The History of the American Bulldog
In England during the 17th and 18th centuries, early bulldogs were used on farms to catch and hold escaped livestock and also as butcher's dogs; it was believed then that sending a dog out after a bull would tenderize the meat. This eventually led to the bloodsport of bull-baiting, popular with the poor and rural areas for both entertainment as a bloodsport and the potential for gambling. These practices extended not only to the British Isles but also to the colonies she accquired during this time, including what is now the United States and in particular the South; many of the settlers brought their dogs with them to help around the farm, hunt in the woods, and to gamble.
In 1835, the sport of bull-baiting was outlawed in the United Kingdom and over time the English Bulldog became the more compact and complacent version known today, but the much more athletic American strain continued on much the same in the rural South even as its popularity declined in favor of other breeds. By World War Two the breed was near extinction until John Johnson and Allen Scott scoured the backroads of the South looking for the best specimens to revive the breed.
Today the American Bulldog is safe from extinction and is enjoying a healthy increase in popularity both as a working dog and as a loving family pet. In the South and West they are used as "hog dogs" (dogs used in the catching of escaped pigs and/or hunting razorbacks) and are also used in , driving cattle, and weight pulling.