Are American Bulldogs Dangerous and Aggressive – What’s Their Temperament Like

American Bulldog

When the movie “Homeward Bound” came out, everyone loved the American bulldog that was the star of the film. The American bulldog has tenacity, determination, great strength, and confidence. He lives for his family and will guard you and his home.

What is their temperament like?

Despite your American bulldog’s fierce appearance, his temperament is one of courage and gentleness. Your dog will be very loving and have endless patience when dealing with children.

Your dog’s temperament isn’t as predictable as inheriting physical traits such as how big he’ll get. His temperament will also be determined by how he was raised and how much training he has had.

If you are getting a puppy, you can avoid some negative traits by acquiring your pup from a reliable breeder. But you still won’t be able to tell what kind of temperament he’s inherited or what type of health problems he’ll develop.

But, if you rescue an adult American Bulldog from a rescue group or a shelter, you can see what you’re getting. You can see if he would have any negative characteristics.


How big do they get, and how fast do they grow?

This is a big dog, and you need to be aware of just how large your pet will become. The males are anywhere from 20 to 28 inches tall and weight between 60-120 pounds. The female is a little smaller but not a lot.


What are their breed instincts like?

Your American Bulldog isn’t the type of dog that will be easily trained or obedient. He will have stubborn times and even be willful when the mood strikes him. Your pup’s breed isn’t known for his trainability or intelligence. It’s crucial with your bulldog that you teach him that you’re the master. But, only use positive reinforcement training methods and food rewards then training him.


Are they aggressive, or when will they become aggressive?

Your bulldog may show some aggressive behavior around food. He could guard his food bowl zealously because this breed doesn’t like to share his food. So, your children and other pets need to be kept away from your dog during feeding time.

Your bulldog could show aggression towards another male dog. This is particularly so if your pup hasn’t been well socialized. You can reduce this behavior by putting him in puppy preschool when he’s young. Then continue to expose him to other dogs of friends and family as he grows.

Your male bulldog needs to be carefully managed with he’s in the home, so he doesn’t injure people and other pets. If you have a cat, your dog’s instinct is to chase and grab your cat so he might hurt it or even kill your cat.


Are they dangerous to humans and children (or can they be)?

The only time your bulldog might be aggressive towards children is if he’s eating. Keep your kids away from your dog or any dog while they’re eating.

Other than that, your bulldog will love kids. He is one of the most patient dogs when it comes to kids because of his high pain tolerance. He is gentle, and beyond patient, he will wrestle and tumble with the kids.


How will they react to strangers?

Your bulldog will be suspicious of people he doesn’t know. Expect him to bark and growl until you reassure him and allow the person into your home. Even though he’s a big dog, he can cover an incredible amount of distance quickly. Seeing your bulldog in growling attack mode will frighten anyone off.


How will your dog react if someone is aggressive to their owner & loved ones?

American bulldogs are incredibly loyal. If your pup feels that you or a loved one is at risk or threatened by a person or animal, he will become aggressive. He will protect you and anyone that he has bonded with.


Will Early Socialization Make Them Less Prone to Aggression and Dangerous Behavior?

The earlier you train your dog, the better off you’ll both be. You can start by taking him to puppy classes. You will be shown exercises that will help you work with your dog.

The practices will show him that you are the pack leader, and he needs to listen to you. Early obedience training will help to get your relationship with your pup off to the right start. If your dog is older and has aggression issues, then a professional trainer is advised.


Are they easy to train?

If you are consistent and confident, your dog will respect you and learn quickly. Be aware that this breed is strong-willed and stubborn.


How much exercise do they need?

You need to provide enough mental stimulation and training for your bulldog. He has to have a way to vent his energies and do something interesting things. If not, your pup will become bored and rambunctious. He may start chewing and barking. He’s a big dog, he can turn your house and yard into shambles.

Your dog isn’t overactive, so he’ll do ok in smaller houses and apartments. He will be prone to overheating, so don’t overexert him on hot days. A short walk, some quality time in the yard, and he should be good on the boredom issue.


Do they bark a lot?

Your dog won’t usually bark to hear himself bark unless he’s bored. Most of the time, he barks when there’s something to bark about.


Do they bite?

All dogs bite when they’re young and teething. You have to teach him that it’s not ok to bite. He may also bite if he’s protecting your home from an intruder.

The biggest risk of an American biting is if he is mistreated by a child who doesn’t understand how to treat the dog and hurts the dog continuosly.


Are they stubborn?

American Bulldog 2

Yes, they are very stubborn. You need to show them that you are the pack leader.


How are they with other dogs in the home or in public?

If your pup is socialized early with other dogs, he should do ok. If not, he will not get along with other male dogs.


What about cats and other small animals?

Cats and small animals will bring out your pup’s prey instinct if they run. If your cat runs, your dog will chase the cat, and the cat may become injured.


Are they as dangerous as Pitbulls?

Yes, an American bulldog can do as much damage as a Pitbull. However, just like a Pitbull, it depends on how your pup is raised and treated.


Is an American bulldog stronger than a Pitbull?

No, the Pitbull is stronger because of more muscle mass. The Pitbull’s short legs give the dog a lower center of gravity. It makes him ideal for climbing and pulling. The Pitbull has dense shoulder muscles and a broad chest with let him run and pull with greater strength.


Are they banned anywhere?

Bullmastiffs come from a line of mastiffs. The dog evolved by breeding bullmastiffs with other types of mastiffs. The American bulldog is prohibited in many cities because many people think the breed is a dangerous one.


Tips for Training American Bulldogs

The life expectancy of your pup is between 10-16 years old. So proper training is essential so the two of you can have a happy life together. An American bulldog is one that suffers from a bad reputation because of inadequate training.

One tip is to start early with socializing with other dogs as soon as possible. You need to be confident and firm and consistent. Using play training is an excellent way to train your pet. It’s when good behavior is rewarded by playing with your dog’s favorite toy,

When you are doing a training session, keep it short. Do several 10-15 minutes of training sessions in an hour or two than having a more extended training session. If they’re longer, both you and your dog may become frustrated. Before you start your training session, make sure that your pup is adequately exercised.

Another tip is to be sure to handle your pup from the moment you get him. Rub your hands over his paws and face. It will get him used to be handled; when he accepts this behavior, reward him.

When feeding your bulldog, have him wait to eat his food until you tell him to or give him a signal. It’s necessary to let your bulldog who is the boss. Training your pup is going to take time, patience, and persistence.

For example, if your pup is biting or nipping your hands, put them behind your back. Then silently turn and face the other direction. When your puppy comes around to where you’re facing, reward him with a treat or praise.


Other information

Even though your bulldog has short hair, he will shed more than you think. Plus, the short hairs stick to everything, such as your furniture and clothing. Your dog will drool, especially if he has loose heavy lips and cheeks. He will slobber and drool every time your dog eats or drinks.

Your dog will be gassy so bad that you may want to put a clothespin on your nose. If your dog is eating a commercial diet, it may include hard-to-digest ingredients or too much fibrous materials. If you don’t want to live with the gassiness, then fed him real meat and veggies. You’ll have fewer gas issues.

Your pet may have potential health problems. In American bulldogs, hip and joint issues are common problems. Irresponsible breeders don’t x-ray the hips and elbows of dogs, they’re using for their breeding stock.

Another problem is that your friends and neighbors may not feel comfortable around your dog. Your homeowner insurance company may not insure you because of the breed. The legal liabilities of any breed that insurance companies consider a liability can refuse your insurance. Or you may have to take out a high-risk policy. People are more ready to sue you if your bulldog does anything they have an issue with.


Pros and Cons Of American Bulldogs

There are many pros and cons of owning an American bulldog. One is that if you have your dog off your property, he needs to be leashed. Your pup needs to have the basic in obedience training. Many people have a prejudice against any dog that resembles a Pitbull or any of the bully breeds.


  • An American bulldog is muscular and powerfully built.
  • The breed is imposing and is an effective deterrent, but he is usually good-natured around people.
  • If you want a dog that loves vigorous athletic activities and exercise.
  • He has an easy to groom coat.



  • If you’re not fond of an exuberant and rowdy dog, especially when he’s a pup.
  • If you don’t want to provide enough socialization, so your dog doesn’t become aggressive.
  • If you don’t want to deal with aggression towards other animals
  • If you don’t like a dog that slobbers and drools.
  • If you don’t like dogs that shed.
  • If you don’t want to handle a dog that has a mind and strong-will of his own.
  • If you don’t want to be a confident owner and take charge.
  • If you don’t want to smell constant gassiness.
  • If you don’t want to deal with potential health problems.
  • If you are leery of the legal liabilities of future breed bans, insurance problems, an increased chance of lawsuits or public perception.



An American bulldog won’t back down from a fight, but the breed doesn’t go looking for fights either. Because of the breed’s large head and strong jaws, you, as a responsible owner, will need to address any aggressive behaviors immediately.

An American bulldog needs an owner who is in control, and let the dog know the owner is the pack leader. Knowing this will keep your dog happy. You also need to socialize and train your dog for a well-balanced and well-behaved canine companion. Your American Bulldog will make you a lovable and loyal companion. Still, if he becomes aggressive, it has to be taken seriously.

For more information about American bulldogs, click the link below:


Aidan Lehane

I have been dealing with Dogs, Cats, Rabbits, Turtles and Guniea pigs in my house since childhood and I now have years of experience in caring for my own pets, I decided to put this site together to share my passion and help people find some helpful knowledge. Feel free to reach out and get in touch.

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