Are American Bulldogs Dangerous?

dangerous american bulldog

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You may have often seen the American bulldog be described as dangerous. If you have your concerns about the breed, we have the information for you to dispel many of the myths about the American bulldog. 

Are american bulldogs dangerous?

The American bulldog is not a dangerous breed and can be loving, patient, and affectionate. Whether they are dangerous or not solely depends on their upbringing and training.

By definition, aggression means being hostile, violent, or acting out towards others confrontationally. Often, American bulldogs become aggressive if they have had inappropriate training or have been neglected and abandoned. 

Like any untrained dog, aggression stems from having an inexperienced owner. Read on to find out more about this remarkable breed’s temperament.

The Temperament of An American Bulldog

The American bulldog has a long history of being bred to protect property and people against large cattle and wild animals. 

American bulldogs today are easily excitable, highly athletic, and overly sensitive temperament may be interpreted as aggressive behavior. However, their overly social temperaments lead to concerns from people who don’t know much about the breed. 


american bulldog during a training session

The American bulldog needs an ‘alpha’ parent who is not afraid to take charge, enforce boundaries, and state dominance.

While this bulldog’s temperament is mainly affectionate and loyal, their other characteristics, such as excitable, intuitive, and sensitive, can quickly become destructive, aggressive, and unresponsive.

Due to the intelligence level of the American bulldog, they can understand direction, and when they seek respect from a bonded and dominant owner, they are relatively easy to train. However, socialization must start at an early age. 

Friendliness Level

When it comes to their pet parent (an experienced and bonded owner), they show signs of affection, compassion, and protectiveness. While the American bulldog does have a stubborn and territorial streak, adequate training can correct the underlying behaviors. 

With kids, you’d be surprised how extremely patient they can be due to their intelligence (knowing the difference between child and adult) and high pain tolerance. However, please do not allow kids to get close to them while eating, as accidents could happen.

Because of their underlying protective nature, strangers may become a problem for American bulldogs. If they are approached by an unfamiliar person, the instincts that tell them to guard kick into overdrive, and you’ll likely witness growling or barking. 


American bulldogs are known for their protective traits and dedication to their family members. Any aggressive nature stems from a perceived threat or suspiciousness of something that has approached them. 

Again, through early socialization and consistent training, the American bulldog learns a different approach and will only attack if the owner allows it or if they feel threatened. 

In general, the American bulldog is a friendly, caring, loyal, and well-rounded dog. 

Do American Bulldogs Bite?

According to dog bite statistics, the American bulldog (alongside the English bulldog and pitbull) bites most often. However, statistics show that they are not the worst or strongest bite leading to fatalities.

Of course, all dogs tend to bite a human—regardless if it’s a harmless chihuahua or a vicious rottweiler. In 2020-2021, there were 15 deaths stemming from an American bulldog’s bite, compared to 284 deaths due to pitbulls.  

Reasons American Bulldogs Will Bite

There are quite a few reasons that a dog will bite. The number one cause for an American bulldog is strictly due to their perceived notion of a threat or because they feel they need to protect their family. 

Other reasons include: 

  • Puppies still teething
  • Scared, overwhelmed, or threatened
  • Not feeling well/sick
  • Old age (sometimes) caused by pain
  • Territorial over food or other items
  • Stressed, and the warning signs of “leave me alone” were dismissed
  • Rough play from being overstimulated

Are American Bulldogs Aggressive?

american bulldog guarding the place

Although an American bulldog will rarely attack their owners or someone they’re familiar with, attacks stemming from aggression do happen. In most cases, aggression comes out when your bulldog feels estranged or uncomfortable without proper guidance and reassurance. 

Are American bulldogs aggressive by nature, though? No, there is an underlying cause for aggressive behavior in any case of a bulldog attack.

Reasons American Bulldogs Become Aggressive

When it comes to strangers or other animals that your American bulldog is unfamiliar with, you must pay close attention to their body language. If they exhibit any sign of hostility, they are ready to fight. It’s the owner’s job to correct this behavior through positive reinforcement, distraction, and reassurance. 

Some reasons an American bulldog will become aggressive are:

  • Feel estranged
  • Boredom
  • Not socialized
  • Never undergone adequate training
  • Feels threatened or anxious
  • Tired or sore
  • Sick or not feeling well

FAQs About American Bulldogs

friendly american bulldog

What you see and others see about your American bulldog are two different things. Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about the breed. 

Are American bulldogs instinctively aggressive?

A well-socialized and properly trained bulldog is not a danger to himself or others – including other animals. On the other hand, the American bulldog is fully capable of becoming dangerous through aggression if not taught differently. 

What is the most dangerous dog—according to facts?

According to statistics, the most dangerous dog breed globally is the pitbull. Second in line is the rottweiler. The American bulldog is fifth on the list of most dangerous dogs. Again, behavior hinges entirely on training and socialization. 

When do American bulldogs calm down?

An American bulldog’s behavior does not start calming down until they reach later adulthood beginning at four years and sometimes up to six years old. 

To ease their rowdiness and stress, allow much time bonding and being affectionate with them and give them tons of mental and physical exercise. 

Wrapping It Up: Are American Bulldogs Dangerous?

Are American bulldogs dangerous? If you’re thinking about whether you should adopt a bulldog or not, this is the first question you may ask. In short, the answer is no. American bulldogs are not dangerous. 

Still, it’s best if you’re an experienced dog owner and implement ‘alpha-like’ behaviors and are not afraid of strong-willed and intimidating dogs. If so, your bulldog will behave in the way you raise it. 

Bulldogs are naturally protective because of their close bond and loyalty to their owners, which is partly why bulldogs are perceived as dangerous. However, there is nothing to worry about with this breed if given adequate training and early socialization.

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