Grooming the American Bulldog

Less is more with this wash-and-go dog.

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Because American Bulldogs were bred to work on farms to guard against intruders, hunt vermin, and chase wayward cattle and hogs, it's no surprise they don't require a fussy or fancy grooming regimen.

"They're pretty low-maintenance," says Tonia Lorensen, president of the United States Traditional American Bulldog Club. They're a wash-and-go kind of dog.

But there are still a few basics to remember for optimal health and grooming. The one thing you do have to keep in mind is their ears. "They have to get cleaned out a lot, or they can get a yeast infection," Lorensen says.

Another area to watch: the mouth. Food can get trapped in the pockets of the mouths of dogs with pendulous lips or tight faces; this can lead to tartar and tooth decay. To avoid that, Lorensen suggests brushing the teeth often — every couple of weeks, or even daily if food collection seems to be a problem.

The breed sheds its short, coarse hair year-round, so Robert Latsha, owner of the United Kennel Club's top American Bulldog the past two years, King Haven's Brickhouse, uses a curry comb to remove the loose hair. Others say a few quick swipes with a rubber grooming glove once or twice a week suffice.

Like many white-coated, short-haired dogs, American Bulldogs have sensitive skin, often susceptible to allergies. Lorensen suggests bathing them only once every two months — as long as they haven't found a mud puddle to roll in. Latsha's dogs sleep on wood shavings to keep them from getting dirty; he only bathes them before a show or if they got really filthy during a hunting trip, for instance.

Samantha Jones, East Coast coordinator of the National American Bulldog Rescue Alliance, says she uses baby shampoo on her dogs because of its gentleness; she knows other owners who use mild human shampoos, such as oatmeal-based formulas, so as not to irritate their Bulldogs' sensitive skin.

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Leslie - 233329   Lakeside, AZ

1/18/2013 1:50:26 PM

Good information. thanks

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Teann - 255698   

7/10/2012 6:29:41 AM

Me and my husband are proud owners of a American Bulldog... She showed up at the golf course, that my husband works at about 4 yrs ago and was starved to the point that you could count every rib on her.. So very sad..Once I feed her, she laid head in my lap and I knew I couldn't let her go..We use a oatmeal base shampoo on her and it seems to help with the rash she sometimes gets..She is so very smart, listens so well, very protective of her momma(me), we couldn't ask for a better dog..My husband takes her out to the golf course and she gets plenty of exercise, and everyone loves her..Will never own another breed but this one...

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janet   bethlehem, PA

6/2/2011 4:22:16 AM

good article, thanks

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caryn   Englewood, CO

2/24/2010 9:59:06 PM

I LOVE the doggy dip shampoo but Origins just stopped making it :(

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