Are American Bulldogs Aggressive?

Last Updated on October 4, 2021 by Marco C.

If you’ve ever been knocked over by an excitable American Bulldog, you’ll know what a strong breed of dog this is! American Bulldogs are one of the largest bulldog breeds and can have a reputation for being aggressive. But is this true – are American Bulldogs aggressive?

American Bulldogs are friendly and lovable dogs with a strong personality. However, many people think that American Bulldogs can be aggressive. Let’s find out all there is to know about American Bulldog temperament.

What Are American Bulldogs?

The American Bulldog is a medium-large breed of dog, with origins going back to the 17th century. This breed was popular as a working breed on farms and ranches. This is because the dog’s great strength and athletic ability could be used to control large animals such as cattle and pigs.

The American Bulldog is a stocky and muscular breed of dog. They stand 20 to 28 inches tall and weigh in at 60 to 120 pounds. The American Bulldog is renowned for its skill at jumping great heights!

American Bulldogs are energetic dogs with high exercise needs. They need careful handling and training to counteract their hunting and fighting instincts. However, the lovable temperament of this breed means they can make a great family pet.

What Is American Bulldog Temperament Like?

To understand the American Bulldog temperament, we need to know a bit more about their history.

American Bulldogs are descended from an ancient hunting dog, which was a Mastiff-type breed. These Mastiffs were strong, powerful, and very prey-driven. They could tackle and bring down powerful wild animals such as bears, big cats, and wild boar!

In fact, this is where the name Bulldog comes from. Many centuries ago, it was a normal sight to witness a 80-pound Bulldog bringing down an 1800 pound bull!

In more modern times, many Bulldog types became popular as illegal fighting dogs. This barbaric sport involved putting two dogs in a ring to fight each other, often to the death. Luckily this ‘sport’ has now been outlawed in most states and countries.

Bearing this information in mind, we can see that American Bulldogs may not be an obvious choice as a family pet. With a history of being able to tackle a wild bear and fight other dogs to the death, you can see why people might think they are aggressive!

So, why are American Bulldogs now so popular as a family pet?

Well, the fighting instinct is just one aspect of the nature of an American Bulldog. To get this breed to hunt and fight took considerable training, often using barbaric techniques. This dog did not necessarily want to fight but was made to out of desperation.

Nowadays, many decades of breeding have aimed to remove these aggressive instincts. The basic temperament of an American Bulldog is a breed which is gentle and loyal, with a strong and dominant personality.

Bulldog is a loyal breed with a strong and dominant personality

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Are American Bulldogs Aggressive?

So, if American Bulldogs were used for fighting, surely, they must be aggressive?

The reason these dogs were chosen as a fighting breed is because of their strength, and that they could be trained to fight other dogs. They were not born with the desire to fight other dogs, apart from in a territorial sense. This fighting ability had to be trained into them.

However, it was common for good fighting dogs to be used for breeding, potentially increasing the aggressive nature of the offspring. So it is always a good idea to find out about the temperament of both parent dogs if you are thinking of buying an American Bulldog puppy.

One areas of concern when it comes to American Bulldog aggression is how they react to other animals. This is a particular problem with male dogs, who will react aggressively to other male dogs. American Bulldogs will also want to chase prey, so maybe aggressive towards cats and other pets.

The best way to prevent this from happening is through socialization and training. This should start from a very young age, as soon as you bring your new puppy into your home.

If this is your first experience training a American Bulldog puppy, it is a good idea to have a trainer on hand to advise you. Look for an expert with experience with Bulldog breeds to help you understand the right training methods to use. This will give you the best chance of avoiding any aggression problems.

Are American Bulldogs Dangerous?

American Bulldogs are not naturally predisposed to be aggressive towards humans. They only become so if they are not trained properly, or have been mistreated.

The reason this breed has a reputation for being dangerous dates back to when it was used for dogfighting. These hyper-aggressive dogs were known to attack humans as well on occasion. However, this was down to their fight training and the abusive manner in which they were treated.

In the right hands, an American Bulldog can make a fabulous family pet! They are good-natured dogs, who are loyal and eager to please. Your American Bulldog puppy will quickly become an integral part of your family and will want to share in all family activities.

Are American Bulldogs Mean?

One aspect of American Bulldog personality to be aware of is that they do tend to guard food. He may show aggressive behavior around food, as he does not like to share!

Food guarding behavior is not necessarily a big problem, as it can be easy to manage. This most important thing is to make sure that children and other animals are kept away from your American Bulldog at feeding time. If you feel that the food guarding behavior is becoming too aggressive, seek the help of a reputable dog behaviorist.


So, as we have learned, an American Bulldog can be a fun-loving dog which makes a great family pet. This breed is kind, loyal, and very athletic. However, as with all Bulldog breeds, American Bulldogs need careful training and handling to avoid any aggressive tendencies.

We would love to hear about your experiences with American Bulldogs – are you a big fan? Perhaps you are thinking of buying an American Bulldog but have a few questions you’d like us to answer? Add a comment below this post and we’ll get back to you!

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