The American Bulldog is heaped in myth, mystery and legend. Various versions of history and clouded variations of its origins and purpose of creation. Here at Heritage Style Bullies we do not buy into any one theory or story line but rather the commonalities found between the various sources to be the bulldogs true heritage; whether it be American Bulldog or some other variety. One thing that is for sure would be that John D Johnson would be given credit for having the forethought to create a relationship with a registry and name the dogs and start record of their breedings. For this he deserves the label of the father of the breed and maybe even founder. While we respect this about Johnson we personally do not breed 100% Johnson American bulldogs. We simply feel to get hung on a label or a specific kennels dogs would simply limit the possibilities of genetics used; and therefore limit the threshold of quality. We do breed a Johnson type american bulldog in the fact that we prefer the bully look that he preferred. We just do not not breed for size alone. We are satisfied with a dog in the 95-105 lb range though we do have some into the 120's and produce that large. We just do not make size our sole focus. Nor do we exaggerate sizes. As I have traveled to shows and even judged some I have seen that there is a great desire among breeders to use their dogs as an ego booster by exaggerating the size. It is very rare for the AB to be over 125 lbs. And most that I have seen make these claims they are either exaggerating or the dog has absolutely no bulldog features whatsoever, but rather have a heavy mastiff flavor. You have to understand and consider if it was not part of the heritage for the dogs to be a giant breed then you have to wonder where it came from. It would be easy to say they added something. But of course their could be other reasons such as endocrine system issues. Which of course would not be a healthy thing.
Our goal is to not become too focused on any one part of the dog. But rather to build a bulldog that has the style and muscle of a decathlete of dogs so to speak while still having the appearance of a bulldog. It is not enough for us to simply have a dog that has a big bully head although we do like a large headed American Bulldog. Or to have a beautiful athletic body without a bulldog style head. And while we do not breed for size we do produce some large American Bulldogs. Since there is no perfect dog we have chosen simply to try and breed the most complete American bulldog that is true to its heritage. Some will argue the true bulldog looks nothing like the cartoon character of today. Others argue that they must look like the cartoon character to be a true bulldog. Some include the APBT as a bulldog and feel the name bulldog in history referred to many styles of dogs that had a bully nature. Here at Heritage we adhere to the thought process that though all of these dogs that fought in pits, chased wild boars, and fought bears have common ancestry they are not the same dogs that were selected for the specific duty of bull baiting. And as bull baiting dogs became known as Bulldogs. It only takes a little common sense to understand that each of these duties would use slightly different size and temperaments. A bear dog could not go charging in and attack a bear or it would be dead. Even in packs of 6 or more the attrition rate of a hunters dogs would be just to great to meet the demand. So different sizes and mentalities and characteristics were developed. Though we agree that there is no way the cartoon character many call the English Bulldog of today was the working dog of old. We do know and understand that certain traits such as an undershot bite, thick bone, low exaggerated build, and being loaded in the front were traits that did not come out of thin air. Another words some so called purist believe breeders have bred to meet the drawings and cartoons as if the cartoonist created the dog and not the breeders. We believe the cartoonist exaggerated a dog that existed. Just as he does when you get your cartoon drawing done at a fair, boardwalk, or theme park where cartoonists may set up. He simply exaggerates things that exist. And yes through the last 100-150 yrs breeders have exaggerated the characteristics to unusable proportions. But they are the obvious heritage traits of the bulldog.
We also adhere to the thought process that form follows function and this is why a bulldog has these traits. The term form follows function was adopted by breeders from the field of Architecture. You here some breeders referring to themselves as dogmen and yet misusing this phrase. They use this phrase as if to say a dog that has perfect structure will function. If that were what it meant then it would say function follows form. Another words if you have form you will have function if said function was simply to run behind a coach or trot for long periods. But the statement is "form follows function" . This says that the function is decided first; and then you form the dog to its function. Thus a Dachshund came about because first they wanted a dog to do the function of hunting animals in burrows. Obviously a long legged dog could not do this function. So a dog was formed to meet the function that was decided upon. As it was with the Bulldog. Being lower and loaded in the front helped the dog to use its rear as a pivot while keeping its front low and wide ready and capable of quick and powerful pivots. And being able to stay below the horns of a lowered head of a bull and capable of going between the legs and under the low slung bull. In our belief the bulldog came from an era when man still used his best and most loyal friend to do jobs that he could not accomplish on his own. And thus was created for a specific job with a specific look and ability. It is our desire to produce great family companions that still exhibit the heritage of the dog that is called Bulldog. .
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In breeding Johnson type and not 100% Johnson dogs we believe we have access to a healthier strain of genetics. And we also prefer the appeal of the thinner, tighter skin and harder more defined muscle that we can obtain through a bit of the Standard (Scott/performance) dogs in the mix. It is a fine line to walk back and forth on the balance of keeping them bully while maintaining these other desired characteristics from the Standard bred American bulldog. But we feel it is worth the effort and even part of the excitement behind the challenge of breeding to make improvements.