Breed Standard ABEU

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The American Bulldog is an athletic, temperamentally sound but stable medium to large size dog that possesses great strength, agility and confidence. The expression should reflect intelligence and alertness. The sturdy, 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 with other dogs is accepted.

An American bulldog can however never be exaggerated timidly, shy or aggressively towards humans and preferably not exaggerate aggressively against dogs.

By its respective physical and mental characterizations together with its natural construction is of the ideal companion and worker and therefore an American bulldog can never be confused with other breeds for example the American Stafford and the Pit bull terrier.

Note: American Bulldog Europe (ABEU) judges are specifically charged with the responsibility of evaluating the temperamental stability as well as structural conformation on all dogs..

Any dog demonstrating shy or timid behavior, or that is out of control, presenting a danger to other dogs or people, will be dismissed from the ring at the judges discretion.

In officially recognizing two distinctive types of American Bulldogs, Standard and Bully, the ABEU requires that they be judged separately.

Although the ABEU has decided to separate the 2 types, Bully (former Johnson) and the Standard (former Scott), it doesn’t mean that there isn’t respect and appreciation for these 2 gentlemen who contributed so much to make the American Bulldog where it stands today. The motivation behind these changes are simple. We not only want to occupy ourselves with individual personalities but want to carry out that there have been several more important breeders of the American bulldog.

  • Sizes: height and weight (1 inch = 2.54cm)
  • Male: Should range from 22 – 25 inches (56cm / 63,5cm) at the withers.
  • Female: Should range from 21 – 24 inches (53cm / 61cm) at the withers.
  • BULLY: 0.5 inch beneath or above is less wanted.
  • STANDARD:  1 inch beneath or above is less wanted.

The above numbers are the ideal sizes and one inch over or under the standard is a minor fault for both types.
Anything over one inch is a major fault for both types.

Weight should be in proportion to height in both types in general appearance in accordance with the ABEU breed standard.
The American Bulldog should be well conditioned, not overweight or underweight.
Standard: A leaner, more athletic dog in appearance.

Bully: has a more muscular powerful appearance.








Completely white, or any color pattern including black, red, brown (fawn) and all forms of brindle are allowed.

Faults: Any percentage of the merle coat.



The coat of an American Bulldog should be short, less than one inch in length, varying from soft to stiff.
Coats longer than 1 inch, or fuzzy coats are a disqualification.


The head should be relatively large and broad in proportion to the size 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.


Generally box to wedge shaped in appearance, with a slightly shallower stop and less wrinkles.
Terrier look is a major fault.



Generally box to round shaped in appearance, with a more definitive stop and more wrinkles.

An excessively narrow head is a major fault in both type.


The eyes should be round or almond in shape, medium size, and wide set.
The eyes shouldn’t be too close to each other.
The colors vary between dark brown, yellow/gold and hazel colored.
A single blue eye or a single mooneye (without pigment) and the lack of pigment around the eyes is minor fault.

Frog eyes and hanging eyelids are a major fault.
Double blue eyes or double moon eyes crossed, entropion, ectropion and/or nonsymmetrical eyes are a disqualification.




The muzzle should be relatively broad and square.
The big jaws should be well muscled, displaying great strength.
Lips are full but not pendulous. They should be tight and display a bully look.
Good pigmented lips are preferred.
An excessively narrow muzzle is a major fault..

Standard; Muzzle should be 30% to 40% of the overall length of the head.

Bully; Muzzle should be 25% to 35% of the overall length of the head.



Black is the preferred color, but also red, brown or grey is being accepted. A pink or meat colored nose (Dudley nose) is a major fault. Missing 10% pigment or less on the nose is a minor fault. Everything above 10% is a major fault. Pups till the age of 1 year should be looked at by the judges.

08_red_nose 08_red_nose 09_dudley_01 10_dudley_02

From left to right:  Black nose with good pigment – Red nose with good pigment – Dudley Nose – Dudley Nose


Standard; Reverse scissors is preferred. A scissor bite or moderate under bite, up to 1/4 inch is acceptable. Even bite is not preferred.

Bully; Undershot up to 1/4 inch is preferred. 1/8 to 1/2 Undershot is acceptable. Even bite is a major fault. Scissor bite is a disqualification.

Both Types;  Anything over the accepted standard is a structural fault, and will be penalized based on the severity. Teeth should not be visible when the mouth is closed.


The teeth should number 42 and large sized teeth are preferred. Working dogs will not be penalized for broken teeth. Should medical removal of teeth be needed, documentation from a veterinarian is required.
Missing 4 or more visible teeth elements or unexplainable distorted teeth are a major fault.

A wry jaw is a disqualification.

11_jaw_01  12_jaw_02


The ears should be medium in size and may be either forward flap or rose, with no preference. Cropped ears are a unacceptable unless they are cropped in their country of birth where it should be legal or on medical grounds where owners must show a certification from a veterinarian for dogs that have been altered. Cropped ears are a minor fault due to the fact that they can’t be judged in their natural state.

Hound ears are a major fault.



The neck should be muscular and preferably shorter than longer, slightly arched, and taper from shoulders to head..


The shoulders should be well muscled with good definition and wide sloping blades giving the appearance of great strength.


The chest should be deep and moderately wide giving the appearance of power and athletic ability. The fore chest must be well muscled with a deep brisket. Well muscled shoulders with powerful looks. The front legs should be powerful and straight with moderate to heavy bone. Well placed so that a powerful front creates.

Feet placed too much to the inside or outside are a minor fault. A brisket not deep or too low, elbow out or twisted and weak pasterns are a major fault. With adult dogs, dropped by pasterns are a disqualification.



Back should be short and straight, giving the dog a compact look but not too short that it would hinder the dog when moving. There should be a good spring of the ribs and the loin moderately tucked. The dog should have a square look when looking from the side. Preferred is a slight roach over the loins. Camel and swaybacks are a major fault.

Bully; Straighter more level top line is preferred, appearance of being slightly higher in the rear is acceptable.

Standard; Straighter more level top line.



The loins are wide and muscular with pretty deep flanks. The rear legs strong and well muscled with good hips that radiates power and souplesse. Hocks are medium angulated. The hips may not be too small or without muscles, this is a minor fault same as toed out.

Legs which are angulated too deep are too sharp, cow hocked, X -or O legs are a major fault.

15_achterhand         16_hoekingen


The toes should be powerful, well arched with strong nails and close together. The feet should be springy and strong. The AB walks and stands on the toes.

Splayed feet are a fault from minor to major, based on the severity.



The tail is set low, thick at the base, tapering to a point. The tail should reach the hocks in a relaxed position. A docked tail is unacceptable unless it has been altered in a country where it’s legal to do so or on medical grounds. A docked tail is a minor fault due to the fact that it can’t be judged in it’s natural state.A tail too low at the base is a minor fault.

Tails that are kinked, screw, or end in a complete circle are a major fault..


The American Bulldog should move smoothly with speed, power, and agility.

When the dog walks, the front and back legs may not cross each other. The right front leg and the left rear leg should be moved at the same time. A good top line combined with a powerful hindquarter will give good balance and a harmonic gait. Weak or clumsy gait is a major fault.

Standard: A more athletic, tight light-footed gait.

Bully: A more rolling gait is allowed.

Note: Dogs without 2 testicles, deaf dogs, nd dogs that have been spayed or neutered are not allowed to compete in the conformation ring. 


  • One inch over or under the standard
  • A single blue eye or a single mooneye and the lack of pigment around the eyes
  • Missing 10% pigment or less on the nose
  • Cropped ears
  • A tail too low at the base
  • Feet toed out
  • With the Standard a scissor bite
  • Missing  no more then 4 visible teeth elements or unexplainable distorted teeth



  • More then one inch over or under the standard
  • An excessively narrow head
  • Frog eyes and hanging eyelids
  • Dudley nose
  • Missing more then 10% pigment
  • Even bite
  • Missing  4 visible or more teeth elements or unexplainable distorted teeth
  • Overbite for the standard
  • Visible teeth when the mouth is closed
  • Hound ears
  • Elbow out
  • Weak pasterns
  • Legs which are angulated too deep are too sharp
  • Cow hocked
  • X or O legs
  • Camel and sway back
  • Splayed toes
  • Tails that are kinked, screw, or end in a complete circle
  • Weak or clumsy gait
  • Aggressive and fearful
  • Visible lack of mass and muscle
  • A not well low laying bisker

Disqualification faults:

(American bulldogs with faults described below will be judged but can not  be placed).

  • Any degree of merle is considered as a disqualification within the ABEU.
  • Coats longer than 1 inch, or fuzzy coats
  • Double blue eyes or double moon eyes crossed, entropion, ectropion and/or nonsymmetrical eyes
  • Wry Jaw
  • Overbite with Bullies
  • Corner teeth visible with closed mouth
  • Tongue hanging outside when mouth is closed
  • Males without 2 testicles

### With the American Bulldog Europe /ABEU all pedigrees are welcome###

  • ABA (American Bulldog Association
  • NKC (National Kennel Club)
  • UKC (United Kennel Club)
  • ARF (Animal Research Foundation)
  • ABRA (American Bulldog Registry & Archives)
  • EKC (European Kennel Club)
  • ARFE (Animal Research Foundation Europe)
  • FCI (Fédération Cynologique Internationale)