ABRA Revised, will take effect 2/1/19 – Color: All white, pied, and bodysuits with more than 25% white are acceptable. Patches can be brindle, reverse brindle, black, blue, red, brown, chocolate,fawn, blue fawn & tan.
Dogs with less than 25% white, dogs that are primarily solid black, blue or chocolate, (black, blue & chocolate patches are allowed but dogs that could be described as being primarily black, blue or chocolate are disqualified), black and tan or trindle pattern markings, fawn with a black mask, and/or any degree of merle are all disqualifiers.
**Merle is a dilution of overall body color (black or red) with splotches of darker color giving the effect of “merling” or “marbling” not to be confused with Brindle that gives the effect of “striping”.
NKC – Color: Solid white, or any color pattern including black, red, brown, fawn and all shades of brindle.
**For the Johnson/Bully type only Blue Brindle & Pied are acceptable colors but still considered as cosmetic fault.
Faults: Any degree of merle.
Disqualification: Any Blue Color in Scott/Standard type or Solid Blue in Johnson/Bully type.
UKC – Color: Any color, color pattern, or combination of colors is acceptable, except for solid black, solid blue, merle, and tricolor (white with patches of black and tan).
A full black mask is also unacceptable. Some dark brindle coats may appear black unless examined in very bright light. A buckskin color pattern, where the base of the hair is fawn and the tips are black, may also appear solid black. A judge should not disqualify an American Bulldog for black color unless the dog has been examined in sunlight or other equally bright light.
Serious Fault: Less than 10% white markings.
Disqualifications: Solid black or blue with no white markings; tricolor (white with patches of black and tan); merle; full black mask.
ABA – Color: All white, pied, or up to 85% color
(brindle, red/fawn, black), if there is color on the
head it should appear to be color on a white head.
Disqualifications: less than 15% white, blue,
black and tan, tri-color, merle, full black mask
ABRA Revised, will take effect 2/1/19 – Size: Desirable height in a mature male ranges from 23 to 25 inches; in a mature female, from 22 to 24 inches. In all types, bone should be medium to large and weight should be in proportion to height. Height should be measured at the withers. A dog should be well conditioned and not overweight (muscle definition should be visible) or underweight(spine and hip bones should not be seen). The seriousness of the fault increases the further away from the ideal range the dog gets. Size is important but not as important as function, so if you have a dog in the correct height and weight range but with other faults compared to a dog without those other faults but smaller or larger than the ideal range, the more correct but smaller/larger dog should win.
Standard: A leaner and more endurance athletic dog in appearance. (Long distance runner)
Classic: A larger and more powerful athletic dog in appearance. (Power lifter)
NKC – Size:
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 85 pounds.
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 evaluating weight.
UKC – Height and Weight: The American Bulldog must be sufficiently powerful and agile to chase, catch, and bring down free-ranging livestock. Dogs capable of doing this come in a rather wide range of height and weight. Standards are leaner and more athletic in appearance. Bullys are thicker and more powerful in appearance. Males are typically larger with heavier bone and more muscle than females. Both sexes, however, should have a well-balanced overall appearance and all dogs should be well conditioned, neither over nor under weight.
Desirable height in a mature male ranges from 22 to 27 inches; in a mature female, from 20 to 25 inches. In all types, weight should be in proportion to height.
ABA – Size: The height and weight should be balanced and proportional to the type.
Bully type: An ideal male should be 23 to 25 inches at the withers and weigh from 80 to 120lbs., females 22 to 24 inches at the withers, 60 to 90lbs. The weight should be proportional to size.
Standard type: An ideal male should be 24 to 27 inches at the withers and weigh from 75 to 110 lbs., females 23 to 26 inches at the withers, 60 to 90 lbs. The weight should be proportional to size.
ABRA Revised, will take effect 2/1/19 – Coat:  Short, less than one inch in length varying from soft to stiff.
Longer than 1 inch, feathering, or fuzzy coats are a DQ.
NKC – Coat:  Short and smooth.
Serious Fault: Long and fuzzy coats.
UKC – Coat: The coat is short, close, and varies from soft to stiff to the touch. It is one inch or less in length.
Disqualifications: Longer than one inch, any feathering, or a wavy coat.
ABA – Coat:  Short, close, stiff to the touch, not long and/or fuzzy with no feathering.
ABRA Revised, will take effect 2/1/19 – Head: The head should be relatively large and broad in proportion to the size and overall structure of the dog. It should be flat on top giving a squared appearance. There is a defined furrow between the eyes with a distinct, deep stop. The head is well-muscled throughout with prominent cheeks. The forehead is wider than it is high.  An excessively narrow head is major fault in both types.
Standard: Generally box shaped to wedge in appearance with a slightly shallower stop and less wrinkles.
Classic: Generally box shaped to round in appearance with a more definitive stop and heavier wrinkles.
NKC – Head: 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.
UKC – Head: The head is large and broad, giving the impression of great power. When viewed from the side, the skull and muzzle are parallel to one another and joined by a well-defined stop. The stop is very deep and abrupt, almost at a right angle with the muzzle. Despite the depth of the stop, the forehead is wider than it is high.
ABA – Head: Medium in length and broad across skull with pronounced muscular cheeks.
Bully type: Large and round with a definitive stop preferred.
Standard type: Sleek, box or wedge shaped preferred.
ABRA Revised, will take effect 2/1/19 – Eyes: The eyes should be round or almond shape, medium sized, and wide set.
The haw (third eyelid) should not be visible, nor should the inside of the eyelids.
Dark brown is the preferred color.
Light brown or hazel are accepted.
Black eye rim pigment preferred. Brown pigment is acceptable, lack of pigment is a minor fault.
Entropian (hair on the eyelid rubbing on the eyeball), blue, glass, cracked, crossed, wall eyed and/or non-symmetrical eyes are a DQ.
NKC – Eyes:
Almond-shaped to round, medium-sized.
Color: Brown eye color is preferred.
The 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.
UKC – Eyes: Eyes are medium in size, round to almond in shape, and set well apart. All colors are acceptable, but dark brown is preferred. Haw is not visible. Black eye rims are preferred.Faults: Very visible haws.
Disqualifications: Crossed eyes. Eyes that do not match in color.
ABA – Eyes: Medium in size and wide set. Dark brown preferred but other colors acceptable. The haw should not be visible. Full pigmented eye rims preferred.
Cosmetic faults: Pink eye rims, eyes that do not match in color.
Disqualifications: crossed eyes, divergent strabismus (wall-eyed)
ABRA Revised, will take effect 2/1/19 – Ears: The ears should be medium in size and may be either drop, or rose, with no preference.
Drop ears: The ears are set high, level with the upper line of the skull, accentuating the skull’s width. At the base, the ear is just slightly raised in front and then hangs along the cheek. The tip is slightly rounded. When pulled toward the eye, the ear should not extend past the outside corner of the eye.
Rose ears:  These have small relatively thin leathers which fold backwards, so you can see the inside of the ear or the burr,  the rose-shaped leathers are ‘set on’ high but at the back of the head.
Deaf dogs (unilateral or bilateral), cropped ears & bat ears are a DQ.
NKC – Ears:
The ears should be set high on the head, medium in size may be drop, semi-prick, or rose.
Faults: Cropped ears. Hound Ears.
UKC – Ears: Ears may be cropped, but natural ears are preferred. Natural ears are small to medium in size, high set, and may be drop, semi-prick, or rose.
Drop ears: The ears are set high, level with the upper line of the skull, accentuating the skull’s width. At the base, the ear is just slightly raised in front and then hangs along the cheek. The tip is slightly rounded. When pulled toward the eye, the ear should not extend past the outside corner of the eye.
Semi-prick ears: Same as drop ears except that only the tips of the ears drop forward.
Rose ears: Rose ears are small and set high on the skull.
Fault: Hound ears.
ABA – Ears: Cropped or uncropped, with uncropped
being preferred.Drop, semi-prick, and rose ears
are preferred. The ears should be uniform,
medium in size, and sit high on the head.
Serious faults: bat ears
Disqualifications: unilateral or bilateral deafness
Drop ears: When the ear is pulled down
toward the eye, the ear should not extend
past the outside corner of the eye. The tip
is slightly rounded and hangs alongside
the cheek.
Semi-prick: Ears carried erect with just
the tips leaning forward. When the ear is
pulled down toward the eye, the ear
should not extend past the outside corner
of the eye.
Rose ears: Should be small and set high
on the head.
ABRA Revised, will take effect 2/1/19 – Muzzle & Breathing: The muzzle should be relatively broad and square. The large jaws are well-muscled, displaying great strength. Lips are full but not pendulous. Black pigment lining lips preferred, brown is acceptable. An excessively narrow muzzle is a major fault in both types.
Standard: muzzle should be 30% to 40% of the overall length of head.
Classic: muzzle should be 25% to 35% of the overall length of head.
Any dog that exhibits wheezing or you can hear the rattling of an elongated soft palate or other difficulty breathing while in the ring is a DQ. Accelerated, loud clean breathing is fine.
NKC – Muzzle:
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.
UKC – Muzzle: The muzzle is broad and thick, with a very slight taper from the stop to the nose.
The length of the muzzle in the bully type dogs is 25 to 35 percent of the overall length of the head. In the standard dogs, it is 30 to 40 percent of the overall length of the head. The jaws are well muscled, displaying great strength. Lips are moderately thick, but not pendulous. Black pigment on the lips is preferred. The chin is well defined, and must neither overlap the upper lip nor be covered by it.Serious Fault: An excessively narrow muzzle in any type.
Disqualification: Any dog that exhibits difficulty breathing while in the ring.
ABA – Muzzle/Bite: Medium length (2 to 4 in.), square and broad with a strong wide underjaw. Lips should be full but not pendulous – 42 to 44 teeth. American Bulldogs are a working breed and should not be penalized for broken or lost teeth. Serious faults: pendulous lips, less than 42 teeth Disqualifications: wry mouthBully type: Definite undershot, 1/4 inch preferred. The bite can vary from reverse scissor to 1/2 inch undershot. Cosmetic faults: uneven incisors Serious faults: a muzzle under 2 inches or over 4 inches, more than 1/2 inch undershot Disqualifications: scissors bite, even bite Standard type: Tight undershot (reverse scissors) preferred but up to 1/4 inch undershot acceptable. Cosmetic fault: uneven incisors, even bite, scissor bite Serious faults: a muzzle under 2 inches or longer than 4 inches, more than 1/4 inch undershot.
ABRA Revised, will take effect 2/1/19 – Teeth: The teeth should number 42 but it is common & accepted to have missing premolars and the teeth should be large in size.
In the upper jaw there are 20 teeth:  6 upper incisors, 2 canines, 8 premolars, 4 molars.
In the lower jaw there are 22 teeth:  6 lower incisors,  2 canines, 8 premolars, 6 molars.
Working dogs should not be penalized for broken teeth. Should medical removal of teeth be needed, documentation and verification by a veterinarian is requested.
NKC – 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.
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 teeth.
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 teeth.
Bully Type Serious Fault: Even, level, scissor bite, overshot, or wry mouth.
Standard Type Serious Fault: Undershot over ¾ inch, overshot, or wry mouth.
Note: American Bulldogs are a working breed and should not be penalized for broken or missing teeth.
UKC – Teeth: The American Bulldog has a complete set of 42 large, evenly spaced, white teeth.
In the standard type, a reverse scissors bite is preferred, a scissors bite or a moderate under bite (up to ¼ inch) is acceptable. An even bite is allowable but not preferred.In the bully type, undershot approximately ¼ inch is preferred, but any variation from 1/8 inch to ½ inch is acceptable. An even bite is allowable but not preferred. An extreme undershot bite is considered faulty to the degree that the bite interferes with the dog’s ability to work. Teeth are not visible when the mouth is closed. Worn teeth or broken teeth are acceptable.Disqualification: Overshot. Wry jaw.
ABA – Muzzle/Bite: Medium length (2 to 4 in.), square and broad with a strong wide underjaw. Lips should be full but not pendulous – 42 to 44 teeth. American Bulldogs are a working breed and should not be penalized for broken or lost teeth. Serious faults: pendulous lips, less than 42 teeth Disqualifications: wry mouth Bully type: Definite undershot, 1/4 inch preferred. The bite can vary from reverse scissor to 1/2 inch undershot. Cosmetic faults: uneven incisors Serious faults: a muzzle under 2 inches or over 4 inches, more than 1/2 inch undershot Disqualifications: scissors bite, even bite Standard type: Tight undershot (reverse scissors) preferred but up to 1/4 inch undershot acceptable. Cosmetic fault: uneven incisors, even bite, scissor bite Seriousfaults: a muzzle under 2 inches or longer than 4 inches, more than 1/4 inch undershot.
ABRA Revised, will take effect 2/1/19 – Bite:
Standard: Reverse scissors is preferred.
Note: A reverse scissors bite is an undershot mouth where there is no gap between the teeth of the upper and lower jaws. However, the top surface of the teeth in the upper jaw must actually touch the under surface of the teeth in the lower jaw for it to be called a reverse scissors bite.
Classic: Undershot 1/8 to ½ inch preferred.  More than 1/2 inch is a serious fault.
In an undershot mouth, the lower jaw is perceptibly longer than the upper jaw.
Both types: Teeth showing when the mouth is closed is a DQ.  Overbites (parrot mouth) are a DQ.  Wry Jaw is a DQ.
NKC – 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.
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 teeth.
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 teeth.
Bully Type Serious Fault: Even, level, scissor bite, overshot, or wry mouth.
Standard Type Serious Fault: Undershot over ¾ inch, overshot, or wry mouth.
Note: American Bulldogs are a working breed and should not be penalized for broken or missing teeth.
UKC – Teeth: The American Bulldog has a complete set of 42 large, evenly spaced, white teeth.
In the standard type, a reverse scissors bite is preferred, a scissors bite or a moderate under bite (up to ¼ inch) is acceptable. An even bite is allowable but not preferred.In the bully type, undershot approximately ¼ inch is preferred, but any variation from 1/8 inch to ½ inch is acceptable. An even bite is allowable but not preferred. An extreme undershot bite is considered faulty to the degree that the bite interferes with the dog’s ability to work. Teeth are not visible when the mouth is closed. Worn teeth or broken teeth are acceptable.Disqualification: Overshot. Wry jaw.
ABA – Muzzle/Bite: Medium length (2 to 4 in.), square
and broad with a strong wide underjaw. Lips
should be full but not pendulous – 42 to 44 teeth.
American Bulldogs are a working breed and
should not be penalized for broken or lost teeth.
Serious faults: pendulous lips, less than 42 teeth
Disqualifications: wry mouth
Bully type: Definite undershot, 1/4 inch
preferred. The bite can vary from reverse
scissor to 1/2 inch undershot.
Cosmetic faults: uneven incisors
Serious faults: a muzzle under 2 inches or
over 4 inches, more than 1/2 inch
undershot
Disqualifications: scissors bite, even bite
Standard type: Tight undershot
(reverse scissors) preferred but up to 1/4
inch undershot acceptable.
Cosmetic fault: uneven incisors, even
bite, scissor bite
Serious faults: a muzzle under 2 inches or
longer than 4 inches, more than 1/4
inch undershot.
ABRA Revised, will take effect 2/1/19 – Nose: The nose is large with wide open nostrils. Black is the preferred color. A brown nose is acceptable.
Lack of pigment is a minor fault but pinched nostrils/nares are a major fault.
Nares that are so pinched that you can hear the intake of each breath is a DQ.
A completly pink/dudley nose is a DQ.
NKC – Nose:
Preferred nose color is Black.
Cosmetic Faults: Any nose color other than black. Red, brown, pink, dudley, or grizzle colors will occur but are considered cosmetic faults.
UKC – Nose: The nose is large, with wide, open nostrils. Black color is preferred, but shades of red or brown are acceptable. Lack of pigment is a cosmetic fault.
ABA – Nose: Black or Liver but black is preferred. On black/liver nosed dogs the lips should be full pigmented with some pink allowed. The nares should be large and open. Cosmetic faults: a pink nose Serious faults: pinched nares
ABRA Revised, will take effect 2/1/19 – Neck: The neck should be very muscular and medium in length, as broad as the head at its widest point where it means the shoulder and taper slightly toward the head. The neck should taper from shoulder to head and be slightly arched.  A slight dewlap is acceptable.
NKC – Neck: 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.
UKC – Neck: The neck is where the American Bulldog exerts power to bring down livestock. The neck must be long enough to exert leverage, but short enough to exert power. The neck is muscular and, at its widest point, is nearly as broad as the head, with a slight arch at the crest, and tapering slightly from shoulders to the head. A slight dewlap is acceptable.Faults: Neck too short and thick; thin or weak neck.
ABA – Neck: Muscular, medium in length, slightlyarched, tapering from shoulders to head, with aslight dewlap allowed.
Cosmetic fault: excessive dewlap
Serious faults: necks that is short, long or thin
Bully Type: should be thicker than the Standard Type (slightly smaller than the head).
Standard Type: Should be longer than the Bully Type.
ABRA Revised, will take effect 2/1/19 – Shoulders: The shoulders should be well-muscled with good definition and the wide sloping blades set so elbows are not angled out.  Blades (scapula) are well laid back forming a 90 degree angle with the upper arm (humerus).
NKC – Forequarters:
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.
UKC – Forequarters:
The shoulders are strong and well muscled. The shoulder blade is well laid back and forms, with the upper arm, an apparent 90-degree angle. The tips of the shoulder blades are set about 2 to 3 finger-widths apart.
ABA – Shoulders: Very muscular with wide sloping blades, shoulders set so elbows are not angled out. The shoulders should be well laid back and forms, with the upper arm, an apparent 90 degree angle.
Serious faults: shoulders that are too steep without a lay back
ABRA Revised, will take effect 2/1/19 – Body: The body should be compact and moderately short while powerful and athletic in appearance. Well balanced. There should be a good spring of ribs with the loin moderately tucked. The body should not be excessively long.
Chest: 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 nor should the elbows be angled out or pulled in.  The chest should extend to the elbows.
The back should be broad and moderately short in length showing great strength. Slight roach over loins. The back should not be narrow or swayed.
Standard: More level topline is preferred.
Classic: Appearance of being slightly (very slight) higher in the rear is preferred. (Slightly less angulated rear legs and the slight roach contribute to this)
NKC – Body:
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.
UKC – Body:
The chest is deep and moderately wide, with ample room for heart and lungs. The ribs are well sprung from the spine and then flatten to form a deep body, extending at least to the elbows or lower in adult dogs. The topline inclines very slightly downward from well-developed withers to a broad, muscular back. The loin is short, broad, and slightly arched, blending into a slightly sloping croup. The flank is moderately tucked up and firm.Serious Faults: Swayback; sloping topline.
ABA – Chest, Back and Loin: The chest should be deep and moderately wide without being excessively wide as to throw the shoulders out. The back should be of medium length, strong and broad. Loins should be slightly tucked which corresponds to a slight roach in the back which slopes to the stern. Serious faults: sway back, narrow or shallow chest, lack of tuck up excessive roach
Bully Type: Shorter back that is proportional to height with a slight roach.
Standard Type: Slightly longer backed then the Bully Type. A flat topline preferred but a slight roach acceptable.
ABRA Revised, will take effect 2/1/19 – Legs: The legs should be strong and straight with moderate to heavy bone. Fine bones are a major fault.
Well-muscled front and back. The rear legs should be moderately angulated and parallel. The thighs should be thick with well developed muscle. There should not be an excess of or lack of angulation in the rear legs. Excessively bow-legged, fiddle fronted or cow hocked is a major fault.
NKC – 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.
UKC – Forelegs: The forelegs are heavily boned and very muscular. The elbows are set on a plane parallel to the body, neither close to the body nor turned out. Viewed from the front, the forelegs are perpendicular to the ground or may, especially in a dog with a very broad chest, incline slightly inward. The pasterns are short, powerful, and slightly sloping when viewed in profile. Viewed from the front, the pasterns are straight.
Hind legs: The thighs are well developed with thick, easily discerned muscles. The lower thighs are muscular and short. Viewed from the side, the rear pasterns are well let down and perpendicular to the ground. Viewed from the rear, the rear pasterns are straight and parallel to one another.Serious Faults: Narrow or weak hindquarters.
Faults: Cowhocks; open hocks.
ABA – Legs: Strong and straight with heavy bone. Front legs should not set too close together or too far apart. Rear legs should have a visible angulation of the stifle joint. Serious faults: in at the elbows, excessively bowlegged, fiddle-chested.
ABRA Revised, will take effect 2/1/19 – Hindquarters: The hindquarters should be thick with well-defined muscles. Not as wide as shoulders, but well-balanced. The hips and thighs should not be narrow or lacking in muscle definition and density.
NKC – Hindquarters:
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.
UKC – Hindquarters: The hindquarters are well muscled and broad. The width and angulation of the hindquarters is in balance with the width and angulation of the forequarters.
ABA – Hindquarters: Very broad and well-muscled and in proportion to the shoulders.
Serious faults: narrow hips, cow hocked, sickled hocked, twisted hocked, well let down hocks, under angulation, over angulation.
ABRA Revised, will take effect 2/1/19 – Tail: The tail is set low, thick at base and tapering to a point. The tail should reach the hocks in a relaxed position.
Docked tails, screw tails and tails that end in a complete circle are a DQ.
Kinked tails are a major fault.
NKC – Tail:
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.
UKC – Tail: The American Bulldog may have a natural or a docked tail, but the natural tail is preferred. The natural tail is very thick at the base, set low, and tapers to a point. It should reach to the hock joint. A “pump handle” tail is preferred, but any tail carriage from upright, when the dog is excited, to relaxed between the hocks is acceptable.Serious Faults: Tail curled over the back; corkscrew tail; kinked tail, tail that ends in a complete curl; upright tail when the dog is relaxed.
ABA – Tail: Set low, thick at the root, tapering to a point to the top of the hock. Tail should not curl over back. The natural tail is preferred but a docked tail is acceptable. Serious faults: screw tails, kinked tails, a tail that comes to a complete curl.
ABRA Revised, will take effect 2/1/19 – Feet: The feet should be upright, not flat or hare footed, of moderate size with toes well arched and close together. The toes should not be splayed.  Pasterns should be upright.  Toe nails should be short.  Long nails impede movement.
NKC – Feet: The feet are round, medium in size; toes are well arched, and tight.
Faults: Splayed feet or crooked toes.
UKC – Feet: The feet are round, medium in size, well arched, and tight.Fault: Splayed feet. The seriousness of this fault is based on the amount of splay in the feet.
ABA – Feet: Of moderate size, toes of medium length, well arched and close together, not splayed. Pasterns should be strong, straight and upright. Serious faults: hare foot, paper foot, splayed foot, crooked toes.
ABRA Revised, will take effect 2/1/19 – Gait: The American Bulldog should move with speed, agility, and power with a definite spring to the step. All legs move parallel to direction of travel, with front legs clearly reaching and the rear legs propelling the dog forward. The legs should not travel excessively wide. The topline should remain level and the head and tail should be up, showing confidence.  Front legs and/or rear legs crossing is a major fault but should not be confused with the feet moving toward the centerline when speed increases.  Ideally the dog should single-track but not cross when running.  The cross must be definite in order to fault.
Faults: Topline bouncing up and down, legs moving too close or touching, pacing, paddling, side winding.
Poor movement should be penalized to the degree to which it reduces the dog’s ability to run.
A lame or limping dog is a DQ.
NKC – Gait:
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.
UKC – Gait: When trotting, the gait is effortless, smooth, powerful and well coordinated, showing good reach in front and drive behind. When moving, the topline remains level, with only a slight flexing to indicate suppleness. Viewed from any position, legs turn neither in nor out, nor do feet cross or interfere with each other. As speed increases, feet tend to converge toward center line of balance.Poor movement should be penalized to the degree to which it reduces the American Bulldog’s ability to perform the tasks it was bred to do.
ABA – Movement: The gait is balanced and smooth,  powerful and unhindered suggesting agility with  easy, ground covering strides, showing strong  driving action in the hind quarters with  corresponding reach in front. As speed increases  the feet move toward the center line of the body  to maintain balance. Ideally the dog should  single-track. The top line remains firm and level,  parallel to the line of motion. Head and tail  carriage should reflect that of a proud, confident  and alert animal.  Movement faults: Any suggestion of clumsiness,  tossing and/or rolling of the body, crossing or  interference of front or rear legs, short or stilted  steps, twisting joints, pacing, paddling, or  weaving. Similar movement faults are to be  penalized according to the degree to which they  interfere with the ability of the dog to work.
ABRA Revised, will take effect 2/1/19 – Disqualifications: Note: A great way to think about these is whether or not an ABRA CHAMPION should ever have this fault. or Would you create a poster of an American Bulldog and use a picture of a dog with one of these faults? The answer is no.

Note to judges: If you aren’t sure, do not DQ, if you are sure, DQ. The judges decision at a show is final.

Dogs that are spayed or neutered.

Males that do not have 2 testicles.

Dogs that display behaviour that the judge deems to be excessively shy or aggressive. A dog shall be deemed to be too shy if it refuses to stand for examination, or it shrinks away from the judge and a dog will be deemed too aggressive if the dog attempts to bite the judge or handler or if the judge is concerned that touching the dog for examination will result in a bite. And if the judge is concerned whether or not the handler has control of the dog due to overt dog aggression, the dog will be disqualified.

The judge should show more tolerance for a shy puppy than a shy adult and never put pressure on an adult or puppy to test the temperament, but should expect the dog to stand to be examined which includes touching the dog.

Dogs with less than 25% white, dogs that are primarily solid black, blue or chocolate, (black, blue & chocolate patches are allowed but a dog that could be described as being primarily black, blue or chocolate are disqualified), black and tan or trindle pattern markings, fawn with a black mask, and/or any degree of merle.

Dogs with long (more than an inch), feathering, or fuzzy coats.

Dogs that are blind. Eyes that are blue, glass, cracked, crossed, wall eyed and/or not symmetrical.

Deaf dogs (unilateral or bilateral), cropped ears & bat ears.

Dogs that the judge deems to be having difficulty breathing while in the ring. More than just loud breathing, it must be very laboured.

Teeth showing when the mouth is closed. Overbites (parrot mouth) and wry jaw.

A completly pink/dudley nose.

A lame or limping dog.

Surgical procedures to hide faults, like cropped tails and ears, entropian surgery, elongated soft palate surgery and any other signs of surgery that judge deems to be hiding a fault.

And a rule, females in heat may not be shown, it is too much of a distraction for the male dogs at the show.

NKC – Disqualifications:
Any dog that has been spayed or neutered.
Male dogs that do not have 2 visible testicles.
Blindness or deafness. 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 deemed vicious.
Any Blue Color in Scott/Standard type or Solid Blue in Johnson/Bully type.
Parrot mouth or closed mouth with visible teeth.
Bully Type Serious Fault: Even, level, scissor bite, overshot, or wry mouth.
Standard Type Serious Fault: Undershot over ¾ inch, overshot, or wry mouth.
Note: American Bulldogs are a working breed and should not be penalized for broken or missing teeth.
UKC – Disqualifications: (A dog with a Disqualification must not be considered for placement in a conformation event, and must be reported to UKC.)
Unilateral or bilateral cryptorchid.
Viciousness or extreme shyness.
Cowardice.
Unilateral or bilateral deafness.
Any dog that exhibits difficulty breathing while in the ring.
Wry jaw.
Overshot bite.
Crossed eyes.
Eyes that do not match in color.
Coat longer than one inch, any feathering, or a wavy coat.
Albinism.
Solid black or blue with no white markings.
Tricolor (white with patches of black and tan); merle; full black mask.
The docking of tails and cropping of ears in America is legal and remains a personal choice. However, as an international registry, the United Kennel Club, Inc. is aware that the practices of cropping and docking have been forbidden in some countries. In light of these developments, the United Kennel Club feels that no dog in any UKC event, including conformation, shall be penalized for a full tail or natural ears.
ABA – Disqualifications:
-Unilateral or bilateral cryptorchidism
-Viciousness or extreme shyness
-Crossed Eyes
-Divergent Strabismus (Wall-Eyed)
-Wry mouth
-An even or scissors bite in Bully Type
-Unilateral or bilateral deafness
-Less than 15% white
-Blue color
-Black and tan
-Tri-color
-Merle
-Full black mask
ABRA Revised, will take effect 2/1/19 – Notes: 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.

Structural Faults: 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.

NKC – 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.
Structural Faults: 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.
UKC – Guardian Dog Group
History
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.
ABA – Fault Degrees: 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. We have not included a
line drawing of a Bully type or Standard type
American Bulldog because the drawing could not
take into account the variations acceptable in the
working American Bulldog. Attributes, other
than cosmetic, listed in the standard all relate to
working qualities which include but are not
limited to agility, endurance, leverage, biting
power and heat tolerance.
Point Breakdown for Judging
Overall proportion: 10 points
Temperament: 10 points
Total of 20 points
Head: size and shape 5 point
Muzzle/Bite: 5 points
Teeth: 5 points
Total of 15 points
Body: neck 5 points
Shoulders: 5 points
Chest: 10 points
Back: 5 points
Hindquarters: 10 points
Legs: 5 points
Feet: 5 points
Tail and Coat: 5 points
Total of 50 points
Overall Movement: 5 points
Front Reach: 5 points
Rear Drive: 5 points
Total of 15 pointsTotal of 100 points
Note: the distinctions made between the Bully
type and the Standard type depicts an ideal
representative of their respective types for show
purposes only.

Revised ABRA, American Bulldog Breed Standard scheduled to take effect February 1, 2019

General Description – This breed standard is meant to provide breeders that register their dogs ABRA, competitors competing at ABRA shows and judges at ABRA sanctioned conformation shows with a written guide that describes the ideal American Bulldog and is representative of the breed as a whole, the guide should be used by the breeder and competitors when selecting show stock and by the judges when selecting dogs in an ABRA conformation show. Breeders should also refer to this breed standard when making brood stock selections, adhering to this description will speed up the process if the goal is to produce American Bulldogs that fit this breed standard. Some of these faults and disqualifications have always existed in the breed but that does not make them acceptable or correct and they are not representative of the breed and should not be included when describing an ideal American Bulldog, for example full brindle and kinked or cropped tails. And personal preferences like cropped ears or cropped tails have no place in a breed standard, and the judge does not know if the tail and ears were removed to hide a fault so they must be DQ’d, not all puppies are show dogs or brood stock.

The American Bulldog is an athletic, temperamentally sound medium to large sized dog that possesses great strength, agility and confidence. The expression should reflect intelligence and alertness. The sturdy and powerful yet compact frame is characteristically stockier and heavier boned in the males and more refined in the females. Some aloofness with strangers and assertiveness towards other dogs is accepted.  However, an American Bulldog should not be excessively timid, shy or aggressive towards man and preferably not overly aggressive with other dogs. American Bulldogs should never be confused with uniquely different breeds such as the American Staffordshire Terrier, the American Pit Bull Terrier, the Boxer, or the Olde English Bulldogge.  American Bulldogs are extremely attached and affectionate with their human families.

Size: Desirable height in a mature male ranges from 23 to 25 inches; in a mature female, from 22 to 24 inches. In all types, bone should be medium to large and weight should be in proportion to height. Height should be measured at the withers. A dog should be well conditioned and not overweight (muscle definition should be visible) or underweight(spine and hip bones should not be seen). The seriousness of the fault increases the further away from the ideal range the dog gets. Size is important but not as important as function, so if you have a dog in the correct height and weight range but with other faults compared to a dog without those other faults but smaller or larger than the ideal range, the more correct but smaller/larger dog should win.

Standard: A leaner and more endurance athletic dog in appearance. (Long distance runner)
Classic: A larger and more powerful athletic dog in appearance. (Power lifter)

Color – All white, pied, and bodysuits with more than 25% white are
acceptable. Patches can be brindle, reverse brindle, black, blue,
red, brown, chocolate, fawn, blue fawn & tan.
Dogs with less than 25% white, dogs that are primarily solid black, blue or
chocolate, (black, blue & chocolate patches are allowed but dogs that could
be described as being primarily black, blue or chocolate are disqualified),
black and tan or trindle pattern markings, fawn with a black mask, and/or any
degree of merle are all disqualifiers.

**Merle is a dilution of overall body color (black or red) with splotches of darker color giving the effect of “merling” or “marbling” not to be confused with Brindle that gives the effect of “striping”.

Coat: Short, less than one inch in length varying from soft to stiff.
Longer than 1 inch, feathering, or fuzzy coats are a DQ.

Head: The head should be relatively large and broad in proportion to the size and overall structure of the dog. It should be flat on top giving a squared appearance. There is a defined furrow between the eyes with a distinct, deep stop. The head is well-muscled throughout with prominent cheeks. The forehead is wider than it is high. An excessively narrow head is major fault in both types.
Standard: Generally box shaped to wedge in appearance with a slightly shallower stop and less wrinkles.
Classic: Generally box shaped to round in appearance with a more definitive stop and heavier wrinkles.

Eyes: The eyes should be round or almond shape, medium sized, and wide set.
The haw (third eyelid) should not be visible, nor should the inside of the eyelids.
Dark brown is the preferred color.
Light brown or hazel are accepted.
Black eye rim pigment preferred. Brown pigment is acceptable, lack of pigment is a minor fault.
Entropian (hair on the eyelid rubbing on the eyeball), blue, glass, cracked, crossed, wall eyed and/or non-symmetrical eyes are a DQ.

Muzzle & Breathing: The muzzle should be relatively broad and square. The large jaws are well-muscled, displaying great strength. Lips are full but not pendulous. Black pigment lining lips preferred, brown is acceptable. An excessively narrow muzzle is a major fault in both types.
Standard: muzzle should be 30% to 40% of the overall length of head.
Classic: muzzle should be 25% to 35% of the overall length of head.
Any dog that exhibits wheezing or you can hear the rattling of an elongated soft palate or other difficulty breathing while in the ring is a DQ. Accelerated, loud clean breathing is fine.

Teeth: The teeth should number 42 but it is common & accepted to have missing premolars and the teeth should be large in size.
In the upper jaw there are 20 teeth: 6 upper incisors, 2 canines, 8 premolars, 4 molars.
In the lower jaw there are 22 teeth: 6 lower incisors, 2 canines, 8 premolars, 6 molars.
Working dogs should not be penalized for broken teeth. Should medical removal of teeth be needed, documentation and verification by a veterinarian is requested.

Bite:
Standard: Reverse scissors is preferred.
A reverse scissors bite is an undershot mouth where there is no gap between the teeth of the upper and lower jaws. However, the top surface of the teeth in the upper jaw must actually touch the under surface of the teeth in the lower jaw for it to be called a reverse scissors bite.
Classic: Undershot 1/8 to ½ inch preferred. More than 1/2 inch is a major fault.
In an undershot mouth, the lower jaw is perceptibly longer than the upper jaw.
Both types: Teeth showing when the mouth is closed is a DQ. Overbites (parrot mouth) are a DQ. Wry Jaw is a DQ.

Nose:The nose is large with wide open nostrils. Black is the preferred color. A brown nose is acceptable.
Lack of pigment is a minor fault but pinched nostrils/nares are a major fault.
Nares that are so pinched that you can hear the intake of each breath is a DQ.
A completly pink/dudley nose is a DQ.

Ears: The ears should be medium in size and may be either drop, or rose, with no preference.
Drop ears: The ears are set high, level with the upper line of the skull, accentuating the skull’s width. At the base, the ear is just slightly raised in front and then hangs along the cheek. The tip is slightly rounded. When pulled toward the eye, the ear should not extend past the outside corner of the eye.
Rose ears: These have small relatively thin leathers which fold backwards, so you can see the inside of the ear or the burr, the rose-shaped leathers are ‘set on’ high but at the back of the head.
Deaf dogs (unilateral or bilateral), cropped ears & bat ears are a DQ.

Neck: The neck should be very muscular and medium in length, as broad as the head at its widest point where it means the shoulder and taper slightly toward the head. The neck should taper from shoulder to head and be slightly arched. A slight dewlap is acceptable.

Shoulders: The shoulders should be well-muscled with good definition and the wide sloping blades set so elbows are not angled out. Blades (scapula) are well laid back forming a 90 degree angle with the upper arm (humerus).

Chest: 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 nor should the elbows be angled out or pulled in. The chest should extend to the elbows.

Body: The body should be compact and moderately short while powerful and athletic in appearance. Well balanced. There should be a good spring of ribs with the loin moderately tucked. The body should not be excessively long.

The back should be broad and moderately short in length showing great strength.
Slight roach over loins. The back should not be narrow or swayed.
Standard: More level topline is preferred.
Classic: Appearance of being slightly (very slight) higher in the rear is
preferred.
(Slightly less angulated rear legs and the slight roach contribute to this)

Legs: The legs should be strong and straight with moderate to heavy bone. Fine bones are a major fault.
Well-muscled front and back. The rear legs should be moderately angulated and parallel. The thighs should be thick with well developed muscle. There should not be an excess of or lack of angulation in the rear legs. Excessively bow-legged, fiddle fronted or cow hocked is a major fault.

Hindquarters: The hindquarters should be thick with well-defined muscles. Not as wide as shoulders, but well-balanced. The hips and thighs should not be narrow or lacking in muscle definition and density.

Tail: The tail is set low, thick at base and tapering to a point. The tail should reach the hocks in a relaxed position.
Docked tails, screw tails and tails that end in a complete circle are a DQ.
Kinked tails are a major fault.

Feet: The feet should be upright, not flat or hare footed, of moderate size with toes well arched and close together. The toes should not be splayed. Pasterns should be upright. Toe nails should be short, long nails impede movement.

Gait: The American Bulldog should move with speed, agility, and power with a definite spring to the step. All legs move parallel to direction of travel, with front legs clearly reaching and the rear legs propelling the dog forward. The legs should not travel excessively wide. The topline should remain level and the head and tail should be up, showing confidence. Front legs and/or rear legs crossing is a major fault but should not be confused with the feet moving toward the centerline when speed increases. Ideally the dog should single-track but not cross when running. The cross must be definite in order to fault.
Faults: Topline bouncing up and down, legs moving too close or touching, pacing, paddling, side winding.
Poor movement should be penalized to the degree to which it reduces the dog’s ability to run.
A lame or limping dog is a DQ.

DQ’s

Note: A great way to think about these is whether or not an ABRA CHAMPION should ever have this fault. or Would you create a poster of an American Bulldog and use a picture of a dog with one of these faults? The answer is no.

Note to judges: If you aren’t sure, do not DQ, if you are sure, DQ. The judges decision at a show is final.

Dogs that are spayed or neutered.

Males that do not have 2 testicles.

Dogs that display behaviour that the judge deems to be excessively shy or aggressive. A dog shall be deemed to be too shy if it refuses to stand for examination, or it shrinks away from the judge and a dog will be deemed too aggressive if the dog attempts to bite the judge or handler or if the judge is concerned that touching the dog for examination will result in a bite. And if the judge is concerned whether or not the handler has control of the dog due to overt dog aggression, the dog will be disqualified.

The judge should show more tolerance for a shy puppy than a shy adult and never put pressure on an adult or puppy to test the temperament, but should expect the dog to stand to be examined which includes touching the dog.

Dogs with less than 25% white, dogs that are primarily solid black, blue or chocolate, (black, blue & chocolate patches are allowed but a dog that could be described as being primarily black, blue or chocolate are disqualified), black and tan or trindle pattern markings, fawn with a black mask, and/or any degree of merle.

Dogs with long (more than an inch), feathering, or fuzzy coats.

Dogs that are blind. Eyes that are blue, glass, cracked, crossed, wall eyed and/or not symmetrical.

Deaf dogs (unilateral or bilateral), cropped ears & bat ears.

Dogs that the judge deems to be having difficulty breathing while in the ring. More than just loud breathing, it must be very laboured.

Teeth showing when the mouth is closed. Overbites (parrot mouth) and wry jaw.

A completly pink/dudley nose.

A lame or limping dog.

Surgical procedures to hide faults, like cropped tails and ears, entropian surgery, elongated soft palate surgery and any other signs of surgery that judge deems to be hiding a fault.

And a rule, females in heat may not be shown, it is too much of a distraction for the male dogs at the show.

Current ABRA American Bulldog Breed Standard

The American Bulldog is an athletic, temperamentally sound medium to large sized dog that possesses great strength, agility and confidence. The expression should reflect intelligence and alertness. The sturdy and powerful yet compact frame is characteristically stockier and heavier boned in the males and more refined in the females. Some aloofness with strangers and assertiveness towards other dogs is accepted. However, an American Bulldog should not be excessively timid, shy or aggressive towards man and preferably not overly aggressive with other dogs. Due to its distinctive physical and mental characteristics along with its natural desire to be the total companion and working dog, an American Bulldog should never be confused with uniquely different breeds such as the American Staffordshire Terrier or the American Pit Bull Terrier.
Size-General: Males should range from 24 to 27 inches at the withers and weigh between 90 and 110 pounds. Females should range from 22 to 25 inches at the withers and weigh between 70 and 90 pounds. Weight should be proportional to height and body type. A dog should be well conditioned and not overweight or underweight.

Standard: A leaner and more athletic dog in appearance.

Classic: A larger and more powerful dog in appearance.

Color: Solid or varying degrees of white, all shades of brindle, brown, red, or tan are acceptable. Solid black, black and tan, and/or any degree of merle is unacceptable. A full black mask is not acceptable. **Merle is a dilution of overall body color (black or red) with splotches of darker color giving the effect of “merling” or “marbling” not to be confused with Brindle that gives the effect of “striping”.
Coat: Short, less than one inch in length varying from soft to stiff. Long, feathering, or fuzzy coats are unacceptable.
Head: The head should be relatively large and broad in proportion to the size and overall structure of the dog. It should be flat on top giving a squared appearance. There is a defined furrow between the eyes with a distinct, deep stop. The head is well-muscled throughout with prominent cheeks. An excessively narrow head is unacceptable in both types.
Standard: Generally box shaped to wedge in appearance with a slightly shallower stop and less wrinkles.
Classic: Generally box shaped to round in appearance with a more definitive stop and heavier wrinkles.
Eyes: The eyes should be round or almond shape, medium sized, and wide set. Black or dark brown is the preferred color. Other colors are accepted. Black eye rim pigment preferred. Crossed and/or nonsymmetrical eyes are unacceptable.
Muzzle: The muzzle should be relatively broad and square. The large jaws are well-muscled, displaying great strength. Lips are full but not pendulous. Black pigment lining lips preferred. An excessively narrow muzzle is unacceptable in both types.
Standard: muzzle should be 30% to 40% of the overall length of head.
Classic: muzzle should be 25% to 35% of the overall length of head.
Teeth: The teeth should number 42 to 44 and large in size is preferred. Working dogs should not be penalized for broken teeth. Should medical removal of teeth be needed, documentation and verification by a veterinarian is requested.
Bite:
Standard: Reverse scissors is preferred. Moderate underbite, scissors or even bite is acceptable.
Classic: Undershot 1/4 to ½ inch preferred. Even bite is not preferred. Scissors bite is unacceptable.
Both types: Teeth should not be visible when the mouth is closed.
Nose: Black is the preferred color. A red, brown, or grizzle nose is acceptable. A pink or dudley nose is unacceptable.
Ears: The ears should be medium in size and may be either forward flap or rose, with no preference. Cropped ears is unacceptable.
Neck: The neck should be very muscular and medium in length. The neck should taper from shoulder to head and be slightly arched.
Shoulders: The shoulders should be well-muscled with good definition and wide sloping blades giving the appearance of great strength.
Chest: 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 nor should the elbows be angled out or pulled in.
Body: The body should be compact and moderately short while powerful and athletic in appearance. Well balanced. There should be a good spring of ribs with the loin moderately tucked. The body should not be excessively long.
Back: The back should be broad and moderately short in length showing great strength. Slight roach over loins. The back should not be narrow or swayed.
Standard: Straighter more level topline is preferred.
Classic: Appearance of being slightly higher in the rear is preferred.
Legs: The legs should be strong and straight with moderate to heavy bone. Well-muscled front and back. The rear legs should be moderately angulated and parallel. There should not be an excess of or lack of angulation in the rear legs. Excessively bow-legged or cow hocked is unacceptable.
Hindquarters: The hindquarters should be thick with well-defined muscles. Not as wide as shoulders, but well-balanced. The hips should not be narrow or lacking in muscle definition.
Tail: The tail is set low, thick at base and tapering to a point. The tail should reach the hocks in a relaxed position. Docked tails are considered a cosmetic fault.. The tail should not end in a complete circle.
Feet: The feet should be of moderate size with toes well arched and close together. The feet should not be splayed.
Gait: The American Bulldog should move with speed, agility, and power with a definite spring to the step. All legs move parallel to direction of travel, with front legs clearly reaching and the rear legs propelling the dog forward. The legs should not travel excessively wide. Front legs and/or rear legs crossing is unacceptable.
Standard: A tighter, more athletic gait.
Classic: A rolling gait is acceptable.

 

*Note: Males without two testicles, dogs that are deaf, and dogs that have been spayed or neutered are not allowed to compete in the conformation ring. Females in estrus are not to be shown in the conformation classes and are not allowed in the proximity thereof.

3 thoughts on “Breed Standard
  1. Hi we are buying a pure black American bulldog
    My question is when we first looked at the pup it was 1800 and then when we said we won’t to buy him the owner said he is 1800 with no breeding rights and 2500 for breeding rights is this true

  2. ARF BREED STANDARD FOR THE “CLASSIC” [Bully] AMERICAN BULLDOG
    [Also known as a Johnson American Bulldog]

    VARIETIES & RELATED BREEDS: Old Southern Whites, Old-Fashioned Whites, Old English Whites, White English Bulldogs, Georgia Giants, Old-time Bulldogs, and Working Bulldogs.

    PURPOSE: Protection, companionship, hunting, working livestock, catching cattle and hogs, etc.

    GENERAL APPEARANCE: Being that of a grand and powerful dog showing strength and alertness. Powerfully built, having an amazing endurance.

    SIZE: Males should measure between 23 to 26 inches (58 cm. to 66 cm.) at the withers; 1 inch (2.54 cm.) variation in height allowed. Weighing between 90 to 130 pounds (41 kg. to 59 kg.). Plus or minus 5 to 10 pounds (2.2 kg. to 4.5 kg.) is acceptable.

    SIZE: Females should measure between 20 to 23 inches (51 cm. to 58 cm.) at the withers; 1 inch (2.54 cm.) variation in height allowed. Weighing between 70 to 120 pounds (32 kg. to 54 kg.). Plus or minus 5 to 10 pounds (2.2 kg. to 4.5 kg.) is acceptable.

    HEAD: The face of the dog should indicate intelligence, with discerning alertness. The skull should be square or have a round “melon” look that is well muscled. The “stop” should be deep and abrupt.

    MUZZLE: The “muzzle” should be broad, not long and narrow. The length of the “muzzle” should be 1-1/2 to 3 inches (3.81 cm. to 7.62 cm.). The ideal “muzzle” length is 2 to 2-1/2 inches (5.08 cm. to 6.35 cm.). One-half inch (1.27) variation is acceptable.

    NOSE: Color of “nose”: Black, Gray, or Red.

    BITE: 3/8 to 3/4 inch (.95 cm. to 1.90 cm.) “Undershot”, depending on size of dog and shape of skull. Plus or minus 1/8 (.31 cm.) inch is acceptable.

    EYES: Almond-shaped to round, medium-sized. Color: Brown is the ideal color; however, Blue, Gray and Green eyes will occur.

    EARS: “Rose Ears”, small-to-medium, carried close to the head.

    NECK: Very muscular, almost equal to the skull in size; slightly arched and of moderate length.

    BODY: Wide, deep chest, fairly compact. The “loin” is wide, very muscular and slightly arched.

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

    COAT: Short and smooth.

    COLOR: “Solid White”: all shades of “Brindle” (white, red, yellow, blue, brown, black or gray): “Red & White”: “Fawn & White”: “Beige & White”: “Buckskin & White”: “Black & White”: “Brown & White”: “Mahogany & White”: “Cream & White”.

    FOREQUARTERS: 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.

    BONE STRUCTURE: Medium-to-heavy, to be able to carry a large dog.

    HINDQUARTERS: Broad with muscles tapering well down the leg to manifest speed and strength, but not quite as large as at the shoulders.

    FAULTS:

    TEMPERAMENT: Excessively shy; overly aggressive

    FACE & MUZZLE: Full black mask

    BITE: Even & Scissor bite

    EYES: Crossed [or non-symmetrical], both eyes not of the same color, pink eye rims, and excessive haw visible (A third eyelid in the inside corner of the eye; the most common are ectropion [eyelids that turn out], entroprion [eyelids that turn in], distichiasis [lashes that project towards the surface of the eye from abnormal locations], and prolapsed gland of the nictians [referred to “cherry eye” by breeders].)

    EARS: Cropped or hound-type ears

    NECK: Too short, thick, thin, or weak

    BACK: Too narrow, swayed, or excessively long

    FOREQUARTERS: Elbows turned outward, front legs bowed, wrists knuckled over, toeing in or out

    HINDQUARTERS: Narrow or weak, straight or over angulated knee [stifle]

    LEGS: Bow-legged, cow-hocked, weak pasterns

    FEET: Splayfoot [crooked toes]

    TAIL: Corkscrew, crooked [kinked], curled over the back

    SHOW RING DISQUALIFICATION:

    Full “Black Mask”: “Cow-Hocked”: “Splayfooted”: “Even & Scissor bite”: “Docked tail” not for show ring: “Glass Eye(s)” or Crossed: Spayed or Neutered; males who are unilaterally or bilaterally cryptorchid [testicles that are abnormally retained in the abdominal cavity]: Long &/or feathered coats: Blind: Deaf: Vicious; Shy: Flat Black or Blue color.

    NOTE

    All “Classic” [Johnson bloodline] American Bulldogs are prefixed with a “C” in front of their ARF registration number.

    All “Standard” [Scott-Painter bloodline] American Bulldogs are prefixed with an “S” in front of their ARF registration number. [For the “Standard” American Bulldog Breed Standard, see our “ARF BREED STANDARD FOR STANDARD AMERICAN BULLDOGS”.]

    All “Classic” and “Standard” American Bulldog crosses are prefixed with a “JT” in front of their ARF registration number (Johnson-type). [Note: The “Johnson-type American Bulldog will fall under either the “CLASSIC” (Bully) or “STANDARD” American Bulldog breed standards.]

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