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If you talk to those who have been in the breed for 20+ years the general consensus is that the AB is a mere fraction of the dog that it once was. I would give anything to have a classic dog from way back when.
I won't pretend to have the knowledge of people who have worked with the breed for many years, but I did do a lot of research before buying my AB two years ago. The more I studied the breed, the more I found myself attracted to the original Standard type. And when I studied the Standard type, I learned that the Old Southern White bulldog, sometimes called the White English, was the foundation for that strain.

I found only a few kennels still breeding the Old Southern White lines:

Laura Kennels and Joshua Kennels share each other's dogs in their breeding programs. Both these breeders are serious about health, temperament and working ability. Another fellow who has a lot of knowledge to share about the Old Southern Whites is Ralph Citarella at White Knight.

People sometimes don't understand what a dog breed was intended for. They decide they like the look of a dog, so get it and then try to make it do a task. Often, the dog wasn't bred for that task. So breeders start to change the dogs to suit consumer demand. That is what's been happening to the AB, and it's ruining the breed.

Old Southern White bulldogs were used over many generations to hunt wild pigs and boar, catch and hold livestock, and drive cattle. A dog hot on the scent of a wild boar isn't supposed to bark because that will tip off the boar. They were bred to be quiet dogs. But people wanting to use ABs for protection work will often complain that they can't get their dog to bark!

Working bulldogs sometimes get gored by a wild hog and need to be stitched up out in the field- without anesthesia. If you're a hunter and come across a dog that needs your help, you don't want that dog to bite you when you start to work on it. You need that dog to be able to restrain its natural instinct to bite when it's in pain. So bulldogs that remained calm and didn't bite while under stress were considered good dogs and got bred. Bulldogs that "lost their cool" and bit people were not bred.

Cut to today, when more and more people want ABs for protection and bite work because the AB looks like an imposing dog. Trying to make bulldogs bark and do bite work is the opposite of what they were originally bred for. I'm not saying it can't be done and done well, but a lot of these dogs just don't have the temperament for that kind of work. So breeders are changing the dog to suit the public's demand, and messing it up considerably, IMHO.

As a result, we're seeing more and more American Bulldogs that are dog-aggressive and have dominance problems in the home. They're often hugely oversized and muscular, to the detriment of their structure, breathing and endurance.

If you want a classic AB in all of its original glory, the Old Southern Whites are still around. You just have to look a little harder to find them. Mine is sleeping on my feet...
 

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Not sure what you mean by "fairytale". I've looked at the dogs that Alan Scott and John D. Johnson used at the beginning of their work (before Johnson started outcrossing), and they were Old Southern Whites. If I'm wrong about that, please tell me how.

I didn't mean to give the impression that the breeders I mentioned were the only ones breeding sound hunting dogs. I mentioned them because they're the ones I'm familiar with.
 

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I have no desire to argue with people here who have thousands of posts to their names. It seems, however, that people are arguing with me about things I didn't say.

For clarity's sake, I never said OSWs were better at hunting than dogs from other breeding lines. I don't agree with the statement that the OSW is a breeding program strictly for hunting, or that it's just marketing hype, but I'm fine with the fact that others might see it that way. I see the OSW as an athletic, well-balanced, general-purpose bulldog. It isn't just a hunting dog. It's also been used for herding cattle, catching livestock, family companion, therapy dog, and yes, protection work as well. It's been around far longer than pedigrees and breed registries.

When the American Bulldog as a breed is so deteriorated that people are asking whether or not it needs outcrosses to other breeds in order to bring it back to health, I look at a well-bred OSW bulldog and see a bulldog that is already healthy.

***

You know, I came here a few years ago with a training question about my puppy. She was suddenly afraid of children when she hadn't been before. I got such a harsh, judgemental response from one of the participants here that it left me in tears. She said she would never tolerate an aggressive bulldog and that I should get rid of her. Well, turns out my pup was in an adolescent fear phase. Wasn't agressive at all.

But the rudeness, the judgementalism, the hostility of the responder made me avoid this forum for a long time thereafter.

Recently I decided to dip my toe back into the conversations here. And yep, there it is again. Rather than a civil response, I'm insulted. Repeatedly. Lovely.

Do you talk to people that way when you meet them face to face? Perhaps you're in a lot of pain, and that's why you're so rude. I hope so, because if not, it means you're just an a**hole by choice.

I came to this forum to share in discussion, to learn, not to fight, and not to be bullied and insulted. Turns out, this isn't a forum for adult discussion, it's an elementary school clique.

I will leave you to it. BuhBye!
 
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